Press Kit

Fox Benwell is a perpetual student of the world, a writer, adventurer, and wannabe-knight, who holds degrees in international education and writing for young people, and believes in the power of both to change the world. When he’s not writing or teaching, he sings barbershop with The Great Western Chorus; music is pretty good at changing the world, too. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The Last Leaves Falling, and Kaleidoscope Song.

 

 

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The Last Leaves Falling

UK

LAST LEAVES

And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . .

Japanese teenager Sora is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publisher,

Genre: contemporary young adult

Release date: 29 January 2015

Page count: 341

Age category: 14+

ISBN-10: 1909531227

ISBN-13: 978-1909531222

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio

Audio book publisher: Audible Studios

Release date: 29 January 2015

ASIN: B00SO51IVI


 

US

lastleavesfalling_rev2_lores

A teen grapples with ALS and his decision to die in this devastatingly beautiful debut novel infused with the haunting grace of samurai death poetry and the noble importance of friendship.

Abe Sora is going to die, and he’s only seventeen years old. Diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), he’s already lost the use of his legs, which means he can no longer attend school. Seeking a sense of normality, Sora visits teen chat rooms online and finally finds what he’s been longing for: friendship without pity.

As much as he loves his new friends, he can’t ignore what’s ahead. He’s beginning to lose the function of his hands, and soon he’ll become even more of a burden to his mother. Inspired by the death poems of the legendary Japanese warriors known as samurai, Sora makes the decision to leave life on his own terms. And he needs his friends to help him.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Books For Young Readers,

Genre: contemporary young adult

Release date: 6 June 2015

Page count: 368

Age category: 14+ 

ISBN-10: 1481430653

ISBN-13: 978-1481430654

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio

Audio book publisher: Audible Studios

Release date: 6 June 2015

ASIN: B00VVILXG0

 

Discussion guides for both editions are available here.

 

Praise for The Last Leaves Falling

“Benwell’s deeply moving story is visceral…and psychologically acute in its portrayal of a dying teen and his loyal friends. Its shattering ending is sure to engender discussion among readers.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Benwell’s gentle treatment of friendship and death with dignity will touch fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.” (Kirkus)

“This is more a tale of friendship than of romance and one of living life to the fullest for as long as possible…this thought-provoking read offers teens a different perspective on living and loving life.” (School Library Journal, starred review)

“…it’s a book that ultimately believes in hope vs hopelessness – and that the choices we make, no matter how grave the situation, can be stirring ones.” (The Telegraph)  (The Last Leaves falling is on The Telegraph’s Best YA of 2015 list.)

“Benwell’s story is remarkably unsentimental, and her setting—contemporary urban Japan—adds a unique appeal…[T]he haiku Sora reads, and writes, are a perfect symbol for his life: brief in length but full of strength and subtlety.” (Horn Book, starred review)

“It’s a memorable and haunting story of a boy’s determination to seize control of the limited time he has left.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“An exquisite debut YA novel that serves as a guide to living a meaningful life, and the importance of family, friendship and self-knowledge.” (Shelf Awareness, starred review)

“…deeply emotional and poignant, handling difficult themes with great sensitivity and without being sentimental. Beautifully written, heartbreaking and hopeful.” (The Bookseller: 21st Nov 2014)

“Benwell’s deeply moving story is visceral…and psychologically acute in its portrayal of a dying teen and his loyal friends. Its shattering ending is sure to engender discussion among readers.” (The Booklist, starred review)

“Beautifully written and brimming with evocative imagery and memorable characters, THE LAST LEAVES FALLING is a poignant, affecting, and unsentimental story of terminal illness written from the point of view of a Japanese teenager.” (Zoe Marriott, Author Allsorts)