All Fall Down is a heart-breakingly sad story, beautifully written and crafted.
It tells the story of a small village in the north of England in the 1300's through 14 year old Isabel's eyes.
The Black Death is coming closer and closer to their little village.
Rumours are spreading like wildfire. Anxiety and tension increase as people become suspicious of strangers.
And slowly, inevitably, people begin to sicken and die.
The second half of the story lacked some of the tension of the first half (or perhaps I was just starting to feel numb, like Isabel, from all the death and sadness).
The plot device used to get to the chldren to York also felt rather flimsy.
The story is full of historical facts about medieval life, superstitions and beliefs, woven in seamlessly so that you don't even realise that you're getting a history lesson!
Nicholls avoids using the medieval dialogue of the time but talks about the different accents of her characters and uses many words common to that period.
All Fall Down is a strong story for teen readers who are tired of vampires and other paranormal beings!
The Black Death is the original apocalyptic story. Half of Europe dead within a short period of time. Who will survive and how will they survive this disaster?