Aiden and Ashleigh live a privileged existence in a futuristic Sydney that is radically different to the city as it exists today. The thirteen-year-old twins are largely protected from the ravages of climate change thanks to advances in technology and AI, even as socio-economic divisions widen, and medical care is available only to those who can afford it.
Aiden will do anything to protect his sister. But after he risks his own life to save Ashleigh, it soon becomes apparent that something has shifted. Aiden is different, and a stunning twist will change everything the siblings thought was true.
The twins’ interactions and friendships with other young people challenge their preconceptions about the lives of others, reminding me of arts organisation Big hArt’s motto: It’s harder to hurt someone if you know their story.
Catch Me If I Fall is a page-turning novel for upper primary and lower secondary students about the impact of climate change, inequality—and what it means to be human.
- How similar or different to your own life is the world in which Ash and Aiden live?
- How does Barry Jonsberg reveal this futuristic world without using the words ‘climate change’?
- What are some of the impacts of climate change as imagined by Barry Jonsberg?
- Aiden risks his own life to save Ashleigh’s. What do you think it takes to help someone rather than remain a bystander? What real life stories do you know where this has happened?
- How does Aiden change after the accident?
- How does your view of characters, such as Charlotte and Xena, change once you know their backstory?
- How does Ashleigh change or grow between the start and end of the book?
- Which character did you identify with most? Why?
- At one point, the twins each choose a book to read, with Ashleigh choosing one by Australian author/illustrator Shaun Tan. When asked about this choice in a recent interview, Jonsberg replies that it’s because ‘I love Shaun Tan’. What book would you choose to include in a story you’re writing and why?
If you liked this book, you may also like …
- Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
- Hive by A.J. Betts
- A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay
- The Road to Winter by Mark Smith