The Guardian: Fresh voices: 50 writers you should read now
Twenty-three-year-old Vanessa is adrift in London. A year out of university and marooned in a quietly deflating relationship, she can’t work out where her passion and creativity went – and on top of that, she is experiencing frightening visions, and an overwhelming sadness that doesn’t seem to belong to her.
Then something impossible happens: her best friend Mark, who vanished without a trace seven years ago, reappears, not a day older. As far as he is concerned, no time has passed.
Shocked and confused but determined to help her friend make sense of what’s happening, Vanessa returns to Llangoroth, the rural town she left behind after he vanished. Torn between her responsibilities as an adult and the adventurous passion that Mark inspires in her, she must fight for him, and for herself, confronting painful memories and a terrifying pursuer who would rather see her friend dead than back in the world.
‘★★★★★ Building on the strength of his fantastic Bitter Sixteen trilogy, author Stefan Mohamed returns with an adult read that skilfully blends the fantastical with the everyday – making for an exhilarating and moving tale that cleverly combines supernatural happenings with human themes of loss, growth and love. A brilliant read.’ —Luke Marlowe, The Bookbag
‘Falling Leaves is certainly an intriguing read. I enjoyed the sense of foreboding surrounding Vanessa’s troubling nightmares and visions alongside the reappearance of Mark. And in order to make sense of Mark’s appearance, Vanessa is forced to revisit memories from her past, including the grief she suffered when he disappeared. With Mark back by her side, and with the help of her aunt, Vanessa embarks on a difficult journey to find the truth, to make sense of their situation, and to uncover past secrets.’ —The Owl on the Bookshelf
‘★★★★ Once the scene had been set this became a fast moving and engaging adventure that will appeal to those who enjoyed the author’s Bitter Sixteen trilogy. The exploration of the effects interactions have on others, and of the damage caused by dogmatic beliefs added interest – serious issues are explored in a story that never appears to take itself too seriously. The style and zest of the prose make this an entertaining, dynamic read.’ —Neverimitate
‘I’m not normally one for hyperbole, but I can quite honestly say that Stefan Mohamed has written one of the best Young Adult trilogies out there, and certainly, in my opinion, the best by a British writer. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too much longer for more from this author – you’ll find me at the front of the queue.’ —Luke Marlowe, The Bookbag
‘Never mind writing about superpowers, debut author Stefan Mohamed clearly has them himself – he’s produced a highly original novel for young adults that is clever and funny, with character you want to ask home afterwards.’ —Alex O’Connell, The Times
‘It’s part superhero fantasy, part comedy, with an underlying love story and a creepy twist in the tail, all served up with panache, pace and punch.’ —Sally Morris, The Daily Mail
‘Mohamed’s first novel is a thoroughly entertaining, charming and witty take on the crowded superhero subgenre.’ —Eric Brown, The Guardian