The music of The Way We Fall – “It’s Not”

The second song on The Way We Fall‘s unofficial soundtrack is Aimee Mann’s “It’s Not”:

To me, the tone and the lyrics of this song capture Kaelyn’s state of mind before the beginning of the novel. When she moved away from the island to the big city with her family, she was intimidated by the groups of kids who were already friends, and so she got stuck in the role of a loner. It wasn’t making her happy, especially when she couldn’t talk to her best friend Leo back on the island all that often, but once she’d been keeping her distance from people for a while, she felt paralyzed in that pattern (“I keep going round and round on the same old circuit”). In fact, she was depending on Leo for emotional support too much, which led to their falling out (“I believe it’s you who could make it better/though it’s not”). And even when she moves back to the island, she finds it hard to break out of those now-ingrained habits and reconnect with the people who used to be her friends (“I keep waiting for a change but I don’t know what…/I’m just frozen here in the same old spot”).

All of which is why, when the novel starts, Kaelyn is determined to make that change happen. She’s still nervous about opening up to people (“People are tricky, you can’t afford to show/anything risky, anything they don’t know”), but she’s gotten to the point that she’d rather take that risk than stay isolated. Of course, then the virus comes along, and makes isolation one of the few safe ways to stay alive…

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