James has a pretty boring life. Sure, his mom is nuts, and also sort of interesting, but that’s par for the course for adults, who all seem a bit off. He’s in high school, but he still has problems with reading, and his best friend, Paul, seems to have a few problems as well. But people pretty much leave them alone, and all in all, he has nothing to worry about—just the average life of an average teenager. Until one day when he blacks out, and wakes up to find he’s written perfect copies of a dead poet’s greatest works… works he’s never seen before. On top of that, he starts zapping things with green electricity. Then things get weird, and he and his best friend have to face the facts: they aren’t your average teenagers anymore, and nothing’s going to ever be the same.
I don’t usually read young adult fiction—for many reasons—but I loved this book. I loved the two boys, James and Paul, and how their friendship turned into an adorable crush, and then into love. It had a very teenage boy feel—one scene in particular—and you’ll know the scene when you read it. It was perfect in characterizing their fragile love, and the forces that tried to keep them apart, creating a compelling story line.
I also liked the little secondary characterization details from James’s point of view: how poor Paul had to wear a helmet growing up, because his parents said his balance was off, and how Paul was always in front of James in line no matter where they went, and that was perfectly natural for both of them, or even how James’s mother kept saying he was destined for greatness… in that overly eccentric way of hers. Those details were incredibly beautiful and complete in how they showed the characters.
James and Paul are just “a little bit Langston”, and while that line is poetic in itself, I can also relate, because I’m just a little bit Langston too. The story, as well as these fantastic details, came off as more literary fiction than genre fiction, but then the world cracked open, and James and Paul were thrust into a crazy science fiction adventure, meeting new characters and creatures, and battling to save their lives, and maybe the entire world. Wow. Super good. Check it out.
Andrew Demcak has written much fiction, poetry, and other works, so if you favor a particular genre, I can assure you he has plenty to choose from. I can also assure you you’ll love it, and I’ll definitely be reading more.