Recommended Audience: 6th grade and up
“That was the trouble with searching for the truth. It wasn’t always pleasant. It wasn’t always something you wanted to find.”
Andrew Klavan has become one of my favorite young adult authors. I have read three of the four books in The Homelanders series and now this book. I have enjoyed every one of them. Of all of his YA books so far, I think this one is the most creative. It is darn close to his best (for me, it’s hard to top The Last Thing I Remember).
This is a difficult book to review in the sense that I can’t give you a lot of details about the plot without ruining much of the story. The basic premise is this. Tom, the main character is laying in a hospital bed in a coma due to a gun shot wound. Tom has no clue how he was shot or why. The story from the beginning of the book is his experience inside of the “nightmare city” which is actually happening in his head as he lays in the hospital. As the plot develops, the mystery of what happens to him begins to unravel.
This book is Klavan at his best. One of the things he is great at is playing with the pacing of his stories. He can really move a story along with suspense that makes you try sneak a peak ahead of what you are currently reading. I caught myself several times peaking at the next page try to catch snippets of sentences to find out what was going to happen. This is great writing for teen boys, and the type of writing that gets reluctant readers to stick with a book.
Tom reminded me a lot of Charlie in The Last Thing I Remember. He’s a great role model for any teen reader who might pick up this book. We need more characters like him in young adult literature.
Christian conservatives will appreciate the subtle presence of faith throughout the story. Klavan does a great job of weaving this in, and it never appears to be preachy, forceful, or out of place.
“It’s like the Bible says, he remembered Lisa telling him. Find the truth-and the truth will set you free.
Well, he answered in his mind, the truth is what I’m here for.
And as the darkness fell around him, he stepped forward boldly.”
If you have a teen reader in the house, buy this book for their collection. And if you have kids in public school, make sure that their library has Klavan’s books available for checkout.