Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs

This was the third young adult novel I read in a row dealing with rather serious subjects.  It was kind of a relief to pick up the delightful Full of Beans for younger readers.  Maybe middle school just is a more joyous time…

But I really liked The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs, due to be published this September.  I couldn't stop reading.  It is beautifully written but you have to pay attention.  The main narrator is April from Delaware,  who has an incredible memory, not necessarily for her schoolwork but for personal history.  She was born just after the bombing in Oklahoma, her best favourite childhood friend lost his dad in 911, and the book opens just after the Boston Marathon killings.  April is on guard.  But other characters' voices are heard in this novel as well and in the end there is a series of Flash Bulb moments that April couldn't and wouldn't have wanted to predict.

Reading this book currently was unsettling.  Again as many of the tragedies of recent US history are referenced in the book, no wonder someone like April is fearful.  And what affects does all this have on young people?  We meet other young people in this novel who have been bullied or overly pressured who are on the verge of exploding.  And then again there is the internet where these young people find a connection and a common purpose, And there is mystery-as we wonder who are these anonymous internet users.  I certainly had a couple of surprises.  

The book definitely has twists and turns and layering.  For most of the main characters there is resolution and light at the end.  Sadly not for all.

Anyway an innovative novel with I think, a need for discussion.  Definitely for high school students...

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