Saturday, September 22, 2007


Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet

by Joanne Proulx

This adult book is one I think should also be located in the teen section, for having both a teen protagonist and great teen appeal.

Luke is just hanging with his usual stoner friends, living up to his own low expectations, when something weird happens and he forecasts the death of his friend, down to the finest detail. Not only that, but he feels his friend's soul as he dies. And then his neighbour. And then one or two people he doesn't know. And all the weirdness sends him into this strange spiral. At the same time, he keeps getting closer to than further away from his dead friend's girlfriend and his own damaged friend, Fang. His confusion and despair and the haze of drugs he tries to maintain for some time keep him from really dealing with things with a while, but in the end, he figures out some ways to try and bring things under control again. Meanwhile, he learns a few things about himself and his real potential and how others really see him.

The book is a great tale of how to deal, about how boys, especially, can have trouble accessing the parts they need in order to handle something so out of their control. It is, in some ways, a book about maturing, and learning, too. I wanted him to sort things out all the way through - I need to care about a character to love a book, and I did, because he has something about him, as people tell him. He's not just the waster he pretends to be. He does care about some people.

I think the thing that really makes this, though, that elevates all these elements, is that the voice is perfect. The voice of a teen who is scared to face real life, who would prefer to pretend apathy, but has more heart than he wants to show. Who is frustrated at times, who hates and loves at the same time, and is sometimes confused about his own feelings. It's just spot on, and it gives this book a big boost into gold star territory.

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