Monday, January 12, 2009

Fade away.

I just finished reading an ARC of Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin. And I use the word "reading" very lightly. Mostly, I had to skim because the whole thing was confusing and nightmarish. The basic plot was a matrix style thriller where the main character, Sophie Blue, is fighting everyone in the town including her mother to keep herself from being used as a mule for the matrix style 'virtuality' developed by all the teens parents and all the students were given up as test subjects. The scenes were short repeated burst in which it was impossible to tell the difference between reality and 'virtuality' and the point of any of it was never really revealed. I put down the book after my marathon skimming session (mostly I skimmed over anything that seemed like it might actually give me nightmares) and I felt like my brain had been rewired.

This book is definitely something that 12 years ago one of my best friends would have handed me and told me it would CHANGE MY LIFE. And then I would have read it savoring every word but not understanding anything. I would have given it back to him the next day with minuscule detail memorized to claim as favorite parts, but in reality I would never want to touch it again.

So what I'm saying here is that there are probably teenagers who would be all about the matrix style challenges and paranoia this book throws at them. But, while the writing is tinged with humor the ever shifting character and the lack of any true thread to follow (yes you are given clues to why all of this is going on, but the are never coherent enough, for instance: there are two versions we see of the best friend and I'm still not sure which one was the true, if either was.) The constant chapter shifting from character to character makes the book go quickly, and adds to the confusion. It also inhibits any real character development beyond "Kenny is nice" and "Sophie is scary." The best scenes are the ones were the brother and sister interact with each other and you actually feel calm for a second. Then it all starts up again.

The book is set to come out 8/1/09. So far the cover art for it is impressive, a comic style drawing of Sophie, the main character, making it seem like an enticing read. I'll ask the opinions of my teens before I buy it for my library though.

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