Ah, here it is, week two of my young adult foray. Last week I covered a series that has been tingling spines for years now. This week, I pick up a newbie in the land of fiction for young adults. One that has high hopes of becoming a classic. So, welcome to Michael Vey, Prisoner of Cell 25.
I think I should first tell you why I picked up this book in the first place. Frankly, it was an interview with the author. Richard Paul Evens is a well know, successful writer in the adult fiction world, with plenty of bestsellers under his belts. The question then was, why take a chance and change your genre so dramatically to young adult?
As it turns out Mr. Evens has a well know, but frequently misunderstood disorder called Tourette syndrome. No, not the often portrayed version that causes uncontrollable cursing. Mr. Evens suffers from hard to control ticks and twitches. It is undeniably a difficult disorder to live with for an adult, but Mr. Evens takes it even harder, because his son, Michael, suffers from Tourette syndrome as well. As you might imagine, a child in today’s school environment has a very hard time.
So, Mr. Evens took his gift and clout as a writer and wrote a book about a teenage boy named Michael who is struggling to survive in with Tourette’s…but then he went ahead and made Michael so much more.
Fourteen year old Michael Vey has had a tough life. He is fatherless, suffering from a neurological disorder and his single mother has had to struggle to keep them afloat, often moving from city to city. But Michael has one gift that makes him special. You see, Michael was born electric. He has spent most of his life trying to hide the fact that he can electrify anything thing he chooses, but he’s begun to discover that there are more children out there with similar gifts. And that there are people trying to capture as many electric children as possible.
I’m going to be totally honest with you. I struggled with this book for about the first 60 pages. In those first set up chapters there is a lot of coverage of how hard life is for teenagers in general. Sometimes I’m just not sympathetic to this particular storyline because I feel it is over used in so many young adult books and shows. But then all of a sudden the book changes from the hardship of the teenage to an often suspense and action filled ride right to the doors of a mysterious and dangerous organization. By the end I felt like I was in the final assault scene of a super hero movie. I was also ready to read the next installment.
In addition to the charged storyline (pun not intended) the book covers some of the moral choices we face in life…of course in the book the consequences of these choices increase. As Michael battles just to get answers, other characters are tempted to violate their personal sense of morality for rewards and approval. And everyone is eventually asked the devastating question, “How far will you go to save someone you love?”
The book series is a little on the dark side at times and there are scenes with psychological type torture. If you are familiar with bad headaches you will feel for these poor kids. But overall, I think the book is appropriate for all ages. Though perhaps most enjoyed by the age range of the characters.
So, from the sacrificial love of a father to a lightning strike filled assault, Michael Vey grows into a great read.
Have you ever picked up a book for a reason other than the story sounded good? How did it work out?