Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pucker



Gideon, Melanie. 2006. Pucker.

When the back of a book is endorsed with a quote from Scott Westerfeld, there is a very good chance I’m going to take it home with me. Chances are, I might have been inclined to pick it up anyway since I devour anything new at the library that says “2006.” But the endorsement from Westerfeld only helped it. Pucker resonates with vital truths about how we challenge our own fate, reshape our own past, and--sometimes--find our own way home. An intense and compelling fable, beautifully told.

There are so many great things going for this book. The book had me at hello with this first paragraph:

Let me say this right up front: this is not a story about kissing, or wrinkles, or things that are sour. It’s a story about redemption. I suppose all stories are, and if they’re not, well, then they should be. For what else do we have in the end--but hope? (1).

Thomas Quicksilver is not your average teen boy. He shoulders adult responsibilities in caring for his mother. He was the victim of a fire which left his face scarred and damaged. Teased and called “Pucker” he has few friends and no experience with the opposite sex. He’s resigned himself to this. Accepted his fate such as it is. But things are about to change when his mother surprises him with an unusual command: “If I’m to live, you’ve got to go back to Isaura and find my skin.” Yes, average teenage boys aren’t from alternate realities (with hidden portals to earth) where parents or adults have second skins with special powers. Thomas is special in more ways than one.

I won’t bother explaining the different worlds and where and how they’re connected. I will say this...returning to Isaura will be the biggest adventure and biggest tempation he has ever had to face. You see, in Isaura he’ll be healed. His face, his scars, his appearance--everything that makes him the subject of teasing--will be erased. He’ll be beautiful. He’ll be perfect. A dream come true. But he’ll have to go there knowing that this isn’t permanent. Knowing that he has to return to Earth to save his mother. Returning to his former apperance after having tasted what life could have been like. Can he do it? Is he strong enough? Does he have the will power to resist his own desires?

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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