An optimistic, thoughtful and fresh novel which oozes the reassuring theme that the role of a being the superhero, the one that snatches at salvation as it slips through everyone else’s fingers, actually can be left to someone else.
Mike is on the cusp of graduating, and is savouring the meagre time he has left with his friends. Admittedly, the Summer that is stretching ahead is pitifully unwanted; with his crush Henna travelling to Africa, his compact group of friends will methodically unravel, leaving it to be bland and uneventful holiday. This period of time is therefore precious, and when these supposedly memorable last weeks are tainted by the arrival of Nathan, Mike is unimpressed, as well as the fact that it’s happening. And whatever it is, it might as well as happen after he graduates; he doesn’t want the indie kids getting the school blown up. Again. Mike’s not entirely sure what is going on, but who ever is? All anyone ever can say is that the indie kids are in some way responsible; in the meaningless town squashed in the middle of nowhere, bizarre things take often place, and it’s always the indie kids which save them all. They are always the saviours who, with hippish names like Satchel and Finn, eventually wrench them from the jaws of doom, like they did with those vampires a few years back. So when random pillars of blue, and glowing policemen riddle daily life, Mike just gets on with it. After all, he has only a few weeks left to enjoy his tight friendships, and he’s not going to let this get in the way.
I enjoyed certain aspects of this novel, yet overall it wasn’t particularly outstanding. I loved the two plots that happened simultaneously throughout, and the different tones they had, because this gave the novel some variety. On the other hand I wasn’t that keen on the style of the majority of the novel; this was because the writing felt light, in the insubstantial sense of the word, and was frequently diluted with various airy metaphors. This novel would have also been improved greatly if the characters all didn’t simply “say” things when they spoke, too. It was the only verb he used, and frankly, after a chapter, it got monotonous. Also nothing happens. Except that Mike gets jealous of Nathan the whole time, and most of the novel is illustrating how slightly needy Mike is yet everyone loves him anyway but he can’t see that. Also, I understand that Ness is taking a slightly John Green approach, and is telling the story from a point of view of someone who has an intimate group of friends that are all equipped with seemingly under-represented characteristics, for want of better word, but I feel like it is slightly excessive; Mike has severe OCD, his best friend is gay, his sister is recovering from anorexia, his father is an alcoholic and his mother is so wrapped up work that she is neglectful to her children.
It’s too much. Way too much to take in.
I don’t think highly of this novel, which is disappointing because I enjoyed More Than This and A Monster Calls. But, they are not on the same page, or even planet. This novel seems like a wispy project which was started on a sunny holiday, then ignored and completed between stitches of time. It waffles on and nothing happens. The plot is non-existent, although the underlying message was charming.