STARRED REVIEW
October 2015

No superpowers necessary

By Patrick Ness
Review by
The indie kids are dying again. This time it’s not vampires or soul-eating ghosts but the Messenger of the Immortals seeking a Permanent Vessel. As an ordinary teen, Mikey is safe from the romances and battles with supernaturals, but he still has plenty of problems. Graduation is only weeks away, and he still hasn’t confessed his love to Henna. This uncertainty has increased his obsessive-compulsive disorder, leaving him raw inside and out.
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The indie kids are dying again. This time it’s not vampires or soul-eating ghosts but the Messenger of the Immortals seeking a Permanent Vessel. As an ordinary teen, Mikey is safe from the romances and battles with supernaturals, but he still has plenty of problems. Graduation is only weeks away, and he still hasn’t confessed his love to Henna. This uncertainty has increased his obsessive-compulsive disorder, leaving him raw inside and out.

At least Mikey’s not alone as he faces these major life events, as well as the glowing blue lights that hint of death around town. His older sister, Mel, is graduating a year late as she tries to keep her anorexia in check. Henna has to spend the summer before college in a war-torn African country with her missionary parents, and their friend Jared has even bigger secrets than being the gay son of a goddess of cats.

All this transpires as the dark, humorous mystery of the indie kids runs in the background. No matter that Patrick Ness never fully describes what an indie kid is; readers are sure to have already met one of these uber-emotional teens with enabling parents. Despite—or perhaps because of—the witty outlandishness, Mikey displays a vulnerability that will resonate with readers. He may not solve the world’s problems, or even those in his own suburb, but he finds resilience to rival any superhero. Ness continues to surprise in this sarcastic yet honest depiction of teen angst.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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