It's also short on cliches (there are none, it's fresh and original) and long on brilliant writing! Here's an excerpt where the main character Loa, who's being brought home in a cop car, describes where she lives:
The road curves around the old pasture fence. There is our barn where nothing lives anymore. The house huddles in the dark, smaller than the barn and almost as empty.
Thin grey light escapes the windows of the kitchen and bathroom. I know the trooper is going to that door, the back door, in the middle of the scabbed-on addition to the main house. The real front door faces the creek because the house turns its back on the road. Nothing good ever comes from that direction. That's what the house seems to believe.
This book is sort of like the female version of Catcher in the Rye. Or maybe it would be what Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird might write as a senior in high school, if her best friend had died, and her world had fallen apart, giving her nightmares and PTSD. Can you tell I'm saying "literary classic" here? Because it really is a brilliant little book. I loved the scientific references, and the classroom bits at the beginning of each chapter were ingenious.
How lovely to read an intelligent YA novel once again. It had been awhile. Like maybe two decades? I wish The Freak Observer could become a huge hit and bring back the thoughtful, well-written, coming of age YA novel that's been missing from the genre for quite some time.
I'm not thrilled by the cover art, but taking off the flyleaf you have a lovely little red hard-cover book with a cool imprinted graphic on the front. A graphic that would have made a much better cover but oh well, you can't have everything. I just hope the very odd cover graphics don't hurt sales, because this is a book that deserves to be bought and read and re read. And please write more, Blythe. I'm a fan.
Go to Blythe's blog for more info on her and her book, and for ordering information.