By: Michael J. Bowler
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Publisher: YoungDudes Publishing
Publication date: 8.5.2015
Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 9.10.2015
I am a huge fan of horror, and have really gotten into young adult books lately, especially ones that have a lot of adventure, interesting characters, and a story that excites me. This book has all that ... and then some.
Before I discuss the story itself, I want to talk about the characters. These are definitely characters you don't hear about often. Alex is fifteen, in a wheelchair, lives in a foster home, and is in Special Ed in high school ... and has special powers. His friends are all in the same class with him - they are the "rejects" and yet they are the ones that are going to save the world. I absolutely love the character of Alex, and all of his classmates, especially Roy. Each one of them have their own personalities, and bring their own things to the story and to the adventure. He describes them perfectly, too - in such detail that you can picture them in your head, but not done in a way that takes away from the story. It's so great to see children with special needs and learning disorders used as the heroes of a book, and the author did a great job doing it. Seeing them try and fail, and keep trying, in spite of the way they were treated in school, was an amazing thing to see, and Bowler wrote so well that I really felt like I was there with them throughout the story, like I knew these boys.
The story is really good. The things they have to go through, the powers and people they are up against the whole way, the mysteries they work to solve, all with a much bigger picture than they can realize. It's an epic adventure that I'm sure lots of children (and Young Adult lovers) will enjoy. The horror aspect of it is done really well - just the right amount of creepy for a young adult novel, as far as I'm concerned.
Definitely check out the introduction to the book before you get started on the story. The author tells you a little bit about himself and why he chose the characters that he did for this novel.
Definitely a book that I highly recommend. This would be a great book to share with older children who are into adventures and scary things.
About the book:
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a "spinner." his friends are "dummies." Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people were't being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.
In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.
They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she's flirting with them. Then there's the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.
The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.
The kid who's always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.
If he survives...
About the author:
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of eight novels - A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader's Favorite), and the Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), running Through a Dark Place, There Is No Fear, And the Children Shall Lead, Once Upon a Time in America, and Spinner.
He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master's in film production from Loyola Marymount University, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.
He acted as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including "Fatal Images," "Club Dead," and "Things II."
He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.
He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile system in Los Angeles.
He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The "National" honor allowed him and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.
He is currently working on a sequel to Spinner. His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.
Spinner won Honorable Mention in Young Adult Books of 2015 from the San Francisco Book Festival.