I’m 1 year old, which in hedgehog years, is about 16 years old (with the heart of a menopausal diner waitress). Thus, I am around the key age demographic for this YA novel. Fantasy isn’t usually my jam — I only read Tolkien for the camping tips. This book, however, left me stuck in my castle for hours, feeling for the first time in my life… giddy? Some parts were John Hughes, some parts were Avatar, some parts were Goonies, and some parts —I shit you not— were as if Ray Bradbury and Ursula Le Guin had a baby circumcised by Judy Blume. (HarperCollins, feel free to use that for the paperback’s cover blurb.) There’s an ideal balance of teenage melodrama, prolonged escape scenes, alternate universes, and general what-the-fuckery. The only scene I disapproved of was the flashing of pubic hair, but that was made up for later with some good ol’ family-on-family decapitation.
Don’t save this book for your little brother or nephew. Read this shit yourself, preferably in public. You’re embarrassed to be seen reading YA, yet you proudly lug around that barely skimmed David Foster Wallace bio? Honestly, if I had the manual dexterity to do so, I’d be giving you the finger right now.