Ian, 15, has a school assignment over the holidays: to write about an imaginary character. He creates Gideon, a rebellious teenager very nearly Ian's total opposite. But this creation asserts himself, forcing Ian's participation in acts of violence and landing him in trouble with just about everyone. When Ian's protestations that Gideon is responsible fall on deaf ears, he admits that the boy is a figment of his imagination. But is he? Gideon's full-blown malevolence is established well before Ian divulges just how this troublemaker entered his life; it's a brilliant construction that will send readers back through the pages looking for flaws in the logic. There aren't any. Macdonald (Speaking to Miranda, 1992, etc.) creates hairpin turns in the plot that force the issues--what is real? what is fiction?--in an explosive narrative. Before Ian can get control of his life, he must regain control of his creature and come to terms with the ghosts of his tortured past. This modern Frankenstein story is suspenseful right to the last, as a troubled teen faces a final confrontation, not with demons, but with himself.