Caleb's journey through a surrealistic landscape that’s reminiscent of his favorite video game could be the beginning of his recovery from family trauma.
Caleb blames himself for the accident that has left his brother with devastating injuries. The resulting emotional and financial strains have contributed to his mother’s recent abandonment of the family (aided by a local exterminator). All Caleb wants now is a do-over, a chance to set things right, the way he earns opportunities to change the past and improve his performance in the Boneyard, the setting for his favorite video game. So when a sudden die-off of birds coincides with a series of apparently prophetic doomsday text-message warnings (which might actually be challenges for him to conquer), Caleb races into this strange new reality. He is met with highway accidents, crumbling schools, and characters whose intentions are murky. Woven throughout are flashbacks to the day of the accident and his mom’s final moments at their residence, but these realistic references are mixed with repeated imagery of giant cockroaches, skips in time, and his exploits in the Boneyard. Caleb struggles to make sense of it all, and many readers will likely struggle as well.
Those who suspend their disbelief and stick with Caleb to the end of his journey will be rewarded with some answers, but perhaps not as many as they expect. (Fiction. 12-18)