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Two friends try to leave their rough childhoods behind in C.O.B’s (Words and Graphics—A Collection of Works, 2012, etc.) wistful bildungsroman.

Best friends Gary and Lincoln live for the hours after their parents have gone to bed, when they can sneak onto the roof and watch magical shapes and colors shoot across the sky. During the daytime, though, their lives are harder: From Lincoln’s drug dealer father to marital problems for Gary’s parents, adolescence is hard on the two boys, and they find themselves longing to escape. When a bully at school and family problems at home start to push the boys too far, they hatch a plan to build a rocket ship and leave once and for all. The boys are excited about their plan, and it seems as though not even Lincoln’s waning innocence will be able to destroytheir magic wish—until word of their plan gets out at school, and they suddenly find themselves besieged with requests to join in their adventure. Softhearted Gary is sympathetic to the requests, but Lincoln’s upbringing has hardened him, and he’s too afraid of failure to risk letting other kids join in. When a peculiar old shopkeeper warns them that their friendship is the only thing that will allow the rocket ship to work, Lincoln knows their time is running out. Suddenly, what once seemed like a surefire plan has become daunting, and Lincoln is in danger of losing the person who matters most. Tender and perceptive, this heartfelt coming-of-age novel is rife with all the pain and confusion of early adolescence. With their selfish innocence and shortsighted desire to make themselves feel good, Gary, Lincoln and their classmates could have stepped out of the hallway of any junior high school, yet the magical shapes and colors in the sky and the ability to make wishesgive this touching story just enough magic to lift it away from the humdrum world of middle school reality. However, while the magic is pleasantly subtle, readers are left in the dark about its exact mechanisms and limits, which can leave the plot twists feeling more fuzzy and confusing than satisfyingly enchanted.

A bittersweet novel about growing up and chasing dreams.

Pub Date: May 19th, 2014
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Grey Line Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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