#STATIC by Eric Laster


Age Range: 14 - 18
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Curtis receives phone calls from his recently deceased older brother that make him suspect his death may not have been accidental.

Most effective in this unusual and unpredictable paranormal mystery is Curtis and Wilt's poignant family back story, which includes a messy divorce and Curtis’ ADHD and depression diagnoses. As Wilt attempts to acclimate to his new reality in the Aftermart, an endless, Walmart-like store filled with antiquated goods, Curtis puzzles out a host of strange clues—including a wad of money their mother discovered in Wilt's possession shortly before he died. This leads him into a shady underworld of illegal doings, in which he loses his virginity along the way. While Curtis' sarcastic first-person tone can be very funny, one subplot that relies in part on framing various cultures as other for humor isn't so successful. Three teens evidently (and unrealistically suddenly) adopted by Curtis' mother, from Namibia, Cambodia, and India, respectively, exist solely as awkward background characters, incessantly cleaning the apartment, seemingly there for comic relief and as plot device for Curtis’ awakening. (Curtis never describes his own ethnicity and provides no culturally specific narrative clues.)

The posthumous bond formed between the brothers is touching and the mystery a genuine surprise, but too much of the humor falls flat, unnecessarily distancing readers from the tale.(Paranormal mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 19th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9912729-3-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Automatic Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2016


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