Adam Jones is a 15-year-old white boy who just wants to be “normal,” but his life is anything but.
Unable to go to sleep for dread of monsters that stalk his dreams, Adam’s insomnia leads to a breakdown at school. At home, his mother’s been dead for years, and his eccentric father is often absent. Add his paranoid grandfather, who is convinced the family’s at risk. But is it really paranoia? Adam is forced to confront all this when a strange man with a broken-circle medallion shows up, demanding that Adam’s father get Adam in line with his “True Destiny.” This destiny involves a special boarding school, where things become stranger and scarier. But Adam finally begins to understand some things, and somehow he feels he belongs with this group of strangers, due in large part to their common roles as shepherds for souls of the newly dead. All is not bliss in his new life though, as it seems his new classmates are from competing families who seek to control lucrative territories in North America. A slowly unwinding tale about life and death and the in-between, this sibling collaboration may initially frustrate readers with its withholding of answers, but the Powerses’ worldbuilding and writing will keep them hooked. They will find themselves questioning what is fact and what is fiction and cheering Adam on as he journeys in this new, strange world.
A gripping, philosophical paranormal thriller. (Fantasy. 12-16)