A young man lives out his last hours in this comedic novel set at a time in the near future in which people grow up knowing when they will die.
When 17-year-old Denton wakes up with a hangover in the bed of his best friend’s sister with only some groggy memories of what happened the night before, he’s horrified that it seems he may have cheated on his girlfriend. Adding urgency to the whole situation is that, due to information gleaned from an improbable quasi-scientific formula, he knows he is just a day away from the date that will be his last. The details surrounding what seems to be a covert tug of war between entities involved in Denton’s projected death are vague, remaining so even as the 300-plus–page story concludes, which is sure to frustrate some readers. Yet the novel features warmly real characters. Denton’s funny, self-effacing genuineness will keep readers rooting for him. Vivid secondary characters include his goofy, pot-smoking best friend, Paolo, who helpfully urges Denton to “own that shit” in regard to following his heart as well as his quirky, loving family; even the brief snapshots provided of Denton’s schoolmates are believable and engaging.
The planned companion novel might provide some of the answers missing here, and those who have been charmed by the winsome characters will look forward to it. (Fiction. 14-18)