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UNNATURAL by Michael Griffo

UNNATURAL

From the Archangel Academy series, volume 1

By Michael Griffo

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7582-5338-5
Publisher: Kensington

A thicket of overplotting and rampant misuse of literary techniques mar debut novelist Griffo’s multicultural, GLBTQ paranormal series opener. Sixteen-year-old Michael Howard has never fit in among the good people of Weeping Water, Neb., being too withdrawn, too intellectual and too pretty to make friends. Instead, he escapes bullying and torment at school and quasi-alcoholic, depressive dysfunction at home by reading and re-reading his favorite books. Michael knows he’s gay but can’t speak the word aloud, instead fantasizing daily about the rugged gas-station attendant. This is a teen who, in 2010, is convinced that “nobody was like him.” Following his mother’s suicide, Michael’s long-absent father whisks him away to England and enrolls him at exclusive, all-male Archangel Academy, where Michael meets the alluring Ronan. Though his mother’s suicide note, full of anvil-heavy portents, warned that “not everything is what it seems,” Michael and Ronan’s mutual attraction is too powerful for either boy to resist. Can it be destiny? The many subplots all prevent the main plot from building up momentum, and they are too sluggish to hold interest on their own, though they come complete with obvious foreshadowing, preachy speechifying and whiplash-inducing shifts in perspective. Aimed squarely at the YA niche carved out by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga and P.C. Cast’s House of Night series, this nonsensical wannabe epic falls far short of the mark. (Paranormal. 14 & up)