Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie

dylanThe Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine 224 Pages 2008 5/5 I'm finding that I have very few words to describe how I feel about this book. To put it shortly, it's amazing! Do you ever go into a book expecting to like it, not really knowing much of what it's about and then you start reading it and find that you absolutely love it? And you wonder where this book has been all your life? That's how I feel about this one. Strangely, I've seen very little publicity about this book. I first heard about it on Becky's blog and I've been wanting to read it ever since. And I'm so thrilled that I did! Seriously, I'd put it right up there with Looking for Alaska as far as Young Adult books go. Dylan Fontaine is a teenager trying to hold his world together. When we meet Dylan, he's being bailed out of jail for stealing two packs of underwear (tighty-whities to be exact) and possession of marijuana. The strange thing about this is that he comes from a family with money and doesn't smoke marijuana. But his brother, Randy does and Dylan takes the blame for it when the blame should be on his brother. Dylan and Randy are having a hard time lately. Their mother, an artist, recently left their father, a gynecologist referred to as "the vagina head" because she was unhappy...and she's now living with a fellow artist named Phillipe. Dylan and Randy take it hard as do their father. Randy deals with his problems by smoking more pot, playing music with his band, The Dead Musicians (they do covers of songs by dead musicians), and just generally losing interest in everything that used to interest him. All while chasing his crush, Chloe, who sings a mean Janis Joplin. Dylan tries to cope by being the rock of the family. He starts doing the family shopping and grows an appreciation for labels on food as he avoids artificial preservatives and trans-fats. He's there for his older brother when he needs to be and he kicks his ass when he needs to. He's seemingly the glue that holds everything together and he worries about everything except his own issues. Dylan's chasing his own girl - his best friend Angie. Angie is a student at NYU's film program and decides to make a film with Dylan as the main character. She follows him sometimes with a video camera just recording life as it happens and it's through this lens that we see much of Dylan's true thoughts on life...the troubles that he won't address himself. There's so much more to this book and I could go on forever about it! I feel like I'm doing a horrible job of describing it, but it's one you just have to read. I always feel very close to books about adolescents because I've always had a passion for helping them. It's what I do now as a counselor. Books that examine how rough situations like Dylan and Randy's affect the lives of those going through them really hit home with me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my own rough times during adolescents and that I couldn't relate to Dylan more than I wanted to really. But I loved the fact that I could at the same time. Lurie creates an amazing cast of characters in this novel...characters that I haven't even talked about. Dylan was a truly cool kid and I loved reading his story. Lurie writes with an amazing voice. It's everything I love in a book. It's humorous, it's fresh, it's touching, it's sad and it's happy. And I just want to hug it. Other Views and Opinions: Becky's Book Reviews (Looks like she had the same reaction as me!) Becky's Interview with April Lurie (It's fantastic! Go check it out!) Bookluver-Carol Hope's Bookshelf

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