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Caleb Smith
Longevity: The Wardens Of Time
Caleb Smith, author
Noah Thomas is a scrawny seventh grader who is bullied to the brink in his new town. Friendless, except for sassy tomboy Wendy Sherman, who seems to lend him the confidence he needs to stand up to his oppressors. Upon stumbling into a book shop one afternoon while on the run from some teenaged tyrants, Noah is hurled into an unexplainable adventure. Noah learns that the bookshop does, in fact, lead to the Akashic Records – a place that holds all spirit lives recorded in tablets of light. With this new found knowledge, Noah begins to grow in wisdom and confidence to face his fears. His biggest challenge comes in the form of five demonic spirits that he accidentally lets loose from a lost tablet. Will Noah succeed with the help of his guardian angel cat he calls Keeper, or will all Hell's henchman prevail?
Kirkus Reviews

LONGEVITY The Wardens Of Time Caleb Smith Black Rose Writing (309 pp.) $18.95 paperback ISBN: 978-1-68433-138-3; October 18, 2018 BOOK REVIEW

This YA fantasy debut sees a tormented teenager who loves reading drawn into a battle between heaven and hell. Seventh-grader Noah Thomas has just moved to Mid-Town with his mother, Evelyn. Because his father died in an accident, his mother works three jobs. The lonely boy is bullied mercilessly by a gang of kids led by Mike Nason. But life improves when tomboy Wendy Sherman moves to Mid-Town with her father, Earl, and her brother, Josh. Earl, a mechanic, has purchased Hersey’s Junkyard, and Wendy herself adores all things automotive. She and Noah become fast friends in class, and when Mike’s gang chases them home, Earl’s presence forces the punks to back off. Later, Noah begins helping at the junkyard, and Wendy fixes an old BMX bike for him. He rides downtown and finds The Book Shop, a strange store run by a man named Enoch who seems capable of floating and changing size. Enoch and his twin, Elijah, provide a series of instructional works to Noah, magical volumes that the boy can physically enter and train with powers like superspeed, flight, and astral projection. When Noah eventually finds an odd, ancient book at the library, he wonders if it’s connected to the mysterious twins. Little does he realize that opening it will unleash hell itself. In his novel, Smith explores religious subjects such as the Akashic records—which contain the history of all life—and bittersweet issues like growing up fatherless. The narrative first offers a coming-of-age foundation, where rooting for Noah and Wendy is a pleasure. Smith’s prose, perhaps better suited to high school readers, succeeds in emotionally satisfying moments with Evelyn and Earl and even reveals how Mike’s bullying doesn’t occur in a vacuum. The story becomes fantastic by stages, beginning with Noah’s travel through the books and then revealing Enoch’s and Elijah’s true identities. Genuine horror pervades the last third, with demons causing grisly carnage in Mid-Town and Noah transforming spiritually to enter the fray. A downbeat ending embraces life’s habit of surprising readers.

A spiritual thriller that skillfully celebrates determination and self-discipline.