Sam Towery, an orphan living with his grandmother in the small town of St. Dismas, feels trapped. Not the biggest fan of school and other people’s rules, Sam makes the best of things by hanging out with his friends, practicing with the swim team, and trying to get to know the intriguing new girl in town. One day, Sam gets in big trouble at school and decides to join his friend Carlos on a Halloween night adventure. When the adventure turns tragic, Sam suddenly finds himself tangled up with dangerous people in a way that just might cost him his life.
Inspired by Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Warren Walter’s The Exploits of Sam Towery is equally appealing to readers who have never read the classic and those who want to experience how Twain’s characters and themes have been reimagined in a contemporary setting.
Plot: Walter's novel is fast-paced and energetic. The author provides readers with a roller coaster ride of emotions and a variety of gripping adventures.
Prose: Walter's prose includes modern slang that will appeal to YA readers. And, the author skillfully depicts the angst and turbulence of teenage emotions. However, some typos and formatting errors detract from the prose.
Originality: Walter's novel, beginning with its hand-drawn and lettered map and closing with a tale chock full of twists that readers won't expect, is a rapidly-moving and exciting addition to the genre.
Character Development: Walter is concise and to-the-point in his characterizations, providing readers with quick but vivid snapshots. The author also goes to lengths to paint a picture of the community in which Sam resides.
Date Submitted: July 07, 2017