The life of an average teenage boy is seamlessly twisted into a fourth-wall-breaking conundrum for Jack, his sister and friends, Edgington herself, and even the person reading the book. Jack’s fate is believably tied to every word the author writes and how far the reader reads. Readers will find themselves conscious of, and sometimes a little discomfited by, the effect that turning the page could have on Jack’s life. Later developments further disrupt conventions of narrative and incorporate religious concepts of the creation of life alongside more abstract and philosophical questions about destiny and free will.
This provocative thought exercise can be tangled and confusing, and readers expecting a conventional story will be disappointed. Despite the young protagonist, this challenging work won’t be suited to most teens. However, readers looking for a book that makes them think while telling a tale will enjoy Edgington’s exploration of predestination, artistic creation, and ownership of one’s life. Fans of Edgington’s first work of narrative disruption will find this one a worthy successor.
Takeaway: Edgington’s exploration of predestination, artistic creation, and self-determination will appeal to fans of works that demolish the fourth wall.
Great for fans of Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-