So, as part of my "professional development goals" for the last year, I've been trying to read a more diverse range of teen books.
See, I read a lot of graphic novels, a good amount of fantasy, a fair amount of the softer sci-fi, and I like a good horror novel if things don't get to gross. But, to be a good teen librarian, I need to read more widely, I think, so that when a teen needs a book recommendation, I can hook them up.
So, right now, I'm trying to read things that I wouldn't normally pick up. Grand and Humble by Brent Hartinger is one of those books.
Harlan and Manny may go to the same school, and know some of the same people, but their lives couldn't be more different. Harlan is Mr. High-School super-star: handsome, charming, flirtatious, a star on the swim team and student body president. Manny is a geek, a genius at theatre lighting, an aspiring filmmaker, quiet and unassuming.
What the two boys have in common is that, lately, things have been getting weird. Manny has killer headaches, and recurring nightmares of being crushed. Harlan has been having premonitions of his own death by drowning. Manny can goes to his dad, his only parent, about the dreams -- but why did his dad get shady when he tried to talk to him? What is his dad trying to hide from him?
There's no way that Harlan could talk to his control freak mother or his senator dad about his visions; but they keep coming, more and more intensely, and they're starting to cramp his style. Even his airhead girlfriend has started to notice that Harlan is acting weird. As both boys search for answers, they discover more about their lives and past than they expected.
The secret to the premonitions will surprise you. In fact, the twist ending of this book is one of the things I liked best about it, because I totally didn't see it coming. I also liked some of the secondary characters in this book; Harlan's best friend is a gay super-jock, and Manny's best friend is a really cool deaf girl, and both are not at all presented in an "after-school special" kind of way.
I knocked this one out in about an hour and a half, so it is a really fast read. If you're looking for a good quick read to take your mind of of the holidays and finals, Grand and Humble is a great choice.
(And, Brent Hartinger is my MySpace friend, so that's another reason to like him. )