Harrison Harrison - H2 to his mom - is a lonely teenager who's been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the "sensitives" who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison, along with his mother , has just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.
On Harrison's first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones--fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources and an unusual host of allies to defeat the danger and find his mother.
©2015 Daryl Gregory (P)2015 Audible Inc.
This is definitely a young adult book - I'm not sure I'd even call it young adult - it's actually geared toward early tweens. The description sounded intriguing and if it had been handled better, it could have been a great mystery. Things were weird from the beginning, though. A slower discovery of the peculiarities of the town and less scooby doo style monsters would have made for a much better book. Look, I like YA scifi/fantasy novels, but this was just to juvenile for my taste. Far more juvenile than the description suggests, so beware.
I found Daryl Gregory from his other works-Pandemonium, The Devil's Alphabet, and Afterparty. I was reminded of Phillip K. Dick in his other books, so I was surprised when I found this one, which seems to be a tribute to HP Lovecraft, another of my favorite authors. There have been a billion new books based in Lovecraft's world, but few do it justice. This book has just enough real world feel for it to work. Also, Luke Daniels reads as a Brazilian scientist mother-that's worth it right there. This is good, light-hearted horror, and nothing that will keep you up at night. More of a "Scoobie Doo" than Night Gallery.
"We Are All Completely Young"
Whilst I vastly prefer the darker and more adult tone of Gregory's 'We Are All Completely Fine' - which deals with similar subject matter and shares a character or two - this is a fun listen and definitely worth checking out.
It's a shame that the current state of the publishing industry forces a massively talented writer like Gregory to try for a Young Adult hit series rather than letting him push the boundaries with more challenging work (like the aforementioned, and thoroughly brilliant, 'We Are All Completely Fine').
Having said that, the lighter YA format does allow him to display his considerable comedic talents and the ending packs one particular punch that is fully Lovecraftian and anything but lightweight.
Luke Daniels narration is superb. He brings each character to life with great individuality: his rendition of a loveable Deep One(!) named Lub, for example, frequently had me chortling in happy amazement. Great stuff.
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