A Tale of Two Cities
The Complete Short Stories
Fahrenheit 451
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Navigators of Dune
End of Watch
The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
King Henry VI, Part 3
King Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 1
King Henry IV, Part Two
King Henry IV, Part 1
Richard II
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
The Rosie Effect
On the Nature of Things
So Anyway


Friday, January 16, 2015

That Truthful Place

That Truthful Place
Patty Lesser
Paperback: 148 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform;
1 edition (October 17, 2014)
Language: English
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN-10: 1502884798
ISBN-13: 978-1502884794
From the Publisher
On the night of his thirteenth birthday, Alex Mitchell fell into a coma. Three days later he awoke, having suffered no ill effects, yet something was very different about him. Other people’s thoughts now wafted through his mind like radio waves. With no clue as to why he was granted such a unique gift, Alex’s mind speaks into the darkness, calling out for any others like him. Kat Setterlee, another just-turned-thirteen telepath, answers. As the “Coma Kids” increase in number, they begin to see that their differences are unique pieces being placed together to solve a much larger puzzle. As an arrogant doctor seeks to unmask their hidden abilities, the kids work to enhance their skills to protect themselves … and maybe even create a new society. Still, despite their talents, the Coma Kids wonder: We were chosen, but why? That Truthful Place seeks to tell a story of teamwork, friendship, growing up, new relationships, extraordinary abilities, and ultimately unity in the face of danger.

Smell The Book Review
8.5 out of 10

In this, the second short novel by Patty Lesser, the author of "Locker Rooms", we are see what happens, or what may happen, when a group of intelligent 13 year-olds are given special abilities from an unknown source. At the start the novel reminded me a bit of Salmon Rushdie's work: "Midnights Children" which starts with a similar premise about children being given the ability to hear peoples thoughts. But Patty takes her story into a little more realistic and relevant detail. Rushdie's work takes place in India at the time of India's independence while "That Truthful Place" is more contemporary and therefore, relatable for me.

The children are given the ability to hear peoples thoughts after waking up from 3 day comas on their 13th birthdays. Their powers begin to develop and grow and they discover each other and begin to work together to support each other as well as fend off the clumsy questioning of a doctor involved in some of their cases who believes something nefarious is "afoot".  Each child seems to possess a different innate skill or ability (in Math, or Design, agriculture etc.) and their de facto leader, Kat, leads them in an altruistic mission to use their powers to build a better society as they try to evade the suspicious doctor. The decision of the children to use their abilities for good, vs self-centered ends was a message I enjoyed seeing. Apart from dealing with some bullies of one of the children the majority of the efforts of the children are focused on advancement.  
It was an enjoyable read. The characters were generally believable and likeable though most spoke and acted far above their stated early teen-years, even for gifted children. The doctor's awkward "surprise" questioning of each of the children in turn is a little redundant, and though most stories with a supernatural twist require some suspending of disbelief, the part of the book I had a hard time reading around was that the parents would all let the children travel to Florida (where they meet in person) without anyone (parent or authority) checking up on them, or touching base with the other parents to make sure there was supervision etc. Some of the dialogue between characters is a little clunky as well (i.e. people speaking in "book" speak and not the way normal people sound when they talk to each other).  I must admit that I also like some closure in my stories and, unless this is the beginning of a series of stories, we don't learn the anything about the mysterious benefactor of these abilities other than at the end when we are presented with their name.

But I still found the premise fresh, interesting and the story was worth a read. I was genuinely concerned about the characters and anxious to read into the night to try and learn what happens to the children, what powers they develop and will they learn how they got their abilities.

Perhaps a sequel is in the future?

8.5 out of 10.