Monday, October 13, 2014

WEATHERBOY by Theo Fenraven; A Release Day Review

WEATHERBOY by Theo Fenraven

Pages: 154
Date: 13/10/2014
Grade: 4.5
Details: Young Adult

The blurb:

After fifteen-year-old Tuck finds a Maya artifact while on vacation in Guatemala, his whole life changes. To his surprise, he discovers he can make it rain and snow. A local weatherman happens to be around when Tuck creates a waterspout near his home in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and the next thing he knows, someone from the Department of Homeland Security is picking him up at school and taking him to their offices in Orlando. From there, things only get weirder and more dangerous when he’s escorted to Washington, D.C.

With help from friends and family, Tuck tries to outwit government agents while staying one step ahead of the mysterious Rafe Castillo, the man assigned to ride herd on him. Tuck has an amazing opportunity to reverse the effects of climate change… but only if he stays alive long enough to do it.

My thoughts:

People following my reviews may have noticed I’m a fan of Theo Fenraven. He hasn’t written a book yet that didn’t take my breath away. And, as a quick glance at those reviews will show, he is a versatile writer; unlikely to approach the same subject or exact same genre twice in a row. Up until now this author’s books were firmly aimed at an adult audience. As of today teenagers have the opportunity to enjoy his gift for storytelling and masterful way with words too. Having said that, this book is by no means a teenage exclusive; adults will enjoy ‘Weatherboy’ as much as their younger peers.

To say ‘Weatherboy’ throws you straight into the action would be an understatement. This is a fast paced story without a single boring paragraph. Tuck literally finds his whole world has turned upside down over the course of twenty four hours and it doesn’t take much longer for him to be torn away from everything he knows and loves and thrown into a world in which he’s nothing more than a pawn in the hands of those in power.

Theo Fenraven does not paint a kind picture of those who are in charge of running our world. Unfortunately it is an all too accurate one. We might like to think our governments want to do what is best for us, but when we really think about it we know that’s rarely if ever the case. Tuck and the reader are on a journey into adulthood and it is not always an easy ride. There are two sides to this coin. Tuck may have to face the realities of power-politics; he also discovers the beauty of friendship and loyalty, even where he isn’t sure he will find it.

Weatherboy’ tells a good and gripping story. We’re given fascinating characters, a recognisable world, some fantastical powers and high tension suspense. But there is more. This book also brings the subject of climate change and the way the world (doesn’t) deal with this issue to the forefront. Teenagers these days are often more aware of what exactly is going on around them than their elders are. ‘Weatherboy’ gives them an opportunity to better understand what all of us are up against when it comes to the future of our planet. The librarian and book-club organiser in me would love to read and discuss this story with a group of teenagers; I suspect it would be a lively and enlightening experience.

If I’m perfectly honest I have to admit I was mildly disappointed ‘Weatherboy’ wasn’t longer. I would have liked to spend more time with Tuck, his family and Rafe. Taking into account the way this book ends I think it is not unlikely my wish for more will come true in the future. While this book tells a full story and ends without leaving the reader guessing, there is room for more and I really hope we’ll be allowed to find out what’s next for Tuck.

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