Monday, April 18, 2011

C'est Nickel!

If John Bazell and Joe Lansdale had a literary love child, he would probably look a lot like the self-reliant protagonist of Nickel Plated. The explosive setup is an attention-grabber from page one, and might appeal to a larger audience than teens. Aric Davis reinvents the YA boy novel with a gripping, no-holds-barred adventure that goes  beyond the conventions of the genre: a hard boiled noir for teens, dealing with all but easy subject matter. 

Sure, the book is far from perfect: writing a noir for YA is like walking on a tightrope: how can you still surprise the (young and older adult) readers and still have the main character be a kid? Nickel is perhaps a little too streetwise, but still more credible than any chaste vampire I read about.

Like my last year's favorite, Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker, Nickel Plated dares to dare, delving with unpleasant scenarios and violent conflict. But Aric Davis reminds us also that our present times can be as gritty and scary as any invented dystopia to come...

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