0.4 – mike lancaster


I picked this up after seeing someone else’s review on Goodreads.  I like reading books that are aimed at YA and teens as I can check them out before handing on to my 12 year old daughter – if I think they’re a) good enough and b) suitable.

This definitely ticked both boxes – in fact The Man has read this too and really enjoyed it.

“My name is Kyle Straker and I don’t exist any more.” it starts.  The book is written as transcripts of audio tapes that have been found.  The tapes are of teenager Kyle Straker telling the story of his last summer of ‘normal’ life and are interspersed with notes from the transcriber.  The notes make it obvious that the world has moved on a lot since Kyle’s days and that our present time as we know it now is pretty much unknown for some reason.

Kyle lives in Millgrove, a small village of roughly 1,000 people just outside Cambridge.  During the village’s much-attended annual talent show, he and three others agree to be hypnotised as part of his best friend’s act.  However, the real story starts once the act is over.

I totally loved this book.  It’s only 273 pages long, and as it is written with a teenager’s voice and aimed at teenagers, it is extremely easy to whizz through.  But don’t think that means it is scant on depth or content, because it isn’t at all.

There are so many fantastic ideas and concepts and observations in this, that it will appeal to anyone.  In fact, I picked up the next in the series and started reading it straight away as I felt quite excited by it all.

It is also very funny.  The little ‘transcribers notes’ were the most amusing – a description of a Happy Shopper to those that have never experienced one brought a smile to my face.  I also liked the note that went alongside an entry that mentioned Coldplay. “O’Brien makes a persuasive case for a ‘Coldplay’ referring to a kind of dramatic or musical presentation characterised by being utterly bereft of any signs of genuine emotion.”  *snigger*

I think it will be a brilliant first foray into sci-fi for my daughter, and having just finished the next book, I am trying hard to resist buying the third, and am reading something very different instead!

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