If you read this blog often you'll know that I mostly review middle grade or young-ish YA books. But every so often I come across a book for older teens that makes such an impact on me that I want to share it. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher was one. Wait until Twilight by Sang Pak is another.
Make no mistake, this is a gritty, extremely disturbing coming of age novel. There were moments while reading it that I thought I wouldn't be able to continue. But by time I reached the end, I was glad I hadn't given up.
Wait Until Twilight (2009, HarperCollins) is the story of Samuel, a sixteen year old boy who lives in rural Georgia. It begins a year after Samuel's mother has passed away and it's clear he still has issues. A school project exposes Samuel to a set of deformed triplet babies whose mother believes they were immaculately conceived. He becomes obsessed with them and their family situation. As he deals with the last few weeks of sophomore year, Samuel feels continually drawn back to the babies' home, sensing they are in danger from their older brother (an adult who is seriously warped).
The author's background in psychological studies is apparent, and he does a wonderful job in capturing the mental struggles Samuel faces trying to deal with not only his grief but a series of life-changing encounters.
The dialogue is so real sometimes that it seems jagged and disconnected, and I struggled with why Samuel doesn't go to some authority figure (his dad? his brother?) when things cross a dangerous line with the triplets' brother. It's beyond creepy. But in the end, Samuel does what he needs to do to right wrongs and the resolution brought tears to my eyes.
As I said, this is not a book for younger readers, but the language, disturbing themes, violence and adult situations are (unfortunately) probably not unfamiliar to those kids old enough to drive a car.
It's being compared to Catcher in the Rye, and Samuel does have that intelligent rebelliousness of Holden Caulfield. I doubt this will be the last we hear from Sang Pak. 3 1/2 bookmarks. A debut worth catching. Hits bookshelves August 4th.