The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs
Published September 12, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Genres Young Adult, Fiction
Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. one fateful day that changed everything. Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day and April Donovan’s 18th birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attention in Honors English, distracted by the enigmatic presence of Laura Echols, capturer of his heart, but she can’t keep her mind off what Adrian George told her earlier. Over in Idaho, Phoebe is having second thoughts about the Plan mere hours before the start of a cross-country plot led by an internet savant known as the Mastermind. Is all her heartache worth the cost of the Assassin’s machinations? The Light Fantastic is a tense, shocking and beautifully wrought exploration of the pain and pathos of a generation of teenagers on the brink – and the hope of moving from shame and isolation into the light of redemption.
This book is told from many different perspectives and we are first introduced to April, who has a photographic memory and seems to be fascinated by reading and recounting all of the tragedies that have occurred during the month of April, which also happens to be her birth month. There are several other main characters including Lincoln, Gavin, Sandra, Phoebe, Heslip, Pallav and the Mastermind. Although the story is told from many different perspectives, I found it easy to follow when the chapters switched from one character to another. The writing is a bit different and seemed to me to just be each characters thoughts running through their head, but it worked well for this story. It did get a bit confusing trying to keep track of some of the characters and their different locations.
This book explores school shootings, which is a very hard topic to write about. I have read other YA books on this topic and there are really only a few that do it well. It’s a difficult topic to not only talk about, but to explore, especially in regards to what the individuals involved in these tragedies are thinking. The story in this book, as briefly mentioned in the synopsis, is a group of students and a few teachers are part of an online group lead by the Mastermind, who meet online and come up with a plan to enter their individual schools and start shooting. This entire story also occurs in the time span of just under 3 hours on the same day, except for the last two chapters. This book doesn’t actually contain a great deal of violence, the author instead explores what is going through the minds of all the various people involved. Overall, I thought the book was well written and the character development was excellent. The writing style is unique and I also enjoyed that as well. The writing style is a bit different and a bit hard to follow at times, so I am not sure everyone will enjoy it, but I certainly recommend you give it a try. The author did a great job writing about a very difficult and tragic topic, which is not easily done. And the cover of this book is also pretty fantastic. Thank you to Candlewick Press was sending my an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.Happy reading!