Friday, December 31, 2010

Charles Benoit. YOU

You begins with a cryptic scene where one of the characters appears to be dying. Then the novel backs up to tell the story of "the last year of your life." Of course, I'm intrigued.

Kyle Chase is a high school sophomore hoodie. In middle school, he was on the fast track to go to the "smart" high school with all of the opportunities therein. He had friends who studied and made smart choices preparing for their futures. But Kyle made a few bad choices and derailed himself from the "smart" course. He ended up at the "other"high school. The one with less opportunities and a new group of friends who lead him into drinking, crime and general delinquency. He could have stood up for himself in several instances, but he just goes along with everyone. He sees his life as pretty much "same crap, different day." He's nursed a crush on Ashley for months and can't get up the nerve to ask her out. He's good in math, but puts in no effort. He's just going along, trying not to get caught or noticed.

Then Zack McDade transfers to the school. He definitely livens things up. He's unusual, to say the least. He dresses kind of geeky, yet is suave and clever in so many ways. He reminds me of Ducky from Pretty in Pink for two reasons: The way he talks ("My good man, Chase.") and the way he confidently dresses how he wants, rather than according to what's in style. (Just an observation.) Zack befriends Kyle. They work together to take revenge on a jock that was harassing Kyle. When Kyle begins to hear negative things about Zack, he ignores the warnings. Should he be more careful?

The second-person narrative threw me for a loop, at first. I almost didn't continue. I've never seen it done successfully before. But, I'm glad I carried on. This is a suspenseful, clever, thrilling book. I enjoyed the little bits of foreshadowing along the way. It keeps you guessing, for sure. The adult characters feel a little too depressing and sad. Perhaps that's because we're viewing the story through Kyle's distorted viewpoint. Anyway, the teen characters feel authentic. Kyle is a typical teen who made decision after decision and didn't realize how they would all pile up in the end. Zack was extremely smart, conniving and deranged- not a typical teen, but all the more delicious to read about!

The author is extremely talented to pull off such an unusual book! There are no chapters. There are snippets of verse thrown in. The foreshadowing is pretty blatant, but still makes you keep reading. And finally, as mentioned earlier, it's in second-person! Pretty freaking-cool!
Go here for his snazzy looking website.

You'll enjoy YOU!