Fair Coin (Coin #1), E.C. Myers
5 of 5 Stars
Age Group / Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Expected Publication: 3/27/2012, Pyr
# of Pages: 250 (Hardcover)
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a thoughtful and honest review. This has in no way affected my review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she’d identified Ephraim’s body at the hospital that day.
Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he’s liked since second grade. But the coin doesn’t always change things for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people’s lives as easily as it rebuilds his own.
The coin could give Ephraim everything he’s ever wanted—if he learns to control its power before his luck runs out.
My Review: If you follow my blog there are two things you should know by now:
· I love a story told from a male point of view
· I'm hopelessly addicted to all things Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Put these two things together in a Young Adult novel and you get Fair Coin, a story about a teenage boy who finds a magic coin capable of granting his every wish. And, come on, who wouldn't want that?
When Ephraim makes his first wish—that his mother wasn't in the hospital from her suicide attempt—he gets more than he bargained for, returning home to find his mother not only healthy but darn-near perfect. Like a dream come true. Of course not all his wishes go as expected and as it turns out, they each have unintended consequences.
Fair Coin is one of those stories that begs to be read. You think you can stop after a few pages or chapters, but thoughts of it will always be there, tugging at your mind even as you try to sleep. There's a constant air of mystery. I spent a lot of time when I wasn't reading wondering what would happen the next time Ephraim made a wish, where the coin came from, and why it had this inexplicable power to transform his life.
I loved Ephraim, Nathan, and their relationship with one another, at least in the beginning. They're geeky, but in an adorable geeky sort of way. And they're hilarious. For me, there's something genuine and honest about a male/male friendship that I always seem to find lacking in a female/female friendship. Teenage girls can be catty, but teenage boys are usually just fun.
Jena, Ephraim's long-standing crush, is awesome. She's snarky, responsible, and intelligent. She's not the kind of girl who gets all googly-eyed over a boy and forgets she has a brain. Even Ephraim's mother is a very real and relatable character. And when each of Ephraim's wishes alters their personalities or their circumstances, I still had this sense that they were very much the same people, that they still possessed some ingrained characteristic that the new environment could not change.
Fair Coin is a stellar debut. It's witty, adventurous, and thought provoking. It takes the age-old tale of wishes gone wrong and turns it into something new and extraordinary. Bravo to E.C. Myers for not only making complex theories exciting and accessible to a young adult audience, but for refusing to dumb down the science aspect of science fiction. The characters aren't know-it-all brainiacs—they're regular teenagers—but they're intelligent enough to grasp and explain what's going on. And they're funny and interesting enough to keep the reader tearing through the pages.
Highly recommended. This one made it straight to my favorites shelf. The sequel, currently entitled Quantum Coin, should be released sometime in 2013.