The Light Fantastic
MY RATING: 3.5/5
September 13th 2016 by Candlewick Press
Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything.
The Light Fantastic is written from the perspective of seven characters:
- April Hope Donovan
- Lincoln Evans
- Sandra Heslip
- The Mastermind
- Idaho (Phoebe)
- Pallav Ghakar
The date is April 19, 2013 in Delaware, and it is April Hope Donovan’s 18th birthday, who was born on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh. She was born with some health problems, that’s why her mother gave her the middle name “Hope”. She has a Hyper Superior Autobiographical Memory (her name for it, the official term is hyperthymesia), which means she can remember everything she has ever experienced with perfect recall. Her character is a bit neurotic and anxious, but I love her. She is sassy and witty and absolutely full of fascinating random facts throughout the book.
Lincoln Evans used to live in Delaware and be best friends with April until his father died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center during a business trip. After his father’s death, he moved to Nebraska. He is in Sandra Heslip’s Honor’s English class with Laura Echols, whom he has a major crush on.
Gavin is one of April’s best friends, along with Gina. Gavin thinks in hashtags. I found this to add a fun element of humor and at times grave seriousness to his chapters.
Sandra Heslip is the Honor’s English teacher. On this day, she lets her class out early, as it was Senior Skip Day and of the students who attended school anyway, none of the them were particularly interested in paying attention. She is an extremely talented and caring teacher, and when one of her student’s makes a threatening statement to her she brings it to the principal, who brushes this concern aside to focus instead on the fact that she dismissed her students early. Understandably, this bothers her greatly, and she is extremely worried about Adrian, the student who made the threatening statement.
The Mastermind is in California. His exact identity is never given, but that is a detail that isn’t important. He is the one who started it all… It started as a joke and spiraled out of control until it became The Plan and at one point involved 50 students who were unhappy with life and tired of everything.
Online, Phoebe is known only as “Idaho”. In the forum that The Mastermind set up, each participant is given the nickname of a state. The forums are a safe, anonymous place where all of The Assassins can work on The Plan. Everything is going well with Phoebe until she meets a guy named Dylan Fisher online, and pretty much ruins everything in her life and destroys her self-esteem.
Lastly, there is Pallav Gahkar “Pal”, an Indian student who gets good grades, and seems to excel at everything he does.
So now that I have gathered together the list of players, let’s talk about the plot. The Mastermind is unhappy with life, upset with his father, and pretty much hates everything. Online, he half-jokingly says something about pulling off a school shooting, which sets The Assassins into motion with The Plan.
It wasn’t really serious at all, the not-yet Plan. It was just this ha-ha thing that everybody on the forum made jokes about. Wouldn’t it be funny if–? Could you imagine just walking in one day and being like–?
In all seriousness, it was all fun and games until it sort of wasn’t. Then it got a little weird — like admittedly, a little tense. The forum wasn’t the same after the Mastermind started joking around about the Plan.
At the beginning of the book, the reader isn’t really sure what the heck is going on, and it all seems confusing. Slowly, the story begins to come together and you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach realizing that this is really about a group of kids planning mass school shootings simultaneously across the country on April 19, 1995.
One Nation, Under the Assassins, Indivisible, with Revenge and Punishment for All.
The story unfolds in chapters alternating between the seven viewpoint characters. I found this to be a very good way to feed pieces of information to the reader in a very meaningful manner. I really enjoyed this book, but I did feel like the end was a bit abrupt, although finding out who the shooter is absolutely felt like a punch to the gut.
I recommend this to anyone who likes YA thrillers, though I think others would also like it.
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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
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⚔️ KNIVES’ RATING REPORT
This book was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.