Author: E.C. Myers
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fringe Science
Release Date: March 2012 (expected)
Summary: 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.
☆: 4/5 – definitely not what it seems, but a fun ride nonetheless!
Review: This book is most definitely not what it seems. And this is a great thing – I loved this book’s ending, and even though it’s not a standalone, it definitely reads like one. And what’s more refreshing is that it’s a male YA author – those seem to be in such short supply, especially when doing fantasy/sci-fi. “Fair Coin” might have a slow start, but quite the explosive ending that will definitely have me reading the sequel when it comes out.
Yes, the start is slow, and I was starting to wonder if Ephraim was just going to keep wishing his way into and out of trouble for the first quarter of the book.
And then it got interesting. REALLY interesting. Quantum physics interesting, to be precise. And I LOVE it when YA authors are able to break the “Many Worlds”/”M-Theory”/”Multiverse” theories down into very understandable, palatable content. Myers does this very well by using Jena to explain said theories (including my favorite thought experiment, Schrodinger’s Cat!) to the audience to help them understand what’s really going on. It may look like a magic coin, at first, but it certainly ain’t magic. And quite frankly, I wasn’t expecting that turn of events at all – I didn’t even see it coming. And it was such a pleasant surprise I had to put the book down and do a dorky little jig because I was so happy to see some of my favorite science-y things make into the realm of YA fiction and survive intact.
The technical details of this book are well laid out, though it doesn’t seem like it at first. It does take a little further in until you start to see how the main arc and sub-arcs are to be executed, and how Ephraim will change by the end of the book by taking this journey with this coin. The characters are well-crafted, sturdy, and survive everything that’s thrown at them (though I do wish we’d had a bit more time with Zoe – I hope she returns in book 2!), and the world is awesome (I want to go back to all of them!).
What’s also great here is that Myers was completely unafraid to run with the use of the “Many Worlds” theory with abandon and torture his characters. He puts them through hell, and it’s wonderful to watch because the results are awesome. There are a lot of YA authors in particular, it seems, afraid to “kill their darlings” as the saying goes, but Myers isn’t one of them. He isn’t afraid to show us the “roads not taken” by all of the characters in this book with extremely interesting results.
Final verdict? If you love sci-fi/fantasy and you want to learn more about quantum physics mixed in with that sci-fi/fantasy, you DEFINITELY need to read “Fair Coin”. It’s out in North America on March 8, 2012 (other places, check) from Pyr/Prometheus Press. This is one YA debut you don’t want to miss!