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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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Review of “Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25”

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

By Richard Paul Evans

“Is this like a series?  When’s the next one coming out?  Can we get it tomorrow?”

High praise for any book, but coming from my twelve year-old son?  We’re talkin’ statospheric.  I mean, I had to arm-wrestle the kid for Richard Paul Evans’s new release, Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25.   Good thing I’m a fast reader.  I zoomed through all three hundred and twenty-six pages in two days.

I’m not kidding.  Vey is a barn burner.  Page-turner.  Whatever.

Fourteen year-old Michael Vey is smack in the middle of life’s “armpit”: freshman year at Meriden High School.  He seems like an incredibly “average” kid.  The only thing that may set him apart is furious eye-blinking when he’s nervous, attributable to Tourette’s syndrome.  Michael’s one – and only – friend is portly, resourceful brainiac Ostin (he was born in Texas.  His mom was a poor speller.  Figure it out.).

Michael would like nothing better than to be left alone and just try to survive high school, but a trio of local thugs won’t let him.  They’re among the first to encounter Michael’s secret first-hand when they try “pantsing” him after school as cheerleader and drop-dead gorgeous Taylor walks by.

Michael later finds out that he and Taylor aren’t as different as he thought.  They both share special electrical powers. Michael, Ostin and Taylor form the “Electroclan.” Everything’s going swimmingly until Ostin detects some coincides between Michael and Taylor that are way too similar for mere coincidence – like the fact that they were born in the same hospital, in the same state, a day apart, and that nearly all other babies born in the same hospital within that time frame died.  The trio sets out to find out why.  In the process, they stumble upon the “Who?” – and wish they hadn’t.  Enter the darkly sunglassed, mysterious Dr. Hatch.

A megalomaniac par excellence, the ‘ethically challenged’ Hatch (that’s an understatement) has been looking for Taylor and Michael for nearly fifteen years.  When Michael’s mom is kidnapped, as is Taylor,  it’s up to Michael and Ostin to launch a daring rescue against seemingly overwhelming odds.  They must rely on wit, tenacity and each other to succeed.  But who can they trust to help?  Who else is after them, and what do they want?  Will the boys arrive before it’s too late?  And what happened to Michael’s dad?

Evans has ranked high on my Favorite Authors short list for years, ever since The Christmas Box.  As a YA novel, Vey represents a significant departure from Evans’s usual themes and treatments. It’s a different “cup of tea.”  Very different.  And Evans pulls it off beautifully!  The story is a skillful combination of action, suspense, mystery, romance, science and humor into an imaginative fiction with characters that are real and genuine.  We want to meet them again.  The plot is engaging, brisk and clever.  A keeper!

And the next title in the Vey series, The Rise of Elgen?  Not to worry.  My son and have it on hold at the library.  In fact, we’re first in line.


Like ‘Ole Bing

I’ve been watching White Christmas every Christmas season for like, uh… fifty years?  So much so that I have most of the dialogue down word-for word.  Can’t help it.  Sure, the movie is a bit thin on plot and somewhat sappy in places, but it just isn’t Christmas without Bob Wallace, Phil Davis, and Betty and Judy Haynes in a snowless Vermont.  Besides, nobody sings the title tune like ‘ole Bing.  Remember this?

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What’s Yours?

Everyone has a story.  What’s yours?  Roads Diverged is still accepting submissions to our first-ever Holiday Story Showcase!

Here are the basic rules:

– Each submission must be your original work.  Please include at the top of your submission (email only): 1) Your name; 2) A word count; 3) “Holiday Story Showcase” in the subject line, followed by your title.

– Length: between 300 and 1,500 words

– Any genre. Stories may be inspirational, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, or humorous.  Just make sure they’re G-rated.  (I reserve the right to reject any submission, for any reason.)

– I’m looking for clean, uplifting, family-friendly stories that have been thoroughly proof-read.

– First-person narratives are preferred, but not mandatory.

– Stories can be on any winter holiday.

– You may submit more than one story.

– Posting is up to the sole discretion of the blog owner (yours truly), and there is no monetary remuneration for any submission.  This is simply an opportunity to share your gifts and stories with the rest of our loyal readers!

– No anonymous submissions.  Please include your name.

So, pour yourself a steaming mug of hot apple cider, plop in a cinnamon stick or two and let your creative juices go to work!  Be sure the spread the word about our Holiday Story Showcase.  The more stories, the merrier!

Please send submissions in the body of an email (NOT as an attachment) to:  Last day to submit is December 10.