*Disclaimer: I received a copy of Spinner in exchange for a free, honest review. Opinions are my own. My contain some spoilers or spoiler-y hints.
By: Yours truly – Rae
“Okay,” Alex said, steeling himself for the pain to come. “Tell me.” – Michael J. Bowler, Spinner
As an orphan, outcaster, and now hellraiser – literally, Alex’s chances for survival and a normal life are slim. The novel opens with the hint at Alex’s ability as a spinner and an outlook on his situation as a fifteen-year-old wheelchair bound teen who hasn’t been cut any breaks in life. He has his friends, known as The Losers, at school who are all facing known stereotypes ranging from color of skin to a mental illness. They are mocked, bullied, and forgotten both in school and their home lives. At least they have each other – right? Then the antagonists enter the picture and the horror begins.
Right away I was apprehensive about Spinner. Grammatical issues aside, two first seen within the first few pages, I couldn’t connect with Alex or his friends on a deeper level beneath the stereotypes. Eventually, I did but it came a little too late for me. I felt for them, their situation, but some things didn’t mesh with me. For instance, do troubled students in high school really just have one teacher to teach all their subjects the entire school year? I can see their treatment slipping through the cracks on some level and the bullying felt authentic amongst the crushes, flirting, and name calling. At school I knew them for their outward personas and stereotypes played to a T, when they were together I got a sense of who they were underneath their facades and their love for each other, but then the crazy happened and I lost myself in the plot of good vs. evil.
Another issue was my lack of, well horror, as the story progressed. There are demons, vivid dreams (visions), two groups fighting each other for domination, and the glaring presence of good vs. evil. Killer cats, cloaked figures, murders, and more felt too… pushy to me. Even the warring groups, their members so to speak, had me gritting my teeth at their portrayal. The teens got swept away and drowned in chaos. I wanted a build up of suspense, plot, and instead I felt like I was dodging my way to the end wondering what was going to happen next, why it was going to happen, and how it was all going to work out. The end, I confess, did fill me with a sense of buildup and surprise – maybe even a little horror until everything evened out again. People are lost, relationships are tested, and mysteries were sold. I just felt… unsatisfied.
Unfortunately, I didn’t mesh with Spinner but that doesn’t mean you won’t! I recommend giving the book a try if you like a fast paced coming of age, horror story.
My rating: 3/5