Author: Scott Kelly
Event dates: November 19-30, 2012
One rule: If another player taps you on the shoulder, you have to completely change your life within the next fifteen minutes. In front of everyone. Your car, your virginity, your grades, your identity – nothing is safe. When five high school students from the wrong part of town devote their lives to playing the game David invented, they walk a line between insanity and enlightenment.
Now twenty-eight, he performs intellectual property duty for a lab where experimental drugs and chemicals are concocted. But while the chemists are busy filling beakers, Scott is trying to save compelling, thought-provoking literature for a new wave of readers.
When I read the blurb for [sic], I was immediately impressed. I needed to know more about the life-changing game described. I needed to know what it entailed and how the lives of its players would change. Initially, I thought it was only a metaphor, but it turned out to be a literal game - Eureka. Whoever is tagged becomes It, and they must change their life within fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes! The risks that these teenagers take are appalling, leaving me to think of how desperate they are for something to cherish in life. They all come from dysfunctional homes, and Eureka embodies a beacon for them.
I never knew that 170 pages could capture me the way [sic] did. The philosophy in it is powerful, and will hopefully give young adults a book that is more than mushy romance and superficial lifestyles. The plot has a great impact, as readers observe the lives of teenager pariahs. Initially they have no meaning in their lives. Of course, that is before Eureka - before David (Eureka's creator) seizes their hearts and creates a cult. He becomes their Jesus.
I cannot deny the originality of the plot. It is nothing like I have read before. There is no book, no movie that can compare to [sic]. This made the plot so refreshing. I was walking on unfamiliar territory, and there was no predictability. With such a radical game introduced early in the novel, the plot gains momentum. I even found that my reading pace increased because I anticipated what the tagged character ("It") would do. Better yet, with each Eureka play the novel intensifies as each move is more bizarre than the last - sometimes even life-threatening. Being a source of empowerment for the tagged, Eureka eventually becomes the sole motivation of each main character. Though it does take up most of the plot, this game (which makes Truth and Dare look like Monopoly Junior), is not the only element that escalates [sic]. For example, there are many conflicts and woes that each character has to face. Whether it is academic failure or abuse, these circumstances help to make this novel realistic. Kelly constructed an amazing plot considering the novel's length. It was filled with many WTFs and OMGs - which succinctly describes how this book had me on the edge.
Kelly provides a gritty dramatis personae that comprises of five major characters. David is the quite the philosopher. He questions humanity, life and motivation often. He uses his Eureka players as subjects for his abstruse theories. Jacob, the narrator, idolizes David. He even begins to sound like David later in the novel. There is also Stephen. He is the smug nerd who feels like he needs to prove himself. Emily is that deranged-looking chic most try to avoid in isolated parking lots. Beneath her dark make-up, she is a wolverine, ready to do anything in honor of Eureka and David. Then there is Cameron - the beautiful girl who no one would expect to have a scarred past. These characters have a lot in common. They cannot attach significance to their lives, and their rejection in society, especially the microcosm of high school, is no aid at all. This is why they feel the urge to embrace Eureka. It is a panacea that helps them to forget their woes and to add meaning to their lives. Eureka is the extension of David, and this is another reason why they obsess over David too. With such a passion for Eureka, these characters neglect the salient aspects of living a conventionally fulfilling life, such as education. They have found their solace in David - a leader who they are destined to impress, a leader who accepts them despite their conditions that their very society frowns upon.
This intriguing plot and these perplexing characters deserve to be encased in extraordinary style. I must say that Kelly's writing is beautiful. I think this alone needs to make that YA label disappear from this novel's description. I know that young adults are capable of appreciating fine writing (such as myself), but I still think that this novel fits a more seasoned audience as well. Snippets of eloquence can be found on every page. What captivated me the most about Kelly's style was his generous use of metaphors. I wish I could add some examples but I have no permission to do so, so take my word. Compelling figurative language is a literary element that is being dismissed by many authors, and this is another reason why I found [sic] so refreshing. I also was thankful for Kelly's smooth transitions across the time frames. The novel heavily relies on Jacob's flashbacks and then jumps into the presence with ease.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
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