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Review: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Trick of the Light

Genre: Contemporary
Hardback: 208 Pages
Publication: June 18, 2013 by Balzer & Bray


Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.

Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

◆ A copy was provided by FSB Associates for review ◆

A Trick of the Light is a deep, compelling novel about a teen boy's struggle to adjust with the sudden changes around and within him and to regain control of his life.

It's easy to sympathize with Mike. Over the past months, he's watched his parents drift apart to the point that they often don't feel like dealing with him or even forget his existence. His dad stays out more often, and his mom seems to be falling into a depression. Only the voice in his head seems to care about him, so it's no surprise that he turns to it. Even though his best friend Tamio, a nice person and fellow stop-motion movie buff, wants to be there for him, I can understand how Mike wants to get away from the outside world a little and turn inwards to himself, where he has some semblance of control.

For much of the story, I wasn't sure whether or not the voice in Mike's head really was trying to help him or not. It speaks with reason and talks as if it has Mike's best interests in mind. Whether or not it was actually giving Mike sound advice was the question. The more Mike's obsession with his body increases, however, the more he pushes away the people who genuinely care about him. It's sad to watch Mike as he turns his back on the things and people he loves so much. At the same time, I appreciate how the voice has been developed. Because it's speaks with such reason, it's hard not to trust it, and both the reader and Mike have to work out the true implications behind its words.

I like how the story is told from the voice's perspectives. Because it knows Mike so well, it gives us insight into Mike's life through both its perspective and that of Mike's. And because it's a biased narrator, it throws Mike's world into confusion, as we don't know who to trust, which reflects Mike's life as he is also being influenced by the voice. I also like how stop-motion movies play a role in this novel. Mike is obsessed with them, as is his friend Tamio, and they play a role in his healing process. It gives him a way to work out the monsters in his life, as he figures out just what the voice in his head has been doing to him.

Mike's story gives insight into a rarely breached side of eating disorders -- that of males -- in a way that brings the characters and emotions to life. I recommend this to readers looking for a realistic dark YA contemporary read.

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6 comments on "Review: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger"
  1. Oh, Kris, at first I didn't know what the book is about
    But now, that I do, it sounds really good
    GREAT review
    Your reader,

  2. This book actually sounds quite intense. Certainly different to anything I've read lately & that's a good thing. A very helpful review thank you.

  3. Sounds intense, which is what I like. I don't like fluffy books. They irritate me because life is not fluffy.

  4. WOW! that's a book. Reading about someones inner voices are just plain weird! Creepy but weird! Thank you for the review!

  5. Well this sounds like an interesting read. I enjoy dark and complicated stories so I'll be looking into this one. Thanks for the review!

  6. This cover has intrigued me for awhile and I appreciate your thoughts. Sounds like a complex, emotional read.


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