Freaks and Revelations by David Wills Hurwin (September 1st 2009—Little Brown)
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Summary: “This raw, moving novel follows two teenagers-one, a Mohawk-wearing 17-year-old violent misfit; the other, a gay 13-year-old cast out by his family, hustling on the streets and trying to survive. Acclaimed author Davida Wills Hurwin creates a riveting narrative told in alternating perspectives of their lives before and after the violent hate crime that changed both their futures. This tragic but ultimately inspirational journey of two polarized teens, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later is an unforgettable story of survival and forgiveness.
This story is inspired by the real lives of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal, who have shared their story on The Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR.”
Review: Freaks and Revelations was the final book I read for 2009 and what a great way to end it. I will admit it when I say that when I first heard of this book my immediate reaction was that this was not my cup of tea. I mean, I’m more comfortable with the whole fantasy vampire/faery realm biz than a novel inspired by an actual occurrence. I picked it up because why not?—it’s short, perfect for squeezing another book under my 2009 belt. But I was wrong, again of course, and was spell bounded by this novel, captivated by the characters, and cocooned into the two separate colliding stories. Hurwin was able to create two distinct voices in one novel with a countdown at every new chapter for that one moment. Freaks and Revelations was an impressive novel that had me surprised.
Jason, the gay 13-year-old, and Doug, the Punk Rock, both have had a hard past and a difficult family. One had a family that was greatly religious where being gay is a sin that will lead you to hell and the other lives with an abusive father. I fell in love with Jason’s story. To me his was more about hope whereas Doug’s was about redemption. Originally I was empathic to Doug but after so many chapters of drugs and mosh pits I soon grew bored. It was wholly repetitive with so many nameless faces. Jason’s tale was a bit more disturbing especially when considering the age, but satisfying. That was what made it so much more powerful. The opinions flip flopbetween the two. At one point I liked Doug’s tale more than Jason’s and finally Doug’s.
Aside from the redundancy of Doug’s story my other issue would have to be the epilogue. It was like stepping along and instead of the next step, the book leaps.
I would recommend you to pick this novel up, at the library or the bookstore. Now I'm off to see if my library has this book and if not then you will be sure I'm asking them to buy it.
FTC: review copy was provided by the publishers.
Also congrats goes to Mandy, Allison, and Audrey (for being lucky #12) for winning a copy of Freaks and Revelations!