Minor Prophets

Amulet. Sept. 2019. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419739040.
Gr 10 Up–In this darkly different novel on faith and family, siblings Lee and Murphy lose their mother to a tragic car accident. They run away from their Mississippi home to avoid adoption by their abusive stepfather. They hope to find refuge with an estranged grandmother, but what they discover in the ironically allegorical town of Benign, LA, is far from safe. Murphy becomes increasingly distant while Lee’s troubling visions become stronger, with the line between light and darkness blurring. As Lee gains a cult following as a prophet, spiritual ethics are threaded with mystery. Almost succeeding in engaging lovers of multiple genres, Cajoleas’s novel creates a realistically haunting environment and generates eerie philosophical questions and remarkably complex main characters, without achieving the potential intensity inherent in the story. Threat is ominously present from the first sentence, but the slow build culminates in a brief, somewhat unsatisfying climax.
VERDICT A supplemental purchase for libraries where novels like Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! are popular

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