FICTION

Beholder

Scholastic/PUSH. Oct. 2023. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338745344.
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Gr 9 Up–When a strange boy in a butterfly bandana abruptly implores him to hide in a bathroom during a dinner party, Athanasios isn’t sure why he obeys, but the horrific tangle of bodies awaiting him hours later certainly makes him glad he did. Despite Athan’s inherited Sight, which allows him to rewind the events witnessed by any mirror in which he can see himself, he has no idea who is responsible for the carnage, though the police clearly think he is. To make matters worse, his beloved (but perhaps not-all-there) Yiayia has disappeared; Uhler, the family friend who has supported Athan and Yiayia since Athan’s parents died, definitely knows more than he should about everything that’s going wrong in Athan’s life; and Dom, the boy who saved Athan’s life, clearly knows more than he’s letting on about not only these deaths but also others. Readers will easily immerse themselves in La Sala’s writing style, at once outlining a grand and epic plot in immediate, tangible settings. The voice that seems to follow Athan without quite belonging to him offers companionship to readers’ darker natures, poignant commentary on intrusive thoughts and the space between reality and reflection. Athan is a complex and charismatic character, often as confused as readers about how the pieces of the puzzle connect. Where The Honeys was cloying, summer-heat-sticky, this title darts quickly from shadow to shadow, picking at a distorted reality.
VERDICT La Sala spins a devastatingly unsettling web with razor-sharp insight.

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