by Melanie Gideon
• Reading level: Ages 12 and up
• Hardcover: 273 pages
• Publisher: Razorbill (May 18, 2006)
• ISBN: 1595140557
• Genre: Fantasy, coming of age
Thomas Quicksilver, a 17-year old with disfiguring burn scars on his face from a childhood accident, lives with his mother who earns money by telling people their futures. Thomas and his mother escaped from Isaura, a parallel world where seeing the future is an everyday occurance, after a terrifying attack that killed his father and wounded his mother, and caused the fire that burned Thomas’ face. Now, his mother is slowly dying as a result of the attack and only one thing can save her. However, this thing remains back on the world from which they ran. Now Thomas must return and seek out a way to save his mother’s life.
Thomas’ life since the accident that burned his face has been difficult; few people seem to be able to see past the burn marks that disfigure him. An outcast at school and in the world at large, he has grown accustomed to not being seen. All that changes when he returns to Isaura. His face is magically healed and he must become accustomed to attention and the effects of attention on him. As he struggles to remain faithful to the reason he came back to Isaura, he learns things that finally help him understand himself and his past.
Told in first person in the voice of Thomas, this book is extremely engaging. The reader connects immediately to the pain of this disfigured teenager and struggles with him in his search for meaning. When Thomas discovers the attention of girls, it almost overwhelms him. This book would appeal to both girls and boys by exploring coming of age issues such as emerging sexuality, self-knowledge, and getting to know your parents as people. Although told in a boy’s voice, girls will identify with any of the many female characters. Some profanity, mild sexuality described but nothing explicit.