by Jon Gibbs
Quake Books, 2010
(no page count)
This book is only available as an ebook, either through Amazon or the publisher's website. Note: This review is cross-posted in yalitlovers.
The fun thing about this book is that in addition to 13-year-old Billy Euston, the teenage boy protagonist, two other main characters are a cat and a fox who can "talk." The setting is a quaint English country village where an amoral scientist has been doing experiments on animals. Think the Secret of NIMH meets Agatha Christie.
One thing I liked is that Billy's parents are neither dead nor neglectful. So often in YA, parents are one or the other, in order to give the protagonist a reason to be on his (or her) own. Billy's folks are busy but still good parents; he has to disobey them to sneak out and help his new friend Snowy, an all black cat who talks but only Billy can hear him. A third character is Razor, a fox who seems like a bad guy at first, until you find out why he's so angry.
And that's another thing I liked: humor! Snowy lives up to his ironic name with snarky dialog and a real attitude. Mr. Tinkles, a very civilized gorilla, has some great lines, too. In a way, this is a buddy movie, as Billy and Snowy work together to try to rescue Razor's missing family. There's a touch of romance, too, as Billy meets a girl his age who's only in town for the summer, and begins to wish she'd be around for longer than that. She's more than just a pretty face, and she becomes Billy's ally in his mission.
The ending is satisfying but not without some tears. No one and nothing lives forever. If you like science fiction, you might like this story.