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Fur-Face, a review

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.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 24th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
I liked it for all the reasons you mentioned. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Billy's budding love life. Tinkles, what a hero. I liked when Snowy said, "Now I know why they call you Tinkles." Of course that led to a sad realization.
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
I loved Mr. Tinkles, especially his idea of invective. If these characters are based on people Jon knows, he must know at least one true gentleman. I suspect Snowy of owing a lot to Jon's old gran.
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, ol gran was definitely in Snowy.
Feb. 21st, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
Mr. Tinkles was my favorite. There was not enough of him.
Jun. 24th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, Karen. I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)
Jun. 25th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!
Jul. 1st, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
I'll have to get this for when my son's older.
Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Oh, I think it will be a few years yet, -)
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Great review. You did better than me. I'm not too good at writing them. I liked his parents being around too and that Jon avoided the absent parent syndrome.
Feb. 21st, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
Why thank you! The absent/bad parent thing is something I struggle with in writing YA. You do need the kid to be able to act on his/her own, but orphans have become something of a cliché. It was nice to see Jon solve the problem in MG just by having the kid disobey his rightly-concerned parents. -)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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