I mentioned a few weeks ago how excited I was to be holding in my hands an advance copy of a dear childhood friend, Nathan Kotecki’s first novel, “The Suburban Strange” which is to be published in October of this year.
When I say the author is a dear childhood friend, I’ve known him upwards of 30 years. His family lived down the street from my family, our parents were in a ‘gourmet’ dinner club sponsored by the local Welcome Wagon for years. We went to the same schools, the same church, walked to and from the bus stop together from grade school through high school. I think our dads may have carpooled to work from time to time. We spent many an hour hanging out after school, having numerous adventures over the years. So as I read his book, a young adult novel set in high school, it made sense that I recognize places and situations and found myself guessing at who and what were the inspiration for the book. However, while there was something familiar about the book, it wasn’t. Nathan created something entirely fresh and new with his first book.
Writing reviews has always left me feeling slightly ill at ease. I don’t feel like descriptive writing is always my strong point. My wine columns are a great example. I was actually given the chance to write them because I don’t use what’s commonly known as ‘wine speak’ and was told that made my writing far more accessible to new wine drinkers. I’ve written here before that I tend to butcher the English language, especially in speaking form. If it wasn’t for spell check, my writing would tend to be pretty horrid as well. I feel a little out of my league writing a book review to be honest. I’m the sort of person to call the book ‘good’ or ‘not good’ and leave it at that. Being a girl of very little patience however, I wanted to get my hands on Nathan Kotecki’s first novel, “The Suburban Strange“, ASAP and if that meant writing a review, well, I’d give it a try.
The main character, Celia, is new at her school, Suburban High, but finds herself befriended by a group that calls itself “The Rosary”. Strange things start happening to girls at the school on the day before their sweet sixteenth birthday. There is a theme of supernatural, which I know seems to be the rage what with Twilight and Harry Potter, but he goes in a little bit of a different direction, which is refreshing. He calls it “Kind” or “Unkind”, a sort of witchcraft. There is mystery, romance, friendship, music, art, fashion and coming of age as well. It’s one of those young adult novels that I think is going to appeal to a much wider audience. The characters are developed in a way that you feel like you slowly get to know all of them over the course of the story. They feel real. The plot unfolds in a way that didn’t leave me skimming to get through it quickly nor did you always see twists and turns coming. When I finished it, I immediately wanted to read the next installment in what he promises to be a series. It’s a good read and it’s a shame everyone else will have to wait until October to get their hands on it. Fear not, I will be reminding you of it’s publishing date, for I honestly couldn’t be more proud of him.
“The Suburban Strange” by Nathan Kotecki. It’s a good book. Well done my friend,well done.