Review: The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs

It’s April 19 and the morning of  April’s 18th birthday. April’s hyperthymesia, a rare memory condition which means she can recall most of her personal experiences from her life, has her ruminating on all the tragedies of previous Aprils: from Lincoln’s assassination to shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech University.

This story occurs over a few hours on April 19, and is told by 7 voices. Lincoln went to school with April before he left Delware for Nebraska. For some reason he is drawn to think of her while he spends time with Laura, the Honors student he is infatuated with.Sandra Heslip has let the few stragglers that turned up to her English class on Senior Skip day go. She can’t stop think about what Adrian George said to her yesterday. Mastermind has a plan and a number of people who are ready to go out into the world and do his bidding.

April is the Cruelest Month, April is the Weirdest Girl.

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet, because I just loved this book and can’t think of much more to say other than “it was awesome, read it!”

This book is an intense meditation on what it is to be a teenager. My teenage years were a while back now, but I can still remember that particular flavour of powerlessness and shame that you carried around with you on a daily basis – well, maybe you didn’t, but I sure did.

Of course teens these days have different tools at their fingertips – skype, chatrooms, facebook and so forth. These don’t necessarily make life better, and can instead make things more intense by letting people be continuously connected, when disconnecting might be more beneficial for them.

Combs juggles a lot of balls in the crafting of this novel, but I think she has done a fantastic job. My only criticism is that the title phrase is used a couple of times too many in the book. The story is well-paced, and beautifully put together. Make sure you’ve got some tissues lying around for the end.

5 out of 5 #effingwins 



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