The Jinx by D. F. Lamont (2011). Self-published. Review copy provided by the author.
Thirteen-year-old Stephen Grayson isn't sure what's going on, but he knows he's at fault somehow. First he wrecks his brother's bike--spectacularly--on the first day of school, then there's the garage fire and a major explosion in science class, followed by a myriad of minor mishaps, and capped by a car crash. And it's during the car accident that he connects the weird tingling in his hands and the subsequent disaster. Once he's sure, he knows what he has to do--leave home. Trouble follows him on the road, though, and soon he finds himself flung from a bus chasing down gigantic stone-like creatures and misshapen beasts, then kidnapped by some kind of neatnik cult. The cult's leader explains that somehow Stephen has become the epicenter of a universal battle between the forces of chaos and order, and he must use his special powers to help the forces of order defeat chaos once and for all. But Stephen's not so sure and when a rebel biker named Daedalus shows up to rescue him, he gladly goes along. Can Stephen and Daedalus come up with an alternate plan--and can it succeed?
The Jinx is quite short at 123 pages, but it packs a nice punch with lots of action and a fast-moving plot. Stephen is a believable character vaulted into an unbelievable situation. The creepy cult is actually quite hilarious (they're all albinos with helmet hair that doesn't move, no matter what, and they hate dirt!); Daedalus adds a lovely steampunk element with his goggles, leather gear, and penchant for mechanical devices. The explanation for Stephen's power as well as the whole chaos vs. order battle is a bit cryptic, but more or less plausible. Overall, a fast, fun read, recommended for ages 9 & up.
I read a lot, especially kid and young adult lit. This blog will review what I've been reading. I get most of my reading material from the library, plus I buy books at school book fairs and the usual stores. I look for freebies on Amazon for my Kindle, and I'm happy to review any ARCs or e-galleys I can get my hands on.