Monday, October 23, 2006

Exit Point by Laura Langston

Provocative definitely describes Exit Point, Laura Langston’s new YA novel in the Orca Soundings series. Gripping is another way to describe it. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. The premise is that there are various points that we can exit or die at, and we in fact have a choice about those points of exit.

Sixteen year old Logan is the story’s narrator. Logan is not like most other sixteen year olds and it doesn’t take the reader long to discover why. Logan is dead. Or is he? Maybe he’s just having a bad dream. After all, he can’t remember much and who ever heard of a round room where you are fed colours except maybe in your dreams? Then there is Wade, the snake-tattooed, six foot-four man who insists that he is Logan’s Guide. But Logan is skeptical. After all, there was no tunnel of light, and he hasn’t seen any pearly gates either.

When Logan meets up with his dead grandmother, the cigarette-smoking, straight-talking, gambling-addicted Arlene, doubt begins to creep in. Maybe he isn't dreaming? Maybe he really is dead? The real clincher comes when Wade takes Logan to his own funeral. Logan is now mere ashes in an urn next to his high school picture while the "ghost" of his former self looks on from the back pew. Logan is finally forced to believe that he died in a fiery car crash that left his best friend in a wheelchair, his father wracked by guilt, his mother devastated, his girlfriend broken-hearted, and his little sister hollow-eyed. Wade whisks him away, explaining that he has exited at the wrong time.

But, Logan discovers that his death isn’t the only thing troubling his little sister. By exiting too soon, he will no longer be around to help and protect her and she is terrified. He has to go back. He has to help her now that he knows. But how? And will he be strong enough to stand up to pure evil?

All I can say is read this compact YA novel which has flashes of brilliant insight. It may not answer any questions, but it certainly will push you to pose some of your own—about life, about death, and most especially about what may or may not come after. Who could ask a novel to do more?

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