This week, it’s my pleasure to introduce a book by a fellow English teacher, Matt Blackstone! I was excited to read A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE, first, because the premise is totally intriguing and different, and secondly because I love reading books written by teachers. Writers are observers by nature. Put a writer in a classroom, and that person will have characters and story ideas that ring uniquely true. This is definitely the case with Blackstone’s OCD main character, Rene.
Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene’s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool, but that’s not as easy as Gio makes it sound.
Rene is one of those characters who grabs at your heart (and sense of humor) from the very beginning and doesn’t let go. Navigating high school is hard enough as it is, but add to it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an absent father, and a very tired mother, and you’ve got a situation that would be more than a challenge for anyone. And Rene handles it the best way he knows how. By wearing his cape to school, washing his hands obsessively, eating the same bowl of Lucky Charms every day, and keeping to all of his other routines that make him feel safe. He’s not shy about it. He knows the ins and outs of his disorder and has a wry sense of humor about it.
And then things change, in a good way. Gio is everything Rene wishes he could be: cool, calm, well-liked, friends with Mr. Head, the English teacher Rene admires. Gio is also the thing Rene needs most: a friend. When Gio befriends Rene, he also gives him strength and confidence enough to face the scariest scenes Rene comes up against, and that is my most favorite part of this story. As unlikely as it seems, the friendship between Rene and Gio is real and touching.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know that character is the most important thing to me in a story. Blackstone’s characters are well-drawn, quirky, and sympathetic. Definitely a pleasure to read. If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to pick up A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE.
You can find it here:
You can also check out Matt’s website here: http://www.mattblackstonebooks.com/
And finally, go see what the other Bookanistas are up to this week!
Or on their blogs:
- LiLa Roecker glories in The Goddess Test
- Shannon Whitney Messenger delves into The Future of Us – with giveaway
- Carolina Valdez Miller shivers over The Eleventh Plague – with giveaway
- Scott Tracey and Shana Silver are wild about Wildefire
- Stasia Ward Kehoe embraces All the Things You Are
- Corrine Jackson sneaks into Sean Griswold’s Head
- Christine Fonseca is impressed by Imaginary Girls