by Rick Polito
The Attraction: House of Illusion is identified, by the publisher, as “humor, mystery & thriller, teens & YA”
Which means that I, as an A who has long since stopped being Y, am not part of the target audience. Imagine then my surprise to find that I thoroughly enjoyed the book from first page to last. The trick, as much as there is one, is that although the book is about teenagers they are not portrayed as angst ridden complaining stereotypes. The young adults/teens/tweens are as fully realized as any of other characters in the book. The humor is situational rather than farcical and there are multiple, interlocking mysteries. Why we wonder, from page one, has Nate’s mother decided to uproot her children and send them off to the Californian ‘delta area?’ How will Nate and his younger sister Lily (a tweener) handle being dropped into world with no internet and little TV without even their cell phones to keep them in touch with the rest of the world? Who are the strange people who have taken to following Nate and his sister around?
Adults are neither mysteriously absent nor do they take over to become the ‘responsible’ parties. The realism of the book extends to the ways in which adults do interact with teenagers and the complex stratification of social life of an American teenager.
In short this is a bang up good story that happens to be about a teenager and written in an appropriate voice. The rare YA that both a teenager and their parent(s\) will enjoy.