<Book review>

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer (2004)

It's a funny thing. Eoin Colfer writes the kind of book that's so easy to read your eyes just slide along the lines. The story skids along so fast you never quite know when to pause for breath - so you don't. You don't put the book down until you've finished it.

And when you've finished it you're pretty sure you've read a funny book, except the story is in fact so sad it stays with you for ages. That's The Supernaturalist. It's set in the future but don't get excited because we humans are way past our zenith. It's downhill all the way from now on.

Satellite City:

An entire city custom-constructed for the third millennium. Everything the body wanted, and nothing the soul needed. Three hundred square miles of grey steel and automobiles.

Read on. You are about to meet some needy souls. There's Cosmo Hill, inmate of the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, who at fourteen is having to stand down his cherished dream of being adopted. The other option though, of suddenly taking responsibility for his own future, is also abit of a challenge for Cosmo. An overturned bus isn't necessarily everyone's idea of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but this is definitely Cosmo's moment.

And he blows it. Well, maybe he never really stood a chance. But, as luck would have it, there just happens to be a bunch of misfits standing around who can rescue him. Just about:

'Ditto had to do quite a bit of work on you. You never would have made it to a hospital, so we had to use whatever was lying around. Your painkiller drip was a bit past the sell-by date, but hey, it didn't kill you.'
Mona consulted a wall monitor over Cosmo's bed.
'Ditto glued the Achilles tendon in your left heel and replaced your right kneecap with grown-bone.'
Cosmo nodded, aghast.
'We also had to go into your chest and plasti-coat a few of your ribs. I took the staples out this morning. And, of course, I had to shave your head.'
'What?'
Mona shrugged. 'It was either that or let your brain fall out on the floor...'

It's a pity they don't have the technology to mend broken hearts. There's Stefan, the leader of the little group, who's lost his mother and blames himself. And there's Ditto, mutant victim of gene-splicing experiments, who had hoped for a normal life outside the Institute. And there's Mona:

...in truth he was more than happy to accompany Mona anywhere she wanted to go. After all he was fourteen years old, and Mona was the first girl he had ever spoken to unsupervised.

So, that's the scene set. All you need to do now is read the the book and see what they get up to. I think you'll enjoy this one, and I think it will catch you by surprise too.

What can I read next?

If you enjoy Eoin Colfer's relaxed style of storytelling, there's plenty to go at. Have a look at the Artemis Fowl series:

I think you might also enjoy the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud:

Or, have a look at these brilliantly satisfying stories by Philip Reeve:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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