Thursday, 14 April 2011
Review: Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon
Released: June 15th, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-
Charlie is the freak. Gloria is the freak magnet. They're pretty much destined to meet. And when they do, sparks fly... for Charlie. Gloria, well, she just thinks he's like every other freak who feels compelled to talk to her, although a little better-looking than most. While Charlie has his head in the clouds, Gloria's got hers in a book: her Freak Folio—a record of every weirdo who's talked to her in the last year (it's a big book). But never before has she felt the pull to get to know one of them better. Until now.
Freak Magnet isn't at all how I expected it to be. I thought it would be a lighthearted, fun contemporary romance and, while it was all of those things, it was also a lot deeper and serious than I thought it would be. Ultimately it's about hope and surviving what life throws at you, whether it's loss or illness or simply feeling like an outcast.
Auseon has a brilliant grasp of teenage vocabulary, and often made me laugh out loud with quick one-liners from Charlie, or sarcastic retorts from Gloria. The humour used was right up my street, as was Charlie's small obsession with Superman. The guy wore a Superman costume under his regular clothes... can you get much cooler than that?! I don't think you can. He has a cape and everything!
Speaking of Charlie, he's a lovely guy. He's innocently honest (perhaps TOO honest!), and so thoughtful and kind that it's hard not to fall completely in love with him. He cares for his unwell mother while holding down school and a job, and at night he stargazes with a telescope he bought by mowing hundreds of lawns. He's like my perfect guy imagined and put onto a page, complete with an extensive knowledge of the Man of Steel. I want one!
Gloria took me a little longer to warm to, but by the end of the book I loved her. She's still dealing with the loss of a family member, and meets Charlie purely by chance. She is a freak magnet, after all. When these two meet, it's like some kind of fate. They help each other more than they know, and provide much-needed comfort and support. The secondary characters - Charlie's friends and Gloria's sister - are also great to read about, and each has their own story that fits in seamlessly.
I love novels told from two perspectives through dual narration, and Freak Magnet is now firmly on my list of must-read contemporaries. I wish there could have been a little more romance, but hey, that's not the most important thing to Charlie and Gloria. I liked that, because it was realistic and allowed for a beautiful friendship to develop. If I ever meet a boy who wears a Superman costume under his shirt, you can bet I'll be flagging him down on a crowded street. Some things have just got to be done.