cover image Faun


Trebor Healey. Lethe (, $18 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-59021-385-8

Both strikingly beautiful and coarsely humorous, this engaging novel by urban fantasist Healey (Sweet Son of Pan), anchored in the sensibilities of the West Coast Mexican-American community, gives the modern bildungsroman a magical twist. At age 14, Gilberto Rubio is plagued by the abrupt onset of puberty, which includes the freakish appearance of horn nubs, extreme hair growth on his legs, and the warping of his feet into hooves. When he realizes that long pants and a ski cap won't cover up the problem%E2%80%94since his pollen-scented presence also sends animals, peers, and strangers into a mating frenzy%E2%80%94he runs away in a panic, searching for answers. As Gilberto talks with an old hippie satyr whose advice he's not quite ready to accept, his Catholic mother desperately seeks to save her son's soul by enlisting the aid of the crazy neighborhood women who exorcise pets. Though perhaps too adult for most actual teens, the themes of self-discovery in a world that doesn't understand you will appeal strongly to grown fans of supernatural YA. (Oct.)