cover image Freak Magnet

Freak Magnet

Andrew Auseon, HarperTeen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-113926-0

At first glance, this novel seems like a straightforward if unconventional love story: boy sees girl, boy chases after girl screaming that she’s beautiful, girl tells boy to get lost. But through the alternating points of view of Charlie and Gloria, Auseon (Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot) layers this romance with much more—Charlie’s pain over his mother’s terminal illness as well as Gloria’s grief over her brother’s death in Afghanistan and her frustration with a mother who is attentive to everything but her daughters. As Charlie and Gloria fall in love, readers are treated to the musings of a complicated boy whose extroversion and peculiarities (he wears a Superman costume under his clothing) mask inner pain, and Gloria, who, underneath her hard exterior, longs for someone to see her for who she is and love her still. Evocative of the work of Barry Lyga, Auseon’s story offers characters that feel lifted from the bright, angsty, offbeat world of comics. Readers will easily fall for this story of freak love; it’s poignant, laugh-out-loud funny and awkward in the best of ways. Ages 14–up. (June)