cover image Mr. Fahrenheit

Mr. Fahrenheit

T. Michael Martin. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-220183-6

When several small-town teens have a close encounter of the weird kind, it changes their lives forever in this offbeat SF thriller. Amateur magician Benji Lightman dreams of leaving home after he graduates from high school, even as he yearns for the one defining moment that will make his life perfect. When he and his friends accidentally shoot down a UFO, that moment seems at hand. But with government agents seeking the truth about what happened, Benji and his friends at odds over how to handle the situation, and the alien craft becoming ever creepier, Benji’s grasp for glory may destroy them all. Martin’s (The End Games) story is more interested in character growth than its science fiction elements; the saucer and its extraterrestrial cargo are only vaguely described for much of the narrative, and it’s Benji’s actions and their repercussions that truly fuel the plot. Affectionate callbacks to the music and science fiction culture of the 1950s, beginning with the saucer shape of the alien craft and the doo-wop music preferred by Benji’s sheriff grandfather, enhance this book’s quirkier aspects. Ages 14–up. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Apr.)