cover image The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine

April Lurie. Delacorte Press, $15.99 (211pp) ISBN 978-0-385-73125-6

Sibling relationships form the core of Lurie's (Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn) busy novel, but with so much diffuse action and so many half-sketched characters, readers might have trouble finding a focal point. Dylan Fontaine, the 15-year-old narrator, lives in chaos: his mother has moved out to live with Dylan's art teacher; his older brother, Randy, gets stoned all the time and might drop out of school to tour with his band, The Dead Musicians Society; his father, an obstetrician, is never around, making their Brooklyn house the 24-hour gathering place for the band and, maybe, a spot to stash drugs. Dylan also struggles with girls-the one he wishes were his girlfriend has tapped her ex-boyfriend to help her shoot a documentary about Dylan, and the one in the band flirts with both Dylan and his brother. By the time Dylan steps out of the little brother/sidekick role to take center stage in his own life, the author wraps up remaining conflicts so tidily that she seems to cheat (Why would the boys have thought their mother had left for another man? Didn't they know the art teacher was just a friend?). Ages 14-up.