When Basil, the male protagonist, starts explaining how he ended up with Ebony, he says, “Well, I was trying to protect this girl . . .” But the man he’s talking to interrupts with, “Ahhh, is this going to be a gooey love story? Because if it is, I might as well leave now.” After hearing the story, the man accuses Basil of being predicable. Basil retorts, “I’m sorry if saving someone’s life is considered cheesy or predictable.”
“Hey, it’s all right,” says the man. “Just for next time, when you are telling your friends about it, make it more exaggerated.”
What’s fun about this story is the great dialogue and interior thinking of the characters. Ebony is conscientious about her looks even when she’s in danger or concerned about someone else: “I must frighten most people I stumble upon; they always turn away, or walk the totally other direction. I don’t blame them. My hair is ratty and matted. My clothing is ripped, and is covered in dried blood and dirt stains. One of the legs of my jeans has been cut off. I’m not sure why they haven’t put me in a hospital gown. Even to me, I sound quite terrifying . . . I smile, trying to let people know that I am not a serial killer.”
Beyond the non-stop action, there is a lot in this story that speaks to the question of identity, and assumptions about the roles we play in life. It seems to me this teenage author is asking all the right questions: who are we, what does society expect of us, and who or what am I willing to make a stand for? There are radical, archetypal shifts going on in the world these days, and I’m fascinated to see how the conversation is shaped by young authors in fictional stories like Ebony Thorne.
This is a story with twists and turns, and I can almost guarantee the end will surprise everyone.