Saturday, January 06, 2007

Book Review: Pucker


by Melanie Gideon

Thomas Quicksilver came to Earth from an alternate world called Isaura. In Isaura, there are people called Seers who can predict the future. The Seers help with planning every aspect of life in Isaura, from the daily menu to the weather. Thomas' mother and father were Seers, until one horrible day which left Thomas' father dead and his mother stripped of her Seerskin, the outer layer of skin that allowed her to prophecy. Thomas himself was so badly burned in a fire that the scars on his face will never heal.

Thomas' mother escaped with him to Earth, where she tried to make a new life for them. But life is hard for Thomas, whose peers call him "Pucker" because of the disfiguring scars he bears. And on top of everything, Thomas' mother is dying. The only way to save her is for Thomas to return to Isaura and retrieve her seerskin. To return to Isaura, Thomas must become one of the Changed: humans with disabilities of various types who are taken to Isaura and cured of their disabilities. In return, they agree to serve the Isaurans for the rest of their life.

But Thomas doesn't anticipate how being Changed will affect him. Now, he is not only unscarred, but beautiful: girls compete for his attention. If he returns to Earth, he will have to give all this up; his scars will return and all will be as it was before. But if he doesn't return to Earth with his mother's skin, she will die. While Thomas hides his identity and searches for his mother's seerskin, he wrestles with his anger and bitterness and tries to come to terms with the decision he must make.

Pucker is the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish it. The story is exciting and moving, and the fantasy world and the characters, both human and Isauran, are well developed. I felt a lot of emphathy for Thomas. He has so much pain. Even when he acted despicably, I still felt for him and wanted him to learn to come to terms with his past and his present. Pucker surprised me, not once, but multiple times.

Pucker is a Cybils finalist

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