Author: Michael J. Bowler
Genre: Horror/Paranormal, Young Adult.
Publisher: YoungDudes Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 445 pages
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight. In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end. They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity. The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humanity. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed. The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty. If he survives…
After reading Michael J. Bowler’s, Children of the Knight, I had to check out another one of his books, and I’m so glad I chose Spinner.
Spinner is an emotionally powerful story of a young boy, Alex, who has been spat upon his whole life, and in fact, life itself has spat upon him. He is poor, crippled, abandoned, and lives unloved and unwanted with his most recent foster mother. At school, he is nothing but a special needs kid, dismissed as a worthless “crip.” What else could go wrong? Plenty. Alex is literally haunted by demons.
These demons talk to him through dreams, through animals, and even through inanimate objects. They have a special agenda for Alex, and he will have to summon all his powers in order to resist their malevolent scheme. And that’s what truly gives this story its power. Despite his handicap, Alex has an exceptionally special ability – he can absorb and eliminate the pain and suffering of those around him. Alex is a healer. Barely aware of what that means, Alex comes to see himself as a freak. And why not? Everyone around him treats him as such, unable to truly appreciate the wonder that is right in front of them.
Fortunately, Alex does have a friend who transcends the shallowness of most of his peers, and appreciates Alex for what he is – a miracle. And along with his friend and a few other outcast companions, Alex confronts his demons and learns a lot about love and friendship in the process.
Michael J. Bowler has written yet another poignant story that like his critically acclaimed “Children of the Knight,” features outcasts and rejects as the protagonists, whether they are gay, crippled, or learning disabled. He gives so much beauty and humanity to these characters that you can’t help but feel the injustice of a society that so often dismisses them as trash. Bowler is to be commended for seeing beauty, hope, and love, where others see nothing but garbage. And just as Bowler is able to show us the humanity of these outcasts, Alex, eventually understands that he truly is a miracle himself.
Spinner is a frightening but touching tale for all fans of young adult, and it is a very special treat for those into horror and paranormal. Reading Spinner felt a lot to me like watching an old Stephen King movie from the 1980s. I fully appreciated the nostalgia.
You can purchase Spinner from Amazon.
Jay Jordan Hawke is the award winning author of the Two-Spirit Chronicles, which includes: Pukawiss the Outcast, A Scout is Brave, and Onwaachige the Dreamer. He is an avid sci-fi fan. His first love was Star Wars, but alas, he married Star Trek. Learn more about Jay Hawke at www.jayjordanhawke.com.