Title: The Enemy Within
Author: Scott Burn
Publisher: Scott Burn, 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction
**I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review**
As y’all know, I’m a big fan and supporter of indie authors. Without us, they can’t thrive or even survive among the big 5 publishing conglomerates. They reach out to us, especially the bloggers, with their books, and they ask so nicely if we would review a copy of their baby. Some bloggers are so busy that they can’t. I get it: there’s so many books out there and only so much time. I, however, thought Burn’s book sounded just like something I would die to read from the big pubs, so I said, ok, send me a copy and I’ll check it out.
Guys, I’m glad I did.
This story hooks you. From the very beginning. It’s good. I was surprised. Let me tell you a little about this…
So Max has visions. Horrible ones. Apocalyptic ones. Makes sense that he would think he was going crazy. After a suicide attempt that, to his disappointment, fails miserably, he winds up in the Hanover Insitute…a mental institution.
At 17, Max has had it rough: mom deceased, dad long gone, and a foster father only there to get the checks from the state. Max has no one…but he’s used to it.
When a kind doctor won’t give up, Max finally starts to trust enough to open up: the visions of a world on fire…and a carousel waiting in an abandoned amusement park. What does it mean? Max and the doc seem to both agree that Max is broken.
Three kids are looking for Max. Without him, they won’t make it. As they sit at the abandoned carousel, waiting for Max to get the message, they realize that Max isn’t exactly in a place where he can be reached.
Because Max’s visions? Well…they’re not exactly hallucinations. More like a prophecy….
And they need Max before it’s too late.
Yes! The book is only 161 pages (which is kind of sad because I honestly wanted more!), and I can see this as a book that teens, both girls and boys, would enjoy. With a hint of Ender’s Game (just a hint, mind you…not enough to even compare, but it came to mind at one point), this story will appeal to the reluctant reader in all students. It’s quick, full of action, and easy to read. It also brings up a moral dilemma: should you care for the people that cause you harm?
Definitely full of classroom discussion and it’s short enough that it could be a week-long lesson plan. I can’t see any drawbacks to using this in a Freshman setting…if the swearing was removed. More on that in a minute.
There’s some swearing, so there’s that. A couple of F bombs and some “shits” in there…I practically forgot about them because that’s almost teenage vernacular…well, honestly, it’s almost most venacular. So I almost didn’t even realize it was there. There could be a “clean” classroom copy if the words were switched out to other words…maybe damn or something similar. Swearing is tricky. Some great books have swearing. And kids have heard it all before. (They have: trust me)
There’s nothing inappropriate otherwise…so I’m torn. I would say stick to high school for this book. I recommend readers 15 and up, and that’s simply because of the swearing. If it was changed or removed, then it could very well be a middle grade book, too. As it stands, as long as it was approved by the curriculum, I would use it in class. And I would still let teens read it, mainly because the story is too good. But I leave that up to how comfortable you are with swear words.
I loved it. I really did. I want a sequel now.
I rate The Enemy Within ★★★★☆. Solid read, especially if you’re a light sci-fi fan like me, who likes science fiction but isn’t exactly able (or willing) to learn Klingon or become a member of the United Federation of Planets (Star Trek reference, guys!). So that means…(yes, I’m going to deface this edgy, science fiction book with my happy rating system):
Happy Reading, y’all!