The story is well-written, with passages like, “Colt O’Brien flashed down the main hall of Highline High School. The five-foot, four-inch senior was dressed to garner attention.”
I like that use of words. It doesn’t stop at a fifth-grade vocabulary, as many teen books do. The author respects his readers, and correctly estimates their intelligence.
The story line also escapes the frequent folly of many”young adult” authors: It doesn’t talk down to the reader.
The book’s description is accurate:
Colt O’Brien doesn’t think that he has to prove anything. He is the most savvy computer technician at Highline High in Burien, Washington. When a PC needs fixing, Colt is called in to save the day. The short, energetic senior, with his bright, colorful attire and cocky attitude, knows that he is the best. He expects the respect that is showered upon him by peers and teachers. School will soon be over and freedom beckons. No more girl friend to tell him what to do. No more schoolwork to bore him to death.
Colt is cruising through senior year, but his life is about to be turned upside down.
Two freshman nerds start a computer class that will put Highline High on the map and challenge Colt’s credibility. Three women will show him the meaning of love. One will show him the meaning of hate. And, his hidden psychic powers will emerge when he least expects them to.
Hang on, Colt.
One of the most important issues this book tackles is the challenge to discover one’s own identity. The story shows the impact of others’ attitudes and expectations, and the importance of finding a strong sense of self in a challenging world.
It also portrays the effects of adults’ standards, sometimes from a place of low self-esteem.
Many of today’s parents had no one at home to show them effective parenting; they were part of that generation where moms had recently started full-time jobs, and the community wasn’t ready to fill in the role model gaps.
The proverbial “village” hadn’t come into its own voice, yet. In this book, the support systems are evolving, but many of the adults seem in an awkward, colt-ish phase (no pun intended) when they deal with teens.
I think Colt, his friends and his schoolmates are representative of many of today’s teens. Even better, Cole — the book’s author — has written his characters very well. Instead of littering the story with two-dimensional stereotypes, each of the main characters has a clear backstory. These kids and adults seem very real.
Though their flaws and features are timeless, they’re written in an up-to-date context with a raw honesty that teen readers will appreciate.
What makes this book especially intriguing — and worth mentioning to fans of New Age literature — is the added ingredient of Colt’s psychic awareness. It’s one thing to escape narcissistic external cues and find one’s inner confidence.
It’s quite another to accomplish that while also discovering the inner/outer voice of psychic gifts.
The book includes themes related to sexuality. For many teens, there will be nothing “shocking” in this novel.
However, for those with sheltered upbringings — and especially their parents who are oblivious to the gritty, honest conversations in most high schools — some plot elements may seem too frank for an average teen.
Though armchair editors may spot a few technical errors in the writing, this is one of those rare books that wasn’t over-written or over-edited. I’d rather read a book like this, that could have more paragraph breaks, but has also retained the fresh voice of an energetic, interesting writer.
That’s what this book delivers.
I recommend Colt O’Brien Sees the Light for mature teens, and adults who’d like better insights into what’s really going on with today’s high school students.
It’s a good, engaging read.
In addition, George Matthew Cole is an author to note. One doesn’t have to be psychic to predict a great future for his books, and the movies likely to be made from them.