Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Review of Deconstructing Dylan by Lesley Choyce

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Deconstructing Dylan by Lesley Choyce published by Dundurn press

Deconstructing Dylan by Lesley Choyce, published by Dundurn press, is a great YA, sci-fi book. I haven’t read one of those for quite a while so it was nice to get back in the groove.

In Deconstructing Dylan we meet Dylan, an abnormal teenager who believes he is somehow connected to the Loch Ness Monster in so much as he is alone and misunderstood. He has weird memories, or are they daydreams, or are they near death experiences – Dylan just isn’t sure. He is too weird for his girlfriend, who breaks up with him in the middle of the cafeteria. Luckily he’s very attractive to the new girl who is pretty much as weird as he is. They get into some pretty philosophical, “how to live life” stuff when they are together — which is almost useless when real life starts to smash them both up. They want it to help, but are way too confused by events to have it be of much use – at least right at the beginning. So Dylan is weird, but he really has no idea just how weird he is. How strange his life is. How the truth will nearly destroy him.

The problem with being a writer is that I kind of clued into how this was going to go right off the bat. And I wasn't wrong. You would think that would be a bad thing, but the truth is, Choyce has such a solid writing style that I was happy to fall down the rabbit hole, even if I did get a glimpse at the map. It had laughs. It had tears. It asked some great questions and referenced science that obviously came from a place of deep understanding. Hell, this book made me want to read about bugs and I’m not the least bit interested in bugs. Well done, Choyce!

The only major quibble I had with the book in general was that it was set in 2014 but there was a bunch of sci-fi tech that doesn't even remotely exist and didn't seem to add to the story in any meaningful way. I don’t think it was needed. It could have easily been our “now” tech and still told the same story. Every time I read about someone driving a ‘skid’ I wondered why he didn't just use cars. It made me stop and wonder every single time – kind of throwing me out of the story. Still, this was a solid piece of work and that was only a minor issue.

I would recommend this book to any teen who wants a great “What if?” read. There’s action. There’s emotion. You’ll love it. It would make a great Christmas present too for all you relatives of teens who don’t know what to get your nephew or niece. Trust me, this is better than any of that discount crap from Walmart or Costco, and it has a cool cover – so it looks great too. Trust me - much better gift.

So there you go – Deconstructing Dylan, buy it.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Kim Firmston

Kim Firmston is a writer and creative writing instructor in Calgary. Her teen novels Schizo and Hook Up were Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Bet Selections. Her short story "Life Before War" was shortlisted for the 2008 CBC Literary Awards. Her most recent novel for teens is Touch, about a teenage hacker with a troubled family life.

Go to Kim Firmston’s Author Page