The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie

dylanThe Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine
224 Pages

I’m finding that I have very few words to describe how I feel about this book. To put it shortly, it’s amazing! Do you ever go into a book expecting to like it, not really knowing much of what it’s about and then you start reading it and find that you absolutely love it? And you wonder where this book has been all your life? That’s how I feel about this one. Strangely, I’ve seen very little publicity about this book. I first heard about it on Becky’s blog and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since. And I’m so thrilled that I did! Seriously, I’d put it right up there with Looking for Alaska as far as Young Adult books go.

Dylan Fontaine is a teenager trying to hold his world together. When we meet Dylan, he’s being bailed out of jail for stealing two packs of underwear (tighty-whities to be exact) and possession of marijuana. The strange thing about this is that he comes from a family with money and doesn’t smoke marijuana. But his brother, Randy does and Dylan takes the blame for it when the blame should be on his brother. Dylan and Randy are having a hard time lately. Their mother, an artist, recently left their father, a gynecologist referred to as “the vagina head” because she was unhappy…and she’s now living with a fellow artist named Phillipe. Dylan and Randy take it hard as do their father.

Randy deals with his problems by smoking more pot, playing music with his band, The Dead Musicians (they do covers of songs by dead musicians), and just generally losing interest in everything that used to interest him. All while chasing his crush, Chloe, who sings a mean Janis Joplin. Dylan tries to cope by being the rock of the family. He starts doing the family shopping and grows an appreciation for labels on food as he avoids artificial preservatives and trans-fats. He’s there for his older brother when he needs to be and he kicks his ass when he needs to. He’s seemingly the glue that holds everything together and he worries about everything except his own issues.

Dylan’s chasing his own girl – his best friend Angie. Angie is a student at NYU’s film program and decides to make a film with Dylan as the main character. She follows him sometimes with a video camera just recording life as it happens and it’s through this lens that we see much of Dylan’s true thoughts on life…the troubles that he won’t address himself.

There’s so much more to this book and I could go on forever about it! I feel like I’m doing a horrible job of describing it, but it’s one you just have to read. I always feel very close to books about adolescents because I’ve always had a passion for helping them. It’s what I do now as a counselor. Books that examine how rough situations like Dylan and Randy’s affect the lives of those going through them really hit home with me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my own rough times during adolescents and that I couldn’t relate to Dylan more than I wanted to really. But I loved the fact that I could at the same time.

Lurie creates an amazing cast of characters in this novel…characters that I haven’t even talked about. Dylan was a truly cool kid and I loved reading his story. Lurie writes with an amazing voice. It’s everything I love in a book. It’s humorous, it’s fresh, it’s touching, it’s sad and it’s happy. And I just want to hug it.

Other Views and Opinions:
Becky’s Book Reviews (Looks like she had the same reaction as me!)
Becky’s Interview with April Lurie (It’s fantastic! Go check it out!)
Hope’s Bookshelf


20 Responses

  1. I have had my eye on this one for awhile as well. I even saw it at my library but resisted because my reading pile is crazy, but I’m glad to know I’ll have something to look forward to.

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Well, you had me sold as soon as you compared it to Alaska!

    And I do know that feeling–expecting to like a book, but then being totally bowled over by the extent of its awesomeness–I’m experiencing that right now with The Amazing Maurice.

  4. Hi Chris,
    I was having a pretty rough morning, but then I read your comment on my blog, followed you here, and your kind, kind words really cheered me up. Thank you so much! I’m thrilled you enjoyed Dylan.

  5. I really need to stop reading your blog, I get far too many recommendations from you! Bad bad blogger. Great review Chris, this sounds excellent, and any comparison to Looking for Alaska is sure to get me reading. One more for the list!

  6. After your email the other day I added this to my library list. I should get a chance to read it soon!

  7. oh wowzers! i absolutely love love LOVE that feeling you described regarding this book!

    that is so cool for you. hooray for wonderful books!

    do you also find that you don’t want to put it away afterwards. that you want to keep it on you bedside table. or just somewhere where you can see it – so that it can be a part of your life? i really struggle to part with books i’ve had this experience with. like, i want to somehow make our union permanent (which sounds ultra-weird, but there you go…).

  8. Somehow I missed Becky’s review, so I hadn’t heard of this before. Up there with Alaska?! How can I resist?

    Also, the cover just screams READ ME! LOVE ME! HUG ME AND SQUEEZE ME! Ok, getting carried away here *goes away*

  9. This sounds like a great book. Yet another to the TBR list!

    And I love the way your new site looks – it’s beautiful 🙂

  10. Great review, Chris. I’m so happy you loved it. 🙂 I would love for this book to get more love. I really don’t understand why everyone isn’t talking about this one 🙂

  11. By the way, I’ve awarded you the Zombie Chicken Award.

  12. Renay, You would absolutely love this book! I guarantee it 😉 Go get it now!! lol

    Sarah, Well thank you very much! I appreciate it! Hope you stick around 🙂

    Debi, OOooh, I have to go read Maurice now!! Right onto the wishlist it goes!

    April Lurie, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the review! I absolutely loved your book and really can’t wait to read the new one! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your day got better!

    Mariel, Sorry :/ But I do think that you’ll love it! I think everyone would love this one.

    Kailana, Awesome! Hope you like it as much as I did…I thought it was great.

    Jean-Pierre, Please don’t make your union permanent with a book…it just sounds unnatural :p But I totally get what you’re saying! This is one of those books that I just wanted to start reading all over again as soon as I finished it!

    Nymeth, That’s EXACTLY how I feel about the cover! I totally forgot to mention how cool I think the cover is when I reviewed it. Oh yeah, you’ll love this one!

    Lena, Glad you’re liking the new site! And I hope you enjoy the book!

    Becky, Score! The Zombie Chicken award!! I’ve been hoping to get that one because it’s just so cool :p I hope this book gets more love too, lol. I’m going to keep promoting it until someone else reviews it and takes over the reins. Everyone should be talking about this one! Any idea when her new book is being released? And did you see that Kate DiCamillo has a new book coming out?!

  13. WOW! A book to hug? Guess I better add this to my tbr… Want to hear an ‘odd-to-me’ story? I was subbing at the middle school when the book fair was going on and, of course, lots of YA books – but NONE from Green!? I overheard a teacher asking kids for sugs and I just had to jump in and ask her if she’d read any John Green books. She had never heard of him. Isn’t that odd? I couldn’t tell you if this book was there since this is my first hearing of it. Anyway, have a great day. 🙂

  14. Okay, this one is so going on the wishlist!

  15. When you rated it up there with Looking For Alaska I was sold!! Gotta request this from the library!!

  16. And onto the want list this goes, sounds terrific and the cover is amazing – frame it and hang it on the wall amazing! Thanks for the cool review 🙂

  17. Hi Nick,It must have been stressful for you, also. But then youre an athlete too, so you get it. Flos a lucky gal, I think.

  18. Im always looking for these kinds of posts but its not easy to find such good information.

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