When I read The Enchanted Inkpot's piece on Sybil Nelson this past February, I was, to put it mildly, GOBSMACKED. Okay, it's not as if there aren't people of color writing comic book style novels - but my interest here piqued because the character of Priscilla is kind of Kim Possible meets X-Men - two of my favorite supernatural concepts. Plus, the original novel came from -- well, you'll need to read The Enchanted Inkpot's interview with her. But, seriously, the premise is kind of horrific-yet-amusing, which is as good as any reason to start writing a book.
The author herself intrigued me enough to pick up this book from NetGalley -- I don't advise that you start with the fifth book in this series, however! Still, I got enough of the quintessential awesomeness of Priscilla to be interested in reading the series from beginning to end.
Reader Gut Reaction:The premise of this is -- intense. What if you woke up and found out that you were twenty-five years into your future? And that there was a way for you to go back and fix some things - namely, that your parents died? The novel opens and -- bam! -- you're in. You're naked and lying dazed, and what are you going to do...?
Concerning Character: Priscilla Sumner is a seventh grader with special powers, together with her family, fighting the mob of evil genetically enhanced humans sicced on them by the Selliwood Institute. She's a recurring character in this series -- and cleverly, we get her details in the first few lines of the novel, as she tries to remember who she is and where she is. She reels off the names of her family, what they do, and where she fits. You know things about her instantly. Though bleeding and shot, she still gets up and gets moving. You know up front: this is not your everyday thirteen-year-old.
Her quirky likes and dislikes, her "difficult" personality, and her tenacity all come through clearly, and mean that she's definitely the one to dive back into time and save herself... if only she can figure out WHICH time - and avoid her robotic friend Marco, who, in the past? Is trying to kind of kill her...
Recommended for Fans Of...:These books are VERY original, but fans of DULL BOY, by Sarah Cross will really enjoy them, as will fans of Eoin Colfer's ARTEMIS FOWL series, and Jeff Kinney's WIMPY KID series. Cathrynne M. Valente's THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND..., with its unusual and active protagonist, also brings some positive comparisons to mind. If you like middle-grade books with strong female characters who have adventures, you'll enjoy this.
Cover Chatter:The title font sells this for me - the boldly drawn, graffiti-tagging lettering style, the bright colors in Priscilla's hair and shirt, which are featured on each cover, and the overall in-your-faceness of the whole thing - that's so very Priscilla.
Authorial Asides: Time-traveling bullets are kinda real. They're called Airy Bullets, and the author heard about them in a lecture and got the story from there. How cool is it that she's an actual, day-to-day working mathematician and soon-to-be doctor of biostatistics, plus girl-geek writer? She's also written for adults and young adults under her pen name of Leslie DuBois.
As of May 1, you can find PRISCILLA THE GREAT: THE TIME-TRAVELING BULLET by Sybil Nelson at an independent bookstore near you, or on Amazon for Kindle readers.