Sunday, June 7, 2015

Spinner by Michael J. Bowler

Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Spinner Book Summary:
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.

The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives…
Release: July 25, 2015

My Review:
I was intrigued by the premise of this book and was thrilled once I started it.  As a teacher I see kids kids like Alex, Roy and their friends every year.  I have always fought for those students who have been told over and over that they are stupid or a loser.  That might be why I start each year off reading a book with the class called "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli.  These kids need to know that they are not losers.  Alex and his friends have problems yet there is a part of them that are coping with the bullying and name calling.  A part of them realize they are not losers.  

Alex is in  a wheelchair because he has spina bifida.  He also has the ability to "spin" people. This means he can take their pain and heal them. Having dreamed about his parent's death the day before it happened and being pushed from one foster home after another because of his "strange ability", he finds himself in the worst foster home yet.  His foster mother is cruel and abusive and knows about his "gift".  She want to make money off of him. When Alex dreams about his teacher's death and it comes true he finds he is in the crosshairs of some very evil people.  They will do whatever it takes to get to him.  Along the way he learns a truth about his family. I don't want to give it away because I never saw it coming and want you to be just as surprised. Alex learns exactly what it means to have true friends.

I read this book the last day of school since we had nothing for the students to do in the morning. My afternoon was mine as I'd already cleaned up my room.  This was a perfect way to end my school year by relaxing with a great book.  I read this in electronic form.  I will definitely purchase a copy for my shelves.  I will mark it as more mature because of the language used.  I could see this as a movie in my head.  The author is great with his descriptions.  I felt fear, I felt the pain some of them felt.  I will definitely check out more books by this author.

About the Author:
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of eight novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place (Bronze Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall LeadOnce Upon A Time In America, and Spinner.

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the clear House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He is currently outlining a sequel to Spinner.

His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.

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  1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sandra. I'm so happy kids like the ones in my book have the opportunity to work with someone like you. I can tell you love them as much as I always did, and do. Enjoy your summer!

  2. I love that two, wonderful teachers were able to connect through this very special book :)