Sunday, July 15, 2012

Buy this book!

I just finished reading "Janitors". I started on Tuesday,  and finished on Friday. It is youth fiction, in the same family of stories as Harry Potter - young "normal" kids who have a run-in with a hidden, magical world. Only in this case it is magical critters that inhabit schools, and Janitors are a secret society that combat them. I don't dare say much, for fear of giving story away, but I will say that I am greatly looking forward to reading it with my kids when we are done with the current book we are reading (we read a chapter from a book almost every night).

I had seen a random ad for the book somewhere, and thought it looked interesting, and perhaps I would grab a copy if the opportunity presented.

Then a few weeks ago, I met the author, who is house sitting in our neighborhood. I met him at church. and had the chance to chat with him a bit (It took me three weeks of these brief interactions to learn that he was the author of Janitors, from which you can conclude he is not one to "toot his own horn"). He was a very pleasant, humble, and insightful individual, and I greatly enjoyed the brief conversations we had. Of course having met the author, I had to read the book.

So, I had my wife pick up a copy. What a great book!! It is exceptionally well written, fun, full of plot twist, subterfuge, conspiracy and magic. It is an easy read (of course it was written for 8-10 years, and I'm a forty year old so...), and the story moves along nicely. The characters are fun, colorful, and quirky.

What I love most about it is that it actually adheres to positive values. I love the Harry Potter series, but I have always been a bit bothered by the fact the Harry seems a bit of a chronic liar. he is constantly lying to his friends and teachers, and sneaking about This is not a quality unique to Harry Potter, It is a story element that commonly shows up in the youth/young adult fiction. I suppose the books try to appeal to the "Nobody understands me" feeling of that age. Janitors, on the other hand, take the high road.

In Janitors, the hero tries his hand at deceit, but quickly discovers honesty to be more effective. The story also includes adults who are trustworthy, who listen, and who help and seek to protect the young heroes of the story. A refreshing change from Harry and friends being constantly thrown in harm's way them against the world. Or like the Lemony Snicket series, where adults all seem to be either evil, or incompetent, and completely unable or unwilling to listen to children. The relationship aspect of Janitors is much more positive, more grounded in reality.

I won't say more than that, as I don't want to ruin the experience for you, should you decide to read it (and you should.... Just sayin...).

It is a fun, fast, read, with refreshingly positive morals. I can't wait to read book two.

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