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A Trick of the Light Hardcover – June 18, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006213308X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062133083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–This is a somewhat familiar story told in a new way: from the disease's point of view. Mike's home life is crumbling. His father has left for a much younger woman, and his mother can barely get out of bed. But the narrative voice readers hear is not that of the 14-year-old, but rather his insecurities, bitterness, and, ultimately, his anorexia. “The voice” eventually eclipses his personality. Mike befriends an anorexic girl who encourages the destructive inner voice and teaches him how to stop eating while fooling those around him. He buys himself a distorted mirror in which he appears ugly and misshapen and looks only at this image of himself. Soon enough, Mike ends up in a hospital for kids with eating disorders. He leaves restored to health, but still prey to his insecurities. Mike's stalwart friend and their mutual devotion to the art of stop-motion animation ultimately silence the voice. A chilling, straightforward novel written with depth and understanding, A Trick of the Light shows readers that they must always be vigilant about the voice they listen to–even when it is their own.–Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, MEα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The first time 15-year-old Mike hears the voice in his head, he’s stunned. “Am I crazy?” he thinks. Things are weird at home; his parents are separating, and Mike is on his own—except for the mysterious voice—until he encounters Amber. Their meeting seems fortuitous, since Mike has vowed to get in shape, and Amber seems to know everything about nutrition. What he doesn’t know is that Amber is anorexic, and her advice is dangerous. Meanwhile, the voice is becoming increasingly powerful and insidious, promising Mike that he can be fit and infinitely strong if he will just exercise obsessively and avoid food. Eventually, Mike winds up in the hospital as one of the million males in America who have eating disorders. Metzger’s cautionary tale is made more powerful and dramatic by her choice of narrator: the voice in Mike’s head. Readers will be easily caught by the quandary: Will the voice prevail, or will Mike recover control of his mind—and his body—before it’s too late? Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart

More About the Author

Lois Metzger was born in Queens, New York, and has always written for young adults. Of her four novels, two take place in Belle Heights, a fictional neighborhood in Queens, loosely based on Flushing, Forest Hills, and Kew Gardens Hills. She has also written two non-fiction books about the Holocaust; her mother and many of her relatives had to escape Vienna during World War II. She has edited five anthologies of original short stories by some of the best young-adult writers in the business. She lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and son.

Customer Reviews

Mike Welles is a likable hero-- in fact all of the characters are likable or at least interesting.
Mike's story as a anorexic bring a lot of insight of what it's happening with eating disorder in males, which are happening more commonly now.
Viviana Ortiz
For much of the story, I wasn't sure whether or not the voice in Mike's head really was trying to help him or not.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kris on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A Trick of the Light is a deep, compelling novel about a teen boy's struggle to adjust with the sudden changes around and within him and to regain control of his life.

It's easy to sympathize with Mike. Over the past months, he's watched his parents drift apart to the point that they often don't feel like dealing with him or even forget his existence. His dad stays out more often, and his mom seems to be falling into a depression. Only the voice in his head seems to care about him, so it's no surprise that he turns to it. Even though his best friend Tamio, a nice person and fellow stop-motion movie buff, wants to be there for him, I can understand how Mike wants to get away from the outside world a little and turn inwards to himself, where he has some semblance of control.

For much of the story, I wasn't sure whether or not the voice in Mike's head really was trying to help him or not. It speaks with reason and talks as if it has Mike's best interests in mind. Whether or not it was actually giving Mike sound advice was the question. The more Mike's obsession with his body increases, however, the more he pushes away the people who genuinely care about him. It's sad to watch Mike as he turns his back on the things and people he loves so much. At the same time, I appreciate how the voice has been developed. Because it's speaks with such reason, it's hard not to trust it, and both the reader and Mike have to work out the true implications behind its words.

I like how the story is told from the voice's perspectives. Because it knows Mike so well, it gives us insight into Mike's life through both its perspective and that of Mike's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Bookhounds VINE VOICE on June 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover

Mike Welles is a responsible teen, he plays baseball, has good friends and makes decent grades. Then, the unthinkable happens, his parents marriage starts falling apart and with it, his world. One by one, he pushes his friends away and withdraws. Mike starts stress eating and packs on a few pounds. Amber, a girl he has known since kindergarten, reaches out to him, telling him slyly about how she handles her home issues by controlling what she can: her appetite. Through his eating, Mike learns to gain control over one part of his life, while the rest of it disintegrates.

As Mike finds himself loosing control over his home life, his disease takes over, speaking to him and dominating all of his thoughts. Even though he doesn't realize it, friends and teachers have contacted his parents about how much Mike has changed. For all their faults, his parents really do care and when they see what is happening to him, they get him help. The voice of his anorexia makes it so easy for Mike to disconnect and almost fold back into himself as he stops eating. Sent to a hospital for eating disorders, he finally quiets the voice in his head.

This book is amazingly heart-wrenching and told in such a quiet way, that you it makes you realize how insidiously an eating disorder can sneak up on some one. I really liked Mike and he was very sympathetic in that you could see his world unravel and the unique voice he has since most books about eating disorders are written from a female protagonist's point of view. I hadn't realize that so many males deal with this issue until I read the acknowledgements and did a bit of research to find that there are a lot of guys with this problem. Parents: This is an important read for everyone and yes, even though it is about a very sad topic, it contains a lot of important messages and should spark some wonderful discussions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Macca on November 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Of late, I have been blown away by the quality literature written and marketed for young adults. Some of the characteristics of "quality" for me in relation to this genre are:
- the reader walks away from the book with a lot to think about.
- the characters are memorable and the dialogue authentic.
- there is an effective, clear writing style.
- meticulous research goes in to fact and detail.
- ideas are original and realistic, not tedious and predictable.

A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger ticks all of the above. It is a powerful read that sheds light on an important issue - eating disorders.

Eating disorders are conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common specific forms. Bulimia nervosa is a disorder characterized by binge eating and purging. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme food restriction to the point of self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Though primarily thought of as affecting females, an estimated 10 - 15% of people with eating disorders are males. Staggeringly males are often overlooked, understudied and underreported because "it's a girl's disease".

A Trick of the Light follows Mike Welles' struggle with anorexia nervosa. Told in a formidable voice, the story is narrated by the anorexia itself; a very different and intriguing way to tell his story. Given the precise cause of eating disorders is not entirely understood, the disorder narration was extremely compelling in giving the reader an insight into the psyche of a sufferer and how eating disorders have ways of manipulating the truth.
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