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Echo of the Boom Paperback – April 15, 2014
2016 Book Awards
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From Publishers Weekly
In this debut novel, Neely-Cohen’s four teenage protagonists are superlatives—coldest, strongest, most clever, and most popular in turn. In a contemporary Washington, D.C., and under the shadow of impending doom, the story unfolds in increments of time “before the end.” Technology is now an extension of self, and so naturally teens use it to bully, hack, and spy. Chloe is a queen bee whose powers of manipulation have left her jaded and haunted by night terrors. Efram is a teenage Gatsby. Molly is a gun-toting apocalypse prepster. Steven travels the globe on shady ventures with his father, a consultant, and where Steven goes, death follows. In a world of genre-mashing garage deejays, and a text message to replace every utterance, adults are as squawking and clueless as the adults in Peanuts. But beneath the labored pop culture references, the novel conveys a simple message: yes, the world is miserable, but technology can’t take all of the blame. These young adults are of the generation “born after the fall of the wall but before the fall of the towers.” In such chaotic times, they understand full well that a trigger can’t pull itself. (Apr.)
“They were all born after the fall of the wall but before the fall of the towers,” the author writes about the four main characters in his ambitious first novel: Chloe, the mean queen of her high school who has nuclear nightmares; Molly, whose father is a paranoid survivalist; wealthy Efram, a genius of disorder who makes a habit of being expelled from pricey private schools; and Steven, whose philandering father is a shady international entrepreneur always looking for the main chance… Clearly intended to be adolescent Horsemen of the Apocalypse (each of the book’s seven sections is introduced with a quotation from the biblical book of Revelation), the four lead lives overshadowed by intimations of disorder, deprivation, destruction, and death. Set largely in Washington, DC, the novel offers a disturbing vision of an unapologetically violent, pre-apocalyptic America… Though there is enough material here for four novels, the often discursive content coheres nicely at its end… [An] emotionally engaging look at the prospective end of days. —Michael Cart
Reviews“A brave, funny, articulate new voice.”— Bethanne Patrick, Washingtonian Magazine, “Top 10 Books for April 2014”
“Neely-Cohen’s first novel… which kicks off with epigraphs quoting both the Book of Revelation and Spoon, is definitely the real thing.”—Jason Diamond, Flavorwire, “10 Must-Read Books for April”
“Striking… a coming-of-age story about finding meaning in our technologically advanced world as the end grows near… a character-driven tale of the apocalypse.”—Sonya Lovy, Foreword Review
"A book that's hard to put down... The online world plays a big part here, and there are elements that will please readers of William Gibson." —Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
From the Back CoverPraise for Echo of the Boom:
"The four teen survivors and survivalists at the core of Maxwell Neely-Cohen's debut novel are at once terrifyingly wise and authentically self-absorbed. Steeped in both the pop milieu of this minute and the prophecies of 2,000 years ago, Echo of the Boom the spiritual prequel to The Road that we never thought to ask for." —Gabe Durham, author of Fun Camp
"A brilliant dissection of American youth culture, Echo of the Boom tears apart the stereotypical depictions of young people and instead offers a searing, poignant, and achingly real alternative. Do not mistake it for fantasy, the result is a disturbing yet accurate description of how many young people navigate the world today." —Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes
"Echo of the Boom is one of the strangest and most exciting novels I've come across in a long time. It reads like Mean Girls seen through a fever dream, treating of the ecstasies and agonies of being young with apocalyptic anxieties flaming on the horizon."—Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
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Top Customer Reviews
I would highly recommend buying a hard copy and an electronic version so you can get some reading in on the subway or whenever you have some free time and don't want to lug around the hard copy.. Trust me.
A must read, this book shows the promise of a young author very much in tune with modernity and its historical roots.
What the book isn't is your typical YA novel. There's not a werewolf/vampire, death match arena, or extraordinary teenager with terminal cancer in sight. What you get is a view into the actual life of today's teenagers, with texting, Anonymous pic posting, causal hookups, EDM fueled rave parties, high school culture, catty girls, and confused boys trying to find their way through life. Most YA books don't quote the Book of Revelations with the four horsemen and Indie rock lyrics, that sets this book apart.
The story is told through the four main characters: Steven, who envisions destruction where ever he goes; Chloe, who perpetually dreams of the end of the earth; Efram, rich frequently expelled anarchist; and Molly, a loner survivalist soon to be warrior. The four have no real connection to one another, except only tangentially and briefly with Chloe and Efram, but that basically goes nowhere. The rest I didn't feel like I got to know, and I had little understanding of why they did what they did at the end of the book. Chloe was probably the least interesting. While it's slightly amusing to read about the interaction of a group of teenage girls with their texting and subterfuge, their mind games and petty superficiality, after a short while it becomes tiresome.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved this book. It is not the typical novel in any way. Cohen expertly portrays four main characters who are all different but somehow the same. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rosetta Rios
This book lacks both focus and a plot an adult can take seriously.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
A breathtaking portrait of an apathetic generation, painted by four unique perspectives. Beautiful prose, draped with ominous and hopeless overtones. A must read.Published 22 months ago by Mike Frankel
So different, and wondrous, and eclectic. Hard to make complete sense of it until towards the end, at which point it's more confusing then the rest of the book put together - but I... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Graham W. Jenkins
I got an email from Amazon that this was being released and the blurbs looked cool. I am very happy I went ahead and bought it. Read morePublished on April 19, 2014 by Aburtonmatt
A searing vision of millennial-age fatalism combines with the impossible agony of adolescence to create a novel that is equal parts pleasure and heartbreak. Read morePublished on April 18, 2014 by Charlotte Greenbaum