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Echo of the Boom Paperback – April 15, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. What do these four teens have in common? They’re all waiting, in their respective ways, for the end of days. 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 in the unfolding lives of the four teens. Though there is enough material here for four novels, the often discursive content coheres nicely at its end. --Michael Cart

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Editorial Reviews

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.)

From Booklist

“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 Cover

Praise 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Rare Bird Books, A Barnacle Book (April 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940207177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940207179
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Echo of the Boom is a fun, interesting, provocative, and quick read. I would recommend this book to literally anyone! It is simultaneously thought provoking and totally entertaining, PLUS a complete page-turner. It sneakily left me thinking for days afterward. While reading I was reminded of many dystopia novels (although whether this is a dystopia is left ambiguous - maybe this book is actually just about our modern youth culture). I would also definitely recommend this to anyone who like books like Super Sad True Love Story. Echo of the Boom is similarly insightful, timely, and an excellent reflection on many of the trends in our culture today. This is a must-read for 2014!
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I have not read a novel like this in a long time.. the kind you say you will put down after the next chapter, but can't. This book is pure genius and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a new book unlike anything they have ever read. I cannot wait for another book by this author!

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.
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Format: Paperback
This novel traces the path of four different yet intertwined bildungsroman set in the current day. The characters are sharply focused and their depth leads to insight into today's world that is fun, funny and frightening. Nuclear war and other destruction lurk around the edges of book, framing the story with a narrative contrast of the two paths along which technology has evolved.

A must read, this book shows the promise of a young author very much in tune with modernity and its historical roots.
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Neely-Cohen's bordering-apocalyptic tale is one that starts out with the whims of adolescents, but crashes along, building speed, needling you, then ripping into you, and ending with echoes, which are so much more damaging than the boom. The storyline follows four youths, navigating a world of anxiety and neurosis, in a sense, what it means to be a teenager in modern times.
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Format: Paperback
Neely-Cohen is clearly a gifted novelist, and Echo of the Boom is a worthy start written by a clever writer, but perhaps a bit too clever. It appears at times he's trying too hard. At the end I asked myself why did I take the journey to learn about these four teenagers, who were they and why did they do what they did? After reading the book, while I like a lot of what I read, I'm not too sure I can answer my questions.

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.
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debut novel. fresh new voice. apocalypse. teenage coming of age. couldn't put the book down. so yes. if you're thinking about it. yes.
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Format: Paperback
Read it to find out how younger people see the world and deal with fantasies of its demise. Of the four main characters, I loved one, pitied another, was annoyed by the third, and couldn't understand the fourth. To mention the book's glorification of superficial elements in youth culture is to miss the point that the author may be using irony in criticizing such tendencies. Where it works the best, at least for me, is when all our cynical and darkest suspicions: of the powerful international mercenary economy, of socially predatory teens, of hypocrisy in prep school administration, are confirmed by realistic character portrayal and storytelling. Definitely worth a look-see. To indicate its ultimate effect on me, I misplaced the book with only 100 of its 400+ pages to go - and I am going to have to buy it again - I'm really curious to see how he ends it!
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