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The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine Hardcover – May 13, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sibling relationships form the core of Lurie's (Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn) busy novel, but with so much diffuse action and so many half-sketched characters, readers might have trouble finding a focal point. Dylan Fontaine, the 15-year-old narrator, lives in chaos: his mother has moved out to live with Dylan's art teacher; his older brother, Randy, gets stoned all the time and might drop out of school to tour with his band, The Dead Musicians Society; his father, an obstetrician, is never around, making their Brooklyn house the 24-hour gathering place for the band and, maybe, a spot to stash drugs. Dylan also struggles with girls-the one he wishes were his girlfriend has tapped her ex-boyfriend to help her shoot a documentary about Dylan, and the one in the band flirts with both Dylan and his brother. By the time Dylan steps out of the little brother/sidekick role to take center stage in his own life, the author wraps up remaining conflicts so tidily that she seems to cheat (Why would the boys have thought their mother had left for another man? Didn't they know the art teacher was just a friend?). Ages 14-up.
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From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—This story opens with 16-year-old Dylan Fontaine in a Brooklyn police station being held for shoplifting a package of tighty-whities underwear while holding a bag of marijuana in his pocket for his older brother. The shoplifting was merely an accident; Dylan ran out of the store when he thought he saw his mother, who left their family weeks ago. Though he wants to get bailed out of jail, what he really wants is for his mother to come home (she ran off with her art teacher), his brother to act responsibly, and his dad, a doctor, to begin living at their home instead of the hospital. As Dylan reels from the effect of all these events, his best friend and love interest, Angie, decides it is the perfect time to make him the subject of her summer school movie project, capturing the teen's struggle with chaos and control with a quirky, film-school flair. Lurie tells this story from Dylan's point of view, in the voice of a responsible, but confused, teen. As he sorts through his issues with his brother, father, mother, and Angie, he gains confidence and courage, and his voice becomes stronger and more defined. Brooklyn and Manhattan's West Village settings are appealing. The story successfully walks the fine line of blending humor and drama, and the cinematic ending is sure to please.—Emily Anne Valente, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385731256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385731256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,002,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I now live in Austin with my husband and four kids. Yes, four. Crazy, I know. I went to Hunter College in Manhattan, and worked several years as a NICU nurse. I began writing for teens in my mid- thirties and have been doing it ever since. It's the best job in the world.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Life is not easy for Dylan Fontaine. He gets good grades. He is a talented basketball player with a shot at varsity next year. He is a good guitar player and a gifted artist. Basically, he is an All-American, boy-next-door type, so when he is arrested for shoplifting underwear and carrying marijuana in his pocket, it gets people's attention. However, once he explains the weird set of circumstances that led up to that arrest, Dylan finds himself with a mere 20-hours of community service, and then it's back to the usual routine of cooking and cleaning for his father and his older brother, Randy.

Although things may seem normal, Dylan's life is in turmoil. His artist mother recently left to pursue her art and possibly her artist lover. His father, an ob/gyn, spends every waking hour at the hospital delivering babies and taking care of other families. Older brother Randy is no help either, since he spends his time getting high and hanging out with the losers in his band. That leaves Dylan with no one.

Recently there does seem to be the possibility of a love life for Dylan. His best friend, Angie, has just returned from a summer film-making class and, since the breakup with her boyfriend, perhaps it is time for Dylan to make his move. After all, she is making him the subject of the short film she's making for her class. Then there is also the gorgeous new member of his brother's band, Chloe. She is around all the time and pays a lot of attention to Dylan. Is it possible he might have a chance with her, too?

Dylan Fontaine is a fascinating character. Author April Lurie writes about his crazy life in a way that will have readers flipping pages to see how things turn out. The mix of down-to-earth, wholesome Dylan and his brother's fast, risk-taking lifestyle make THE LATENT POWERS OF DYLAN FONTAINE a book with something for everyone.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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Format: Hardcover
A MOTHER WHO split for another man.

A father who works 24/7.

An older brother who excels at everything--and smokes a lot of weed.

A best friend, of the feminine persuasion, who only wants to be a friend, and who's shooting a film set in cool Greenwich Village, New York.

Dylan Fontaine's life seems to be full of drama he can't control. But when he stars in his best friend's movie, Dylan discovers that, sometimes, life's big shake-ups force you to take risks--and to step into the spotlight.

April Lurie captured the relationship between two brothers pretty well. Dylan's emotions were well-captured and they leapt out of the pages and took over you. Dylan was a fascinating character that kept you flipping pages. The book had a mix between drama and humor. It was an amazing coming-of-age story as well.The film that Dylan's best friend was filming helped shape Dylan and I loved how that was added in the book. The story deals with how much a family can change when a member leaves and it felt real.Divorce not only affects the spouses but the children as well. I hated how Dylan's dad didn't seem to care about his family but I loved it when he was told what they really think of him. The novel was humorous, sad, and just plain great.The ending was pretty good. I definitely recommend this book to anyone.
-Carol
[...]
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't even describe to you how much I loved this book. April Lurie has described the life of a teenager excatly how some of us feel. Dylan feels like he isn't as good as his brother, he doesn't understand why his mom left his family for another man, and he just wants to find out who he is. He is going through love issues - with his best friend, of all people - and his dad is never around because he is always working.

Even though I, personally, can't relate to all of the things that happen to Dylan in the book, I felt like I knew who he was, and I could relate to him still. I'm trying to figure out who I am and sometimes I feel like I'm not as good as my sibling, like Dylan. Even if you don't have siblings, or your parents arn't split up, you can still relate to the main character, and April Lurie does a great job of writing so that you feel every emotion that Dylan does.

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine was released today and I would suggest you go to the bookstore right now and buy it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a lovely read. I am a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, and was instantly attracted to the title of this book thinking I might be reading the next Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl. I didn't get that; but I was not disappointed.

What I did get was a story about a young man dealing with odds that are realistic and could easily happen to any youth; and a story about the insecurities and frustrations about what his future may hold.

Ms. Lurie has a fantastic "voice." She instantly sucked me in and had me rooting for Dylan every step of the way.

Thank you, Ms. Lurie, for sharing this tale with me. I loved it!
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