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Lizard People Hardcover – August 7, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Ben Mander's mother can't or won't take medication to control her mental illness, and his father has left home and will no longer help. The teen does his best to cope, but when his mother makes a scene in the school office and has to be physically removed, Ben is not sure how he will continue. While she is being admitted to the psychiatric unit, yet again, he meets Marco, who says that his mother is also there. Through a series of meetings, Marco tells a fantastic story of traveling through a wormhole to the year 4000 where he meets Lizard People, much like the ones that frighten Mrs. Mander in her delusional states. Unsure of what to believe, Ben goes back and forth trying to maintain his own reality in spite of overwhelming odds. In the end, all problems do not miraculously disappear, but the troubled teen gets the help he needs. Price writes honestly and with compassion about a number of issues: living with a parent who has a mental illness, the fear of inheriting this affliction, hoping for a cure, and the lack of support available for families. Characters are believable, and the plot, alternating between reality and the future land of the lizards, moves quickly and contains enough mystery to keep readers involved.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
High-schooler Ben is overwhelmed. His father has disappeared, leaving Ben to cope with his mentally ill mom, who believes that she is one of the Lizard People who will take over the world. After his mother enters a psychiatric hospital, Ben meets a fellow teen, Marco, whose mother has also been admitted. Over the next several weeks, the two boys struggle with their mothers' care and begin a tentative friendship. Then Marco spins a tale of time travel to the year 4000, where he claims to have learned the cure for mental illness. As Marco incorporates the Lizard People into his story, Ben is increasingly spooked. Who's crazy now? Author Price creates a strong, realistic view of a caretaker teen whose adolescence is hijacked by a parent's mental illness. In addition to coping with his day-to-day survival, Ben must also face an additional terrorhis own potential madness. Price's graphic depiction of Ben's gradual escape from reality into a future without mental illness is a powerful metaphor and a savvy message that brings real hope to readers. Bradburn, Frances
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His book "Dead Connection" won An ALA Best Book for Young Adults, A Booklist Top Ten Mystery for Youth, A Book Sense Children's Pick, and a Publishers Weekly "Flying Starts" Selection mention.
I can hardly wait for my ordered book to get to me...drat the long holiday for that!
"Lizard People" was an immediate hit with me. I read the first 4 paragraphs and literally didn't stop reading until I finished the book some 4 hours later. It was fun, so interesting, a new concept, piercing, and had a twist that left me wondering until the very end whether I was experiencing psychosis or not. Fabulous insight into the mind of the mentally ill! I was taken there and back and I loved it. Sometimes it was frightening at the same time it was intriguing and irresistible.
Price's main character, Ben, is a sympathetic young man who is just trying his best to be a typical junior in high school. Like a lot of boys his age, he wants to be like other, popular guys and he, frankly, doesn't want to deal with his bizarre and sometimes violent, mentally ill mother. Is it too much to ask to have a grown up to help him, or at least a friend to discuss the responsibility and problem? Herein lies the crux of all that torments Ben, and it is within this labyrinth that Ben must also find an answer to the Lizard People who terrify this mother and live in the stories of his friend, Marco.
Mr. Price offers a fantastic journey that juxtaposes realism and the fantastic straight from the mind(s) of those who seem normal. I found it so gratifying that things weren't always as they seemed, and that the ordinary was sometimes slightly "off" but still within the acceptable in Ben's current live as in ours.
That families of the mentally ill are truly left to fend for themselves much of the time, and that many fear and ostracize them is something that Price clearly shines a light upon. I wanted to cheer his initiative. I loved the storyline that expressed it.
This is a book that has more depth than may first appear. There are messages here that are valuable for young adults and adults alike regarding the mentally ill and those who care for them. I applaud Mr. Price for his life work, and for having the humor coupled with the heart to bring such a beautiful and enjoyable book to our lives.
I loved this book which flowed like a charm and was a charming story of hope and resilience with a dash of laughter. Perfect for the classroom. Perfect for all of us!
5 stars Mr. Price!! See more of him and his books at: [...]