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Meet Me in the Strange Hardcover – March 27, 2018
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"From the first page, when narrator Zee arrives at school with a temperature of 102 degrees, Watts' novel reads with the blurry intensity of a fever dream." [Praise for Beautiful City of the Dead]-- (Booklist)
"[A]n intriguing tale, and the ominous, claustrophobic tone that Watts sustains marks this writer as one to watch." [Praise for Stonecutter]-- (Publisher's Weekly)
"Two teenagers find salvation in each other in this music-tinged YA sci-fi novel.
Teen Davi is struck by a girl he sees at a glam and glitter rock concert. She isn’t exactly beautiful, but there is something that draws him to her. When he sees her leaving the Angelus—the once-great hotel founded by his great-grandfather and where Davi and his sister still live—he follows her and eventually introduces himself. She is Anna Z., and she’s a girl of a million interests and theories. The two quickly bond over their love of glam god Django Conn, whom Anna sees as the next stage in human evolution: “We’re homo lux. Humans made out of light just like in the movies and the late show on TV. That’s Django—and that’s us too.” Anna opens Davi’s eyes to ideas that he’s never before considered. Davi thinks he’s found a new best friend even though he receives warnings that Anna is not what she appears to be. Nevertheless, he is strongly tempted to join Anna on a pilgrimage to follow Django’s tour across the continent and to discover the secret of “Alien Drift,” a mysterious force that might have great implications for the future of humanity. Watts (Stonecutter, 2006, etc.) writes in an inventive, energetic prose that synthesizes slang and youthful earnestness to capture the personality of narrator Davi: “One half of me was zapped by seeing this girl, like a knife juiced with electricity cutting into my brain. She was gone, vanished, disappeared inside herself.” The world of the novel, from its language and geography to its layers of popular culture, is drawn with intricacy and vitality. Some of the plot points may feel a bit contrived, but the colorful verisimilitude of Davi and his infatuation with Anna should propel readers forward. Django is perhaps a bit too obviously a David Bowie analog, but Watts successfully captures not only the gravity of a teenage subculture, but also the more mercurial feeling of an axial generation on the cusp of something completely new.
A bighearted and imaginative tale about a glam god’s fans." -- (Kirkus review)
“Meet Me In The Strange. Indeed. Leander Watts renders this strange world, this exotic, futuristic, dangerous world, brilliantly. You can feel the power of the glister rock, the music that surges through the story, through the bodies and lives of Davi and Anna Z, transforming the pair and compelling them to take the biggest risk of their young lives. It is a story, richly detailed, where the real and the supernatural dance close. What secrets lie in the hidden corridors and back rooms of the majestic Angelus Hotel? What mysterious force in Django’s raw music captures and transforms Anna Z in spirit if not body? Davi must find out. Davi will find out. But threat bites at his heels around every turn.”(STEVE SHERRILL, author of The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break)
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