Reviewed by Jenna
TITLE: A Little Bit Langston
AUTHOR: Andrew Demcak
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 204 Pages
Being different is a challenge, especially for James Kerr.
He’s no average teenager. James begins to channel a dead writer’s poetry and then discovers he has the power to manipulate electricity. At the same time, romantic feelings for his best friend, Paul Schmitz, make him realize he’s gay. But he has little time to explore the drastic changes in his life before heartbreak strikes at the hands of Paul’s violent father. James is sent to The Paragon Academy, an institute specializing in juvenile paranormal research. There he meets Lumen Kim, the mysterious daughter of a famous Korean actress. Lumen’s psychic ability might just be the thing that helps James unlock the secrets of both his poems and the origins of his supernatural talents.
This book started strong, and I was immediately hooked on the mystery of James’s powers. The story begins when James and his best friend, Paul, are studying together for school. They have to write a poem for class, but when James thinks of something to write, he goes into a trance-like state and writes words down on the paper. The resulting poem is spectacular, but James turns it in only to be accused of plagiarism. His teacher points out that the poem belongs to the famous, but deceased poet, James Langston. James professes his innocence, but they don’t believe him until he displays the phenomena again. which results in him writing another famous poem. A hint of romance begins between Paul and James before James goes away to the special academy. After the academy, all sort of crazy things happen to them and they find themselves in the middle of a government conspiracy.
I really liked the beginning of this book. James’s psychic abilities were intriguing and I was drawn to the budding romance between him and Paul. However once Paul gets into a confrontation with his father, everything just seemed to go haywire. The story went from being in the realm of possibility to being pure fantasy. Though I’m a fan of fantasy, the sudden shift from plausible reality to fantasy threw me off. Despite being somewhat disillusioned, I liked how the author used government conspiracy theories as a loose framework for the plot. I’m familiar with the details of a lot of the conspiracies, so it was interesting and at times a bit frightening to read the author’s twists on them. Even though the romance is far from being central to the story-line, I was also pleased with the happy ending. I’m not sure if there will be a sequel, but it ended in a way that seemed to leave it open for the possibility.