The moment before 15-year-old Jacob Fielding loses his foster father in a violent crash, he inherits an unusual power that alters his reality and changes his views on life and death. Jacob is the main character of "Thirteen Days to Midnight," the newest novel by Patrick Carman released this month.
Best known for his nationally best-selling "Land of Elyon" series for young readers, Carman, a Walla Walla resident, is exploring young adult fiction for the first time with "Thirteen Days to Midnight."
The book begins with the hero, Jacob, posing a simple question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Whatever the possibilities, Jacob has an unusual ability that tempts him to flirt with life and death while also unlocking the secrets of his guardian's past.
The book is a suspense-filled read filled with plenty of teen angst, some stomach-turning action scenes, some deep moral questions and even some romance.
The story will easily hook young fans of science fiction who have reflected on the inevitable struggle that any superhero eventually faces. Set in the present time in Salem, Ore., "Thirteen Days to Midnight" was released Monday.
Younger Carman fans can expect a new series of books in May that combine traditional literature with online interaction.
"Trackers" is Carman's latest merging of fiction in book form accompanied by interactive online videos. Carman first explored the multimedia publishing with his "Skeleton Creek" books, which require readers to unlock clues to advance the plot through online videos. With 300,000 "Skeleton Creek" books in print, Carman is looking to follow that success with the "Trackers" series, which launches May 11 with a first printing of 100,000 copies. The books are published by Scholastic Inc.
Inspired by today's tech-savvy youth, the plot of "Trackers" is another nod to the wired generation. It follows the online adventures of four youths who get entangled with a powerful and dangerous hacker.
Throughout "Trackers," readers will be asked to go online to unlock the videos that play out some of the story's most action-packed scenes.
Carman held online casting calls through his Walla Walla-based PC Studios to cast the young actors who will portray Adam, Finn, Lewis and Emily.
"Trackers" is geared for middle school grades, while "Thirteen Days to Midnight" is for more mature young readers.