4 out of 4 stars
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The novel Emergence: Luctor et Emergo by Kristopher Driver is the captivating story of Justin, a Canadian teenager of extraordinary intelligence trying to survive in the low-income area of town. Armed without a father, a drug-addled mother, and a high school that feels him an inconvenience, Justin is struggling to understand how to thrive without the resources that others get while growing up. His superior intellect is both a blessing and a curse. Justin's internal struggle to decide whether or not to resort to crime to gain a better life is the main subject of the book, with his friends and family providing comfort and a main reason for the bad choices.
Justin is provided an opportunity to attend a technical school to gain his computer technician certificate simultaneously alongside his high school diploma, and he jumps at the chance. A series of terrible choices made along with school work together in a weird way, providing Justin the stability to eventually become a successful adult. Will he continue to make bad choices? Will his luck run out? Will his mother stop forcing him to make these choices? Only time will tell in this stunning book.
This book is incredible. It is the best book I've read this year. Justin is such an enigma as the main character, and his faults make me sympathize with him. The author does an outstanding job writing from Justin's perspective, using difficult words to get the point across that he is extremely intelligent. As we get to know the main character more and as he deals with specific experiences that show him that he is not the most intelligent human being on the planet, the author models this in the simpler word choices. I find myself simultaneously rooting for Justin to both succeed and also get caught for his poor decisions, walking this tightrope of realistic situations.
The author also does an amazing job providing wonderful imagery to set a background for the story. I visualized myself there in Justin's neighborhood, imaging the muted tones of run-down houses, neglected parks, and shoddy schools. My heart breaks for Justin's mom as she struggles so much to provide for her son and daughter, and resorting to drugs and alcohol when she cannot. Justin commits one of the worst sins you can imagine, but the author somehow portrays it that I understood why he did it and did not judge him negatively for it.
I give Emergence: Luctor et Emergo 4 out of 4 stars for its smooth writing flow, superb imagery, and excellent characters. I recommend this book for any mature reader looking for a realistic storyline about a character with deep flaws but a sincere heart.
Emergence: Luctor et Emergo
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