A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lisa Bunker's Felix Yz is a science fiction novel about a 13-year-old boy with an alien melded inside his body. Structured as a series of blog posts counting down to the date of a dangerous medical procedure, the novel follows Felix as he contends with a bully, learns about chess, makes new friends, and discovers family secrets. Characters have different ideas about gender and sex, but each is treated with compassion and understanding. There's a little swearing ("hell"), a little romantic attraction, a small amount of physical violence, and a lot of unpredictable action.
What's the story?
As FELIX YZ begins, the title character has only 29 days before he undergoes a medical procedure that may either cure him or kill him. Each day, he posts a blog entry addressing his fears, his difficulties at school, his arguments with his family, and most of all the experience of having a hyper-intelligent alien entity from the fourth dimension melded inside his body. As the days dwindle away, Felix reaches out to new friends, tries new activities, and builds the strength to face his fate with dignity and bravery.
Is it any good?
Sometimes it's the main character's voice that draws the reader in, and this clever and compassionate science fiction tale boasts a talkative protagonist who's hard to resist. In Felix Yz, author Lisa Bunker doesn't pay much attention to the science behind Felix's multidimensional plight, but she creates a cast of offbeat characters who act as fascinating foils for stressed-out Felix. Serious issues, such as gender-switching and bullying, are treated with respect and usually a light, humorous touch.
Felix is someone adventurous middle school readers will relate to, and his story will capture hearts and open minds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Felix Yz addresses the issue of gender. Do the characters in the novel have differing ideas about whom they should be attracted to?
Felix is picked on by a bully at school. What are some successful strategies for dealing with bullies?
One character in Felix Yz dresses differently on alternating days of the week. Do you think it's OK for men to wear women's clothes and vice versa, if they want to?
- Author: Lisa Bunker
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: June 6, 2017
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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