I read a lot. Looking at my Goodreads profile, I’ve completed one hundred and two books so far this year. When one reads this much, one diversifies. There really isn’t any genre (including non-fiction) that I’ll eschew. But of course, there are those books that are easy, quick reads and those that fall into a category that I think I’ve aptly named the “bitter pill” books. You know the expression, yes? “It was a bitter pill to swallow?”
These books are those that are most excellent books, but for some reason or another are sometimes difficult to read. There were parts of Tex that definitely fit into that category.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. This is an amazing book. It’s easily worth 5 stars. I think you should read it. But the subject matter is sometimes difficult and disturbing. You see, Tex is a book that delves quite heavily into the subject of bullying.
Tex, the narrator and main character, is a high school sophomore who has just discovered that he is, indeed, a witch. He inherited these powers from his deceased mother and when he finally learns of his birthright, he’s suitably confused. He’s a great character. Though he’s a teenager, he’s one of the good guys. He’s smart, kind of funny, loves his wheelchair bound dad, his deceased mother, and stands by his friends. But he’s not at all popular. He’s a target of some of the most horrible bullying I’ve read. In this, Tex is a “bitter pill” book.
But there’s also some amazing banter, a thrilling whodunit, and some very interesting uses of magic in the book. There were pages that simply flew by due to how well it was written and pages that I had to stop and take a break-again because of how well written and well described some of these bullying scenes were.
The supporting characters: Tex’s dad, his mother (in flashbacks), and Olivia each had their own voices. I loved Olivia. She was irreverent, funny, daring, and nearly fearless at times. She might have been my favorite character in the book. I even loved Red, though honestly, I’m not sure I’d want my (imaginary) teenagers hanging out in his boiler room.
Once Tex learned about his birthright and started discovering how to use his magic, the book takes off. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry while reading, and you’ll cheer for the underdogs. Adults will enjoy a fantastic book, full of emotion, intrigue, and a murder-mystery. Teens will see a bullied sophomore who stands up for his friends, loves his father, honors his mother, and survives despite overwhelming odds. Be warned that some scenes might be difficult to read, but I urge you to get through them. They’re difficult for a reason. Bullying is a terrible problem in our society and this book tackles it with equal measures of respect and horror. An important story for sure.
5 out of 5 stars.
Where to find Stuart and more information about his books.
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