Sixteen-year-old Seth Quitman has a problem: No one will help him. At all. For any reason. You literally wouldn’t give him the time of day, because that would be helping. If he can’t do it alone, he can’t do it at all.
Seth’s is only the latest generation to inherit this curse, which has passed down through his mother’s line for over a hundred years. They can’t even help one another, although they manage a loophole by exchanging bags of beans for favors. (Infants can be helped…the curse doesn’t set in until full childhood, about 7 or 8.)
Well, Seth is fed up. He wants to be an engineer, but how can he go to college without recommendations? No one would help him like that. In the first chapter, he misses the bus and simply wants a ride home, but what would be simple enough for the rest of us turns into a nightmare.
So Seth, against the advice and urging of his family, goes to the source: The curse keeper, Jerry Larsh. The last time a member of his family tried such a thing, he was given an extra curse of insanity.
This was a fun adventure, and it was interesting to consider just how much humans do rely upon one another for help, and how difficult it would be to completely rely upon oneself. Seth and Chloe, a girl who sticks her nose in his business, were both good characters. They even had a sweet minor romantic subplot going through things.The magic in this book was subtle and well done.
My only problem with this book was that I felt like it could have used a bit more polish, and a bit more editing. For this reason, I found it difficult to get into the story at first. Credibility was a problem (for that reason), and I spent a lot of time in the early chapters doubting the curse or how it could possibly work. When we found out that infants don’t inherit the curse until they’re older, that helped ease many of my issues. (Mother of two young children here, and trust me, they need help! I’m not even sure my son, who’s six, would be able to go solo in a year or two. 🙂 )
But I will say that in the end, my doubts were addressed, and that the story itself was very good. I read the second half of this book in one sitting. I recommend this to teens and young adult fans.
Title: Family Skulls
Author: Luc Reid
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published December 21, 2011
Note: This book is currently only available as an eBook.