Book Review - FAIR COIN by E.C. Myers
Ephraim found his mother slumped over the kitchen table, her right hand curled around a half-empty bottle of vodka.
Ephraim’s mother claims the reason for her suicide attempt is because she recently identified her son’s dead body. Clearly not dead, Ephraim wants to blame the booze she constantly drowns herself in, but when he goes through the belongings of his mysterious deceased look alike, he comes across a rare coin. A coin that when flipped can grant wishes. Unfortunately, the odds are not always great. If the toss lands on heads, Ephraim gets his wish. A better mom, a date for his best friend, Nathan, and the eye of the girl Ephraim’s liked forever, Jena. Yet if it lands on tails, his wish may still sort of come true, though other bad stuff tends to happen. With this strange new power Ephraim can turn his life around, but only at the cost of everyone else around him.
FAIR COIN is the debut of E.C. Myers, a fresh talent that deserves recognition. If you want an old-school sci-fi read that harkens back to THE TWILIGHT ZONE days this novel is a must. He flawlessly blends together themes you would expect to see in something like this particularly the threat of an evil double and the possibility of time travel. He also creates a main character that we can all root for. A hero the underdogs will love, Ephraim is quick to learn that the magic of the coin may be far too advanced for him to keep toying with. He eventually tells Jena, whose love of all things fantasy, grants her an open mind to Ephraim’s confession. And with the risk of two Nathan’s running around, Ephraim is in a race to find answers. His unwillingness to use the coin all the time proves the strength of his character and the wishes he does make are—mostly—selfless as he only wants to help those around him.
Just when you think you know the answers and conclude how the story will play out…BOOM! Myers throws in a loop and a twist that not only deepens the mystery but also strengthens the plot. This is further proven in Myers’s writing style. Never once do the words feel forced. Instead, the writing is slick and easy to understand, especially when it gets into the scientific logic sections of the dialogue.
FAIR COIN also strangely contains an R.L. Stine GOOSEBUMPS appeal because readers know the minute Ephraim gets the coin things are not going to go as smoothly as he initially thinks. Yet comic relief is not far behind. The relationship between Ephraim and Nathan is amazingly realistic. There were plenty of moments when this reader laughed out loud during their banter. One example is when Nathan sneaks some candid pictures of Jena and her two best friends. “Pervert,” Ephraim says after viewing the shots. “You should be ashamed of yourself. Make sure you e-mail me a copy of that as soon as you get home.” Even Jena is a smart and empathic character. Being the love interest of the story’s protagonist, she could have easily slipped through the cracks, but Myers handles her brilliantly. Her intelligence is never played down as something bad. Instead, it proves helpful in Ephraim’s search to find answers. Jena spews out facts that aid Ephraim in his quest so she is not just some naïve girl sitting on the sidelines.
Overall, FAIR COIN is a breath of fresh air, a far cry from the endless dystopian and paranormal novels that have taken over the YA shelves. For those who like their science-fiction served in the real world where we know our limits, yet believe in the possibility of magic and more, this book is for you. Myers does a fantastic job of keeping the plot rooted to reality while also making us fear the power Ephraim holds in his hand. And it’s the mystery of the coin—and the eventual truth—that will lead readers into the next book, which this hubber can’t wait to get her hands on. Perhaps if I find a magic coin of my own . . .