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Young Adult Fiction 1202
Dead Flip
(Updated: June 15, 2022)
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What worked: Stranger Things meets Stephen King. Only in this novel, it's a twelve-year-old boy who gets sucked into a supernatural pinball machine. There are tons of late 80s/early 90s references throughout this novel. Basically, though it's a novel about friendships and what one would do to help a friend that goes missing.

The novel bounces back and forth in time. First it's 1988 when Cori, Maz, and Sam are twelve-year-olds and best friends. Readers find out that even though the friends were close, things were changing in their lives. Sam was supposed to be moving away and resents that Cori wants to be with others. Rob, a store owner, shows the kids a pinball machine he purchased from an estate. Things then go very wrong.

Six years later Sam shows up again. Only time hasn't changed for him as he's still twelve years old while everyone else are seniors in high school. Maz starts noticing there is something 'off' with his childhood friend. Some people get hurt and others start to disappear.

There is a total Stranger Things vibe in this novel and I couldn't help but think of Stephen King's novel Christine-the one with the possessed creepy car. Only in this case, the pinball machine has its own secret. A secret Sam brings with him when he reappears in his now older friends' lives.

Good pacing throughout. The one thing that did take me out of the story was all the references to 1989 and 1993. It was almost too much.

The friendship between the three evolves after Sam's disappearance. There's also Cori's struggle with her sexuality and becoming true to herself. Maz is the friend who had distanced himself and only when Sam shows up again, does he reach out to Cori for her help.

Sam is that one kid who tries to be the class clown. As a twelve-year-old, that might have worked, but it felt almost too forced when he reappeared.

And finally, the horror of the pinball machine could have been more. I almost was hoping it would be. It's more subtle throughout, kind of like Goosebumps from the 1990s.

Stranger Things meets Stephen King with a dash of paranormal Stand by Me. Mostly though it's a story of friendships and the lengths one will go through to help a friend.
Good Points
1. Stranger Things meets Stephen King
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