Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she’d identified Ephraim’s body at the hospital that day. Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he’s liked since second grade. But the coin doesn’t always change things for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people’s lives as easily as it rebuilds his own. The coin could give Ephraim everything he’s ever wanted—if he learns to control its power before his luck runs out.
E.C. Myers weaves great charcterization to the story. It is hard to go into detail without giving to much of the plot twists away.This is e one of ty things I truly enjoyed about the story. It is a different type of young adult book. It is great for readers looking for a change of pace from the dystopian and fantasy books. It delves into some complex science theories but Myers makes it easy to understand. Th characters in the book do a good job at translating the science for readers to understand.
I am glad to hear that there is a book 2 in th making. I am curious to see where Myers takes the series. How much of the world is touched by the power of the coin and the power it has over th laws of science. Can't wait to find out!
There seemed to be a lot of emphasis placed upon the "magic" the coin held and whether or not it landed on heads or tails which I found somewhat confusing. Later on we find out the true significance of the coin's "powers" which left me feeling super dumb. LOL! Why? because there's a whole lotta sciencey stuff that goes into it that uses big words like, quantum shifts, Physics, analog and gyrocompass and my brain just wasn't built to process those. However, this concept of parallel universes and doppelgangers would be a no-brainer for my twelve year old science whiz. :)
There is a lot for the main character, Ephraim to consider because each time he "flips" into another universe, he's not just changing things for himself, he's affecting another "him" and everyone else around him. A lot happens, both good and bad, and he and his traveling companions have to consider that just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should, nor does it make it right.
That my friends, is exactly when the book gets really interesting! When Ephraim discovers what the coin is really about, what it really does, the book blossoms into something brand new. I refuse to spoil this for you, and so you won't hear from me what happens. What I will say is that I applaud E.C. Meyers for taking such an abstract concept and putting it so simply that I was able to stay immersed in the story. It's almost like two separate stories were merged seamlessly into one. At this point I was glued to the pages. I warn you, this isn't a book you can read only a chapter at a time.
Another thing I wholeheartedly loved about Fair Coin were the moral dilemmas that pop up in this book. It's going to be a bit hard to explain without spoiling, but I'll try my best. Imagine that you could have anything that you want. Would that make it okay to take it? What if what you wanted caused someone else to loose something that they already had? These are the type of issues that Ephraim comes upon in this story, and I can't say enough how much I loved the way that E.C. Meyers addressed them. His characters have a conscience, and it made all the difference in the world.
As you can tell from this long, rambling review, I really loved this book! Fair Coin is a refreshingly unique read. It's a story that takes you from fantasy into science fiction and back again, and it does it seamlessly. I loved the characters, I loved the concept, and most of all I loved how immersed I was in the story. Thank you to E.C. Meyers for changing up my YA reads! When the second in the series comes out, I'll be there to devour it. You can count on that.
The first half of Fair Coin was a bit slow-going. I liked Myers' writing, but I was hoping for more from the concept and characters. Well, let me just say that the book really takes off in the second half, which I'll talk about later on, as that bit might be somewhat spoilerific. For now, I want to talk about the characters, which may be somewhat complicated, since after every wish the same people are a bit different.
Ephraim, our hero, really is not very heroic, especially early on. Sure, I just talked about how I would totally go gaga for a magic coin and make the most of it, but Ephraim makes wishes like they're about to go out of style. Where some people might have a natural, healthy skepticism about this object and how beneficial and trustworthy it is, Ephraim just sort of assumes that it will grant his wishes and everything will be awesome. He also has very little conscience about some of the things that he wishes, totally willing to mess with others for his own gain at first. It even takes him a surprisingly long time to start worrying even after he notices changes unrelated to his wishes occurring. He came across as selfish and naive. By the end, though, he was showing more promise and thoughtfulness, thank goodness. Besides, that attitude might actually be more realistic than the logical responses I would hope to see.
Nathan, Ephraim's best friend, is simply awful. I don't like the guy in any of his iterations, and he is one of the characters who changes the most from wish to wish. Whether he's popular or a nerd, he creeps me out, and I think Ephraim's affection for Nathan is one of my issues with him as an MC. Nathan is a character straight out of a manga: the nerdy, awkward perv who takes photos of all of the girls chests and butts slyly on his phone camera. If you don't read manga, just believe me that that character shows up quite a bit. I've never encountered anyone like that in school here, and so he just comes off as a major sleaze, especially since he wants to date both of the hot twins.Yes, there are hot twins, Mary and Shelley. I love their names, though; they make me chuckle.
The other character you need to know about is Jena, the object of Ephraim's romantic desires. She, too, I have issues with, because she really just did not seem like a real person to me. In theory, I should love Jena Kim. She's Asian, dreams of being a librarian (awesome, but good luck to her finding a job), loves to read, and is a big nerd. However, she's a bit too much the nerdy boy's fantasy; she's ALL of the things a nerd would dream of packed into one person, and it just feels like too much to be real. For example, at a morning assembly, she receives awards for 'National Honor Society, Science Scholar, Math Scholar,' and, not only that, everyone cheers for her, including wolf whistles from the football team. This girl, who wears glasses and constantly switches up the frames, who works in the library for fun, who participates voluntarily in Quiz Bowl, is one of the most popular and attractive girls in school. Maybe this happened in your school, but mine had a pretty clear divide between the nerds and the popular people.
I will say that the characterization strengthened in the second half as well, although there's still room to grow. I found myself much more interested in their problems by the end than I was at the beginning. Possibly, this is all a result of Ephraim's growth, as he learns how little changes in a person can make a big distinction, thus better understanding those around him and appreciating what makes them unique and beloved.
Alright, now with that aside, I want to talk a little bit about the second half of the book. Just a little. READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION, as this will include some spoilers, although these comments would not have been for me. I either heard along the way or just suspected the plot was going sort of in this direction.
Fair Coin's second half reminds me heavily of Sliders, a television show from the 90s that I thought was awesome in its nerdiness. The mechanics, of course, are quite different, but the alternate universe jumping is so cool. I love that and I love how that makes anything possible. The mechanism by which this occurs still confuses me, but Myers has set this up convincingly enough that I'm willing to roll with the flow. Plus, more might be explained in Quantum Coin.
Everything wraps up neatly at the end of Fair Coin, so I'm certainly curious to know where the story will be heading in the next installment. Though Fair Coin did not grab me immediately, I was ultimately satisfied and glad to have gotten the chance to read it. For those who might be struggling a bit at first, if you enjoy thought-provoking science fiction reads, I would urge you to press on for the shift in the second half of the book.