Utopia, Iowa

Featured
 
3.7 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1769 1
Utopia, Iowa
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 10, 2015
ISBN
978-0763665333
Buy This Book
      

Jack Bell has an unusual gift—or curse, depending on your point of view. And he’s not the only one. In Utopia, Iowa, anything can happen. For the most part, aspiring screenwriter Jack Bell is just your typical Midwestern kid. He’s got a crush on his hot best friend, Ash. He’s coping with a sudden frostiness between his once crazy-in-love parents. He’s debating where to go to college next year—or whether to go at all. But then there’s his gift (or curse): Jack can see dead people, just like the kid in The Sixth Sense. Lately, the ghosts are more distracting than usual, demanding that Jack get to the bottom of their mysterious deaths—all while avoiding the straitlaced Detective Bloodsmith, who doesn’t believe in gifts or curses and can’t help wondering why Jack keeps turning up at crime scenes. Is there a happily-ever-after in Jack’s future, or is that only the stuff of movies?

Editor reviews

2 reviews

He sees dead people
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jack Bell wants to write screen plays for movies, but he doesn't necessarily want to leave his small hometown. Home to a college of magic, and filled with people with a variety of magical talents, Utopia is the place where Jack feels most comfortable. When a college girl is killed and appears to Jack (since he can see ghosts), he gets drawn into the investigation. Detective Bloodsmith is a big suspicious of Jack, especially after a girl from his school is also killed, and Jack was the last person she called. Jack keeps having weird dreams, and his gradmother, who is a which, tries to help him out until she has a stroke. Or is it a stroke? An age old, evil goddess seems to be on the loose, and the girls may have been targeted. Mix in drama with Brian's friend, Ash, in whom he is slightly romantically interested, drama with Jack's parents, who love each other but fight over money, and unknown evil that may strike again, and Brian has a lot to keep him busy!

The small town setting on this is quite fun, and the side story with Brian's father running the unsuccessful bar, Field of Dreams, was interesting. Most books set in small towns concentrate on people wanting to leave, so it was refreshing that Jack wanted to stay. His relationship with Ash seemed realistic, and I appreciated how the police did suspect him when he kept turning up at the sites of murders. In most books, the detectives are rather ignored, which seems unlikely. In the end, there are some twists about the murders, both with real characters and the paranormal ones.

My only quibble with the book was that I could not buy into Jack's desire to write screen plays. The only hints we have that he is interested in movies are his brief descriptions of movies and screen play ideas throughout the book as they relate to situations, which get a bit annoying. There is one f-bomb, in a screenplay description.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Utopia, Iowa
(Updated: January 30, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
What worked: This is a quirky tale set in an equally quirky town where most of the residents have some kind of paranormal ability. Reminded me of a TV series I really loved back in the 90s--Eerie, Indiana. Only in Utopia, Iowa the protagonist is a teen boy who sees dead people.

The characters are interesting enough--Jack's banter with his best friend Ash are hilarious at times. Jack's family is quirky too and are supportive even his Gram who I know I wouldn't want to have on my bad side or else she'd visit my dreams! His father has big dreams too with a bar that doesn't seem to be profitable, a younger sister who loves old sitcoms, and a number of other equally colorful characters add to the charm of this paranormal tale. Plus, thow in a murder mystery to the mix for a fun read.

What I had issues with was how abrupt some of the writing felt. The movie trivia felt forced and jarred me out of an otherwise fun paranormal. I know that the movie references(and there are a lot) shows readers Jack's desire to be a screenwriter. Still, I felt that less would have been more with this story line.

Finally, I'm a huge sucker for ghost tales and I wanted more interactions with the dead and more emotion feels. For example, I loved the interactions between Jack and Ash. She's colorful enough and readers can feel the chemistry between them. Also it was refreshing to have a family that loved each other even with their disagreements(like Jack's mother not too happy with his father's bar venture).

A quirky visit to a quirky town where paranormal is the norm, this tale is sure to be perfect for those who love a fun ghost tale.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

We Set the Dark on Fire
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are...
The Education of Margot Sanchez
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this...
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In her first middle-grade novel, award-winning picture book author and...
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sarai Gonzalez is AWESOME. ...
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the award-winning author of The First Rule of Punk...
With the Fire on High
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
by Elizabeth Acevedo (Goodreads Author) 4.31 ...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Four girls. One unforgettable July. ...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
The definitive collection of British and Irish folktales from master...
The Fowl Twins (The Fowl Twins, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
One week after their eleventh birthday, the Fowl twins--scientist Myles,...
Kai and the Monkey King (Brownstone's Mythical Collection, #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Kai grows tired of her bookish mum not being...
Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines (Astro Kittens)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Greetings, my little Astro Kittens! Are you ready to take...
Astro Kittens: Into the Unknown (Astro Kittens)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Greetings, my little Astro Kittens! Are you ready to take...

Latest Member Reviews

Adaptive
 
4.8
"The story: Lune Avery has survived the Elite Trials and escaped the clutches of her tyrant father,..."
 
4.8
"This darker and grittier sequel of Issaura's Claws, steers readers on a journey outside the kingdom of Elysia into the..."
Winter's Captive
 
5.0
"YA fantasy has always been my favorite. However, the past few months, I'd been in a slump. I struggled getting..."
The Fractured Empire
 
5.0
"I don’t know where to start! The Fractured Empire by Robin D. Mahle is the first in the World Apart..."
Tin Men
 
4.8
"Tin Men by Amalie Jahn The story: After losing his estranged father, Charlie Johnson’s..."
Tin Men
 
4.5
"Would you risk your future to discover your past? What I Loved: The premise of..."
Perfectly You
 
4.3
"What I loved: Ivy's character is strong, driven, and even a bit inconsiderate at times. Giving her character flaws..."
COLD DAY IN THE SUN
 
4.3
"An adorable story that has a lot to say. The story: Holland is the only..."
Lily and the Wedding Date Mistake
 
4.0
"'Lily and the Wedding Date Mistake' by Seven Steps is a story of friendship lost and found between main characters..."
Bea and the Bad Boy
 
4.8
"'Bea and the Bad Boy' by Anna Catherine Field is a page-turning story that evolves from two people who don't..."
Igloo High
 
3.8
"'Igloo High' by Jacinthe Dessureault has many of the typical aspects that young adult novels contain, including a popular girl,..."
Super Powers
 
4.5
"The story: Hot on the heels of the event of Super Humans (Book One), we get inside..."
Perfectly Oblivious
 
4.3
"This was a sweet high school love story centered around basketball and missed intentions. What I liked: ..."
The Kilwade Tragedy
 
5.0
"Before I start this review, I do want to let you all know that this book is trigger heavy. The..."
Colliding Skies
 
4.3
" What I loved: The cover, obviously, is gorgeous and eye catching. Skye's character is a genuine..."
Kismet and Karma
 
5.0
"The other side of the story. The Story: We finally get to see just what happened..."
Fate and Fortune
 
5.0
"Such a cute story. The Story: Paige is heartbroken after her boyfriend of two years..."
Oberon Academy Book One: The Orphan
 
4.5
"This is a promising start to an exciting new fae series! What I loved: The writing style is..."
Bea and the Bad Boy
 
3.8
"When Bea's best friend Katherine and twin brother Atticus start dating, she feels betrayed and can't stand to see them..."
The C Word
 
5.0
"Addison and Julian have history between them that neither like to talk about. Things changed after that fateful night of..."