Review: The Perpetual Motion Club by Sue Lange


Publisher: IBPA
Publishing Date: August 2013
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 1.0/5.0

Publishers Description: Elsa Webb just wants to make it through her high school years with her dignity intact, but everyone – parents, teachers, basketball team – seems to be against her. She turns to the murky world of perpetual motion phenomena for answers. She starts a perpetual motion club and immerses herself in a strange, new scene filled with dubious characters intent on defying the laws of physics.

Review: This novel was intended for YA and consistently delivers in that regard. Novel is pretty focused on banter and diatribe between the nerdy/cloistered and myopic teen, Elsa and her “friends”. I am not sure whether the author is reliving her own past of stunted teen hormonal desires and self-justified anger or telling a tale. There is definitely a chip on her shoulder that sure comes through the story-line at the beginning that can only be generated by direct experience. Yet I may never really know what formative experiences shaped her motivational muse.

TPMC was a lengthy read about the day to day affairs of a young girl going through teen angst, and all it’s associated tedium. It involves reams of petty internalizations and justified recriminations tethered to blame. The only story line here was waiting for something to happen. YA novels should, IMO, build a framework of solutions for those that identify with the characters and their situations. Show the young reader a positive path of growth and maturity through the story-lines that they identify with. Cementing recriminatory behavior through a set of negative responses is no way to tell a story to impressionable people.

This story-line was not for me as there was none. However, the author’s prose (flow, logical progression) is very good. This was placed in the SciFi genre by the publisher/author. It is not SciFi. Teen/YA fiction is more accurate. SciFi should embrace a combination of attributes intrinsic to the genre like; new tech, alternate worlds/realities, new terms/definitions/language, constant movement/action, and usually some aliens/space travel (but not always). This novel embraced a known future in limited scope, with some tech that is not really a new idea, just re-invented to “not-work”.

I wanted to shoot myself a few times while reading this drivel and found myself skipping pages in order to escape the internal dialogue. The only notable portion of this book was the cover art that is somewhat inventive. This novel has no plot, a jumbled story-line involving hormones, no finale’ and weakly developed characters other than Elsa. The author could have built emotional intricacies between the characters that reached a positive catharsis and invested a large portion of the novel into actually developing new tech. The future in which the story takes place is mundane, in that the only things that separate our reality from the story is talking doors and punks wearing ads from sponsors. Oh right, it’s the same.

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