YOU MEET THE NICEST PEOPLE IN THE LOBBY OF A PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL. The author of Dead Connection proves that what goes on in our minds just may be the scariest thing of all.
Ben Mander's junior year is derailed when his mentally ill mother erupts in the school office. Visiting her in the psych hospital, Ben meets Marco, who also has a mentally ill mother. Marco tells a story that turns Ben's idea of reality upside down. Soon, the story begins to uncomfortably mirror Ben's own life. Lizard People races along the edge of madness as Ben wrestles with his greatest fear--that deep within him lie the seeds of his own insanity.
Readers who enjoy a novel with a subversive streak will relish the gamesmanship in this idiosyncratic, genre-hopping story from the author of Dead Connection. As the novel begins, Ben Mander, a junior, rushes into the high school office, where his psychotic mother, in the middle of a loud, delusional episode, is attacking a secretary: "She... is a Lizard!" All but abandoned by his father, Ben feels a kinship with Marco, a youth he meets in the lobby of the psychiatric hospital as both wait for their mothers to be admitted. Price takes care with the details the father's slow backing away, the social workers and their limits, hospital and insurance policies and he slowly builds a sense of Ben's growing isolation and immersion in adult problems. Meanwhile, Ben meets Marco again, and becomes engrossed in the stories Marco tells, about a future 2,000 years away that offers hope for people like Ben's mother but that also overlaps, to an alarming degree, with the substance of Ben's mother's delusions. The pace quickens and the plot grows increasingly complex as the author blurs (for readers as well as for Ben) the distinctions between Ben's experiences and his expectations that they are valid, that he has not crossed over into his mother's illness. Raising questions about time travel and using extremes of mental health, Price's story taps into classic teenage feelings of alienation and gives them an original exploration. Ages 12-up.