A teenage boy discovers a coin that can change his life with every flip in this Andre Norton Award–winning sci-fi fantasy for young adult readers.
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 had just identified Ephraim’s body at the morgue that day.
Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—one that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent or catch the eye of the girl he’s had a crush on 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 improves his own. Now Ephraim must learn to control the power of the coin before his luck runs out.
Winner of the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy Book
Finalist of the 2013 Compton Crook Award and 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award)
Myers' debut begins with an intriguing premise, but ultimately falls short. Teenager Ephraim Scott's mother is distraught when she is called to identify her son's dead body, the shock of which impels her to commit suicide. However, Ephraim returns home and wakes her up before she succumbs to the combination of pills and liquor. Later, going through the belongings of his deceased doppelganger, Ephraim discovers a mysterious coin. With a flip, this magic coin grants Ephraim's wishes (e.g., that his mother would reform her ways; that the girl of his dreams would notice him), but with a price each wish transports Ephraim into a parallel universe (which explains the dead lookalike). When an enemy from another universe shows up looking to take advantage of the coin, Ephraim must harness the coin's power to stop him and get back to his "home reality." Myers' concept is gripping and thought-provoking, but he stumbles between too many characters and twists, and the layering of multiple universes minimizes the emotional impact of characters' decisions, conflicts, and deaths.