Twists and turns in a supernatural thriller

This book includes threats of sexual assault on a minor.

Joshua Scribner’s Resonance tell the tale of 11 year-old Rick and his older brother, Jonnie, living with their Uncle Rick and his son Luke after the sudden death of their parents. But beyond the pain of losing mom and dad, Rick’s life is turned on its head. Where once he lived with academically-inclined parents who encouraged and supported him, and who supported but did not really understand his older brother’s athleticism and drive, now he lives in a new family where academic performance is not appreciated, but athleticism is.

Still, Rick is introverted and not terribly concerned about being left alone. It appears he might even thrive in this new setting. That is, until things take a much darker turn and his physical well-being is threatened. At which point Rick begins to feel the Resonance.

While first coming off as a coming-of-age story, Resonance turns from this trope early on, becoming something far more sinister, with a side of supernatural trappings (more on this later).

The story is engaging, which is the real measure of a book. I wanted to keep reading, to know what happened next. The book leans hard into its supernatural thriller trope, climaxing in a series of plot twist-turns and landing in a satisfying victory for the good guys.

Or did it? You’ll have to read to find out.

Resonance fits well in a young-adult bookshelf, but there’s no reason an adult won’t enjoy this book. The struggles of a boy learning how to grow up in the complex and disturbing adult world are timeless, even if the settings in which this happens are not. Rick’s struggles are every boy’s struggle, at least to some degree. And who didn’t find the path to adulthood confusing and, at times at least, frightening?

Rick is fully-dimensioned. His mind is where Scribner sets us for the duration, and we come to know, understand, and care about him. The other characters are more flat, but in the mind of an 11 year-old, how could this be otherwise? The later chapters that involve Rick as a young adult, and beyond, become too fast-paced to reach into much character study, but that’s how thrillers go.

The final test for me as a reader is, did I want to keep reading? For Resonance, the answer is “yes.” If you like young adult themes mixed into supernatural thrillers that keep you on the edge of the seat, right up to the last sentence, then this book is for you.

PS: now you’ve read it, consider this. What if there is nothing supernatural going on in this novel at all? What if, instead, the events are all driven by mental health issues and folie à deux? Sets the entire book in a new light. Thus kim has spoken.