Friday, September 30, 2016

The Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz

The Hidden Truth

Paperback: N pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition ()
ISBN-13: 978-1532712937
Kindle: 2028 KB
Publication Date: May 31, 2016)
Complimentary review copy
Available on Amazon

Alternate History YA Thriller

This is a great book to feature this week since it uses as a theme a unique take on book banning. The book is set in an alternate America where Gore won the 2000 election and was killed in the 9/11 attack on the White House. Everything is just slightly different from our world, which is one of my favorite kinds of alternate history stories. For one thing, there is no Google, instead there is a quasi-government Omnitia.

The main character is Peter, a bright High School boy with a pretty cool family in what is basically Sticksville Tennessee. His engineer dad supports his goal of becoming a scientist by giving him a lot of summer homework and self-study. Peter stumbles on an odd discrepancy between what's in an old physics book in the local library and the digital version that Omnitia has on the web. His natural curiosity about this draws him and his family into a dangerous global conspiracy.

Despite this being alternate history - a lot of the historical events really happened in our actual history, as the afterword explains. Also very accurate, from what I gather, are the various techniques that Pete and his computer geek friend Amit use to access the internet anonymously. Quite educational, really.

I really liked how the main character narrates his story. He feels like a real teen, albeit an exceptionally smart one. He's curious about the world, he's curious about girls, and best of all he isn't angsty. I like how he's a product of his upbringing and environment, and I enjoyed the small-town Tennessee setting with all the old feuds and alliances.

I also liked how the story hums along for a bit and then the plot just rapidly escalates. It gives the reader time to get interested in the alternate setting and intrigued by the mystery before events suddenly take over. Speaking of the mystery, you should know that the story ends with a clear need for a sequel. Let's hope that arrives soon.

The Hidden Truth is different, it's interesting, it's highly readable. It's a clean, exciting read that will have you thinking, and I recommend it to both teens and adults.

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