Exit PLans For Teenage Freaks – Nathan Burgoine
Being the kid abducted by old Ms. Easton when he was four permanently set Cole’s status to freak. At seventeen, his exit plan is simple: make it through the last few weeks of high school with his grades up and his head down.
When he pushes through the front door of the school and finds himself eighty kilometers away holding the door of a museum he was just thinking about, Cole faces facts: he’s either more deluded than old Ms. Easton, or he just teleported.
Now every door is an accident waiting to happen―especially when Cole thinks about Malik, who, it turns out, has a glass door on his shower. When he starts seeing the same creepy people over his shoulder, no matter how far he’s gone, crushes become the least of his worries. They want him to stop, and they’ll go to any length to make it happen.
Cole is running out of luck, excuses, and places to hide.
Time for a new exit plan.
Ever had a dream where you’re suddenly in a public place with no clothes on?
That could very well be Cole’s reality when he suddenly gained the ability to teleport and he needed to get it under control fast! Teleportation is one of my top five must-have superpowers and like Cole, I’d have my fun with it too but we could all do without the creepy guys watching our every move.
The way teleportation was used in this book was closer to magic realism than full blown fantasy because it was hardly focused on majority of the book. It was more like just another skill Cole needed to work on on top of academics and art. At some points, it felt inconsequential on the face of the everyday events Cole and his friends dealt with. It even occurred to me, this subplot was just there to give the book an extra something because without it, it would simply be a typical LGBT-themed YA.
It took me a while to totally get into the story. It started slow for me then picked up when I was a third in. What I really enjoyed the most were the people and their relationships. I really loved Cole’s parents and I am happy to see a teenager who has a happy and contented relationship with his parents since many teenagers in books and movies seemed to complain about their parents. The Rainbow Club is a joy and even Grayson, the one they complained about, did good. Cole and Alec’s friendship are goals, Malik is a sweetheart and I want Candace in my corner. The representations were awesome and genuine. I think the only thing missing was a dog.
The story zooms back to the teleportation part on the last 30% of the book. Cole finally meet the creepy people face to face, did some gutsy moves then poof! it ended just when him and Malik were heading somewhere fun. I don’t know if the book has a sequel, I hope it does. The way things ended between them, I think he might hear from other teleporters in the future. Also, I want to go places with Cole and Malik.
Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks deals with a lot of things, from sexuality, growing up, career plans, disabilities to discovering you have superpowers. Some of these were well-developed and I particularly liked the inclusion of ASL in the novel, something the author knows first hand. Other aspects were either rushed or tossed around then left open such as Grayson and Alec’s conflict, Alec and Ben or that year-end party that was mentioned here and there but not shown. These asides and casual mentions reflects real life conversations but in a book, they’re kind of frustrating.
Another plus for me is that while the book is about a gay teen, it is not about coming out and all the LGBT+ teens were happy being themselves. Overall, I enjoyed the book and I think most people would also like the positive relationships, the diversity, and realistic portrayal of teenagers.
I received a copy of Exit Plans For Teenage Freaks from Bold Strokes Books via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love