Malin’s #CBR4 Review # 51: Fair Coin by E.C. Myers
Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is used to depressing home comings, with his alcoholic mother frequently too drunk for her own good. But when he finds her clutching a bottle of pills, having tried to kill herself, he is horrified. His mother seems deeply confused to see him, claiming the reason for her suicide attempt is that she identified his dead body earlier that day. Strange as this is, things take a turn for the stranger when Ephraim finds a strange coin among the belongings his mother was given from his mysterious double. When he flips the coin, and makes a wish, the coin goes hot, and grants the wish.
Ephraim can have a stable, supportive hard working mother, he can make the girl he’s fancied since second grade like him – but as well as granting him wishes, the coin seems to change subtle things all around him as well. Is the coin actually magic? And is it wrong of Ephraim to use the coin to fulfil his dreams and desires, with no thought to the people who are also affected by the outcome of his wishes?
Fair Coin has a very cool concept, and Ephraim’s a likable young protagonist. As interesting as the premise was, I didn’t necessarily love the execution all the way through. I don’t know if it’s my general trouble of rooting more for male characters than female, it’s happened before, it will likely happen again. I did think Ephraim should have thought his actions through a bit more, and that many of his early decisions were made without thinking things through – but having an unpredictable alcoholic parent can drive anyone to desperation, and to his credit, once he realises that the coin doesn’t always change things for the better, and his coin flips can have serious repercussions, he tries to stop, and set things right.
There’s quite a bit of suspense as the novel progresses, I guess I just didn’t like the turn the plot took after a while. Some of it just made me a bit uncomfortable, and I’m not sure I entirely liked the resolution of the book. Still, it’s nice to see young adult books doing something a bit different from the Harry Potter/Twilight/dystopian future thing, and I’m not ruling out that I’ll check out Myers’ future books.