The Avocadonine and Spring Stone – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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Patrick Barnes

In Patrick Barnes’ The Avocadonine and Spring Stone, Rey Naresh visits a psychic and receives a cryptic reading about his future. Then, as he’s entering the ninth grade, Rey learns that some of his classmates are hearing humming noises emitting from their electronics. With the help of his friends, Rey investigates the anomaly, uncovering a secret plot involving mind control, avocados, and a mysterious girl named Spring Stone.

In short, there’s just too much going on in The Avocadonine and Spring Stone. The plot often comes across as convoluted and crowded, with constantly changing points of view and a distracted narrative. There are many scenes that are so busy or vague that it’s difficult to follow along with what’s happening; one can only imagine how confusing it might be for the younger readers that are clearly the target audience here. Also, the heavy prevalence of avocados (of all things) in this story might have been interesting in theory, but in execution, it’s just overly eccentric and almost too strange.

Nevertheless, there is still much to be appreciated in this quirky novel. Patrick Barnes captures the awkward and curious nature of youths perfectly, making the characters of The Avocadonine and Spring Stone all relatable and realistic. The bare plot itself is interesting and unique, with a creative mystery that is engaging and intriguing right up to its resolution. The Avocadonine and the Spring Stone may be a little odd, but it is a charming and amusing coming-of-age story all the same.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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