Not As We Know It
Author: Tom Avery
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, trademark of Penguin Random House, 2015
Source: Public library
Eleven-year old twins Ned and Jamie are alike in many ways. Both are big Star Trek fans. Both enjoy combing the beach near their home to find treasures brought in by storms. What is different about the two boys? Ned has cystic fibrosis.
After one particularly wild and windy storm, the brothers go to look for treasure. They do find something. The question is what is it? Some weird type of fish? An alien? Or something else? They don’t know what it is, but they do determine that it is alive.
They bring it home, plop in into an old bathtub in their storage garage, christen it Leonard after Ned’s favorite character, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, from Star Trek and begin feeding it fish. Is Leonard what they think he is (a merman)? Is he something more? Could he be the answer to the family’s prayers about Ned? Or is Leonard something more sinister and dangerous? How can they tell? Leonard’s presence seems to be driving a wedge between Jamie and Ned. Ned is developing a closeness with Leonard that leaves Jamie feeling left out. He feels like he is losing Ned to Leonard, that the little time that remains to the two brothers is being gobbled up by this strange creature. Yet Ned trusts Leonard implicitly and feels that Leonard is there to help him.
Throughout the story are woven old myths and legends of the sea, strange yet wonderful. Those legends carry through; the story is often eerie though the ending is more sad (I don’t mind saying it, I blubbered through the end) than scary. I loved it – and yes, I feel some discussion questions coming on! Look for them soon!