I sit, smiling ear to ear, holding a book unlike any other. Isamu Fukui's Truancy has brought sadness, happiness and laughter to my entire being. His writing may soon be compared with names such as Tolkien, Rowling and Richard Adams when it comes to fantasy writing.
Isamu's first novel is a swift kick in the rump to the ordinary school system. It turns your perspective of the school system upside down and inside out. The story takes place in an alternate world, where a city's mayor holds a tight grip on its school system by controlling everything that happens within it. Those who oppose the mayor and his tyranny over the city and schools are a group of former students, expelled from the system, known as The Truancy.
The story's main character is Tack, a 15-year-old boy who is overworked in school and at home. His days are bulging with "slightly" evil teachers, bullies and parents who seem indifferent to him as their child.
Tack then meets a mysterious boy running a lemonade stand in a deserted part of the city. He begins to look to the boy as a mentor and, more importantly, as a friend. But when Tack's sister is murdered before his own eyes, everything changes. Tack infiltrates The Truancy, and soon finds himself torn between his motives and his sympathy for the truants.
Truancy was written in a month's time during a summer vacation when Fukui was 15. Now 16, he has won a National Gold Award and a Regional Gold Key for separate short stories in the science fiction/fantasy category of the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. It's two of many awards the teenage writer has won.
This is an exquisite example of writing and knowledge of the English language. It makes you feel emotions along with the main character, as well as making you feel as if you could be there with all of them. It is a book that I would most likely read again. I read a publisher's advance copy, but I recommend you pick up the real thing when it pops onto shelves in March.
Ethan Walsh is a sophomore at the Academy for Technology and the classics.
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Interview with author