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Book Review: Cloak by James Gough

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The best books always have that element of mystery – whether it is in the characters, the locale, or even the premise. They make you want to read more – and wish for a sequel so you can continue on with the story.

CloakCloak, by James Gough, is one such book. Packed with mysterious creatures (called enchants, which are half animal, half human), travel, allergies, and a mystery, Cloak is a book that you won’t be able to put down.

At once a YA book and a timeless classic for all ages, Cloak explores human potential, and drive, and compassion. Cloak also has the prerequisite struggles that define any novel – good vs. evil, finding oneself, learning whom to trust.

It is fun – the main character, Will, explores all kinds of food, since he has spent much of his life eating ancient spam. Can you imagine? Gough also is a master at creating a visual picture, whether of an extraordinary airplane ride, or the battered bread truck that is so much more than it looks. It’s a story of diversity and change, of culture, of society and learning about oneself — and how to fit in… all themes that the best YA novels address. Cloak is a must-read – and one of my favorite books, ever.

The characters are so well-drawn that you feel as if you know them. You personally feel betrayed when a friend acts crazy, or happy when Will discovers a new friend. Your heart rate speeds up when Will runs to escape the bad guys. And, at the end, you long for a sequel, so that the story never ends. Luckily for us, Gough is hard at work on book two. Whew.

James GoughWe asked author James Gough to share a little bit about his book:

“Cloak is the story of untapped potential. It’s about an adventurous bubble-boy, Will Tuttle, who’s been stuck in a hermetically sealed life for thirteen years. No doctor can tell him why the source of his mysterious allergies. His nanny/nurse thinks he’s helpless. Even his parents have consigned themselves that Will’s life will always be plastic-wrapped. But Will’s dreams for adventure become a dangerous reality when he breaks out of his bubble for a normal day in the city. En route he discovers that what he had always thought as allergic hallucinations of half-animals-half-humans, were all too real. 

“These animal-people, or enchants, have been among us for thousands of generations. We see them as that beaky librarian that looks a bit like a hawk, or that cabbie with the face of a ferret. Their ancestors were the source of our myths and legends, but today, enchants use their intellect and instinct to keep their claws, fur, scales and tales hidden from everyone … everyone but Will.

“His ability to see enchants makes him special, but it also makes him a target. Soon, a group of misfit bodyguards are sent in to keep him safe in a society that isn’t supposed to exist. With stampedes, murderous insect-people, and wolf assassins, Will finds his thirst for adventure more than quenched and his yearning for friends finally satisfied. Now the question is whether or not he can survive long enough to enjoy it.”

You can learn more, schedule author classroom and book club visits, and watch the trailer at the Cloak website.

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About Dr. Jessie Voigts