Andrew Klavan is a terrific suspense writer, and some of his novels have been made into successful movies. Lately, though, he’s made a commitment to the YA market with his series, The Homelanders. The second book in the series, The Long Way Home, keeps up the same frenetic pace as the first one, revealing the answers to some questions and posing new mysteries at the same time.
I really like Charlie West, the lead character and narrator of the novels. Charlie has an Everyman quality that makes him instantly likable, and a naivete that makes him appealingly vulnerable. At the same time, though, he’s an agile athlete capable and daring enough to escape his pursuers and turn the tables when his back is to the wall.
This book also offers more Charlie’s background, and I really enjoyed getting to meet his friends. Those guys are exactly the kind of friends you want to make in high school: the ones that will stay with you forever. The story about the Ghost House is awesome, and it’s something that most young male readers will understand.
I think that male bonding is one of the things that will bring boys to the series. The high action content and the martial arts action and philosophy will as well. But the mystery about who killed Charlie’s best friend and framed him for it that really drives the whole series. I can’t wait to see what’s really going on and what Charlie’s going to do about it.
Charlie’s relationship with his girlfriend gets showcased in this book, and the female readers will definitely like that. Charlie is the kind of guy most girls could go for, and his relationship with his girlfriend shows a lot of trust and respect. More than that, Charlie now has people outside his own skin who could possibly be in danger. The people chasing him know more about him than he does about them, and they’re not afraid to use anything they can get their hands on.
The first hundred pages of the book blazed by, but the carefully orchestrated action sequences of the chase were a little too much. There were no resting points and I could see someone who could read only for a short time getting frustrated by the pacing.
But I absolutely loved the standoff between Charlie and his martial arts instructor. The scene was tense as a bowstring, and both of them had so much at stake.
I’m looking forward to the third book coming out in the fall. I want to know what happened during that missing year of Charlie’s life, and I want to know what Charlie’s going to do when he has the information he needs to properly strike back.