Wendy Anne Darling’s junior/teen novel, Silver Lightning, is a delightful blend of realism and fantasy with dreams that come to life and characters that face real problems in the modern, high-tech world. Alex is 15 years old, lives in Denver, Colorado, and is getting ready for the start of the new school year. He lives with his parents and a younger sister, Mya; Dad works as a software engineer in the high tech world. He works with the father of Alex’ best friend, Ethan, who is returning from his vacation the last week before school starts. Just before he returns, Alex has an incredibly vivid dream where he meets a beautiful, mysterious girl, rides the most incredible motorcycle, and becomes a super hero! Unlike most dreams, Alex is able to remember many details, and can even smell the salt-water of the sea when he wakes. He tries to sketch as much of his dream as he can recall so he’ll always remember it.
Suddenly, Alex’ whole world comes crashing down around him. His father’s firm declares bankruptcy, and the job search nets him a position in San Diego, California. Alex, though reassured by his dream contact that San Diego is where his dream will come true, packs up his room as though in a trance, preparing to leave his best friend, his school, and the only home he has ever known. The first day at the new school, Alex becomes friends with the other math whiz in the class, Logan. This is fate, for his new friend will lead him to the motorcycle of his dream and his destiny.
This story moves along quite nicely and I loved the cover image which is created by the author herself, who happens to be an accomplished artist as well as an author. I wish there had been more sketches inside the ebook. (My followers know this is a pet peeve of mine — too much white space and text!) But I also thought this story would easily lend itself to the latest ebook technology where the story is interactive on your ipad/kindle/ kobo. There is a lot of action, tension, and excitement in the story. The characters face real teenage angst, although sometimes the resolution seemed a bit too easy. I wish we had got to know Mya a bit more as I found her quite intriguing — a junior fashionista with sewing skills and an easy-going, caring attitude. Only three years his junior, I’m surprised Mya didn’t show more curiousity about Alex’ bike and what he was able to do with it. I could see her becoming privy to the magic, being a great side-kick for Alex, and possibly, taking an occasional turn on the bike solo as a super hero in her own right. I won’t give the details of the magic away here. And the story ends with a bit of a hint at a possible sequel. I hope there will be one. • • • •