Forget everything you think you know about the “tortured artist” because The Other Place’s Justin is about to turn that stereotype on its head. I haven’t come across a character so unique in some time. His story has all the angst of any YA/NA protagonist, but never narcissistic or self-loathing and at 18 way more mature than all the adults that surround him. Roderick perfectly captures the youthful narrative, and the supporting characters are engaging and believable if somewhat underdeveloped. The backstory is short and sweet yet sufficient to provide an adequate foundation. I appreciated the brevity as it paralleled the world that Justin lives in – deficient, scattered, but still full of a refined grace. Justin’s artistry is at the forefront of the narrative and the vivid descriptions of his work, make me want to see his weird and wonderful renderings. I never found Justin to be a tortured soul, but one that is trying to find comfort in a zone that works for him.
The pacing is a little uneven, and there are some points unexplained, like why would such savvy kids not ask more questions. Why are they so trusting? Why does everyone seem so excepting of The Dark Energy? Even though The Dark Energy is explained, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something. Still, it adds a bit of mystery. The Other Place is part of a series, but it can be read as a standalone. There are characters from the first novel, The Hustle, present, but they are so seamlessly interwoven that it didn’t give me pause. However, the ending did. It is a cliffhanger. I think. But with the rather abrupt ending it’s hard to say if that was it or is there another story in this series? The style of this book is quiet and steady and not given to melodramatic tricks to hold the reader’s attention and for that reason, I wish it had a complete treatment and not chopped up into several books. The Other Place is to be relished and savored in one complete bite, not parceled into bite-sized nibbles. Not to say you won’t enjoy I guess I’m more of a supersized reader. I want it all NOW. Still, this is a captivating read that I urge you to try.
About the Author
Elizabeth Roderick grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, she recently moved to a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of California’s Central Coast.She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a para
legal and translator. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands, rocking some instruments she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass, and keyboards.
Elizabeth writes novels for young adults and adults; short stories; and memoir which is way more interesting than it should be. Her stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness; her characters tend to be of the type that society shuns: addicts, convicts, and the mentally ill. She believes if people get to know these characters in stories and real life, they’ll find them more likable than they originally thought.
She applies Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo method to fiction writing. It often gets a little heavier than what she had in mind, but she chalks it up to forced consciousness expansion.
Disclosure of Material Connection: The Suburban Eclectic (TSE) received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Reviewer program. TSE was not required to write a positive review. The opinions we have expressed are our own. Additionally, we may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we have used personally and/or believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”