NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Also by this author: Welcome to Lovecraft
Published by HarperCollins on April 30, 2012
Joe Hill, the acclaimed, award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns, plunges you into the dark side of imagination with a thrilling novel of supernatural suspense that will have you flinching at shadows and checking the rearview mirror again and again. . . .NOS4A2Don't slow downVictoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie's twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble . . . and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie's unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.But Charlie Manx hasn't stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won't slow down until he's taken his revenge. He's after something very special—something Vic can never replace.As a life-and-death battle of wills builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all . . . or die trying. . . .Joe Hill's acclaimed works of fiction, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and 20th Century Ghosts, have already earned him international acclaim. With NOS4A2, this outstanding novelist—
It may not be Friday, but I couldn’t think of a better way to start December than a Flashback Friday review of NOS4A2. Since I’m impatient it’s going up on a Monday.
Imagine a bridge that could magically take you to where you need to be, even when you don’t even know where that is. Imagine being a young girl with the freedom to ride her bike and wind up wherever. Imagine the reality for this girl, wondering if these things happened as she remembered or if she is losing her mind. Hill’s strength in writing is in his characters, in his ability to draw emotions from the reader and his ability to create atmosphere. I suppose that’s multiple strengths, but the sum of them creates powerful and memorable books.
This book is a twisted ride to Christmasland. The question is, is it truly the Christmasland of boys and girls dreams and ideals? Or is it some mangled and deranged version? Or, is it even real, or is it just a product of a delusional madman with a 1938 Roles Royce Wraith who enjoys luring children away by playing on their innocent dreams?
In NOS4A2, we are introduced to Vic McQueen, the girl who can ride her bike across “The Shorter Way” bridge, a bridge that is supposed to be condemned and out of commission, to get to where ever she needs to be. We are also introduced to Charlie “Talent” Manx, a man who claims to be 140 years old and picks special boys and girls to go to Christmasland. How does he take them there? With the help of slow witted Bing, who, even as an adult, would do anything to visit Christmasland, the place where dreams come true and nothing bad ever happens. Of course, to get children there involves gassing and abducting them, but surely they are better off right? Vic McQueen is the only one to ever escape, and her version of the story seems much less magical than Manx and Bing make it out to be. The even scars her and follows her into adulthood. Scars from the memories of her journeys across the shorter way bridge, memories that leave her questioning her sanity. And the memories of Manx and Christmasland, and the question “has she truly escaped”?
I loved this book. It is emotional, creepy and intense. So, want to feel the holiday spirit without all the sickingly sweetness you find elsewhere? NOS4A2 is the solution. A disturbingly creepy tale with the destination of Christmasland.