Poltergeeks Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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"POLTERGEEKS is action and magic brewed into a fast-paced, death-defying spell of a read. Best friends Julie and Marcus make for a fantastic team with great chemistry and quick humor to balance out the dark peril in this high-stakes, do-or-die tale of witchcraft and suspense."
-Erin Kellison – Author of Shadow Bound
"The action starts on page 1 and never lets up. Julie, an apprentice witch, and her sidekick Marcus, a science nerd who can’t quite believe some of the things he’s seeing, make an ideal team. Together, they face everything from the hazards of high school hallways to an evil spirit bent on destroying witches. By turns funny, moving, and action-packed, POLTERGEEKS is almost too much fun!"
-Nancy Holzner – Author of Deadtown
“POLTERGEEKS is GHOSTBUSTERS meets SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH with a dash of X-FILES. A magical spell with equal parts humour, adventure and surprise.”
-Sara Grant – Author of Dark Parties
“Julie is one kick-ass young woman! The story gripped me from the first page and provided a dark but thrilling romp through a wonderfully constructed magical world. POLTERGEEKS is true edge-of-your-seat entertainment and I am really hoping there will be a sequel!”
-Linda Poitevin – Author of Sins of the Angels
“POLTERGEEKS rattles along at a fair old clip, shooting out thrills and spills and quite a few good jokes along the way. All this is carried off with an enviably light touch that makes Sean Cummings not just a good YA writer, but a good writer whatever genre he chooses to work in.”
-Gary McMahon – Author of Pretty Little Dead Things
About the Author
Sean Cummings is a comic book geek, superhero junkie, zombie fan and a total nerd. (He's also a gold mine of completely useless information about films made prior to 1960. Don't get him started on "Arsenic and Old Lace" because he won't shut up about it. ) He's been writing since 1978 (as a means of liberating his "inner nerd").
His interests include science fiction, the borg, cats with extra toes, east Indian cuisine and quality sci-fi movies/television. When he's not collecting comic books or attending the latest science fiction convention, he can be found in his home office, writing away like a man possessed.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a wonderfully unpretentious novel - it doesn't take itself too seriously, and seems presented as an escapist read, and that's fair enough. Still, escapism can be difficult to achieve: It has to be light enough to distract the reader from their personal troubles, but with enough heart to actually connect with the reader. And I didn't connect with POLTERGEEKS at all.
Admittedly, magic is not my favourite part of urban fantasy, but I figure that's only because I haven't read the kind of magic that would best suit my logical/scientific inclinations. That's no reason for me to blacklist all novels featuring magic, so I am willing to try instead of giving up completely.
And yes, apathy is often a symptom of my mental illness, but I felt pretty good around the time that I read this (and that's continued since then - so far, so good).
So POLTERGEEKS is squarely middling territory for me: I didn't particular like it, but I didn't particular dislike it, either.
Reportedly these two POLTERGEEKS books aren't selling as well as the author's self-published adult novels. And I don't really think that has anything to do with this duology being traditionally published (by the now-closed Strange Chemistry) and young adult. Maybe it's just that this book doesn't really appeal.
That said I still plan to read the sequel, STUDENT BODIES. After all, maybe it is my fault for failing to connect with POLTERGEEKS, and it's only fair to give a second chance.
There's something about witches and magic that always fascinates me. And I also can't forget about how the magical world has come to be. In this case, Julie is a witch with thanks to her mother. We don't receive a lot of backstory as to her past, so we're assuming the magical gene is passed down each generation. I find the plot to be predictable but at such a fast-paced style, I didn't even mind it. The characters talked and swore much like teenagers but I'm not exactly sure if a girl swears like that. It had the cussing style of a teenage boy. But then again some teenage girls do swear like a sailor..
This is a great book filled with great magical acts and characters that has promise for more books than just the one!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First, Julie's mom is always ragging on her to make sure her potions are smite-worthy and her hexes rock.
Then, Julie's pool of potential friends is small because it's damn hard hiding her innate witch powers. Too many times odd stuff `just happens' around her. Good thing she's known Marcus, her BFF, forever. He's a handy punching bag for the football players, but he's brilliant and super loyal. And, Marla's goth, so... yeah. Julie's not fantastically popular.
Still, she's a good witch, and that's how she gets into trouble: helping others.
After removing a poltergeist from a neighbor's home, Julie and her mom sense a new malevolent force in their area. Marcus wants to help, despite not being a witch, because, well, he's secretly crazy about Julie. When another poltergeist attacks the high school, Julie, her mom, and Marcus must rescue Marla. And that's when Julie's good deed goes punished.
Julie's mom gets hexed with a killing curse, Endless Night, and Julie has two days to wake her from a coma before her body succumbs.
To save her mom's life, Julie and Marcus team up to find Hudibras, the practitioner responsible for the attacks. In the midst of the hunt, Julie meets the ghost of her father for the first time. Alive he'd been a Shadowcull, an agent of coven justice, but he was murdered when Julie was young child. Julie receives his bracelet, which couples with her amulet to magnify her natural powers, and takes her place as the next Shadowcull.
Now, all Julie needs to do is smoke out Hudibras, save her mom, and decide if Marcus is The One. Tick, tock.
I really loved POLTERGEEKS. The relationship between mother and daughter is spot-on. Impulsive, irrational at times, and eager to take on too much responsibility to prove she can handle it, Julie is every bit fifteen. Her selflessness and emotional awareness are admirable in equal parts. Julie is resourceful and decisive, and I love that in a YA heroine. She met Hudibras on her terms and, despite the shock of betrayal, Julie kicked serious butt. Julie is likeable and grounded, for being a witch with exceptional power. She and Marcus make a great team, and the budding romance between them is done with a light touch--particularly as Julie can't focus on Marcus while also fighting to save her mom's life.
Just so we are clear, the language in this one is probably PG-13. Still, I hear 9 year-olds who curse more at the park, so I'm gonna let it go. YMMV.
POLTERGEEKS is about teenage witch Julie Richardson and her struggle to prove herself to her mother, a powerful witch that lives apart from the local coven. When sudden poltergeist activity reaches new and terrifying levels of violence, Julie's mother is compromised and a tragic twist of irony places Julie in such a position where she must prove herself if she is to save her mother's life. Her journey becomes one of self-discovery and growth as Julie must navigate through two worlds, one of high school drama and typical teen challenges--now without her only parent there to comfort and guide, the other a breakneck pace through the spirit world of evil shades and spell-blasting immortals.
Sean Cummings captures the voice of his teenage protagonist from a surprisingly risky style, but one that pays dividends throughout. Unlike the typical, first-person POV and present tense combination found in so many titles under the Teen Paranormal heading of late, POTERGEEKS is written in a third-person past tense, making it a bit more appealing to the young male audience, as well as female. Also, the use of language is spot on with a great Star Wars motif woven throughout and a very believable teen dialect found in both conversation as well as narrative. Of course, it wouldn't be a good teen novel without a solid romance arc and Sean Cummings crafts a beautiful one that--while not exactly unexpected--teases and then delivers to satisfaction.
Overall, the only drawbacks I found in POLTERGEEKS were a few very minor grammatical/ typeset errors in the e-book version, though I suspect that is idiosyncratic to digits and not found in the actual print edition.
Highly recommended, POLTERGEEKS is an action adventure amalgam at every chapter. Righteous imagery, military precise detail, and all the wonder of the unknown wrapped into one delightful tale where the teenage witch is more than just a spell-casting chick in red hair and sparkles--she's a kick ass heroine with the moves of a ninja and the power of a Jedi, all fueled by a heart that beats fierce for the ones she loves.
I think Marcus and Julie make a great team! And I actually like the fact that Marcus is, you know, a little nerdy ;) But not only that, he is also very sweet! There was this note he wrote to Julie, and oh my gods! It was the sweetest thing I have ever read! I even got all teary-eyed, no joke!
As for this mysterious "bad guy," can't say I knew who it was from the start, but once we got closer to the end I figured out who it was. So I wasn't surprised when this bad guy was revealed. Darn! I really like surprises! But that's okay!
Concluding words: If I were to describe this book with one word, it would be wicked! It was wickedly fun to read, and that cover? It's wicked cool!
Sean Cummings has taken a pretty straight forward - and often overdone - trope and shined it up real good, being rather clever, and working well on many levels. While this is a YA novel, it edges towards the older crowd, and with the main protagonist a 15 year old girl going through many life changing events because of her heritage, it's nice to see them handled well. Julia is a headstrong young woman, and while at many points she goes through with plans that she really shouldn't, they're not done in haste. With her best friend, Marcus, at her side, Cummings allows their relationship to often carry the story without resorting to dragging it out. It's quick and punchy, and does exceedingly well for it.
Julia and Marcus are, without a doubt, the highlight of the novel. The chemistry between them easily carries the story at a quick pace, entertaining you as the plot progresses. It's nice to see them both as fully fleshed out characters, each with distinct personalities and quirks, and each complementing the other very well. The character depth doesn't stop with the main protagonists, but carries on throughout the cast. Perhaps there were moments that could have been explored a little more, but the urgency of the plot allows these to be pushed to one side to be examined later on, and hopefully in future instalments.
One of the main points I was worried about would be the explanations of the use of magic. Rather than bore the reader with long and in-depth info-dumping and history, Cummings delivers everything you need to know within the story. It once again adds to the ease with which Poltergeeks can be read, and is very appealing to anyone not wanting to be bogged down with a slow-moving narrative.
In short, Poltergeeks is a quick, easy, and enjoyable read with characters that make the story. The plot is interesting and quirky, with surprises in store throughout. A recommended read.
Poltergeeks tells the story of Julie Richardson, a strong willed teenage witch who has a habit of picking fights well beyond her capabilities. When a rogue poltergeist put's Julie's mother in a coma and continues targeting Julie and her best friend Marcus, it's up to Julie to track the source of the poltergeist to stop the attacks and save her mom.
As with most YA books I've been reading recently, the story here is pretty straight forward - young girl with special powers runs into trouble, the one person who can get her out of trouble is removed from the equation, and she has to grow up fast if she is going to save the people she loves. Oh and also throw in an awkward teenage love triangle, some secret family drama and a predictable ending. That said, Poltergeeks rarely strays into stereotypical territory, and Cummings keeps from indulging in some of the popular YA tropes like the inept authority figure. Things are always kept fun, light hearted, and there are plenty of geek culture easter eggs to watch out for on the way through.
The characters have been well crafted here, and they aren't over the top geeks like I have seen recently in a lot of YA stories. Being a geek is just one element of their overall character, and they all have plenty of little nuances and ticks that get revealed over the course of the story. I really liked Julie, she plays the role of a strong female protagonist with a lot poise, modesty, and some random enginuity. She is impulsive, she gets the crap beaten out of her by ghosts, she beats the crap out of other ghosts, and she is smiling the whole time while her brain is working overtime trying to figure out and exploit a weakness. Cummings doesn't make a big deal out of her being a strong teenage girl, he just lets her be who she is and lets the plot mould around her. Marcus provides a great foil for Julie, he is calm, measured, not quite strong enough to fight his own battles but more than assured in his knowledge of how the world should work. These two feed off each other and make for a very proficient team.
Poltergeeks is a fun coming of age story, one that feels like a cross between Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Charmed, and Ghostbusters. It is one of the more fun stories I have read this year, something that I have needed given all the serious fantasy stories I seem to have been reading of late. This is a book that should have no trouble making you smile at least once.