written with Paul Tremblay
“And now the boy’s lost in the brightness somehow. The whole tree shakes. He’s up in the thickest part of the tree.
I step back, looking up, and I keep going until I back into the kiddie pool, which takes me out behind my knees. My soccer calves are no help and I splash down butt-first into the water. No one is watching me, so no one laughs or asks if I’m okay. I’m not okay.
There, he’s at the top. Definitely. Am I the only one who can—?
The light branches bend under his weight, and then he just leaps forward, into the air, into nothing.
There are screams all around, but he doesn’t fall, doesn’t plummet, doesn’t make a body imprint on the lawn like some cartoon character. He just hangs in the air like he’s getting his grip.
And then he rises.
The sun is behind him so he’s a shadow. He moves his arms and legs, but I can’t tell if it’s gaining him any sort of direction. He drifts away, up and to the left, and somersaults in the air a few times.
Everyone is out in the yard. The kids laugh and wave. The adults grab and claw at each other, terrified. They try to herd the children away. And the kids, they only start crying because they want to watch. They want to see that other boy, that older one, the one floating away like a lost balloon.”
Thrilling, heartfelt, and charmingly snarky, P. T. Jones’s first novel is a terrific debut! I didn’t want it to end. I’m handing my copy off to my daughter right now, and you’ll want to do the same — Christopher Golden
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Here’s a screencap of the Google Earth angle on the main bridge Mary and [unnamed] have adventures on/around/under/off:
And here’s Jamie Grefe, teaching it to his seventh graders:
And here’s some of his class’s excellent art: