Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Lot Nobody is a nobody. He’s practically invisible and not even his teachers seem to know he exists. Until Ethan, the new boy in school, who immediately started talking to Lot, and never stopped, and witnessed Lot’s mysterious disappearances, sans clothes, including his underwear! It’s the strangest thing; one second Lot is there and the next he’s naked on a beautiful tropical island, where the native people are occasionally gifted with people from the outside world. While trying to figure out why this is happening and his place on the island, Lot and Ethan go up against Hector Shady, who, for unknown reasons, is collecting beautiful statues that wash up on the shore all over the world and Johnny Hound, the class bully who has taken a shining to Ethan.
I don’t normally enjoy YA, but this one is a spectacular read for adults, too. I first saw this cover during its Kindle Scout campaign and was instantly intrigued by the cover and summary. While it was not selected for publication, it is an amazingly entertaining read and I’m very glad the author published it anyways. There are few books that stick with me like this one does. I can still vividly see the island, long to see one of the beautiful statues for myself, smile weeks later at the friendship between Lot and Ethan, and want to know what comes next.
The characterizations are really what do it for me. Every character is unique and interesting with personalities that just draw you in. Admittedly, I didn’t always understand what Ethan was saying, with all of his slang and pop culture references, but he is arguably one of the most memorable characters I have come across in a long time. Lot was relatable and complex and felt like that adolescent boy who stands on the outskirts of everything, but also understands and sees all. He was wonderfully developed throughout the book. My one complaint is that the more minor characters, notably Ethan’s family, seem little more than robots. They hardly talk and have virtually no personality.
While the story was great, it did start up a little on the slow side. Certainly, we are introduced to Lot disappearing fairly quickly, but it is awhile before he meets anyone. While the primary conflict seems to be shaping up to be between Lot and Shady, most of the first half of the book revolves around Johnny bullying Ethan. Until the story really picked up about halfway through, I wasn’t entirely sure of what this book was about. However, once I hit that second half, I was enthralled. Lot really started coming into his own and I want to know about Lot, the island, Shady, the statues, and even Lot’s grandfather and how they all work together.
I usually have a few comments about the writing, but, in this case, I don’t. I was so invested in the story that I didn’t actually pay attention to the writing, so, kudos, Mr. Johnston, I really enjoyed the story!
The Bottom Line: This was one very entertaining and memorable story great for young adults and adults. There are few first books that make me want to read a sequel. This is one of those unicorns. A great read about friendship and bullying and finding yourself, seriously consider The Lot of a Nobody if this is the kind of thing you enjoy reading, or even if it’s not.