The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reading the ARC I had one fervent hope: that the author (or publisher) changes the name. Why? So many of my students are tired of the whole paranormal genre that the title alone will put them off (I know, I booktalked this to a couple of my most fervent readers). Problem is, this isn't about a paranormal family, it's about an extranormal family with not a whiff of vampires or wereanything.
The Fangs are a family living in the heartland of America, a mother, father and two siblings. What makes them so different than all the other families is that the parents, Caleb and Camille are performance artists, creating what used to be called "happenings". Example: all four traveling via plane as unrelated people - Caleb proposes to Camille, not knowing what her reaction will be - the two children react as they feel inspired. Annie and Buster are referred to as Child A and Child B, props and/or actors in the Fang Family Productions.
Eventually, of course, children grow up and leave the family home, and both Annie and Buster try to live relatively normal lives. Given their upbringing, it's not surprising that this isn't easy to do. Then Buster gets hit in the face with a potato shot from a "pneumatic artillery" piece and Annie's movie career implodes... and they return home. Especially in the Fang household, you can't go home again.
I really enjoyed the performance pieces (told in flashback) and Annie and Buster's desire for something less, well, different. Once readers get past the family name they'll find an interesting, quirky, slightly ooky family story.
ARC provided by publisher.
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