The Secrets of the Empire are Now YOURS to have (Star Wars Empire that is)

starwars

From a galaxy far, far away, Lucasfilm announces discovery of the IMPERIAL HANDBOOK,

filled with secret intelligence for the Commanders of the Imperial Military

 Incinerator Stormtrooper New York, NY:  October 6, 2014: This fall, just in time for the holiday season, Lucasfilm announces the release of STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK, the latest artifact to come from INSIDE the STAR WARS® universe. From the book producers who unearthedTHE JEDI PATH and BOOK OF SITH comes the newest discovery from a galaxy, far, far away . . . . a guide for Commanders of the Imperial Military.

 The Empire has taken hold of the galaxy. Soon, with the completion of the Death Star, its control will be absolute. In preparation for this Imperial expansion, high-ranking officials from each branch of the Imperial Military have set down tactical guidelines and procedures as well as collected mission reports and classified documents for all newly ascending commanders.

In the wake of the Battle of Endor, members of the Rebel Alliance intercepted this top-secret instructional manual and have circulated it among their own commanders, who have added notes and commentary in the margins.

Housed in a protective case, this rare glimpse into the military governance and philosophy of the Empire offers a unique perspective no matter w6593-Star-Wars-Imperial-Handbook-Deluxe-Edition-1402445032hich side of the rebellion you’re on.

The STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK Deluxe Edition produced by becker&mayer! in collaboration with Lucasfilm, New York Timesbestselling author Daniel Wallace, and celebrated STAR WARS illustrators takes fans inside the world of the Imperial Military. To heighten the drama of the text’s backstory, THE STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK Deluxe Edition is housed within a sleek mechanical case. With the touch of a button, top of the case slides open accompanied by lights and authentic STAR WARS sounds, revealing the book within.
Fans can order the Deluxe Edition on beckermayer.com now. This edition is also available at most other major retailers just in time for the holiday season. STAR WARS fans will enjoy the creativity, innovation, and superb quality of this handbook as they gain new insights into the practices and philosophies of the Imperial Military.

STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK by various high-ranking Imperial Officials (& New York Times bestselling author Daniel Wallace), becker&mayer! 160 pages, ISBN-10: 1603803408, ISBN-13: 978-1603803403, $99.99, Fully illustrated-color illustrations, National on-sale date: October 14, 2014; Available at www.beckermayer.com and at most major retailers

 We Fight

“In-world” authors:

Imperial writers: Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, High General Cassio Tagge, Admiral Wullf Yularen, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, and TX-5532

Rebel Alliance annotators: Jan Dodonna, General Madine, General Rieekan, Wedge Antilles, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Mon Mothma.

“Our-world” author

Daniel Wallace is a comic book expert, sci-fi sage, and lifelong geek. Author or co-author of more than two dozen books including The Jedi Path, Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, DC Comics Year by Year, Iron Man Manual, and the New York Times bestselling Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters, his specialty is exploring the underpinnings of popular fictional universes. An avid genre fan, he has also worked as a professional contributor in the realms of Indiana Jones, Smallville, and Supernatural.

For more than 25 years, becker&mayer! LLC has created hundreds of innovative books that inform and entertain readers of all ages. THE JEDI PATH is one of several dynamic STAR WARS tie-ins created this year by the Bellevue, Washington–based book packagers becker&mayer!  Visit www.beckermayer.com for more information.

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LucImperial Handbook Release-FINAL (1)_html_3519119dasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, Star Wars and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.  All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

Get Lost with Adi Alsaid (You’ll be glad you did)

At the end of July 2014, Adi Alsaid‘s first mass market novel for teens, LET’S GET LOST, hit shelves.  I was first introduced to Adi at Book Expo America a few years ago when randomly at a panel he sat next to me and we struck up a conversation.  He handed me his self-published book SOMEWHERE OVER THE SUN which I loved and I saw a future for Adi.  Fast forward a few years and that future is here, published by Harlequin, National tour and a marketing campaign that actually featured a physical car decked out as an ad.

LET’S GET LOST tells the tale of a single amazing girl through the eyes of the various people who meet her.  Adi Alsaid has an excellent handle at different voices and does so deftly.  He is truly a fantastic writer as I originally discovered with his first book.  He has an incredible use of word play.  You owe it to yourself to seek out both books, but definitely do not miss Let’s Get Lost.  It’s the true start of what I think can be a great writer’s career.

Adi was willing to take questions for me for an interview and he provided some really amazing answers.  I was able to come up with what I felt were four very meaty analytic questions that also provided more review structure and statements from this fantastic young author.

1.) In your many travels and life through Mexico, California, Vegas and Israel. can you name actual singular favorite locations. Such as favorite restaurant, quiet spot to read, etc.

My favorite bench in the world is in Pacific Grove, California, facing out at the ocean beneath a beautiful tree. An ice cream shop in Tel Aviv called Iceberg has lines out the door past midnight. Vegas has incredible spots to view the sunrise and the sunset. Mexican breakfasts are the best, no matter what kind of restaurant you go into.

2.) What was the journey from writing and self publishing to being picked up by Harlequin? Is there anything you miss from self-publishing? What do you enjoy most about being with a large publishing house?

I went to BEA a few years ago as a struggling writer, just trying to see what the expo was all about, maybe make some connections. At the time, my ex-girlfriend, who’d helped me edit the first book I wrote, SOMEWHERE OVER THE SUN, was working at Simon and Schuster. She invited me to a Young to Publishing party, where I ended up meeting Emilia Rhodes, who would later be my editor at Alloy. A few months, maybe a year, after that party, Emilia and I got in touch and not too long after that I’d written the first half of LET’S GET LOST and a proposal for the second half, which was how Harlequin picked me up.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to garner a ton of support from Harlequin TEEN. They really believe in the book and the reach that they’ve had as far exceeded anything I could have possibly done on my own. I know self-publishing works for a lot of people, but it was not a good fit for me, and I’m thrilled to be where I am now.

3.) You’ve written two books now with multiple perspectives. Although you switched from first to third. Do you have a preference? Was there a particular decision making process of your narrator/perspective decision on LET’S GET LOST compared to SOMEWHERE OVER THE SUN?

I’ve always been drawn to multiple perspectives, as a reader and a writer. I like getting inside people’s heads, and I think my natural inclination is to use as many voices as a given story will allow. I usually prefer third person, although it’s never really a conscious decision, just something that naturally happens when I start writing.

4.) You seem to have a focus on road trips and that experience. How much of your own life has found its way into your work? Do you have any road trip experience (experiences) or people you’ve met you’d still write about? Anything or anyone you’d care to share?

That’s something else that isn’t necessarily a conscious choice. Like Mario Vargas Llosa writes in LETTERS TO A YOUNG NOVELIST, ” The novelist doesn’t choose his themes; he is chosen by them. He writes on certain subjects because certain things have happened to him.” Life experiences definitely work their way into my writing although I usually dress them up in fiction to make them fit the context or be more interesting.

This one I haven’t yet written about, although the character involved is too bizarre to leave out of my writing forever. When I was traveling across the country visiting friends last summer, I was enjoying a cup of coffee in Pasadena when a homeless man started insisting to everyone around the he was the world record holder for thumb pushups. Which is not a thing. Eventually, after lots of ranting on his side and some good-spirited chiding from a group of construction workers nearby, the homeless man, who goes by the name Ohio, whipped his shirt off and started assuming the push-up position, his thumbs stuck out like a hitchhiker’s. The construction workers and I prepared to witness a man breaking his thumbs on the sidewalk of Pasadena. A security guard stood by, a hand on his walkie-talkie. Tourists stepped into the street to avoid Ohio. “We’ll give you a quarter per thumb push up,” the construction workers say, elbowing each other in the ribs, winking behind sunglasses.

Turns out, thumb pushups are a thing, and I fully believe he holds the world record.

Thumb pushups… sound like there’s an entire book in there somewhere.  Homeless World Record Olympics?  Maybe not the book for Adi, but with his flair for penmanship, I’m sure he could pull it off.

 

To Boldy Review where no Date has Reviewed

I have not truly amazingly had the luck to actually date many fellow nerds in my life. This isn’t to say I haven’t dated, jut I haven’t dated many nerds. The people who I consider my own. The comic fans, the wrestling fans, the sci-fi fans, the video gamers… now I have been with those people, but generally more than not I’ve been with people who actually were not on the same wave length as me. Not from lack of knowing where to find them, ask them out or any of that. Just the luck of the draw here.

Still I know there are plenty guys out there who can’t even get to that first step or even if they do, what to do next and after that or even after that. When you grow up watching Thundercats, playing Super Mario and reading Booster Gold while rolling dice for a D & D game and discussing the merits of Ric Flair over Roddy Piper on the phone with your friend whose thinking about his acne and multiple allergies, how to go out with the opposite or even same sex is gong to be an art you never really learn.

That’s where THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO DATING by Eric Smith comes into play or at least that how’d I’d sell it if I was a marketing person. Oh wait, I am… but that’s not where I’m coming from in this review.

I’ll admit even I might not be nerdy enough for this book. Some references were completely and totally lost on me. I’ve never been into Firefly, I’m not a big Link fan, I don’t know HALO from a brick in the wall… but I somehow still know what Eric was going for with each reference so it was never completely lost on me.

In many ways this isn’t just a geek’s guide to dating, but a clever voice in just basic logic of dating, understanding the ways and what fors of finding it, going on it and what to do after said date. These are tips that can be used by anyone in our modern social media driven world of Facebook, twitter, Foursquare and more. It’s just painted to attract an audience that would not necessarily go for it while being open enough for a non geek to at least see the the great cover and start skimming to see what it contains, notice how concise the advice is and just be “Huh, I could use this”.

One other great aspect that is a huge selling point to me is the cool Kickpixel pieces. I can’t really say anything about them, they just look awesome especially since I love 8 bit art even if I don’t like 8 bit games. Just look at this piece and if you don’t love it…I don’t know you. Even if you hate it, you still need this book. Actually if you hate it, you need this book more than anyone cause boy oh boy do you need some social tips.

GEEK’S GUIDE TO DATING came out September 3rd from QUIRK BOOKS and is a 5 x9 hardcover priced at $14.95

From Drawing to Creature to Department

The YA book THE CREATURE DEPARTMENT is full of fun, excitement, suspense, humor, yummy food, corporate espionage, memories, and lovable folks. The writer Robert Paul Weston really created something absolutely wonderful in prose. A whole new “universe” that is full of more to explore once you’ve put the book down. If the book was just words it would stand strongly and be a worthwhile read, but the art and illustrations made up by Zack Lydon and the entire team at Framestore really made it a book to behold and enjoy.

The most amazing part is that when the book was just in galley format with just possible sketches it truly blew me away. These sketches became paintings and in the case of one Gugor, who has also made appearances at Book Expo America and New York Comic Con 2013 delighting buyers, readers, kids and unsuspecting adults alike, a fully realized CGI model.

The best to show that off is to actually show you some of that development.

Here’s an image of Gugor from the galley:

this is an image of color painting Gugor from the official book trailer:

Here’s a 3D model:

and this is the Final Gugor at Book Expo and then at New York Comic Con where there was an amazing display (which you can see in the image that tops this review/article/presentation):

As charming and as wonderful as these images are they barely capture the essence of the book and the images contained within it (both through the words and the actual illustrations).  The book introduces us to an assortment of amazing characters with immense personality and the setting for what could one day be both an amazing series of books as well as an excellent TV series.  There is something inherently perfect in super smart kids, above average parents, a crazy scientist and a town that from the outside seems completely normal and quaint but hides an amazing secret, a secret that is actually one that for all we know is actually a reality in our world.  I mean seriously, Bacon Chapstick?  That sounds like something only a creature could figure out how to make right.

“Most Belated Review of Whipple EVER”

Doing something extra ordinary which one gets acknowledged for does not always happen. Getting acknowledged for feats that belong in a world record book? That happens even less frequently, but it does. Yet, it’s not often that a family garners multiple awards in the Guiness Book of World Records, the only type of record book of its like that I am aware exists. Yet in the Matthew Ward’s hilarious, fun, mysterious, dramatic and adventure romp The Fantastic Family Whipple such a family exists. A large family which has won awards for what may seem like the most mundane of things, such as (as these are ones I’m making up but I’m sure someone in the Whipples won at some point) balancing the most amount of toothsticks on your pinky for the most amount of time or the most amount of chimichongas engorged in the fastest time.

Now imagine if you were a member of this family, a family which has many many brothers and sisters, in age ranges from teenagers to still in diapers. Imagine you are the middle child in such a family and you have never won any award, got no acknowledgment… you are basically the failure of the family. That’s exactly the situation Arthur Whipple finds himself in this “fantastic” Middle grade book written with enough adult humor and easy situations to truly be considered all ages and easily appreciated by a variety of readers. Quickly the book becomes an amalgam of mystery and suspense as the drama and comedy unfolds. We meet many interesting characters AND animals as well as clowns of all shapes and sizes and demeanor along the way.

As a debut novel, Matthew Ward has proven to be a great new voice in the field, and has also been a really enjoyable twitter feed as well as the fact that he’s really funny as a performer as evidenced by his attempts of breaking World Records himself.

THE FANTASTIC FAMILY WHIPPLE came out in August 2013 from Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin, so it’s available NOW at book stores everywhere. Go get it.

And to finish my article here’s my snap of Matt at Book Expo 2013:

100 Ghosts is a lot of Ghosts, The Perfect Amount

Here is a Twitter conversation I had with Doogie Horner in response to a questions I had about his forthcoming book 100 GHOSTS and working on the review:
Doogie Horner: “Writing about ghosts is like dancing about architecture.” –the ghost of Steve Martin
Reid Harris Cooper: Then it should be easy, I choreographed an entire ballet about the oeuvre of Frank Lloyd Wright. #liesthatlookedbetterinmyhead

If you’ve watched America’s Got Talent in a regular succession or follow comedians on Youtube or maybe even go to comedy clubs then you have had the privilege of hearing Doogie Horner‘s off the cuff, slightly irreverent humor that goes for fast laughs and good quips. If you haven’t well, you can either go watch him on Youtube or read him or twitter, his stuff is as funny on paper as it is on stage.

Another of his skills in comedy though is translating his thoughts into art. His first funny book was full of hilarious charts, all very pop-culture in nature, because, well, Doogie is a pure geek at heart. He loves all things books, comics, movies, television, all of it and it really shows.

His NEXT book is some of his most obscure humor though and it is very very quirky and quick witted but from the visual standpoint. Titled 100 GHOSTS: A GALLERY OF HARMLESS HAUNTS, it’s quite literally just that. 100 ghost drawings that are simply so harmless you can’t be scared but only laugh and smile at these silly-dilly floating sheets with eye holes.

While the majority of them are harmless, a few ARE creepy, scary, strange or bewildering. Especially things like Skull Ghost, but those as well as Muppet Ghost, Some Assembly Required Ghost, and Vinyl Ghost also show Doogie’s not only brilliance, but that he actually learned something in art school.

Yes, you read correctly, Doogie Horner is not a standup comedian, that’s his accidental career. At least I remember hearing that somewhere where he said something like that and in another video he mentioned going to art school. So let’s just go with that, because you know?

RADICAL GHOST

If THAT doesn’t make you want this book I don’t know what will. It means you have no soul, you aren’t even a harmless ghost, you’re a no ghost…. Not a Ghost. You know somewhere in this book there’s a ghost like that… probably, get a copy and check for me. 100 ghosts is a lot of ghosts!

100 GHOSTS: A Gallery of Harmless Ghosts from QUIRK Books comes out on September 10, 2013 for $9.95 in adorably sized hardcover.

For more information check out the books official website.

WILL & WHIT Book Review

In Laura Lee Gulledge‘s first graphic novel we got to meet a young artist discovering New York for the first time, the semi-autobiographical tale introduced us to Paige a determined woman in a big city making new friends and surviving obstacles. For her second feature Will & Whit, Laura goes a little further back in her semi-autobio while combining some of the events with more recent catastrophes to tell a more coming of age story about lifelong friends, the power of family in all forms, and letting go of your past to mark the future along.

Through only two full length tales and a variety of one page and short stories not seen in many markets, Laura has quickly established herself as someone who just intrinsically understands how to tell tales through sequential storytelling. Most amazingly she comes at not with a strict comics background though. As her time in the world of comics have quickly made her a favorite among fan and creator alike, it’s not where she bit her teeth. Window displays, set design, pure illustration, performance art, and more, Laura is truly versatile artist with a powerful voice.

Will & Whit focuses on a small town about to be hit by a hurricane while many young people are enjoying the summer and preparing for a small performance carnival in an abandoned structure. The protagonist Will is a sculptor of sorts, working in a thrift store and building lamps, haunted by shadows that seem to be memories. Will hasn’t had the easiest life, but all is not revealed to us till book’s end. Instead we get swept up in her teenage drama of love, friendship, triangles, creativity and going down the river.

WILL & WHIT officially came out on May 7th, 2013, but tonight (May 15th, 2013) at Housing Works Book Store in New York City there’s an exciting book release with a reading, a preview of the work-in-progress play version of the book and more fun.

After that event an addendum shall be added to this article/review.

 

 

 

Book Review: How I Slept My Way to the Middle by Kevin Pollak

I probably first took notice of Kevin Pollak when he played one of two brownies in the Ron Howard directed fantasy comedy WILLOW, opposite Rick Overton.

I have since stayed a fan and tend to enjoy everyone of his performances.

Despite being a “character” actor he’s avoided the “that guy” stigma. His other career as a stand-up and impressionist are part of the reason for that, but the fact that he’s completely versatile owes to it to. He can somehow be both cute, nebbish and non-threatening as he is at being menacing, hyper-intelligent, unlikable and a jerk, sometimes at the same time even.

I got to enjoy him as a stand-up luckily early on in the late 80’s, as we had cable along with HBO and by 10 my folks let me watch things that weren’t for kids. This probably screwed me over mentally but I’m here to talk about Kevin Pollak, not myself.
Although as I read his autobiographical memoir “How I Slept My Way to the Middle” (available November 6, 2012 from Lyons Press) I could not help to see parallels from his discovering himself as a performer at a young age and my own experiences. While they were very different in many ways, his slow rise through hard work and determination makes me wonder where I’d been by 30 if unlike Kevin I didn’t let my setbacks cause me to give up for a long time before climbing again.

Kevin never gave up though. He was tenacious with making a firm edge in becoming both a successful actor and comedian as well as now an excellent memoir writer or in the very least chronicler/collaborator for co-writer Alan Goldsher.

Starting in introduction with a hilarious anecdote about acquring his role in CASINO, the book quickly leaps into a chronological first person prose of Kevin’s upbringing, discovery of comedy and development as a performer. Interceded in the middle of stories and at the end of chapters are “words” from other well known people who have worked with, for, against, aside or just have been in the same room as Kevin. One of the funniest ones has to be Matthew Perry’s, although James Roday’s anecdote is pretty hilarious as well. There are also “A Few Good Words from Kevin’s Mom”, which may not actually been from his mom, but who knows. Many of the stories also have a post-script, in some cases a pre-script which actually is at the end of the story, but is still a reflection of a detail left out.

All together it fits as a 200+ page comedy special, which might be like a 4 hour show if performed. Maybe more, maybe less. Mostly funny, sometimes stupid, occasionally tragic. Kevin didn’t always have it easy, he had relationship problems, financial problems, and confidence problems. He’s very mellow in one breath and a sarcastic egomaniac in the next. A man who think he’s accomplished nothing and is extremely humble about his career, then a braggart who thinks no one else could achieve what he has. This personality has probably kept him as a commodity, but away from that breakout role that made him a household name. Not that he isn’t a household name, his name is known, but he definitely teeters on that strange balance between star and “that guy who was in that thing” on a regular basis. He seems comfortable with this too, as much as he hates it, he’s embraced… as much as one can.

What’s fascinating about the memoir is that it actually does go all the way up to the point of the publication, covering the bases of him getting into internet and the creation of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show and it’s very exciting success. In a time when many stories of celebs (autobio and biog) stop at pinnacles of success 10-15 years before the actual writing of the book, this makes this one just that much better.

(Also, it has photos throughout, black & white yes, but published in context instead of just an insert in the middle)

{This review is based on Advanced Reading Copy}

As an addition to this review, here’s once again (it was embedded in a Book Expo overview) a video I filmed of Kevin promoting the book using his Christopher Walken impression:

New York Comic Con 2012 Preview: Thursday Panels

 

The 2012 New York Comic Con is about 2 weeks away and while tickets are sold out, that doesn’t mean people going are clear cut on what to do or what they should attend. The panel listing are a maze to explore. Finding out what’s cool and worthwhile. Figuring out what’s a miss event, exclusive, giveaway or signing on the floor is even harder. As a proud press member for the last four years of the convention (year 1 and 2 I went as a consumer, years 3 and 4 I was with an exhibitor, different one, while 5 and 6 and now 7 I’ve been as a journalist but no booth) I feel it is partially my job to not only cover the conevntion but promote specific things that excite me in my own language that explains it and might sell it even more than it’s press releases or write ups.

This is the first of these. I’ll be breaking things down into Panels and since Friday & Saturday are super long days breaking them into Part 1 & 2 for reading ease. Here we go with the special Thursday night Preview though, open to Press, Pros, Ultimate Access, Special Access, and 4 Day Ticket Holders. (All those sold out so there’s actually A LOT of them).

THURSDAY
Comics Studies Conference: The Origins of Leaping Tall Buildings: Finding New Ways to Document the Creators Behind the Comics
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
1A07
One of the smartest comics scholars I know, Hannah Means-Shannon, college professor and contributor to Sequart, The Beat, Trip City and other places will be moderating this discussion with writer/journalist Christopher Irving, photographer/journalist Seth Kushner and designer Eric Skillman to discuss the history and making of their comics profiles book, Leaping Tall Buildings, in probably one of the more in depth, intellectual conversations of the show. Especially since it’s on the “education” tract in the Thursday sessions during Preview Night. It should be compelling and exciting AND there’s a flyer!

Justice Is Served
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
1A14
Amber Benson and Thomas Sniegoski are both on this panel about novelists who write books which are essentially crime novels with some kind of supernatural twist. I’ve read a lot more of Tom than Amber and I kind of just like looking at Amber. Can you blame me? Look at her. But I have read her books and she’s a really good writer.

My Little Pony
6:15 pm – 7:15 pm
1A06
I’m not a Brony, but I do like Friendship is Magic. Hasbro’s toy line is part of this as well. I wish I knew who the guests/speakers were and a bit more about what this was about, but the fact that exists piques my interest.

The Image Revolution Documentary
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
1A04
Sequart were able to successfully fund this much larger project than their more singular focused productions through Kickstarter. I’ve been following its progress and I’m interested in seeing where they are at in production. I know they just finished new interviews, so it’s becoming a great documentary hopefully. Curious to see what special Image guest they have show up as well. Could be anyone from While to Larsen to even Jim Lee (doubtful).

NYCC Kick-Off Concert with Ben Folds Five
Thursday, October 11, 2012
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
IGN Theater
I am all about this concert. You have no freaking clue how much I am into this concert. I don’t even want to get into it. It’s an entire article. I just hope they find a way to have the Fraggles on stage or draw some dicks on the wall. That is if they do just the new album. I wouldn’t mind hearing “Magic” or “Where’s Summer B.?”… Seriously though, if Chris Hardwick and Rob Corrdry aren’t on stage for a performance of “Do It Anyway” since it IS New York Comic Con I might actually call fail!

memoirs of an imaginary friend: book review

I have no memory of it unfortunately, but according to my mom I definitely had a clear cut imaginary friend when I was younger. There’s no way of knowing if he was a simple kind, the kind you’d see in Fosters for Imaginary Friends or maybe like the Family Circus. I am sure he was nothing like Budo in Matthew Dick‘s absolutely fascinating and captivating “memoirs of an imaginary friend” though.

If I had to guess at my imaginary friend I’d assume he was just as human as Budo though, probably taller than me and more athletic, someone to discuss cartoons with in the morning, because ya know… who wants to talk to themselves? Still I am sure he was nothing like Budo, but whose to know. There is a chance that Matthew Dicks has delved into something we’ll never be able to prove with this novel. Maybe they aren’t as imaginary as we think… maybe they just live in a different realm.

While Budo is the voice and perspective of “memoirs”, he is not the lead character , that would be Max, a very special boy, whose actual diagnosis is never completely disclosed. He shows signs of autism, and possibly Asperger’s. I am not fully aware of either disease. I have a friend who is a very low spectrum of the autistic bend and  my father used to work with special needs children, but my own real experience is minimal other than having an immense respect for any child or adult who doesn’t let it stop them achieving a regular life full of work, love, fun and friends.

We know Max doesn’t like to be touched, he doesn’t like people or at least most people, he is very stringent in his ways and he has trouble expressing emotions. When he faces something new or different he gets stuck, like an empty wall. I saw it in my mind sort of like Tommy staring at a pinball machine, the entire world shut out and focus almost seems non-existent and in Max’s case, it being actually completely non focus. He’s very smart when it comes to traditional learning, likes to read, playing with toys, military strategy, building things with LEGOs and of all things pop culture, Star Wars.

As Budo describes both his own life as an Imaginary friend who instead Imaginary as one would think and Max’s difficult life with his parents, teachers, school bullies and more the book grows and turns in very unexpected ways. We meet the teachers, fellow students, other imaginary friends and some of the local residents, all through Budo’s very interesting and eye opening viewpoint.

There are plot twists later into the book that take what was seeming like it a sweet and simple, but written with depth story about caring, love, understanding and growing up into a tense, suspenseful, adventure thriller. That may seem like a huge leap but in context it all comes together brilliantly and in the end you feel like you’ve truly walked away with a higher understanding of growing up as a whole. Dicks also doesn’t leave one hanging on certain conceptual threads, they aren’t clear cut final thesis into the reality (per se) of imagination, death, afterlife and more, but boy does he try and I commend him for it.

I must say I truly like the original ARC cover then the one used in the UK where the book is credited to Matthew Green or the final American cover. That is why it’s the image I chose for this review.

“memoirs of an imaginary friend” came out in the U.S. In August 2012, this review was based on a complimentary Advanced Reader’s Edition.