Ethan is a 12-year old boy who has a special knack for astronomy and physics. He doesn’t remember his father – he was raised by his mother and until recently, he never really felt that his life was lacking in the parental department. As he goes through changes, he starts to wonder more and more who is father is and why he isn’t around.
Mark Hall has been separated from his family for the last 12 years, but now he’s forced to come back to town. While he’s there, will he finally be able to face his past and what that tore his family apart?
Clearly, we all knew what drew me to this book – SCIENCE! I love books about characters that are hyper-intelligent and into physics. It’s even more fun when that character is just a child, and man is Ethan smart. In fact, it seems that he’s not just smart – he might even be a savant. He seems to actually see physics, with his eyes; the kinetic energy of a bouncing ball, or the sound waves coming from radio speakers. It’s normal to him since he grew up that way, but then he learns that something may have triggered this ability in him and the story gets a little more interesting.
So, I liked the first half of Relativity a lot. The chapters alternated between Ethan, his mother Claire, and his absent father Mark. Early in the book, the focus is on Ethan; his struggles in school, fights with friends, his changing body – normal boy stuff. He talks about how he’s read Stephen Hawking’s book five times, he watches for meteor showers, he muses on space-time. Later on in the book, the focus shifts a little bit to Claire and Mark and their ruined relationship, and even that was interesting. But by the last quarter or so, the focus was so much on the family’s past rather than Ethan’s present, and that’s where it lost me a bit. It became a little dramatic, and by the end I was wishing that the story had gone in a different direction.
That being said, I love love love the science talk. And if family relationships and dramas are in your wheelhouse, then this is probably a fantastic book for you. I’m just an oddball – I’m really in it for the nerdy stuff. Keep an eye out for it – this will be released on May 3rd.