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Sound Bender

Sound Bender is a middle-grade/YA sci-fi novel by Lin Oliver and Theo Baker.

Thirteen-year-old Leo Lomax has just lost both his parents in a plane crash. He and his brother Hollis go to live with their odd, wealthy uncle Crane. He deals rare (and possibly illegal?) antiques out of his Brooklyn warehouse. Soon after they move in, Leo receives a birthday present from his dad - something he sent before dying. It breaks Leo's heart as he reads the handwritten letter - he misses them so much.

But cutting through his grief is the message in his father's gift - new information on Leo's birth and hidden ability that may just now be beginning to show itself...

Leo's always been fascinated with sound, but now he's hearing things he logically shouldn't. When he picks up the spoon to eat his soup, he hears the cook arguing with her husband. And then he begins to hear something haunting - a cry, human-like and so very sad - and feels it is connected to an object in his uncle's warehouse that practically radiates evil.

Suddenly, Leo is faced with a new destiny. He's determined to help whatever's cry penetrates his mind, even if he has no idea how he's going to do it. Because, he must have been given this ability for a reason...

Sound Breaker is a goodhearted novel with a bit of mystery and suspicion as Leo's powers begin to manifest. I liked the solid friendship presented and the smartness of the characters, but I could quite connect to the book in an adult level. I wasn't as interested as I'd have liked to be, unfortunately.

For me, the dialogue didn't feel genuine 100% of the time and the writing felt like it could use a little more polishing, maybe, to be more accessible to older readers too. But I had nothing against Sound Breaker at all, just felt a bit ambivalent towards it.

Sound Breaker is a sweet-natured and well-intentioned book, which I appreciated. It got a tad heavy-handed with the lesson near the end - but it was a good lesson. I would recommend this book to nine to thirteen-year-olds, and think boys would like it.


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