The next book I’d like to feature from my Colorado trip is an example of self-publishing at its finest. J. Philip Horne has a natural ability to craft a story, his prose flows smooth as fresh cream, and he’s taken great care with the editing process. That’s a great beginning. Kudos, Mr. Horne!!
So…how about the story?
Joss the Seven opens on Joss’s last day of eighth grade, just as he’s trying valiantly to make a name for himself as one of the greatest pranksters to ever grace the middle school hallways. Everything goes awry. To make matters worse, a note bearing the strangest instructions appears in his locker. Is someone playing a joke on him? When Joss tries the first test and his hand passes through a solid object, he’s thrust him into a world he can’t make heads or tails of. A world in which the good guys and the bad guys are both trying to recruit him, and he can’t sort out which is which.
This is a fast-moving tale with plenty of adventure, close calls, twists, fantastic superpowers, and plain old growing up troubles that are amplified by all the above. But Joss, with the support of his close-knit family and a loyal circle of friends, is up to the challenge. Though the story isn’t religious in the slightest, I love that Mr. Horne has unflinchingly included references to church and God and prayer in the context of Joss’s family’s life. It’s so refreshing to see faith included in a positive, even casual way. The story is also rife with messages about friendship, family, forgiveness, loyalty, right and wrong, and helping strangers. But most importantly, it’s just plain fun. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to turn invisible, walk through walls, and shift into a gigantic eagle? I can’t wait to read the next one.
I haven’t bestowed a Squeaky Award for a long, long time, but I believe this one warrants one. Two thumbs way up!
There are two books in the Guild of Seven series to date. (There will be more.) Grab paper or Kindle versions on Amazon:
And BONUS! I contacted Mr. Horne to let him know I enjoyed and reviewed his book. He told me about a related short story he wrote that’s part of a freebie anthology. I grabbed a copy and realized there are a bunch of authors in there that I know and like! Straight from the author himself, here’s the link: