The Low Down: Joss Kazdan is a seventeen-year-old angry young man. To be honest, he’s always had a bad attitude, been a troublemaker. Things got even worse when his younger brother, Eli, committed suicide. The only thing he loves more than getting on everyone’s bad side is his little sister, Callie. Joss has been home from juvie after being locked up for almost two years. After his brother died, and the bullying perpetrator was never held accountable, Joss torched the bully’s house.
He seems to be falling back into his old habits, but what’s worse this time is that his brother is dead, his dad hides from the family and his mom keeps him at a distance. Then one day, something strange happens. Knocked off his bike while riding home, he hits his head and is knocked out. When he comes to, he hears the most beautiful sound. Like someone chanting ‘Om.’ And it makes him feel happy. A way he hadn’t felt in years. “…[i]t’s as if I’m hearing the birth of all creation. Like the universe is being born at every moment.”
By chance, Joss meets a couple who has been studying this sound, trying to understand why anyone over the age of six cannot hear it. Why it makes those who can hear it euphoric. What it means. They are attempting to build a machine that can replicate the sound so that the people of the world can be realigned with The One, the highest power who created all. As they work on this, Joss learns about what different religions believe about The Golden Age when humans lived in paradise, and what happened to cause Earth’s inhabitants to be expelled from it. These things are related in some way.
But not everyone wants the world to become happy and peaceful. As more people use the machines to be happy, horrible things start to happen. And understanding who is causing these plagues and why and how to return the world to what it once was is a leap of faith that Joss can’t take alone.
Best Thang ‘Bout It: When he heard the ‘Om,’ Joss could hear the dog’s thoughts.
I’m Cranky Because: I really didn’t like the book. It wasn’t the kind of story I would normally read. I don’t like religious or pseudo-religious subject matter, even if it is presented in fiction form. So I didn’t connect with the story. Plus, everything was resolved so easily. Without much struggle. And when some really horrible things were going on, I didn’t feel like they were horrible. I was told they were, but that’s it. And they still had electricity?
The characters were pretty much one-note with no depth to them. Dad was distant and sad. Mom was resentful and angry. Bully was punchy and mean. Sister was devoted and sweet. And Joss believed the ‘Om’ without a backward glance.
To Read or Not To Read: No ‘yes’ from me.
Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman was published May 11, 2012 by CreateSpace. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: Some profanity