Author: Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5
Kevin Midas knows what it is to be the kid everyone else picks on. It seems to be his lot in life to be the favored punching bag of the all-school bully. So it’s no surprise when a scuffle during the class camping trip (seriously, what kind of teacher takes their class on a camping trip?!) ends in Kevin’s glasses being totally destroyed. When a teacher’s spooky campfire tale leads to Kevin and his best friend Josh climbing the mountain nearby though, things become a bit more surprising. At the very top, Kevin discovers a sleek pair of glasses, just like they were waiting for him. And not only do those glasses fit his prescription perfectly, they instantly make him feel cooler, more confident. But that’s not all they can do, as he’s about to find out. . . .
I love Shusterman’s writing–always original, refreshing, and meaningful. The Eyes of Kid Midas has the feeling of a cautionary tale or a fable without ever being demeaning or pedantic. It reads like an exciting middle-grade slice-of-life adventure with a crazy fantasy element thrown in . . . except that the further you read, the more you get the picture that stuff and power just aren’t worth as much as we sometimes think they are. The costs of seeking them too much are just too high, as Kevin quickly found out. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t addictive–another thing Kevin discovers to his horror. This story does get quite terrifyingly end-of-the-world disaster-zone towards the end, but it’s all middle-grade appropriate in tone. The characters are well-written, although more of the focus in this story seems to be on the plot; it’s still definitely a plot that wouldn’t have developed as it did unless the characters were who they are, that much is obvious. I don’t think I liked The Eyes of Kid Midas quite as much as I have liked some of Shusterman’s other stories, but it’s still an excellent read and one I’d definitely recommend.