Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki

Celia is starting her sophomore year at Suburban High School.  Celia has always tried to remain unseen, observing life from a distance with her sketchbook for company.  This year will be different, however, since she's been adopted by an interesting group of students: The Rosary.  Celia is beginning to find her confidence, but things aren't quite right at Suburban.  The day before a girls' sixteenth birthday, she has a terrible accident.  No one knows why it happens or how to avoid it.  Celia begins to notice things others don't seem to see, and it seems to involve her Chemistry lab partner and the mysterious boy at The Rosary's favorite club, Diaboliques.

It took me a little while to get into this.  At first I was like, "Is this going to be like Gossip Girl for the alternative set?" because there was a whole lot of detailed clothing description going on.  It was getting a little draggy and boring.  Luckily, as the book went on and the plot picked up, the clothes and music descriptions went to the background, which I liked a lot better.

Not that I didn't enjoy hearing about the clothes and music and the club The Rosary went to, it was just a little heavy at the beginning.  I understand that a lot of that was setting the scene and making it clear how different the kids in The Rosary were from the regular old high school kids.  It wasn't just their taste in music or their carefully selected black and gray clothes.  It also had to do with a level of confidence and how they carried themselves.

At first Celia feels like an impostor, but she grows in her own confidence.  This was a story as much about Celia coming into her own as it was about the supernatural occurrence at her high school.  At first Celia is just going through the motions, still afraid to be seen and in awe of these coolly aloof people who all seem so interesting.  Gradually Celia comes to see she has quite a bit to offer herself.  This is all going on, of course, while strange things are happening to the girls of Suburban High.


Celia learns that there are people know as the Kind and the Unkind who have powers.  There is an Unkind in the midst of the high school, who is trying to fulfill an admonition that involves killing a girl before her sixteenth birthday that will grant him or her more power.  Luckily, Celia's chemistry lab partner, Mariette is one of the Kind, and is trying to figure out who it is and protect the girls.

Another of the Kind Celia encounters is Tomasi, the gorgeous, mysterious stranger she meets at Diaboliques, who then disappears for a period of time.  Tomasi, of course, becomes the romantic interest, but he wasn't much of a character.  He seems like a nice guy.  Literary.  But his character doesn't get looked at very much.  He's just sort of there, and honestly, doesn't add a whole lot to the story.  Did there just have to be a love story, or will perhaps Tomasi become more important in later books?  I hope it's the latter.  He has a cool power.

Celia is strangely tired to the Kind.  She notices them when no one else does.  She keeps showing up in their admonitions.  Both Mariette and Tomasi are convinced that Celia is also one of the Kind, but Celia doesn't think so.  She doesn't have any powers and she hasn't received an admonition.  But if she's not, what is she?

I wonder if The Rosary will be in the next book, and if so in what form.  Several of the members graduated, and of the three who remain, two of them weren't developed very much.  Perhaps they will fade away, but I hope they get their chance to shine.  It could be interesting.

In Nathan Kotecki's author blurb it says he "...has DJ'd at the largest goth club in New York City..."  I wonder if that would be Batcave.  When Diaboliques was first being described, it kind of reminded me of Batcave, with it's three separate dance floors and multiple levels.  I think that's the biggest goth club.  Or at least it was.  I wonder if it even still exists.

The Suburban Strange came out October 9, 2012.


  1. Hi Arianna:

    Thanks for reading my book! And thanks for writing about it. You are absolutely correct: Diaboliques is based very heavily on Albion/Batcave in NYC, which unfortunately has been closed for about five years. But it will always have a special place in my heart.


    Nathan Kotecki

  2. Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for stopping by! I thought it sounded like Batcave! I use to go there all the time in undergrad, but I've been out of NY for about six years. I'm sad to hear it's gone! I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...