Gods of ManhattanTitle: Gods of Manhattan
Author: Scott Mebus
ISBN: 9780525479550
Pages: 340 pages
Publisher/Date: Dutton Children’s Books, c2008.

He could make out a small pigeon hopping along the roof’s edge. […] It inched along the edge of the roof near one of the gargoyles, a lion’s head with its stone mouth open in a growl. The pigeon stopped just short of the gargoyle, looking away at something on the roof. Then, in a flash, the gargoyle head turned and gobbled the pigeon up in one huge bite. Feathers burst out of its mouth and floated softly down toward Rory’s astonished face. He would have thought he’d imagined this, too, if the gargoyle wasn’t still chewing. Finally, with a swallow, the gargoyle went back to stillness. If not for the falling feathers, nothing would have been different. (pg. 12)

Thirteen year old New Yorker Rory Hennessy thinks he’s going mad. After he assists a magician at his sister’s birthday party, he starts seeing things that other people can’t see. It’s obvious to him when shadowy figures called Strangers try to snatch him that he is not going crazy. Instead, he finds out that he is the last known Light, and enters into a centuries old war amongst the ghosts and gods of Manhattan. With everyone trying to convince him that he should fight on their side, debut novelist Scott Mebus keeps readers guessing with who’s the good gods and who’s the bad guys in Gods of Manhattan. And as Rory and his sister soon find out, sometimes they’re one and the same.

I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to read two books in a row that make my favorites list. This book has been sitting on my shelf for weeks (read months) and I’m so glad I picked it up and read it before returning it to the library. The short review would read Mebus keeps readers guessing. It’s so much more than that. The suspense is well-paced, with clues being doled out to readers and leaving them wanting more. Even when you’re nearing the end, and you think it will be happily ever after, Mebus throws a curve ball at you in the epilogue. But readers (speaking for myself) won’t be upset, and instead will clamor for the sequel in the series Spirits in the Park. While I can’t speak for his historical accuracy, he deftly weaves historical references into the plot line. A mystery, ghost story thriller with some fantasy doesn’t begin to describe this book. A wonderful debut novel that everyone should read, Scott Mebus should be one to watch.