Tuesday, August 25, 2009

THE TEAR COLLECTOR by Patrick Jones





Vampires, zombies, and werewolves seem to be dominating young adult literature, but Patrick Jones has created another life form with enough similarities to make it popular, but enough uniqueness to possibly make it a far more disturbing read. Enter THE TEAR COLLECTOR.

News reports around Flint, Michigan, have been filled with reports of young boys disappearing, taken right off the street, from playgrounds and backyards. Even more mysterious is their return several days later, terrorized but alive.

Someone paying close attention to these news reports is Cassandra Gray. She has an idea who or rather what might be responsible, but it is her duty to protect and serve the family that might be involved. Cass has been given the task of collecting the sadness and sorrow of humans in the form of their tears and bringing it back to a small circle of those dependent on her for their survival. Not vampires dependent on the blood of their victims, but another non-human form that draws energy found in the tears of its victims.

Cass has always accepted her role willingly. She has become the trusted friend of many in order to offer her shoulder during times of crisis. In Lapeer High School the drama of everyday life provides tears aplenty. But Cass's family responsibility is becoming clouded by the sudden death of her best friend and the appearance of a boy who has her feeling things she never has before.

THE TEAR COLLECTOR by Patrick Jones adds a new dimension to the current trend in YA lit. With the use of sorrow and tears, he has chosen a direction I found more believable than the vampire/zombie fare of recent years. Set in a high school where emotions run amok on the best of days, having tears represent the life-sustaining power required for this alternate life form seems more realistic than glistening fangs and dripping blood. Although this novel breaks from Jones's traditional genre, it reads well and will break open a whole new audience for his work.

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