I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Lost Boys Symphony: A Novel by Mark Andrew Ferguson
Published by Hachette Audio, Little Brown on March 24, 2015
Genres: Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Depression & Mental Illness, Friendship, Science Fiction, Time Travel
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A STARTLINGLY ORIGINAL, GENRE-BENDING LITERARY DEBUT IN WHICH A LOVESICK COLLEGE STUDENT IS ABDUCTED BY OTHER VERSIONS OF HIMSELF FROM THE FUTURE.
After Henry's girlfriend Val leaves him and transfers to another school, his grief begins to manifest itself in bizarre and horrifying ways. Cause and effect, once so reliable, no longer appear to be related in any recognizable manner. Either he's hallucinating, or the strength of his heartbreak over Val has unhinged reality itself.
After weeks of sleepless nights and sick delusions, Henry decides to run away. If he can only find Val, he thinks, everything will make sense again. So he leaves his mother's home in the suburbs and marches toward the city and the woman who he thinks will save him. Once on the George Washington Bridge, however, a powerful hallucination knocks him out cold. When he awakens, he finds himself kidnapped by two strangers--one old, one middle-aged--who claim to be future versions of Henry himself.Val is the love of your life, they tell him. We've lost her, but you don't have to.
In the meantime, Henry's best friend Gabe is on the verge of breakdown of his own. Convinced he is somehow to blame for Henry's deterioration and eventual disappearance, Gabe is consumed by a potent mix of guilt and sadness. When he is approached by an enigmatic stranger claiming to be an older version of his lost friend, Gabe begins to fear for his own sanity. With no one else to turn to, he reaches out to the only person who can possibly help him make sense of it all: Val.
The Lost Boys Symphony features a group of three friends in college: Henry and Val who’ve been dating for several years, and Henry’s long-time best friend Gabe. The three of them are inseparable, but as college goes on and Henry gets more dependent on his girlfriend, Val grows apart from Henry and decides that she wants to go to college in New York instead, leaving both Gabe and Henry behind. As musical prodigy Henry spirals further into depression over the next year with Gabe standing helpless by his side, Henry starts hallucinating as he heads toward a psychotic break–leading up to an episode on a bridge where he disappears from everyone’s life for months.
A Psychotic Break or Time Travel…
After hearing music that he’s tried to ignore for so long, he passes out and wakes up on the bridge with two men who look like older versions of himself standing over him. These 41- and 80-year-old versions of himself say that they’ve traveled back in time to help him get Val back because she was the love of his life, and she’s the only thing that can hold them together. What follows throughout the rest of the book is the 19-, 41-, and 80-year-old versions of Henry trying to set things right, to literally change the past, but meddling with the timeline isn’t as easy as you’d think–especially when all three men are volatile, depressed, self-loathing, manipulative, and have different ideas of what is best for everyone involved.
A very twisted love triangle…
Val thought that she’d be happy in New York, but she finds that she misses Henry and Gabe. Having only a few small phone conversations with Henry over the past year have made her second guess that she made the right decision in leaving. When Gabe finally contacts Val and reconnects with her, they both find that with Henry out of the picture, they’re now free to pursue a relationship. But will their guilt get in the way? This part of the story was a bit irritating for me, especially since it was clear that Gabe had feelings for Val all along, even when she was with Henry. With some prodding from an unexpected person, Gabe pursues Val even more vigorously.
The Usual Time Travel Conundrums Plus Some Interesting Different Ones…
While the three versions of Henry meddle in their past selves’ lives and even with Gabe’s life a few times, the timelines change and new alternate realities pop up, adding to their memories. 81 gets the worst of it since he can remember so many different timelines. But ultimately, The Lost Boys Symphony is about love and sacrifice, making choices that will affect everyone around us no matter how much we hurt ourselves in the process. I’d really like to know whether or not Henry is mentally ill or really a time traveler, but the narrative never really reveals that in the end.
I give The Lost Boys Symphony a 3.5 out of 5. Henry, Gabe, and Val are fleshed out in their character departments well enough so as to not overwhelm the story, but their character growth wasn’t that deep over the course of the book. They are portrayed very realistically, with every crappy character flaw and selfish bone at play. With frequent timeline and perspective changes, it was hard to follow the story while listening to the audio version. This just might be a book that I’d have enjoyed more if I’d read the print version instead. The storytelling and writing flowed nicely and sounded nice to my ear, though. Overall, this wasn’t an audiobook that I was clamoring to pick right back up hour after hour since it was a bit confusing to get back into.