Published: January 2012
e-Copy: from author for review
Zan is a teenage boy with a talent for discovering any girl’s secrets. If he asks a girl to poke her finger into his navel, he gets a psychic trip to Secret Town. Zan never likes what he finds.
When he meets mysterious, beautiful Austin, with her waist-length hair and mature laugh, he wants to get acquainted with her the slow way. Austin, however, can’t resist her curiosity, and when she pokes her finger into Zan’s belly button, he sees … nothing.
Austin dashes out of Zan’s house and out of his life, leaving Zan heartbroken and confused. To find peace, he must unravel the secret of his power. Is it a gift, or a curse? How can Zan love someone with no future? How can he not?
Poke is a fast-paced story about Zan's adventurous summer, as he battles witches, experiments with astral projection, and discovers the secret of his strange power, all to be with the girl he loves.
I have become a huge fan of Dalya Moon's fiction. Her previous books Charlie Woodcock is a Minor Niner and Practice Cake are wonderful and Poke did not disappoint. While I didn't find Poke quite as laugh-out-loud funny as the other two, it still made me smile and the somewhat bittersweet love story was fun to read.
Zan's rather peculiar ability - to get a psychic reading when someone pokes his bellybutton - is a fun backdrop for a quick and interesting love story that doesn't follow the usual formulas. It was surprising how full the story and characters appeared considering how short the story is. At about 140 pages this novella still manages to feel like a much longer novel. With a host of minor characters and some hilarious bad guys who are chasing Zan for his abilities, Poke maintained its breakneck pace yet never once felt rushed.
In amongst all the mayhem is a beautiful love story with a major twist. Zan and Austin have a huge hurdle to overcome and the outcome is never clear, but going through this with them was a fun ride. If you haven't discovered Dalya Moon's fiction yet, give yourself a treat and try them out. You won't be disappointed.