Ephraim is horrified when he comes home from school one day to find his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. Even more disturbing than her suicide attempt is the reason for it: the dead boy she identified at the hospital that afternoon - a boy who looks exactly like him. While examining his dead double's belongings, Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. Before long, he's wished his alcoholic mother into a model parent, and the girl he's liked since second grade suddenly notices him. But Ephraim soon realizes that the coin comes with consequences - several wishes go disastrously wrong, his best friend Nathan becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways. As Ephraim learns the coin's secrets and how to control its power, he must find a way to keep it from Nathan and return to the world he remembers.
A strange coin that can grant wishes...except it doesn't grant them in quite the way Ephraim expects. Things go horribly wrong each time he makes a wish, creating strange and frightening experiences and shifts.
Quite an intriguing sci-fi plot with parallel universes and dopplegangers. An interesting take showing how the same person can develop into different personalities given altered circumstances and it’s a good point that Ephraim takes responsibility for the actions he takes and does his best to rectify things. A really good story with realistic teenage characterisation. I like the plot twists and the ending.
MacLeod Andrews narrates with sincerity and credibility.
About 1/3 of the way through, I thought I might give up on it just because I was annoyed with the MC's friend and how skeezy he was and how the MC didn't see how this guy was not someone to be confided in. But first I looked at some reviews and spoiled myself about the big twist that definitely shone a new light on what I thought was happening in the book.
The entire concept of the story is basically revealed to be not what it first appeared to be, and I liked the new concept much better. Although it was funny when people in the second half of the story made fun of how silly the concept had been in the first half.
Hard to make all that very clear without spoilers, sorry.
I did like it, and while this one ends pretty satisfactorily on its own, I moved on to the sequel immediately to see what happens next.