by James Moser
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
Chasing Prophecy is the story of Mo, a shy teen who is
just trying to survive high school. He has secretly fallen
in love with a girl named Prophecy who lives with a group that some call a commune and others call a cult. When she disappears, Mo must find the courage to face the monster that her family has become. Chasing Prophecy is a contemporary coming of age story that is heartwarming, suspenseful, and beautifully written. This book chronicles the adolescence of one boy who must transform himself to save the girl of his dreams. The Pacific Northwest legend of Bigfoot is a fresh paranormal element.
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What an enjoyable book! Chasing Prophecy is one of the few books that I've read lately from a male's PoV, and it was a refreshing change of pace for me. This story surpasses the usual offerings of YA fiction. It easily carves out its own place in the genre as a standout coming of age read.
What I enjoyed most about Chasing Prophecy were the characters. I felt like I connected to all of them so well. The way that Jim wrote them made them feel like real people that I actually cared about. As the events started to unfold in the book, I couldn't stop myself from devouring it because I wanted to make sure that Mo and Kazzy were okay. That's a rarity for me as most of you know that I read multiple books at a time. With Chasing Prophecy, I put my other reads on hold because I was so invested in the characters. Kazzy was my favorite character because of the connection I felt to her. It was very insightful to view her from Mo's point of view.
Jim definitely has a talent for writing, especially with the YA genre. His story flowed so well. Never did it feel clunky or tedious. There are several underlying themes that thread through the story in such an effortless way, and I enjoyed them immensely. The sprinkling of paranormal also adds a different edge to this book.
I feel like I cannot stop gushing about this book. Whenever I agreed to review this book, I never imagined that it would captivate my attention in the way that it has. Without hesitation, I recommend this book to all fans of the YA genre, teen or not.
**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to James Moser.
An Interview with James Moser
Q: I loved your inclusion of Sasquatch in the story. What's your favorite Sasquatch theory?
A: I don't know about Sasquatch theories. That's such an interesting question. Any theory I had or agreed with would be based upon the question: Is he real--in the first place, so I guess I'll start there. My answer: "I don't know & I love not knowing!!!!" I get that the whole point of the cable show is to prove or disprove him, but in a way I'll be just crushed if they ever prove or disprove one way or the other. I love that there are all these people with a passionate sense of faith that he's real, or that he's not real, and the arguments are so fun to participate in and listen to. It's so hard for me to take a side. I'm not wishy-washy person but my opinion changes 51% to 49% one way or the other about every day. The contentions have been the same for hundreds of years:
REAL: Photos, video, huge areas of unmarked tracts of land remain in the mountainous regions of the US, esp. the Pacific Northwest. I got really lost hiking once near Granite Falls, WA. I felt 100 miles from civilization. Got back to the car, looked at map, and realized i was like 1 millimeter from the road the whole time, and the wilderness behind me went on for 50 miles. Yeah, something could hide back there forever. No bones found b/c woods animals would tear it up and break it down within a couple days. A believer would say that bones have been found by wandering dogs thousands of times and brought back to the house with the owners saying Oh, look, Rover found another elk bone. Anyone who's hiked around here has come across bodies of dead animals that have just been torn up and you can't even tell what you're looking at.
FAKE: People see what they want to see, esp. when afraid. If I were a teen, and this cable show were coming to my town, I'd be first in line with my friends to go make screaming noises and throw rocks, then run back to the keg party and laugh about it. At some point in time, a bigfoot would have died with a hiker finding it shortly thereafter before the animals could get to it. If he exists, he's not a perfect athlete. One would have fallen down a cliff into someone's campsite by now. They can't be these perfectly stealthy beings.
REAL: There are cave paintings up and down the Pacific Coast which represent the big guy, from tribes that didn't hang out and swap stories with each other. One early British explorer in Washington was trying to hire some Indians to lead him up a river valley near Mount Rainier. His journal recounts that they became agitated, drew a picture of bigfoot in the dirt, refused any amount of money to lead the trip, and through an interpreter used the word "Skookum" which roughly translates to "Mountain Devil". One of the natives made screaming noises to show what Skookum sounds like. I have to find the explorer's exact words again but it was something so dry and British and funny like "thusly was I dissuaded from this venture."
FAKE: About 10 years ago, a convicted murderer who'd escaped from prison in Croatia, was apprehended in the hills around Snohomish County. He'd somehow made it all the way to America, stowed away on a ship or something, dug himself a cave, and had been trapping and stealing food from cabins to survive for years. He was big and hairy and smelly when they caught him, as you can imagine. This was big news around here at the time & I remember thinking--how many sightings are just weird hermits or guys like this?
REAL: Two of my students went looking for him for a class project and either found him, or found something that looked, sounded, and smelled like him b/c it scared them half to death & they didn't want to talk much about it.
So that's my incredibly long answer. I don't know & I love not knowing! :)
Q: Chocolate or vanilla?
A: Chocolate every day, twice , and three times morning to gear up for the week ahead.
Q: If you could promote Chasing Prophecy on a TV show, which would you choose?
A: I think it would be fun to promote it on Finding Bigfoot because I think those guys are really smart and funny. I'd like to do it with my 2 students from 14 years ago who had the sighting, though one already told me "count me out".
Q: Which actor would you pick to portray you in a show or movie?
A: Portray ME? Well Tom Cruise of course. I mean, maybe we could ask Tom Cruise if he has a pudgy little brother with a big forehead who could be my stunt double. Ha! Portray the characters--that's a tough one I'll have to think on for a bit. When I think of the characters, I think of the real people who inspired different parts of the fictional characters. Hmmm. Good question.
Q: I loved the character of Kazzy. Where did the inspiration from her come from?
A: Kazzy is all of the toughest young women I've known in my real life & literature. She is Scout Finch, a bit of Katniss, a bit of a girl named Abby who was in my Sophomore class 10 years ago. Her sense of humor is from me + great one liners from former girl students.
Q: What's your favorite part of being a high school teacher?
A: Best part of being High School teacher is talking about books with kids.
Q: What's your least favorite part of being a high school teacher?
A: I don't have a least favorite part of working with teenagers. They're pretty awesome. When they're going through something I can't help them with--that can be hard.
Q: I've happened to experience your rad sense of humor first hand. Hit us with your best joke!
A: Kristen, as you know, much of my humor is not fit for a wholesome family audience like yours so I must censor myself, somewhat! :) Here's a football one that's pretty good, coming from a Seahawks fan: "How many San Francisco 49ers fans does it take to change a light bulb? One. They just hold up the light bulb and the world revolves around them."
Q: What advice would you give one of your students who told you that they wanted to be a writer?
A: Go for it! It's an awesome adventure, makes you a better, more focused, and generous person.
Q: New projects?
A: Yeah, I have a couple of things going on. I don’t think I’m done with young people and Bigfoot so I’ve been considering some kind of epic quest trilogy with those characters. The other thing I’ve been messing around with is a series of humorous essays (a la David Sedaris) about growing up, family, etc.