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Unstoppable Moses: A Novel

Review

Unstoppable Moses: A Novel

Moses and Charlie, his cousin, were inseparable best friends. They believed they were invincible; after all, Moses is the kid who defied death. That all changed one night when a prank went very wrong. With a building left in ashes, groups of people ready to pray the devil out of him and a potential hate-crime sentenced against him, Moses finds himself utterly alone and stuck in the place he's always ached to leave.

Just when Moses is left thinking everything is over, he gets the opportunity to prove himself. Moses must volunteer as a camp counselor for a week to show he isn't a hate-filled danger to society --- which, by the way, is a title that doesn't look great on college resumes. He looks forward to leaving the stares and whispers of his small Illinois town, but on the ride to the camp in Michigan, he realizes that it may not be that easy. Among a crew of unlikely characters, Moses will be forced to face the ghost that's been haunting him for most of his life, and tragedy that seems to follow in his wake.

"In UNSTOPPABLE MOSES, Smith lets the reader explore the full range of human emotion alongside Moses in an effortlessly readable way....This may be Smith’s debut, but he writes with the expertise of a seasoned writer."

UNSTOPPABLE MOSES is Tyler James Smith's debut novel featuring rock 'n' roll gods, teacup pigs, grief, baby deer, a pregnancy pouch full of questionable items and, ultimately, heart.

I never expected to love UNSTOPPABLE MOSES as much as I do, but upon reading the first chapter, I knew this was going to be one of those rare favorites that readers can only hope to be so lucky to stumble upon. Moses has a wit that is all his own, but still falls in line with the youth that he is a part of. The pacing of the book is absolute perfection and the characters, no matter how minor, all have personality and purpose that add to but never distract from the story.

From the first sentence, Smith gives the reader no disillusion that this is going to be a run of the mill book. And that stand-out quality is just weaved throughout the entire 300+ pages of UNSTOPPABLE MOSES. It’s been a while since I’ve read about arson, pigs and camp; even longer since those things have made me laugh aloud and cry. In UNSTOPPABLE MOSES, Smith lets the reader explore the full range of human emotion alongside Moses in such an effortlessly readable way. While reading, I found myself wondering where the story could possibly go next, how Smith would connect the dots. This left me in unfamiliar territory as a reader but wow, was it an amazing journey. This may be Smith’s debut, but he writes with the expertise of a seasoned writer.

Smith truly captured this generation’s humor, which is not an easy feat. So often when an adult tries to impersonate the humor we have, it comes across as try-hard and just all wrong. Moses and company would blend effortlessly into a high-school today, much like they’re supposed to. Smith’s humor is so in tune with my generation humor but will still without a doubt be able to make readers from different generations laugh as well.

UNSTOPPABLE MOSES is a book I’d recommend even to people who turn their noses up at the idea of YA. It doesn’t fall into the mold of what a “typical” young adult book is perceived to be and as such has major cross-over appeal. It’s the type of book a teen could loan to their parents and they’d enjoy it just as much, if not more.

UNSTOPPABLE MOSES deals with universal topics like loss, grief and the way we perceive ourselves. In writing those things successfully, the book was guaranteed to be spectacular, but adding all the extra oddities to Moses’s story is what took it to the next level and carried it to a spot on my rare “Recommend to Everyone” list.

In trying to compare Smith’s writing to other authors for a point of reference, I found myself coming up short. Sure, his writing style could be compared to Stephen Chbosky (THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER) and his humor and heart to that like Jesse Andrews (ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL). But truthfully, as a debut author, Tyler James Smith has already distinguished himself as someone that I will now compare other writers to rather than the other way around. Smith is now most definitely on my radar --- and he should be on everyone else’s too.

Reviewed by Olivia W., Teen Board Member on October 16, 2018

Unstoppable Moses: A Novel
by Tyler James Smith