“Deja View: A Kid Nightmare” by Michael Thomas Perone

“Deja View: A Kid Nightmare” by Michael Thomas Perone 663 1024 Reader Views Kids

Deja View

Michael Thomas Perone
Wheatmark (2023)
ISBN:  979-8887471204  
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (11/2023)

“Deja View: A Kid Nightmare” by Michael Thomas Perone” stars 12-year-old Bobby Dalton as a young protagonist weathering the start of his middle school years.  Struggling from the transition between elementary school and the tougher, meaner, meatier experience of 7th Grade, Bobby starts seeing strange visions after his class buries a time capsule to celebrate the end of the decade.  His visions are not of the future, however, but seem to be strange mirror-like images of his recent past.  Are the visions of him and his friends real, or is Bobby suffering from something more serious?  “Deja View” is the story of a kid who does not want to grow up, but no matter how hard he tries, things keep changing and time keeps marching on.

“Deja View: A Kid Nightmare” is written in a perfect tone to capture the attention of a middle-grade audience.  Bobby’s narrations are strikingly authentic, and the trials readers experience alongside him are all too familiar for anyone who is currently or has already gone through the treacherous tween years of junior high.  The bullying, body insecurity, and drifting of childhood friendships are things that most readers will be able to identify with, and this helps make Bobby a sympathetic narrator you want to root for. 

At the same time, I also found myself wanting to shout at him sometimes to stand up to his “friends” and remember that there is nothing wrong with who he is.  Then, I thought, Well, how perfect a way to capture how we all wish we could go back and say these same things to our own younger selves.  Bobby’s visions give the book a spooky twist that also helps add a dose of thrill which will resonate with readers of Bobby’s own age. 

I did wonder if “Deja View: A Kid Nightmare” was a little too slow to get going.  The first half of the book mainly depicts the gradual drifting of Bobby from Joe and Max, which is certainly a big part of the overall plot and Bobby’s character, but I felt like I was waiting a little too long for the real thrills to start.  The first real concrete scene where we see Bobby experiencing a vision is not until about 85-90 pages in.  After that, aside from the convenience store sign, the subject is not really broached again for another 30-35 pages, after Bobby and his friends bury their own time capsule.  Based on the book summary, I kept expecting the real heart of the sci-fi twist to finally start, and it seemed like I had to dig deep to finally get there. 

Overall, I think “Deja View: A Kid Nightmare” by Michael Thomas Perone is a great book for middle-grade readers and even those in their first or second year of high school.  I can also see it finding an audience with readers, such as my millennial self because there is something wonderfully nostalgic and familiar about reading a book set in the late 80s and early 90s.  The pop culture references, games Bobby plays with his friends, and the places they visit are all things that Gen X and Millennial readers will gobble up like candy.  It is a bittersweet story about a kid who is struggling on the cusp between childhood and adulthood, and that’s something pretty much any reader can relate to on some level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.