Cover Image: Refraction

Refraction

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Refraction by Naomi Hughes lets readers experience a dystopian world where horrifying monsters crawl out of reflective surfaces. Because of its intriguing plot and psychological elements, this sci-fi novel will entertain you until the end.

After an alien invasion attack on earth, a lot of cities are now covered by fog. Despite the danger, Marty Callahan illegally distributes mirrors which have the potential to create electricity on their island. He is caught by Elliot, the mayor’s son. However, unfortunate instances happen which cause both of them to be exiled. Now, Marty and Elliot don’t have any choice but to rely on each other. Together, they will discover the secrets behind the fog, which may or may not help them to survive.

It took me quite a while before I got hooked by the story. At first, the pacing was a little too slow for me, but after Marty and Elliot was exiled, that was when the action truly began. There were times that I was confused or lost about what was happening, but all of it will make sense at the end of the story. The twist was really unexpected. I didn’t see it coming at all.

What I like about this novel is that it has ZERO romance. This books focused on other types of relationship, which the author greatly depicted. It is also refreshing to read a narration told by a male protagonist. The characters are also fleshed out. Both of them are trying to fight their inner battles while also trying to stay alive. Mart and Elliot tandem is on point, and I really like how the enemies-to-allies relationship developed.

Overall, Refraction by Naomi Hughes is a clever story which highlights the importance of family and friendships, as well as how our fears influence us.

3.5 stars!
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The writing of the plot and the flow of the whole story can be slow and dragging at first, but when you get through the book, it is all worth it. Some may say that the entirety of the story can be quite predictable,, regardless the entirety of the book is a marvelous experience. Highly recommended.
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Originally posted on Forever Young Adult on 01/14/2020

BOOK REPORT for Refraction by Naomi Hughes 

Cover Story: Brown Bag It: Emo Edition
BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Sci-Fi Lite, Part Deux 
Bonus Factor: Fear, Itself
Relationship Status: You’re Not My Mirror

Cover Story: Brown Bag It: Emo Edition

Nothing says angsty teen like a kid with a hoodie, glaring at me from the depths of its cotton hood. The wavy title reminds me of the logo for the old Universal Studios ride, Earthquake. I don’t think any of this accurately reflects (heh) the book inside.

The Deal:

One day, aliens attack. They weaponize reflective surfaces to enshroud the world in a heavy mist, leaving only small pockets of land clear for unknown reasons. If you stare into a reflective surface for too long, dark, monstrous shapes materialize and try to eat you, so I’m sure it will come as no surprise that most reflective things have been banned by those still left alive. Marty Callahan lives in one such area still free of the mist, a tiny island off the coast of Florida. He’s desperate to leave to find his older brother, who is in another safe haven: London.

To earn enough to bribe his way onto a flight, he deals in contraband: glasses, compact mirrors, telescopes. But when he gets caught by the Mayor’s son, Elliot, they get exiled together, which usually means certain death. Now Marty has more immediate concerns: figure out what the aliens want so he and Elliot can stay alive long enough for Marty to reunite with his brother.

BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia 

Marty is constantly telling us he’s not the best person, mostly because he will do anything in order to find his brother. He knows the contraband mirrors and such hurt people, but he’s willing to take that risk. I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily a bad person, just an opportunistic one. He also has OCD—like, an actual OCD diagnosis, not the kind that anal-retentive people say they have. He’s previously been able to keep it under control—mostly—but being tossed out into the mist, where monsters can lurk around every corner, well…you can’t blame him for being extra scared. I felt for him as he got these urges he couldn’t control.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

It definitely took me until the last few pages of the book, when it ended and there was zero kissing, for me to conclude that Marty and Elliot probably aren’t destined to be a couple. I don’t know if I’m just primed to assume that all secondary major YA characters are automatically assumed to be love interests, and thus promptly expected a romance to happen where there wasn’t one, OR if there were some obvious vibes I picked up on but the author chose not to go there. Perhaps a little of column A, a little of column B?

Talky Talk: Sci-Fi Lite, Part Deux

When I read Refraction’s premise, I knew this was going to come down to execution. It could be really intriguing or go horribly wrong. I reviewed Hughes' first novel and liked the premise but felt the details were lacking. After finishing this book, I decided, in the words of Randy Jackson, that it was still just a’ight. As a reader who doesn’t mind reading more complex sci-fi elements and concepts, I would’ve loved more detail than what we were told. If you’re not a huge fan of sci-fi but still want those elements while reading more of a character study, then you may be okay with that.

There was a bit of a twist, which I was sort of expecting but the twist itself wasn’t WHAT I was expecting. For me personally, I think the author missed an opportunity to focus that part of it, which I felt was more interesting than the survival portions that made up the majority of the storyline.

Bonus Factor: Fear, Itself 

The creatures that emerge from reflective surfaces are always different depending on who looked into it, as they reflect your innermost fears. That can make for some creepy-crawly nightmare fuel.

Relationship Status: You’re Not My Mirror

Justin Timberlake once described love as “making two reflections into one”, Book. As we stand side-by-side, I 
just don’t see our reflections gelling together. I think we’re better off as friends.
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The main character Marty is taking some big risks by doing whatever it takes to make his way back to his brother, including becoming a dealer of illegal goods. Separated from his brother after an alien attack, Marty needs to find a way off the island where he was staying with his aunt while his brother was studying abroad. I wasn't a fan of how indifferent he was towards the death of the aunt who took him in when she didnt have to. This indifference was contrasted by how deeply he cared for his older brother. Their strong bond was forged in the absence of their drug addicted mother since they only had each to depend on. I do wish the drug addiction hadn't been glossed over as quickly as it was consdering its a pretty sensitive topic. On the other hand I did feel like Marty's OCD was handled with care and the representation seemed authentic.

With all the laws he's willing to break and people he puts in danger to achieve his goal, Marty knows he can be selfish, but he obviously cares more than he wants to admit. Elliot by contrast was the total opposite. He thinks hes a hero protecting the island and getting people sentenced to death, but hes only doing his mother's bidding in the hopes of gaining her approval. He was incredibly delusional when it came to his mother and blamed everyone but her even when she was clearly in the wrong. She was so interested in keeping a perfect image as the mayor she was willing to sacrifice both her children for it. I'm glad Elliot eventually redeems himself by standing up to her, but it was too little too late for me. I just couldn't get over his righteous attitude and the way he took out his anger on Marty to the point of being cruel.

The plot consisted of Marty doing whatever he could to find his brother and getting exiled for it along with the person responsible for his capture. The danger from the monsters and the strangeness of the fog added some great suspense. On top of that we get tension between Marty and Elliot with them being on opposite sides of the law, but having to work together to survive the fog. Not to mention theres a huge hurricane blowing in. The pace was rarely dull since the book wasnt very long and theres a good amount of action throughout. Plus things speed up when they are given a tight deadline to save everyone. I also found the mystery of trying to figure out what the aliens were up to entertaining. The tropes that were used are some of my favorites, but I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say what they were.

Ever since the alien attack that happened prior to the start of the book, monsters have been coming out of mirrors when people gaze into them. That's why all reflective surfaces were banned even though they can be used as a power source. I liked how the fog surrounding the island and covering most of the mainland was infested with monsters, but the logic was a little shaky with no one left on the mainland to summon them by accidentally looking into a mirror. I thought the explanation for the monsters and the characters ability to alter their surroundings in the fog was really interesting. The person who ends up explaining what's going on was probably my favorite character in the entire book. They were just so pure and innocent I would love a sequel all about them.
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Refraction by Naomi Hughes is a unique young adult science fiction novel published on November 5, 2019 by Page Street Publishing. 

Earth has been invaded by aliens, and all reflective materials have been banned because they produce Beings, evil creatures. Separated from his brother, Ty, after the fracture, Marty Callahan, 17, is determined to find his brother—whatever the cost. He becomes a distributor of mirrors in hopes to gather enough money and favors to get him to Ty—all of this while dealing with OCD.

But when a deal goes south, Marty is arrested and banned from the island he lives on along with Elliott, the mayor’s son and the one who framed him. Exiled on a land where fog means death, the two rivals will have to partner up for a chance to escape, or at least stay alive. 

This book is simply amazing. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but this book never ceased to amaze me. There is no romance in this book, which I appreciated in this setting. The story is about trust, betrayal, mental illness, friendship, and the limits that are pushed when the world as you know it collapses.

The two main characters are polar opposites. Both are relatable in some ways and have valid motives for acting the way they do. Marty is a morally gray character battling OCD, yet I rooted for him right from the beginning. The mental illness brings a lot of internal and external (yet exciting) conflicts. I wanted to applaud this character for going through it all and trying to improve his mental health at the same time. 

Elliot is a wonderful character whom I very much enjoyed getting to know. He is a genuinely good person whose faith is not always in the right people, but he believes in what he does and (almost) always wants to do what’s right. He deals with grief and betrayal in a way that made my heart bleed for him. These two characters complemented each other perfectly.

The story is light-hearted and funny as hell, but it’s also heartbreaking. This is definitely a five-star read for me.
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This idea sounded awesome, but sadly this wasn't a favorite book. I liked the descriptions of the aliens in the fog, the OCD rep was well done and the general synopsis made it a quick read. But this book lacked some atmosphere to feel danger for the characters, very weak world building and the characters were only surface level. Some sentences even didn't read nicely if you read them aloud. But for teens that are getting into sci-fi and want a short book, this is one to recommend but I have read better books in this genre.
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I usually steer away from SciFi but this book drew me in because of the interesting blurb. It is about living in a remote island where a person’s worst fears can crawl out of mirrors, so reflective materials are banned from use.

Marty, the lead, was a seller of these contraband items. He does this because he seeks to be reunited with his brother who he believes is in London.

Marty has also been diagnosed with OCD, and his struggles is shown on his thought processes in the story.

The action began when Marty encountered Elliot, who is the mayor’s son. Though they initially had opposing beliefs, they eventually had to work together so that they can survive.

I don’t want to spoil too much on the story, but I can honestly say that it is a little scary to me and the action kept me at the edge of my seat. I was lost on how the story should go, and this made the book very exciting to read.

The book also expressed mental health concerns without being too intense on it. I can’t talk about the accuracy of it, because I don’t know much about OCD. But, it is said to be an #OwnVoices read, which highlighted how the author views her own experience.

All in all, I enjoyed this read & I’m looking forward for the author’s other works.
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Refraction was an unexpected good read for me, and by unexpected I mean it wasn’t something I normally gravitate to. Thank goodness, I did because it was pretty good.

You are on an island, shrouded by fog and you are unsafe in every point you turn. Crazy, right? We follow the story through the main protagonist’s eyes who has OCD. We see how an apocalyptic setting can affect someone from medicine withdrawals to the uncertainty of finding the person they are looking for to the overall feeling of feeling unsafe. What I enjoyed most about this book was the mental health rep. Although I cannot relate to the main character in that respect, I did respect the author portraying the character in a relatable way, but someone still capable to take on obstacles. Marty had such growth throughout the story and became a character arc I wanted front and center.

Marty is a mirror dealer who is trying to gain money to find his brother.  His brother happens to be on the other side of the world.  What brought this science fiction aspect to the story was the monster/aliens that would spawn from the mirrors. This horror came after the Fog settled onto the Earth. I was turning each page trying to understand the fog and monsters and how humans were now surviving this. Now back to Marty – since we know the monsters spawn form the mirrors, Marty as a mirror dealer, is seen as the bad guy by the mayor, Elliot. To avoid all spoilers, the customers of the mirrors being sold use them in a way that is pretty sickening. If you read the book, you will want to read it over and over again because you wouldn’t believe humanity can be that bad. This causes a ban of mirrors, hence Marty being seen as the bad guy in that scope. We follow the journey between the two who eventually have to team up together after being exiled form the island they saw as safe. Each dealing with their own issues, learn to work together to survive the fog and return to the island they have been exiled from. It becomes such a journey, where both characters learn more about each other and learn about surviving a world of creatures who have now called their home , home and want to erases the species.

I loved the action packed page turning feeling this Sci-Fi novel gave me. It was creepy, eery, suspenseful and something I haven’t read in a long time.  If you want a good Sci-Fi set in an apocalyptic world where human survival relies on a world wide ban of an object and distance form an extraordinary, mysterious fog, this is the book for you!
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In Naomi Hughes’ new scifi novel Refraction, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. What begins as an adventure full of frightening monsters further evolves to psychological horror, and a meditation on how to keep our humanity in the face of the unknown. 
⁣
Refraction is an #ownvoices book for OCD, and reading it has really helped me understand more about the nature of the disorder. My review and blog tour stop can be read in full here: https://princessandpages.wordpress.com/2019/12/01/intl-blog-tour-refraction-by-naomi-hughes/
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"if I were facing a monster, I could run, I could hide. But I can never get away from myself."

Wow.  that would be my one word review of Refraction.

Initially, I felt like the book started a little slower than I'd like focusing on character building instead of plot progression (TRUST ME THIS IS NEEDED AND NOT A BAD THING OVERALL) but once the action kicks off HOLY SHIT ARE YOU IN FOR A RIDE!

Its a really well written and nicely paced storyline with characters that are realistic and relateable despite the subject matter of the book. It's also wonderful to read about such complex characters with some great representation that have to learn to embrace the power of their inner strength even if that means truly accepting themselves, trauma, flaws and all.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot twists and details in case I spoil anything so I've put the publishers blurb below because it was enough to get me to want to read but still left room for a lot of the wonder and potential of the book to unfold:

"After an attack on earth, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. Despite the danger, the demand rises, and 17-year-old Marty Callahan becomes a distributor in an illegal mirror trade—until he’s caught by the mayor's son, whose slate is far from clean. Both of them are exiled for their crimes to one of the many abandoned cities overrun by fog. But they soon realize their thoughts influence their surroundings and their deepest fears begin to manifest."

Really, I loved this book. I truly love it. The plot is well paced and got some great twists. The characters are easy to root for despite DEFINITELY not being black or white/good or evil, and there is some fantastic representation and universal messages underneath a great book that a lot of people could enjoy and benefit from.
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This book was crazy in a good way. So many twists and turns. I creepy and darker read. This book did not have a romance but it was driven by a different relationship and both main characters have lost their siblings in the chaos that is the world they now know. I have read so many sister stories and I was happy to see a male driven book with brother relationships featured. A fun read and I give this one 4 stars
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Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Author: Naomi Hughes

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Recommended Age: 14+ (OCD, suicide mention)

Synopsis: After an attack on earth, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. Despite the danger, the demand rises, and 17-year-old Marty Callahan becomes a distributor in an illegal mirror trade―until he’s caught by the mayor’s son, whose slate is far from clean. Both of them are exiled for their crimes to one of the many abandoned cities overrun by fog. But they soon realize their thoughts influence their surroundings and their deepest fears begin to manifest.

Review: I read this book in 4 hours and I have to say it’s one of the most imaginative and best alagorical works of sci-fi I’ve ever read in my life. The book did amazing to draw the connection between the world and the writing was amazing. I loved to have a realistic OCD rep in this book as well. I highly recommend this book.

My only complaints are that the fight scenes went a bit fast, the pacing is extremely fast paced, and the character development could have been better with some of the background characters. Other than those I absolutely loved this book!

Verdict: Get it now!
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For most of the time, I am not a picky reader but when it comes to science fiction or anything that has to do with Dystopia, I raise my arms in surrender. But that's not to say I haven't read any science fiction. I have always found it difficult to get into the genre so, I finally chose to push my boundaries when I decided to sign up for the blog tour for Refraction. I am really really happy that I was chosen to participate, otherwise I would have missed out on this wonderful book.

This is probably a first for me; for a young adult book, Refraction has no mention of love nor does it have any kind of a romantic sub-plot. This book has so much going on. There's action, there's friendship, there's the whole aesthetic about the dystopian world. Even though I had some difficulty at the beginning, I ended up liking this book through and through.

I will surely recommend everyone to read this book!
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*I WAS PROVIDED A PHYSICAL COPY FOR THE PURPOSES OF A BOOK TOUR. THIS DOESN’T AFFECT MY OPINION*

My first words after finishing this book were “wow” and “what the hell.” I kid you not, I was stunned into practical silence.

I held low expectations going into this book due to my being resurfacing from the horrors of a book slump. The good news of having low expectations? This book’ll blow your mind.

First of all, there isn’t a single ounce of romance in this book.

None.

Do you know how rare that is in YA fiction nowadays? Almost nonexistent! So, when the trope of “two guys (fill in the blank here)” was brought to my attention, I was like, hmmm. But nope! Not a single bit of romance; just good ‘ole friendship.

And I loved it. I think we need more of that in YA books! I think that that’s something we’re really missing in regards to the realistic appeal factors, and I think it’s definitely something that should be happening more often than the fairytale “love-at-first-sight” trope.

However, with all good books come some faults. There were a few parts toward the mid and end of this book that I just got a little iffy about.

For one, there’s a rather traumatic scene with the MC and an injury he receives. One second, he’s up and running; the next, he’s down and screaming. I kind of found this one scene, in particular, to be confusing and of not much sense. It didn’t seem right to me that he was fine for one moment and then down in the next, but then back up and running again just paragraphs later??

Moving on from that, there were also some parts toward the end that were more obvious than not fillers, and I found myself skipping through them due to their lack of importance to the story, characters, or plot.

All things considered, though, I did really love this book. Again, having low expectations gave this book a seriously high standing in my current views, and I will definitely be rereading it again in the future. For that, I rate it 4.25 stars. I’m excited to see what Hughes will release next!
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, Page Street Kids, and Fantastic Flying Book Club for this free copy.

Do you know how much I wish I had freaking exciting books like this when I was growing up? Seriously though. I was not expecting to have a near heart attack kind of hyped up experience from reading something like this, and I was completely wrong!

First, I wanted to say that I really appreciate Hughes being so thorough in listing all of the potential trigger warnings that her book has in her Goodreads Review. I have seen so many people – not that I know personally but around – that feel like the world should not cater to someone’s triggers, but I mean, people don’t have to be jerks about it and they usually are. So for Hughes to be so aware and considerate about this, and made it a point to list them for us was really great.

Second of all, I really enjoyed the premise of this novel. I think about how many times I look into a reflected surface on a daily basis, and I don’t know if I would be able to discipline myself enough to NOT put myself in danger like that. And it’s not even the makeup or anything, but just to see what’s on my face, or see what’s up with my hair, or even put on and take out my contacts! But it’s also interesting that even though mirrors can be used to unleash monsters, people still want to sell and buy them on the “black market”. If it’s so dangerous, what would they want to use it for? Or is it just too difficult to not look at yourself every once in a while? Well, wait didn’t I just say that about myself?

Also, I felt like Hughes did such an amazing job with showing a realistic take on someone with a disability that would normally rely on their medication but can’t do so because of the current state of the world. Sometimes I feel like people think its easier to portray someone with a disability in the “real world” because there wouldn’t be much… obstacles that they could have to face if everything was perfect. Sure, an author could write about how damaging it could be for someone to be rejected for their medicine because of a lack of health insurance or something of a real life problem like that, but how would we figure it out when the world just went to hell? What would we do to keep ourselves balanced and functional? This is where Hughes did a great job with going into that thought process, and I appreciate that this came from an #OwnVoices author in regards to OCD.

This was such a great science fiction/dystopia type novel, and I’m so glad that I got to read it! I’ve also seen some reviews of people that NEVER read science fiction novels, and loved this, so I would recommend you giving this a try if you’re still a SFF newbie!
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I was completely taken by this action filled dystopia world. @naomihughesya held a clear vision of a dystopian future where monsters are reflected through mirrors and characters such as our protagonist, Marty, are left to cope with the fractured fragments of the self. This #ownvoices narrative is exceedingly powerful and the focus on Marty’s struggles and attempts to overcome his OCD provide #Refraction an added gleam of originality.
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Thank you to Page Street Kids and the FFBC for the e-access to Refraction! I want to thank you for the hard copy too but would share the review here as access was granted! Also media links are below!

I actually read it in two sittings, the synopsis is not exaggerating at all when it says faat pacing!  I was hooked from the start to the end, for a few different reasons.

First off I liked the characters.  After an alien invasion where now any reflective surface can spawn vicious shadow creatures, mirrors become illegal.  Marty deals in illegal mirrors, which are still prized for their potential to create electricity in the dystopian society that has developed on the island.  Elliot is a great character too, I enjoyed watching them begrudgingly work together and then become friends.

The plot was absolutely breakneck, and after the boys are exiled and start learning what is happening to Earth, it became awful hard to put the book down.  It is hard to not give spoilers but the main character has OCD, which ties into the rather large psychological aspect of the story.  

The way that the action is framed can be done either very well or very poorly, and I was nervous at first but the author did it VERY well I thought, because it made sense.  You'll see what I mean when you read it!

I would fully recommend the book for any fans of sci fi, psychological aspects, and there is a touch of horror and supernatural as well.  There is something for everyone here including found families and a lot of personal growth. 

Thank you again for including me in the tour!! 

Blog post can be seen at https://onenursereader.wixsite.com/onereadingnurse-1/post/refraction-by-naomi-hughes

Instagram tour post can be seen at https://www.instagram.com/p/B43H_9pAXSM/
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Refraction is Naomi Hughes’ recently published blend of YA Science Fiction and Horror, and is a gripping tale of conquering fear. It’s an account of monsters – both as external physical threats, as well as more personal perils of the mind. At its heart, this is a deeply sentimental story about a crass boy’s unwavering journey to find his brother in a shattered and haunted world, but in the end discovers the goodness that lives in his heart. Along the way he learns to not only trust in others, but in himself, as well. A beautiful fusion of chilling terror and melancholic hope, the pages of this book flew by far too quickly, and left me craving more.

We begin our adventure in Cisco City, one of the remaining bastions for humanity after a devastating extraterrestrial attack. In this alternate version of our own world all must be wary of highly reflective surfaces, because a simple glance at your reflection will summon the fog – and all the grotesque Beings made of deadly shadow it houses. The city’s mayor rules with an iron fist, and after a mirror deal gone horribly wrong, we find ourselves exiled into the persistent fog that blankets the majority of the world, where the struggle for survival truly begins. Hughes takes us on a mysterious expedition with a peculiar, ever-changing landscape, filled with a multitude of unexplained occurrences that kept me thoroughly enthralled throughout. Vividly expressed, these familiar and relatable settings are infused with the weird and wondrous where nothing is as it seems, forcing readers to question events every step of the way.

Expressed using the ribbing voice of Marty Callahan, readers witness first-hand the development and transformation of the two main characters of the story. Marty and Elliot couldn’t be more different – one is a criminal, the other enforces the law; one is selfish, the other is a protector. Their paths cross, and the cruel hands of fate deliver them both to the mainland where Beings reign. Although they’re initially resistant, there is a gradual building of trust and camaraderie, ripe with banter, that takes place as the chapters continue and they continue their way through a desolate Florida. However, secrets continuously threaten to break this tenuous bond that is forming between them. Through these conflicts, we catch glimpses into their pasts, making this a surprisingly emotional narrative. As they evolve, we begin to see them live to their fullest potential, and it’s really a beautiful thing to behold.

While attention to mental disabilities is not something necessarily new in the world of literature, Hughes brilliantly analyzes the ever-consuming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder through the eyes of a character that suffers its brutal effects. Like many disorders, this is one defined and dominated by fear, and one that allows those monstrous fears to manifest, whose sole purpose is to imprison. The use of reflective surfaces to trigger deadly attacks is the perfect way to illustrate the concept that a person’s worst enemy is the one staring back at them in the mirror. Another beautiful touch is a hurricane battering the city and beyond – I found this to be a perfect metaphor for the ongoing, and increasingly taxing mental battle one must face when tormented by their own mind. And finally, addressing these fears, regardless of the dangers they pose, is the only way to begin healing.

I wish I could go into more depth about what Refraction has to offer, but for fear of spoiling, you’ll have to unearth all the stunning and fascinating details for yourself. Completely exceeding my expectations, there’s so much more to this story than I originally anticipated, and I’m thrilled I was able to join Marty and Elliot on their paths to discovery. Replete with nail-biting action, twists and turns, and raw emotion, the revelations are both astonishing and satisfying. If you’re looking for a clever and uniquely executed story of the strength, and importance of family and friendship, this is the one. I highly recommend.
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Refraction is an (older teenage)/YA sci-fi novel that’s entirely original and will pull you in from page one. I’ll be honest, when I first read the synopsis of this and also heard that the main character suffers from OCD and anxiety I had to grab it. Having a slew of my own mental health issues including anxiety with OCD tendencies I wanted to know someone with my condition(s) could live and survive in a dystopian type world. Naomi Hughes shows Marty’s illness in a way that feels real and maybe even understandable to those who don’t have these specific issues. I absolutely loved this book so hard. If you need to know possible trigger warnings then before reading this book please go to the book’s goodreads page. Naomi has included all the possible trigger warnings that Refraction may have or cause. 

The world created here was pretty amazing. It’s a post-apocalyptic world where the island Marty lives on is one of few survivors after an alien invasion. Marty is separated from his own brother and is willing to do anything to get back to him, even if that means risking his life and the lives of others. With all of this going on it’s apparent that he has OCD. Even though before the invasion he seemed to have had it under control, it’s starting to slowly take over his life again. His fight with the illness feels so real and relatable. Hughes shows us the intense need and all consuming fear this illness can cause. It was eery mainly due to the fact I could relate so much. Elliot, the other main character was just as well developed as Marty and is his complete opposite. Together they find themselves would-be enemies turned acquaintances, turned friends. I loved watching their relationship evolve throughout the story and I feel as if Hughes really tried to show Marty’s character development through his relationship with Elliot. 

The plot itself was amazing and very well thought-out. It was executed in a way that had lots of twists and turns for the big reveal at the end. My only issue is with the pacing. Everything happens extremely fast and at times, I had to reread some areas just to make sure I grasped everything. It was kind of like “blink and you miss it” type of thing for me, but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story as a whole. 

Overall, I really enjoyed everything this book had to offer and I am so grateful Hughes gave a voice to Marty. It was refreshing to be able to relate to a hero so vividly. 

***Thank you so much to the Fantastic Flying Book Club, Naomi Hughes, and Page Street Kids for the free copy and the chance to review this title. The views and opinions I have expressed here are solely my own and are in no way a representation of the views/opinions of the author, publisher, and/or distributor.
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I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review. Also, thanks to Page Street Kids and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a finished copy!

Content Warning: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Death, Gore, Injury

Refraction is a fast-paced Sci-Fi thriller packed full of surprise and character depth. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the story was told by a male lead, and there was no romance! (It’s such a refreshing feeling to read about a different character dynamic. I'm getting tired of the “strong female lead who doesn't need anyone to help her” being in the spotlight constantly).

Marty Callahan does not disappoint in character. After an alien invasion on Earth, he has had to learn how to survive on his own, and survival doesn’t always look pleasant. Marty has taken up the occupation as a mirror-dealer. Since the invasion, mirrors, and anything with reflective surfaces have become outlawed as they cause fears to manifest. Desperate to buy passage to London--one of the few cities still contactable since the invasion, and where his brother was last known to be--Marty will stop at nothing to get there. The eerie fog surrounding the island makes escape to the mainland utterly impossible. Anyone who enters the fog is killed within moments by the creatures that lurk there.

The island becomes smaller and smaller, and Marty is finally caught. He’s banished to the mainland, AKA his death, along with the mayor’s son. What makes his banishment most interesting is Marty’s struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His struggles are craftily worked into the scenarios throughout this story that make his character tangible, as if the reader is living his story. I thought that this aspect was done so well, and I really enjoyed how the author crafted his entire character.

Refraction is a unique story that brings to light how fears can consume someone if they aren’t kept in check. This will be the perfect read for anyone who likes The Illuminae Files.

Vulgarity: None.
Sexual content: None.
Violence: Moderate.

My Rating: ★★★★
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