Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

Susan Adrian
For ages 13 and up
St. Martin's Griffin, 2015   ISBN: 978-1250047922

Jake Lukin has a secret ability that is quite extraordinary. Years ago, when he was still a little boy, Jake’s father told Jake never to tell anyone about his hidden gift. Jake had already told Chris, his best friend, but he kept his promise to his father after this warning, understanding that his father was only trying to protect him. Mind you, Jake had no idea then what his father was trying to protect him from.

   Two years ago Jake’s father died in a plane crash and Jake feels confident that no one, other than Chris, knows what Jake can do. If Jake holds an object belonging to someone else he can travel (or “tunnel”) into that person’s mind, wherever he or she is at that particular moment, and see and hear what that person is experiencing. Jake can even sense their thoughts.

   Then Jake goes to a party, he gets drunk, and he shows off his tunneling ability. Soon after this happens he notices that someone is following him, a sinister looking man who makes Jake feel more than a little vulnerable.  For a week the man just watches, and gets on Jake’s nerves. Then the watcher starts acting as if he intends to accost Jake and the young man makes a run for it. Jake manages to get himself and his little sister home safely, but he is badly rattled, only to find that a DARPA agent is waiting for him in his room.

   The government agent tells Jake that he is in danger. The only way he can safeguard himself, his mother and his sister is to work for DARPA, to use his tunneling abilities to help them find people, people in danger and people who are a danger to others. In return they will guard him around the clock and keep whoever has been watching him at bay.

   Though he is not thrilled about this turn of events, and does not fancy being watched night and day, Jake really has no choice but to agree. At school and at home his two handlers give him objects to hold, and he tells them what he sees when he tunnels to the person the objects belong to. Aside from the lack of privacy, the thing Jake struggles most with is the fact that he has to lie to everyone. He lies to his family members, his friends, and to Rachel, the lovely girl whom he really wants to get to know. The weight of “Operation Massive Lies” begins to oppress him and it takes a toll on his physical and mental health.

   Then Jake gets word from his handler that someone tried to kidnap his sister. Clearly his family members are in danger and Jake has no choice but to disappear. His death is faked and he is taken to a secret location where he spends his days in a room all alone. He has no connection to the outside world and does not even have any objects on his person that he can use to tunnel. He cannot check to see how his mother and sister are doing. He plays video games, watches movies, and tunnels for the people who are supposedly keeping him safe. His life is miserable and lonely, but at least he knows that his family members won’t be targeted by his enemies, whoever they are.

   As Jake’s abilities get stronger he decides to do a little investigating of his own to find out more about the people who are working with him and what he discovers rocks him to his core.

   Readers who have a fondness for thrillers and spy novels are going to thoroughly enjoy this  well-crafted and exciting debut title. The plot is full of surprising twists and it is interesting to see how Jake copes with his changing circumstances.