It is books like these that support my belief that in the realms of self publishing you will find stories that are just as good, if not better, than the fancy, hyped books you'll find on the shelves of your local bookshop.
In Changers' Summer, Mike Lewis has created an intriguing post-apocalyptic world that merely hints at what went on to bring it to this point: rats that can build ladders, dogs that can talk, rain that falls in different colours. Although many of their changes are evident, there is a great mystery surrounding the Changers and your imagination gets a great work out as the reader to try to construct what happened. There's a real sense of the reader being ignorant and a tantalising mystery that makes the story engaging. Clearly there has been a period where genetic modification and fiddling with nature has gone mad to create this dystopia but what I really like is that the reader is left to make up their own mind about this. There are no worthy opinions and no definite sense of whether the Changers were benevolent or evil, it all adds to the mystery and the chaos in your mind as you try to work out who is a good guy and who is a bad guy.
The story develops at a perfect pace, with developments in each chapter and no lengthy periods of hanging around. What I really like is the way the adults in the story gradually drop out for one reason or another and it is then left up to the two children to take the lead and make the decisions about what they are going to do. Changers' Summer really encapsulates what I love about teen fiction and that is an innate distrust of adults. They may think they are making the right decisions but adults are too full of the world to truly know what is the right thing to do. I think all world-saving ventures should be conducted by children because they have courage first above all things and they instinctively know what is good and what is evil. This may not be true in real life but it certainly is in teen fiction and it certainly is the case in Changers' Summer.
This is definitely a book for those who love post-apocalyptic/dystopian reads with a dollop of time travel, plenty of mystery and an accessible sci-fi edge. As for the ending... AMAZING! But I'm not going to spoil that, you'll have to read it to find out. All I'm going to say is my favourite books are always the ones that end with a beginning...