The Dean Curse Chronicles

Young Adult - Mystery
224 Pages
Reviewed on 07/07/2013
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite

"Glimpse" by Steven Whibley introduces us to Dean Curse, an almost fourteen year old who finds himself witnessing a crime, and becoming an unlikely hero one morning while going to school. When the victim whispers the word "Glimpse" to him just before passing out Dean has no idea what the world it means. When he starts having hair-raising visions of people of course he is terrified. When he tells his best friends Lisa and Colin what is going on they help him figure out that the visions he is seeing are of people that have twenty-four hours to live, and that Dean's job is to try and save them which is no easy task! When he has as a "Glimpse" of someone close to him he is determined to intervene and save them or die trying!

Steven Whibley creates a page turning story that is surely going to appeal to young readers and adults alike with "Glimpse!" In addition to the characters being totally easy to relate to they also seem so very realistic. The relationship between Dean and his younger sister Becky was very real and the picking and fighting was totally a brother sister relationship, but when Becky was in trouble Dean didn't hesitate to do what he had to do! The friendship between Dean, Lisa and Colin totally works. While Dean is the shy one, Colin is the jokester and more outspoken, while Lisa seems to be the voice of reason. Instead of a perfect hero that saves everyone, Dean is someone who often fails, but doesn't give up, and when he does fail, his reactions are human. I like the fact that therapy is used in the story, allowing readers, especially teens, to realize that it is okay to need help once in a while. I also find the family feel of the story appealing. Dean's parents are great characters. Mr. Whibley hits the right balance with them, allowing them to be involved, but not overbearing. He creates a very good parental relationship. Mr. Whibley has the uncanny ability to provide tension, but also knows when to throw in a bit of humor to take the edge off! He also knows how to describe scenes allowing the reader to fully understand what is going on without being graphic, making this a great read for anyone who enjoys a story filled with tension, mystery, suspense and a touch of paranormal, where the characters are teens plunged into something that they truly have no idea about! "Glimpse" is a story that is mature enough for adults, but will totally be a hit with the younger set as well.

Natasha Jackson

Everyone wants to be a hero. Everyone wants to help save people from certain danger. Everyone that is, except Dean Curse. Dean doesn’t want to be a hero; nor does he want all the attention that goes with being one, but that is just what he gets after he stumbles into saving the life of a total stranger. And that is just the start of Steven Whibley’s "Glimpse". As we get more acquainted with Dean we learn that his best friend Colin has always believed he is just what his last name suggests, ‘cursed’. But during his 14th year Dean begins to feel that he really is cursed when the mystery of his strange yet lifelike dreams come to fruition during the day. Like all good heroes, Dean wonders if his visions are a gift or a curse.

What Whibley really excels at in "Glimpse" is making these characters true to their ages. Dean, for example, is a typical 14 year old boy who enjoys things such as comic books, soccer and reality TV. He has an annoying bug-collecting little sister, Becky, and an adventure-seeking best friend. And although these kids are trying to solve a mystery, they are typical teenagers. Whibley also does a great job keeping the suspense going as we follow Dean on his journey to decide if he’d do something about these dreams or simply ignore them, which, for a 14 year old boy, is a heavy decision to make. "Glimpse" deals with death in a way that appeals to young adults because this book doesn’t sugarcoat it or turn death into some bloody ordeal; but instead Dean, Lisa and Colin are forced to face the realities of death, which is what makes Dean such a great character in this new series. I am sure readers will enjoy that while "Glimpse" is part of a series, there are no cliffhangers and so I say, bring on the next one!

Jack Magnus

Dean Curse is the hero of "Glimpse" and he is about to turn 14 years old. He has a bratty little sister named Becky who is collecting bug specimens for entomology camp and two best friends, Lisa and Colin. His life is complicated by fears of his mom embarrassing him at his birthday party, until something strange happens on the way to school. Dean overslept and missed the school bus, and he has just enough time to get to school if he runs there. He is racing past an alley when he sees two strange men beating another man. Dean shouts to them to stop and then pulls out his wallet pretending it is a phone. Another bystander actually does make the emergency call, but the thugs manage to escape. Dean runs to the victim's side to see if he can help him. The man grabs Dean's shirt and whispers the word 'glimpse' - and Dean's life is changed forever.

"Glimpse" is a fun and fast-paced young adult fantasy/coming of age tale that will please an adult audience as well. Dean, Lisa and Colin are strong, well-developed characters who are a lot of fun to watch. Dean's sister, Becky, and his professor parents are also great foils for the three friends. The plot is complex and believable, and both the action and deductive reasoning used by the trio make this story fly. Author Steven Whibley adds in a secret society and some historical references making "Glimpse" thoroughly entertaining. I enjoyed every minute of Whibley's book and am eagerly awaiting future stories featuring Dean Curse and his pals.

Tracee Gleichner

Does helping someone ever have a downside? In "Glimpse" by Stephen Whibley, Dean Curse finds out the hard way. Dean sees a man in an alley being beaten by two men, and decides to use his wallet to pretend he is calling the police. The thugs take off, but when he approaches the man, he coughs blood onto his shirt, touches him, and says 'glimpse'. Dean doesn't think too much of it; after all, this man has just been through a terrible ordeal. But when he starts having terrifying visions of people he knows, and tragedy follows within 24 hours, he knows he needs to try to get answers from the victim of the attack. After a visit to the hospital, Vidimar tells Dean to help as many of them as he can, and to make sure to talk to his brother for more answers.

"Glimpse" by Stephen Whibley grabbed me from the beginning. I love the fact that Dean and his friends are young, and the author develops them well. When Dean first has a vision, he is terrified and thinks that he is going crazy. To make matters worse, 24 hours after this vision, the person he sees in it dies. Coincidence? Unfortunately not, and when it happens again, Dean realizes he needs to get some answers. He visits the victim of the attack in the hospital where it becomes clear that he has been gifted with the ability to see when someone has only 24 hours left to live. The hope is he will do what he can to prevent that from happening. He does try, and his first attempt ends in tragedy as he and his friends actually become part of the cause of the death of Mr. Utlet. He does some research, and after talking with people who have some knowledge of what is going on with him, decides that this isn't the curse he originally thought it was, but a unique gift that may allow him to make a real difference in the lives of those around him. I really enjoyed this book.

Maria Beltran

Dean Curse has the gift of knowledge. What makes him want to avoid it is the fact that what he knows is always something unpleasant. When he saves the life of a stranger, Dean becomes an instant hero and receives a lot of attention which he wants to avoid. However, it looks as though there is no way for him to avoid it anymore. After this heroic act, he has been having frightening visions of people dying and they all start to come true. Dean starts to believe that he is cursed instead. Will he still continue to prevent death from happening? Or will he choose to bear witness to the whole of it?

Steven Whibley’s bold attempt at a mind-bending book has an interesting premise. Of course, this is not something new but its potential becomes more and more intriguing. Thanks to Whibley’s lively execution, the story does not lack in charm and surprise. The author knows how to take care of his central character, sensing the chaos and managing to make sense out of the most confusing details of the story’s core. Just as you thought that this is another thriller that deals with the most astonishing and may eventually become frustrating, the twist comes around and the readers will definitely start to care. There is no denying that this is a great read, if not with a cliffhanger ending. Obviously, the author indirectly tells us to expect his next book. I must admit, I can’t wait to read the second book!