Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future is the newest release from award-winning young adult writer A.S. King. King is known for her strong and unique voice, which carries throughout in this novel about Glory, a bright but confused teen graduating from high school with nothing ahead of her but a question mark. All her peers are going off to college and starting their lives, but she’s stuck in place, still struggling with her mother’s suicide, her father’s grief, and her own inability to feel like she belongs in the world.
Enter the bat.
When Glory and her maybe-friend Ellie find a petrified bat clinging to the eaves of Ellie’s porch, it becomes a sudden strange catalyst for change. The wall surrounding Glory disappears, and she suddenly senses the future and the past of all the people around her. The circumstances surrounding her mother’s mysterious suicide à la Sylvia Plath start to come to light, but that's only half of what Glory needs. The other half is feeling like a necessary part of the future. A vivid premonition of the world gone badly astray helps take care of that.
While the overall book is a realistic coming-of-age story, the dip into magical realism is weirdly fascinating and metaphorical, a necessary dose of a broader perspective that shocks Glory out of her numbness and self-pity-- and makes the book an adventure to read. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is another YA offering where the quality of writing, plot structure, and sheer fun, tops many books written for an adult audience.