“I knew...you were in there...somewhere…” -- Excelsior
Teenagers live in a world where their greatest desire yet their greatest fear is to be unique. It’s confusing when society pressures you to want to be the same as everyone else, but at the same time represses all urges for independent thought, creativity, and freedom of self-determination. This creates a barrier for self-discovery, loss of true self, and the fear of disappointing others by not becoming what they expect.These universal themes have been written about in a variety of genres both fiction and nonfiction, but not in such a unique way as in George Sirois’ Excelsior.
This internal struggle is illustrated through Matthew Peters’ adventures not only in high school, but with his “new” friends he thought were only figments of his imagination. As Matthew discovers the truth about his universe and his unique abilities, he also discovers that becoming the hero means sacrifice. Others before him have paid dearly. Other around him pay the ultimate price. Is he willing to do his part to save his world and the world he thought was just a cartoon? And what will be left of himself when the adventure is over?
Young readers, of course, won’t analyze the book for these points. They’ll be excited about the alien battles, evil plots, and bullies that get what’s coming to them. Adult readers, hopefully, will appreciate the deeper themes that run in the undercurrents of the book. Either way, Excelsior is a unique idea that is a fun read for young adults and anyone else who likes a Last Starfighter meets Terminator type plot. It works well as a stand-alone but leaves the door open for sequels.