Felix Yz
Felix Yz

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Annotation: Thirteen-year-old Felix Yz chronicles the final month before an experimental procedure meant to separate him from the fourth-dimensional creature, Zyx, with whom he was accidentally fused as a young child.
Catalog Number: #149350
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 283 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-425-28850-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-99335-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-425-28850-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-99335-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016029068
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Eighth grade, like every other year of Felix Yz's life, isn't easy, but right now, it's increasingly intense. Why? He is inhabited by a fourth-dimensional creature, Zyx, whose presence forces Felix's body into a hunched stance he calls "the Pose." One month before undergoing a procedure designed to separate the boy from his alien, Felix starts a detailed blog of his life, challenges, and thoughts. Told as a daily countdown, Felix records when he's bullied, when he finally talks with Hector (on whom he has a crush), how the Yz family copes with his situation, and when his fears about the procedure bubble up. Felix is likable and funny, and his relationship with Zyx is fresh and genuine. Containing eye-opening diversity, including Felix's relationship with his gender-fluid grandparent ("Vern" or "Vera" depending on the day), the story provides an original take on classic themes of family acceptance and middle-grade love. There are plenty of laughs to be had in this lovable debut. Bunker is an author to watch.
Publishers Weekly
Felix Yz, the 13-year-old narrator of Bunker-s captivating debut, is just like everyone else. Well, mostly. At age three, Felix was fused with Zyx, -a hyperintelligent being from the fourth dimension,- during an accident involving one of his father-s inventions, which also killed his father. A dangerous procedure to separate Felix from Zyx is scheduled to take place in 29 days, and Felix is determined to make the most of the intervening time. Felix tells his story via his blog, using Zyx-s perfect recall to recount conversations verbatim as he contends with bullies and works up the courage to talk to his crush, a boy named Hector. Felix-s humor, vulnerability, and strength give this story its big heart, which is rounded out by a loving family that includes Felix-s mother, piano prodigy older sister, and genderfluid grandparent who goes by Vera or Vern on different days. Set against a countdown to the unknown, Felix-s story is a love letter to anyone who feels out of place and a testament to the beauty of being -different.- Ages 10-up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (June)

School Library Journal
Gr 69A one-of-a-kind story in a familiar diary format. When 12-year-old Felix was a child, his father died in the same lab mishap that fused a fourth-dimensional being known as Zyx to Felix's body. Now that Felix is on the precipice of adolescence, his body is having more trouble containing Zyx, and both must prepare for a risky separation procedure. This novel takes the format of Felix's blog, with asides from Zyx, who communicates by typing. The creature is endlessly supportive of Felix, providing an equal amount of positive reinforcement and earnest confusion at human social mores. As both move toward what may be their deaths, Felix uncovers long-hidden family secrets, discovers his own gift for writing, and develops a connection with his crush, Hector. While Felix's situation is certainly unusual, readers will respond to his self-doubt, the funny asides, and the suspense of how the procedure will turn out. Most notable among the supporting cast is his gender-fluid grandparent Grandy, who alternates among male, female, and no presentation depending on the day of the week. Grandy's presence allows for an explanation of choosing one's own pronouns (here: vo, ven, veir, veirs, veirself) and offers, along with the biracial Hector, more ways for Felix to better understand how all people contain multitudes. VERDICT Like the sweet older brother of middle grade series such as "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and "Dork Diaries," this title, with its combination of light sci-fi and relatable stakes, should appeal to younger teens.Ann Foster, Saskatoon Public Library, Sask.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A freak scientific accident leaves an ordinary Maine boy atomically bonded to a fourth-dimensional being in this debut middle-grade novel."If it wasn't for the fused-with-Zyx-thing, I suppose I would just be normal—whatever that means," writes Felix Yz in his "secret blog," first published by Bunker as online interactive fiction. Counting down the days until an experimental Procedure might free him (possibly fatally) from the alien bond that has made movement and speech painfully difficult for 10 years, the white eighth-grader chronicles the quirks of his loving family, his passion for drawing and writing, his run-ins with bullies, and his awkward crush on another boy at school. Meanwhile Zyx (typing through Felix's fingers) provides running commentary as something of a "wise fool" archetype, dispensing gnomic truths and mystical insight with the eager charm of a hyperintelligent puppy. But the outré premise is only the setup for this unique, whimsical tale; it's also about webcomics and chess and geometry and jazz and the astonishing "threeness of things." It's about the suffocating terror of death and the sweet agony of first love. It's about transcending binaries, both the obvious—Felix's mother is bisexual, his grandparent gender-fluid, the boy of his dreams both biracial (black/white) and bilingual—and those more subtle and profound, all in the most gloriously matter-of-fact way. Above all, it's about Felix's voice: acutely perceptive, disarmingly witty, devastatingly honest, and utterly captivating. Joyful, heartbreaking, completely bonkers, and exuberantly alive. (Science fiction. 10-adult)
Voice of Youth Advocates
When Felix was three, his scientist father’s experiment went terribly wrong, killing his father and fusing a fourth-dimension alien inside Felix ever since. Although the presence of Zyx causes Felix pain and keeps his body bent, Zyx is his closest friend. Told through his blog, Felix narrates his struggles with a bully at school, his yearning to have a romantic relationship with Hector, and his inner dialogue with Zyx. In just twenty-eight days, Felix will undergo the dangerous procedure to separate him from Zyx, but no one knows if Felix will survive. Sometimes fear descends upon him in black heaviness, but he is buoyed by the love of his mother, sister, and Grandy, the grandparent who shifts gender identities. The setup of this story is interesting: it follows a young boy, Felix Yz, who tells his story through journal entries on his blog. He counts down the days until the procedure that will undo the accident that bound Felix with an alien from the fourth dimension, Zyx. Felix describes his days—those that are mundane, as well as those that are not— including events like riding the rails away to Portland and his fear for his life as the “Zero Day” creeps closer. 5Q, 3P.—Ty Johnson, Teen Reviewer.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (Mon May 01 00:00:00 CDT 2017)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (Mon May 01 00:00:00 CDT 2017)
Wilson's Junior High Catalog
Word Count: 50,422
Reading Level: 5.3
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 192287 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 940L
29 Days to Go
 
I almost talked to Hector today.
 
How it happened was, as soon as I got off the bus Tim the Bore popped up like he was waiting for me. I can't remember a time when Tim was not picking on me. He is such a jerk. Any­way, nothing new today, same old joke. "Hey, Felix," he says. "Guh-guh-guh-guess what?" Making fun of how Zyx makes it hard for me to talk. So incredibly clever, he is. As usual I don't answer, but that never stops him. "Time for the word of the day," he says. "What do you think? Will the streak continue? Let's find out. . . ." He's run-hopping along next to me, and I just stare at the ground and keep walking. "The word of the day is, Felix Yz a . . . retard!" Which is supposed to be funny because my last name sounds like "is." Get it? Then he does a leap with his arms in the air and screams, "Yes! The streak continues!"
 
Like I said, usually I don't respond, but this time maybe I'm feeling a little more stressy than usual on account of how hard it has been getting to move in the morning and ZeroDay fi­nally being set, because all of a sudden I feel this hot squirt in my stomach and I make a fist. I only do it for a second be­fore uncurling my hand again, but he still goes nuts. "What? What's that?" he shouts, shoving me and punching my shoul­der. I start shaking and turn to face him, but before I can do anything else he pushes me into the janitor's closet and slams the door. I crash into the big square sink and fall over against the rolling bucket and lie there for a second, feeling swoopy.
 
Once the floor stops pitching around I get up and try to open the door. It pushes out a little and then slams back, and I hear Tim's stupid laugh and figure out from the foot shadows under the crack that he and one of his stupid friends must be holding the door shut. I try again and they push back so hard they make it bang. I still feel dizzy, so I slide down and sit leaning against the door, letting my body curl naturally into the Pose, the way it always wants to these days. The wood feels cool against the side of my head. They start whisper-calling through the door, but I can't hear what they're saying and I don't care.
 
I start to think maybe I'll take a nap or something when I hear high heels and a teacher's voice. Tim answers, and even through the door I can hear the fakey apologizing tone in his voice. The teacher speaks again and sneakers go away, squeaking hard on purpose, and then the door opens and Mrs. O is there.
 
Mrs. O is OK, I guess. She talks to me like I'm eight years old, but then she talks to all the other kids the same way, so maybe it's not because she thinks I'm stupid. Maybe it's because she always says things right out of the Positive Things for Teachers to Say Handbook. "Felix," she says, in her *very concerned* voice. "Are you all right?" But I hardly hear her, because Hec­tor is standing right behind her.
 
OK, do I really have to explain about Hector? Because it's com­plicated and I don't actually know what I'm explaining and I don't want to.
 
do what you want do not do what you do not want
 
Great, Zyx, that's such a big help.
 
sarcasm question mark
 
No, you think?
 
sarc Yes, sarcasm. Gah. Anyway, I think I do have to explain, because that was my idea with this secret blog or e-journal or whatever, that I am telling everything from scratch to a total stranger, so that if ZeroDay goes, um . . . let's just say, if I don't happen to be around later, people will have everything they need to understand. So. Explaining Hector.
 
felix explain question mark
 
I'm thinking, I'm thinking. Uh.
 
Yeah, you know what? I'm done for today.
 
zyx love felix
 
You love everybody and everything. Or so you keep saying. But, yeah, thanks.
 
welcome
 
Twenty-nine days until ZeroDay. I'm counting down. Twenty-nine days to go.
 

28 Days to Go
 
I just read through what I wrote last night, and I realized that if someone reads this who doesn't know me, which is the whole idea, then there are a bunch of things that would be hard to understand, like how a lot of the time I have trouble talking, and the part about it getting hard to move in the morning, and ZeroDay, and the Pose, and the words in italics. Well, all of these things have one reason behind them, which is that when I was little there was an accident with a secret machine my dad was working on, and I got fused at the atomic level with a hyperintelligent being from the fourth dimension. Zyx, say hello.
 
why say hello question mark
 
If you understood humans better it would be easy to explain, but you don't, so it's not. Could you just do it, please?
 
Hello
 
Thank you. As you can see, Zyx communicates by using my fingers to type, but has never figured out about shift keys or punctuation. Or italics for that matter. Those I go back and put in after so you can tell who is who.
 
So that's Zyx (rhymes with "six," in case you were wondering), and the Pose is the exact position I was in when the accident happened. That was when I was three, so I hardly remember anything about it, but from what they tell me, Dad had me at the lab, babysitting while he worked. There were these two big spheres, and the idea of the experiment was to make a tiny crys­tal marble disappear from one of the spheres, pass through the fourth dimension (the actual space kind of fourth dimension, not time), and appear instantly in the other sphere, and what happened was, the machine went off before it was supposed to. Maybe Dad got a little excited or something. Mom says he could be like that--overeager is the word she used. In any case, the spheres were not sealed up the way they were supposed to be, and at that moment they figure I was losing my balance and falling on my butt, because in the Pose I'm half curled between standing and sitting, with my right arm sticking out to the side and my neck bent. Which is why I walk hunched over, and why I sleep on a recliner instead of a bed. And being fused with Zyx also makes it hard for me to talk most of the time, which is why Tim came up with the R-word for his little game. Most people think I'm mentally disabled, but I'm not. Just stuck together with an alien.
 
What else? ZeroDay, right. That's when the Procedure is going to happen, which means they are going to try to separate me and Zyx again. Dr. Yoon is worried that if we stay fused together for too long it might be bad for me, for both of us. None of this has ever happened before, so nobody really knows for sure, but it seems like, um . . . like . . . I don't want to say it, but I guess I have to. It seems like if we stay fused together for too long, there's a chance we might both die.

Discussion Guide: Felix Yz Discussion Guide

“If it wasn’t for the fused-with-Zyx thing, I suppose I would just be normal—whatever that means.”
 
When Felix Yz was three years old, a hyperintelligent fourth-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix—now thirteen—won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them . . . but it may end up killing them both instead.
 
This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual—time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and a train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most?
 
Told in an unforgettable voice full of heart and humor, Felix Yz is a groundbreaking story about how we are all separate, but all connected too.


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