Phaedra Cooper and the Half Boy
YOUNG ADULT DETECTIVE CRIME FANTASY MYSTERY RELIGIOUS SUSPENSE/THRILLER FOLKTALE
CHRISTIANITY AND ITS DAMAGING EFFECTS; SEXUAL ABUSE
1960s & '70s
THE NAME OF THE ROSE (VERY FEW SIMILARITIES)
ALEXANDER GADESKI. 14 YEARS OLD. PROTAGONIST. FUNNY, SARCASTIC, SMART, VICTIM OF ABUSE.
PHAEDRA COOPER. TEENAGER. SENECA GIRL. DRAWS XANDER INTO THE INVESTIGATION ABOUT HER FRIEND'S DEATH.
PRETTY FLOWER. DECEASED TEENAGER. PHAEDRA & XANDER INVESTIGATE HER DEATH.
STANLEY GADESKI, 'STARY'. XANDER'S DECEASED FATHER.
KANDJARSKI AND MARCIONE; TEENAGERS; SEMINARIANS, PRETTY FLOWER'S ABUSERS.
A mystery that grapples with sin, evil and the supernatural. Xander Gadeski, a young seminarian, is pulled into an unlikely and dangerous alliance with Phaedra Cooper, a Seneca girl. The two amateur detectives search for truth and justice in the suspicious death of Phaedra's friend Pretty Flower.
Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning,Male Leaning,LGBT Leaning
A small village in Upstate New York; a Catholic minor seminary near an historic glen; a cemetery near the glen; a Seneca longhouse during a religious service; small city in Upstate, NY.
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: with a Publisher
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Year Published: 2020
In a cemetery near his school Xander meets Phaedra holding vigil over a grave. She has promised to avenge her friends death, ruled a suicide by police. Phaedra believes the killers are students at Xander's school. She entices Xander by suggesting he has a mysterious connection to a Seneca hero.
Xander and Phaedra devise a dangerous plan climaxing in an outdoor trial on the glen bridge where death found Pretty Flower and where Xander must use his new found powers to avoid a similar fate.
Polish Catholics; Seneca tribal members; Upstate NY residents
Hard Copy Available
978-1-64544-237-0 (paperback) ; 978-1-64544-238-7 (digital)
Mature Audience Themes
Plot - Other Elements
Coming of Age,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist
Plot - Premise
Main Character Details
Name: Alexander "Xander" Gadeski (his name is an anagram for a Seneca hero Skagedi)
Key Traits: Empathetic,Modest,Religious,Funny,Secretive,Underdog,Insecure,Honorable,Heroic,Faithful,Complex
Additional Character Details
Name: Phaedra Cooper
Age: late teens
Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Complex,Decisive,Desperate,Faithful,Heroic,Honorable,Underdog,Blunt,Outspoken,Secretive,Manipulative,Unapologetic
Additional Character Details
Name: Stanley Gadeski (Xander's father; nickname Stary)
Key Traits: Charming,Empathetic,Faithful,Modest,Religious
Additional Character Details
Name: Brother Rose
Key Traits: Honorable,Modest,Religious,Selfless,Faithful,Empathetic,Decisive,Educated,Obedient
Bullying, rape, murder and suicide permeate and charge this story while standing in stark contrast to the scenic backdrop of an Upstate New York seminary. Diverse sexual relationships are hidden in the open 60's style. The mystery of Pretty Flower's death lends a gothic intensity to the story while many of Xander's experiences and encounters, such as a disastrous sex education class and an excruciating public confession at a Seneca longhouse meeting, balance the darkness with humor. Does Xander possess the hidden Marvel/DC type powers to divide himself in half, see into the future and move through the air by thinking of a destination and chanting while he leaps? Phaedra believes he does and she has ancient Seneca stories to prove her point. Xander finds out whether she's right or not at a tense, other worldly trial of Pretty Flower's attacker. Their lives depend on the answer. The supernatural and natural worlds flow together like hot and cold from a tap as Xander and Phaedra forge their uneasy alliance to disprove the police finding that Pretty Flower's death was a suicide. Dramatic dream visitations from Pretty Flower and others move both of them toward resolution of their destinies. The two main characters Xander and Phaedra come from vastly different cultures, the rigidity of Polish Catholicism versus the fluidity of Seneca tribal culture, yet eventually find a way to overcome their differences as they search for Pretty Flower's murderer(s).
ACTION, SUSPENSE, THRILLER, LGBT, DRAMA, RELIGION, FANTASY
Phaedra Cooper is a seneca girl seeking the truth about the death of her friend, Pretty Flower. She meets an ally, Xander Gadeski, a young seminarian who is, until then, unaware of his special powers and together they are able to bring justice regarding rape and murder who led to Pretty Flower's death.
Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT
Franchise Potential: GOOD
Accuracy of Book Profile
Book Profile reflects book accurately.
Draw of Story
An alliance between a young seminarian and a Seneca girl is unusual and brings together two worlds of beliefs which seem at first completely opposite - this is enough to keep readers interested.
Nothing made me want to put the book down.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
I would definitely watch this movie considering that seneca people are not commonly brought in as characters of mystery narratives in the position Phaedra is.
It could have a large fanbase if adapted because characters are interesting and come from different backgrounds which are both culturally rich.
If adapted if could also have Awards potential because many special effects are required as spirituality is a key point of the story, and there is also the need of great casting and acting to keep this alliance credible. The vast cultural background of both characters is also interesting regarding figurines and art direction.
Similar Films/TV Series
THE WICKER MAN
What’s New About the Story
The most original thing about this story is the ability of the author to unite the beliefs of a seneca girl and a young seminarian with the same goal of uncovering the truth about the murder or Pretty Flower. The narrative is filled with spiritual passages which are related to both worlds and manage not to exclude one from the other.
Phaedra Cooper and Xander Gadeski are both young and driven, and even though very different from each other, are both spiritually developed, powerful and connected to a greater power.
Uniqueness of Story
This is a rare gem as characters are unusual and so is their alliance.
Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Streaming
I recommend it because the idea of bringing more insight into native cultures became even more interesting when the character is a young and powerful woman which takes on a crucial role in the narrative. Writing is also very well executed and dialogues and scenes are well written and sharp.
Xander Gadeski is still grieving his father's death when he leaves home for a minor seminary. There, he partners with Phaedra Cooper, a Seneca girl, in order to help her find justice for her dead friend Pretty Flower.
What We Liked
The logline of this story may sound a little too unusual, however this surprising narrative is amazingly written as it gathers themes such as grief, religious dogma, sexual abuse, with an improbable hint of humor.
Film: This narrative would be a good adaptation for Film because it's original and well structured, even though the lives of Xander and Phaedra seem to be incompatible, they grow closer during the narrative as the truth of the crime begins to unfold.
TV: It would be a great adaptation for TV especially regarding passages from Xander's journey and his thoughts on people and events of his life, which vary from extremely violent and dramatic to very funny.
Key points: Original; Deep reflections on religiousness and guilt; Vulnerable and charismatic protagonist; tragic and funny.
The story begins when Xander, a young seminarian, meets Phaedra Cooper during a walk through a cemetery - where he shouldn't be in the first place since he could only be off campus in order to take care of his injured shoulder. Phaedra, a mysterious Seneca girl, reveals that she is seeking justice for the death of her friend Pretty Flower, who fell from Seneca bridge. She comes to believe Xander can and should help her as she believes Pretty Flower's killers are from the seminary.
Xander notices that Pretty died the same day as his father and from this moment, Xander recalls his memories before this encounter, from his early days of innocence at elementary school to the moment his father, Stary, is diagnosed with cancer and dies a painful death. Xander also describes his path to the seminary after his father's death, as well as monstrous passages of the bullying, sexual abuse and physical and psychological torture he endured during his time on campus. As Xander slowly finds new clues, he grows closer to Phaedra and her mission. He eventually uncovers important clues that end up leading to Pretty Flower's seminarian abusers: the bullies Kandjarski and Marcione.
As Pretty Flower's mom takes control of the situation, she elicits a confession that the two boys sexually assaulted Pretty Flower. However they don't confess to pushing her off Seneca bridge.
Phaedra then confesses to Xander that Pretty may have killed herself, as in fact she talked to her over the phone after she was raped and they argued the night she ended up dead. After that, Kandjarski and Marcione meet their own tragic endings and Xander decides to leave the seminary to lead a life far from his dark experiences there.