Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Coin #1

Fair Coin

Rate this book
Epraim is horrified when he comes home from school one day to find his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. Even more disturbing than her suicide attempt is the reason for it: the dead boy she identified at the hospital that afternoon--a boy who looks exactly like him. While examining his dead double's belongings, Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. Before long, he's wished his alcoholic mother into a model parent, and the girl he's liked since second grade suddenly notices him.

But Ephraim soon realizes that the coin comes with consequences --several wishes go disastrously wrong, his best friend Nathan becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways. As Ephraim learns the coin's secrets and how to control its power, he must find a way to keep it from Nathan and return to the world he remembers. (For ages 12 & up)

285 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

E.C. Myers

94 books384 followers
E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised in Yonkers, NY by his mother and the public library. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the prolific NYC writing group Altered Fluid. In the rare moments when he isn't writing, he blogs about Star Trek at The Viewscreen, reads constantly, plays video games, watches films and television, sleeps as little as possible, and spends far too much time on the internet. His first novel, FAIR COIN, won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

WATTPAD: http://www.wattpad.com/user/ecmyers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
230 (17%)
4 stars
407 (31%)
3 stars
456 (35%)
2 stars
167 (12%)
1 star
38 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 267 reviews
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 45 books128k followers
January 27, 2013
So I usually resist young adult novels because, frankly, 15 year olds mooning over each other don't really interest me. I'm drawn to teens who have adult problems, probably because I never was a teenager myself (I skipped all of high school and went directly into college.) That's why, even though it's certainly a teen book, I really liked Fair Coin, and the smart universe the author created.

Basically the main character, Ephraim, has a challenging home life, and finds a coin that, when flipped, changes the world around him based on his wish. I don't want to give anything away, but multi-dimensions and quantum physics come into play (not in-depth, but enough to be interesting). I enjoyed the characters a lot, and thought the construction of the universe and what happened when he used the coin was very interesting. I was a BIT bored with the main girl character for the first half, but later it gets much more complex.

All-in-all I would recommend to young adult book fans!
Profile Image for Lena.
182 reviews73 followers
November 11, 2021
Young-adult sci-fi about multiverse. Plain and predictable with a silly main character. Tree stars for dynamic and intriguing plot.
June 29, 2013
Actual rating: 2.5

A butterfly flapped its wings off the coast of Brazil and I ended up not enjoying this book, can't we just leave it at that so I don't have to get all analytical?

No? Fine.

Let's be honest here, who among us hasn't at one time or another, yearned for the ability to make wishes. From our childhood fantasies of the genie in the lamp à la Aladdin, the innocence of such wishes turned into a more nuanced version as we grow up and learn that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Or free wishes. Nothing comes without its consequences, as demonstrated in The Butterfly Effect, The Monkey's Paw...etc. This book is more of the latter; a combination of chaos theory and sci-fi, combined with the urges, desires, and emotions of a mentally screwed up teenage boy. The premise is beautiful, promising. The actual execution is considerably more chaotic. Pun intended. Ultimately, I found this book rather dull, despite the very quick pace and action-driven plot.

This is not to say it's not well-written, but I couldn't enjoy the story overall. This is purely subjective, but I expected a lighter plot, with deeper characters. What I got was a whole lot of mess. There's a reason I didn't choose to major in theoretical physics.

Ephraim is the child of an alcoholic mom with all the ensuing guilt, responsibility, and emotional baggage. He returns home one day to find his mom almost dead; it turned out she tried to kill herself because she thought Ephraim died earlier that day. Ephraim didn't die, but it seemed to be his double (we never do get to see the body); Ephraim gets his belongings, among which is a Puerto Rican coin, which comes with vague instructions about making wishes. Just for shits and giggles, Ephraim makes a wish. It comes true. But along with it comes consequences he never expected.

Come on, is that really such a surprise? Hasn't he seen the Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors' version of The Monkey's Paw? What teenaged boy hasn't? A classic, I tell you.

Ephraim is a sad, sympathetic character. He's had a rough life. His father is out of the picture, and he's left with a mom who is barely functional. Children of abusive parents learn to cope, and while his mother is not physically abusive, she is an alcoholic, and that comes with similar mental scarring. Ephraim holds himself responsible for her, covering her through her shift at work, even blaming himself for her suicide attempt.

"'God, Mom. How could you do that to yourself?' He squeezed the bed railing. 'Suicide, Mom? Really?'
'It's my fault,' he said. 'I should have been home sooner. I was late leaving school. I had no idea you were going through all that.' He tried to swallow the lump in his throat."

Denial, making excuses, covering up for her mistakes, worrying about her. Children of alcoholics learn at a very early age to cope, and consequently, Ephraim is more mature, more of an adult, more able to take care of himself than his mother ever was. Naturally, one of the first wishes Ephraim makes is for his mother to be normal. Ephraim is nice, bland, vanilla, completely beta, his compulsion to fix things with his mother spills out to his everyday life too, as he struggles to come to terms with the consequences, intended and unintended, of his wishes. And of course, fixing a bad wish with more wishes always works out so well.

Messes turn into bigger messes. He tries to get his childhood crush, Jena, to like him. He ends up dating her best friend instead. His wishes come true, but they do so with side effects. Nothing is ever straightforward, every wish changes something in an erratic way, until it all blows way out of hand in a way I never expected.

I didn't like anyone in the book. Ephraim is sympathetic, but he's just not a likeable character. There's just a quality about him I found slightly off-putting, which is something strange to say about a character in a book, I know. Jena also didn't have much personality, as much as Ephraim likes her, as much as I want to like her. She's just the unattainable dream girl that Ephraim somehow wound up getting through impure means. She's cute, she's very smart, she's half-Asian, she's geeky. All good and well but she has no personality to me. Neither do the unfortunately named twins, Mary and Shelley.

Now...one character I actually hated was Nathan. Nathan and Ephraim have been best friends since practically toddlerdom. You could say birds of a feather flock together, and they are both the outcasts of school, but while Ephraim is a genuinely nice guy, Nathan is a disgusting creep. You know those guys who surreptitiously take pictures of girls in tight clothes and yoga pants and post them on sites? Yeah, Nathan is like that. He's got his disgusting little camera, he takes pictures of girls, he talks smack about copping a feel, all the while just incomprehensibly mourning the fact that nobody likes him. I wonder why...

"It wasn't a nude, but it might as well have been. At first all Ephraim noticed were breasts in a tight white tank top, wet through to show the dark circles of the woman's nipples. Then he checked out her face. It was Jena.
'What?' Ephraim said. He took a breath. 'Where did you get this? That's…you stuck her head on a model's body!'
'Magicians never reveal their secrets. But yeah, I've been practicing with Photoshop.'"

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

The plot was good, and interesting, very very very fast-paced throughout the first half of the novel. It was good at first, not confusing, somewhat easy to see where things were leading even if the reader couldn't guess the unpredictable outcomes of the wishes...then, halfway through the book. BAM. I didn't see that coming, I didn't like it, I was right. I was confused and left wishing I had read something nice and fun and simple, like The Elegant Universe instead.
Profile Image for Michelle Kobus.
763 reviews135 followers
October 17, 2020
[I received my copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.]

Definitely the kind of YA novel I like to read; too many of them lately seem to be about girls falling in love with mythical creatures or guys being half-gods (those books can be good, just so many of them out there! ugh!).

Going into this, I had no expectations whatsoever; I hadn't heard of this book before, and I received it for free, so I had nothing to lose. Cynical, but true. However, having finished it, I’m glad I had the opportunity to discover this wonderful novel, because it is truly one of the best I've read in a while.

It starts out interesting enough, though it seems a somewhat commentary mixture of “careful what you wish for” and the “butterfly effect” (for every action, there is a reaction). But soon it escalates into something MUCH bigger, and it never gets boring along the way.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I definitely recommend it, especially if you tend to get bored with the mythological creature scene.
Profile Image for Melanie McCullough.
Author 2 books92 followers
February 24, 2012
If you follow my blog there are two things you should know by now:

· I love a story told from a male point of view
· I'm hopelessly addicted to all things Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Put these two things together in a Young Adult novel and you get Fair Coin, a story about a teenage boy who finds a magic coin capable of granting his every wish. And, come on, who wouldn't want that?

When Ephraim makes his first wish—that his mother wasn't in the hospital from her suicide attempt—he gets more than he bargained for, returning home to find his mother not only healthy but darn-near perfect. Like a dream come true. Of course not all his wishes go as expected and as it turns out, they each have unintended consequences.

Fair Coin is one of those stories that begs to be read. You think you can stop after a few pages or chapters, but thoughts of it will always be there, tugging at your mind even as you try to sleep. There's a constant air of mystery. I spent a lot of time when I wasn't reading wondering what would happen the next time Ephraim made a wish, where the coin came from, and why it had this inexplicable power to transform his life.

I loved Ephraim, Nathan, and their relationship with one another, at least in the beginning. They're geeky, but in an adorable geeky sort of way. And they're hilarious. For me, there's something genuine and honest about a male/male friendship that I always seem to find lacking in a female/female friendship. Teenage girls can be catty, but teenage boys are usually just fun.

Jena, Ephraim's long-standing crush, is awesome. She's snarky, responsible, and intelligent. She's not the kind of girl who gets all googly-eyed over a boy and forgets she has a brain. Even Ephraim's mother is a very real and relatable character. And when each of Ephraim's wishes alters their personalities or their circumstances, I still had this sense that they were very much the same people, that they still possessed some ingrained characteristic that the new environment could not change.

Fair Coin is a stellar debut. It's witty, adventurous, and thought provoking. It takes the age-old tale of wishes gone wrong and turns it into something new and extraordinary. Bravo to E.C. Myers for not only making complex theories exciting and accessible to a young adult audience, but for refusing to dumb down the science aspect of science fiction. The characters aren't know-it-all brainiacs—they're regular teenagers—but they're intelligent enough to grasp and explain what's going on. And they're funny and interesting enough to keep the reader tearing through the pages.

Highly recommended. This one made it straight to my favorites shelf. The sequel, currently entitled Quantum Coin, should be released sometime in 2013.
Profile Image for Rachel Brown.
Author 19 books160 followers
March 26, 2013
Clever YA sf in the old-school vein of "work through all the implications of a premise."

Teenage Ephraim finds a "magic coin" which can alter reality, and uses it improve his life: make his mom not an alcoholic, make his crush like him, etc. However, each change creates snowballing changes, often of a monkey's paw nature.

Without getting into moderate spoilers for the nature of the premise (revealed about a third of the way in) about all I can say is that yes, it does deal with the moral implications of "make someone like you," but other implications aren't dealt with as well. As a whole, the novel is solid and gripping but not quite inspired; the second half moves away from extrapolation and into action, and the extrapolation was more interesting.

What the coin actually does is transport you into a parallel universe. Ephraim isn't actually making anyone like him, he's moving to a universe where his crush-object already does.

At one point Ephraim expresses regret that most of the universes are so similar, and by then I felt the same way. The last third, in particular, drifts toward pure action and away from the iterations of possible lives based on different choices, and I found the latter way more interesting.

There's also a weird plot/character issue, which is that in many iterations, Ephraim's best friend is a psychopathic murderer. But he never wonders whether the friend in his own reality might be a bad seed, or whether he'll go bad if he isn't steered to a better course, or anything like that. If I had seen multiple iterations of my best bud murder, torture, and abuse people for convenience or fun-- including several iterations of myself-- I would worry about original!best bud.

Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,985 followers
March 5, 2012
Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott comes home from school one day to find his mother passed out at the kitchen table – unfortunately a more than common occurrence given his mother’s alcoholism – except this time around she is holding a bottle of pills. Her suicide attempt is a reaction to having identified Ephraim’s body at the morgue that morning. Thankfully, she lives and everybody is convinced that it was all simply a horrible mistake. Then Ephraim finds amongst the other boy’s belongings – which are very similar but not quite the same as his own – a coin. A coin that, he learns, grants wishes when he flips it. At first he is understandably doubtful: a magic coin? Surely nothing like that can exist. But once his first wish is – unexpectedly, surprisingly – granted, he is enthused by all the possibilities. Soon he starts wishing for other things: for a better job for his mother, for his best friend Nathan to get the girl of his dreams and for Jenna, the girl he likes, to like him back. But with every subsequent wish he starts to notice unexpected changes around him, some of them subtle, some of them more life-altering than he wished for. And then he learns the true nature of the coin and that there are consequences to his every wish…

Fair Coin is an immensely fun plot-driven novel and the summary/blurb doesn’t even begin to address what truly goes on in the story. To reveal the real nature of this story would inevitably and unforgivably spoil the book 1 – and the twist or revelation about the coin and the wishes is really where I became excited about the book. That revelation doesn’t happen till half way through the book though, and once it does, the story really gains momentum, not to mention that Extra Cool status. The plot moves fast, each wish taking Ephraim to unexpected places, affecting not only his life but also the lives of those around him.

On that front, the best aspect of Fair Coin for me, are the moral conundrums, the ethics of using the coin and the author manages to address them – to a certain extent – not only when it comes to wish-making but also when it comes to messing up with unknown forces of the physical universe.

“To a certain extent” because even though the story and the characters talk about the ethics and the moral consequences of wish-making, I felt those were only surface deep, never really getting to the nitty-gritty bottom of anything. And this brings me to the Fair Coin’s main flaw as I see it: the characters don’t go much beyond a certain script. The main character is a typical teenager, the main villain is a typical villain and so on and so forth which translates as: their emotional range don’t go much further than what is expected from them. Someone dies, main character cries for about half a page and that’s it. Someone else loses someone extremely important to them and one page later it is like nothing has happened and they are laughing as though it’s all forgotten – even if the text TELLS me they are grieving, I don’t see it. The characters’ emotional reactions are not developed enough to move the reader or to ensure any deeper connection with the story.

That isn’t to say the characterisations are completely bad – not at all. The portrayals of the teenager characters are believable and there is a plethora of cool female characters that have huge roles to play in the story. Even if, for the most part, Ephraim is making wishes that will affect the female characters in his life more than any others – these female characters still have agency and react to this once learning what’s happened. There is definitely a degree in which Ephraim and his friend Nathan objectify the girls they like but this element is addressed and is part of Ephraim’s learning curve as a character.

One last thing: the story is full of twists and turns and I loved this aspect of the novel. But thinking about it and trying to analyse all the elements, I am not entirely convinced – and I believe there is one fundamental problem with the premise of the novel. I will expand on this bit as a footnote for those who have read the book already so don’t read it if you don’t want to be spoiled. 2

That said, there could be an explanation for this – and that might be exactly what book 2 will be about. Despite its problems with the characterisation, I loved the premise of the novel and how it all played out and Fair Coin is ultimately, a super fun book.
Profile Image for Natalie.
278 reviews592 followers
March 28, 2012
Click HERE to read this review on my blog, Mindful Musings.

In a Sentence: Despite the fact that I would have liked to see a little more development of the secondary characters, I found Fair Coin to be an interesting story filled with loads of questions that will keep readers turning pages.

My Thoughts

The first chapter of Fair Coin pulled me in almost immediately. By the second page of the book, something dramatic was happening, so this book definitely didn't have any problems with a slow start. I also found that the writing style and layout of Fair Coin encouraged the overall quick pacing of the story. Fair Coin was one of those books where I would sit down to read for a few minutes, and all of the sudden realize that I'd read fifty pages! At only 250 pages in total length, Fair Coin makes for an extremely fast read.

Fair Coin is a book that I hadn't read tons about prior to picking it up, and I'm kind of glad it turned out that way. Though I have come across a handful of reviews of it, the story and plot of Fair Coin remained largely a mystery to me. This mystery was increased by a number of questions raised throughout the book that weren't always answered right away. For a reader like me, who (unfortunately) often guesses the outcome of a plot line, being unsure of what exactly was happening was a welcome treat. Another plus was that, unlike a lot of books these days, Fair Coin doesn't give away the majority of its story in the synopsis. Though I had my own vague ideas of how the story would turn out, Fair Coin's ability to keep me guessing was a big reason behind my enjoyment of the book.

While the overall story line was intriguing and well thought-out, I had a little bit of trouble with the development of some of the minor characters. To me, most of them seemed flat and static. Because of this, when Ephraim would feel any kind of emotions towards these characters, I wasn't able to connect in the way that I wanted to because I, personally, felt nothing for them. However, I did like the development of Ephraim's character. Like any good main character, Ephraim evolved slowly but surely over the course of the novel, lending a needed element of depth to the story that helped me to enjoy it more as a whole.

One of the themes that is addressed in Fair Coin is that of responsibility. Ephraim is for the most part your average, normal guy, but like most average, normal people, he has trouble resisting temptation, even if he knows that his actions might have consequences. Even though Ephraim realizes that his use of the magic coin is changing his world and the lives of the people around them, he still has trouble not giving in every time something bad happens in his life. As time passes, he wonders more and more if he should be using the coin's magic at all, but he still tends to instantly change his mind when he doesn't like the situation he's in. Ephraim struggles off and on with taking responsibility for his actions throughout the entire book, and he doesn't always make the right choices. To me, this was a solid representation of what a lot of adolescents have to go through as they transition into the adult world.

Of course, I can't finish my review of Fair Coin without giving it kudos for being a YA novel published in 2012 that features a male protagonist. I know this is a rant that you all hear frequently from me, but I can't help but feel that, in comparison to their female counterparts, teenage boys are sorely underrepresented in today's YA literature. However, even though Fair Coin has a male main character, another thing that the book does well is that it is written in a way that appeals to both male and female audiences.

Though Fair Coin seemed to me that it could have been a standalone book, it looks like a sequel, entitled Quantum Coin, is scheduled to be released sometime this fall. I haven't completely committed myself to reading the next installment yet, but I'll be interested when the synopsis is published because I think it will give me some sort of idea of where the story is headed. I'll be keeping an eye out for it though because, based on what I've seen of Myers' writing so far, it could definitely have potential!
Profile Image for Wayland Smith.
Author 23 books57 followers
September 14, 2019
I admit, I didn't care for this book at first. The main character was remarkably shallow and passive about all the thing wrong in his life, and the high school scenes were uncomfortably familiar at times. But, as the book went on, Eph got some depth and maturity, the situation got a lot more interesting, and high school was mercifully left behind.

Eph is an unpopular kid at school, getting by as best he can with an alcoholic mother, absent father, and precarious financial situation. Then, one night, everything changes. His mother nearly manages to kill herself after being told about Eph's untimely death in a horrible accident... but Eph's still around. Things get stranger and stranger as he and his best friend Nate try and figure out what's going on and what a seemingly magical coin is actually doing. Also factoring in heavily is Jena, the girl Eph has a crush on, and Mary and Shelley, the twins Nate lusts after.

There's a lot of focus on sex, although no actual sex scenes, which is about right for many high school boys. There's some violence and language, if that kind of thing bothers you, be aware. It's a decent story that, to me, got a lot more enjoyable as it went. It's billed as book one of a series, but this easily a stand alone.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,871 reviews159 followers
October 1, 2018
This is a pretty good alternate worlds story - with a whole lot of high school drama build-up. Once the main character catches up to the reader in terms of knowing what's happening, it gets fairly good. Still, these are high school aged people so adjust your expectations in terms of maturity accordingly.

MacLeod Andrews is perfect for the audio.
Profile Image for Dawn Vanniman.
194 reviews8 followers
March 4, 2012
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A 'fair coin' is a term from probability theory and statistics. Basically it means that you have the probability of getting 50% heads, 50% tails on any flip. Unless the coin has been tampered with, in which case you can tell by the non-randomness of the flips.

Ephraim Scott is 16 years old. His dad left and his mom's a drunk. It's up to Ephraim to make sure she gets to work on time or to call in for her when she's too drunk. One day he comes home late to find his mother has attempted suicide. That kicks off a crazy series of events that forever change Ephraim.

See, his mom attempts suicide because she had to identify Ephraim's dead body. But Ephraim found her, right? Right. So he figures the dead guy just looks extremely similar to him. His mom has the guy's belongings, so he goes through them. The guy even has a library card with Ephraim's name on it. Then there's the coin. It's a state quarter, only it has Puerto Rico on it and Puerto Rico has never been a state. Oh yeah, and Washington's head is turned the wrong way. How does he know this right away? He collects coins.

Then he finds a note in his locker that tells him to make a wish and flip the coin. It's in his best friends handwriting, but Nathan claims he didn't write it. He uses the coin a couple of times before he shares the knowledge of what it does with Nathan, but Nathan becomes obsessed with it.

The wishes begin innocently enough, he wishes his mom was okay. Then she is...but she doesn't remember ever NOT being okay and neither does anyone else. since the whole thing went well, he starts making wishes that you'd expect from a teenage boy. Like wishing his crush into liking him. Things start to go wrong with the wishes and Ephraim decides that every time he makes a self-centered wish, the coin lands 'tails' up. He's convinced it's magic. It takes Ephraim quite awhile to figure out that more is going wrong than he thinks, he isn't paying enough attention to the effects of his wishes on everyone and everything around him.

The story really shows how anyone can become a victim of power of any kind and how they're always sure that they can 'fix' things by one...more act...until it's too late to fix anything. It's a great debut novel with twists and turns, a little romance and a little violence. A true sci/fi story and one of the best I've read in the last few years.

The characters:

Ephraim - basically a good kid, but he wishes his life were better. Don't we all?

Nathan - Ephraim's best friend, they're fun and close until the coin.

Jena - the girl Ephraim crushes on. She's smart, funny and responsible.

Mary & Shelley - Jena's best friends.

Even the minor characters are fleshed out and interesting. I haven't read many books where no matter how minor the character, that you felt like you knew something about them.

A bit on the author:

E.C. Myers grew up in New York, graduated from Columbia University, worked in software development on Wall Street, worked in programming for cable tv and is currently a development writer for a children's hospital...as well as being an author. This guy is great! Let's see, what else? He's been published in quite a few magazines and anthologies, as well as winning several contests - including being a finalist in L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest. You can hear him do live workshop critiques on WBAI 99.5FM (if you can get that channel). He also blogs on www.theviewscreen.com for Star Trek Re-watch reviews. Oh yeah, and he moderates on the Yahoo Group GothamLit. I don't know about you, but he sounds like a lot of young people I know right now.
Profile Image for Buka.
50 reviews6 followers
September 11, 2012
One and a half star.
I want to confess this right now - the main reason why I noticed this book, picked it and managed to stick to the end of it was Sam Weber's cover. I swear, something in his paintings (these colors, these postures, this sheer awesomness!..) just strips away my willpower and lures me in like a hopeless sailor. It was his cover for The Shadow Rising ebook that finally made me read Wheel of Time (and that's not simply a big as a brick book, that's 13 big as a brick books). His images that persuaded me at the end to buy the priciest Spectrum in my collection. I knew I was going to read Fair Coin the second I saw the cover on his website.

Well, it was also a reason for "and a half star" in my rating.

The idea behind Fair Coin isn't exactly new. A teenage boy with an alcoholic mom and an unrequited crush finds a coin that can grant wishes. Yeah, we all know how that particular trope will play out. So it all depends on execution and this is where Fair Coin turned out, well... bland.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't unbearable from start to finish. The final 20% went by fast and when Fair Coin got interesting, it was really - no, Really - interesting. Too bad it was mostly scientifical moments and these were replaced rather quickly by the dreaded character interaction. I think, this was the first book where I wished author would concentrate more on awesome science and and less on human relashionships. It just that the writing was so plain and the characters were so firmly led by an author's will that they didn't feel like real persons but more like paint-by-numbers. The typical underdog with family troubles, the nerdy best friend, the cool geeky love interest... None of them strayed far from vapid even when .

At the beginning I wanted to bang my head on the wall and shout at Ephraim "your mother nearly died and there is something fishy going on - feel something about it!" or "you left your best friend alone with a school bully just because said friend asked you to - can't you just worry about him a little, please?!".
On my third try I got used to it but then the thickly layed foreshadowing started and I wanted to bang my head on the wall again because Ephraim was so slow at figuring it out. Things got better when the real action started (and awesome science kicked in more), although nothing really suprised me till the end.

So if you like the 'butterfly effect' type of stories, you can try Fair Coin but don't expect mighty fine prose or memorable characters. But the "effect" parts here are aplenty.

Meanwhile, when I returned to write a review, it turned out that this perfectly wrapped up stand alone will have a sequel in less than a month now and from the description it seems it'll be chock-full of (non-)human interaction *cue in the dramatic movie cry* - no-o-o!
On the plus side, the sequel also has a gorgeous cover by Sam Weber but this time I think I'll just save the image and be content with it.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,161 reviews80 followers
March 6, 2012
From the start of Fair Coin I was enamored with Ephraim. He made this book for me. Here is a character who is so easy to relate to that I genuinely cared what happened to him. His friend Nathan was the same way. These two are the epitome of nerds, and I loved that! Their friendship is palpable and, even when it changes, that link is there. I happily followed Ephraim as he made wishes and changed his world. Of course I'll admit that I kept wondering when something bad would happen. I've read enough to know that things like this come with a consequence or two. Still, when it did happen, I was taken completely by surprise.

That my friends, is exactly when the book gets really interesting! When Ephraim discovers what the coin is really about, what it really does, the book blossoms into something brand new. I refuse to spoil this for you, and so you won't hear from me what happens. What I will say is that I applaud E.C. Meyers for taking such an abstract concept and putting it so simply that I was able to stay immersed in the story. It's almost like two separate stories were merged seamlessly into one. At this point I was glued to the pages. I warn you, this isn't a book you can read only a chapter at a time.

Another thing I wholeheartedly loved about Fair Coin were the moral dilemmas that pop up in this book. It's going to be a bit hard to explain without spoiling, but I'll try my best. Imagine that you could have anything that you want. Would that make it okay to take it? What if what you wanted caused someone else to loose something that they already had? These are the type of issues that Ephraim comes upon in this story, and I can't say enough how much I loved the way that E.C. Meyers addressed them. His characters have a conscience, and it made all the difference in the world.

As you can tell from this long, rambling review, I really loved this book! Fair Coin is a refreshingly unique read. It's a story that takes you from fantasy into science fiction and back again, and it does it seamlessly. I loved the characters, I loved the concept, and most of all I loved how immersed I was in the story. Thank you to E.C. Meyers for changing up my YA reads! When the second in the series comes out, I'll be there to devour it. You can count on that.
Profile Image for Soumi.
Author 1 book379 followers
March 1, 2013
Sixteen years old Ephraim was horrified when he found his mother tried to suicide. The reason behind her suicide attempt was she indentified Ephraim body on morgue that day, hit and run. With shock of this incident, Ephraim found a strange coin from belongings of his double; the coin was no ordinary one. Things Ephraim never imagined started to happen with one flip, Ephraim turned his alcoholic mother into a good parent and made the girl he liked from second grade fall for him. The coin could give Ephraim everything he wished for but one wrong flip can put his life at stake as well as endangering life of peoples he cares for.

The book is mixture of science fiction and magic tricks. The book pretty much reminded me of The Butterfly Effect, where Ashton Kutcher tried to change the past in order to make good present and each of his attempts lead to different outcomes.
Here the concept was kind of same, Ephraim used the coin in attempt to set things right for himself, his family and friends but there were unintended consequences for a wrong flip, and he found himself trapped more and more in lies and time loop and it become impossible for him to go back where he started. I liked the concept of other dimensions and parallel universe where we each can have one identical of us.
As for the characters I like them all, more or less. Ephraim was cute and shy geeky guy, but situation made him daring. His friendship with Nathan was adorable, I mean how many book we have seen actual friendship? Jena, was a combination of beauty and brain. She was actually smart and I instantly started to like her.

When I stared the book, I was really enjoying this one, but after constant occurring of same time jumping into different events made bored. I was lost and confused into time loops, I forgot how many time circle I have crossed since the beginning.
I’m a lover of Science Fiction though the book couldn’t satisfy me that much I have expected. I really do hope some readers may it enjoying
Profile Image for Aline.
341 reviews34 followers
October 22, 2016
Fair Coin by E.C. Meyers * 3 Stars * 10/22/2016

When I read the synopsis of Fair Coin I got really anxious to read the book. The story concept totally called my attention, it was very interesting. When I started to read it has a hard time with the writing style. I couldn't put my finger on it but the read wasn't satisfactory. The main character, Ephraim, kept making bad choices over and over again, but what bothered me Tehran most was how he kept repeating the question he had regarding the mystery coin and how it worked, when he basically had the answers right on his face, or at least part of it, he even said to himself. That made him look like a clueless character, which is the worst thing on a character in my opinion. I can't stand clueless characters. I was about to drop the book and stop reading when a female character step into the picture. Her line of thoughts gave a totally different perspective of what was really going on on this book. The books shifted suddenly from magic suspicious to quantum physics. And that I liked! That was when the book started to get interesting, and more complicated of course, and also more questionable. But hey, that was also when I decided to give a chance for the sequel. I experienced reading books that were not good at first, but the author managed to completely fix everything that needed to be fixed on the sequel. So, I learned that just because the first book wasn't as good as I expected, doesn't mean the sequel won't be good. I will probably read book two. The subject is interesting enough to give a try.

Profile Image for Amanda.
319 reviews54 followers
November 16, 2012
Read the full review here at www.appraisingpages.com!

This book did something awesome, something that doesn’t happen often: it surprised me. It’s not that I went into this book thinking it would disappoint me, it’s that after the first 100 pages I was pretty sure I had it figured out. I knew the message, I knew the plot, I knew where it was going. I. Was. Wrong!

Myers changed things on me and made the story so much more deep and complex than I expected, I love it when books do that.

The main character, Ephraim, was very well-written. Myers did a wonderful job of writing a teenage boy which was really refreshing because so many YA books are told from a female perspective. He seemed so realistic. I’ve read books where the author tries so hard to be authentic with their teenage characters that they end up with exaggerated cynical and lovesick kids. Even though it’s been over 5 years since I’ve been high school I thought Ephraim was the perfect mixture of eagerness, shyness, excitement, and hormones that I remember from my guys friends in high school.

I don’t want to tell you much else about the plot because I want you to be surprised like I was. The ending was very satisfying and really wrapped up the complex story well. Also, just to let any film producers out there know, this would make a great movie.

Profile Image for Kelly | hellokorio.
290 reviews27 followers
May 14, 2012
The first part of this book made me very impatient to know what was going on. Not in the delightful suspense kind of way, but in the come ON what is UP HERE kind of way. And then the explanation was too... science wordsy. I don't know. I kind of hated this. I kind of hated this a lot. People getting all bumped around and people are people but not the same people but also they ARE the same people but different and then whoops, dead, but it doesn't matter because it was a different same person, so whatevs, no big.

Up this books.
Profile Image for Mike.
489 reviews171 followers
February 8, 2014
This is a very interesting book to review, for a number of reasons. It's premise is wildly unique - while it at first appears to be a simple story of the consequences of wishes, it turns out to be far more complex and intricate. This intricacy limits its audience a bit - I can easily imagine people getting confused and overwhelmed. But what it went for is ambitious, and it largely succeeds.

But what I find most interesting about this book is its intended audience. This is probably the first YA book I've ever read that feels molded exclusively for boys - at least, the first good one. Sure, I've talked about how Gone and Ashfall are boy books, but all I mean by that is that they're gender-neutral; they don't limit themselves to girls. This is the first book that seems to be limited to boys, mostly in the emphasis on the sex drive of its protagonists. Both Ephraim and Nathan frequently looked at porn, made comments about the bodies of girls, ect. I'm really not sure this is a good thing - I don't think it's good to cut off your audience, for one thing, but it's more than that. The male gaze felt over the top and unrealistic at times - sure, most boys have probably thought things like this, but I can't imagine most of them doing it as constantly as Ephriam and Nathan do, and being as calm about it. I can also imagine this making some female readers uncomfortable. The book doesn't completely cut off it's audience - I read this book at the recommendation of a woman, but it's certainly a problem.

Thankfully, though, that was probably my biggest problem with the book. Other than that, it was a strong character study with a very fast plot and good writing. In particular, I want to emphasize the characters. Despite his mildly unrealistic perversion, Ephraim is very well-drawn and realistic. He's a very realistic boy, and that alone makes characters like him underrepresented in YA. Nathan, Jena, and Zoe are realistic as well - in particular, I liked the subtle and realistic differences after each wish was made. Meyers definitely has a strong talent for subtle and nuanced characterization - it's a true gift, one that not nearly enough authors possess.

The plot can best be described as compact. There's a lot going on here, stuffed into less than 300 pages. This has its weaknesses and its strengths. First, the strengths: this was a relentlessly unpredictable book. There are some excellent twists here, and it's practically impossible to see them coming. Some of them may seem like shocking swerves at first, but it all comes together in a surprisingly coherent manner. The pacing also manages to be very fast, without ever feeling rushed. There were constantly new things happening, with twists that seem to come every other chapter, yet everything is fleshed out and fully explored. The way that the characterization was blended with the plotting is the very essence of 'less is more' - Meyers manages to write a quick plot that still explores its characters and their situation.

That said, it's not all pulled off this skillfully. For one thing, the entire story hinges on a giant plothole: For another thing, the sheer number of twists can get a little overwhelming. Particularly during the middle section of the book, I wished that we could slow things down just a little, that I could get a handle on the ramifications of one twist before another arrived. Things got more and more complex, and while it never quite crossed over to confusion for me, I did have to stop several times to remind myself of exactly how we got to where we were. And if you don't like plot-oriented books as much as I do, you might as well just write this one off now, because without a desire for the thrill that comes from fast pace and constant twists, you'll most likely be completely lost and confused. The plot was largely well done, but it wasn't without its flaws.

The writing worked for me as well. It wasn't flashy or shiny at all, but it was very smooth and efficient - which is important for a book with a pace as fast as this one. The dialogue was also very good: Meyers did a good job of giving each character a subtle yet distinct voice. It's not going to blow you away or anything, but as far as carrying the story goes, it's great. That's all a book like this needs or should have.

Overall, this was a strong standout in the world of contemporary sci-fi and boy books. It had it's problems, and I can't recommend it unless you're prepared for something potentially overwhelming, but for me, the book was an exceptional debut. If you're looking for something unique and fast compared to most of the current YA scene, there are few books I can recommend above this one.
Profile Image for usagi ☆ミ.
1,197 reviews277 followers
March 1, 2012
This book is most definitely not what it seems. And this is a great thing - I loved this book's ending, and even though it's not a standalone, it definitely reads like one. And what's more refreshing is that it's a male YA author - those seem to be in such short supply, especially when doing fantasy/sci-fi. "Fair Coin" might have a slow start, but quite the explosive ending that will definitely have me reading the sequel when it comes out.

Yes, the start is slow, and I was starting to wonder if Ephraim was just going to keep wishing his way into and out of trouble for the first quarter of the book.

And then it got interesting. REALLY interesting. Quantum physics interesting, to be precise. And I LOVE it when YA authors are able to break the "Many Worlds"/"M-Theory"/"Multiverse" theories down into very understandable, palatable content. Myers does this very well by using Jena to explain said theories (including my favorite thought experiment, Schrodinger's Cat!) to the audience to help them understand what's really going on. It may look like a magic coin, at first, but it certainly ain't magic. And quite frankly, I wasn't expecting that turn of events at all - I didn't even see it coming. And it was such a pleasant surprise I had to put the book down and do a dorky little jig because I was so happy to see some of my favorite science-y things make into the realm of YA fiction and survive intact.

The technical details of this book are well laid out, though it doesn't seem like it at first. It does take a little further in until you start to see how the main arc and sub-arcs are to be executed, and how Ephraim will change by the end of the book by taking this journey with this coin. The characters are well-crafted, sturdy, and survive everything that's thrown at them (though I do wish we'd had a bit more time with Zoe - I hope she returns in book 2!), and the world is awesome (I want to go back to all of them!).

What's also great here is that Myers was completely unafraid to run with the use of the "Many Worlds" theory with abandon and torture his characters. He puts them through hell, and it's wonderful to watch because the results are awesome. There are a lot of YA authors in particular, it seems, afraid to "kill their darlings" as the saying goes, but Myers isn't one of them. He isn't afraid to show us the "roads not taken" by all of the characters in this book with extremely interesting results.

Final verdict? If you love sci-fi/fantasy and you want to learn more about quantum physics mixed in with that sci-fi/fantasy, you DEFINITELY need to read "Fair Coin". It's out in North America on March 8, 2012 (other places, check) from Pyr/Prometheus Press. This is one YA debut you don't want to miss!

(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)

Profile Image for LiteraryObsession.
51 reviews17 followers
March 5, 2012
Ephraim Scott, “Eph” to his friends, is a typical teenage boy living a typical (sadly, it -is- fairly common for children to deal with this situation) life. He isn’t entirely happy, but he does seem to be coping; he has friends, he’s performing at an at least average level in school, and has a job that the reader can assume he appreciates. Truthfully, though, he’s a boy who is hurting and he’s all too eager to step away from his not-so-idyllic life.

When he gets the opportunity to do so, he leaps at the chance. It’s through wishes and hopes and chance that Ephraim makes his way through the twists and turns of Mr. Myers fast-paced plot, and it’s really fun to try to figure out just what is going on and why.

What is not so typical about the story is the author’s portrayal of the teen mindset. Ephraim is a young man with strong morals and willpower, though these traits only become truly apparent as we get further into the story. There is character growth (though it’s gradual and not entirely deep) with all three of the “main” characters: Ephraim, Nathan, and Jena. Jena is written as a girl with a brain who knows how to use it, Nathan is a many-layered personality, and Ephraim really has to evaluate his life, his choices, his feelings – his entire self. It’s interesting to watch it all unfold. As the book ends, Ephraim comes to the realization that life is what we make of it and that it’s each person’s responsibility to either stay the course or make changes. It’s a really good lesson, albeit a subtle one.

I loved that despite having a male author, a male main character, and just an in general kind of “guy” feel to it, the female characters have strong, independent voices. They may be mainly supporting characters, but they are important and they are not pushed into the shadows willy-nilly.

There are a few bits of the book that make me scratch my head – portions I feel like were glossed over – such as the emotional reactions, or lack thereof, that two particular characters have to losing a friend. It’s a minor flaw, and not one I think takes anything away from the overall story. Also, I feel like there a few unanswered questions dangling there in the open, just waiting…and I’m hoping the sequel answers them for us.

E.C. Myers has written a novel that makes the reader think, which is something that is, sadly, often lacking in the Young Adult genre. He has not over simplified the SciFi aspects of the novel, showing that he has faith in the intelligence and comprehension levels of the young adults reading his novel, which is really rather great of him. Fair Coin is a young adult novel of substance. It is humorous, emotional, and complex in a refreshing way, and I think it’s a book that anyone who enjoys Science Fiction could really love.
Profile Image for Diayll.
459 reviews48 followers
July 26, 2012
Originally Reviewed At:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: Publisher for Honest Review
Reviewer: Me

Fair Coin was a surprise hit for me, one I never saw coming, and one I can’t believe is over (thankfully I just received my ARC of Quantum Coin)! E.C. Myers crafted a hair-raising adventure centered around best friends and a simple “coin”. Fair Coin is reminiscent of The Butterfly Effect, except with a more Sci-Fi edge because of the sheer amount of technology presented and the in depth explanations. And it also has a dark and twisted antagonist who I both adored and loathed. Everything is not always as it appears in Fair Coin and uncovering the mystery of it all is only the tip of the iceberg in this haunting adventure.

Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott comes home from school one day to find his mother in a devastating state, a suicide attempt based on the fact that Ephraim is presumed dead. To Ephraim this is weird because he is very much alive and in shock, but to a mother who just identified a body in the morgue as her son, this is reality. When Ephraim goes to examine the belongings of the boy his mother identified as him, he discovers not only things that resemble his own, but an odd coin. From here on out we are presented with subtle clues as to what really happened to “Ephraim”, the powers of a magical coin which can “grant” wishes, and the creation – and destruction – of relationships, friendships, and love.

Overall, Fair Coin is a well written, face-paced, EPIC adventure. There are plot twists you will NEVER see coming, and enough science fiction elements to satisfy even the hungriest nerd brain! In my opinion it accurately portrays – to a certain extent – what teenagers would do if they had the entire universe at their disposal. E.C. Myers does a wonderful job by touching lightly on the harsh realities of bullying, making friends, falling in love, making sacrifices, suicide, and alcoholism. I highly recommended it to anyone looking to invest in an entertaining quick read. The first chapter will HOOK you instantaneously, and the rest of this delightful story won’t let you go until you are screaming in agony for the next book!
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews1,016 followers
November 25, 2012
Taking inspiration from the fairy-tale idea that while wishes may come true, they're bound to always go wrong; Myers creates a riff on the alternate-universes theory aimed at teen boys.

It may be because I'm not a teen boy that this didn't really capture my imagination. I just felt like I've seen parallel universes used to more impressive effect, in both teen and adult fiction. This might remind me most of Diana Wynne Jones' "Tale of Time City," but while that is primarily a quest story, this book deals more with the moral implications and unintended consequences of wishing for things to be different.

I also had an issue with the book: the main character's best friend is a jerk. He's a jerk from the get-go, and he's even worse in all of his 'alternate' versions. There's potential here to talk about how friends aren't always what you expect, or how unpopular kids sometimes end up socializing with people for the wrong reasons - but none of that discussion is in the book.

I also felt like there were some very interesting issues brought up regarding the uniqueness of (or similarities between) the different 'analogs' of the characters from different universes, especially as objects-of-affection, but that discussion didn't happen either.

There's more to the series, so perhaps more depth will come, along with the development of the story.
Profile Image for Chayse Sundt.
333 reviews10 followers
May 5, 2012
When I first read the synopsis of this book, all I could think of was the Two Face from The Dark Night and how he had the coin that would decide his decisions. Yeah, I know crazy but that's literally what I was thinking. Ookay now let me stop raving about the movie and get onto this book.

As I started reading, what propelled me through it was the plot line, with the various paradoxes. And with every chapter, the story unfold allowing the reader to learn more and also with new characters entering this adventure.

With the paradoxes there is contant changing and as the reader, one must had to pay full attention or face having to back track. Ideas were presented, with some not fulling developing. With the love interest for example. There were so many things occuring that it wsn't allowed to fully expand but hopefully in the sequel, it will be able to exand more.

Overall this book was one that had great ideas but confusion followed if one did not devote one's full attention to. I still recommend this book to anyone looking for a book with good plot.

I give this book 3 souls!
Profile Image for Beth Cato.
Author 109 books530 followers
October 16, 2013
This book came to my attention when it won the Andre Norton Award. I have wanted to read it since then, but with so many other books to read, it kept getting pushed off. Well, I had to kill time in a book store the other day and found this on the shelf. I started reading. I didn't want to stop. I ended up reading 3/4 of it in one day.

Fair Coin is intense from page 1 and doesn't let up until the very end. The mystery grows more complicated by the page. Where did Ephraim's double come from? How does the coin work? Why do little things--and big things--change with every flip of the coin? It's dizzying at times, and I'm left wondering how Myers mapped out everything to keep it straight as he wrote. This is the sort of science fiction I love because it's all about the people, not the science. Every character in this feels well-drawn and real, from teenage Ephraim to his crush Jena to his alcoholic mother. I can't say much more without giving away spoilers.

I can see why it won the Norton Award. Now I want to read the sequel, too.
Profile Image for Juliana Hanford.
4 reviews2 followers
March 21, 2012
I started reading this book and at first I thought it was good. I kept reading this book and then I thought it was AWESOME. I don't want to say anything that will give away the most excellent surprises, but let me just say this: Now that I'm done, I wish I weren't. As I was reading it, I found myself having thoughts like, "Oh, I could hop the express train and get home faster . . . but no, I'll just stay on the local because then I'll have more time to read!" or "Shoot, I have to run that errand on 59th Street . . . but I think I'll just run it some other day because I don't want to get off the subway and interrupt this chapter!" Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed this debut novel from E.C. Myers. When it comes to my books, I generally live by the line "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" . . . but I will be lending out FAIR COIN; I can't not spread the wealth of the magic quarter.
Profile Image for Jenn.
Author 24 books223 followers
March 10, 2012
Wholly unique YA adventure with an authentic male protagonist: two thumbs up!

The story unfolds layer after layer like a great mystery. Ephraim is incredibly likable (despite some questionable choices) and I was rooting for him the whole time. Myers handles his characters -- and the story's speculative elements -- deftly and with obvious passion. (Geeks like myself will love the many fantasy and science fiction references!)

I want to say much more, but there are so many great twists and turns in the plot that I'm afraid of giving something away. It's so refreshing to have a male protagonist that is not a cookie-cutter boy, and to have a story with a genuinely unique premise that's executed so well. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel!
Profile Image for Rick Silva.
Author 10 books69 followers
February 12, 2014
This was a really original take on the traditional wish-granting tale, with a teenaged protagonist who comes across a reality-altering coin that is far more than what it appears to be.

There is a slow build, but the story really picks up momentum when it gets going, and there is a good level of complexity in the relationship between the hero and the villain.

I did think that the story tries a bit too hard to tie up every possible loose thread in its ending, but I found the concept and the execution of this to be very entertaining overall.

This was a fun new twist on a classic idea.
Profile Image for Cindy (BKind2Books).
1,536 reviews31 followers
August 6, 2016
I liked the premise - it was an interesting twist on the The Monkey's Paw trope. In this iteration, Ephraim has found a coin with a unique property: it's able to grant wishes. However, those wishes have some interesting side effects. I liked the way the author took this, but found that it got bogged down from time to time. I thought that it was difficult to get invested in the characters as well. Overall it was inventive and that was enough for me to overcome some of the flaws.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 267 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.