I almost gave up on this fantasy because of the detailed info dump at the beginning. It’s too bad some of this wasn’t edited out. However, once I got into the book, I was totally hooked.
Pucker tells the story of a badly burned teenager who originates from a parallel universe, Isaura, where seers can predict the future. There his parents were subjected to a horrible mutilation before being exiled.
He lives in the United States, where bullies have nicknamed him Pucker. Pucker, whose actual name is Thomas, is lonely and bitter.
Thomas is stunned when his mother asks him to return to Isaura to retrieve a special item which will prevent her slow, agonizing descent into madness. Thomas must return in disguise, retrieve the item, and return quickly before anyone discovers his mission. But, two wonderful gifts, acceptance and love from another, and the return of his undisfigured face, tempt him to stay in Isaura and ignore his mother’s impending death.
As well, Thomas learns that the stories he has been told of his childhood and banishment may not be true. He has no idea who to trust.
The parallel universe has a fascinating and complex culture. There are positive and negative features, just as there are in present day America. But, Thomas is most horrified when he realizes that the new arrivals are changing in ways they would never have willingly accepted.
This is part suspense, part fantasy, and part psychological narrative wrapped up in a wonderful story.