Book Review: “Leather Compass”


Courtesy of Brian Siguenza

“Leather Compass” is a young-adult sports/science fiction novel from University of Iowa alum Brian Siguenza.

Parker Reed

“Leather Compass” is a young-adult sports/science fiction novel from Brian Siguenza, a University of Iowa alum, and is the author’s first release.

The book follows the quarterback of Cedar University, Adam McDonough, as he searches for the truth about the star quarterback of Central Indiana Tech, Howard Anderson.

“Routine preparation for a big game leads Adam to uncover a project known as ‘Leather Compass’, in which scientists have been working with the government and a major media company to develop an individual talented enough to increase ratings and consumer spending through the use of genetic alterations,” reads the novel’s back cover.

“Leather Compass” benefits from its genre-combining approach. Some young-adult novels would be content with offering a standard underdog football story, but Siguenza’s smart injection of science fiction makes McDonough’s story a much more interesting one.

Along with the conspiracy theories, “Leather Compass” also features some subtle capitalist overtones that leave the reader uneasy about the current state of ethics within the novel’s world.

While the novel’s plot surpasses the standard quality of young-adult fiction, the writing and execution of the plot can sometimes falter in underwhelming fashion.

The writing can be bland at some points and some of the novel’s supporting characters fall into character roles that you will immediately identify. Adam has his kind, sweet and intelligent girlfriend as well as his crew of lovable friends that help him throughout the journey.

While these are not necessarily negative points, it serves as more of an example of how easy some of the novel’s traditional young-adult approaches are represented.

Adam himself gets plenty of time to develop in the story and is a very likeable and respectable character, which helps the reader’s desire to want to follow along to see how he progresses.

And overall, that is what a story like “Leather Compass” needs the most: a character that is interesting enough to propel the story forward, even if some of the execution might not be above average.

“Leather Compass” is an enjoyable adventure with an engaging story that rises above others in the genre and Adam and his friends are sure to please any reader looking for a solid young-adult outing.