Rating: 3.5 exasperated stars of fiveThe Book Report: Jacob Portman is a privileged little creep, living in air-conditioned splendor and social isolation with his useless ornithologist father and his rich-bitch shallow mother. He has one friend, smokin' chawin' awkward po' folks Ricky, and other than that, he has his old Jewish grandfather Portman.The elder Portman tells Jacob fascinating, magical stories about a childhood spent on an island off the coast of Wales where his parents sent him just before the Nazi death machine cranked up. The stories are illustrated by wonderful photos showing kids doing impossible things: Holding boulders on the tip of a finger, for example, or levitating flat-footed, or being invisible (that last is tough to photograph, as you can imagine). For years, Jacob completely buys into Grandfather Portman's tales.Then he grows up. He starts listening to his own father, whose father is the storyteller. Big mistake.Events catch up to Jacob, as his conflicted relationship with the old man ends in a spectacular death, a quest for deeper truths than are on the surface where most people are most comfortable, and the usefulness of freaks to the world is fully plumbed. This is a fearless yarn about fears so deeply implanted in most of us that we don't even know they're fears anymore: Do I fit in? Where? How? Does anybody like me, really?Jacob adds the one question to this list that makes a boy into a man: Do I really care?My Review: So why only 3.5 stars? Because it started out to be a 5-star read, with haunting photos and fabulous sentences and really involving ideas all schmoozling around, making me forget the narrator is a teenager! As I've said often enough to be boring about it, the presence of teens in a book affects me as garlic does Dracula.And then the teenager starts whining. And then the story goes into multiple adolescent freaks' PoV. And then I got pissed and stopped wanting to read the really very good story. And the stars began to fall off the rating. And that, friends, makes me sad and mad. So that's where this woeful tale ends.