By Dan Koontz
Beverly Ann Publishers, $13.99, 344 pages
First grader, Ryan Tyler, is devastated when his parents are killed in a car accident. His problems worsen when he ends up in an orphanage. Then, much to his surprise, someone wants to adopt him. In fact, the perfect couple wants to adopt him. Unfortunately, his real legal guardian is not the couple but the CEO of a new stock exchange called AVillage and the gifted seven-year-old is his first publicly offered stock. His adoptive parents are paid by Ryan’s board of directors to care for him. Ryan will owe his investors a portion of his lifetime earnings when he begins what should be a promising career. But Ryan is not the only stock traded by AVillage.
AVillage specializes in recruiting talented children from all over the world who have lost their parents—kids who might otherwise never reach success. The company is convinced that they are changing the course of history by sponsoring these promising would-be orphans. With AVillage’s guidance and support, the children will have access to the best educations and opportunities imaginable. But is AVillage simply adept at finding gifted orphans or does it make them? When several of the other AVillage recruits get together, they begin to question some of the company’s practices and suspect foul play.
Dan Koontz’s book, The I.P.O, is a unique, plot-driven story complete with plenty of subterfuge and a shocking ending. In many ways, it is the perfect read for a cold winter day. There are even moments of insight that are enlightening and make this book more than just entertainment. While I applaud the author’s brilliance, I was disappointed by what has become a common problem with print on demand technology. The book needs a professional editor. Koontz has talent and he also has a good story that could have been a great one in the right hands.
Reviewed by Sheli Ellsworth