I discovered Kathryn Nicol's Nik's Knacks during the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, where it was entered as a young adult novel. The excerpt that was available was brilliant and sucked me right in, and while I wasn't sure it was a young adult novel, I was definitely sure I wanted to read more. When it was released via Amazon Kindle, I downloaded it immediately, and Nicol does not disappoint.The authors I'm going to compare Nik's Knacks to are big shoes to fill, but I think Nicol does so admirably. The story is a fantastical journey with Bern, who's afraid of everything; Abigail, who runs the very strange shop of the title that was apparently abandoned by its owner; Max, the pansexual whose origin is unknown; Chris, the former homeless boy who manages to join the crew; and Trevor, the former cursed man-turned-donkey.If that sounds curious, you've seen nothing yet, for the shop travels in space and time and ends up in space, in Los Angeles, and everywhere in between.The best way to describe Nik's Knacks is a surreal, potentially sci-fi fantasy in the vein of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Nicol gives nods to other works, including Adams' famous towel from The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Add in just a touch of innuendo and puerile humor from Piers Anthony's Xanth, and you may possibly begin to understand Nik's Knacks.I have to admit that I'm fairly certain there's a sequel planned (or at least, I'm desperately hoping so), because life seems unfinished for this cast of characters at the end of the story. This is still a brilliant debut, and highly recommended.