From the Lorien Legacies series , Vol. 1

An enhanced movie tie-in e-pub of pseudonymous author James Frey’s slapdash, cliché-ridden foray into sci-fi for teenagers attempts to add value, though much of it is readily available for free on the Internet. A “message” from Pittacus Lore, nominal author and Elder of the planet Lorien, explains how nine children and nine guardians escaped to Earth before their planet was destroyed by the Mogadorians, but it can also be read online at http://iamnumberfourfans.com (advertised in the e-book). Likewise, online, readers can “meet” seven out of the 13 characters “introduced” in the ebook, learn the Lorien horoscope signs, find still images from the film and watch most of the same movie trailers (via http://www.findnumberfour.com/ and http://i-am-number-four.movie-trailer.com/). The unique e-book features include an extended text version of the opening scene of the movie (how Number Three dies in Africa); five brief grid-enhanced satellite videos of “Surveillance Clues,” locations supposedly key to the plot; the first two chapters of the upcoming sequel, The Power of Six; and the journal of Sarah, the human girlfriend of the alien hero John Smith (Number Four), in which she describes 11 scenes in the book from her point of view, to complement John’s. Fans must decide if it’s worth paying $3 more than the plain e-book for such meager morsels. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-206042-6

Page Count: 480

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.



A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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In this character-driven intergenerational story, Royce Peterson and his single mother have recently moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to help care for Arthur, Royce’s 95-year-old grandfather and one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. After the curmudgeon chases off every aide, the teen is enlisted to watch his grandfather. At first the homesick, friendless and mono-recovering teen and his homebound, rude and crude grandfather are at odds, but then Royce gains new appreciation for Arthur—he caroused with Gloria Vanderbilt and Picasso, traveled the world, loved and lost loves—and Arthur begins to appreciate life again. But just as the pair begins to respect each other, Arthur suffers a series of debilitating strokes and asks Royce to end his life. Inspired by her experience caring for her aged father, Harvey offers a realistic view of the aging process, the difficult decisions left to loved ones and the need for friends and family. Sophisticated readers and fans of Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road (1998) or Louis Sachar's The Cardturner (2010) will enjoy the grandfather-grandson banter and tenderness. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55146-226-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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