The James Frey assembly-line approach to teen lit has generated another boomfest.
John is Number Four, the next alien teen in line to be killed by the vile Mogadorians. A charm dictates that John and the other nine destined planet-saviors be killed in numerical order because... just because, okay? Since the conclusion of I Am Number Four (2010), John's been on the run with his best friend Sam and alien girl Number Six. Despite the title, Number Six's only role here is to be the butt-kicking object of Sam's and John's affections; John's quests, which range chaotically from escape to rescuing Sam to mooning over his high-school girlfriend, are always paramount. John's chapters interweave with those of Marina, Number Seven, hiding in a convent school in Spain. As Marina's story line involves a tiny bit of actual depth, the frequent cuts back to John only make him seem more vapid by comparison. Ultimately, the two stories climax with flaming green fireballs, mobs of alien monsters, heroes wielding lightning and the conflagration of countless Mogadorians. Michael Bay (who produced the 2011 film adaptation of book one) will surely be pleased.Straight to blockbuster without any stops for character development, worldbuilding or internal logic along the way. (Science fiction. 12-14)