John is Number Four, the next alien teen in line to be killed by the vile Mogadorians. A charm dictates that John and the...

THE POWER OF SIX

From the Lorien Legacies series , Vol. 2

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.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-197455-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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