Two new titles from masters of YA lit are featured in this issue’s teen review column, and both get rave reviews. David Levithan’s Every Day is already available. Sorry you all have to wait so long for Cory Doctorow’s Homeland (Feb. 2013)—though if you want to hear him speak about his thoughts on technology, digital rights management and the internet, you can register now for The Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond, a full day virtual event happening on October 17. The closing keynote, What We Talk About When We Talk About Copyright: The Internet is not a glorified cable TV system, to be delivered by Doctorow, is sure to have attendees cheering in the virtual aisles!
DOCTOROW, Cory. Homeland. Tor Teen. February 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765333698.
Gr 8 Up—Homeland is the sequel to Doctorow’s 2010 title Little Brother. It is about Marcus Yallow, who was involved in a technological rebellion years previously, and is now given a flash-drive with tons of government secrets on it. He was instructed by his colleague Masha to leak the information on to the Internet if she got captured. This is exactly what happens, and Marcus must leak the information without being tracked down. He isn’t sure that he wants to dump all of the information without looking through it first, but people are beginning to follow him around to keep him in check.
My reaction to Homeland was one of awe. I loved its predecessor and it more than lived up to the standards that Little Brother set. It showed me that even the most insignificant person can do anything with the power of technology in their hands. I have even begun to learn how to use some of the technology that was mentioned in the book. Cory Doctorow has created a masterpiece, and I look forward to whatever he writes next.—Seth S. age 15
FROST, Mark. The Paladin Prophecy. Random House. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375870453.
Gr 8 Up—The Paladin Prophecy is about a boy who learns that he is different from the other children at his school. Through the book he gets glasses that allow him to see the “Never was” and gets a guardian angel. Most importantly, he finds out that he has been chemically engineered to be hyper-intelligent and have telekinetic powers, basically making him a god. He finds in the end that his dad is the missing curator of the best school that you’ve never heard of.
The Paladin Prophecy is a similar book to I am Number Four because in both books the characters have their futures thrust upon them without their knowing. In The Paladin Prophecy, Will learns there is an organization trying to destroy him for a not yet known reason just like in I am Number Four. Will is the person we all secretly hope we are. I liked the constant action and how the awesome guardian angel, Dave, is portrayed. I was disappointed in how there was no initial conflict between Will and another character, Elsie. They also weren’t together enough in the book. The end needs beefing up in detail. The book was too religious for me. Dave needs to be called something other than a guardian angel, maybe a case worker. The story was too hormonal—I know that teens have raging hormones, but I don’t think that teens want to face this ugly truth. Also, the “rules of life” need to be revised so that all the listed rules are in the back of the book. I recommend this to readers who are bored and looking for something more interesting in their life.—Kaleb B., age 14
LEVITHAN, David. Every Day. Knopf. August 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780307931887.
Gr 11 Up—A is someone with a special ability; every day A wakes up in someone else’s body. Normally, A goes through the motions of the person’s normal life without making any drastic changes—he’s not trying to take over his or her life, he’s trying to live his own. When A wakes up in Justin’s body one day, and meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon, things begin to change for A. Suddenly, A’s mind is littered with thoughts of Rhiannon, all while trying to avoid people discovering who—or what, rather—A is.
Starting Every Day by David Levithan, I had no idea I would become so invested in the characters. Levithan gives A layer upon layer of personality—making readers feel like even though A has no true physical body, he or she is a real person. I was drawn into the idea of being in love with someone whom you would never really see. Alongside the theme of love and its problems, Every Day touches on the topic of discovering who you are, and what you believe is right or wrong. I couldn’t put it down, and when I finished it, I immediately wanted more.—Destiny B. age 15
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