Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, James Patterson

Lexile 680

James Patterson begins this science fiction novel with a normal scene.  A 4-year old boy playing with Play-Dough, his mom calling him for dinner.  Of course, no science fiction novel stays normal for long.  Daniel's parents were shortly after killed by a large human-sized praying mantis, who goes by the name The Prayer.  Daniel is also not a normal 4 year-old boy, unless you call a boy capable of turning himself into a tick normal.  He escapes the same fate his parents suffered.  Now, it is his mission to complete his parents work- hunting aliens on Earth.  Daniel is very lonely moving from place to place killing disgusting aliens and dodging cops and truancy officers. When he goes after #6 on his list he has met his match-really more than he can handle.  In Daniel's darkest days, he finds truth about who he is and friends that can help him in get through his dangerous days. 

I loved the how quick paced this book is.  Science Fiction is not my favorite of genres, but I found Daniel's character very compelling.  I wanted to root for him, care for him, befriend him.  The short chapters send you through the plot's twists and turns at a fever pitch.  James Patterson is the master of suspense and urgency, this book lives up to that reputation. 

Peak, Roland Smith

Lexile Level 760- Grade 5.4

Roland Smith has done it again.  He has written an adventure book that totally sucked me into a world of danger, disappointment, and humanity.  I was looking for books that my reluctant boy readers would buy into and found you didn't need to be reluctant, nor a boy, to enjoy this coming of age tale.  Peak, yup that's the main character's name, gets into very hot water in New York City where he lives with his mother and step-father.  Narrowly escaping jail time, he is exiled to live with his father.  His father, out of the picture for seven years, wants to be called Josh and is NEVER around.  Peak figures out quickly that his father's reappearance is not because he wanted to help his son, but that he needs his son to help him.  Peak finds himself on Everest trying to reach the summit and be the youngest climber in the world to do so.  Can he actually do it?  Will his father help him when he needs it most?  Can Peak slip the Chinese soldiers who want to stop him?  Enjoy this fast paced adventure now....or you will miss the summit.