Suzanne Collins has gotten a lot of buzz for her The Hunger Games, but her Gregor series is one that I finally bought after multiple student requests. I wasn't looking forward to a multivolume fantasy series, but the first one wasn't too painful, and since I need to make sure I have actually read every book in the library, the other ones were on my list to read. Happy to report that I am taking the 3rd and 4th home today with an air of anticipation.
Gregor's father has returned from the Underland but is still sickly. Family finances remain difficult. As a treat, Gregor takes his small sister boots to Central Park for sledding-- and she is kidnapped by gnawers because of the prophecy. The problem with prophecies? You may think you know what they mean, but they are open to interpretation. In this action packed sequel, Gregor heads out to kill the Bane, accompanied by a host of talented companions. He gets attacked by giant poisonous squid, has to save his sister multiple times, and finds that he has an alarming talent for killing. While students will love the running about and fighting, what kept me reading was Character Development. Gregor is a nice kid who tries hard, and it was interesting to see how he handled himself in the various situations. As I said, I'm looking forward to the rest of the books, which is a change from fantasy series like, oh, Brian Jacques, that make me what to stop reading anything.
Anthony McGowan's Jack Tumor sounded interestingly bizarre, but didn't work for me. Hector has a brain tumor that talks to him and gets him into trouble. Unfortunately, the tumor is British and has been too influenced by the Page 3 culture of that country, making this book more appropriate for older students, not that younger ones will be unhappy sniggering up their sleeves.