Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mutant children and candy

Reichs, Kathy. Virals.
Toby isn't thrilled about living with the father she didn't know she had until her mother passed away, but she's adjusting fairly well to her life on a small island off the coast of Charleston. She has three good friends; Hi, Ben and Shelton who get into plenty of trouble with her, visiting the island where their parents work on a project involving monkeys. When Toby realizes that a wolfdog puppy is going to be put down by the possibly evil Dr. Karsten because it is infected with parvovirus, she and her friends kidnap it and try to heal it. Only problem? This mutant form of virus infects them all, makes them really sick, but then gives them superpowers. Add to this a 40-year-old mystery involving a missing girl, bald eagles and corporate greed, and this book is as whirlwind as it sounds. Sequels sure to follow.

Strengths: Whereas the short prose in Patterson's work sounds choppy, Reichs uses this style as a brilliant staccato voice. Toby is a great, spunky character, and the presence of all of the boys will make it accessible to the male population. Reichs makes me buy these mutant kids more than Patterson's.

Weaknesses: Brief lag in the middle of the book when they were all sick and throwing up, and I almost would have preferred just the mystery instead of the addition of mutant children. But hey, if you can throw in mutant children, why not?

Mass, Wendy. The Candymakers.
Warning: Mass is an author whom I just rarely like, but I did look forward to this book. Logan's family owns and lives in the Life is Sweet candy factory, who is hosting three children who are taking place in a candy creating contest. The first part of the book is his view of what is going on, how the children react to the candy factory, and his own plans for making a chocolate rocket that turns into gum and then back. We then go over the story again from the points of view of Daisy, Phillip and Miles, finding out dark secrets about each character as we go, returning to Logan to finish up the story.

Strengths: Bears enough resemblance to an updated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that readers will be intrigued, and Mass clearly researched candy making techniques.

Weaknesses: Nothing really happened in the first chapter, then we had to go over it three more times with still not a lot of action. The mystery was vaguely intriguing, but the lack of movement got to me. I am, as always concerning this author, alone in this opinion. Bloggers who liked the book include:

Abby the Librarian
Book Kids
Book Aunt
Candy Yum Yum
Story Snoops


  1. Thanks! I didn't know that Kathy Reichs had started a new series.

  2. Anonymous2:44 PM EST

    i've heard alot about and want to read it so if it is on i will come and check it out and bring my overdue ones in i so excitied to read heard really good reviews from friends

  3. I just wanted to say that I really like your review style and blog. I'll be sharing it with my 4rth and 6th grade sons.