Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Science Fiction on Tuesday

Eve and AdamGrant, Michael and Applegate, Katherine. Eve and Adam
2 October 2012, Feiwel and Friends
ARC from Baker and Taylor

Eve is in a terrible car accident and is transferred from the hospital to her mother's medical lab, Spiker Biopharmeceuticals, to recuperate. There, she meets Solo, who is being raised at the lab after the death of his parents. She also has her friend, Aislin, in to visit a lot. Eve's mother is very controlling and not happy at all about Aislin, who has a drug dealing boyfriend who puts her in danger. To keep her occupied while recuperating, Eve's mother lets her "play" with software that is being developed to engineer a perfect human being. Eve spends a lot of time designing Adam to her specifications, but also gets to know Solo pretty well. When Aislin arrives back at Spiker after her boyfriend has been beaten up by thugs to whom he owes money, Eve's protected world starts to disintegrate. She realizes that she is a product of her mother's experimentation, runs away, and her mother "decants" Adam to lure her back. While the living, breathing Adam is everything that Eve wants in theory, she begins to realize that perfect isn't always what we want. A sequel is planned.
Strengths: I'm usually confused by chapters in alternating voices, but this was well delineated and made sense. I liked the biotechnology element, and this was an amusing and well paced science fiction thriller. The MOST impressive thing was that Picky Reader loved it. Since she also liked Price's Starters and is deep into Cohn's Beta, we decided that she might actually like science fiction. Maybe she'll read the autographed Animorphs book that Ms. Applegate was kind enough to send me for my older children!
Weaknesses: This is more YA, but okay for upper middle grades. There are some jokes and allusions to sex, and "slut" and "bitch" thrown around a bit, but it wasn't too bad. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, especially since some of the issues could have been worked out in the sequel. I know the mother had to be evil, but it's never my favorite thing.

Rain And Fire: A Guide To The Last Dragon ChroniclesD'Lacey, Chris and Jay. Rain and Fire: A Companion to the Last Dragon Chronicles.
1 October 2012, Scholastic
Hardcover copy from YABC and reviewed there.

This companion to the series that begins with The Fire Within and goes for seven books is an odd assortment of recaps of the different books, explanations of the mythology used, lists of characters and terms used, and biographical information written by the author's wife about how he came to write the books. This struck me, as The Fire Within did, as a particularly English book, much like the Jacqueline Wilson autobiography/memoir that I brought back from Ireland for Picky Reader. I am not entirely sure that US students want to know this much information about the authors of books, but there has been an odd resurgence in the popularity of these titles in my library, so we'll see. I did find that I need to purchase two more volumes of the series which I have somehow missed, and that I was absolutely correct that the first book is really about squirrels and that the US edition was very wrongly reset in Boston!

Hope that everyone is staying safe and warm-- the worst we have gotten in Ohio is a lot of high winds and some light dusting of snow. Got book fair wrapped up, have the library lesson on the newspaper this week. Feel oddly caught up, although I am sure that that will end quickly!

NB: If you are a language arts teacher and for years have assigned students to create a newspaper based on a book, you might want to think about showing them an actual newspaper first. About 3% of my students admit to reading the paper regularly. 


  1. 3%!? But do they read the news in any other format? Or at least listen to the radio. TV news is mostly nonsense, but is they're at least reading some news online?

    I do the Scholastic News with my students. It's pretty basic but they're elementary and at least we discuss current events!

  2. A few get their news from the Internet, but mine don't seem to be a news reading bunch. The most optimistic percentage I've had in any class is 10%. We have a paper here at school, but I think only the teachers read it!