Little Jon has fallen through a door in space to land in the southern Appalachian mountains, injured and without his memory. He meets a number of people who are very interested in his unusual skills--incredible agility, swift healing, and a shocking ability to read minds. Most of these people want to use him for their own purposes, but the Bean family only wants to protect him. However, keeping Jon out of harm's way may prove very dangerous for everyone involved.Another Nostalgia Read that I picked up to see if it was as good as I remember it--and it really is. There are a few problematic elements, like negative references to Cherokees and half-breeds by an antagonist. These mostly stem from the fact that the novel was originally published in 1965. (Notably, the judge who plays a pivotal role in the story is a woman.) The Bean family is almost TOO good, but their behavior reflects the way that we hope we would act, if presented with a lost and frightened alien boy. The ending was the part that I remembered most clearly, and while it's almost too "neat," it remains very satisfying.Recommended for science fiction fans and people who won't judge a book by its cover--because honestly, the "updated" cover art is much more dated than the actual text. (At least the original artwork here could pass for retro...)
Bee has never felt like she belongs in Los Angeles, and the doppelganger she keeps seeing only gives more credence to her fears. Her friends Haze and Sarah don't belong either--Haze is convinced he's an alien, and Sarah is the reincarnation of a slave girl. Together they find a sense of belonging they've never known before, but Bee's changeling nature threatens to take her away from them all.Francesca Lia Block has a writing style that you either love or you hate--but the wild lyricality is toned down somewhat here, making the book more accessible. You still have to follow the leaps from character to character, but it works. There's a brief poetic interlude with references to 9/11 and the Pacific tsunami, but I wonder if teens would pick up on them--it's history to them, not current events.Recommended for fantasy and fairy-tale fans looking for a quick read.
Paulie and some of his classmates spend each year together in Period 8 (or lunchtime) with mentor and teacher, Mr. Logsdon or "Logs". This year, strange things start occurring with group members and no one is who they seem. Paulie is also dealing with breaking up with his girlfriend, Hannah, after admitting that he cheated on her, when things start to get crazy. Fans of Crutcher will appreciate his real-life approach to teen relationships and the school atmosphere, which mostly rings true, although a few times the slang feels dated. This selection is much more suspenseful than his previous works. For other suspenseful stories, try The Night She Disappeared by April Henry or The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney.
Diamond Landers makes the one mistake that everyone's parents always warn against: on a trip to the mall, she's lured away by a man promising a role in a movie with famous teens. Instead, Diamond finds herself trapped, drugged, and taken advantage of by a sexual predator. Meanwhile, her classmates and dance troupe wait and hope that Diamond is okay, while dealing with their own issues. Layla's story especially, featuring an abusive boyfriend who decides to send out nude pictures of her, mirrors Diamond's issues on a smaller scale. Draper has a great understanding of how teens speak and act and paints a realistic and contemporary portrait of their world. For more books about kidnapping and its effects, try The Night She Disappeared by April Henry or Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.