Unquestionably readable, full of action and suspense.

SURVIVAL OP

THE FEAR IN THE WILDERNESS

An intensely readable yet alarmingly violent cross between TV shows Lost and Survivor.

In book one of this series, Marcus, a runaway, is kidnapped and taken to an island in the Bermuda Triangle where a government-sponsored experiment is supposedly under way to measure how bodies react to extreme pressures in a hostile environment. Wounded 13-year-old Lynn is also trapped in the frightening wilderness surrounded by electrified fences. The teens are told they will be hunted and killed, but they adjust amazingly fast, finding water and shelter and creating weapons. When Lynn is apparently killed, Marcus becomes obsessed with vengeance and uses great ingenuity to murder many mysterious agents. He does capture one, however, who is willing to cooperate, and the two are helped by an unseen yet terrifying monster that remains one of the island’s greatest unexplained mysteries. The strange island, hostiles, traps, dangerous boars and experimenting on humans are all reminiscent of Lost; the need for companionship, shelter, food and weapons remind one of Survivor. A few details detract from the storyline throughout, such as whether the captured agent would so quickly become an ally or that Marcus would know how to build grenades and bombs so easily. Abrupt shifts between first and third person are also quite jarring. Despite these pitfalls, readers will root for Marcus and his crew to prevail over the sinister Survival Op staff, and the story concludes with plenty of plot threads to explore in further editions.

Unquestionably readable, full of action and suspense.

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-595-42062-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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THE LAST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE

In this riveting futuristic novel, Spaz, a teenage boy with epilepsy, makes a dangerous journey in the company of an old man and a young boy. The old man, Ryter, one of the few people remaining who can read and write, has dedicated his life to recording stories. Ryter feels a kinship with Spaz, who unlike his contemporaries has a strong memory; because of his epilepsy, Spaz cannot use the mind probes that deliver entertainment straight to the brain and rot it in the process. Nearly everyone around him uses probes to escape their life of ruin and poverty, the result of an earthquake that devastated the world decades earlier. Only the “proovs,” genetically improved people, have grass, trees, and blue skies in their aptly named Eden, inaccessible to the “normals” in the Urb. When Spaz sets out to reach his dying younger sister, he and his companions must cross three treacherous zones ruled by powerful bosses. Moving from one peril to the next, they survive only with help from a proov woman. Enriched by Ryter’s allusions to nearly lost literature and full of intriguing, invented slang, the skillful writing paints two pictures of what the world could look like in the future—the burned-out Urb and the pristine Eden—then shows the limits and strengths of each. Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty (1993) has again created a compelling set of characters that engage the reader with their courage and kindness in a painful world that offers hope, if no happy endings. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-439-08758-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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