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Maximum Ride
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About the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Reviews

Gr 7 Up-A group of genetically enhanced kids who can fly and have other unique talents are on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers in this exciting SF thriller that's not wholly original but is still a compelling read. Max, 14, and her adopted family-Fang and Iggy, both 13, Nudge, 11, Gazzy, 8, and Angel, 6-were all created as experiments in a lab called the School. Jeb, a sympathetic scientist, helped them escape and, since then, they've been living on their own. The Erasers have orders to kill them so the world will never find out they exist. Max's old childhood friend, Ari, now an Eraser leader, tracks them down, kidnaps Angel, and transports her back to the School to live like a lab rat again. The youngsters are forced to use their special talents to rescue her as they attempt to learn about their pasts and their destinies. The novel ends with the promise that this journey will continue in the sequel. As with Patterson's adult mystery thrillers, in-depth characterization is secondary to the fast-moving plot. The narrative alternates between Max's first-person point-of-view and that of the others in the third person, but readers don't get to know Max very well. The only major flaw is that the children sound like adults most of the time. This novel is reminiscent of David Lubar's Hidden Talents (Tor, 1999) and Ann Halam's Dr. Franklin's Island (Random, 2002).-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Thriller writer Patterson takes characters that first appeared in his adult novels When the Wind Blows and its sequel, The Lake House, and places them in an overblown, nearly incomprehensible story pitched at young adults. Max (aka Maximum Ride), the 14-year-old girl from both of the aforementioned novels, leads a band of mutant orphans hiding from the sinister scientists at "the School," who grafted avian DNA onto their genes, giving them wings (plot points established in When the Wind Blows). When the School's henchmen-"Erasers," "half-men, half-wolves" (one of whom is their rescuer Jeb's seven-year-old son)-kidnap six-year-old Angel, the youngest member of "the flock," Max and company will stop at nothing to rescue her. Well, nothing except to aid a stranger, bond with some real birds, eat lunch and take lengthy naps. The often violent hunt-and-chase plot resembles that of a Saturday morning superhero cartoon. The point of view shifts jerkily before settling into Max's first-person narration, which is self-deprecating but never sounds like a real teen's voice, and the novel is strewn with mutations of nouns-turned-adjectives ("tunnel-visiony," "antisepticky," even "Robin Hoodsy"). Loose ends abound but presumably the sequel, scheduled for 2006, will reveal the identity of the evil "whitecoats" and their motives as well as who owns the Voice speaking inside Max's head. The Patterson name will attract readers; but his fans may be disappointed that this tale never takes flight. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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