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STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

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Teen Books That Have Something to Say


The Speed of the Dark

Review

The Speed of the Dark
by Alex Shearer
Pan Macmillan,(April 2003)
ISBN-10: 1405020423
ISBN-13: 9780330415385

My rating:



But as I reached out, a change came over him. His face went white. He was normally quite a placid, easy-going man. But I think if he had needed to kill me right then, to stop me touching the small glass dome, he would have done it without a qualm.
--The Speed of Dark, Alex Shearer, p. 9.

Chris Mallen is being brought up by his father, and his father's new girlfriend, Poppea. Chris' father and Poppea, both artists, offer Chris love and safety. But when Poppea leaves suddenly, without working things out, Chris' father starts to withdraws, and Chris is left alone more.

Chris, like so many others in his English town, is fascinated by the miniature sculptures that another artist, Ernst Eckmann, creates. Chris starts to spend a lot of time at Ernst's gallery. But one day when Chris is looking at one of the tiny, perfect sculptures, a little ballerina, he sees it move, dance, even breathe, before it falls. It looks so real—and it almost reminds him of someone.

When Chris' father suddenly disappears, Ernst Eckmann takes him in. Chris is relieved he won't be put out on the street—but he is unhappy, too; constantly looking and waiting for his father, who he knows loves him, and would never leave him if he could help it. Chris continues to observe, watch, and learn, and he finally discovers the horrifying truth about the sculptures.

The story is laid out as a manuscript that Chris wrote as an adult, and left for his scientist colleague to read, if he ever disappears. The opening and closing chapters are written by his colleague. Although this is supposed to be Chris' story, we learn a lot about Ernst, and are drawn into the mind and emotions of that very twisted man.

This is an intriguing, frightening story. The reader becomes intensely interested in what happens to the characters, and this need to know pulls the reader right along. There are many insights—insights that the reader is allowed to see, and insights that the reader is told. At times, there is too much telling.

The plot is interesting, the story is well written, but at times the many characters and their viewpoints is jarring. As well, the perspective of the character in the beginning and ending wraps of the book is not believable; we know he has read the whole manuscript, yet is not urged to action or belief, as we are.

This is a chilling book, yet hope-filled at the end, showing us the importance of love. However, there is complex book with a lot of pain and fear throughout it; if you do not like to be truly frightened, you may not want to pick up this book. A good read—but be prepared to be frightened.

-Added February 17, 2004


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