Edited by Jon Scieszka
Published by Walden Pond Press
Copyright © 2011
Writer Jon Scieszka is devoted to getting guys to read more. That is why he started www.guysread.com a web based literacy program whose mission is to “help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.” To further that initiative he has begun the Guys Read Library of Great Reading.
The second book in the Guys Read Library is entitled “Thriller.” It contains 10 stories by M.T. Anderson, Patrick Carman, Gennifer Choldenko, Matt De La Pena, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Bruce Hale, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Anthony Horowitz, Walter Dean Myers and James Patterson all well know children’s and young adult authors in the Thriller genre. In addition Brett Helquist lends his illustrative genius at the beginning of each story. This volume features stories of detection, piracy, bullies, mutants, and the supernatural. One thing that they have in common is smart and courageous boys who often do what is right even under scary or confusing circumstances.
I really liked quite a few of the stories in this book, but my favorite had to be “Nate Macavoy, Monter Hunter” by Bruce Hale. It is the story of Nate and Jeremy who are aspiring monster hunters. Jeremy has gone missing, but his mom isn’t worried. She thinks that his father has taken him, but Nate believes differently based on some texts Jeremy sent the night before. So, Nate embarks on a quest to find Jeremy and whatever monster took him. I love stories about Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, or the Moth Man so this tale is right up my alley.
On the down side 3 out of the 10 stories in this book are ghost stories (which I don’t care for), but otherwise the stories are well written and mildly suspenseful; on occasion they are even slightly funny. Short stories are a great way to get boys to read because one story can usually be read in one sitting and the story moves quickly right towards the resolution, which provides some instant gratification. This is a great book for boys (or girls) ages 9 and up. Be sure to share this with your reluctant readers today.
The Missing: Book 2 – Sent
By Margaret Haddix Peterson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books
Copyright © 2009
In this second book of the Missing series, “Sent”, Margaret Haddix Peterson sends her readers on a whirlwind adventure through time.
In the first book, “Found”, Jonah and 35 other kids find out that not only are they adopted, but they were snatched from time and regressed to being infants. JB, short for the time cop known as Janitor Boy by Jonah and Katherine wants to send them back to their original times. He succeeds in sending Chip and Alex back to their time in the 15th century, but Jonah and Katherine grab hold of them and go with them.
Chip and Alex are actually Edward V King of England and Richard Duke of York. Unfortunately history is to play out so that they die at a young age. Instead of yanking Jonah and Katherine back to the 21st century, JB agrees to let them try to fix time without letting Chip and Alex die. Will they all get back safely?
In “Sent” readers are given a bit of history lesson. The history lesson is weaved almost seamlessly into the story though. There was a bit more intrigue in the first book which made it harder to put down, but this was still a great book of historical science fiction/fantasy that , while slow at times, made you want to keep reading. I personally have to keep reading because I want to know who Jonah and the other kids were originally.
The Missing: Book 1 – Found
By Margaret Peterson Haddix
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Copyright © 2008
Haddix – Author of the “Among the Hidden” and “The Shadow Children” series – comes at us with another suspenseful series entitled “The Missing”.
It all started 13 years ago with the appearance, literally out of nowhere, of an airplane at an Ohio Airport. No one saw it land, it didn’t have any clearances, and there were no records of it whatsoever. To make things even odder the plane had no pilot and it was full of babies.
In this first book “found” we are introduced to Jonah, a 13 year old boy who is well aware that he is adopted. He has a loving family who has tried their hardest to be open about his adoption and to make sure that he is well adjusted. They have succeeded in their efforts up to now, but time has a way of changing things. Well, time and disappearing people.
Jonah has begun to receive anonymous letters telling him he is one of the missing. At first he chalks it up to being a junior high prank, kids picking on him because he is adopted, but then his new friend Chip gets the same letters. Chip to his surprise finds out that he was adopted and his parents never told him. But if Chip didn’t know he was adopted how could anyone at school know?
Chip, Jonah, and Jonah’s sister Katherine decide to investigate, but the more they uncover the less they understand and the more Jonah really wants to know who he really is.
Margaret Haddix has written a masterful suspense for the junior set. (What am I saying, I’m 32 and I loved it.) Just when you think you are getting answer you end up getting another question with it. She takes the teenage search for an identity to the extreme, with young teens who are dealing with the normal peer/identity issues, and compounds them with adoptions and Sci-fi intrigue. Great book!