I’d Tell You I Love You…but you’d still have to read the book!

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter; published by Hyperion, New York, 2006; 284 pages.

Cammie Morgan is a legacy at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women.  She’s roomed with her best friends, Liz and Bex, since seventh grade.  Now 15 and starting her sophomore year, Cammie is about to test the boundaries of going to a school where your mother is the headmistress.  She also has to find a way to welcome the new rich girl, whose father is a Congressman (and she uses the “b” word!), into her circle of friends; and to date Josh, the dreamy off-limits Townie, without being caught.  All of the pedantic angst, drama and hilarity of being a teen girl are in this book.  But there’s a secret, an extremely important secret: Gallagher Girls are in training to be spies.  Quite a twist on a teenager’s tale!

I loved this quick read.  It was like a cross between Get Smart!, Spy Kids, Mission: Impossible, and Harry Potter with a little Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants thrown in for good measure.  Light reading to be sure, but that is why this book made the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list.  Not every story has to enlighten or uplift or educate…sometimes a good book provides escape to another world.  I want to be a Gallagher Girl!  I did find Josh too-good-to-be-true and was disappointed that the abhorrent behavior of Dillon was not brought to Josh’s attention.  But overall, as a quick pick, I was pleased with the book.

4P     4Q     Grade Level: 6-9

ITYILYBTIHTKYCover Art:  The image of the prep-school girl in uniform, face cut off to avoid identification, and the use of a typewriter-style font with cut-0ut ransom-note letters for “love” and “kill” are very effective on this cover.  I think it will appeal to teens, especially middle schoolers, and especially girls.  The school uniform plaid of the spine and the ransom-note font mixed with typewriter type was hard to read on the shelf (I had to use the call number *gasp* to locate the book).

From Reading List:  Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Spies and Intrigue List

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The Awakening mashup introduces super kids

Quantum Prophecy 1: The Awakening by Michael Carroll; published by Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, New York, 2006; 264 pages.

Colin and Danny are neighbors, classmates and friends.  On the eve of Mystery Day, Danny miraculously saves a friend’s little sister from imminent disaster.  Could he have superhero powers?  When Colin’s family’s annual Mystery Day party wraps up, Colin walks Danny home and Danny shares a secret: he does have superhuman abilities.  Mystery Day is a holiday celebrated all over the world, a memorial to an epic battle when superheroes and supervillains fought and no one won; in fact, they all disappeared.  Ten years later, Danny learns that he is the son of Quantum, a superhero with the powers of prophecy.  Colin is jealous of his friend’s powers, but discovers he has powers of his own—and a pair of superhero parents.  Because their powers were lost on the original Mystery Day, the adults are helpless to stop an evil plot to usurp Danny’s and Colin’s powers to create a single, superhuman supervillain.  Working together, the children and adults foil the evil plan, at least for now.  As the book ends, we are left to wonder if Quantum’s original prophecy for Danny will yet come to pass:  Will he lead an evil army of destruction?  Only the rest of the books in the series can answer that question!

One thought kept me from giving this book a higher quality rating: Carroll has morphed X-Men with The Incredibles to capitalize on the popularity of both.  I mean, really, Energy’s eyes turn white as she unleashes lightning?  How very much like Storm, from X-Men!  And, come on, children left in the dark about their parents’ superhero past?  Disney/Pixar covered that in The Incredibles.  Most young adults will recognize the mashup.

Does it work?  I can see the attraction for tweens—superhero kids saving the planet from evil forces.  On a superficial level, I found the plot interesting as Carroll let it unfold slowly and deliberately.  This isn’t great literature, but not all books have to be.  We all look for an opportunity to be entertained, to step into a world that’s not our own for a little vacation from reality.  In light of that, this would make a good series to recommend as summer reading for the middle school crowd or for reluctant readers (especially boys).  And that could explain the inclusion in the 2009 Popular Paperbacks list.

4P     3Q     Grade Level: 5-8

quantum prophecy the awakeningCover Art: The orange and grey color scheme, along with the sci-fi images, should appeal to the middle school crowd.  The spine, with dark grey type on a light grey background, was difficult to read, although the orange image from the cover may attract attention.

From Reading List: 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Spies and Intrigue List

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