Friday, June 27, 2014

UNCAGED - Book review #kidlit #YA

     Summer is here which means -- beach reading!
     Now, I don't mean to imply that you have to go to a beach. I don't know if other readers find this to be true but I tend to read less for pleasure in the spring and fall. Then when the mercury rises and the slightest move means breaking a sweat, I find a shady spot and plunk down with a good read. Something that immerses me in another (hopefully cooler!) place and time.
     Here's my first recommendation of the summer.

Image from the author's website
     I was fortunate to receive an advance reader's copy of Uncaged by John Sandford & Michele Cook. This is Book 1 of a new YA series titled The Singular Menace. A clever play on words because Singular is the corporate antagonist.
     The advance copy that I received opens with a five page prologue then jumps to the action in chapter one with a group of animal rights-activist teens breaking in an animal experimentation facility owned by Singular. I'm guessing that the prologue is there to introduce the main character, Shay, a teenage runaway from her foster home who wouldn't otherwise show up in the book until chapter four. Personally, I think the book would work better without the prologue and the information it gives away, but that's a small quibble.
      The story isn't unique - kids taking on an evil corporation - but the fast-paced action pulled me in. And once a dog was involved, well that sealed it. I had to learn what happened to him. 
     The book is targeted for ages twelve and up. Book 1 didn't have any explicit sexual or drug content but there is some violence. The description of the research is a bit gruesome, but no more so than scads of highly popular zombie-filled apocalypse films and games for this age group. One character dies (needlessly, I thought).
     Kirkus Reviews described the book as "languid" but I didn't find that to be true. I kept looking for opportunities to sit down and read more. Note: the age range Kirkus gave to the book is for ages 15-18. Since this is Book 1, I didn't expect the ending to be tied up neatly, and it isn't. Bring on Book 2!
     Book 1 is slated for publication on July 22, 2014.

     Thanks to Random House Children's Book Department for providing the advance reader's copy. A review was not required in return. This is an honest review of the book.

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