Thursday, March 13, 2014

ARC Review: Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Author: Shannon Hale
Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (March 4, 2014)

Description: How far would you go to save the world?

When Maisie Danger Brown nabbed a spot at a NASA-like summer boot camp, she never expected to uncover a conspiracy that would change her life forever.

And she definitely didn't plan to fall in love.

But now there's no going back—Maisie's the only thing standing between the Earth and annihilation. She must become the hero the world needs. The only problem is: how does a regular girl from Salt Lake City do that, exactly? It's not as though there's a handbook for this sort of thing. It's up to Maisie to come up with a plan—and find the courage to carry it out—before she loses her heart . . . and her life.

Equal parts romance and action-adventure, this explosive story is sure to leave both longtime Shannon Hale fans and avid science fiction readers completely breathless.

My Thoughts: DANGEROUS  was an excellent science fiction story with touches of romance and touches of humor too. Maisie Danger Brown is a pretty normal teenager except for the fact that she was born missing her right hand. She has been home-schooled and is the child of two scientists. Her mother is Paraguayan which makes Maisie fluent in both English and Spanish. Her dad is most known for his really bad puns. Maisie has always wanted to be an astronaut. When the chance comes to enter a contest to win time at space camp, Maisie is all over it. Her home-schooled, isolated life is starting to be a tight fit for her. She wants to see more of the world.

To her surprise, she is selected for the space camp where she meets a number of fellow campers including Jonathan Ingalls Wilder who is the son of one of the world's richest and most ruthless men. They form a relationship that confuses Maisie. He gives her her first kiss and then also ignores her. He is really manipulative. The camp is run by eccentric genius Dr. Bonnie Howell who is the founder of Howell Aerospace and the inventor of the "beanstalk" that helps humans get into space.

It turns out that Howell has a plan and needs a group of teenagers to accomplish it. Maisie, Wilder, Mi-Sun, Jacques, and Ruth form a team that wins the challenges and gets to visit the beanstalk. They even get a quick trip into space where Howell shows them an artifact that was found on the asteroid that is the beanstalk's anchor in space. Howell shows them the artifact which then is absorbed into their skin and causes both physical and mental changes for all the team. Wilder becomes the leader - the Thinker. Maisie becomes a technological genius. Mi-Sun develops the ability to use electrons generated by her body to turn any projectile into a weapon. Jacques develops the ability to form an armor made out of polymers created by his body. And Ruth becomes super-fast and super-strong. But everyone doesn't adjust well to their new enhancements. Ruth becomes overwhelmed by hers, has anger issues, and becomes a murderer.

Meanwhile, all of them are wondering what the purpose of these alien artifacts are. They also have to deal with the fact the Wilder's dad really wants to control all of them to better his business. Maisie isn't sure that she can trust Howell either. Events show that she definitely can't trust Wilder. Maisie is left with a problem way too big for any teenage to deal with.

The story was action-packed. Between threats from a ruthless businessman and an invasion by aliens who want to take over the Earth, Maisie has a lot to do and a lot of decisions to make. I loved the relationship between Maisie and her parents. I loved her best friend Luther. I hurt for her as she tried to figure out what her relationship to Wilder could and should be. Maisie was a great character who, while sheltered, wasn't naive. She was smart, focused, and well-balanced.

I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to share it with my students.

Favorite Quote:
"That's what makes you so enticing. One of the things anyway. There's also your black magic eyes."

"And my cunning mind and rapier wit, right?"

"Hey, baby," he said, chucking my chin, "all the guys want you for your mind. Isn't it refreshing to be with someone who only cares about your body?"

I laughed. It was becoming my default response.
I got this ARC at ALA last June. You can buy your copy here.

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