Book Review: Maximum Ride

James Patterson
Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
Young Adult Fiction

When I was a teen, I didn’t read much young adult fiction. I read, and loved, Catcher in the Rye and The Outsiders, but not much teen fiction beyond that. So as a 30-something mother of two, I am surprised to find myself fully engaged in a young adult novel about genetically altered kids. Huh?

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, part of the James Patterson series of books, is an entertaining yet delightfully freaky read. The story focuses on a group of genetically altered kids (ages range from 6-14) who have the ability to fly. Max, the central character, and her cohorts, are in a desperate race against time to save the youngest member of the group, Angel, from more genetic testing from the big-brother-like scientists.

As I’m reading the book, I am drawn to the themes in the story—alienation, conformity, pre-teen awkwardness, new love. This book deals with all of those themes effortlessly against the backdrop of world domination by a covert group. In the process, these lost boys and girls have formed a family. They’ve learned to lean on each other while respecting each other’s strengths, for the most part. These are teenagers, after all! They argue, make rash decisions, and often can’t handle the choices that come with so much responsibility. While running from “Erasers,” or the wolf-like creature that chase them throughout the novel, the kids begin to learn about past while uncovering their futures, with enough twists and turns to keep the story going for at least a sequel.

Living in a time when the television show Heroes captures so much of the public imagination, it’s nice to find a book that can convey the same emotions and excitement on paper. It’s also great to have a female lead as a main character. In a few years, when my kids are older, I can see myself sharing this story with them.

A book with such a rich narrative landscape can be a doorway into the awkward conversations parents and teens often dance around. Maximun Ride is the perfect book for any young adult looking to sink their litererary teeth into a fast read.

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Goodnight, Mom said…

What a great review. Based on your recommendation, I will suggest to my teenage nephews and nieces.

Thanks for the review!
Robin said…
Hi January,
My 14 yr. old daughter (a voracious reader) has read this one, which I think is the third one of the series, and she absolutely loved it! It does sound very interesting. Thanks for the review.
Alex said…
Great review Jan. This genre of super humans facing the daily trials of everyday life sure has become the norm the last few years. Every movie studio is looking for their next Harry Potter series so who knows, maybe this is it. I'll have to check this series out. Thanks Jan.
Bug said…
Very cool, Jan! I don't know how you manage to do all you do!
jz said…
teen (YA) fiction has gotten so much better in the last 10 or 15 years. So has children's literature. I recommend lots of children and teen books to adults.

Hope you are doing well. Looks like my Yankees are done for this year. Oh well.... I'm sure there will be some team I'll be able to cheer on.
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