When MotherTalk contacted me about doing a review and being part of a blog tour for the new Daniel X book I jumped at the chance! Ds2 read the first Daniel X book last year and loved it…and I am all for getting a teenaged boy to read lol. This time I read the book as well and since I finished first I get to do the review. :)
First off, the Daniel X series of books is James Patterson’s attempt at drawing in the teenage male reading audience. I think he accomplishes this task quite well with an alien chasing teenager as the main character, short and to the point chapters, and plenty of references for the young readers to relate to. Even I enjoyed the quick read, but mostly because it gave me something other than video games to discuss with ds. ;) Also, the book stands alone quite well, as I didn’t read the first and still caught on to things pretty quickly.
Okay, a heads up to fellow homeschoolers, this book does have a homeschooled character who does not present homeschooling in a very good light. She complains of being forced to read boring books and of having no friends or social life. Typical approach the mainstream loves to take, just focus on the hot topic everyone associates with homeschooling and don’t do any actual research into the real thing. That said, I wouldn’t avoid this book just because of this breach; it is mentioned only in passing and in a joking manner. Hey, if we can’t have a little laugh at ourselves then it becomes our problem, not theirs. It didn’t seem to offend ds so I’m not making a big deal about it.
While there are tons of references to current events to occupy the young reader (ipod, American Idol) I particularly enjoyed when Daniel’s mom called the school to report he would be absent for the day. The school was saying if he wasn’t ill and didn’t have a doctor’s note the absence would not be excused and accused her of being irresponsible. She went off on them! Loved it! It felt like something I would (well actually have) done myself. It really galls me when the school tries to take over our kids like they own them. Sorry, personal rant over lol.
This book is full of things that attract a young male reader, from smelly aliens, gross creatures (like when Daniel turned himself into an elephant that could shoot spider web out of his behind) and even a bit of a love interest for Daniel. Not to worry, that part stays quite clean and innocent, but if exposing your teen to violence worries you you may want to skip this one. While Daniel and his crew make a point to use their keen wits and admirable smarts (at one point in school Daniel even has a little rant about young people not appreciating the educational opportunities they have) to handle the bad guys, the bad guys do indeed use other weapons and do indeed kill.
All in all I believe Mr. Patterson has written a book with subject matter and form that does indeed appeal to the pre-teen and young teen audience. I know my ds liked it and it got him reading (and discussing!) and that’s good enough for me. :) Thanks again to MotherTalk for the opportunity!