Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fledgling (Jason Steed, #1)

(Jason Steed, #1)
by Mark A. Cooper
From the publisher:
"Tormented by his mother's death...
Taken for granted by his father...
Trained in deadly martial arts...

Jason Steed is looking for a place to call home. He finds what he's looking for in the Sea Cadets-an elite group of British youngsters being groomed for lifelong service in the military. But when a routine training exercise goes awry, Jason finds himself in the middle of a secret mission. The future of the world hangs in the balance...and Jason might be the only one who can save it."

The writing in this book was kind of atrocious, the plot was incredibly unbelievable, and it was completely corny and cheesy. However, middle school students seem to love it, and I even found a few parts mildly enjoyable. There is quite a bit of set-up to this book, so I'm assuming that the next books will all start out with a bigger bang. There is PLENTY of action at the end of this book. Ridiculous, implausible, violent action, but action nonetheless. Once again - right up a middle grade boy's alley. (I read somewhere that this was Prince William's favorite book. Really?)

Is it worth listing all the things that irritated me about this book?

*A ten year old boy dancing with a girl, kissing a girl and wanting to be with her all the time? Has the author ever met any 10 year old boys?
*The Queen of England began a sentence with, "You have showed great bravery..." Is that a British vs. American thing? Because that is not proper grammar where I come from, and you would think the Queen could manage to speak The Queen's English.
*The 10 and 11 year old kids were speaking like 70 year olds.
*I couldn't stand Jason's father. I kept thinking he would redeem himself, but not so much. Even at the end, when his little boy is having nightmares because of the horrible things he has experienced, he just tells him that those memories will fade as he replaces them with better ones. Wow, very healthy. And I'm sure PTSD patients everywhere appreciate knowing that as well. Once again, is this a cultural thing? All of the British "stiff upper lip" business? I wouldn't have believed it was possible for a book to be too British for me, but this one might be.

I could go on and on, but it doesn't really matter what I think, it is a middle school student's fantasy. An 11 year old takes on scary enemies with his superhero-like abilities and saves the adults who couldn't save themselves.

Areas of concern:
There are a few instances of profanity along with cussing. (The *d* word and *h* word for the Yanks out there, coupled with 2 words that are much more offensive for Brits than for Yanks.)
I was very concerned about the sexualizing of 10 and 11 year olds. Kissing on the lips, along with mention of a form-fitting dress and parents being upset because they slept in the same room one night.
The main character is put in tremendously stressful and dangerous conditions and experiences killing, being shot and the death of friends. 

Suggested Ages:
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12+
School Library Journal - Grades 5-7

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