Prince Aleksander, Would Be Heir To The Austro Hungarian Throne, Is On The Run His Own People Have Turned On Him His Title Is Worthless All He Has Is A Battletorn War Machine And A Loyal Crew Of MenDeryn Sharp Is A Commoner, Disguised As A Boy In The British Air Service She S A Brilliant Airman But Her Secret Is In Constant Danger Of Being DiscoveredWith World War I Brewing, Alek And Deryn S Paths Cross In The Most Unexpected Way Taking Them On A Fantastical, Around The World Adventure That Will Change Both Their Lives Forever Alternate title An Adventure in Which an Aristocratic Young Man Discovers How to Pilot an All Terrain Walker and that he is Now an Orphan, and a Young Woman Disguises Herself as a Young Man and Joins the Navy to Pilot Flying Octopi and Whales.I rarely read Young Adult, so it is a mark of Westerfeld s credit that I didn t abandon ship immediately I picked it up as a monthly read, mistakenly assuming the group disqualified the genre from nominations I know what you are thinking why didn t I quit Well, Leviathan has been making reading lists for some time with solid ratings from my friends And every now and then I do read some fantastic young adult It isn t the book s fault, exactly it s mine It felt odd fencing in farmer s clothes, without servants standing ready to bring water and towels Mice scrambled underfoot, and the giant Stormwalker watched over them like some iron god of war Every few minutes Count Volger called a halt and stared up at the machine, as if hoping to find in its stoic silence the patience to endure Alek s clumsy technique It begins with Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand of Austria Hungary headed to bed, musing on the battle he was enacting with his little tin soldiers Before long, he s awakened by his father s trusted adviser on what he thinks is a nighttime training mission piloting a land walker in the dark Try as I might, I could not stop visualizing the Star Wars edition, circa 1983 Prince Alek is young, and makes all sorts of silly mistakes thinking the advisers might be out to kidnap him, not believing his parents were killed and accidentally betraying his noble upbringing It s hard to be in disguise as a peasant Apparently his situation is the byproduct of an attempt to incite a war Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp is also discovering it is hard to live in disguise in her case, as a boy You have to swagger and hit people a lot, but she s learning fast as she goes through training in the British Air Service During her test flight, her balloon octopus accidentally gets away and results in her being picked up by a mammoth excuse me, whale of a flying warship She gets a place in the crew and manages to become part of an important diplomatic mission Of course, the two worlds will collide Oh, did I mention they are also the Romeo and Juliet of the European world, representing opposite sides in the conflict, who in turn represent opposite applications of technology According to her aerology manual, the big hydrogen breathers were modeled on the tiny South American islands where Darwin had made his famous discoveries The Leviathan wasn t one beastie, but a vast web of life in ever shifting balance The most engaging aspect of the tale was the cultural construct of how scientific thought was applied In the English faction, science dove right into Darwinism, gene splicing and biotech Inventions are based upon biological creations operating in mechanical ways Thus, the flying octopus balloons and the whale based airships powered by renewable biomass It s extremely interesting and creative and was, without doubt, one of the reasons I kept reading.Plotting felt solid Relatively predictable, of course, given our YA heroes, but with a twist or turn along the way as to the structure of the conflict I read the hardcover, which not only has a lovely jacket but a creative European west Asian map on the faceplate The illustrations by Keith Thompson are shown in perfect detail I thought they added a great deal to the story, occasionally providing some imagery to hook the story on, and was glad I was reading paper It wouldn t have worked as well on my e reader.Writing style was excellent, and again, sign of Westerfeld s skill, as far as I m concerned Deryn does speak in a heavy slang at times, to the point that Alek complains she is almost incomprehensible.Confession time not only to I not enjoy Young Adult as a genre, I really don t enjoy modern human history Part of it is the arbitrariness of the detail for me Leader X of Y ate apples and bananas in 1935 and might have set off a world war when he accidentally tipped the farmer who lost his shirt in the milk shortage a gold coin I just can t remember that kind of arbitrary minutia I m much better with cardiovascular output, baroreceptors and red blood cells porting around oxygen to the outer perimeters Westerfeld s set up has to do with Leader Somebody So and So not being something or another in 19 Something Something, only it went the Other Way in real life I didn t care when I tried to learn it in 1985, and I really don t care now But kudos to you, Westerfeld for making a pivotal historical event your story lynchpin The other reason it is was never going to work for me fighting Events leading up to war Young people discovering adult politics Mounted scouts Flying stuff shooting at other flying stuff Land stuff shooting at flying stuff Skirmishes You know tin soldiers.Upshot Hugely readable, well written and illustrated book that almost completely misses my reading interests and manages to be entertaining anyways If any of that appeals to you, I highly recommend it. this is a zippy, high spirited breeze of a novel, aimed at the lucrative TROPE 1 audience and with clear appeal for even younger folks as far as characterization and narrative go, there is not much here that will suprise or challenge the readerbut the novel does have charm, lots of it don t expect to get your mind blown, but it is certainly a pleasant way to spend a few hours and there are many enjoyable elements in the now almost played out use of TROPE 2 big clanky walking machines, living dirigibles and various flying machines or machine beasts, the setting itself, and the enjoyable TROPE 3 of europe during the first world war now rife with imaginative historical tweaks and simmering distrust between the machine lovin Clankers and the evolutionary mix masters, the Darwinists.the TROPE 4 is rather standard a plucky, mouthy, resilient young TROPE 5 who TROPE 6 to have the adventures of a boy nonetheless, despite the familiarity of the gender bending, she is thoroughly enjoyable the TROPE 7 is also rather standard a prickly and often high handed little TROPE 8 , but also a TROPE 9 one too both TROPE 10 are TROPE 11 on several occasions their TROPE 12 is nicely played out through TROPE 13 and the inevitable TROPE 14 wait to rear their predictable little heads until very near the end, as the young miss starts feeling some sparks during a fervent bit of grateful hugging it is actually adorable, and all the better for its lack during most of the novel and there are also two adult characters who are fun but, again, rather standard an eccentric zookeeper scientist envoy TROPE 15 and her probable TROPE 16 , a sardonic and loyal austrian wildcount.the narrative is propulsive yet episodic there is no standard TROPE 17 for the hero or heroine, although i suppose Alek s TROPE 18 to the austrian crown may eventually qualifybut so far, there is really nothing for him to quest after, as he spends most of his time hiding and running for the time being, the reader is immersed in action that comes breathless and willy nilly, with little pause for reflection or rumination i would have appreciated somequiet times where the reader gets to live and breathe the characters lives and the world s strangeness, but clearly the novel is gearedtowards younger, shorter attention spans.i love the steampunk subgenre on that level, the novel succeeds i may just be a sucker for reading about TROPE 19 , about TROPE 20 although obviously this novel is not set during the victorian era , about TROPE 21 , about TROPE 22 in general.the novel includes a bunch of pleasing black and white illustrations they are wonderful almost TROPE 23 ific minus the TROPE 24 , of course.KEY 1 Young Adult2 steampunk3 alterna history4 heroine5 tomboy6 disguises herself as a boy 7 hero8 prince9 sad and rather tragic10 almost over their heads heroes11 brave and quick thinking and save the day 12 gradual coming together13 alternating pov chapters14 romantic clich s15 liberated lady16 surprise love interest17 Quest18 legacy as the heir 19 futuristic yet strangely archaic technology20 quasi victorian explorations of sexual repression gender imbalance21 nifty new ways that evolution can be tweaked22 anachronism23 Edward Gorey24 morbid child killing It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives It is the one that is the most adaptable to change Charles DarwinThe world of Leviathan set in 1914 is divided into Darwinists and Clankers The Darwinists have evolved genetics to make animalsuseful to humans The Clankers have built their society on machinery technology I love maps and Scott Westerfeld provided a great map to show how his imagined world has been divided up between the two camps of thought Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand awakes one night to find that his world has been turned upside He had an uncertain future to begin with being the son of the heir to the Austria Hungary throne and yet, because his mother was of common blood the marriage was deemed a left handed marriage which does not allow Alek to inherit his father s title Franz FerdinandHis father and mother survive the initial assassination attempt that in our reality sparked World War One In Westerfeld s world they survive only to be poisoned later that night at a dinner party Alek is whisked away by men loyal to his father in a Stormwalker, a two legged war machine Despite the fact that he has no legitimate claim to the throne the Germans are intent on neutralizing him Emperor Franz Joseph is old and the Germans fear he will recognize Alek as his heir They would prefer someonelikely to ally with their war aims In the book A Nervous Splendor Vienna 1888 1889Frederick Morton speculates that Rudolph s suicide Franz Joseph s son was actually an assassination by Germany fearing his anti Germanic rhetoric It makes sense, but suicide was in fashion in Vienna in the 1880s and there is very little evidence to support the theory, but that said given what is at stake I wouldn t be surprised that Germany had a hand in eliminating Rudolph Germany has always played too large a role in Austrian politics In Westerfeld s world instead of a young Bosnian being behind the assassination of Ferdinand the Germans are the originators of the coming conflict Alek finds himself in a desperate race to reach the Swiss border before the German s can capture him Our other hero is Deryn Sharp She has just joined the British air service Because she is a girl, and girls are not allowed to join the military, she has disguised herself as a boy named Dylan She is assigned to the Leviathan a living whale flying ship Despite being in constant peril of discovery she shows bravery and intuitive cunning that makes her a valuable midshipman Of course Deryn and Alek are on a collision course and their first meeting is less than ideal Despite the fireworks and the misunderstandings they are quickly becoming friends Another real character masquerading in Westerfeld s world is Nora DARWIN Barlow who has become critical to the upcoming war effort as England needsadvances in genetics to have a chance against the Clanker armies of Germany She is the granddaughter of Charles Darwin Nora Darwin BarlowMiss Barlow s constant companion is a Tasmanian Tiger, an animal that creates nervous moments for those around her Unfortunately in our reality the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936, a species that was a casualty of man versus nature I liked Miss Barlow and hope she continues to be a key part of the plot in the subsequent books The book is littered with amazing line drawings that really adds to the experience of the book I wishadult books had illustrations There are a plethora of amazing, starving artists in this country that could use the work We are a visual culture and I don t believe it takes away any literary value to a book to be enhanced with an artist s conception of the writer s creation I will be reading book two Behemoth Westerfeld left me hanging in the skies over Europe with our heroes on a secret mission to the Ottoman Empire, and the German s trying everything in their arsenal to bring them back to Earth. A missing piece can be very bad for the puzzle, whether in the natural world, or politics, or here in the belly of an airshipInitial Final Page Thoughts.That s what I want to know, Alek That s what I want to know High Points.Deryn Alek This world wooow, why doesn t it exist yet Huxleys Darwinists Clankers Flying wales Cow farts TrinketsDiddies Messenger lizards Science Nature Snowshoes Tazza Dr Barlow Frostbitten bums Odd kind of tingling The prospect of sequels Low Points.I think I ll appreciate this book all thewhen I look back on it after reading the others which may or may not be zooming down the motorway to my house as I type.This isn t a gripe directed solely at Mr Westerfeldlike everyone who has ever written a story where a girl dresses up as a boy and no one notices.Yes, that s right It s also directed at YOU director of Shakespeare in Love and that film where Channing Tatum takes his top off a lot and there s football sorry, soccer, involved She s the Man Basically this rant is aimed at Shakespeare shakes first Sure, I could get over it if the girl in question was like a baby People would notice a sixteen year old girl who looks extremely pretty in the illustrations, I need to add was gallivanting around a whale Even if her diddies are on the small side The whole idea of people changing one thing about themselves and all of the sudden are unrecognisable is a serious pet peeve of mine I go off on one provide an extremely sound and mature argument in my Shadows on the Moon review But you know what I don t care because Deryn is brilliant and if anyone could fool a ship full of silly boys she could Hero.Oh Alek, I think you re going to end up getting overshadowed in this review which is completely unfair because you are brilliant too.But well Derynissocoolwhines Sorry, Alek I m back with you, promise You have all this ridiculous stuff happening around you and you still have the time to be a Grade A sweetheart I applaud you because if I was an Austro Hungarian prince I would be whinging like nobody s business.I loved how he was innocent and na ve and a bit of wimp but he was determined to learn and break free of people s perceptions of him and his ancestors and all that shebang.I m really excited to see where Alek s learning curve takes him Also, the banter between him and Deryn was hilarious Listen, I m not really supposed to be this far from home I just happened to be out hiking when I saw your ship come down Out hiking Deryn said In all this barking snow At nightYes I often hike on the glacier at night Withmedicine And I can t wait to see what happens when what I think will happen happens Hero Heroine HeroJo s Best Friend.YES YES YES.I ve only read one book but already Deryn is one of my favourite female heroines.She can fashion a zipwire while dangling under a squid thing I m going to start adding that to my necessary friend requirements And this is the point where I would get slightly nervous because I always fall in love with fantastic heroines in the first book of a series and then get my heart dashed as it goes on Looking at you, Katniss but I have no doubt that Deryn and I are for keeps fingers crossed And OH, I caught you with your tingling feelings after a certain prince hugged you Don t think I didn t see that Just because you re a soldier doesn t mean you can t twist your skirts every now and again or um, you know your uniformed pants Again, I can t wait to see what happens when what I think will happen happens Illustrations.When the wonderful Catie recommended this book to me to be part of my Illustrated Book Week I was sceptical because it didn t look like the kind of book that should be illustrated.I mean it wasn t about magic or fairy tales or monsters.It was about alternative war and machines and boy stuff.But, boy am I glad it was illustrated I think they are particularly important because they are so detailed and perfectly capture Westfeld s fantastical world They almost looked like they had been produced with the smog and grime and grease from one of the Clanker s machines What I loved was that even though they were highly detailed and intricate, they also managed to maintain their cartoon ness Is there a word for that I loved the pictures with the characters on them the most because Mr Thompson got their facial expressions perfectly.Also, the fact that Deryn is taller than Alek was brilliant Theme Tune.I couldn t find any song that really went with giant whale airships and clanking.So I m going to choose a song for my girl, Deryn Just a Girl by No Doubt Well, I say I m fellow music lover Catie chose this one because I was too busy buying the next two books Sadness Scale 3 10 Almost zilch but I think Alek s story if you know your um, alternate history you ll know what I mean was really sad.Poor little pup.And also, while I m thinking about it, Deryn s story is sad as well But she doesn t tend to dwell I hope we ll get to find outabout these and their feelings as the series goes on Recommended For.People who are looking for a fast paced, high action book with great characters and fantastic potential for the rest of the books People who live in places where they can t get mobile reception but have an abundance of lizards who seem to listen to your conversations People who think that the smell of fish and cow farts always lead to adventure People who would look great in a bowler hat People who actually use the words boffin and ninny in everyday conversations I actually do, you know, when I m not swearing like a lorry driver People who always take medicine when they go on their glacial hikes Boys who couldn t recognise a girl if she cut her hair short and wore pants People who are suspicious of eggs People who can t wait to see what happens when what they think will happen happens.You can read this review and other exciting things on my blog here. The Archduke of Austria Hungary and his wife are assassinated and their son, Alek, flees into the night with trusted advisors Deryn Sharp disguises herself as a boy to gain a post on a Darwinist airship With a Great War brewing, how will their paths intersect I had Leviathan on my kindle for so long I d largely forgotten when I purchased it Sometimes, you just want to read about giant steam powered robots in the dawn of World War I.Leviathan is a steampunk adventure tale set in the opening months of World War I in an alternate world where war is brewing between the Darwinists and the Clankers Darwinists use genetically engineered war machines while Clankers use big honking human piloted robots Sounds pretty good, right In a Young Adult sort of way, it s a fun tale Will her comrades find out Deryn is a woman Will the Germans find where Alek is hiding Will we see brutal robot on robot action The worldbuilding in Leviathan was my favorite part Who doesn t love giant robots and huge living airships Setting it during World War I was a nice change of pace that avoided some of the usual steampunk tropes I also liked that Alek and Deryn didn t instantly fall in love and neither of them was a Chosen One type of character.The writing didn t wow me, however It was pretty average and felt a little repetitive at times My main gripe, while we re on the subject, is that not a lot actually happened I m aware that it was the first book in a trilogy but it was pretty unsatisfying on its own It set up a lot of stuff for future installments but had very little meat to it on its own.Three out of five stars I m still undecided whether or not I want to spend money on the other two, however. After reading Cassandra Clare s Infernal Devices, I got a taste for steampunk that I have not been able to satiate until now Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Leviathan is targeted for early YA, in the same vein as Percy Jackson and the early Harry Potters My advice to you is if you are thinking about reading any of the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson books put that thought out of your mind right now, and pick up Leviathan instead Trust me on this one, you will thank me for it Leviathan is alternate history novel that takes place in the time immediately preceding WWI Just after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were murdered in Sarajevo Leviathan follows the story of their fictional son and heir to the throne, Alek, as he attempts to escape the armies wanting to kill him Austria, like Germany, is a Clanker nation which means they rely on machines for weapons and transportation We have dual protagonists in this book and different chapters are told from the different protagonist s viewpoints Our 2nd main character is Deryn Deryn is a young female commoner disguised as a male in the British Air Force The British are what are referred to as Darwinists , meaning that they rely on genetically altered animals for weapons and transportation Leviathan is the name of the genetically engineered hydrogen based whale aircraft on which Deryn is stationed The heart of the story is Clankers vs the Darwinists.As Scott Westerfeld points out, the beauty of steampunk is that it combines past with future There is a lot of historical fact in this book which keeps it interesting, but with a futuristic flair.For me, Deryn made this book, she was charming and funny This is a quote from Deryn, when thinking about the chemical makeup of waterIt d always seemed a bit suspect to her, that two gases mixed up made a liquidDeryn is constantly spouting out funny phrases likewee beastiesand cursingjumping spidersAlek was equally likeable, but for me not as relatable since he is male I had to award Leviathan with one extra half point because there is a TAZMANIAN TIGER named Taza You can t go wrong with a Tasmanian tiger, I mean, come on, it doesn t get much cooler than that Dear Mr Westerfeld, I hereby forgive you for writing The Uglies Trilogy Oh, no, you may say, there is no forgiveness needed But yes, I insist, it is needed Trust me, it really is.My one word to describe Leviathan Juicy steampunky awesomeness that is all one word, I swear 4 1 2 STARS For any YA fans looking for a new fun and imaginative adventure to fill the Harry Potter sized void in your lives, I give you Leviathan Beware the Clanker Revolution It s the year 1914, and Austrian prince Alek has just learned that his parents have been murdered Instead of being allowed time to grieve, he is forced to flee his country with only a handful of men loyal to him As his birthright represents a direct threat to the Clanker army s quest for power, the fifteen year old Alek has been targeted for assassination On the run, the young prince tries valiantly to find a way to prevent a war by ending the conflict Behold the Darwinist Evolution In contrast, Deryn Sharp doesn t try to avoid conflict, she thrives on it So much so that the 15 year old girl masquerades as a boy just so she can join the British Air Service Now she finds herself swept away to a new home, filled with extraordinary genetically altered creatures As the young girl fights alongside the Darwinists in their battle against the Clankers, she proves many times over that the most powerful weapon at her disposal is her mindLeviathanwas the most fun I ve had reading a book in a long time One thing that struck me was the sheer creativity Scott Westerfeld displayed in establishing this alternate reality version of World War I The Clanker army which includes Germany, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire possesses a wide variety of steam powered monstrosities that march into war What was truly impressive was Westerfeld s ability to not only describe the various machines appearances, but to even provide such fluid descriptions as to how they operate The Darwinists comprised of Britain, France, and Russia feature evenimaginative weapons, genetically manufactured beasties that are crossbreeds of various animals and scientifically engineered to possess useful abilities my favorite being the talking Message Lizards Such a perfect blend of the natural and the mechanical makes Westerfeld s world a truly rich and elaborate setting.Of course, a book that takes place in an exciting world still suffers if the characters aren t interesting, but fortunately Westerfeld gives us a cast that manages to be evencompelling than the wonders surrounding them Alek is altruistic, yet somewhat spoiled He is stoic in the loss of his parents, but his emotions still get the better of him at times Deryn is also an extremely likable character She is spirited and strong, but often also reveals a much softer side especially her affection towards the beasties that most others only see as tools Deryn s swashbuckling ways led me to almost cheer out loud onthan one occasion Westerfeld pulls off an amazing trick, giving us two young leads who are wise beyond their years, yet also talk and act in such a way that they are perfectly believable as teenagers While these two lead characters are captivating enough to carry the book on their own, fortunately they don t have to Westerfeld also gives us an enjoyable supporting cast as well Particularly engaging is Dr Nora Barlow, a British scientist who possesses not only a bubbly disposition, but also a brilliant and observant mind that rivals even that of a certain well known British detective Another enthralling player in this drama is Count Volger, the loyalist who becomes Alek s father figure Volger is gruff, but also noble, and his cunning and shrewdness make us very grateful that he is on Alek s side Truthfully, the supporting characters in this book areinteresting than the stars of many other books On the surface, the story is a fast paced adventure, but there are many other themes that play out as well The persecution the Darwinists suffer from those who label them godless A soldier s torment over whether to follow orders or do what they truly feel is right The fallacy of gender and national stereotypes Mature themes are woven into a young adult adventure to addlayers of depth to the story.Ultimately, once I finished reading this book, I only had one complaintI wish the book never had to end I really enjoyed Westerfeld s Uglies, so I was excited to read this new book, set in an alternate reality It s the dawn of World War I, and war is about to erupt between two great powers the Clankers Germany Austro Hungary and the Darwinists England, France, Russia The Clankers are technologists with walking tanks a la Star Wars , zeppelins and airplanes, while the Darwinists have discovered ways to manipulate DNA and create biological hybrids like floating whale ships, lizards that relay messages in English, jellyfish hot air balloons, and elephantine beasts of burden Westerfeld s world is beautifully realized and totally convincing Lots of action, and two great main characters who have dangerous secrets The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking, This needs to be an online role playing game The possibilities are endless I ll be looking forward to the next book in this series Check it out Whew where do I begin First off, let me tell you this is my first steampunk experience, which will definitely not be my last At work, I ve had a few of my co workers recommend this book to me, along with about fifteen other steampunk titles I ignored them Steampunk just wasn t my bag It seemed too too what s the word ridiculous Months passed But every time I needed a new book to read and review for my job, I always found myself looking at LEVIATHAN The cover art is pretty cool but just not cool enough for me to read it or so I thought Then, last night, as we were closing shop, I dared myself to read this title I m not much into YA literature either, so my hopes were not great I thought If I can just read 50 pages, then I could tell them that this type of stuff isn t for me.Well, my wife and kids went to bed early, so I opened this book And man oh man, did I have a fun few hours As the night grew older, I kept saying, Just onechapter I ended up reading half the book The story revolves around an alternate history of what precipitated the events that triggered no pun intended for those history buffs reading this review WWI In the real history, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed by an assassin s bullet In this version, the Duke and his wife are killed by poison after having survived two previous attempts Their deaths leave their son, Aleck, now heir to the Austrian Hungary Empire alone, save for two loyal officers that whisk him away in the dead of the night This all happens within the first ten pages I liked this It kind of had an Ender s Game feel to it As the story progresses, we find out that the world basically split into two factions the Clankers, and the Darwinists The Clankers live and die by technology Machines are their future In fact, their machines seem to serve one purpose only advancement of military might Darwinists are a bit different Yes, they use technology, but this technology is fused with the life forms of earth These are called Beasties A great example of these Beasties is the Leviathan itself This monstrosity has the body of a whale, but is actually an amalgam of ecosystems working together It looks and acts like a zeppelin, the difference being, it is alive Needless to say, the world building in this story is incredible I could see and smell and hear all what was happening, both in the Clankers world and in the Darwinists I won t spoil the story, but here are a few themes throughout bravery, technology versus nature, overcoming odds, redemption, acceptance of loss, and loyalty There are epic battles and escapes Daring rescues Science and speculation Strange eggs Descendants of Charles Darwin Fusion of past and future concepts A girl posing as a boy as to serve her country in war Possible romance in the next books And, my favorite, bats that eat pieces of metal so they can be used as missiles when attacking enemies You can probably guess as to how these projectiles are ejected from the bats The two major criticisms I have about this novel are sometimes the language seems needlessly juvenile This doesn t happen often, but when it does it is jarring to the story The other is the illustrations I found this book to be dark Not in violence or topic necessarily, but it is about war and is filled with war scenes, the illustrations detract from the story, sometimes making it less urgent or compelling Had these been drawn to show the darker elements of the story, they would have added greatly Still, this was an awesome novel I will proudly eat my own words and say steampunk is fun, good reading, and YA literature has a lot to offer HIGHLY RECOMMENDED