Indentity Crisis! Am I the Messenger or Number Four?

Time for some quick reviews! I recently finished two books with I am in the title and now I will review them both.

First up: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (a pseudonym for authors James Frey and Jobie Hughes)

Teen John Smith and his “father” Henri have lived a life on the run. John and Henri are two of a handful of  surviving members of the alien race of Loriens. Their planet was attacked and destroyed by the Mogodorians. In the midst of the chaos nine children and their guardians managed to escape. They reached Earth and scattered, secure in the knowledge that they could only be killed in a certain order. Three are dead and John is number four. When they learn of the demise of number three, the pair pack up and hit the road, settling in Paradise, Ohio. John longs for a normal high school experience, complete with a girlfriend, but it’s hard to be normal when killer aliens are after you.

I have been putting this book off for a while, but I needed to read it before I showed the movie at the library. Yes, I am a book snob that way. I need to read the book before I see the movie. Interestingly enough, I am not a book-to-movie snob. I try really hard not to compare the two things. But I digress…

I am kind of conflicted over this one. On the one hand there are gaping holes in the plot (which kind of moves at a snail’s pace for a good portion of the book). On the other hand, it’s about aliens! With superpowers! It’s about a kid who just wants to fit in and a father-type guy who just wants to protect his kid. It’s about secrets, and loyalty, and falling in love. In the end, despite it’s flaws, I bought in and want to know what happens next. I also have to admit that while I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think of how I would feel if I was one of those alien kids who grew up here but had the enormous responsibility of restoring a planet I could barely remember. I wonder if I would even want to go back? Anyway. In short, no literary gem here, but an interesting read.

Other alien reads include Stuck on Earth by David Klass and The Host by Stephenie Meyer (which was also a slow start, but ended up being pretty awesome).

Next: I am Number Four by Markus Zusak

Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old Australian cab driving who lives with a smelly old dog, pines away for his best friend, Audrey, and loves to play cards. He’s an ordinary guy, going nowhere fast, until the day he foils a bank robbery. His glory is short-lived, but shortly after the would-be robber is sentenced, Ed receives an ace of clubs with three addresses written on it. And so begins Ed’s new adventure. Once he visits each address he realizes he is supposed to do something for each person on the list. When he does, more cards and clues arrive, each with a new challenge. The biggest challenge of all, however, is for Ed to decide who he wants to be.

I listened to this one and despite my sister’s warning to not announce this, I am going to admit that it was like having Jesse Spencer drive around with me telling me a story. Kind of awesome.

I really enjoyed this book, and yet I am having a difficult time finding the words to explain why. I liked Ed and his smelly old coffee drinking dog. I liked that Ed was totally game when bizarre things started happening. I liked that the messages were so simple and beautiful. I liked Ed’s damaged and flawed friends. I loved the person Ed becomes. And the writing? It is rich and unsentimental and at times brutal, but every word is important. I wanted them all and more. What I love most about this book is how it made me feel. I felt good listening to this book. And I do enjoy an unlikely hero with a humorous inner monologue!

This book tackles some mature issues, including drinking, sex, and domestic violence, so I recommend it with caution. But recommend it, I do! Give this one to fans of John Green. Read alikes include It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini and How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Staniford.

Happy Reading!


5 responses to “Indentity Crisis! Am I the Messenger or Number Four?

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