Reading Diary: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Absently, I chose a flickering shape below and focussed on it, watching a small blob become people, take on features, clothing, individuality. It was a group of kids, maybe my age, maybe older. Who couldn't be more unlike me.
Well, so what? I thought. They were just boring kids, stuck on the ground, doing homework. With bedtimes and a million grown-ups telling them what to do, how to do everything, all the time. Alarm clocks and school and afternoon jobs. Those poor saps. While we were free, free, free. Soaring through the air like rockets. Being cradled by breezes. Doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.
Pretty good, huh? I almost convinced myself.
Summer might have been over for my brothers weeks ago, but I wanted read-aloud time with them to become a real after-dinner tradition. So I picked out a new book--by a new author and from a new series--for our reading.
The Angel Experiment seemed made to order. Camera Man had requested characters "with powers;" the chapters were short; the prose was simple; except for all the violence, it was what concerned parents would call "clean." I was looking forward to reading it again with them, and once more seeing a familiar story through their eyes.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't happening. My brothers weren't so hot about the idea. And they had a way of worming out of reading that is perfectly encapsulated in the line: "Mom! Enbrethiliel is making us stay up and read past our bedtimes, when we have school tomorrow!!!" The little hypocrites. They don't mind negotiating for an extra half hour when there's a Disney movie on.
I was planning to deal with the situation by forbidding the use of the TV in my room . . . but that would be hard to police since they're on their own for a couple of hours after school, when all the grown-ups are working. Then I thought I'd make them work for their TV time: half an hour for every five chapters. Again, difficult to monitor--and I'd risk making reading into a chore. Finally, it occurred to me that one catches more flies with honey than vinegar and that my manipulative little brothers certainly resembled those fat, smug flying bugs . . .
So on Camera Man's birthday two weeks ago, I got him a special present . . .
Yes, it's the Maximum Ride graphic/manga novel, illustrations by Narae Lee! Camera Man might be very visual, but he doesn't like reading at all; so I thought it would be a happy medium for both of us. I was certainly thrilled when he was so happy with his present that he tucked it into his satchel to bring to school the next day. What I didn't expect was that he wouldn't come home with it.
"I showed it to Bianca," he explained casually, "and she really wanted to read it. So I let her."
I was aghast. "Camera Man, have you even read it yourself???"
"Yes!" he snapped, looking away immediately.
I wanted to grind my forehead against the wall.
Then I heard that another classmate had borrowed it. And that a third, who was tired of waiting in line, had bought his own copy. And that the whole class was so excited about it that they were already making plans to watch the movie together. And that someone who had started the series last year had been motivated to proceed to the second novel at last. And that everyone had started comparing favourite characters. And that Camera Man himself has still not read the novel beyond the first few chapters he read with me.
Unbelievable!!! In both a bad way . . . and a good way.
While I am upset that my brother would rather use his new book as a vehicle for his popularity than actually read it, I am also quite pleased that I got an entire sixth grade class to start reading (and enjoying!) a new series. And not just the graphic novels, mind you!
So if you know any twelve-year-old readers (or love their "age appropriate" YA yourself), consider this non-review a recommendation.
Image Sources: a) Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson, b) Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson and Narae Lee