Cassie Was Here and Maximum Ride

cassie-was-here.jpgWhat’s on my nightstand? Cassie Was Here, by Caroline Hickey.

Here is another book that just feels real. These seem so rare nowadays, when every little thing from books and stories to sports and bottled water is jacked up on hype and extreme-isms. I find real refreshing.

Cassie was there, but it’s 11-year-old Bree’s story about how she’s strangely attracted to an older friend (Cassie) who may be cunning, mean, and manipulative, but who might also be kind and generous. It’s hard to tell.

I love how Cassie is drawn. Very authentic. I knew a Cassie. She was my friend, too, and she sometimes did things I didn’t like. Sometimes I stood up to her (and got in trouble when she cried to our gym teacher, Mrs. Scroggins), and sometimes I followed her lead and regretted it (that be-mean-to-Sherri day was just plain stupid, and I deserved Sherri’s response). Still, at other times, she was a good friend.

Bree’s responses to Cassie felt very real and very familiar.

maximum-ride-1.jpgWhat’s on my mp3 player? Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson.

Critique partner, Dale, recommended this. She’s big on fantasy. I’m not. But I enjoyed the first book of this series very much. First of all, the fantasy part is that the kids are genetically re-engineered. I guess that might make these science fiction, not fantasy, but whatever. What can I say? Genetics interests me. I enjoy imagining strange genetic combinations.

But what I like best about this book is Max’s voice. She’s obviously contemporary, but not so hip that she seems alien to me. She sounds totally real, even in the face of what is clearly fantasy.

Now, I am listening to this, so maybe more credit should go to the reader than the author, but my gut says they are both deserving. Whether or not I like the rest of the books in the series remains to be seen, but I enjoyed this first one.

Categories: Reading

2 replies »

  1. So are you doing experiments in Mendelian genetics with your pea plants? It looks like there is some cross-pollination going on.

  2. Or how about some “Cross” pollination? I didn’t know that James Patterson wrote any books for kids or YA. I read a bunch of the Alex Cross novels a while back. While they’re not challenging or enlightening, I find Patterson’s books to be a fun read.

    I took a look at “Maximum Ride” just a minute ago because the book’s description seemed incredibly familar, but what it reminded me of was decidedly different. I had read a book about kids with wings, but I knew that there weren’t any genetically mutated beings chasing them down. Mere humans were after them in the book I knew of. Lo and behold, I discovered that Max originated in another Patterson book, “When the Wind Blows.” That one I had read. A hah!

    Jen…from what I know about your taste in movies, the Alex Cross books won’t be up your alley. There is some blood and gore in all of them. But I do like the character development in them.