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Pale (Stoke Books) Library Binding – September 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-8-Pales are the dead brought back to life. They are obvious, as they have white skin, hair, and eyes. Only 1 in 10 people are able to become a Pale, as the Lazurus Serum works only on a certain blood type, can only be used right at the time of death, and only if the injuries aren't too severe. Outcasts, they live in a place called the Graveyard, and while they go to school, they are ignored or bullied by the other children. Jed goes along with his friend Kyle in beating up Pale David, but when Jed is killed in a car crash and revived as a Pale himself, David becomes his friend and Kyle his enemy. Not only is Kyle bullying him, but he's also going out with his girlfriend. Jed has a plan to lure Sadie and turn her into a Pale to get back at both Kyle and Sadie. Will he be able to go through with his plan? The basic premise of the book is good, though not fully realized. Character motivation, as well as the ease in which they obtain the serum, isn't completely believable. The large type is a plus for hi/lo readers, and middle schoolers might be attracted to these horror stories.-Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in Leicestershire and studied English Literature at the University in Sheffield. Chris was only 16 when he wrote his first novel, and signed his first book deal at 19. He wrote the nine-part Broken Sky children's fantasy series and writes for young people and adults. Chris has travelled to lots of places all over the world, backpacking and playing music. Chris currently lives in North West London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Stoke Books
  • Library Binding: 67 pages
  • Publisher: Stoke Books (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781120927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781120927
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,006,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christina (Ensconced in Lit) on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Pale by Chris Wooding is a novella about Jed, a bully, who antagonizes the Pales-- people who have taken the Lazarus Serum after dying and have been resurrected into someone who vaguely looks like the person they were before but now have pale skin, eyes, and hair. Jed has it all-- a best friend who is a huger bully than he is, a beautiful girlfriend, and popularity. Then in one moment all of that changes.

This book was written for middle schoolers, but I was impressed by how in 70 pages, Wooding does more than many writers do in 5 times the number of pages. The novella isn't perfect-- the ending is not the best and sometimes the writing is almost too simple. That said, I was flipping pages until I got to the end and was captivated from start to finish. Not to mention, that instead of immediately falling asleep, I stayed up thinking about the implications of the story and what it meant ethically and emotionally. We are never told how the Lazarus injection works or much backstory on how it gets started. Some reviewers were very bothered by this. Usually, I have a lot more problem with it-- but we are getting the story from Jed's perspective and he doesn't know how the injection works, just that it does. So it makes sense we don't get a huge description of it. The story lays open for much more, and I wonder if Wooding is intending to write another novella or expanding this to full novel length.

Overall, a gripping, intense read that captivated me from start to finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Chris Wooding's work, and was pleased to read this successful middle grade level effort. The writing itself is straightforward and unadorned; in places almost sketchy or cryptic. But that suits the novella form and keeps the story driving to its strong conclusion. This topic, how it feels to return from the dead or to live among those who have returned from the dead, seems like it either needs an extended contemplative treatment that addresses all of the complications and subtleties of the matter, or it needs a stripped down high energy approach that just suggests that there are multiple levels of complexity involved, and worth thinking about. This book follows the latter path, and a reader can give the issues raised as much or as little further thought as he might like. That seems to be an interesting approach to introducing advanced themes to younger readers.

For what it's worth, this book echoes Robert Silverberg's 1974 sci-fi novella "Born with the Dead" . In that book the main character loses his young wife and is unable to handle the grief. Worse, a new technique called "rekindling" allows the dead to have a sort of life after death. But they don't resume their old ways. Instead the Dead develop a new separate culture. Jorge is a "warm" , and he struggles to infiltrate the world of the Dead to reconnect with his wife. I mention this novella because it is one of the cornerstones of the claim that Silverberg belongs in the Asimov-Bradbury-Clarke league. I also mention it because it is a wonderfully written, deeply unnerving, and remarkably atmospheric "adult" version that complements "Pale" and demonstrates the deep potential of these Lazarus/rekindling fables.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Rodriguez on August 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
I loved Pale! I loved the cover! Mostly I loved the message this short novella carried within its pages.

Pales are dead people who have been injected with the Lazarus Serum and brought back to life. They are different in appearance. One of the side effects of the serum is that they wake up totally devoid of any color, hence the name Pale. The fact that they are the dead and look like the dead pretty much gives everyone else reasons enough to isolate them.

We explore racism, prejudice thoughts and bullying in Pale. We also explore what happens when things are turned around and the cool kid is no longer cool and the bully becomes the bullied.

I think the issues brought up in this book are obviously still prevalent today. This book would be great for kids in middle school. Bullying is becoming more and more of a problem in our schools and I think we need to find more creative ways to tackle this and the other issues brought to light in the book. This book lends the opportunity to discuss these issues in a more neutral way. I was completely impressed by the writing and how things unfolded. I think our youth would be able to relate and walk away with very important messages.

Yes, this is a novella. Yes, there were details not included that could have added to the story. No, I don't feel as if I was cheated. I think all was perfect just as it was because the most important details were there. I consider this a good foundation and would be excited to read the next installment if Chris Wooding chooses to go there.

I definitely recommend this read to everyone!

ARC was provided by Stoke Books via NetGalley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By val313 on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
Chris Wooding has written an excellent short tale that is perfect for older students who struggle with reading or dyslexia. It is in the high interest/low reader format but don't let that deter you from this great short story.

The Lazarus serum can bring only a select few with the right blood type back from the dead. While this may sound wonderful at first, it leaves the recipient with pale white skin, grey eyes, white hair and no need for a heartbeat or air. The people who get the serum are called Pales and have little to no rights in this short dystopian novella for teen readers.

Jed is a popular teen who loves to bully the students they call "Pales". His father is an attorney who works to strip all the people who become "pale" from their wealth and their rights. When a horrific accident takes place and takes away everything that Jed knows and loves will he be able to survive his new reality?

This is an excellent book that focuses on prejudice and bullying. It would be a great book for classroom discussion or as a reading group book. Many readers may be frustrated by how short this book is. Keep in mind it was written for struggling readers and not as a lengthy story. However, none of this detracts from the book in any way. It is a rich novel for its size and something that many teens and adults will enjoy. I highly recommend this as a classroom book and as a library book for teens that are not ready for longer books like the Hunger games.
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