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Cicada Paperback – September 13, 2011
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
Belle resides somewhere north of Houston, Texas in a small inconsequential town with the smallest most inconsequential name. There, in the shady reaches of the pines, elms, and oaks, she daydreams of adventures and secrets that she weaves throughout her stories. She's quite sure she has the best readers in the universe!
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In this book, the characters come to life. The teens in this story are not glamorous or rich, but everyday kids that are believable and easy to relate to. They are written with emotion and smoothed and polished by time. I can tell that the author didn't rush when developing them. I also liked the fact that all of the characters were likable (no snotty brats or hidden agendas) and each had their own strengths (even if they couldn't see them) and weaknesses. Her descriptions were rich in detail and I tell ya, I want to go live on "Grandpa's" ranch! LOL! Whittington has a simplistic and Southern flair in this particular book that I loved. The descriptions were not over-done; they felt real. Being a Georgia girl, there were many aspects of the settings that I could relate to and the whole flavor of this book reminded me of home.
You guys know that I try not to leak too many details in my reviews. I will say that this book is about a teenage girl named Blair, her older brother, Andrew, and their friends who discover and save an alien on her grandpa's ranch. This part of the story is revealed almost upfront and I was wondering as I read why the author would play her ace so soon. However, I soon realized that this little nibblet of information was nothing compared to what she hadn't revealed yet! Yep, Ms. Whittington knows how to play poker and she deals her cards out in a way that makes you hold your breath and wonder just how many aces can one deck have?!
As I stated above, there are other factors in this book that help make it whole and the "alien" is just a small part of that. There are secret powers, foretelling dreams, the power of twins, grief, coming of age issues, secret government agencies, and one of my favorites-the fact that a "nerdy-type" guy is defined with such grace and realism, and he is embraced by the group of friends and not ridiculed for being intelligent.
This book is the first in a trilogy and I cannot wait to read her next one titled "Firefly". The author leaves you with questions (of course) but it doesn't have one of those cliff-hanger endings that leaves you confused or empty. This is an excellent read for young adults (I hate it when a book is labeled YA and it is really more suited for an adult) and a strong point is that it shows what the power of friendship can accomplish-a message that all kids can learn from. I give this book 5 stars and I hope that Ms. Whittington will not make me wait too long for the next book in this series!