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Polaris Paperback – August 16, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—The author's fourth novel is a unique, modern-day take on the heavily used trope of life-or-death games in YA science fiction. Thirteen-year-old Aaron plays the Good Samaritan to a freezing stranger in his isolated town, despite his mother's warning not to let unknown people into their house. Aaron and his mother quickly learn that Nakal is not quite what he seems. Inviting the stranger into his home creates some serious consequences for Aaron. The young teen must participate in "The Game" to save not only his family but also himself. This work has tween appeal because of its short length and quick pace. The first half offers little backstory or world-building, but the second half remedies that, helping readers to understand why certain events have transpired. At times, the writing is a little stiff and not true to how young people converse or interact. VERDICT An interesting take on a popular theme that doesn't quite hit the mark. Give only to avid fans of speculative fiction.—Tegan Anclade, Lake Villa District Library, IL
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The main word I would use to describe this plot is intriguing. Like many stories of this nature, the reader’s left in the dark as to what exactly is going on for a good deal of the story, but the creepiness of what I could see and the concepts I could sense being introduced drew me in and held my interest. The farther I got into the story, the more I enjoyed the worlds, the pieces of the game slowly brought about, and the fantastical communities that seemed to have so much more to them than I could see. To be honest, I would’ve liked to understand more about the game and the various participants so I could love them more; but even with my questions, I did enjoy the read. I think the plot will be especially loved by Middle Grade readers; there are a lot of fun plot twists and surprises that I think would be right up their alley.
Plot: 3 stars out of 5.
There are a lot of slightly bizarre, quirky characters that come along to help Aaron throughout the story, and, though I’d like to have gotten more about their true roles, people like D1 and Zion were definitely fun to have around. Nakal, while not my favorite character, was the one who seemed deepest to me. He’d made some awful choices and I certainly didn’t root for him, but his backstory was complicated yet relatable, and the feelings he had were understandable, even for a somewhat-fantastical being simultaneously 73 and 13.
Well, maybe not exactly 73? But it sounded good put that way. So.
Characters: 3 stars out of 5.
The settings of Bixie, Montana, the space in the meteor, and all the places in between each played strong roles throughout the story. In its way, everything was a player, or at least an asset for one team or the other, which made the game far more complicated for Aaron, lol, but also more detailed and more interesting to follow.
My only problems with the writing were one, some of the dialogue felt a little unnatural and, two, while I could understand in an abstract way the feelings of each scene, the writing generally didn’t grip me. I felt sort of on the outside, especially when it came to emotions like fear or intensity: I could understand that that was the desired feeling in the scene and I got a bit of a chill sometimes, but for the most part, I couldn’t actually take part in the feeling.
Writing Style/Setting: 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
And so we come in right above 3 stars out of 5. Polaris is an intriguing, slightly creepy story I’d recommend for older fans of Jumanji and kids not quite ready for the Hunger Games.
Note: I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
But the small twists and pops of unexpected elements made the book quite fun to read.Apart from that,I actually like the world that the author created in Polaris.
I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a light and quick read or something you want to complete in one sitting,especially one in the fantasy genre!
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