Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Seizure, by Kathy Reichs

This is Reichs' second YA book in the "Virals" series (and her overall second YA book).  I'm enjoying her efforts.  Reichs' has established herself as an adult author.  Her books have also be the foundation of the TV series Bones.  Both have some rough connections to her own work as a pioneering forensic pathologist.  I would be certain to guide any adolescent reader to her website: for career connections. 

The Virals series is a new effort.  There is little of "forensics" in either novel, however the main character is the great niece of Temperance Brennan, the main character in most of her adult novels and the television show.  The series has more of a "crazy science gone wrong" premise.  In the first book the main characters and her "pack" are infected with a virus being researched by a scientist working on the university owned, island research facility where all of their families live and work.

In Seizure, the main character Tory, and her friends/pack are once again navigating a complex teen social scene, their supernatural powers, and a specific mystery (with some additional side-plots such as Tory's father's love life).  My readers know that I value YA books that allow for investigations of a variety of themes/topics.  The center piece of this story is a female pirate, Calico Jack, and her buried treasure. There are opportunities in this book to explore wolf pack behavior, realistic teen life (well--except for the super powers of the Virals), adult-teen relationship complexities (appropriate--not perverse or sexually inappropriate), pirates and privateers, biology of the flora/fauna of the South Carolina coastal region, and the history of Charleston, SC. 

Reichs is a proficient writer and as always tells a good story.  I think her first attempt, Virals, was just a little awkward.  Learning to write for the YA market is not necessarily easy, even for the most proficient adult fiction writers.  This book feels much more like a strong addition to the YA field.  It would not be necessary to read the first book in the series to appreciate this book, but would fill out the background of how these adolescents acquired these mysterious powers.  (And I believe the mysterious powers are a metaphor for the biological changes that adolescents experience and to which they need to come to grips.)

This book would be a nice companion to the Maximum Ride, series by James Patterson.  It offers opportunities to discuss the ethics of science as well as some specific scientific concepts.  (And I trust, better founded in actual science than are the Maximum Ride books.)

No comments: