Book Review: Maximum Ride – The Angel Experiment – James Patterson

maximumride06 Okay, this is a Young Adult book, and I am only reading YA, because apparently to get better at writing YA, you need to read a lot of it.  James Patterson writes about a book a day, splitting his time between the adult mystery genre and this extremely popular YA series.  How do I know it is extremely popular? I asked my 13 year old niece Morgan, and if she goes on for more than an hour about a series, I figure there must be something to it.  Morgan is you pretty typical 13 year old girl, though very into writing, and will probably be published before me (her 8 year old brother is going to be published this fall by Scholastic, but I’m trying not to let that get to me).

With all that said, I am not a young adult anymore, and since this is only the fifth or sixth YA book I’ve read in the last 2 years, it is still hard for me to judge whether a book is actually good or not for that audience.  But here is what I picked up, as it pertains to adults reading this.

1.  The book moves fast.  It almost seems like there are more sentences than words.  Go figure that one out.

2.  Patterson plays fast and loose with things like physics and research and words.  I actually found a spot in the book where he used the wrong word for something.  I knew what he meant, but it wasn’t what he said.  Bad editing, or just a writer who couldn’t think of the word, put another one in it’s place to continue writing, and forgot to come back and fix it.

3.  Patterson switches points of view a lot, and even he got confused a couple of times.  Shame.  But I guess when you are rich, publishers don’t throw your book away because of it.

4.  The action is good, and there is a lot of it.  If there was one thing I learned about writing for YA from this book, is you can never stop the action.  Perhaps that’s the video game society.  Kids have changed since I grew up.  I don’t remember that much action in the books I was when I was YA, but I went from Encyclopedia Brown to the Three Investigators to Tarzan and Steven King.  YA kind of didn’t exist back then.

5.  This is not a book for adults, unless you want to know what your kids are reading.  If your kids are grown up, and you don’t yet have teenage grandkids you want to ‘connect with’, this probably isn’t the right book for you.

The book is a fast read.  400 pages in about 5 hours for me I think.  It keeps you reading, and I wouldn’t mind reading another one, but since I’m reading YA to sample it to see if I really like YA or am just writing it by accident, I probably won’t read another one right now.  Lots of other stuff to read first.  And if I read too much of this and all the teenage angst, I might, you know, like die or something.

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