Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

Lost WorldsLost Worlds by Andrew Lane, 350 pages.
@SPL:  YA FIC Lane

In the tragic car crash that killed his parents, fifteen-year-old Calum Challenger was partially paralyzed. Now he lives alone in a converted warehouse, unable to walk.

Obsessed with the possibility of rare animals – or even animals thought to be extinct - which may still live in isolated pockets of the world, Calum spends his days searching for clues on the Internet. He believes that if they exist, these still-unidentified species may well have DNA that could help him walk again.

At the same time, Calum wants to be careful not to harm such creatures, and he would use the DNA to help protect the species.

When a mysterious yeti-like creature is spotted in the faraway Caucasus Mountains, Calum finds an unlikely team of friends to carry out the actual search for him.

Upon arriving in the mountains, the team finds itself in serious danger from a cutthroat pharmaceutical corporation, Nemor, which also wishes to find the creature – but not to protect it. Nemor would harvest its DNA and then kill the animal.

The rugged environment of the Caucasus Mountains already poses many challenges for the team. Now the quest becomes a deadly chase as it becomes apparent that Nemor will stop at nothing to obtain the rare DNA. Pushed to the limit, the team begins to wonder how much they can actually count on Calum, who is directing the search from London.  After all, they are depending on him for their survival.

With a conclusion that might be a surprise to some readers, Lost Worlds features an unusual plot which is nevertheless quite believable. (Readers will probably be so captivated by this absorbing story that they are unlikely to question its believability anyway.)

In many ways, this novel is a modern, high-tech version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, Lost World. Author Andrew Lane is a Conan Doyle enthusiast.

The characterization in Lost Worlds is a definite strength of this novel. Lane’s portrayal of a disabled teen is skillful and sensitive. The other characters in the story are interesting and will likely engage teen readers quite nicely.

Lost Worlds is the initial book in a promising new series.

** Recommended for ages 12 to 16 years.
Published in the Stratford Gazette. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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