Thursday, February 4, 2010

YA Pick

Witch & Wizard
by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Little Brown and Company, 2009.
314 pages.

Teen readers will be drawn to this novel for three reasons: the large "W" ablaze dominating the cover, the words "witch" and "wizard" in the title, and those readers who followed the Maximum Ride series will want to read Patterson's latest YA novel.

Siblings Wisty and Whit Allgood are awakened in the middle of the night by armed thugs who arrest them, transport them to a "trial," and drop them off at a sadistic prison. The old government has been overthown and replaced by a maniac who refers to himself as "The One Who Is The One." The Allgood teens are dangerous to the new order because of their powers. Wisty and Whit discover that they are a witch and a wizard, respectively. As they begin to harness their powers, they befriend a ghost or "curve" who helps them escape the prison through the Shadowlands, a dangerous otherworld where spirits, and sometimes, humans, roam. Later, they join a gang of likeminded kids who hope to overthrow the new regime and fulfill a prophecy that kids will rule and peace will come.

This is a quick read with chapters only 2-4 pages in length. Each chapter ends on a suspenseful note to keep those pages turning. Action and adventure readers will enjoy this novel. Patterson continues to use a formula he has had past success with: working with another author who is comfortable in the children's and YA lit market. Charbonnet, with over 75 titles to her credit, is best known for the Babysitter's Club Baby Sister's books.

The ending of this novel makes possible a slew of sequels. As prolific a writer as Patterson is, he will likely churn out a whole series.

Recommended for YA collections. Grades 6-high school.

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