Jonathan Friesen, Penguin/Speak, $9.99 paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-14-241258-9
Friesen's (Jerk, California) sophomore effort mars the excitement of rappelling into wildfires with flat characters that seem more motivated by the needs of the plot than real development. Jake King feels compelled to risk his life, as the thrill of danger is one of the only things that brings him out of his mental cloud. Another such thing: the awkwardly named Salome Lee, his gorgeous neighbor who rejects all other boys as she holds out for Jake. When Jake gets kicked out of school for injuring someone during a stunt, his father pulls strings and gets him assigned to a group of elite firefighters who fight wildfires that are too tough for regular forces. He falls in with an elite subgroup known as the Immortals, and quickly realizes that there are more dangers in the wilderness than just the fires. Friesen never sells the romance between Salome and Jake, two 18-year-olds with almost no social skills, and too many of the other characters—notably Jake's father, his older brother, and an arrogant firefighter, Moxie—are paper-thin archetypes. Ages 12–up. (June)
Reviewed on: 08/23/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-43475-8
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-43541-0
Prebound-Glued - 295 pages - 978-0-606-15008-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-3092-3
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