Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

This book was recommended by one of my students, and I gave it a rating of 4 out of 5. I thought the conflict and plot were imaginative, although I felt the author neglected to put much effort into making it believable for the reader. Blake's brother is found in a coma, and Blake quickly figures out that his brother must be at a secret carnival location. The author didn't really try very hard to establish this novel as a fantasy before having the main character decide his brother's soul must be in a different place than his body. The conflict is that Blake must survive seven carnival rides before midnight in order to save his brother from a mysterious woman.

Adolescent readers will probably enjoy this book, and I thought it had some nice messages to share. I found myself curious to see how seemingly innocent carnival rides could turn into death traps. Blake displays love for his brother and perseveres through all obstacles to save him. However, he realizes that his brother must take control of his own future in order to be truly saved. Hope is a key thought that helps Blake battle the lethal rides and his own inner demons. This hope spreads to other characters as the story reaches its final climax.

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