Last night I had an experience I haven't had in a long time, and it felt good, though I was hurting this morning (literally, my back, but also because I'm sleepy).
I couldn't put a book down.
Granted, I came home last night from going out of town so tired it was hard to string a sentence together, and a little grumpy because I couldn't watch the NASCAR race (we don't get the Speed channel), so I decided I was going to curl up in a chair and read. However, the reasonable time for me to go to bed came and went, my husband went to bed, and then one of my kids (no telling how late the other one stayed up--my son is a night owl). I had to finish the book.
Though, I have to say, I was a bit frustrated at the end because I was left with many more questions than answers.
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is the first in a YA series by James Patterson.
Six "mutant" children (they have wings and can fly, among other things) spent most of their life in cages undergoing painful "experiments" until a kindly "doctor" rescued them. After four years of freedom, six-year-old Angel, the youngest, is kidnapped and taken back to the "school." The other five, of course, must rescue her, and along the way must discover their own destinies.
Okay, on paper this plot sounds cheesy, but the writing is so skillful that it's anything but. There are many twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader guessing, and the author has the storytelling ability to keep adults entertained while allowing his younger readers to keep up. The loose ends at the close of the book were frustrating, but since Book 5 in the series came out recently I can only assume the questions are answered eventually. And, of course, the author wants you to keep reading the series!
The main character and leader of the group is Maximum Ride ("Max"), a 14-year-old girl, and most of the book is written in the first person from her POV. If I had had any skepticism about a man writing a teenage girl, it would have been gone a few pages in. Patterson manages to capture typical longings and emotions of a teenage girl, including motherly instincts, and combine them with the toughness, anger, and sometimes hatred of a girl who began her life constantly abused and was later trained in combat. Max is a very complex character, full of passionate love for her family and hatred for her abusers, and very often repressing strong emotions to convey the image she needs for leadership of the family.
I highly recommend this book for teenagers as well as adults, and I plan on reading the next one as soon as possible!