Review Blog

Nov 16 2010

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

cover image

Penguin Books, 2010. ISBN 9780143205135.
(Ages 13 +) I am Number Four is an entertaining book about an alien teenager from the planet Lorien, unoriginally given the ordinary name of John Smith. He has been living on earth since fleeing his home planet when he was four years old with nine other children. Three of the other children have already been hunted down and murdered by the Mogadorians, aliens from the planet that invaded and conquered Lorian. John and his guardian (or Cepan) Henri have continued to flee the detection and suspicion of people on earth and the Mogadorians by continuously moving from town to town, changing identities each time. However, when John and Henry arrive in the small town of Paradise, Ohio, John meets a girl and becomes more determined to stay, even if this means a head on encounter with Mogadorians who he knows want to kill him next. John's arrival in the new town also coincides with the arrival of his Legacies, these are special powers inherited from his Lorien parents. In this respect, I am Number Four is a 'coming of age' story where the central teenage character develops into adulthood taking control of his destiny with his new powers and freedoms and as a result the themes of this book parallel the lives of many teenage readers. There are also comparisons that could be made to the classic Romeo and Juliet love tragedy, although they are not strong. Whilst there is some minor depictions of violence and occasional course words this is fairly low level. A renewed interest in this book is likely to be generated with this quick release of the film version in early 2011 (refer to the film's official website at http://findnumberfour.com/). I suspect that this was the book's original intent given the speed in which the film version has been released.
Adam Fitzgerald

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