Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pod by Stephen Wallenfels

Pod Pod by Stephen Wallenfels (Namelos) starts in Prosser, Washington, with the wake-up call of an incredible noise: strange alien spacepods hovering over everything, zapping anyone who dares go outside.

The book alternates between Josh, a boy who's stuck in his house with his dad, and Megs, a girl who's stranded in the parking garage of a hotel. Josh and his dad spend a lot of time cooped up contemplating survival, mortality, and the end of their days, while Megs spends most of her time trying to avoid being noticed by the authoritarian society that's sprung up inside of the hotel--and that would like to see her dead. I was favorably reminded of Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer for Josh's half of the tale, while Megs had more of an adventure/survival story that reminded me favorably of Home Alone, of all comparisons (certainly less humorous, but Megs shows no less ingenuity).

Pod is a gripping read that is open for a sequel--but I felt that that the story wrapped up nicely, even with open threads.

I read this book as a first-round judge for the Cybils Awards, which means that I may have received a review copy from the publisher (or not; I own a lot of the books in this category). I read some books nominated for the YA fantasy and science fiction category in 2010 before the nomination period, and may have already reviewed them or declined to make a public review; these books might not have a Cybils post tag. As a first-round judge, I was tasked with helping create a shortlist of books. My personal reviews do not reflect any actions or discussions of the judging committee.

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