Like I said, I've been looking forward to this book for a while. (Though that post only touches on the tail end of the wait; I first heard Shannon talk about it in 2009!) I'm happy to say that it did not disappoint.
It is a contemporary, YA, sci-fi, superhero book. And, even though I knew that, I didn't internalize the fact that it's setting is the present day until I started reading it and realized it isn't dystopian. All the other YA sci-fi I've read lately (including The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Steelheart) is dystopian! Dangerous not Dystopian!? Whut??
Dangerous is the story of Maisie Brown, told in three parts. Each part of the book is almost like a book unto itself because each has a very distinct feel from the next.* Part One brings a rich background into the narrative and imparts the sense of normal life -- Maisie is an only child, home schooled, and has a deformed arm. She has a best friend, Luther, and he is going to miss her horribly while she is off at astronaut summer camp (and off meeting one cute guy in particular). Here in the first section, the superpower stuff starts being revealed and explored and then everything goes horribly wrong. In Part Two, Maisie lives a crazy nightmare sort of life, hunted, hunting, fighting for survival. And Part Three? Well, that's the part where we have to save the world, of course! It was SO nice not to have to wait for these three parts to come out separately (contented sigh).
This book has it all -- memorable characters, humor, suspense, science, superpowers, fast paced action (lighter on violence than the dystopian novels above), and well-developed romance.
Let's talk about that well-done romance for a sec: The last book I read where the romance was both as chaste and as thoroughly explored as it is in Dangerous was . . . Jane Eyre! The romance follows a refreshing arc, rather than busting in early on and flat-lining through the book. And, SuperBonus, we get the answer to that question we sometimes ask when a book is narrated in the first person by a narrator who isn't completely narcissistic/believes herself to be largely unremarkable: "Why would he even go for her?"
Ah, such a good book! I think I was literally biting my nails at one point. And I kept reading just-one-more-chapter as the book progressed.
Just talking about it makes me want to read it again. :)
* As many of you know, Shannon Hale is my favorite living author, and you won't be surprised when I say I follow her on twitter. Now, this is a rumor because I'm totally too lazy to see if I can track it down, but I remember her saying something on twitter like, "Oops, my book just turned into a trilogy," and then later, "ok we're back to one book." Well, if I'm remembering right and if this is the book she was referring to, it makes sense to me.
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