Worst book of 2011: #1 I Am Number Four

#1: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

This came from my Amazon recommendations, since I like YA, and that makes me wary of following Amazon’s idea of what I might like ever again. It makes sense, though, because the book felt like it could have been written by a computer. “Pittacus Lore” is not a real person, but a pen name for a committee. This book was written by James Frye’s content farm, which exploits recent MFA grads to ghost-write and committee-write formulaic YA novels, as if teens can’t tell the difference between good and bad writing. The sentence-level writing was so bland and boring I had trouble making myself pick it up. The main character was the opposite of unique–and if you can homogenize an alien with superpowers, there is something wrong. The love story had no spark. The sci-fi explanations of the alien tech got bogged down, and the new developments in the main character’s superpowers were overly convenient to the plot, to the point of idiocy. The climax reminded me of something I once saw in a movie that was being parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I read it to see if I could respect the work Frye and his minions are doing, regardless of the exploitative labor arrangements, and concluded that I cannot.

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3 thoughts on “Worst book of 2011: #1 I Am Number Four

  1. There was a brilliant article online about this novel and the “novel farm” that produced it. I shall have to try and find it. I’ve yet to read the book, though. Something tells me I won’t ever!

  2. Pingback: YA Is For Everyone | MeReader

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