Ugh, Warriors: The Prophecies Begin

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I am not a fan of this series.

If the young people in your life really like reading stories about cats fighting each other and hunting things in the woods, then I would strongly recommend this series. If you’ve been struggling to get them to read anything and they like this stuff, that’s great. I’m all for giving people things to read, especially when it turns someone who is not a habitual reader into a habitual reader.

But if you’re looking for high quality material, I think there are far better options. This feels like fodder, the kind of popcorn literature that fills your time and leaves you wondering what you just ate. I don’t find it exciting; it broadcasts its upcoming plot twists from a mile away and basically defines “formulaic and tropey.”

Were I younger, and not already familiar with the expectations of the relevant genre of coming of age adventure stories, I suspect that I would enjoy this. I would have loved the fact that there are huge piles of these books being churned out by a collaborative collective known as Erin Hunter. But, while I freely admit that my judgement is tinged by distance and nostalgia, I think the Animorphs series may have been higher quality.

So. I’m not a fan. I’m not really enjoying reading this series for homework: it’s solid but too simplistic for my tastes. Maybe I would enjoy breezing through them if they weren’t a requirement. But though I don’t like them, I can see that this series does meet some niche needs. You might have someone in your life who would fall head-over-heels in love with it. And if you think that’s the case, by all means share the series with them. Otherwise, I’d suggest that you move on.

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The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex

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This book is a quiet piece of genius. It’s hilarious, and far deeper than I had expected it to be. And somehow it delivers on its premise without beating you over the head, even as it makes its commentary abundantly obvious to anyone who’s willing to pay attention. I think I’d be hard pressed to find a middle grade adventure novel that I liked more.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best, because I don’t like committing myself to statements like that, but you’d damn well better do yourself the favor of reading this book.