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Entangled

(i)

 

Entertaining space-travel adventure fine for young teens.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn a few basics about quantum theory and quantum entanglement. Each chapter begins with a plain-English definition of a physics term like "elementary particle" or "pure state," which may spark interest in physics and quantum theory. Why we like music and why it takes the form it does is briefly explored in conversation.

Positive messages

Friends are worth staying around for. Everyone has a purpose. You can't stop doing something important just because there are risks involved.

Positive role models

Heroine Cade, about 17 years old, is quick to anger and sometimes has selfish and ungrateful thoughts, but she's loyal and determined. She learns the happiness you feel when you know you can help someone, and she learns about wanting to be patient with a friend when that's what she or he needs. She's willing to sacrifice everything to save Xan, the boy with whom she's been entangled at a quantum level. The ragtag band of fellow space travelers also model loyalty, trustworthiness, and willingness to help and sacrifice for others.

Violence

In several incidents a character threatens another with a knife, as a warning or in self-defense. Cade has to pull her own tooth out, and blood in her mouth is mentioned. Cade learns telepathically that Xan is being tortured, and cuts, shocks, and pain are felt by Cade but not described. The characters move in and out of peril several times, and the climactic chase near the end involves some hand-to-hand fighting with beings in costumes; no blood is mentioned, but kicks and punches are described. Once when Cade needs to reach Xan telepathically, she wonders if blood or skin would be more effective mental images for doing so. Lee surgically removes a tracing device from Cade's skin, but no blood or gore are mentioned.

Sex

Two kisses happen, one between best-friend Lee and a stranger, the other between Cade and her love interest, Rennik. Neither are described in detail, although Cade's kiss provokes strong emotions, which are described. Masturbation is alluded to as "touching underneath her skirt" and as something Cade's not really interested in pursuing. Cade caressing her own nipple is briefly and vaguely described once. Cade and Lee (both girls) briefly discuss whether they're attracted to boys, girls, or to both. A man buys Cade a drink and she knows he's hoping for a "full-body thank you." Nightclub opening acts are described once as a "screechgasm."

Language

"Hell" is used a couple of times. "Bastard" and "piss" are used once each. From context but not by explicit definition, readers learn that "snugging" is the future term for sex: In a nightclub environment Cade sees dancers "half snugging" and mentions that performers "snug" their fans. 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cade performs in a nightclub on an alien planet, but at about 16 or 17 she isn't old enough to drink there. Cade remembers once having an illicit drink under circumstances she didn't enjoy. The nightclub owner is described drinking once. Cade uses moonshine once as an anesthetic so she can pull a tooth out.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Entangled is a space-travel adventure that may get kids curious about quantum theory. Heroine Cade starts out as a nightclub performer and sees drinking and sexual behavior in a negative light. Action sequences involve brief descriptions of hand-to-hand fighting and no blood. Very rare use of strong language ("hell," "bastard," "piss"). There are two kisses, but neither is described in detail. Other aspects of sexuality are briefly mentioned or discussed, but saving the day takes top priority here.

Kids say

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What's the story?

At 16 or 17 years old, Cade lives alone on an alien planet sometime in the 3120s. Earth was destroyed long ago, and the human race is scattered around the universe. Cade receives a holographic message explaining that instead of being an orphan as she always thought, she was created in a lab as part of an experiment to save the human race. There, she was entangled at the quantum level with another baby, a boy named Xan. Xan has been in a coma for 15 years, but now that he's awake Cade immediately senses their bond. To save Xan from the Unmakers, who want to destroy all the survivors of the quantum experiment, Cade has to enlist the help of a motley spaceship crew who become her loyal allies. The future of humanity depends on what will happen when, and if, Cade and Xan can be reunited.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

With ENTANGLEDauthor Amy Rose Capetta creates realistic characters in a believable, far-future world without bogging the story down in the quantum-theory backdrop. Capetta's able narrative skills keep the world feeling alien but not alienating. Readers new to the genre will have no difficulty understanding the wheres and whys of the universe heroine Cade inhabits, and sci-fi fans will feel at home with many classic elements. The solid debut is paced well with a few action or peril sequences punctuating the space-travel adventure.

Readers are kept firmly in their seats by a mission that's not about saving an endangered human race as much as it's about hoping to unite humanity someday in the future. Heroine Cade's slow journey away from self-absorption make her hard to really root for, but the well-developed secondary characters are entertaining. The ending satisfies while leaving room for the planned sequel, Unmade.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about science fiction. Why is it so popular now? What can sci-fi stories tell us about who we are and where we're headed?

  • Do you think the future envisioned in Entangled is realistic? Will humans end up scattered throughout the universe with no Earth to return to? 

  • Why do you think the author included definitons at the beginning of each chapter? Did they help you understand the story, or were they confusing?

Book details

Author:Amy Rose Capetta
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:October 1, 2013
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, Kindle

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Adult Written byeden1 October 7, 2014

Highly Recommended!

This is exactly what I've been wanting from YA Science Fiction. With a deliciously unique flavor and a fantastically written narrative, ENTANGLED is setting the bar high for teen sci-fi. What I loved: Cade. She is such a fascinating protagonist. From her troubled upbringing to living off her music, her rocker style to her no-nonsense attitude, Cade is one hell of a girl. She also has flaws, makes mistakes, and can't make up her mind. Despite Cade being a super-special human with super-special abilities she isn't annoying, whiny, or entitled. Her quirky voice, interesting slang, and authentic outlook on life kept me turning the pages. I also loved: The romance. Or should I say, lack thereof? Don't get me wrong, there is romance in this story. It is tertiary to the two more important plot points - Cade finding and rescuing Xan, and Cade's own journey of self-discovery. The romance is extra. It's delightful, and a little weird, and completely tantalizing, but it's not that big of a deal. And I really respect that in a YA novel. And even more love for: The sci-fi elements! Quantum mechanics can often seem wonky or cliched in fiction, but it was not that way here. Big, fancy, sciency words weren't just thrown around to sound cool - the author knows what she's doing. Spaceships and aliens, quantum entanglement and telepathy, holograms and spacesickness. The science in this fiction is delightful. I wanted more: Everything! Which I shall receive in the upcoming sequel. Recommended: Highly! To all fans of science fiction and fantasy, aliens and spaceships, music and friendship.
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