Icons

 
Confusing tale of aliens and government conspiracies.

What parents need to know

Educational value

This novel is written to entertain, not educate. But each chapter ends with "classified" medical and research documents, which add intrigue.

Positive messages

Messages about the importance of friendship, family, trust, and honesty.

Positive role models

Dol is a strong heroine with a likable personality and narrative voice. She stands up for others and doesn't let anyone bully her.

Violence

There's not much violence, apart from some hand-to hand combat and people apparently being stunned to death by aliens, but there's no gore. One character is injured, a secondary character and minor characters are killed. 

 
Sex

Mild flirting.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Items from the "past" are mentioned, such as Panasonic and things called memory cells (think iPod), but most technology and electronic gadgets are described and are not given brand names.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Icons is the first book in a dystopian series from Margaret Stohl, co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series. It features a strong-willed heroine and a unique world, but the four main characters constantly bicker, which becomes annoying. There's hand-to-hand combat, some  characters are killed, and there's a love triangle with mild flirting.

Parents say

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What's the story?

In a futuristic United States, a teen girl named Dol is living in a peaceful Spanish Mission outside Los Angeles. She seems content to have a home with her makeshift father, the Padre, and her best friend, Ro. But, suddenly, things go awry and Dol and Ro are taken to the Embassy, off the coast of what was once L.A., which is controlled by aliens who took over the planet and the government years before. Ro makes friends with the ambassador's son, Lucas, and feisty Tim, who both want to start a revolt. Dol just wants to have peace in life and get the heck out out of there, but she's also falling for Lucas. Throughout the novel, the four cohorts discover they are all Icon children (aliens) who can control just about anything with their emotions -- which can lead them into further trouble or save them.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Icons is very confusing. It doesn't really know what it wants to be -- dystopian or post-apocalyptic. Author Margaret Stohl should have picked one sci-fi genre and gone with it. Instead, we get a mashup of The War of the Worlds meets just about every dystopian novel in today's teen market. It starts out strong with an interesting world and a compelling heroine who's grown up isolated from the outside world in a Spanish Mission and doesn't know her true identity, but has always wondered why she and her friend Ro are different. Yet, once she's taken to the mysterious Embassy, she suddenly knows all about technology and is using all the tech lingo.

At first readers might be geared up for an exciting dystopian novel, but they end up with a confusing tale about aliens and government conspiracies. The characters are constantly at odds with each other, fighting and arguing, and seem always annoyed, especially Tima, who is hysterical and smug the entire book. Readers may quickly become annoyed themselves.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stories about aliens are so popular. What other ones have you read or seen in the movies?

  • How do you feel Margaret Stohl did without her usual writing partner, Kami Garcia? How is Icons different from the Beautiful Creatures books?

  • What do you think about having "classified" medical and research documents at the end of each chapter? Do they give you better insight into the story?

Book details

Author:Margaret Stohl
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:May 7, 2013
Number of pages:428
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Icons was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byDomi_mk August 22, 2013
age 10+
 

Great book

I really liked how Julie A. Carlson (the writer) twists your mind and brings you in another world where aliens control the government and the whole world actually. In this book there are many experiences - even love, a little drama a little violence a little of everything. I recommend this for all readers.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

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