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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Scorpion Shards emphasizes the importance of empathy for people who are regarded as outcasts.
Friendship can help people facing adversity. Inner strength is more important than outward appearance.
Positive Role Models
The six main characters in Scorpion Shards undergo terrible trauma, but some of them are able to find the strength to put aside the disruptive aspects of their lives and choose to help others.
Violence & Scariness
Dillon feeds on violence, and his scenes tend to focus on murder and mayhem. Usually, only results -- dead or shellshocked victims -- are portrayed, A major character is shot to death at the climax. The teens fight against the other-dimensional parasites living in their bodies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Every girl Michael meets wants to have sex with him. He indulges in a few make-out sessions but ends them before he becomes too dangerously excited. Discussion of masturbation.
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Minor swearing, with a few instances of "bastard," "hell," and "damn."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Neal Shusterman's Scorpion Shards is a sci-fi/fantasy thriller about six teens with supernatural powers. Violence plays a large part in the plot, but usually only the lead-up and aftermath of the events are described. A major character is shot to death at the climax. One character is sexually irresistible, but his exploits are mostly described in retrospect and without intimate details. Swearing is minimal (a few instances of "bastard," "hell," and "damn"), and there's no substance abuse.
Is It Any Good?
If its premises and plotting seems a little dated after decades of X-Men adventures, this thriller still packs a superheroic punch. With Scorpion Shards, author Neal Shusterman displays his skill at creating teen characters with awesome powers who struggle against awesome challenges. The problems they face -- super-acne, mega-obesity, reverse aging and more -- verge on the unbelievable but are made plausible through convincing character development. The novel's action sequences are exciting and clearly described, and they serve thematic purposes rather than as excuses for a punch-up. By the end of the book, readers will feel sympathy for all the characters and want to see what happens to them in the next installment.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.