A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
What's the story?
As SCORPION SHARDS opens, Dillon, a boy who can cause chaos with a few words, and Deanna, a young woman terrified of nearly everything, realize that their chances of survival are greater if they team up. Four other psychically gifted teens are soon on their trail, trying to withstand the debilitating physical effects of their own superpowers. If they don't stop Dillon and Deanna in time, the entire world's population could be doomed.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Scorpion Shards uses elements ot superhero comics to tell its story. How is this effective?
Is there such a thing as "evil'? Can people be taken over by it and forced to commit bad deeds?
How is violence used in Scorpion Shards? Does it produce the results that characters want from it?
Themes & Topics
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