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I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

picture of book cover

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, Book 1) , the book, reads like a pitch meeting for a I Am Number Four, the Hollywood movie: I can imagine the authors saying "So it's the misunderstood aliens from District 9 meets environmental destruction from Wall-E, with a big fight scene, some Ray Bradbury, and a teenage romance. I’m thinking the girl from Glee and lots of sequels!”

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, Book 1) is entertaining enough, even if the dialogue is stilted and the book is about 50 pages too long. Four is an alien teenager who looks exactly like a human teenager, except he has superpowers and a certain gentlemanly chivalry towards female teenagers that feels, well, alien. Four, aka John Smith, moves from place to place with his guardian Henri, as they are hunted by evil alien soldiers from his home planet that wish to kill them and Four’s fellow eight escapees from Lorien. A spell allows the teenagers to only be killed in order, and so far they have gotten One, Two and Three. You do the math.

While the plot sounds ridiculous, it’s actually fun for a while when it feels like it might be going somewhere. Alas, I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, Book 1) is a lot of style and not a lot of substance. No surprise that the author, Pittacus Lore, is actually James Frey and Jobie Hughes. While I don't blame Frey for disguising himself as a secret alien author in an attempt for people to give his book a chance, I wish that there was something in I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, Book 1) that showed there was feeling or heart for the characters. Instead it just feels crass, like the authors came up with a series of books meant to capitalize on the success of books like Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) or The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, Book 1) without actually having a story they had to tell.

However, parents should rest assured if their teenager devours this series: no sex, nothing too gory in terms of violence and an overall positive message about valuing the earth’s resources and doing the right thing. Everyone else can skip this and go back to reading The Hunger Games.