Fourth World

by Kate Thompson

“Living with Danny was like living with a little brother. Except that he wasn’t... read more

“Living with Danny was like living with a little brother. Except that he wasn’t little. He was big. Fifteen. Two years older than me.” Christie sometimes gets exasperated with his stepbrother Danny, but never angry. Christie senses how to help Danny when he has violent outbursts, or can’t seem to shake a fixation. But when Danny stubbornly decides to set out from their home in Ireland to visit his estranged mother in Scotland, Christie is unable to change his mind. The only option is to go along. A severe oil shortage has put an abrupt end to private vehicle travel in Europe, and the two undergo their journey by bus and on foot, across countries sinking into economic and political chaos. Reality shifts when they are joined by a talking dog and bird. A homeless girl hooks up with the odd group, and together they make their way to Danny’s mother’s home, a secret scientific laboratory where she works on mysterious projects. The explanation she offers about Danny’s differences stuns Christie, forcing him to reassess everything he believes about his stepbrother. Cloaked in adventure and intrigue, this science-fiction novel grapples with the provocative issue of genetic engineering set in a gripping contemporary timeframe. (Ages 12–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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