Reviews for Pale

Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #2
The Lazarus serum allows people with the right blood type to survive death, but in this minimalist dystopia, death may be preferable to the grim future that awaits the resurrected. The serum has side effects. Pales, the resurrected, don't breathe, their hearts stop beating, and they never age; skin, hair and eye pupils turn ghostly white. Jed's community hates the Pales, confining them to the Graveyard, a decayed ghetto. His lawyer dad specializes in denying Pales post-mortem legal rights. Not long after Jed and his brutal friend Kyle beat up a Pale, Jed dies in a car accident, and his distraught girlfriend, Sadie, asks first responders to give him the serum. Now that Jed's a Pale, his father can't bear to see him; his friends, even Sadie, reject him. Good genre fiction offers readers a fresh, unique perspective on their world. This rare science-fiction hi-lo for teens (a category largely confined to urban realism) by a British fantasy author raises tough, intriguing questions about insiders and outcasts, gangs, loyalty and what makes life worth living. However, the exceptionally tight word count limits their exploration. This frustratingly vague world cries out for detail and context. Struggling or reluctant readers may be perplexed, but the gripping, if violent, teen content will keep them engaged. Guaranteed to generate lively discussion. (Science fiction. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 6-8--Pales are the dead brought back to life. They are obvious, as they have white skin, hair, and eyes. Only 1 in 10 people are able to become a Pale, as the Lazurus Serum works only on a certain blood type, can only be used right at the time of death, and only if the injuries aren't too severe. Outcasts, they live in a place called the Graveyard, and while they go to school, they are ignored or bullied by the other children. Jed goes along with his friend Kyle in beating up Pale David, but when Jed is killed in a car crash and revived as a Pale himself, David becomes his friend and Kyle his enemy. Not only is Kyle bullying him, but he's also going out with his girlfriend. Jed has a plan to lure Sadie and turn her into a Pale to get back at both Kyle and Sadie. Will he be able to go through with his plan? The basic premise of the book is good, though not fully realized. Character motivation, as well as the ease in which they obtain the serum, isn't completely believable. The large type is a plus for hi/lo readers, and middle schoolers might be attracted to these horror stories.--Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CA

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VOYA Reviews 2012 December
If the two titles below are any indication, this new series of novellas from Stoke Books is bound to be a staple in many school and public libraries. Billed as "first class short teen fiction, accessible to all," each title is written at a fourth-grade reading level, but aimed soundly at a young adult audience. Few will miss a more complicated vocabulary or extra detail when the stories are this engaging. These are pricey, but well worth it Crow Girl takes a traditional young adult character--the sad, slightly chubby, high school loner--and rescues her. Lily runs from very real bullies only to wind up in the dark woods where she meets, and eventually trains, a murder of crows who will become her living Halloween costume. Through her interaction with the crows, almost accidentally training them, Lily rediscovers her own strengths and quirks. Those discoveries allow her to recreate and reclaim her place in the social life of the school, as herself Pale is pure science fiction, as one would expect from the author of Retribution Falls (Gollancz, 2009). Pales are people brought back to life with Lazarus serum. They do not breath, their hearts do not beat, and they are legally dead. The serum only works on one blood type, so jealousy and fear of Pales is endemic in the society. As this story begins, Jed and his best friend beat a Pale boy almost to a second death, with no repercussions. When Jed is hit by a car later that day and revived, he learns the true meaning of karma in a few short days.--Beth Karpas 4Q 3P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.