POD by Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Released: September 2011
Review Format: Uncorrected Proof copy
Source: Received from the publishers in exchange for an honest review
POD's - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.When I first read the synopsis for POD it had me fascinated. I mean, how could a story be written around a 15 year old boy who never leaves his house and only has his OCD dad for company and a young girl who is stuck in a multi-storey car park? Not the most exciting of places to write about huh? But you know what? This story worked so well that POD had me gripped from the very first chapter.
Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...
When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.
What would you do to survive?
Synopsis from Goodreads.
POD is Stephen Wallenfels debut novel and is a survival thriller with a sci-fi edge. The plot is very original, well written, and realistic. It left me feeling quite unnerved at times and wondering how my family and I would cope if something like this ever happened. What a scary thought!
I quickly got very attached to both characters. Megs is just 12 years old and I really took her into my heart. Left alone in that awful hotel car park when the alien pods arrive, she had amazing survival skills and was very organised and creative in her quest to survive this invasion and the power crazy hotel security guards. Josh on the other hand thought his dad was being crazy with his list writing and food and water organisation. As something new happened in one of Josh’s chapters, my mind was racing wondering how Megs was coping with this new situation and vice versa. The chapters alternating between Josh’s and Megs stories meant I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Although this story finishes well, there are bits that are left open so I'm really hoping there will be a sequel!
POD is a very quick adrenaline-charged YA read and I totally recommend you pick this one up as soon as you can. I loved it and I’m pretty sure you will too!
My rating: 5 stars
I'd like to hand you over to Stephen now you know all about his awesome book as he wants to tell you about his thoughts on censoring teen books.
STEPHEN WALLENFELS ONTEENS, BOOKS, AND SCIENCE FICTION
One of my favorite writing questions that a blogger asked me is how I feel about the controversy in the YA market relating to content and what is or is not deemed appropriate for teens? Or to put it bluntly, where do I stand on censoring books for teens?
This very subject came up recently where I live in eastern Washington. The school board is tasked with approving or rejecting the books teachers submit for use in the high school curriculum. One of these books, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexi, was ruled inappropriate and rejected. This amazing book has what may be the longest list of awards I have ever seen. Something of an outcry ensued, and the school board reviewed their decision. Consequently, the board members decided to actually read the book, and reversed their decision in a 4-1 vote.
I attended this meeting along with another writer friend, and we took advantage of the opportunity to speak publicly about the book, the effect of censorship, and its impact on teens and the books they read. It’s a big topic. I had three minutes so I talked fast.
I believe YA books, the really good ones, respect teens and recognize their potential. In times of stress they can be resourceful, gracious, sensitive and brave. I strived to put this belief in POD and did not shy away from taking the reader to some dark places. My editor had me tone down the language (Josh swore a bit more in the original manuscript) but otherwise what you see now is true to where I wanted the book to go.
The analogy I use is that teens are the “batters on deck”. It’s a baseball term meaning they are the next in line to swing the bat, to make that crucial hit and win the game. Ultimately, they will inherit the messes we “adults” created. To shelter them from the harsher realities of life is underestimating what they are capable of handling, and not preparing them for the difficult role they must play in shaping the not-too-distant future. And if that future happens to include a sky full of alien space PODs, then we’d better hope they read a lot of science fiction!
Templar Publishing have kindly offered a copy of POD for me to give away today (UK ONLY). If you'd like to enter, live in the UK and are over 13, then leave a meaninigful comment below and your email address. I will draw the winner on 15th September 2011 and the book will be sent out direct from the publishers.
Before you go though, I want to tell you about an awesome competition over at the POD WEBSITE to win an iPad. Hop over and enter - it's good fun! But don't forget to leave me a comment first if you want to be in with a chance of winning your own copy of POD.