Welcome to In the Middle Monday where I review middle level books geared towards grades fifth through eighth.
Jason Steed is looking for a place to call home. He finds what he’s looking for in the Sea Cadets, and elite group of British youngsters being groomed for lifelong service in the military. But when a routine training exercise goes wary, Jason finds himself in the middle of a secret mission. The future of the world hands in the balance...and Jason might be the only one who can save it. (Pulisher’s comments from back cover)
I am always looking for books that will appeal to my male students as many of them are reluctant readers and need fast-paced books that have lots of action and a minimum amount of pages. Fledgling:Jason Steed by Mark A. Cooper not only fits this category, but also has an interesting plot and a great protagonist too.
The plot of Fledgling moves at almost warp speed. In the first half of the book Cooper provides a lot of background about Jason’s life, but the background was never boring and I loved getting to know about Jason. While I felt sorry for Jason because his father, a naval officer in Her Majesty’s Navy, remained distant even cold, I admired Jason’s independent nature, which developed very early and as a direct result of being left alone by his father. Jason becomes one of the youngest boys to hold a black belt in Karate, he learns Chinese, saves the Queen’s daughter and finds a best friend when he thwarts some bully’s from dunking the boy in the school’s bathroom.
The second part of the book continues the action. Jason joins the Sea Cadets, reconnects with the Princess and ends up nearly being eaten by sharks when a training exercise goes bad. In addition, he becomes part of a secret mission where his quick thinking, his karate skills, and his ability to speak Chinese are all instrumental to his survival.
While I thoroughly enjoyed Fledgling: Jason Steed, I have to say that it did require me to suspend a fair amount of disbelief. However, Cooper’s narrative was totally engaging and Jason was such an great character, I was more than willing to do just that. I am hopeful that Cooper will bring Jason back for more adventures. Fledgling :Jason Steed is due for release in September.
Source: ARC copy provided by Sourcebooks