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Code orange

by Caroline Cooney


Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 7 Up–Most readers will have high expectations from the creator of The Face on the Milk Carton (1991) and the â??Out of Timeâ?? series (both Random), but they might be a little disappointed in this offering. Mitty Blake is a talented but underachieving student in advanced biology at a New York City private high school. He is more interested in his friend Olivia than in completing his infectious-disease report, which could keep him from flunking. When he discovers a smallpox scab in an envelope in an old medical book, his research takes a somewhat urgent turn as he tries to determine whether he has contracted the disease. Searching for information on the Internet (thankfully, the high-achieving Olivia knows how to use a library), he inadvertently alerts a terrorist group to his situation. They kidnap Mitty with the intention of using him as a human biological weapon against the people of New York. This should be a highly suspenseful story, but the pacing is often slow and the characters underdeveloped. Even in this day and age, the terrorist angle seems far-fetched, and this underachiever's heroic efforts at the end seem out of character for him. Cooney's fans will undoubtedly read this book, but it doesn't meet the standards set in some of her young adult classics.–Courtney Lewis, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, Kingston, PA

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