Z. Rex, by Steve Cole (ages 10 and up)
I’m a total wimp when it comes to any kind of violence or suspense, and I only read this book because I was invited to dinner with the author and it seemed impolite not to have read his book. That being said, I couldn’t put this book down! It’s the story of a 14 year-old boy, his missing scientist father, and a virtual reality game gone horribly awry. The action starts in New Mexico and ends in Scotland, and while there IS violence and blood and lots of suspense, the story just carries you along and you want to know what happens next. Adam Adlar is a believable hero — he doesn’t always do the right thing, but his heart’s in the right place, and he learns and grows from his experiences, both good and bad.
I was lucky enough to watch Steve Cole, the author, as he met with students at Francis Hammond Middle School in Alexandria. Steve was very animated and dramatic, and the students had a blast as they asked him questions about his writing and participated in an exercise designed to demonstrate ways to improve descriptive writing.
Our Penguin U.S.A. sales rep, Doni Kay, invited Ellen & I and other local booksellers to dinner with Steve, who held his own brilliantly in the company of so many women! It was great to get to know him a little better, and also to exchange shoptalk with other booksellers. The photo at right is the whole group at Founding Farmers, a wonderful restaurant in Foggy Bottom.
Z. Rex, by Steve Cole, Philomel, $16.99