A hilarious around-the-world adventure with a great environmental message!
Evie and Rick Lane are determined to transform the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a real life pile of floating garbage—into an eighth continent, using a special formula developed by their father. This new continent will be a place where their family can live free from the intervention of Winterpole, a global rule-maker run by bumbling bureaucrats. But eleven-year-old pink-and-plastic-obsessed Vesuvia Piffle, the secret mastermind behind the villainous Condo Corp, also has her sights set on this new land, and she wants to use it to build a kind of Miami-on-steroids. Now, it’s a race against time and across the world as the kids gather the items they need to create their continent. Because whoever controls the eighth continent controls our future. And the future can’t be both �green” and pink.
Matt London was born near San Francisco but grew up in Massachusetts, Texas, and Florida. He now lives in New York City with his wife Jordan Hamessley.
A 2009 graduate of the Clarion Workshop, Matt is the author of The 8th Continent, forthcoming from Razorbill, a division of Penguin Books. His other work has been featured in The Living Dead 2, Realms of Fantasy, Lightspeed, Fantasy Magazine, and on Tor.com. Matt recently completed his studies in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, where he taught computers to tell stories.
While I was reading an advance copy of The 8th Continent last weekend, it kept reminding me of favorite stories from my childhood. I used to love adventure books starring smart kids like the Danny Dunn series by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams; the Alvin Fernald books by Clifford B. Hicks; the Three Investigators by Robert Arthur, Jr.; Matthew Looney by Jerome Beatty, Jr.; and of course, the Tom Swift books by Victor Appleton. It also captured the same humor, epicness, and thrills of one of the best cartoons of all time, DuckTales, and the fun and gee-whiz factor of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Spy Kids.
I know I’ve just horribly dated myself, but what I’m getting at is I loved The 8th Continent, but 10-year-old me would have been obsessed with it. Oh, for a time machine…
The 8th Continent has broad appeal in the age of its readers and their interests, but if your kids love science, technology, and biology, you have to give them this book. There are lots of teachable moments throughout, from little quizzes forced upon the main characters — 10-year-old Evie and her 11-year-old brother, Rick — to discussions you can have with young readers about ecology, zoology, and even morality and family dynamics.
There’s also plenty of action and excitement with some tense chapters that will keep you turning the pages, and Matt sure knows how to turn a phrase. His liberal use of goofy similes always made me smile, and I often laughed out loud. One of my favorite sentences: “And then he saw it, a vacant white socket behind the wires, looking at him like a surprised ghost.” So adults will enjoy reading this adventure with their kids, too, and it could also be an introduction to other stories they’ll like: Matt has filled the book with sly nods to books like The Wind in the Willows and Charlotte’s Web, and when kids pick up on them, they’ll probably be grinning as much as I was.
The Lane family is at it again! Evie and Rick along with their scientist father trespass on to Winterpole protected land to save an endangered bird. Unfortunately, this is illegal. They are caught and Dad is put under house arrest. Evie is worried about how this will look at school and Rick is worried about what Mom will do when she finds out. In a basement laboratory, the kids stumble on plans for a formula called the Eden compound which turns garbage into living matter. The kids set out to find this formula in order to turn the Garbage Patch into an 8th continent where Winterpole cannot rule and animals can have sanctuary. But first they must break into Winterpole, get past their nemesis Vesuvia Piffle (who also wants the formula for her own evil plans), find the doctor who has the other half of the formula, and not get caught by mom. It's a race to see whether the Eden formula will be used for good or for evil.
As I was reading this book, I felt like I was watching a Nickelodeon cartoon show with its fast pace ridiculousness. It took a while for me to get into the story because of the many strange "sciency" descriptions and the many catch phrases that I had to read twice because I didn't quite get them the first time. Such as: "Rick screamed like his server was down for maintenance." Huh? "Rick flapped his arms like a grumpy eagle." "Walking felt like he had stepped in a steak-sized wad of masticated chewing gum."
And although the story had a good premise of turning garbage into paradise it seemed ridiculous that these kids could do anything in the world to keep the plot moving along even though they were little kids. The main characters were not terribly interesting. Evie is considered stupid, impetuous, and more worried about how she will fit in at school than anything. Rick is super smart, is not proud of his dad who gets in trouble with Winterpole a lot, and doesn't want to go along with saving the earth. Dad can't seem to do anything right except invent new things. He leaves the kids to solve the world's problems. And mom is constantly saying UN-AC-CEPTABLE to everything.
But my biggest concern is Vesuvia Piffle who won't own anything unless it is made out of pink plastic. She is the daughter of the CEO of a major corporation and she is a bully. She is unbelievably violent for a kids novel. She once set a girl on fire for wearing the same dress and her father pays her $50,000 a month not to drown any more puppies. She attempts to murder Rick and Evie at least twice and she screams like a raving lunatic.
I found the characters and the plot to be shallow and the descriptions to be overworked, making it difficult to get through the story in one sitting. Children who grew up on a steady diet of Nikelodeon will enjoy this highly commercial story, but for those looking for a serious read, I would give it a pass.
This is proof that the latest fad in kids' lit has likely run its course, at least in terms of decent stuff being written. This is a variation of the treasure hunt theme, at least in this book, which is the start of a series. The basic idea is a good one. A scientist and his two kids are captured trying to free a bird from one of the piles of garbage that have gotten everywhere in the future. So I suppose in that sense, it is a dystrophia, meant for the younger crowd. There is one corporation that somehow has assumed governmental powers and enforces the rules to a ridiculous degree with absurd penalties for the smallest infraction. So the scientist, who has gotten into trouble before, is put under home arrest. The two kids, particularly, the girl, who idolizes their dad, are determined to free him. A long time ago, while working with another scientist, they came up with a formula to convert trash to organic soil, plants, trees, etc. But the two had feared the huge corporation turning this into a weapon and agreed to split up and never combine their halves of the formula they have discovered. The two kids go on a not particularly difficult hunt and promptly find their dad's old partner who no one else has been able to find. He utterly refuses to contribute his half of the formula so they could create a continent that wouldn't be ruled by the corporation. Two seconds later, he says ok. They eventually make the formula and make a continent where they happily live ever after, for a few days. They look up and see pink animals approaching: the next book is now set up. The animals are clearly owned by their arch nemesis, a schoolmate of the girl, who has a thing for pink. On to the next book!
The problems with this book are just numerous. I don't like either of the main characters. The girl, whose name I can't recall, is a junior version of her dad, always does things without thinking them through, and thinks that because her intentions are pure, the methods, however crooked, must also be pure. The boy, Rickie, is of course, just the opposite. He is too cautious, thinks things through to an excruciating degree, is a goodie goodie and plans on being perfect so he can take over the family business. He is devastated when he gets into trouble with above corporation. Both characters are caricatures. The baddie is even worse. She is the secret CEO of her Dad's corporation. The thing that qualifies her for CEO status is absolute disregard of anything but her own wishes. If she wants it, she'll get it. She is the classic mean girl, humiliating others constantly because she can. Her name is Vesuvia. Her henchman is treated terribly by Vesuvia and turns on her because Vesuvia doesn't say "please" to her and betrays her to the governmental corporation. She wants to make her own continent for much the same reasons as the good guys but have everything be pink and plastic. I'm not too sure how that is supposed to be accomplished with a chemical formula that turns trash to organic matter but never mind, that is her aim. All the characters are two dimensional, although the computer bird that is supposed to give them school quizzes is rather cute. So is the other scientist's cat, Niels Bohr. I refuse to call this science fiction since there is absolutely no attempt to show scientific principles for anything. The author is clearly hoping to spark kids' interest with methods such as naming the cat after a famous scientist. The plot is ridiculous. The kids are Hardy Boys caricatures, where they can do anything, apparently because they decide to. Actually, mentioning the Hardy boys isn't fair because the science in those books was decently thought out and explained. I will check to see how popular this series has the potential to be and buy accordingly but this is really awful writing even for a series with no greater intent than the old Stratemeyer Syndicate. But at least those books respected the characters and plots enough to represent them properly. Nancy Drew's Dad is a lawyer which gives her the background for many of her exploits. The same thing is true for the Hardy Boys. There is no such respect shown here. Dad is a joke. How someone so scattered brained and inability to focus is supposed to have turned out half of a formula no one else can reproduce is never explained. Mr. Drew is clearly represented as a man who thoroughly knows his business.
This author has good intentions but utterly fails to carry out his aims to interest the readers in science.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The earth in the future is being taken over by garbage and bureaucracy. Rick and Evie and their dad get in trouble with Winterpole after saving a bird whose habitat has become a landfill. Because of previous infractions dad is placed under house arrest, but not before he tells the kids about a secret formula he created years ago that would turn garbage into organic material. Winterpole found out about it and wanted to use it to make weapons (not sure how that would work) so dad and his partner split the formula and the partner disappeared. The kids are determined to find the partner and create an 8th continent out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Then they would be out from under Winterpole's control. They are pursued by by Evie's nemesis Vesuvia who is the secret CEO of her dad's corporation and determined to turn everything in the world into pink plastic.
I'm not sure how believable this book is supposed to be, but I hope not very is the answer. Everything about it seems so far-fetched and unbelievable that it was difficult to get through at times. I liked the premise however and the writing was fun and entertaining. The characters were a bit one-dimensional especially Vesuvia and the Winterpole people. This book is the first in a planned series and the ending sets up the next book nicely. Even though much of the book makes no sense whatsoever I can see kids picking it up and enjoying the ride.
Such a fun premise, trying to make some good come out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This book is fast-paced, full of thrills and humor and some seriously adventuresome kids. I loved the way they got around, on their flying tree. It will be exciting to see what's ahead for this project!
This is a very fun read that does a great job of combining real-world environmental issues with zany, madcap adventures, complete with bird-shaped robots and other imaginative futuristic technology. I can see middle-graders just eating it up!
219 pgs. This book/series seems more suited for middle school readers. I read 4 chapters/39 pages and decided that it was beyond what elementary kids would get into. The main character in the story is an eighth grader and their school situations are more mature. It has some far-out adventures and is sort of interesting but I really did not get into it too much. I didn’t like it when the dad told the kids not to tell their mom they were skipping school. That is not cool. At any rate, it might be fun for middle school readers instead. Not recommended for ES.
I won an advanced copy of this book from Goodread First Reads. First off, I love reading books by new author that I haven’t heard of. It is a great way to find my next favorite author. So thanks Good reads for introducing to Matt London. I had so much fun reading this book. When I babysat my nephews and niece I read aloud to the younger ones and the oldest one would try to read over my shoulder. I don’t have anything negative to say about it so I will list my favorite. I thought the book was great to teach kids about the dangers of garbage. The importance of recycling and the impact careless litter has on the environment. The characters were so fun and relatable. Evie was an adventurous girl who reminds me of my niece. Fear is not always in her vocabulary. Rick was the logical brother that will be there to help his family but still worries about breaking the rules. And I loved the kids tutor, child wrangling robot bird, 2-Dor. So fun and creative. I enjoy reading books before I give them to my oldest nephew and will do it with the younger nephews and niece when they start chapter books. It gives me a chance to discuss with them the book and what they loved about it. If we were a part of the story, who we would want to be, and what adventures we would have. I know my nephew likes to come to my house and ask if I have any new books that he can read, “you know auntie something I will want to read.” This also gives me a chance to advice his mom of some books that should wait a little longer because of the material. I remember him wanting to read “The Hunger Games,” when he was 8 and I read it first then told him to wait a little longer, then when he did read it at 9; I was there to talk to him about some of the scenes. With this book there is nothing disturbing to worry about. We loved the “Roost” the giant flying tree and they laughed thinking of what people would say about a tree flying over their heads. I will definitely read the next books in the series when they come out, reading to the younger kids and passing it on to them, and to the oldest to read solo. Thanks for the adventure.
The 8th Continent is a fast-paced adventure book for kids. The brother and sister duo, Rick and Evie Lane, are determined to make their world a better place by transforming the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into a lush Eden. Their vision is to create a safe-haven in a trash-filled industrial world and save their father from the bureaucratic nightmare that is Winterpole. The author slips in bits of science trivia along the way, making this book a fun way for kids to learn while being swept away on a quest for a cleaner, healthier world.
Although not the target audience, I found myself unable to put the book down, promising myself that I would read just one more chapter (the chapters are fairly short), and then fifty pages later finally bookmarking my spot. The book is a great introduction to Rick and Evie's world, complete with villains you love to hate (everyone remembers that perfect, blonde, pink-obsessed mean-girl from school) and characters you can't help but root for. I'm already looking forward to the next installment!
Brother and sister team Evie and Rick Lane find themselves in a death defying quest to claim the Eighth Continent. This is a continent in the Pacific Ocean created from garbage which settled in a huge area due to the direction of the tides and currents in this location of the Pacific Ocean. (There is a real garbage dump in the Pacific Ocean, as described in the title "Plastics Ahoy") This island would provide the Lanes with a home protected from the imperious rules of Winterpole, unreasonable regulations, and the spreading pollution occurring in the other seven continents. The children's goal is to clean up the pollution on the eighth continent so that nature can flourish again. Since their father is locked up in the Prison at the Pole, and their mother would never understand this dangerous mission, they perform their escape and mission secretly. This story is nonstop action, with lots of evil robots and enemies on their trail. Readers will love this over the top, suspense filled, and action packed ride, and cheer for the Lane sibling's mission to preserve the environment.
I was really excited when I read the premise for this book. Island building on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Yes, please! However, the setting is some vague time in the very high-tech, sci fi future, even though the Garbage Patch is a real issue today, which I think slightly undermines the significance of the issue. The main characters are also stereotypes, though I do like that combination of sibling squables and working together. I am tired of the brainy characters being non-athletic, anti-social, gamers. They don't have to be good at everything, but it would be nice if thier personalities had more than one facet. Also, so far the villains are very one-dimensional and stereotypical, which is disappointing. I don't have much inclination to keep reading...
The plot is like a video game--lots of action and adventure that requires suspension of disbelief about the world Evie and Rick live in. The writing was clunky and focused on the action. I was hopeful that the video game tie in online would be awesome but it's really only a mini game with no story line.
There are definitely reluctant readers who will dive into this book if you can get it into their hands. The inventions in this future world are hilarious and fun and I wish they were in an awesome video game.
Despite problems and hurdles galore, this book felt so joyful! Full of humor, fantastic one-liners and asides, a nice dynamic between the brother and sister, and engaging parents--not to mention one of the best evil villains ever! (I mean she's a blonde 11yo who loves pink and plastic and is the secret CEO of CondoCorp--what's not to love/hate?) The Eighth Continent is a very happy book and sure to be a happy place.
Taking place in the future, when giant corporations rule the world, Rick and Evie Lane set out to turn the Pacific Garbage Patch into an eighth continent. Contains strong messages about pollution. A little too overdone. Grades 4-6.