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Dangerous

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Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit, see something new. She never intended to fall in love. And she never imagined stumbling into a frightening plot that kills her friends and just might kill her, too. A plot that is already changing life on Earth as we know it. There's no going back. She is the only thing standing between danger and annihilation.

From NY Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes a novel that asks, How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?

405 pages, Hardcover

First published March 4, 2014

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About the author

Shannon Hale

98 books12.9k followers
Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including the upcoming Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel Calamity Jack with husband Dean Hale. They live near Salt Lake City, Utah with their four small children, and their pet, a small, plastic pig.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,443 reviews
February 2, 2014
He’s dangerous, I reminded myself. And this is not the experience you left home for. You should run away.

I didn’t move.
Let's get one thing straight, the Dangerous title, as far as I'm concerned, refers to a motherfucking romance. Not the ludicrous plot itself.

Am I too harsh? Was I the only teenager ever who had no interest in romance? Am I wrong for thinking that your life, your family's life, the fate of the world, should take priority over the flutterings of a teenaged girl's heart?

You could go into this book thinking it's a sci-fi. It's not. It's a romance. There is a tremendous amount of insta-love, and there is a love triangle of the do-I-have-feelings-for-my-wonderful-lifelong-best-friend-or-do-I-love-the-motherfucking-asshole-whom-I-just-met sort.

You know the answer to that.

This book feels like a superhero Teen Titans type of book with an overwhelming amount of romance. This is an YA novel that feels solidly middle grade because the writing, the plot, and the characterization were absolutely underwhelming and juvenile. The characterizations is nonexistent. There is no depth to any of the characters. There is a whole lot of action, but none of it held my interest.

The Summary: You might be fooled into thinking this is about the bravery and intelligence of a brilliant one-armed girl, an aspiring astronaut and future astrophysicist. She is pretty smart, but then the first hints of reservation creeps up on you, as this fantastically brilliant girl starts to notice how BUFF her childhood friend is, and how she just can't stop thinking about him.starts 10 page into the book.
That night I thought more about Luther than astronaut boot camp.
Astronaut boot camp is Maisie's dream. And how easily she forgets about it when she notices the buffalicious Luther.

You might think, ok, that's acceptable. Maisie's young, she likes a guy. Surely she'll get her head on straight when she gets the the astronaut camp and starts learning more about science, right?

...until she actually gets to camp and starts falling for a beautiful boy the moment she sees him. Jonathan Ingalls Wilder (from Little House in the Prairie), or just "Wilder," catches her eyes from the first moment she lays eyes on him. From that moment on, Maisie's eyes is focused straight on the prize. The prize, that is to say, winning Wilder. The astronaut boot camp thing is just an afterthought.

Wilder is so fucking smooth. His pickup lines are just legendary, heart-poundingly romantic.
“A homeschooled, black-eyed Latina.” He whistled. “You are turning into a very ripe fruit for the plucking.”
They meet, they canoodle. They fall deeper and deeper for one another. They recite poetry at one another (and we're barely 10% into the book). Maisie tosses rationality out the window.
[My father told me that teenagers are] not biologically capable of being fully rational. I swore right then that I’d be a smart, cautious teenager.

Now those underdeveloped parts of my brain were perking up and looking around.
Wilder shows his true colors when the brilliant Maisie and her team wins a prestigious spot to visit an Off-Earth Asteroid. Apparently, he only likes her when she's dumber than he is.
“We’re both going.” Wilder’s words were as heavy as bricks.

“I know it, but I can’t get myself to believe it!”

“But...” He didn’t look at me. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

Wilder’s eyes seemed darker, his whole mood blacker. His gaze slid off me as if I were too lowly to contemplate, and he got up and walked away.
The space walk didn't turn out the way they had planned. The team discovers that there have been alien contact with Earth, and they have left behind some articles---tokens. So let's get one thing straight. The team is in danger. There are aliens. And Maisie doesn't really fucking care because she is too distressed over Wilder's lack of interest in her.
I wasn’t experiencing any inclination to start taking over the world in advance of an alien army. The only change I felt, beyond the headache, was an increased awareness, I guess, of Wilder.
The team is in danger, the alien technology have invaded their bodies. They need to hone their skills. Maisie needs to find Wilder and tell her how much she loves him.
The need to find him became an ache. Maybe if I got there first. Maybe if I found him before the others were near, he might look at me the way he used to—
Maisie's friends, family is in danger. Maisie longs for Wilder.
His presence was like coming into an air-conditioned house on a sweltering day. His pull eclipsed worry for my parents, for Mi-sun and Jacques, for anything.
Wilder may be a liar, a murderer. It doesn't fucking matter. Maisie still feels drawn to him.
I was going to see Wilder for the first time since I’d heard that he killed [her].

But he was still Wilder.
It's a motherfucking romance.

The Plot: Ludicrous, full of holes, it requires a tremendous stretch of the imagination to believe that a team of experienced astronauts and physicists would allow a team of 12-18 years old to be sent into space while they're at a fucking Astronaut Boot Camp. There's also the issue of the tracking devices, the technology, the completely inconsistent action and unbelievability of the adults involved. There is a lot of action, but not a whole lot of sense.

The Setting: Whut? It is confusing. I THINK the book is set in present-day. But for some reason, there are astronauts building a small settlement on a fucking asteroid, and there is a pretty unbelievable amount of technology that I haven't even heard of. It feels more Star Trek than present-day. I know NASA is advanced...but not to this extent. The setting is terrible, it does not draw me in, it doesn't add anything to an already uncompelling book.

The Characters: Flat. One-dimensional. Maisie's middle name is literally Danger, and it doesn't work for her at all, because her head is solely connected to her heart and the palpitations of it as she dreams of fucking Lover Boy Wilder.

I was intrigued by the fact that Maisie is born without one arm. It turned out that my excitement was for nothing. The fact that she lacks one arm seems...forgive the pun, to be merely a placeholder. It's there, but it's not there. Her impediment is not an impediment at all, because she magically gets a robotic arm with nanotechnology that is so superior that you can hardly tell. Throughout the book, she's on the receiving end of some snide comments, but other than that, you would not know that Maisie suffers from a disability.

The other characters in the book were so tremendously dull and utter tropes. There's the beautiful mean red-headed girl, the quiet, shy, studious Asian kid, the angry, foul-mouthed black kid, the handsome, rich bad boy. They have no personality other than the stereotypical role they were meant to fill.

Maisie is perfect. She succeeds in everything she does. She achieves everything. She absorbs everything. She is a motherfucking Einstein. I hate her.

The Romance: Speaking of the romance, the last character in the book is a boy named Luther. He is Maisie's childhood best friend. He has no role in the book other than to play back-up in the ridiculous excuse of a love triangle in this book.
“Who is this trog?” Luther asked.

I stood up fast, moving away from Wilder, and blushed as if I’d been doing something bad. Luther was standing on the sidewalk, his arms folded.

“This is Jonathan Wilder, a...friend I met at astronaut boot camp. Wilder, this is my best friend Luther.”

The boys looked at each other. The mood was Arctic Circle.
Spare me. Skip this book.

Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,878 reviews22.6k followers
December 20, 2018
For a long while this book felt formulaic - it's another teenagers-with-superpowers science fiction plot with a dash of Hunger Games - and I thought Shannon Hale was just phoning it in here, which made me sad because I like most of her other books so well, especially The Goose Girl. But as I got closer to the end it started feeling more creative and more real to me.

It does have several weaknesses: Aside from much of the story feeling like it was paint-by-numbers, there was a plot turn midway that gave me that same wait, what? feeling that I had when I was watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and all of a sudden there were aliens inhabiting my fantasy adventure.

description

There was also an over-the-top Evil Bad Person (who, of course, wants to control the superpowered teens for nefarious purposes) and the obligatory YA love interest. And I still don't understand .

On the other hand, I thought the plot ultimately showed a fair amount of creativity, there was a half-Latina main character with a disability (missing right hand), and I will forgive a YA book a lot that has the main character thinking these thoughts about love at the end:
There were times when I thought I loved him. But I see now that I didn't really. Attraction, infatuation, and consternation do not love make. I don't know if I love him now, but I like him so much the joy is exquisitely painful. And this, too, is new.
Overall, I thought this was a decent read of the "superteens save the world" variety, if you like that kind of book. I'm not going to put it on any of my favorites lists like I do with The Goose Girl but it was reasonably enjoyable in its own way.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,211 reviews1,649 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 30, 2014
Pages Read: 113

What in the flying fuck did I just read? Seriously. This book started off fairly good, but quickly went to WTF-ville on a high speed shuttle. (Are there low speed shuttles? Whatever, just roll with it.) I went looking for negative reviews and found one which spoiled the rest of the book. Thank goodness, because my brain is better off without this book in it.

Problems:

1) Heroine with a disability (missing a hand) is cured with technology, though she was a badass until that point.
2) The puns, which I liked, seem to be the only evidence anyone has personality. The characters cross the line from quirky to unbelievably strange. All I know about Mi-Sun is that she's obsessed with slushies. All I know about Maisie's dad is that he likes bad jokes. On and on like that.
3) Maisie's best friend has a crush on her because let's not miss that trope.
4) The romance apparently turns infuriating. It was already annoying in the part I read, with the guy switching constantly between being sweet and funny and a total creeper jerkface. I confirmed some of the spoilery review's points with a quick skim of the last few pages.
5) Swear words edited with bleep, because apparently that's not bleeping appropriate.
6) A girl who was abused as a child What a thoughtful reflection on child abuse!
7) The biggest thing is that I read through all of those spoilers and thought "this cannot be true" except that I completely see textual clues in what I was reading heading for that ending.

To check out that review, click here.

Shannon Hale has written some of my favorite books, but I really don't get this. It's like a super fucked up science fiction superhero book, and yet somehow not fun.
Profile Image for Brooklyn.
33 reviews
January 22, 2014
This is quite simply one of the strangest books I have ever read. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I originally picked up the book as the synopsis gave away next to nothing. Once I began though, I figured that it was either going to be a thriller like the movie Gravity or some sort of alien apocalypse kind of thing. Unfortunately, the latter was correct.

This book was so hardcore science fiction, I nearly didn't know what to do with myself. You begin with a young girl who has a quick-witted tongue and one arm. She has always dreamt of being an astronaut. Coincidentally, there is also an opportunity for this dream to become a reality through a sweepstakes on the side of a cereal box. The sweepstakes gives teens who aspire to be something like an astronaut the chance to go to a space camp. I kind of have to stop there because it gets a little difficult to explain. Based off of much of the witty and comedic dialogue, I had thought that maybe this book had a chance. I was brutally wrong.

The main character, Maisie Danger Brown (Yes, yes, I know. I thought the same thing. Who gives their daughter the middle name Danger?) has a very flat, boring, one-dimensional best friend named Luther. The boy is in the book for no other reason than to be the third corner of a poorly written love triangle. I'm serious. He literally does nothing else. The actual love interest is also poorly written, going from being a handsome devil intent only on wooing this girl for 2 days to hating her for the most moronic reason one could possibly think of: she was too smart and they weren't supposed to go into outer space together.

Yes, I do mean the outer space as in the giant blackness beyond our planet. At the space camp, these things called fireteams, made up of 5 people, were created for the sole purpose of finding out who would best use the tokens sent to our planet from the aliens farther out in the galaxy. The campers know nothing about this hot mess. It just gets better and better. Of course, Maisie's team is picked as the best fireteam and the actual love interest, Jonathan Ingalls Wilder (I told you it gets better. His out-of-the-picture mom had an obsession with Little House on the Prairie.) is thrown in as a 6th team member. The fireteam is then sent into outer space and given these tokens that merge into their body and partially stick out of their chest. Oh, and they also give them superpowers: supreme technological skills, cognition abilities beyond compare, brute strength and speed, the ability to create a shield around your body, and the ability to shoot small items at a terrifying and lethal speed from your hand with a zap of blue light.

When the team member with the brute token dies, the one with the thinker token is supposed to take it and use it, but our favorite heroine takes it by accident and loses the tech token and instead gains the brute token. The fireteam then splits up for silly reasons. Wilder, the love interest, apparently was out to get all of the tokens in the first place (And through that, effectively killing all of the other members of the team since they can't be removed without stopping one's heart.) and ended up chasing after Maisie to use her to help him get the tokens without telling her. When that fails, he tries to off himself and is dead for a few moments, wherein Maisie takes the tinker token and the blue shot token (Wilder already had killed for that one.) and then, surprise surprise, comes back to life.

Maisie ends up gaining all of the tokens through a series of unfortunate events and realizes that she has a purpose: to defeat the pink floating aliens that are coming to Earth to possess our bodies and experience adrenaline and food through us. She, again, gets shot into space and has to destroy their spaceship which seems to closely resemble a candy bar, seeing as how the aliens love food and can only move through solid material. She THEN proceeds to FALL FROM THE EDGE OF OUTER SPACE AND SURVIVE, despite the fact that she lost all 5 tokens in the effort to destroy the mothership.

Oops, I also forgot to mention Wilder's diabolical father who owns a big company and has a lot of money. Throughout the whole book, he tries to steal the tokens, kill the fireteam, steal Maisie's tokens when the whole fireteam is dead, then kill Maisie when he realizes he won't be able to steal them. He even blows up the home base that the space camp had been located in, killing a character named Dragon (WHAT IS WITH THE NAMES?) that was meant to be some sort of touchy-feely father figure and sage advice-giver for Maisie. Surprisingly enough, I didn't even shed a tear. Honestly, I thought the book was packing a little much. Really, the review and plot summary was going just fine without Wilder's dad.

In the end, Maisie ends up hooking up with Wilder, the guy who had tried to kill her for her token and had killed the rest of the fireteam. It was a happy ever after. The aliens were gone, the tokens were gone, all of the 1D characters went back to doing nothing and being no one, and Maisie fell in love with Wilder and went to school for the first time (She was homeschooled.)

Another thing: Maisie was missing part of her right arm, but built a superior robot arm that looked exactly like a real one and worked better than a real one. She could call 911 telepathically through her arm. Seriously. The girl may as well have not even had a disability. If it was an attempt at having a heroine that wasn't your stereotypical in-good-health-beauty, then it was a poor one. At times, I forgot she was missing an arm. It was almost like she wasn't even missing it!

One last thing: all of the other children at the space camp were barely mentioned. Maisie didn't interact with any of the other characters besides the ones you saw throughout the rest of the book (There were virtually no new characters created.). Not only that, but the space camp kids kind of disappeared off the planet. After the fireteam came back from outer space, it was just kind of assumed that the other children were gone. There really wasn't any explanation given.

All in all, this was a poorly written book with a shallow story and characters. It almost seemed as if it was trying to be the next big thing in sci-fi (Kind of like it was trying to be the next Ender's Game.) but it was so jam packed with junk and useless stuff that there was no way. It's only saving grace was the witty, clever dialogue between characters, but let's face it: unlike in the book, not EVERYONE is that suave. Maisie was annoying too. I don't know if I'll be reading anything else by this author.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 27 books5,589 followers
November 14, 2013
Wow. Shannon goes for broke and delivers an amazing sci fi adventure that is completely different from any of her previous books, and I LOVE IT. Having known Shannon for years, I'm frankly amazed that this isn't the kind of book she always writes. To me there is so much more of her own personality and her own likes and dislikes here! Tons of fun!

And, it's so true: I'd love to be able to say, Danger is my middle name.

Profile Image for Jenny.
Author 7 books6 followers
May 31, 2014
Wow, ok, there's a huge amount of reviews out there that are overwhelmingly negative...

Let's get things straight: this is a good book. In fact, I'd venture to call it a great book, within its own niche.

This isn't really a YA novel, although it's written as such. It's not middle grade, as others have claimed, because middle grade is WAY below this one in terms of vocabulary, etc.

Then what is it?

It's a fantastic homage to the great SF pulp novels of the "Golden Age" of science fiction. Sure, it has romance trappings. Sure, it seems to move really fast. But I dare you to read THE NINE PRINCES OF AMBER and tell me that doesn't move just as fast.

It's an adventure novel, plain and simple. In fact, it's more appropriately classified as an "Event novel", since everything will eventually revolve around the pivotal event on the asteroid. I found the romance utterly believable in a teen-crush sort of way; similarly, I was happily impressed that Maisie turns out to only be interested in one boy.

And you also have to remember that the character has led a relatively isolated life, before this, so she's not coming into this with a great deal of life experience. She's book smart, not street smart, and how she's learning the way the world works is one of the joys of the book.
Profile Image for Leah.
1,052 reviews59 followers
February 19, 2014
this review goes live on the blog 3/4

Between that beautiful cover and - hello - SHANNON HALE, Dangerous was one of my most anticipated releases of 2014. Unfortunately I could only make it 147 pages in before throwing up a white flag and quitting. How is this from the same author of Princess Academy and The Goose Girl?? The only explanation I can come up with is that Hale has five books coming out this year. F-I-V-E. Clearly that had something to do with the lack of quality of Dangerous; this is not the Shannon Hale I know and love.

Maisie Danger Brown (yes, that's her real name) enters a sweepstakes on a cereal box for astronaut camp. Much to her surprise she wins and it's there the story goes downhill. Within 20 pages we have already met the two love interests (and she's already made out with one of them!). Had I known Dangerous was going to be a romance I wouldn't have bothered. Maisie's dream is to become an astronaut, yet once she meets Wilder, she can only think about him, her dream totally forgotten. Jonathan Ingalls Wilder (yes, that's his real name) is awful. He's dripping with wealth and despite his groupies that follow him everywhere, Maisie has somehow caught his eye. Get a load of this charmer:
"A home-schooled, black-eyed Latina." He whistled. "You are turning into a very ripe fruit for the plucking."

This comes from their first conversation. Wilder flip-flops with his feelings: he can't get enough of Maisie, yet any time she proves to be smarter than him, he immediately turns cold and starts chatting up another girl. What a guy.

The camp is run by a brilliant scientist I couldn't stand. I think she was supposed to be an aloof, head-in-the-clouds kind of scientist, but instead, she spends all of her time juggling. The greatest mind of our time, folks. She managed to build the Beanstalk, basically an elevator from Earth to an asteroid. Five campers are chosen to make the trip - Maisie, Wilder, Smart Asian Girl Who Likes Slushies, Beautiful-But-Mean Redhead, and French-African Boy Whose Cursing Is Bleeped (yep. bleeped.). While in space these five kids get to see alien artifacts and wind up absorbing their powers. Now instead of being human caricatures, they're human caricatures with super powers. Redhead turns into a Juggernaut-esque behemoth and can't stop eating. Slushie Girl can shoot things from her palms. Maisie discovers an ability to understand technology and build. The first thing she builds? A robot arm, thus rendering her disability (she only had one arm) completely pointless. Why bother having a disabled character if you're going to give her a special robot arm?

Things Happen (a fight breaks out and characters die) and the kids are on the run. Once Maisie's back home I lost any interest in Dangerous and judging from the reviews I've read, I didn't miss much by not finishing. Dangerous was SUCH a disappointment. Every single character was a personality trait rather than a person. Maisie's best friend Luther exists for the sole purpose of being another love interest. In his first scene Maisie comments on "how muscley" he's become - 7 pages into the book. There's a page-long joke that goes nowhere. All of the other campers virtually vanish once these five gain their powers.

Although the camp is for anyone 12-17, the writing felt more like a beginner's chapter book. Very short and simple sentences and any kind of explanation regarding space or technology is glossed over. Also, I'm still unclear as to when this novel takes place. At first I assumed the present day, but now I'm wondering if maybe it's set in the future? The characters discuss the Rolling Stones and the Beatles though so I'm not entirely sure.

If Shannon Hale's novels hold any kind of nostalgic feelings for you, do yourself a favor and avoid this one.

Notable Quote:
We were quiet, two tiny specks glued down by gravity, peering at a universe that didn't notice us back. The quiet and dark made me feel mysterious and stilled, a thing that glints in the dark, an object that can only be understood by careful study. Something like a poem.
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,567 reviews215 followers
Shelved as 'set-aside'
December 24, 2014
This is the first of five books Hale has out this year. FIVE.

I think perhaps she has taken on too much, because the quality of her last couple of books is not what her work once was. This book is a hot mess. The pacing is out of control. Meet hot guy, make out with hot guy, have hot guy dump you in 20 pages! (That take place over the course of a couple weeks I might add.) Fifty pages in I felt as though I was reading the notes from a poorly written TV show. So I skipped to the end to see if sticking with it would be worth it. I read the last twenty pages or so and my brain nearly exploded with where she went with this story. No. Just NO NO NO!

I miss the Shannon Hale who wrote the Books of Bayern and the first Princess Academy book. It's almost like she doesn't even care anymore. And possibly she doesn't. Possibly this is all about the money. Five books in one year is a ridiculous amount.
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.3k followers
July 4, 2014
** I received this book for free from Bookworld in exchange for an honest review. **

I think this book could have benefitted from being a part of a series, or at least a duology. Things were too rushed, and there was a lack of world-building - particularly towards the beginning. There was so much potential to explore the elements of space and aliens more deeply, I feel like I was missing out! The first 100 or so pages could have been a book on its own. There is a pivotal point for the characters which was skimmed over, leaving me confused and unimpressed. I would have loved to see a stronger set-up with more character development and suspense - I feel like this would have made it more believable and exciting.

Maisie Danger Brown is our main character. At the start of Dangerous, I really liked her. She was witty and intelligent, and never let her disability slow her down. She comes out with some hilarious remarks, though at some points it was a little inappropriate for the situation. Nevertheless, I liked the humour and clever dialogue that was attributed not only to her, but a few of our other characters as well. In particular, her father was known for his love of puns and bad jokes.

Enter the boy, or rather, boy #2. Wilder. This is where things start to go downhill with our main character. There is a bit of a love triangle, which I wasn't a huge fan of, but what I found particularly irritating, was that we had a little heartbreak within the span of about 30 pages:

Page 15 - introduced to the boy
Page 36 - le kiss.
Page 39 - now an almost couple? "Are you checking out my girl?"
Page 47 - S**t goes down - Wilder walks off with arm draped around some ditzy girl.

All of this happened during a two-three week period in the story, though it was crammed together in those 30 pages. I found this a little frustrating and overwhelming, having so much happen so quickly (this wasn't just restricted to the romance, though, everything was rushed during that first part). The romance constantly fluctuates like this for almost the entire remainder of the book, with a little added frustration later on from boy #1 - the best friend.

In terms of our side characters, they didn't have much depth. I don't remember much about them, to be honest. This is where I think expanding the story whilst in the space camp would have been beneficial. I would have loved to get to know these characters a little more. Not only that, but there was so much potential to go wild and have some fun with that camp. Maisie breezes over some of the training and activities they do. It would have been awesome to actually have experienced that a little more.

Overall, I was left feeling underwhelmed and slightly irritated. I would have loved to experience more epic-ness in the space camp, and some of the proceeding events definitely could have been approached more realistically and believably. Some things just seemed to happen on a whim, which was bizarre in such a scientific and dangerous environment. That being said, it wasn't a terrible book. There were some things I liked, but on the whole I feel like there were quiet a few things needing improvement. It definitely had the potential to be awesome!


Original review on LittleBookOwl.com
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,057 reviews16 followers
May 27, 2014
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Tell me if this story seems familiar: People go into space and get super powers.

If you answered The Fantastic Four you’re a winner. Want to continue playing well I have another one for you.

Name a character that has dense molecular structure, can’t control your own strength.

If you answered The Hulk, The Thing, or Superman give yourself another pat on the back.

One more question. I promise this will be the last (for now). Super powers connected to the heart.

Iron Man. Yeah, I know.

So, this book seems like it’s basically a combination of a lot of Marvel superpowers with some DC references thrown in.

And okay, I get it no superhero is going to be original. Marvel and DC ripoff each other all the time. But that whole origin story, a group of people, it was very obvious it was The Fantastic Four.

And I’m not even a huge fan of that movie or comic.

This is my first experience reading a novel by Shannon Hale. My sister enjoyed Austenland and I decided that I’d give this one a try, even though I have severe reservations after reading the reviews.

I was like well it can’t be bad. And I like superheroes.

And I found myself hating myself.

Which is why I rally think I need to have some else picking out my books for me for awhile, because I’ve had really bad luck lately.

Anyway, back to this book. I just don’t know what to say. It started out good enough. I liked the premises of Space Camp. It was actually something I sort of could relate to since way back in the fifth grade (I know, total time warp) I went to Space Camp. It’s sad to say that my eleven year-old self and classmates had a lot more maturity than Maisie and her classmates.

This novel is labeled YA, but I think it’s one of those novels when one tries to be nice to its faults labels it middle grade. When it really means, the book sucks.

Seriously, the stupidity that these kids, adults, and their parental units have me slapping my head on my desk.

Let’s play a round of Is This a Liability. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a lawyer, a law student, or even an avid Judge Judy fan to get this game. I’m sure you’ll do better than the idiotic characters in this book:

1) Is it a liability to let five minors go up into outer space without parental permission, physical fitness exam, and/or proper training?

2) Is it a liability to let said minors touch extraterrestrial biological material in outer space?

3) Is it a liability not to inform their parents, the CDC, or any other form of authorities that a mutation occurred in space?

4) Is it a liability to let an out of control minor who has Hulk like powers go out and kill two people?

5) Is it a liability to threaten said parents of said minors?

At this point you just have to put on your stupid hat to even remotely enjoy this novel. Though since the characters in this novel seem to be perpetually wearing their stupid hats, it’s not that big of a stretch (for them).
Profile Image for Melissa T.
616 reviews
March 21, 2014
This was such a strike out I hardly know where to begin. Let me start with the fact that I LOVE Shannon Hale. She's written what I consider some of the very best of modern children's literature. I almost felt like aliens invaded HER body to have come up with such a dumb book.

First of all, I couldn't get a feel for the passage of time. They go to this space camp, which feels like days, but is talked about like it lasted all year. It was weird. And choppy.

Then there are the characters. Maisie didn't have much of a personality to me. Everyone else had too many personalities! For most of the characters I was asking myself: Is he good? Is he bad? No, he's good again. Wait, he's bad. And that was pretty much the case with all of the characters, minus Luther and her Dad. Even her mom's "goodness" was put into question. The love interest was the absolute worst. He was bouncing all over the place.

If those two things weren't bad enough, honestly, the story just stunk. I realize that when we read science fiction, we have to have that "willing suspension of disbelief". Maybe I wasn't very "willing" on this book, but I could not get into it. It was a weird combination of The Fantastics and The Host (by Stephenie Meyer) and a teenage soap opera.

Last of all, It was full of steamy scenes that were, in my opinion, too steamy and too cliche. It had too many descriptions of their make-out sessions where they go only so far because she promised her "scientist parents" that she would wait.

The only reason I finished it was because it was by Shannon Hale. Had it been by anyone else I would not have bothered wasting my time because it was heading downhill the entire book. What a disappointment.
Profile Image for Katie Grace.
174 reviews6 followers
February 12, 2016
I'm honestly not sure how I finished this book. I managed to roll my eyes at least twice every chapter because /nothing/ in this book seemed realistic or serious.

The two good things about it?
1. Some puns.
2. Mention of pizza.
Profile Image for Joella.
938 reviews40 followers
August 1, 2013
So I know this book isn’t scheduled to come out for awhile. But here’s the thing. I scored a copy of the galley at ALA. And I couldn’t help myself. I read it. And because it was brilliant…I wanted to talk about it. So I am. I will do a little blurb about the amazing plot to begin with and then I will go about telling you why I liked it so much. But here’s the thing. If you are anything like me…you won’t want any Shannon Hale spoilers. Because I like reading Shannon Hale without any clue as to where the plot is going. Which is how I like to read her books. Because I am always a bit surprised as to where the book ends up or how I get to the end. And I like that. So this is a warning for those of you who want to actually read the book without any hints of things to come. Basically you can know I loved the book and you should read it. It is sci-fi and different from anything else Shannon Hale has written. And that is okay. Because it was amazing. And who would want to read the same book with different titles over and over again? Yeah, I’d rather just re-read the first book. Anyway, back to my small plot summary and then review…and that means that those of you who don’t want a spoiler or two should just stop reading now. And go pre-order the book…

Maisie Danger Brown has always wanted to be an astronaut. So when she discovers a contest on a box of cereal where the winner gets to go to an astronaut boot camp, she decides to go for it. Little does she know that the experience will change her life forever. But things aren’t perfect for Maisie. For one thing she doesn’t have a right hand (due to a birth defect). She hasn��t let that stop her…but when she is at camp she does have to ignore the jokes and ostracizing that come from those who don’t see her but only see what isn’t there. And she meets Jonathan Ingalls Wilder–who seems to make their friendship a bipolar romance/ignoring session. But Maisie is tough. She has and can overcome anything. And nothing will stop her from living up to her middle name. So when she and a group of space camp students get the opportunity to do something amazing in space, she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately for the sanity of everyone involved, so do a few alien tokens who apparently like teenagers. And suddenly Maisie must prove how dangerous she can be and how far she is willing to go to protect everything she has ever loved.

Like I said, this was one amazing story. I wasn’t sure where things were going…and once I thought I knew Shannon changed it up. I loved how I could see the vulnerability of the various characters manifest in their actions. They weren’t the stock “good guys/bad guys” that I have often found in YA literature. In fact, this very thing made me question and double question all but one character throughout the story. I just couldn’t totally get a hand on what was going on until some major scene where Maisie had to prove just how tough she really is. Then I started to figure things out based on who was trying to kill her or how. At least, until the next scene when things got all turned upside-down again. And how refreshing to have a sci-fi main character who is a girl!?! And one who could save the world and kick butt while doing it. And I am happy to say that this is just the type of character that girls and guys could read about and not be frustrated by the girly stereotypes. Yeah, she is a girl. Yes she has girly thoughts or does talk about pulling her hair back into a ponytail. But no, any of the guy characters in the book would not have been able to save the world. That only happened because Maisie was the one who was doing the world-saving. And talk about doing it with “one hand tied behind your back.” Okay, she didn’t have her hand tied…but she wasn’t this perfect little girl who had a perfect life. She is the type of character that could live next-door (especially to me since Maisie comes from Salt Lake City, which is in my backyard).

Basically this is the type of book that I would like to read over and over and over again. Only, I don’t want to. Because I want more Maisie Danger Brown. I think she deserves another adventure or two or ten. Please?
Profile Image for Daisy Paquet.
Author 1 book20 followers
November 3, 2017
"FIRST BOY I MEET I MUST KISS AT SPACE CAMP"
i quit. I'm sorry, but sweetie... you're at space camp. Go to space. ignore your teen angst.
Profile Image for Jennifer (The Nightly Book Owl).
42 reviews20 followers
February 21, 2014
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Actual Rating: 2.5

He’s dangerous, I reminded myself.

I was very excited to read this book because way back when, I had read Hale’s The Princess Academy, which I thoroughly liked. I wanted to see how she would handle a futuristic science fiction novel. Unfortunately, I can’t say I like this book anywhere near as much as her other works. My overall opinion of the book is that it’s an okay read. It is pretty much a romance in the guise of a science-fiction.

Plot: Dangerous is about a disabled one-armed girl named Maisie Danger Brown (yes, her middle name is literally Danger) who dreams of being an astronaut. She gets her chance when she wins a sweepstake and is allowed to go to space boot camp. In a turn of events, she comes into contact with alien technology, and everyone seems to be in danger from an unknown force.

One of the main problems I had with this book is the plot. It is very much filled with holes that left me questioning the author’s research because some parts are pretty detailed and scientific, so I’m confused as why there are so many holes in the story. For one thing, a bunch of eleven to eighteen year olds are sent into space on what seems to be a mere whim. There is no clearance needed – no signatures from parents for these minors.

“The container held several items of different shape but similar substances,” said Howell. “They are the first proof of alien life ever discovered. And you are about to become five of only about thirty human beings to see them and touch them.

On top of sending them to space, they let these minors touch alien technology. What the hell? Why? How did this happen?

Maisie: I’m pretty disappointed with how the book treated Maisie’s disability. Aside from comments and insults from the people around her, you wouldn’t know she is disabled. It’s a shame because you don’t get to read many books with a disabled main character, so I was really looking forward to seeing her overcome her challenges. The problem? Before you know it, Maisie gets a brilliantly functioning arm that looks real, so the disability now becomes an advantage. I wish that the book explored Maisie’s difficulties with her disability. Ultimately, it just felt like an add-on.

Also, becoming an astronaut is Maisie’s dream. This boot camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Instead of focusing on the prize, Maisie’s attention is occupied by a boy she meets on the first day. Screw using this opportunity to the fullest. Let’s just think about how handsome Wilder is and how his kisses feel.

So I laughed again. “I’m pretty sure there are rules against this sort of thing at astronaut boot camp.”

“I sure hope so,” said Wilder, “or it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.”


So being kicked out of this amazing astronaut boot camp is worth some fling that you’re pretty sure is not going to last? Come on, Maisie. You’re supposed to be smart.

My heart revved like a lawn mower. It was supposed to be a joke. But speaking those words made me feel them, believe them. I missed him, as if he were Luther or my family, someone I cared for who was far away.

This is about 7% into the story. Apparently, Wilder is as important as her family now.

I glanced up to see if he was bored. Instead I felt his hand on my cheek and his lips on mine. Just a touch, a softness, a greeting. One kiss that lasted seven rapid heartbeats.

We’re barely into the book, and they’re already making out.

However, I must say that I do like that Maisie grows as a person throughout the book, and I’m really glad she was able to see that her feelings were not as strong as she had thought it to be. It showed a lot of growth and maturity on her part. I also like the fact that she’s a geek. I’m a geek. I relate.

Romance: The romance is incredibly cheesy and the least interesting part of this book. There’s a love triangle and instalove. The love triangle is predictable: the best friend or a new, smooth (sometimes jerky) guy. The best friend love interest is barely even in the book, and once again, it felt like an add-on. The book could have done without it, so I don’t see the point. In addition, Maisie and Wilder’s relationship goes way too fast for it to be believable, and there are a lot of cheesy lines. Here are some examples:

“A homeschooled, black-eyed Latina.” He whistled. “You are turning into a very ripe fruit for the plucking.”

“You be Europa, and I’ll be your Jupiter.”

“You’d better not talk about microscopes anymore,” he whispered, “or I don’t know if I can control myself.”


Finishing Thoughts: Overall, this book is okay. I’m not too happy with the plot, but it does get better toward the end. There are a lot of missed opportunities in this book which is very disappointing. If you liked Hale’s earlier works, I’m not quite sure you would like this one. I wish that it focused more on the plot rather than the romance which ended up being a very weak aspect for me. This book held a lot of promise, but ultimately, it fell short.

This review can also be read at The Nightly Book Owl.
Profile Image for Elevetha .
1,721 reviews165 followers
February 7, 2016
Rating ???


Couple things I didn't like: Wilder. Just...Wilder. I don't know if we were supposed to hate him or like him or moderately distrust him or what. I honestly don't know what Shannon was going for. I think she meant for us not to be sure how we felt about him, much like Maisie, and then at the end come to realize he's a trustworthy decent guy.

I still hated him.

Really didn't care for how Maisie treated Luther
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews717 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 4, 2014
Nose Graze — Book reviews & blogging tips

Look out, this is MIDDLE GRADE—not young adult

I thought that Dangerous —a supposed young adult book—sounded intriguing and intense with a hint of romance. I was PSYCHED! Well, it turns out this is so not young adult.

My first impression was: this book is really rushed. All within about 15 pages we have zero plot building and Maisie is already being whisked away to some mysterious astronaut camp. It was all just happening so quickly, it was hard to even keep up.

The first red flag I got was the insta-love. There's already a romance within the first 25 pages. And when I say "romance" I mean she half speaks to a guy once then starts dreaming about him and obsessing over him.

Had he noticed that I watched him in the cafeteria? Had he guessed that I reread his file? That some nights when I closed my eyes, I saw his?


And wow this romance was lame:

"You be Europa, and I'll be your Jupiter."


And they actually made out within that first 10% of the book.

The second red flag was the fact that the swear words are BLEEPED. Yes, bleeped out.

"Marketing surveys are always digging for something, and I bleepity-bleep gave it to them."

If you can't tell, I changed some of his words. [..] I was a bit sheltered from R-rated languge, and Jacques unnerved me.


"I'm going to bleep this bleeping diaper."


And then, finally, came the ridiculousness. This is when I had to call it quits. So the story is that Maisie is attending an "astronaut camp" for kids, funded by the scientist who built the "elevator" into space. At the camp introduction, the kids are told that the most impressive team will win a trip to go see the elevator ascend. Not go in it, just watch.

However, when the time comes for Maisie's team to go watch it, at the last minute some of the kids are like, "Come on, just let us go up!" And the scientists are like, "Well, alright." So they take them into SPACE. Without asking their parents. Without giving them proper space training. They're freaking kids and they're taking them up an elevator that killed two scientists a couple years before this bit takes place.

At that point, everything just hit me all at once... the pure ridiculousness of the romance, the swear word censoring, and just the child-like nature of the whole book. All the things I pointed out made the book not work for me at all. However, I don't necessarily think that makes it a bad book, I just think it means that Dangerous is clearly not young adult—it's middle grade. The book felt so young, and I'm so obviously not the target audience.

Bummer, because the synopsis sounded cool, but it's nothing like how the book actually is. The synopsis sounds intense and dangerous, but the book itself is very "kiddie".

If you like middle grade you might want to give the book a chance, but if you don't like reading middle grade at all (like me) then stay away from Dangerous because it won't be what you expect.
Profile Image for Burgandy Ice.
120 reviews48 followers
February 8, 2014
Oh… what a bleepity-bleep work of astronomical ART!

Part of me love-LOVEs this story, so many, many things about this story.

The other part about me feels like knocking on wood or not saying something too loudly so that it won’t come true. Because this book is horrifyingly real. It doesn’t just feel possible, it feels like it happened in the news and I just didn’t know what to watch for. Like I saw it, but I didn’t really see it. And frankly… that gives me a healthy dose of the eebie jeebies.

Yeah, so if yer lookin’ for “cute” and “fluffy” and “tender”, keep walking.

I suppose the cover hints about that. I mean, Dangerous?! Good title really. Little too innocent.

What I loved for starters:

I love feeling like I have the brains of a super-smart brainiac. The science is sooooo insanely cool. It’s not techno-over-the-top-of-my-head… rather it threw me INTO Maisie’s head so that it all made perfect sense, even when she went into hyper-smart modes. The way Hale describes how she is able to look at technological stuff and “speak its language” just took the BIG-SCARY right out of it. I didn’t need to be an engineer to feel like one, which… GENIUS!!! Usually when I read something mega-intelligent, I feel Unintelligent, you know? Like “skim that paragraph ‘cause I’m sooo lost!” The only lost moment is the… uh… very alien preview, which felt more real for being so incomprehensible.

I did not think that I’d like the idea of Maisie having NO ARM. The idea is announced as a blow. So, naturally, I immediately struggled with the concept. It’s big – it’s the reality of working with one arm in a world that demands at least two (more like four). It’s the feeling of being different and the threat of who cares about it, why and how much. It’s revisiting that perception a second time, wondering if original conclusions were wrong. Like… does my mom really care that I don’t have my arm? Did she not want another kid because she didn’t want to bring another mistake into the world? These questions shouldn’t even be brought up, but they hang there, suspended in consciousness by people who know how to use words like weapons. Yuck. It’s one of the elements of this book that smells of horror. But also one of the most triumphant aspects as I grew to shout “I wish I only had one arm, too!! Fido rocks!” Fido – one of the arms Maisie builds for herself, all of which smack of “super-power awesome” and made me feel so limited with just a plain ol’ arm.

The horror. This is new to Shannon Hale’s collection of books, of which I have read most. None of her books have this much violence or the stark hopelessness that stories with horror thrive on. The other characters in this book are not rosy. Every single one – except maybe Dad & Luther – have some element of secrecy and hidden motives that affect the outcome of everything monumentally. It feels like everyone is a bad guy and even Maisie’s grip on Right is slippery. Not knowing who to trust creates a very insecure foundation for the entire story. My emotions felt bruised as I tried to look up to this person or that person only to uncover something untrustworthy and potentially horrific in each.

The romance. There isn't so much, really, except that there is a bit too much, too, which is weird. The conversation that laid the foundation for the romance is suspect of so many ulterior things. He is just a smooth talker. It sounds like he’s sharing his heart, but maybe he’s just acting. Maisie is so new to being courted, maybe her feelings are just a response to his games. There’s so much physical moments that are so new and fresh and exciting, but don’t necessarily have anything to do with something deeper than “that feels good.” Never mind their age. Getting to that part.

This book did not feel like a Shannon Hale which makes me want to give her a sweeping bow. In fact, the words disappeared. What words? I read the majority of this book on the train commuting to and from work and literally had to force myself to stop reading early so I wouldn't miss my stop. Every time I thought the action was slowing down and I could catch my mental breath, Maisie would literally TRIP into another moment twice as intense as the one we just survived. No exaggeration. So the writing is incredible and new territory for one of my favorite authors.

If you can, do yourself a favor and read this book in one sitting.

And fer cryin' out loud, DON'T SKIM! There are no extra words.

Part of me is interested in re-reading this book simply because I can’t believe how clueless I was at the beginning. It has to be a much different experience the second time ‘round. The other part of me is relieved to have gotten through it, cover to cover, and still be alive – like pat myself down everywhere, all systems ok? Ok. PHEW! And I would never put myself through that again. Except, rereading it would not be putting myself through it again because NOW I KNOW!

(Haven't read it, yet? I'm so sorry!)

Spoilery thoughts

DON’T READ THIS UNLESS YOU READ THE BOOK AND ARE AS UNERVED AS I AM! This book begs to be discussed. Don't spoil it though. Seriously. Don't. Just skip down past the purple type and you'll be... as fine as you can possibly be.

Pink fluffy bad guys? I mean, wow. How did she come up with that?! It’s the idea of a soul or spirit that is not affected by gravity… and an alien race that existed in that form primarily and used bodies like shells. CREEPY. Maisie’s thoughts about life-after-death and what happens to our inner beings is the key to the entire concept. This is the kind of creative thought that, in my mind, comes from thinking about the Bible and taking stuff literally. The Bible separates body from soul and spirit and talks about being re-united with a body or how the Word of God is a sharp sword to separate these invisible innards. What if an alien species was evil and cruel and selfish and thought nothing of borrowing our body shells before we were ready to give ‘em up? CREEPY!!!! Making them fluffy and pink only ruined my skippy opinion of cotton candy – it did not lighten up the threat of these aliens.

On the flip side – I love the concept that there are aliens out there who know about us and wanted to give us a fighting chance against these evil pink fluffies! (Pink?) I love LOVE the concept that they took the essence of the pink fluffy things and created a weapon (or series of weapons) to fight against them with. That the weapons themselves are potentially negative because of where they came from essentially. I love the misunderstanding about how they work.

I also love how simply effective they are. After all the techno complicated stuff... not to mention the mysterious layers of secrets everywhere, the actual fight was logical. LOVED that!

I enjoyed a lot of things in the end, like how the mad scientist really is a character with her own agenda, but she is consistent and likeable and her love for Dragon is downright beautiful. I loved how Wilder progressed to Wild Card and then Jonathon, someone who Maisie really could/would enjoy spending time with and grow increasingly attracted to.

I did not like being reminded that she is just starting high school and was sleeping with a kid who is also just starting high school. (Sleeping, not “sleeping”.) What is "14 yrs old" coming to these days?! The physical new-ness of their relationship did not feel 14. It felt like ready-to-experience-everything-long-term-and-make-commitments new. So I felt yanked into an older “new” and then yanked back out to a younger “new” that gave me a bit of whiplash. Maisie is at least 16 in my head. Not 14. Please, not 14.

Part of the horror aspect of the story is how real everything is. I can totally see an alien invasion happening that we mistook for something else. The idea that we’d need a 14 yr old to save the world is somewhat akin to the realization that Maisie will be saving the world with one arm. It’s one of those series of things in the book that just made me want to say, “Well, crap. That’s it, then.” Another one was learning that there would be an alien invasion and not quite wrapping my head around the idea of the magnitude… and then realizing that it already happened. We’re invaded and being taken over. There is no stopping it from happening because you didn’t realize it was even going to happen until it was too late to catch it before it happened. “Well, crap. That’s it, then.”

This was a regular theme. The dawning of realization after it was too late to do anything about it. Like Maisie’s mom. Like Wilder’s dad. Like the responses of the fireteam to their super-powers. Like finding out they had super-powers. Like the space compound being run by someone who’s crazy and loaded with her own agendas. Like not being able to shake GT, who is a real life-n-death size irritation when humanity is on the line. Like realizing that Dragon is really, really, really cool. Like realizing that attraction to someone can’t be changed by willpower, it has a life of its own.

END OF SPOILERY STUFF.

This is one of those books that would be AWESOME to start discussion groups about. There is so much scope for the imagination.

To the one who wants to know… the story is complete in itself and wraps up a million loose ends very deliberately, sweetly, completely. For language, "Frac" is used and "Bleepity Bleep" is used a lot and is sometimes easy to fill in the blanks. For romance, there is kissing and some discussion of button placement and some cozy hanging out. And a lip smoosh. For violence... there is some disturbing stuff including a number of deaths, a healthy amount of blood, some zombie-like behavior including a dog gnawing on a human bone. *shudder* There's some torture and at least four fights to-the-death. The bad guys are really, really bad (so when I say the good guys are suspect of being bad, it's BAD!) They're twisted and heartless and intelligent about it. Being a good guy in this book is very painful. There's a lot of PAIN, in general.

If you like Shannon Hale, that’s nice, but be prepared to NOT compare this with any of her other (awesome) works. (Emma Burning had some disturbing moments, I suppose, but not like this.) If you were thinking about reading Shannon Hale for the first time… are you kidding me?! You just happened upon a GOLD MINE of good writing that will astonish long-term. Read all her stuff. I honestly don’t know if this book would top the list for hard sci-fi lovers or horror lovers… but for us fantasy-romance lovers, it’s like jumping into the deep end and getting comfy.

I understand the Love/Hate in the reviews I see on Goodreads. The “love” side of me looks more like “respect”. The “hate” response feels more like… finding myself in the deep end when I expected something else. There’s some “no-no-no-this-can’t-be-happening” that I experienced reading this book. I meant it, too. If I’d’ve stopped reading during one of those moments or skimmed through… I’d’ve given this book a 2. No joke.

But no… I was drug through the mud and came out the other side lickin’ my fingers ‘cause, by golly, that wasn’t mud, it was chocolate all along.

4.95 Brilliant Stars
Profile Image for Rebekah.
728 reviews954 followers
February 26, 2014
Original Review at: www.beawesomebeabooknut@blogspot.com

Many people have read Shannon Hale and I am no exception. I was really interested to read her YA Sci-fi book that even has a hero twist! Plus its sounded fun and just awesome!

What is great about this book is that it's fast paced, and keeps you guessing! I was shocked several times during the book because things happened that I did not see coming and the whole time Shannon Hale had me going, "what??? WHAAAAT?! no....way" I'm series?! it was that crazy fun!

Another thing I liked about this book is the main character is "flawed" and what I mean by that is she is not just some gorgeous girl who is automatically the hero and has to save the world! Nope, Maisie has only one arm! Plus she isn't BORN into the hero seat, she is created and there is character development INTO the hero. You know what I mean? Anyway...

I enjoyed the romance. The romance wasn't over whelming it was a nice under tone through out the whole book and part of the reason I was going... "no....no....NO WAY!"

I liked that this was action packed with some humor. I enjoyed that there was no language, or sex, or anything like unto it so I was able to enjoy it without worry of whom I could recommend this to.

I liked that there are different characters brought together and are each their own character. How they are thrown together in this twist of fate and now have to deal with it and the consequences and how power can change someone and affect the rest.

There were times when I felt the book was rushed so Hale could get to a certain point and then she slowed down the pace didn't flow. I also felt that there were times when it was choppy (and this could've been my uncorrected advanced reader copy). Other than that it was fabulous.

Overall this was great and I would recommend it to anybody!

Language: none (although Maisie injects "bleep" whenever another character curses and I'm pretty sure you can figure out what the other character was saying."
Sexual Content: moderate (PG-some kissing that leads one character to want to go further while the other character stops him/her)
Violence: moderate (PG/PG-13 people getting killed, fighting, shooting)
Drugs/Alcohol: none
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,095 reviews10.9k followers
November 13, 2014
First Thoughts: 1 star, with the last third increasing marginally to 1.25-1.5 stars. Would have been interesting, but characters felt flat and plot moved along weirdly.

Honestly, I wanted to love Dangerous. I did. After all, it's a book by Shannon Hale, and I've enjoyed her writing before. Sadly, I didn't like it. It was a real disappointment for me, particularly since the concept sounded cool (and the cover looks amazing).

I can tell you the three things that really fell flat for me:

1. Characters - I didn't care for any of them very much at all, even Maisie. Sure, they were in situations where I did feel for them (since I'm human after all). But there were no qualities that drew me to them, nor were there any standouts.

2. Plot - It was very abrupt, with stops and starts that kept catching me off guard. I also feel like it was really rushed, with no real development and just heaps upon heaps of "big things" happening.

3. Romance - Blech. I seriously did not savor the thought of this romance at all. There was no chemistry, no build-up, nothing.

I really wish that this had been written differently. The concept had the potential to be really interesting, and fun to read. But sadly, this particular novel just wasn't my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Ritz.
162 reviews49 followers
January 30, 2021
There is good sci-fi. And there is bad sci-fi. Good sci-fi has likable characters, an interesting plot, good worldbuilding. Good sci-fi is TLC, Aurora Rising, Renegades. And there is bad sci-fi. bad sci-fi is basically the opposite of good sci-fi. This includes the last book of Angelfall and Wildcard. But for this book, I had to create a whole new category; trashy sci-fi. This book was horrible. It was trashy sci-fi.

It started out as an interesting plot, but really, really failed. It became super weird. DNF at page 146.

I guess it's my fault for reading a book with an average rating of 3.44.
Profile Image for Sophie.
171 reviews32 followers
March 8, 2014
Dangerous felt like a really bad joke. I went into this book knowing very little about it, and that still doesn’t explain how random and confusing it was. The characters lacked depth and personality, and the plot didn’t flow well and felt disorganized. Dangerous attempted to make light of dire situations and ended up being inconsistent and unfocused; the only thing dangerous about it was the heroine’s middle name.

Introduction
Maisie Danger Brown (yes, that’s her real middle name) wins a sweepstakes from a Blueberry Bonanza cereal box and gets herself an entry to the Howell Astronaut Boot Camp. She’s excited to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, and this is her opportunity to go up the Beanstalk, the first space elevator built by Bonnie Howell that goes thirty-six-thousand kilometers up into space. Maisie leaves behind her best-friend-who-wants-to-be-more-than-friends to spend the summer at space camp, where she forms a “fireteam” with the constantly cussing Jacques, red-headed Ruth, and slushie-loving Mi-Sun. She also ends up falling for Jonathan Ingalls Wilder (again, real name), who keeps sending Maisie mixed signals. However, there’s more to space camp than meets the eye, and Maisie finds herself thrust into more dangerous situations than she expected.

Discussion
Okay, so now you know more about Dangerous than I did when I started reading the book. But even if I had known what this book was about before I read it, I’d still be unpleasantly surprised by the plot. The storyline feels choppy and unfocused, and the “fireteam” concept isn’t elaborated on past the first here’s-a-mission-go event. There’s just not enough backstory and details throughout the story’s progression, and I was confused about where the story was going most of the time. The kids just go with the flow, but the flow isn’t well thought out, so the camp itself feels wishy-washy and disorganized. I don’t want to give away the plot, but this story tries to merge together several science fiction tropes by introducing each trope separately, and I wish that I was given a glimpse of the big picture beforehand.

Maisie Brown was likable at the beginning of the story, but her character development is lacking and the plot holes make it worse. She has a physical disability that makes me care about her, but I should really say that she had a physical disability because it basically disappears with the introduction of high-tech stuff at space camp. Maisie ends up having all these add-ons that obscure her true character, and I ended up not caring for her as much as I would’ve liked to.

The other characters are even more poorly developed; The Boy is crazy inconsistent in his feelings for Maisie and his actions in general, and weak explanations of why he did what he did after the events in question do not work in garnering my sympathy for him as a main character. The love triangle thing going on between Maisie, The Boy, and the best-friend-back-home feels forced and awkward. Take away all these love interests, and Dangerous would actually be a better read.

The other members of the fireteam don’t really have personalities… they just have quirks. They don’t connect with Maisie at all, and even Maisie herself feels sorry for them at times rather than actually caring for them as a friend would. And Bonnie Howell is supposed to be this brilliant, intelligent woman, but she seems more like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory in that she tries to be entertaining in the most serious of moments and has no social skills whatsoever.



The pacing of the story is also strange because of the constant shift between lagging moments and fast-paced, action-packed moments. The story spans more than half a year, and there are events that seem unnecessarily drawn out. The characters also don’t develop much after these time lapses, and I really expected them to grow because, look, you had half a year!

But usually, for books that don’t work for me, I try to imagine them as TV shows or movies and somehow they work better in that media (in my mind). Dangerous works slightly better for me when I imagine it in that form just because there’s a lot of cool technology, but overall, the inconsistencies in the plot and the characters would still make it a not-so-enjoyable TV show.

Conclusion
I was unpleasantly surprised by Dangerous, possibly because I came in with high expectations for a Shannon Hale book. But the wacky plot and poorly developed characters threw me off, and even though this is a blend of sci-fi tropes that I haven’t seen before, I didn’t like Dangerous.

Paper Breathers (Book Reviews & Discussions)
Profile Image for Sunil.
914 reviews117 followers
October 24, 2015
Shannon Hale basically hand-sold me this book by describing the main character of this young adult science fiction novel as a "half-Latina, one-armed, home-schooled science geek." From my cursory glance at the cover copy, I thought the book was some sort of romantic space camp adventure, which wasn't entirely my thing, but at some point the main character had to save the world, and that is my thing.

This book is not a romantic space camp adventure.

This book is a fast-paced, fucked-up sci-fi superhero thriller, and it is awesome.

Maisie Danger Brown—yes, her middle name is literally Danger, just go with it, it's cute—wins a sweepstakes to go to a space camp run by eccentric billionaire Bonnie Howell, who made a space elevator this one time. There she meets the African-French-American Jacques, who's hyper and nerdy; the Korean Mi-sun, who's just a kid who likes Slushies; the white Ruth, who's tall and kind of mean; and Wilder, the token white dude, who is...very much a white dude: privileged, entitled, sort of jerk-y really. So of course Maisie is attracted to him. Thankfully he does have a sweeter side to him (don't all the bad boys of fiction?).

Anyway they go to space and get superpowers.

No seriously this happens in like the first 80 pages, and the cover copy could not be bothered to frame this is as the science fiction superhero book that it actually is.

I hesitate to say any more about the plot because so much fucking happens in this book. Things happen so quickly that the passage of time can be a little disorienting, but Hale is not interested in waiting around for time to pass, dammit. It feels like an entire trilogy in one book; it could have easily been a series, but I'm glad Hale just decided "Why wait, let's give them ALL THE PLOT AT ONCE!!!" because now I have this awesome standalone book that kept me turning pages furiously. This is not a happy fun superhero team book, though (see above where I said it was fucked-up), and things get worse and worse for everyone, with deaths and betrayals and twists and the underlying reason for these teens' superpowers (see above where I said she had to save the world).

Maisie Danger Brown rules, even when she is way too attracted to a jerk like Wilder and not attracted enough to her perfectly nice best friend Luther (yes, this is a young adult book). Her romantic feelings do complicate things a great deal, but she has far more pressing things to deal with, and she handles them incredibly well. For fuck's sake, this one time she...no, I can't spoil it. And oh man, when she...no, I can't spoil it. AND HOLY SHIT AT THE END WHEN SHE...no, I can't spoil it.

Dangerous isn't perfect. Hale does do a lot of characterization by quirks (it's telling that I could not really remember what kind of person Mi-sun was, and there is an abundance of quoting poetry and Shakespeare as if teens go around memorizing all of Robert Frost all the time), and at times the story moves too fast (especially in the final third, which starts to throw in a whole lot of science fiction ideas very quickly). But I did not really care because this book was a fucking blast to read, and I was always rooting for Maisie. Even if some characters felt thinly sketched, I connected to them anyway, largely because of how Maisie felt about them.

I love Shannon Hale's take on superheroes here and how she's mashed them up with a few science fiction tropes. It's fun and inventive and full of surprises. The most dangerous thing about Dangerous is that once you start reading it you're not going to want to stop.
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,550 reviews509 followers
December 27, 2014
I am pleasantly surprised to see the number of people out there who agree that this is a crappy book!

It's a mish-mosh. One moment, Maisie seems about 12, next she is clearly a teen. The plot careens from side to side, adding more twists and turns that don't make sense. The romance/love triangle is pathetic and not believable. The love interest isn't a believable character. The added twists involving a parent's past are lame. And the ending is pat and unfortunately seems to leave space for another book--please, NO!

Did I leave anything out? Oh, yeah, that Hale credits in passing Arthur C Clarke with a book including an elevator into space, but seems totally unaware that such a mode of transport is in Friday by the immortal Robert A Heinlein.

And it was named the Beanstalk. When I flipped to the back and saw Hale not mentioning Heinlein, I knew I was in for a bad book.

Hale needs to stick to writing books about princes and princesses and romance on the level that is believable to sheltered elementary school students.

And her editors need to tell her as much and not inflict this sort of crap on the asshats who will buy anything by an award winning author.
Profile Image for Mrs..
73 reviews14 followers
March 5, 2014
Action from the word GO. Adventure. Strong female lead. Strong female lead with a handicap that doesn't stop her. Strong female lead with hormones getting in the way of work. Strong female lead with awesome family members who support her. In short, everything a teenager feels most days twisted with a lot of danger and craziness!

The heroine, Maisie Danger Brown, always thought her middle name was a joke. She wasn't dangerous. She wasn't a person who lived for adventure or the next thrill. She was a homeschooled self-proclaimed nerd who didn't have one hand because of a birth defect. Her parents were both scientists, dad a biologist and mom a physicist, who loved Maisie with everything in them. So much so she felt they were extremely overprotective. It all changed the day she was accepted into an astronaut program. Of course it starts off rough with kids making fun of her, but because of that she pulls herself up and shows them that just because she doesn't have a hand doesn't mean she can't do everything they can do. If the story stopped there I would have called it a great book just because it showed an ability to move beyond a disability and make a positive impact in the world.

However, now we move into scary stuff that includes aliens and a space elevator. The science fiction thought behind this book was absolutely incredible. I don't know how Ms. Hale's imagination went this far. Maisie becomes an alien herself in order to fight other aliens, along with four other people on her fireteam from the camp. I don't even want to put much more about this because I'm afraid of spoiling the story. Let me just say it was non-stop action and craziness in Maisie's life and pulled in everyone near and dear to her, and showed her other people she loved and couldn't trust.

The writing was intense and the character development was amazing. Within a few pages of the book, I felt like I was Maisie because Ms. Hale told us so much about her thoughts and feelings. I highly recommend this book to any science fiction reader or anyone loving action and adventure. It is released in March and I suggest you go pre-order it NOW!
Profile Image for Jenny Schwartzberg.
78 reviews27 followers
November 8, 2013
I got an eARC of this book from NetGalley. I felt cautious about reading it since I know Shannon Hale as a children's fantasy writer, and a very fine one. How would she do as a YA science fiction writer? I was happily surprised to find this book a galloping adventure story, mixing disability, relationships with family, friends and first love together with science-fictional technology. The heroine's very good relationship with her parents is contrasted against other characters' dysfunctional families and friendships shift and change over the course of the story. This is not just an adventure story. It's also about growing up, making moral choices and judgments, learning to view people with caution and revising one's opinion of others based on new information. In the end, it's also about learning to deal with trauma, the loss of friends and moving forward with life. Definitely recommended.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews83 followers
April 28, 2014
You know when you read a few reviews for a book, think 'I'll wait to read this, I trust these people and this doesn't sound like something I will enjoy'. Yeah, I did that and still bought this book. Derp.

Oh well, I got over that. I couldn't get over the simple writing, boring characters and mind numbing plot. Sorry, I need more than pink ghost things to get a real idea of danger. Unfortunately my only other experience with the name Maisie involves a child mouse on kids ABC programming. I wanted to like sheltered, one armed Maisie, but there wasn't much to like. I concede her love for her parents was nice though, too many YA have absent parents. The dog was pointless, and it's not often I say that about dogs.

I found this book a struggle, having to stop myself from skimming instead of reading properly. I was bored with the plot and the characters. 2 stars.
138 reviews1 follower
August 29, 2014
Ridiculous! I'm a Shannon Hale fan but I could not allow myself to keep reading this book. I read almost half of the book so I have a good feel for it. Once I got to the part where "Super Maisie" was swimming in the water holding onto the boat and all that, when she realized a shark just bumped her and she got scared, but then "remembered who she was and ate it," I couldn't take it anymore. I appreciate the attempt at a different genre, but it just didn't work.
Profile Image for Rosemary.
246 reviews4 followers
February 4, 2014
Let me begin by saying that I love Shannon Hale's work. _Goose Girl_ and _Book of a Thousand Days_ are particular favorites of mine, and I've also enjoyed the _Princess Academy_ books. Hale has an instinctive sense of what aspects of an older tale are still going to resonate with contemporary readers, and she draws on those aspects to create three-dimensional characters and situations that evoke both times gone by as well as timeless emotions and conflicts.

So, I was eager to read _Dangerous_, which is set in the present, and which features a typically Shannon-Hale-esque protagonist: a smart, sensitive, witty young woman who's in the process of discovering the depth of her own strength.

In this case, that girl is Maisie Danger Brown (yep, that's her real middle name), the daughter of a microbiologist father and a physicist mother. With that kind of pedigree, it's no wonder Maisie gets excited when she sees a contest to win a spot at billionaire Bonnie Howell's "astronaut boot camp" on the back on a cereal box. One small problem: Maisie was born with only one hand, and though she has a prosthesis and is a homeschooled genius, she's pretty sure she won't be allowed to go, even if she wins.

But she does win, and she does go, and from that point on, the plot accelerates like a rocket ship.

At the camp, Maisie meets several other kids who become part of her "fire team": the groups campers are put in to solve various problems in simulated environments. Maisie's team performs so well that they're selected to go up to Howell's space lab--but once they've arrived, the kids' bodies are overtaken by alien "tokens" that give them various superpowers.

At this point, _Dangerous_ shifts into dystopian mode: the kids discover they're being used by competing forces, they attempt to escape, they struggle to figure out who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are, and they eventually agree to lead the battle against the alien beings responsible for a mysterious world-wide pandemic dubbed the "Jumper Virus."

It's hard not to read this story as pretty derivative of other popular YA books and films in recent years: it's part _Hunger Games_, part _X-Men_, part _Uglies_…you get the idea. I don't have a problem with that, really, since that's kind of a reading sweet spot these days, and I'm all for giving kids more of what they like to read.

What bothered me as the story went along, though, were issues of pacing and tone. At times, big stretches of time would pass and we'd just get a brief summary of what happened, while other bits get drawn out too long. I'm thinking in particular of the romance between Maisie and fellow space camper Jonathan. Again, it's kind of a standard trope of dystopian YA lit these days that you have to have a forbidden/dangerous romance thrown into the mix, and that the male character has to be ambiguous: can our heroine trust him or not? Will he kill her or kiss her?

At least in the first _Hunger Games_ book, the budding romance between Katniss and Peeta didn't develop until they were hidden away in the relative safety of their cave; here, Maisie will stop virtually mid-battle-to-save-the-planet to wonder what Jonathan really thinks of her, or to moon over a recent make out session. That kind of thing not only undermines her strength, but seems even more unrealistic than the most fantastic elements of the plot!

And that's related to my issues with the tone: Maisie often delivers completely wack one-liners out of nowhere. They're intended to be funny (and sometimes they are), but more often than not they're disruptive, taking the reader out of the flow of the story to wonder, "Wait--what's going on here?" For example, at one point, Maisie and Jonathan are spying on the arch-villain who seems to be trying to kill them, and Jonathan starts biting her neck (what? bad timing, dude) and then calls her "brutal"…which leads to this exchange:

Maisie: "'You wanna see brutal?' I leaned over and picked up a steel dumpster.
Jonathan: "If that's an attempt to turn me off, it's having exactly the opposite effect."

That's actually one of the more amusing non sequiturs, but others are just plain perplexing.

Once Maisie and crew enter into direct battle with the aliens, though, things pick up, and I found the last hundred pages or so much more fluid and readable. And also a lot creepier: the description of the adult aliens silently swinging on park swings in a town that's been infected by the alleged virus is seriously disturbing.

And Hale's ending also avoids the pitfalls of so many dystopian-YA lit these days: it actually ends with order more or less restored, and the kids able to return to some kind of normal life. And best of all, this appears to be a standalone novel: no dragging this story out over two more increasingly dissatisfying sequels.

So, I'm kind of on the fence about this one. It's definitely NOT the first Shannon Hale book I'd mention to someone who asked me for book recommendations. And I'm not even sure it'd be among those of this genre that I'd recommend. But then, I'm not the target audience here--I'm a grownup, and one who likes fairy tales, not one who likes superhero stories or science fiction. Maybe I missed the point…but sorry, Maisie: you may have had your friend Luther "at extraterrestrial nanorobots," but you'd lost me long before that.

N. B.: I read this as an e-ARC I received from Bloomsbury via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gretchen Alice.
1,022 reviews88 followers
March 28, 2014
Maisie Danger Brown (named so she can accurately say that Danger is, in fact, her middle name) has always wanted to be an astronaut. So when a space camp opportunity falls in her lap, she jumps at the chance. Maisie and four of her space camp buddies get taken on the trip of a lifetime and accidentally get injected with alien technology. There are spaceships, superheroes, and a simmering romance. Honestly, the whole book is something of a mess.

Dangerous is a departure for Shannon Hale. She’s dealt with special powers before, although never in the context of the real world, always in the context of fairy tales. Her relative newness at writing science fiction shows. I would like to go on the record and state that I absolutely think that authors should try new styles, new genres, etc. It keeps things interesting and it’s better than reading the same book by an author, just published under a new title. So that’s not my complaint. My actual complaint is that the main character, Maisie, had no personality. Neither did most of the characters, unfortunately.

Maisie has a lot of interesting things going for her. She’s half-Paraguayan, she was born with one arm, she’s homeschooled, and she loves science. All of these would made great conversation starters at a party. But in terms of her actual sense of being, she’s…cautious? But only some of the time? I’ve got nothing. And the book was written in first-person perspective, too, which is a LOT of time spent inside the head of a girl who doesn’t have a very strong characterization. Her romantic interest was infuriating. The science-y parts and the superhero bits were surprisingly tedious. I found the ending to be unsatisfying.

I know I’m complaining a lot. Here’s what I did like about the book. First, I loved the characters of Luther, Maisie’s best friend from her neighborhood, and Maisie’s parents, who were delightful. (Oh, and Dragon! Dragon was marvelous.) Second, the superhero names were actually really convincing. I loved that. Third, there were sentences, paragraphs, and whole sections that really sucked me in with the quality of the writing. No surprise there—Shannon Hale is very good at, you know, words and stuff.

In trying to create an original superhero story, some of the really basic stuff that makes superhero stories so wonderful got entirely overlooked. I feel like there was so much potential here. Ah, well. I guess they can’t all be winners.

(For those who have read the book, here's how I wish that it had played out. )
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