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‘Kill Game’ should be put out of its misery.

Date published: 5/19/2005

By MELISSA NEWCOMB

YOUTH CORRESPONDENT

It would be a lie to say that the best literature is only the most sophisticated, intellectual and depressing.

However, it also would be a lie to say that the young-adult-series section is a gold mine of literary perfection.

“Kill Game” is only one reason why teenage books get a bad rap.

Author Francine Pascal is talented and experienced. Yet her latest work, set for release June 1, disappoints.

In Pascal’s “Fearless” series, readers discovered a gritty melodrama with interesting, complicated story lines. It was not a masterpiece, but it was good.

It was unrealistic, but it featured characters who were different, who were not stereotypes.

The new “Fearless FBI” series continues the story of a young woman, Gaia Moore, who is “a girl born without the fear gene.”

After leaving New York and her adolescent trauma behind, Gaia has made herself anew at Stanford University.

Only now she’s realized her feats of strength can be channeled for good, not awesome butt-kicking, and she wants to become a federal agent.

This extension of an already too-long series starts off badly. The new characters are as dimensional as cardboard cutouts. Even Gaia seems to be only a watery reflection of her former self.

The story line is weak, and Pascal’s style lacks details. Her descriptions are overused clichés: “The California sun was hot and bright” and “the bright, vast blue dome of the Virginia sky” are only a couple of examples.

Also, many Virginians familiar with the Quantico Marine Corps Base will not be impressed with Pascal’s image of the facility.

With a little more research, and a little more effort on Pascal’s part, this could have been a decent novel.

Sadly, however, “Kill Game” is only another contribution to the ever-growing collection of trite, formulaic young-adult books.

MELISSA NEWCOMB is a junior at Colonial Forge High School.