Zoo

Zoo

by Graham Marks
     
 

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Seventeen-year-old Cam Stewart was living a comfortable life in Southern California until kidnappers suddenly turn his world upside down. With grit and determination he never knew he had, Cam escapes his worst nightmare, only to find a more bizarre reality waiting for him. On the run, some new friends help Cam uncover the truth about his life-and about the person

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Overview

Seventeen-year-old Cam Stewart was living a comfortable life in Southern California until kidnappers suddenly turn his world upside down. With grit and determination he never knew he had, Cam escapes his worst nightmare, only to find a more bizarre reality waiting for him. On the run, some new friends help Cam uncover the truth about his life-and about the person he was supposed to be.

This fast-paced thriller will make every reader think twice about the consequences of genetic science.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Cam Stewart is the perfect seventeen-year-old-smart, good looking, a personable athlete-who wakes up as the victim of a kidnapping. His captors are strangers, their motive unknown, but Cam's instincts scream, "Escape!" Once free, he realizes that he is in Washington state, hundreds of miles from his home in San Diego, and not only must he find a way to get back, he also must determine who the good guys and bad guys really are. That line becomes even more blurred when a call to his father results in what looks like a setup, and Cam barely avoids being recaptured. With the help of Jax and especially Tee, who give him a lift and ultimately a place to crash while he figures things out, Cam discovers information about his family and about himself that makes the past a lie and the future unclear. With a plot reminiscent of Cormier's I Am the Cheese (Knopf, 1977) and a delivery that will appeal to fans of television crime suspense, this novel takes its place in a genre infrequently visited by young adult authors. Marks spins a complex tale that unfolds with clue dropping and subtle surprise, using multiple narrators and interwoven subplots that come together smartly as the story unfolds. Fast-paced storytelling, realistic characters, and plenty of forensic science create appeal for a wide range of readers. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Bloomsbury, 272p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
Children's Literature
Marks, a British author of several teen thrillers, says that after living in Canada as a child he started "a love-affair with North America that's never stopped." For Zoo, he traveled the west coast of the U.S. scouting locations for this tale of seventeen-year-old Cameron Stewart, who's kidnapped right in front of his upscale home in La Jolla and later finds himself in Seattle, Santa Monica, and San Diego. The settings are convincing; the characters are numerous, though it is hard to engage with them since they have neither a past nor a future, but seem crafted exactly to fill the roles they are assigned in the book. Even perfect teenager Cam has no interests outside of football and no plans for college or a profession. Cam's adventures are definitely fast-paced: he flees kidnappers, police, and agents of his father. When he is taken in hand by a sexy young woman and her cranky boyfriend, he begins to distrust his parents and discovers unsettling facts about his identity, as Marks lays on betrayals, shootings, and sexual stress. Teens who can keep up with the pace while suspending disbelief will most likely enjoy the ride, although afterthoughts may cause them to wonder how the police can ignore the deaths of multiple children and suppress all knowledge of a sinister genetic engineering business. Readers might also ponder what will become of a pair of footloose eighteen-year-old lovers who have blotted out their pasts. Lucky Cam, to inherit a trust fund at the end! 2005, Bloomsbury, Ages 13 up.
—Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Cameron Stewart, a 17-year-old athlete and all-around good guy, is kidnapped from his San Diego home and winds up in Seattle. He escapes his captors by accidentally killing one of them, and then proceeds on a long journey home by boxcar and the back of a pickup truck. When the owner of the truck and his girlfriend, Tee, discover Cam's presence, they take him to their home in Santa Monica, where he begins to unravel the secrets of his life, including the fact that he is not who he appears to be, and that his parents are involved in a covert eugenics company, of which he is actually a product. Having the feel of a survival story with a touch of mystery, Cam's weeklong adventure takes him through a dire predicament where he manages to elude his kidnappers while simultaneously dodging the police in fear of being accused of murder. However, as the plot unfolds, there are a few distracting elements, such as the coincidental discovery of the computer chip in Cam's shoulder holding secrets to his identity, and the breakneck development of Cam and Tee's romance. In addition, the epilogue provides too pat an ending. For teens wanting compelling contemporary fiction about genetic manipulation, Nancy Werlin's Double Helix (Dial, 2004) is a superior title, but Marks's precise choice of words and the book's fast pace redeem Zoo and make it a satisfying read.-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Kidnapped outside his home in San Diego, Cam awakens in Seattle confused and frightened. The quick-thinking and resourceful teen, however, wastes no time in escaping his captors, and manages to make a call to his parents. Unfortunately, the safe haven his father suggests is anything but, and Cam finds himself outrunning danger once again. Hampered by a gunshot wound, Cam seeks the assistance of Tee, a young woman who-along with her less-than-gracious boyfriend, Jaxon-helped Cam get as far as Los Angeles. The mystery surrounding Cam's abduction and his parents' possible involvement deepens when Cam's wound reveals a computer chip implanted in his arm. With Tee's help, Cam begins to understand the magnitude of the secret so many are trying to protect. Marks has hit on an enticing plotline for this fast-paced, contemporary thriller that will find an audience with teenaged boys, in particular. A tad overwritten at times, this is not an unparalleled work, but an entertaining one. The tone and quality are consistent throughout, and a contemporary edge provides extra panache. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582349916
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
08/28/2005
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.04(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.75(d)
Lexile:
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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