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4.0 3
by Steven Layne

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Dirk and his friends have spent their entire lives in hiding because of their racial identities. Now they must make a dangerous journey into the past with the hope of restoring the world's natural timeline and dissolving their engineered society. Each of them has special powers-Nicci, the African Traveler, manipulates time; Mateo, the Hispanic Metamorph, alters his


Dirk and his friends have spent their entire lives in hiding because of their racial identities. Now they must make a dangerous journey into the past with the hope of restoring the world's natural timeline and dissolving their engineered society. Each of them has special powers-Nicci, the African Traveler, manipulates time; Mateo, the Hispanic Metamorph, alters his shape; Keiko, the Asian Empath, heals with her hands; and Dirk, the Caucasian Psyche, invades others' minds-that they will use to conquer The Merger.

Editorial Reviews

Margaret Peterson Haddix
"Gives readers a lot to think about concerning race, fate, trust-and friendship."
Senator Broogue of the Legion for World Alliance captures teenaged Dirk Tyrone; his three friends, Keiko, Nicci, and Matty; and their tutor Lisa Tyrone. Broogue intends to torture them to harvest their psychic abilities and then kill them. Saved unexpectedly by three mysterious benefactors, Madame Moment, Mrs. Morph, and Dr. Panacea, the four youth are informed why Broogue views them as a threat. Lisa dies from injuries after being "torched"-torture designed to grill human flesh. The Senator has engineered a society where racial prejudice has been eliminated by merging DNA to create a universal race. Dirk and his friends were born bearing the archaic physical characteristics of a Caucasian, an African, a Hispanic, and an Asian. They also possess special powers: Dirk is a telepath, Keiko is an empath, Nicci can travel through time, and Matty is a metamorph. Madame Moment enlists them to return to the past where one person must die in order to allow multiple races to survive and thwart Broogue's plan. Despite some cheesy characters and a plot with serious flaws, this book raises fundamental questions about the anatomy of racial hatred. The premises that society stagnates without diversity and that one person can sway the future bear examination and discussion. Give this one to your teens who might appreciate the Hardy Boys with a more serious twist. Intense but infrequent violence will keep it out of the middle school library. Layne is the author of This Side of Paradise (North Star Books, 2001/VOYA February 2002). VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Pelican,206p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Nancy K. Wallace
Rachel Lance
In a world where all races have been blended into one, Dirk, Mateo, Nicci, and Keiko are unique. In addition to their supernatural abilities, they've retained their ethnic features, and that's why Senator Broogue will stop at nothing to destroy them. The Merger, a vision of utopia originally designed to abolish racial differences and eliminate conflict, has become a nightmare of reality that only Dirk and his friends have the ability to reverse. With the help of a mysterious trio of Elders whose ethnicity and abilities mirror those of the teens, Dirk and his friends refine their abilities and prepare to step back in time to meet Senator Broogue and prevent him from ever setting the Merger into motion. The characters are well-crafted, likeable and vivid; adolescent readers are sure to identify with them. Layne weaves a fantastic story full of action and tender moments, conflict and teamwork. Engaging to reluctant and avid readers alike, Mergers blends science fiction, fantasy, and our all-too-human struggles—providing a story that resonates from beginning to end.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Four friends were raised together. Each one is of a different race and has a different superpower. One is psychic, another empathic, another can morph into other forms, and the final one can travel through and control time. They live in a society in which their very faces will get them killed, a merged world where race has been eliminated and all people are the same combination of races. When the teens are caught and their caregiver is murdered by crazed Senator Broogue, they are rescued from a similar fate by four adults who are also of different races and have similar powers. The adults train the young people to strengthen their powers in order to travel back in time and reverse the merged races. This book reads like a comic book with plenty of action. The pace is generally fast, though the story does bog down occasionally in the middle. The matching powers of the teens and their adult counterparts are never explained, leaving lots of loose ends. There is also unevenness in the story line; upcoming obstacles seem to be insurmountable, but then when they are finally overcome, they are made to seem insignificant. A quick read, this is not an essential purchase but it should be well received if you can get it into the hands of graphic-novel fans.-Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Meet the Author

STEVEN L. LAYNE is a professor at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, where he also serves as director of the Master of Education in Literacy program. His work has been recognized by organizations such as USA Today, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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Mergers 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
I give this book 4 out of 5 people. The reason for choosing people is almost everyone in the book is focused on the race of people. I only give it four out of five people because the book gets very complex because one girl can time travel and they do not explain with a lot of detail what is happening while she is time traveling. However, this is a thrill-seekers book and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page. In this book there are four main characters, Dirk Tyrone, Keiko Tan, Mateo Rodriquez, and Nicci Golden. They each possess two things that are different from the rest of society making them a threat. Dirk is Caucasian and has the power to use his mental powers to control people. Keiko is Asian and can heal people with her hands. Mateo is Hispanic and can change into any creature his heart desires. Nicci is African American and can time travel or slow down time. These four are different not just because of their powers but also because of their race. The Merger made everybody look exactly the same because of racial discrimination. These four have to stop the Merger because he is stopping individuality. In doing so they meet up with a group of people called The Elders who share the same characteristics. They help the kids train their powers so they can eventually fight against the Merger. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and likes a thrilling book with a ton of twists. This book is obviously fantasy because of the setting. The setting is in the future where almost everyone looks the same and some people have super hero like powers. The book has so many twists I didn’t fully understand what was happening until the very last page. This book had so much action and thrill I couldn’t put the book down until I was done. You start to really get to know each character because of how much they’re described in detail. This book is a very good book and will keep you thinking even when you’re done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Imagine a world where there are no racial differences. Everyone looks exactly the same, with a blending of Caucasian, Asian, African American, and Hispanic American features. This is the world that Dirk Tyrone, Keiko Tan, Mateo Rodriquez, and Nicci Golden are born into. The minute they are born, they are in immediate danger. They are the first children to be born with distinct cultural characteristics since the government implemented the Merger and they don't want word of it getting out. No one in the world even remembers a time when people could be different and they don't want people to question the Merger. In order to prevent the possibility of it happening again, the government murders the parents of the four children.

Dr. Lisa Tyrone is the doctor present during the birth of the children. In addition to being hospital personnel, she is also the biological aunt of Dirk. Wanting desperately to save the children from extermination, she escapes the hospital with the four babies and goes into hiding. Not only do the teens look different from everyone else in the world, but they also have powers. Dirk is a telepath and can enter the minds of people he comes into contact with. Keiko is an empath. She can heal people with her touch by taking on their pain and dispelling it from her body. Mateo is a metamorph and can change into any animal he thinks of and finally, Nicci is a time traveler and can manipulate time, past, present, and future. For fourteen years Dr. Tyrone is able to keep herself and the children safe, but finally, the man behind the Merger project, Senator Broogue, captures them all with plans to get rid of them once and for all.

After much torture, the children don't think they are going to make it out alive. When they feel all hope is lost, help arrives. Three people with district ethnic characteristics and similar powers to the kids appear and fight off Senator Broogue and whisk the kids away to safety. Unfortunately, Dr. Tyrone is too badly injured and can't be saved. The teens must deal with their grief while at the same time learning more about the world they live in and why it is the way it is. In addition, they also learn about what the world would be like if Senator Broogue hadn't altered the past and created the Merger. After a time of training with the Elders in order to learn how to better use their powers, they are sent back in time to challenge the Senator and prevent him from changing the past. If they succeed, the world will be back on the right path where people's individuality is appreciated.

MERGERS is Steven Layne's second novel. His debut novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE, was the winner of the Hal Clement Award for best science fiction for young adults in the United States. MERGERS is even better. Action scenes fill the pages and take the reader through the story at a rapid pace. The story has a satisfactory conclusion even though there are some unanswered questions, like who exactly are the Elders and how are they connected to the kids. However, these loose ends don't take away from the enjoyment of the novel.