Dangerous by Shannon Hale Book Review

Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 4, 2014

When Maisie Danger Brown wins a contest to spend a week at an astronaut space camp, she can't believe her luck. After all, she only has one hand and who has ever heard of a one-handed astronaut? She even meets a boy at space camp whose name, Wilder, seems to match her own dangerous one. However, there is more going on at space camp than meets the eye and soon Maisie is sucked into plot of extraterrestrial proportions. There is only one way to stop it and Maisie is the key. If she is strong enough.

This book started out strong. Maisie, her family, and best friend were quickly established and Maisie was off to space camp before you knew it. Her team goes through training and Maisie falls for the rich and sweet-talking Wilder. They go up in a giant space elevator against all reason or logic and become infected with alien nannite technology that literally changes their DNA. All of that was interesting and snappy and then Maisie escapes and the whole thing fell apart. Kids working as assassins, alien takeovers, jet pack suits, Maisie on the run, and the weirdest and completely implausible ending ever. Oh and perhaps I forgot to mention that the second half of the book is basically one of the most ridiculous love triangle scenarios that I have read. The plot takes a backseat to Maisie's ever increasing obsession with Wilder.

You know what the problem in a lot of stories is? Communication. In order to carry the plot along, authors think that characters keeping secrets from another is how you can do that. I just started the Runaway Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and one of the characters lives was threatened and instead of letting the girl in on the plot, the main character immediately tells her a life, hurts her deeply, and sends her away, as if this strong character can't handle the truth or shouldn't know about threats on her life. That is what happened here. Wilder lies so much to Maisie, but the lies were completely stupid and he could have let her know the truth at any time. Sure the plot would have been different, there wouldn't have been this so-called twist, but it would have been better. Especially since, even when Wilder is such a scumbag that he really does deserve to die, Maisie still can't help but be in love with him. You know, because her heart pitter patters whenever she sees him.

There are also a whole lot of small details that feel like the book was just trying to fulfill the perfect (imaginary) YA novel checklist. Multiethnic character? Check. More than one multiethnic character? Check. Disability? Check. Odd name? Check. Romance? Check. Love Triangle? But of course. Despite all this, I could barely get through this one. When aliens are threatening to destroy humanity, all of it, and you (being a good person) are the only one who can stop it...well, you put on your big girl shoes, ignore the cute boy in the corner, and save the world. If all you can do the entire time is pine after the jackass who is treating you like dirt, you definitely don't deserve the title of heroine.