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All throughout his life, Steve Madden was asked if he was related to John Madden. As a budding writer striving to make a name for himself, he would respond, "No, but someday people will ask John if he's related to me."
Later in life, people pointed out he shared his name with a shoe company. He found this more acceptable, because while he doesn't follow football, he often wears shoes.
He has since decided to make a name for himself by not actually using his name.
on Sep. 21, 2011 :
Imagine a place where humans are the minority and the creatures of your nightmares are freely roaming the streets. This isn't Forks people, this is Averton, Home of the Monsters!
Michelle and her son Nick are roamers. They bounce from town to town never truly settling down, but not this time. Michelle has decided to spend what little time she has left with her 15 year old son before he grows up and moves on without her. So she moves them to the small town of Averton.
Nick can't believe his eyes, a real home, and not one they rent but actually own. He finally can put down some roots. This was the best present Michelle could ever give him, and right before his sixteenth birthday. It wasn't the car he wanted and had been saving for, and the town did give him the creeps as they were driving through, but home wasn't something Nick could say very often so he would take it! Nick quickly adjusts to his life in a new town. He had been the new kid before and knew all the tricks to settle in. He uses his smooth talking to form a friendship with his backward, reserved neighbor Myles. Soon he is off and running like a normal teen. He is hitting on two particular girls, Melody and Wendy, with Myles, he's trying out for the basketball team, and he is exploring his spooky, and haunted house. Even though the town itself still creeped him out, and sometimes he felt he missed the punch line of some sick joke, Nick was content with his new life. But that changes faster than he can say "what?" On accident in the locker room, Nick stumbles upon a secret. Averton High didn't need a mascot because the students themselves brought new meaning to Home of the Monsters....they were Monsters!!
Nick soon discovers that, along with Wendy and his mom, he is one of the few humans living in Averton. Even Myles, his new best friend, is some kind of mouse creature. You would think this would send Nick running for the hills, but it doesn't. This was the first time he had been offered the chance to grow some roots, so he was angry he wasn't going to fit in. Yes folks, he was upset that he wasn't a monster. He was searching for anything that would give him the opportunity to fit into this freaky town. And like a genie in a bottle in pops Heather to grant his wish. Heather explains to Nick that life as we know it is not real. There are two planes in which creatures live. One with humans and half-breed demons, and one with the real deal, demons and other creatures. To keep the Earthly plane safe a magical force was created to entrap creatures in their own realm. Averton just happened to be home to that magic called the Orb. The energy produced by the Orb was like a beacon for all demons, monsters, and other creatures a like. They wanted the power and to release all the captured demons inside. See, the true believers felt that demons had the right to be on Earth and humans should all perish or be slaves to them. The greatest of these evil doers was Muvari who killed the last Guardian and was out to capture the power for his own means. Heather is the Keeper of the Orb and was the last Guardian. Based on her ghostly status, she wasn't quite successful. Now she was entrusting Nick to help her.
Nick was ecstatic at the idea of being some secret protector. His ability to adapt to the odd was quite amazing. But he gets a little squashed when Heather informs him he is not the next Guardian, but the Seeker of the next one. She sends Nick and his new band Team Monster Force (Myles, Wendy, and Melody) in search of a four-year-old that will become the next Guardian. Diminished just a little, Nick takes on the task and the hunt for a new protector and battle monsters along the way. Will he find this child in time? And will this child be able to protect the Orb? Well, I'm not about to give that away, so you will have to read to find out!
This first of the series by S.L. madden is very intriguing. I loved Nick and all his little quirks!! He was a typical teen, hormones and all, wrapped in the middle of monster madness. This is the first book, so there is a lot of background information setting you up for the next installment. The real action didn't start until 3/4 of the way through and then stops, leaving you hanging.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Sep. 13, 2011 :
“The Four-Year-Old Guardian” is book 1 of The Only Human on the Block series. In it, we’re introduced to Averton, OR – Monster Capital of the World – when Nick and his mother Michelle move there from Yakima. Nick is accustomed to being the new kid on the block, because they moved around a lot; however, Michelle has purchased a house in Averton and plans on them staying there for Nick to finish school. Nick quickly learns that the cool kids aren’t going to give him the time of day, but he also quickly becomes friends with his neighbor, Myles, a nerdy home-schooled kid, and Melody and Wendy. He discovers that the people who used to live in the house where he now lives had a daughter named Heather who died around five years prior. And then, one night, he meets Heather – well, Heather’s ghost – and finds out that he is the new Seeker, the one who has to find the new Guardian of the Orb, who is the one to protect the power of the Orb to keep the human world – Earthspace – and the demon world – Valos – separated. Heather tells him that the new Guardian will be activated on his fourth birthday. While fighting demons as best they can, Nick and his friends seek the new Guardian. Will they be able to find the Guardian in time?
This was another excellent book by S L Madden, a young-adult novel that is fast-paced, well-written and filled with unique and well-defined characters. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and look forward to learning more about them in the next book in the series, “Bravado/Dramatique.” Also watch for Madden’s new series, Unseen Things, book 1 “The Shadow Walker.” Judging by the quality of Madden’s books so far, it should be wonderful!
(reviewed long after purchase)