Name of Book: I Am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
Audience: Ages 14 and up
Summary: This is a science-fiction story about an alien race’s struggle for survival from an evil enemy.
Literary elements at work in the story: There are elements of love, suspense, action, violence, and faith in this book. Number 4 is a teenage boy from another planet with developing abilities that far surpass any human. He is caught in a vicious battle that caused the destruction of his planet. Throughout the book he is unaware of what will happen next. The story is not heavy on science fiction, but it does have some other worldly creatures and battles. Number 4 is coming of age in this story and learns to trust his friends and himself.
(How) does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The main character is from another planet but experiences many things a normal teenager does such as love, being accepted, being unsure of yourself, and bullying. His culture has told him that his race falls in love with someone forever. They would not be tempted by another and once they have made their mind up, they have done so for life. This element of Number 4’s race does play a role in his love life with Sarah. He would do anything to protect her. Sam is another main character. He is a human who befriends Number 4 (John). He shows a great example of how we are to treat others that are different. He soon finds out the truth about John and accepts him for who he is.
Theological conversation partners: Hebrews 12:1-2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Number 4 is surrounded by those who have given their lives so he could live. This includes all the people from his home planet, as well as his mentor Henri. He is called to continue to run the race that is set before him to save his people from annihilation. Our race is a little different, but none the easier. We are called to keep the faith, remembering those who have influenced us and guided us. Our job is not easy because, like Number 4, the end is not always clear cut. We must keep our faith in the risen Lord throughout our trials and doubts.
Faith Talk Questions
1. What are some things you doubt about yourself?
2. Have you ever felt out of place?
3. Tell of a time you have felt like you were meant for something great.
4. Have you ever lost someone close before? How does Number 4 deal with Henri’s death?
5. What would you do if you were from another planet and you began developing legacies?
6. Have you ever moved before? How did you feel in a new environment and new school?
7. How could you befriend someone new at your school?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Russ Pearson.
I Am Number Four by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.