When a writer hits his stride, he can be like the rabbit in that well-known battery commercial: he keeps going and going, and getting better and better. Eoin Colfer won't need to change his batteries anytime soon. He has discovered his genre let's call it the children's techno-thriller and his books have more snap and polish with each outing. He's been wildly successful with his Artemis Fowl series and has demonstrated that he is more than a one-series author with the entertaining teen novel The Wish List. So what does this kid's Tom Clancy do for an encore? How about the futuristic adventures of a crack team of teenage ghostbusters? The Supernaturalist is set at the dawn of the third millennium, and every possible worst-case scenario has come to pass. The world is overpopulated, the ozone layer has been depleted, pollution covers the planet and corporations run the world. Cosmo Hill is an orphan in this dismal environment, and an "unsponsored one" at that, so he's sent off to the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys freight class, of course. Clarissa Frayne isn't just an orphanage though: it's also a product-testing facility, and the orphans are the guinea pigs, testing everything from a toxic deodorant to packaged meals that might prove fatal. The average life expectancy is 15, and 13-year-old Cosmo knows that he had better find a way to get out soon if he wants to live to see 16. His chance comes when he is rescued by a group of kids calling themselves "Supernaturalists" and dedicated to ridding the world of life-sucking ghostlike figures only they can see. When Cosmo discovers to his shock that he can see these scary blue bubble creatures as well, he struggles to be accepted into the small band of heroes.

Colfer has created a world that will resonate with techno-savvy teen (and pre-teen) readers. His book has the feel of a Dickens novel set in a Blade Runner world. This dark excursion into a possible future is fast-paced, exciting and funny a delight for Colfer's fans and a sure-fire hit for summer reading. James Neal Webb has a supernatural ability to read several books simultaneously.

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