Zadoff's book is an odd case. He wrote it last year, and said it didn't start out to be a series; but as we know, sometimes prose gets out of your control and demands to keep growing! So once he conceived of a sequel (and maybe more), and started referring to the series as "The Unknown Assassin," his publisher and he decided to rechristen book one: It's now called I Am the Weapon, and book two will be I Am the Mission. I Am the Weapon (alias Boy Nobody) comes out in paperback this month, and I Am the Mission comes out in hardcover in June! We already have Boy Nobody in the library, and will certainly be buying the sequel! I will also be proposing this one for 8+9 Book Club in the fall.
I give Ewell credit for the interesting concept, and some of the details that were original and intriguing--the "mailbox" cubbyhole in the cafe ladies' room being one of them. But…the language is stilted and sometimes awkward; the characters act in improbable, inexplicable ways; and the running internal monologue becomes tedious.
I hope to see her narrative skills improve to match her ideas for the next book, because there should be one--I think she has what it takes to be a writer, if she persists, and if she finds an editor (and/or a writers' group) who knows better how to guide her. The novelty of finding a 17-year-old who wrote a book ultimately isn't enough to justify its publication, unfortunately, and the publishing house owed this author better advice. It's a shame that she will have all those one-star ratings on Goodreads to contend with when her next book appears.
Other YA assassin or serial killer books you might like (a mix of realistic, historical, fantasy, and paranormal!):
- Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick (and its sequel, Perry's Killer Playlist), by Joe Schreiber (good fun);
- Robin LaFevers's Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, set in 15th-century France;
- Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas (a female assassin in a fantasy universe--not my fave, but popular with many);
- The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath, by Maureen Johnson (a killing spree by a Jack the Ripper copycat, with paranormal elements);
- Graceling, by Kristin Cashore (can't say enough good things about this amazing fantasy author);
- Eagle Strike and Scorpia from Anthony Horowitz's perennially checked out Alex Rider series;
- I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga, in which you see the serial killer mindset from both sides;
- and Money Run, by Jack Heath (an unknown quantity--somebody read it and report back?)