Max Baer’s Letter Essay #7: I Am Number Four

I have recently finished I Am Number Four by “Pittacus Lore” or Jobie Hughes and James Frey. James was born on September 12, 1969 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jobie was born on July 9, 1980 in Renton, Washington. The two created the alias to write the story. References can be seen throughout the book. This book contains 440 pages.

As I said in the previous letter essay, I chose to read this story because my good friend Ben told me to. He had recommended it for years and I finally came around to it. I am so glad I decided to read it because it is now to date my favorite book.


When I left off at the last letter essay, John was being attacked by Mark and his football friends at the Halloween Haunted Hayride. They were kidnapped in the woods and dragged near the river. They grabbed Sarah and Sam and tied them to a tree, waiting for John to find them. When John arrives, he uses his super strength to fight the boys with ease. He throws them either in the river or down the snake path in the woods. After a few minutes, Mark is the only one left. Mark thinks he can beat John to a pulp, but he doesn’t know of John’s powers; no one does. He used his glowing hands to see through the woods, and his super strength and speed to save his friends. John easily beats up Mark and leaves him, along with the rest of the team, in the woods. Sarah and Sam cannot believe what they’ve seen, but John shrugs it off, saying that they’re both seeing things. Sarah chooses to believe him, but Sam is skeptical. When they get out of the woods, Sam quickly leaves, saying a brief good-bye.  The book then fast forwards to two weeks later. It is much colder, and John isn’t in the mood for training his legacies. But he must. He tries every day to get his telekinesis to work, but it still hasn’t emerged. John is getting frustrated. Later that night, Henri calls John outside. Henri tells John did he doesn’t feel safe in Paradise (Ohio). John resists, saying he doesn’t want to leave Paradise at any cost. Henri compromises, saying they can stay, but only until there is sure sign they’re in danger. Then, they’re out. Not much happens for the next few weeks, until Henri sees something online about Mogadorians. It is an article, so he decides to go to the writer to gain more information about their enemy. He says that he’ll be back in the middle of the afternoon, in time to go to Sarah’s for Thanksgiving. When 2:00 comes, Henri is still not home, and John is getting nervous. He goes to Sarah’s alone, but has to leave early because Henri hasn’t texted him all day, and John fears something has gone wrong. So, he goes to the one friend he has, Sam, who has a car to drive 2 hours to where Henri is. But, Sam doesn’t know John’s secret. So, John lies and says that he was going to the writer’s house to acquire information, which is true, but not because it affects him, but because he “loves aliens”. So, the two (illegally) drive to Athens, Ohio to find Henri. When they arrive, Henri is nowhere to be seen, just as John suspected. When they start searching the house, a man comes downstairs and attacks them with a baseball bat. The only way to save himself, and Sam, is to use his powers. He uses his newly found telekinesis to take the bat out of the man’s hand, and he throws him down the stairs of the basement. And in the basement, is Henri, tied up to a chair. The boys untie Henri, and tie up the man. Sam is utterly confused though, because he has witnessed John use his powers. Sam is the first one to know. It is a turning point of trust in the story. Nothing significant happens over the next couple of months, John is living a normal life at school, and training his legacies with Henri at home. Then one day, Mark James invites John, Sarah, and Sam to his party. Henri is skeptical, but John wants to go, so the three go. When the gang arrives, they are immediately met by Mark’s dogs. When they get inside, everyone’s partying. A couple of hours later, someone comes running upstairs from the basement screaming, “FIRE! FIRE!” The party turns to chaos. Everyone runs outside. But, Sarah is nowhere to be found. John checks the basement and the middle floor, and Sarah’s not there. He’s desperately hoping she’s outside already. Right when he gets outside, the fire starts to spread upstairs. And then, there’s a gut-wrenching scream. John and Sam stare at each other. John looks at Sam, and says, “I’m going in,” (Keep in mind John is fire resistant). He runs around the back of the house so no one sees him enter. He sprints up the stairs, two at a time, and checks all the upstairs rooms. Finally, he finds Sarah and Mark’s dogs huddled in the corner. As he enters, a fiery beam falls between them. He lifts it just enough to get under it. Sarah is astonished. The dogs are barking loudly. He grabs a hold off them, and says to hold on tight. Sarah, the dogs, and John lunge out the window. John has Sarah in his left arm and the dogs in his right. They hit the ground hard, but John breaks Sarah and the dogs’ fall. Everyone is ok. But, John’s shirt is gone, engulfed in the flames. John and Sarah run to the woods, in order to elude the crowd. And, to explain his secret. John proceeds to tell Sarah who he really is, and she believes him. John steals a shirt from a car, and they return to the crowd. At this point, the Police and Fire Departments have arrived. Someone from the crowds yells, “There they are!” as they emerge from the woods. A police officer and a newspaper reporter come running over. “Did you fly out the window?” “Did you save the girl and the dogs?” The questions come flying in. Naturally, John denies, and Sarah supports the answer. After a few major questions, the cop lets him go. But, the reporter keeps firing questions. Almost as if he’s onto John. John asks the cop if he can leave, and the cop lets him, but as he’s walking away, the reporter yells from behind him, “I’m onto you John Smith!” John knows if he tells Henri, they’ll have to pack up and leave immediately. But, when he gets home, Henri has already found out. In fact, he’s already packing. John pleads and pleads, hoping he doesn’t have to leave. It is the first home he’s actually enjoyed. He manages to make Henri let them stay, but only just. Next sign of danger, they’re out. The next day at school, the principal calls John into the office. He shows an article on the computer, titled ALIEN. John sees it, and just runs. He breaks through the window, and runs. He runs home, to an empty house. He realizes Henri went to the school. So, he runs back, and the school is deserted, except for Sarah, sitting in the home-ec room. Henri nowhere to be found. Then, the Mogadorians arrive. Ready to kill. John and Sarah hide in the back of the home-ec room. And suddenly, a Mogadorian knocks down the door. They sweep in, and John and Sarah sneak out just in time, only to be grabbed from behind. John thinks it’s the end, only the voice says, “Quiet down unless you want to die.” It is Six, one of the Lorien Garde Children! Six, John (Four), Sarah, Henri, Mark, and John’s dog, Bernie Kosar. As it turns out, Bernie Kosar is actually an animal from Lorien, sent to watch over John. It changes forms based on where they live. In the fight with the Mogadorians, everyone is wounded, but they successfully fight off the wave of soldiers sent to kill him. But, unluckily, one of the Mogadorian beasts kills Henri. John is crushed, but Six snaps him back to reality, saying they must leave immediately. John says his goodbyes, and him and Six are off, to find a new home.

One thing I really liked about this story was that in this story, we are able to see John change over the course of the story. In the beginning, John is a lonely boy, with no real friends, who has to move roughly every year. But when he arrives in Paradise, he finds friends, ones he’ll keep forever. The social transformation he goes through is quite astonishing, especially because Paradise is a town of 5,000 people, so it’s not the place you’d expect to make friends.


I was surprised that Six found John in this story. I had previously assumed that each story in the series was about a different character, and they didn’t cross paths until later on, and I as the reader would have to piece the story together. While you do have to piece it together, the entrance of Number Six was quite abrupt and unexpected.


One thing I noticed was how subtle some things are that the author adds in the story. For example, when Six sees Bernie Kosar, she goes to ask John if he knows what it is, but Henri stops her. He wanted John to discover the true identity of the animal. At the beginning of the story, when Henri and John are still in Florida, John talks about a lizard that follows him around. Everywhere. In paradise, Bernie Kosar, the “dog”, runs to school with John everyday. Originally, I thought Bernie Kosar was a Mogadorian in hiding, but I was wrong.


Finally, I enjoyed this passage, where John and Six are fighting their first Mogadorian. Lore writes:


“I snap them (my lights) on. A Mogadorian stands amid the rubble, of the broken door. It smiles, blood seeping from the corner, where the door hit it. Black eyes, pale skin as though the sun has never touched it. A cave-dwelling creature risen from the dead. I look into its eyes and a pain tears through me so that I am stuck where I am, unable to move. Darkness falls. Sadness. My body stiffens.” (pg. 393). I really enjoyed this passage because it is the first time Lore describes what the Mogadorian looks like, and how their eyes rip terror through you when you look into their eyes. Henri always told John about the day they attacked, but never described what they looked like in-depth. Also, I liked the artful fragment used at the end of the passage. It helps show the effects the Mogadorian releases.


In conclusion, this is one of my favorite books of all time. I would definitely give it a 10 out of 10. It is an awesome series and I can’t wait to continue on.



Max Baer

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3 thoughts on “Max Baer’s Letter Essay #7: I Am Number Four

  1. Dear Max,

    Great job on your letter essay! You did a great job summarizing the book giving lots of important details! You did a great job responding to the questions too. Next time when you find a passage, just remember to cite the passage so we know where you found the passage. Other than that great job! I’ve read the book too and enjoyed it very much. You did a great job explaining the book! Keep up the good work.

    Emily Larkin

  2. Dear Max B,
    Fantastic job on your letter essay. You described the summary very well and gave many important details. I really liked the passage that you summarized and I remember when that happened in the book. I hope you continue reading this series so we can discuss it.
    From, John Loo

  3. Dear Max(ovich) Baer,

    I really liked on how detailed your summary of the story. Sometimes I got confused but after I re-read it, I think I got it. I still do not really understand what the book is really about.

    -Данила Рыбчинский

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