Collaboartive Letter Essay #9: I Am Number 4

ILA Period 1

May 22, 2017

Letter Essay #9

Recently, we have completed the first book in the I am number 4 series. I am number 4  is a sci-fi book written by James Frey. James Frey was born September 12 1969, he’s an American author and also the CEO of a company called the Full Fathom Five. FFF is a transmedia production company which is responsible for young adult series. He has written many books but his most famous series is the I am number 4 series which also has dreamworks studios movie on the book which came out February 18, 2011. We highly recommend not watching this movie, the plot was changed, characters legacies were swapped and a lot of scenes were taken out of the movie. If you ever want to see the movie, read the books first, but here is the preview to the movie. If you do chose to watch the movie we strongly suggest reading all the books first, or at least the first one to get the best experience.  Our group chose to read the I am number 4 because two of our group members(Troy and Cole) have both finished the whole series and fell in love with the series. So for the dystopian unit we wanted Maddie to read it.

We chose to read this book because one of our group members have never read it before, and we loved it so much that we wanted to reread it for a second time around, this time looking closer for key components which makes this book dystopian. Since two members of the group loved the book so much, the other thought that they would give it a try.

I am number 4 is about an alien race(The Loric) that was destroyed along their planet(Lorien) by an enemy alien race(The Mogadorians) that came to their planet to invade, destroy, and take all of their resources.After the attack they left, leaving very few behind. They did this because their planet(Mogadore) was dying from pollution and they had to do something drastic to save themselves even if it meant killing others. Lorien wanted their people to survive so they sent 9 children(garde) and their keepers(Cepans) plus a pilot to earth on a one year journey. Before leaving one of the elders of Lorien linked a charm between each and every one of the 9 garde, by numbering them so they had to be killed in the order of their numbers. If a Mogadorian attempted killing the Garde out of order, then the Mogadorian would be the one that dies, however this charm only lasts as long as the numbers are separated. The first three numbers have already been killed, and the main character is number 4,this is where the problem/ conflict lies. When they left Lorien on their way to Earth the Mogadorians tracked them and followed them to Earth, but not only to kill the last of Lorien but to destroy earth and make their own planet because they have know where to go. They already killed 3 of the 9 total Garde and now they are tracking down number 4, so 4 learns and develops his legacies(powers) throughout the book but he also makes a connection with a girl(Sarah Hart). So when the Mogadorians find number 4 he refuses to leave, because he wants to stay with Sarah and a close new friend of his(Sam). He finally became attached to these people because all of his life he has been on the run, never actually being able to actually know someone. We thought that all of the years of being lonely was a build up waiting to happen to compensate for all the time he hasn’t been able to. But this started endangering the close people he cared about in the town, so he battles the Mogadorians with number 6 who was also tracking him. You have to read the book to see if number 4 and all of his loved ones defeat the Mogadorians or die in the process, which we all strongly recommend that you do.

We were shocked/ surprised/ satisfied by a moment in the book were we saw a part of John that we never really saw before, or never really expected to see. This is what made it so surprising. It appeared towards the beginning of the book which we liked because the author did a good job of slowly revealing more and more about both the characters and the storyline as time went on. Ever since the start of the arrival to the  new school there has been a rivalry between John and Mark James who was the big shot in the school. What is happening in the scene is that John is looking for Sarah(Johns girlfriend), and Sam during the night time Halloween Carnival near the woods. Mark and his gang took them and wants to fight John having no idea of what he is capable of. On page #159 John states angrily, ““That leaves you Mark, This ends right now, do you understand me?”” John never fully stood up to him until this scene which is part of the reason why it is so important and surprising as well. We felt good about this scene because it showed us that John was able to take control of the situation. What was interesting to us is that during this specific part we picked up on how John was able to construct himself in a way that was shocking to see how he did what he did for the people he cared about.

If we were the authors of this book, we would have changed the style of the writing. The way James Frey writes I Am Number Four is too simple and instead of describing what’s going on or how the characters felt, he bluntly narrates. His writing is too elementary for the plot line of this book. Reading this for a second time around meant that we were able to notice certain things about the book that we never really noticed until now. One of our group members noticed this concept and brought to our attention what the pattern was that was occurring throughout the book and helped us make our discovery sooner than we all may have expected during one of our discussions. For example on page # 257 we found a passage of writing that truly shows how the author’s style of writing was too simple. “He walks out of the room. I sit up. I don’t want to leave. I have a real friend for the first time in my life.” In this scene Henri(Johns Cepan) and John were having a deep discussion on their next plan because the Mogadorians have been closing in on the location of number 4, so being that Henri is the protector he wants them to leave everything behind and go somewhere else to stay under the radar until John has full control over his legacies. Although John has a passionate connection to both Sam and Sarah, and couldn’t imagine leaving again. This is where even more conflict lies.

There was a lot of character development included in this book although there was one scene in the book which really stood out to us. Towards the beginning of the book John Smith was very nervous and protective, always trying to avoid the mogadorians. But at the end he was forced to face them, he didn’t have a choice. We noticed that this scenario seemed to change the way that John thought both during and outside of battle. His attitude shifted to more of an outgoing mindset wanting to destroy every last one of the mogadorians even if it meant losing his own life. Not only was their just mental development, but their was a lot of physical development as well which just may be the reason why John has so much confidence at the end of the book, making his thoughts the way they are.

Our group ratings were nine, eight, and seven, which average out to an eight. So all together as a group we rate this book an eight out of ten. If you want to learn more about the book go to this link


Troy Andreoli, Maddie Ganim, Cole Sylvia


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