Author Archives: scoutmag

‘Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer’

We first told you about the new Infinity Ring series back in September 2012 when we highlighted book one. Now, book two, Divide and Conquer, is in bookstores, continuing where the first story left off.

For those who aren’t familiar with the new interactive book series, Infinity Ring, here’s the rundown:

Best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel — a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring — and they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. The trio is recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, and learn history is broken. The group must travel back in time to set it right, one date at a time.

Here’s the scoop on book two.

After Dak, Sera, and Riq to travel back in time to Spain in 1492, the trio again find themselves skipping through time. This time they land in Paris during the 9th century in the middle of the ‘Siege of Paris,’ a real war that began in 885. There are hundreds of enemy ships carrying thousands of vicious Viking warriors, all ready to attack medieval Paris.

With Paris under siege, history-lover Dak is captured by the enemy, and his friends hunt to free him. along the way they must solve the codes, riddles and clues to figure out how to fix the break in history.

Click here to read a chapter from ‘Divide and Conquer.’


We asked ‘Divide and Conquer’ author Carrie Ryan, where she would go if she could time travel. Take a look to see her answer.


This is the coolest Star Wars book of all-time

‘Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure’ is a great example of why pop-ups books are not just for kids anymore. 3D pop-up books are great for all ages, displaying really cool artwork and awesome stories.

Author and artist Matthew Reinhart has created an especially spectacular pop-up book for the STAR WARS movies, packed cool features like working lightsabers, pull tabs, and other interactive looks at the epic saga.

The book explores the characters, stories, vehicles, droids, and just about everything else in the three prequel movies and the Clone Wars. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, you won’ want to miss it. Watch this video for a sneak peek at the books cool features.


A chat with the ‘Colin Fischer’ authors


‘Colin Fischer’ is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes story, focusing on a 14-year-old who cannot stand being touched, detests the color blue and needs index cards to recognize simple facial expressions. On the first day of high school, Colin becomes involved in a mystery that only he can solve.

It’s a inspiring book, filled with mystery, humor and really great trivia. ‘Colin Fischer’ is from the writers of X-Men: First Class and Thor, but the book isn’t about superheroes. Instead, the book is about the emotional experience of high school, seen through the eyes of a particularly interesting young man.

We recently spoke with ‘Colin Fischer’ authors Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz about their new book.


Can you explain the premise of “Colin Fischer.”
Ashley: “Colin Fischer” is about a boy (who just happens to be high-functioning Asperger’s) on his first day of high school. During lunch, a gun goes off in the cafeteria and the school bully, Wayne, is accused of the crime. But Colin sees that there is chocolate frosting on the pistol grip and realizes the gun couldn’t have belonged to Wayne because Wayne is a very fastidious eater. He sets out to prove that the bully is innocent. The book follows the adventure and the friendship that develops from Colin’s selfless devotion to the truth.

Where did the idea for this character come from?
Zack: In thinking about being a teenager, we thought about how scary and new all of the social situations are that you encounter in a high school, and how in many ways we all feel like outsiders. And in creating Colin, a boy who because of his Asperger’s syndrome has a particularly hard time understanding the emotions and intentions of others, we saw that we had a character who let us take all of those difficult experiences and make them even bigger and more extreme.

After writing a few big Hollywood blockbusters, what made you guys want to write a book?
Zack: Well, we both consider ourselves storytellers first and foremost. The medium isn’t important; the story being told is. And when we came up with Colin, we realized that it was a story that could live best in the novel format, and we were eager to stretch those new creative muscles in writing it.

Ashley: “Colin Fischer” started life as an idea for a television show. It didn’t go anywhere, but the character and his story stayed with us. It spoke to us a on a very deep level, and we kept talking about finding a way back to him. We’ve always thought of ourselves as character writers. We certainly do big, loud, exciting things in a lot of our work, but we believe the most effective moments we’ve written have been about the people in those stories. “Colin” is very different for us, but not so much as you’d think.

What are some of your favorite books?
Zack: I’m a huge fan of nonfiction, in particular books on history and science. For fun, I mainly like reading science fiction and detective novels both old (Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett) and new (Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Don Winslow, and others.) One of the things that really got me into science fiction as a kid, actually, was the comic strip adaptation of John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy that ran in the back of Boys’ Life! (The entire first book of the Tripods trilogy, The White Mountains, originally appeared in issues May 1981 through July 1982. To access our archives and read the cool story, click here.)

Ashley: As a boy, I loved “Where The Red Fern Grows”, “A Bridge to Terabithia” and “Watership Down.” All of those books were about very similar things: family, the power of love, the power of belief, and the discovery of a new world. They’re stories about outsiders who find their own place through connection with others. I also can’t get around the fact that these books are very much about death, and dealing with loss. They taught me to be more human. I love Heinlein and Tolkien. Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is a personal favorite.

As movie buffs, are there any upcoming films that you guys can recommend to our readers?
Zack: As a ginormous fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I’m really excited about the movie adaptation of The Hobbit. I’m also looking forward to the next Star Trek film, and also just saw a really fun movie called Chasing Mavericks (out in November) that’s sort of about big wave surfing but really about a teenager without a father who finds an unlikely mentor.

Ashley: I have high hopes for “The Hobbit” and I can’t wait for the next “Star Trek” movie.

What’s next for you two?
Zack: We’re currently working on the scripts for several movies, including a new version of Robert Heinlein’s classic science fiction novel ‘Starship Troopers.’ We’re also hard at work on the sequel to Colin Fischer, which desperately needs a cool title.

Finally, with such an extensive superhero writing past, who are your favorite superheroes?
Zack: It sounds so boring, but I love me some Batman and Superman. In terms of lesser-known heroes, I’m a big fan of the Doom Patrol, Dr. Strange, and some of the more magic-wielding characters of the DC and Marvel universes.

Ashley: Writing “Thor” was a dream come true because he was always one of my very, very favorites. I know that character backwards and forwards – I have a complete collection of Walt Simonson’s run on that book. It made a huge impression on me as a kid. I love the X-Men as well, but Thor was the man. Or the god. Or the incredibly powerful guy from another dimension. I also could be one of the biggest Batman fans in the world. My collection of Batman comics – and by that I mean every book related to Batman and the “Batman family” – is complete going back to roughly 1986. Thousands of comics, all bagged and boarded. For the record, I loved the Tim Burton films and I love the Christopher Nolan movies even more. “The Dark Knight” isn’t just the great achievement in superhero films, it’s one of the great achievements in film… period.

“Colin Fischer” is in bookstores now. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Yes, This Adorable Fish Is Among The Most Dangerous Creatures On The Planet

Here’s a quick look at a book about some of the deadliest things on Earth. Who would’ve thought these two bizarre-looking fish would be two of the deadliest creatures on the planet? Take a look at pages below from “100 Deadliest Things On the Planet,” by Anna Claybourne.


From quicksand to Black Widow spiders to poisonous pufferfish, the book features the world’s most dangerous and deadly animals, disasters and diseases. Prepare yourself with this interesting, and frightening, list.



Read Two Chapters of “Professor Gargoyle”

Halloween is just around the corner and The Book Zone is in the scaring mood. If you’re a fan of scary stories, you might enjoy a book series called “Tales from Lovecraft Middle School,” focusing on a particularly frightening middle school with lots to hide. Here’s a video preview of the new series.


Also, take a look at the first two chapters of the first book in the series, “Professor Gargoyle,” in stores now.


Chapter One

Robert Arthur was surrounded by strangers.

He stood outside the entrance to Lovecraft Middle School, watching the students pass by, searching for a familiar face. Everybody was talking to someone. Kids were joking and laughing and goofing around. But Robert didn’t recognize a single person.

Earlier that summer, his neighborhood had been redistricted. This was a fancy way of saying that all of his old friends were attending Franklin Middle School, in the north part of town, but somehow Robert got stuck attending Lovecraft Middle School, in the south part of town.

His mother told him there was no say in the matter; it was just the luck of the draw.

“But you’re going to love it,” she promised. “They spent millions of dollars building this school. It’s brand new. State of the art. With a swimming pool and digital chalkboards and everything. It’s such an incredible opportunity!”

Robert wasn’t so sure. He would have happily traded the swimming pool and digital chalkboards for the chance to be with his old friends. He had a hundred different worries: Who would sit with him at lunch? What if he needed help opening his locker? Wasn’t anybody from his old school here?

Beside the main entrance of the school was a large digital billboard with an animated message:




It might have been faster to walk It might have been faster to walk through the building, but Robert wasn’t in a hurry. He took his time, circling the outside of the school, marveling at how quickly it seemed to have sprung from the earth.

Six months earlier, this was all abandoned farmland, full of weeds and mud puddles and sticker bushes. Now there was a four-story classroom building, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and lush green grass as far as the eye could see.

When Robert reached the athletic stadium, the bleachers were packed with spectators: students, teachers, parents, news reporters—everyone in town had come to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Everyone except Robert’s mother, a nurse, who worked the early shift at Dunwich Memorial Hospital. Most mornings she was out the door before Robert woke up, so she rarely attended school presentations or class trips. Sometimes this bothered Robert, but today he was grateful. He knew the only thing more embarrassing than sitting alone at his new middle school would be sitting with his mommy. All the other kids were sitting with their friends.

Robert climbed halfway up the bleachers and squeezed between two clusters of giggling girls. He tried smiling at them.

None of the girls smiled back.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was already under way. First the mayor thanked the governor. Then the governor stood up and thanked the teachers’ union. Then a bunch of teachers got up and thanked the parents’ association. Then a bunch of parents cheered and thanked Principal Slater.

Finally Principal Slater stood up with oversized scissors and sliced the long green ribbon in half. At precisely that moment, the clouds turned gray and a low drum of thunder rolled across the sky.

It was weird, Robert thought. Just one minute ago, it had been a perfectly pleasant and sunny day. Now, suddenly, it looked like rain.

Fortunately, the ceremony was almost over. The grand finale was a special performance by the Dunwich High School marching band, complete with drums, brass, and color guard. They paraded across the field playing “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Robert glanced over his shoulder, peering up at the bleachers, scanning the faces. There must have been four hundred kids in the arena. He knew that, sooner or later, he’d have to recognize someone.

And then he did.

The worst possible someone.

Oh, no.

Robert immediately faced forward.

But it was too late. He’d been spotted.

“Hey, Robert! Is that you? Robert Arthur?”

He couldn’t believe his rotten luck. Glenn Torkells? The one person he knew at Lovecraft Middle School—and it was Glenn Torkells? The bully who had tormented him for years?

“Robert! I’m talking to you!”

Definitely Glenn Torkells.

Robert tried ignoring him. His mother used to tell him to ignore the bullies and eventually they would leave him alone. Yeah, right.

“I know that’s you, Robert. I got a real good memory and I never forget a face.” Something slimy hit the back of Robert’s neck. He reached up and peeled it off: a half-chewed gummy worm.

“Turn around and look at me.”

Robert knew that Glenn would get what he wanted, sooner or later. Glenn always did. Robert turned around and another gummy worm struck him right in the forehead.

Glenn laughed uproariously. “Haw-haw! Bull’seye!”

He was seated two rows behind Robert, looking much like he did back in elementary school—only bigger. He wore the same green army jacket and the same grubby blue jeans. His dark blond hair was still plastered to his forehead, still looking like he’d cut it himself with dull scissors. Glenn had always been the biggest kid in the class, but over the summer he’d ballooned into the Incredible Hulk.

“What do you want?” Robert asked.

Glenn popped a gummy worm into his mouth and began working his jaw. “Dweeb tax,” he said. “Pay up.”

Robert sighed. Glenn had been collecting the dweeb tax for part of fifth grade and all of sixth. It was a one-dollar penalty he imposed on Robert for various “infractions”—tripping or stammering or wearing ugly pants or other “crimes” that Glenn dreamed up.

Robert glanced around, hoping to spot a teacher who might intervene. That never happened at his last school, but he thought maybe Lovecraft Middle School would be different.

No such luck. Everyone was watching the marching band on the field. The girls on either side of Robert were chattering among themselves.

“Hurry up, Nerdbert,” Glenn said. “You think you’re the only kid in this school who owes me?”

Earlier that morning, Robert’s mother had given him an extra five dollars of spending money, to celebrate his first day as a middle school student.

Robert retrieved one of those dollars and passed it to Glenn. His tormentor shook his head and smiled, revealing flecks of chewed-up gummy worm in his teeth.

“It’s gonna be two dollars here in middle school,” Glenn explained. “We’re not little kids anymore.”

Chapter 2

After the marching band had finished playing, Principal Slater directed the students to find their lockers and then proceed to their homerooms.

As the bleachers emptied, Robert moved nimbly through the crowd, careful to stay several steps ahead of Glenn Torkells.

He noticed a girl hurrying alongside him.

Looking at him.

She was short and skinny, dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans and carrying a beat-up skateboard. She had dark brown hair that fell past her shoulders and wore a dozen jangling bracelets on her wrists. She smiled, revealing a mouthful of metal braces.

“You’ve got worms in your hair,” she said.

“Excuse me?”

“Gummy worms. In your scalp.”

Robert reached up and shook them loose.


“You’re gonna have to stand up to him.”

“Stand up to who?”

“You know who.”

Robert flushed. Was there anything more embarrassing than getting advice on bullies from a cute girl?

“Glenn and I are friends,” Robert quickly explained. “That’s just a stupid game we play. I owed him two dollars from the other night.”

“He called it a dweeb tax.”

“See, that’s part of the game.”

The girl wasn’t buying it, Robert could tell.

“I’m Karina,” she said. “Karina Ortiz.”

“Robert Arthur.”

“I know,” she said. “I heard him taunting you.”

“He wasn’t taunting me.”

“Friends don’t throw chewed-up gummy worms in your hair,” she said. “I was there. I watched the whole thing.”

“Well, maybe next time you should mind your own business.”

The words came out louder than Robert intended. Karina raised both hands in a defensive gesture, like he’d just come at her with his fists. “Hey, suit yourself,” she said. “You just looked like you needed a friend, that’s all.”

Karina dropped her skateboard to the asphalt, pushed off with one foot, and quickly zoomed away from him, swerving around the other students with remarkable balance and precision.

Almost immediately, Robert wished he could apologize and somehow take the words back. But it was too late. Karina was the first friendly person to approach him at Lovecraft Middle School, and he’d managed to scare her away.

He followed the crowd of students up the stairs and into the central corridor of the school, a frenzy of color and sound and energy.

Instead of bulletin boards, the hallways of Lovecraft Middle School featured large high-definition LCD screens with animated announcements of soccer tryouts and chorus practice. Sleek metal lockers lined the walls; instead of old-fashioned combination dials, they had ten-button digital touch pads. Up and down the hallway, kids were lining up to stow their backpacks and lunches.

Robert walked to his locker—A119—and entered the passcode he’d received in the mail. Each button made a satisfying chirp when he pressed it, and then the locker door opened with a gentle pneumatic whooooosh.

In the distance, Robert heard a girl shriek, but he thought nothing of it. Girls in sixth and seventh grade were always shrieking about something or another. His new locker was divided by a metal shelf into two sections. There was a tall bottom section with a hook where he could hang his coat and a short top section, near the air vents, where he could store his brown-bag lunch.

Robert studied the top section and blinked.

Perched on the shelf, twitching its nose, was a large white rat.

Elsewhere in the hallway, another girl screamed. Then another, and another. A teacher yelled, “Get back!” and Robert felt something brush past his legs. He stumbled away from the locker as the white rat sprang toward him, landing on his chest and leapfrogging over his shoulder.

“Get it off me!” someone shouted.

“There’s another one!”

“It’s in my hair!”

More rats brushed past his feet—there were dozens now, darting under sneakers, gnashing their teeth, squealing and snarling and stampeding down the hall.

Up until this moment, Robert’s life had been fairly quiet and ordinary. He had the same interests and hobbies as a million other twelve-year-old boys. He spent his days in school; he spent his nights doing homework and messing around on the computer. He’d never experienced anything that might have prepared him for a swarm of wild rats.

Yet while the rest of his classmates were freaking out, Robert remained calm.

He understood he had just two choices: He could scream and panic like the rest of his classmates. Or he could sit tight for a few moments and hope the rats would charge toward the nearest exit.

Which is exactly what happened. The stampede reached the open doors at the end of the hallway and fanned out across the lush green lawns surrounding the school. The students watched after them, awestruck.

“I don’t believe it,” said the boy standing next to Robert. “They spend a trillion dollars building this place and it’s already full of rats? How’s that possible?”

Good question, Robert thought.

He knelt to study the inside of his locker. The metal walls and floors were intact; there were no gaps or cracks or holes. There were no places where a rat might have squeezed its way into his locker.

Robert knew middle school would be strange, but this was ridiculous.

A Look at “The Warrior’s Heart”

The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage by U.S. Navy SEAL Eric Greitens is a fascinating true-life tale of an American hero, telling his tale of courage, struggle, endurance and sweat.

The book gives a great look at his life as a Navy SEAL, which earned him numerous military awards, including the Navy Achievement Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

The book is intended for young men and women, as Eric illustrates powerful stories from his time serving in the most elite military outfit in the world and beyond.

To tell you a bit more about the book, in stores now, here’s a video from Eric himself.

Read the first chapter by clicking the image below:


Author Q&A: James Dashner

As author of the Maze Runner Series and Book 1 of the new Infinity Ring series, James Dashner has had a busy year. BL caught up with the author for a quick chat about his new books, Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time and the Maze Runner prequel The Kill Order.


It’s a big month for you, with two books, The Kill Order and Infinity Ring, releasing soon. Are you writing something now, or do have a break after such a busy year?

I’m always writing something because I love it too much to take a break. Very soon there will be an announcement coming from Random House about a new series that I think my fans will love.

What draws you to writing for a younger audience?

There was just something magical about reading when I was a youth, and writing for them is the only true way I can return to that magic.

When you were younger, which authors were your favorite?

I loved Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle, and the Hardy Boys books.

Aside from your own, do you have a favorite young adult book or series? New or old?

My favorite of all time is the Ender series by Orson Scott Card. (For those interested: Ender’s Game the movie will be released in Nov. 2013. Watch for a Boys’ Life story on the movie-making process.)

There is a current trend in Hollywood, adapting YA books into blockbuster movies. Most recently with “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” series. Is there any news on the Maze Runner movie, or adaptations of any of your other books?

The Maze Runner movie is still in development. Fingers crossed that it happens soon!

Speaking of The Maze Runner, its prequel The Kill Order comes out this week. What can fans of the original three books look forward to?

The prequel will give my readers a first hand glimpse of all the terrible reasons the trilogy needed to happen in the first place.

Could a newcomer to jump into The Kill Order without reading the other Maze Runner books?

I highly recommend that people read the trilogy first because so much of the magic in that story is discovering things piece by piece.

Will this be the final entry in the world of The Maze Runner, or is this the start of new series?

The Kill Order is definitely the last book in the series. That story is done and I’m excited to move on to others.

Infinity Ring seems to have a lot of moving parts, with a multi-platform experience for readers. What is the series all about?

Infinity Ring is a story about an alternate reality of our world where “Great Breaks” in time have caused the modern day world to be in really bad shape, plagued by things such as rampant natural disasters and a ruthless government. The main characters find themselves involved with an ancient society that sends them back in time to correct those Breaks in history.

After the final book in the Infinity Ring series, what’s next for you? Or have you even gotten that far into planning?

There will be a new young adult series with Random House, as well as other stories I have up my sleeve. Many fun things to come!

Take a look at the video preview for the final book in The Maze Runner series:

The Kill Order and Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time are in bookstores now. Check out for the latest info on Dashner’s books.

The Maze Runner Prequel!

If you were a fan of The Maze Runner series by James Dashner you will certainly want to check out the prequel to the series, The Kill Order.

Take a look at the first five chapters of The Kill Order:

If you never read the Maze Runner books, you should give them a chance. The action-packed and adventurous story follows Thomas as he wakes up in a mysterious elevator, and the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is gone, but he’s not alone. When the elevator doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by other kids who welcome him to the “Glade”: a massive, open community enclosed by stone walls. Like Thomas, the “Gladers” have no memory of how they got to the “Glade.”

All they know is that each morning the stone walls open, revealing an intricate the maze outside of the “Glade.” And every night the walls close.

Thomas and the “Gladers” work to discover why they are in the “Glade,” and what’s outside in the maze.