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Animal Rage: Smallville Young Adults #4    by David Cody Weiss & Bobbi JG Weiss order for
Animal Rage
by David Cody Weiss
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the 4th in the Smallville Young Adults series. Fifteen-year-old Clark Kent is still discovering the extent of his powers, which are still developing. This time he explores his X-ray vision (looking underground for barbed wire and fossils) and his sense of smell is becoming more sensitive, uncomfortably so at times.

The new character in Animal Rage is Heather Fox. Estranged from her parents, she lives with a reclusive grandmother, sports a 'Fur is Murder' sticker on her book bag, and is a strident advocate for animal rights. After a series of misunderstandings, she views Clark as an enemy of her cause. Of course she's not happy that the public speaking contest topic (chosen by Lionel Luthor) at the county fair is 'Man, Conqueror of the Wild.'

Chloe is happy when she finds new 'skin changers' cases to add to her Wall of Weird - animals, like a razorback boar unknown in the region, are attacking shops that sell leather and fur and local farms. But when a fox attacks the Kent chicken coop, Heather gets a demonstration of Jonathan Kent's earlier comment to her that 'You may choose to idealize nature, but up close, it isn't always pretty.'

Of course, Clark and Lana are involved in the public speaking contest at the fair, where things come to a head and quickly go out of control. And, as usual, Clark must save his beloved Lana without revealing his powers. Along the way, the authors develop Clark's relationship with Lex, showing different moral perspectives, and share a fairly balanced view of the animal rights issue through Lana's speech. Animal Rage has a good topic; it's another exciting addition to an entertaining series.

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