Synopsis of I Am Number Four
John Smith is on the run from enemies. His enemies are trying to slaughter the last of his race. John is one of eighteen refugees from the planet Lorien. The nine children and their nine guards are the last of their race. They are on the run from an evil group called the Mogadorians until their legacies develop. Legacies are special powers that develop as they mature. Before leaving Lorien, a charm was placed on them so they can only be killed in a particular order and it notifies the others when one of them has died. Three are dead. John Smith is number four. They are coming for him.
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I found this book after enjoying the movie. I can’t remember how it stacks up against the movie now but the book is great. This is a great combination of Science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary high school problems. When I picked up the book I worried about how much violence might be in the book since John is on the run. However, I was pleasantly surprised. There is some violence but most of the intense fighting happens in the final battle. One thing that really surprised me about this book was the amount of language. All profanity is mild in nature but used frequently in conversation. John also corrects Henri’s usage of profanity a couple of times when he uses the wrong swear word. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are sensitive to profanity.
I Am Number Four Parent Guide
Overall: PG-13 for frequent profanity, war scenes, and mild adult content
Violence: PG-13 for war scenes; mild torture and coercion with powers, and multiple instances of bullying
Language: PG-13 for frequent profanity; all words are mild but used frequently.
Adult Content: PG-13 for heavy making out. Non-descriptive and no nudity.
Reading Level: Grades 7-12
Touchy Topics in I Am Number Four
- Family: There are different types of families and they are kind of compared and contrasted as John interacts with them. John wishes for a normal family.
- Settling Down: John hasn’t lived anywhere longer than 6 months during his entire time on Earth. He hopes that Paradise, Ohio can be different. John makes friends and is more than a ghost for the first time in his life.
- Vengeance: Henri is always talking about beating back the Mogadorians and returning to Lorien. He wants vengeance for the destruction of their planet. John just wants to settle down and have a place to belong.
- Vigilante justice: The bullies take things too far one night and John loses his temper. John measures out his own form of justice.
- Bullying: Bullying is a big thing in the book. At first, they try and have the principal take care of it but he didn’t believe that his football golden boy could do such a thing as fill a locker with manure. John doesn’t back down and gets in trouble a couple of times for defending himself. In my opinion, he overreacts to the situation at times. Sam, who is also getting bullied, helps to calm him down and make him more level headed.
- First love: John and Henri talk about love a couple of times because Loriens love deeper than humans. John learns what love is and all the awkward firsts that come with it.
- Lying: John has always lied to everyone, except Henri. They are constantly changing names and backstories to stay hidden. John doesn’t like lying to his friends. At one point he lies to Henri because he knows what the consequences of his actions are and he didn’t want to deal with them.
- Coming of age: The main character is growing up and into himself in this book. He falls in love for the first time but his powers are also starting to manifest themselves. John has to start making more mature decisions and being put in difficult situations.
“When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”― Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four
“And even if we were hunting vampires, what the hell is the Silly Putty for?”― Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four
“I am an alien, I have extraordinary powers, with more to come, and I can do things that no human would dream of, but I still look like a fool.”― Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four
This is definitely a book for high schoolers instead of middle schoolers solely because of language and the violence. High school students connect better to situations and characters in I Am Number Four than middle school students. I also really like the legacies or superpowers. One thing I like is the fact that John has to practice and get better at them like everything else in life. It’s also interesting how they come out with extreme feelings and how John doesn’t recognize a legacy until the end of the final battle when he is losing.
Aliens and conspiracy theories reign and take center stage in this book. To help them stay hidden and make sure their cover hasn’t been blown, Henri spends the majority of his time looking on the internet for the other Loriens and any sign of the Mogadorians. One of my favorite passages is when Henri and Sam, John’s friend, are trading conspiracy theories back and forth almost like a battle.
I recommend this book to Grades 9 and up who aren’t afraid of a bit of profanity. Pittacus Lore has truly created a new world that is slowly revealed to us. It is so intricate and so many details you could almost believe that Lorien does exist. I also like how it portrays a realistic relationship between child and guardian in the teen rebellion phase. John’s emotions get the better of him at times throughout the book and he does have to deal with those consequences. This is the first of the seven-book Lorien Legacies series.
What to Read Next?
For more books similar to I am Number Four check out these posts: The Mandalorian Returns: Non-Star Wars Books to Read Immediately After Watching the Mandalorian and 10 Books to Read if You Like Harry Potter. Don’t forget to check out the rest of this series on Amazon.