Please Don’t Feed the Dinosaurs by Corinna Turner

by | Sep 16, 2022 | Middle Grade Books, Science Fiction, Thriller, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Genre

Middle Grade, Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction

Audience

Ages 10-18

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2022

Themes

Survival, Family, Prayer, Saints, Future Saints, Dinosaurs, The City & the Country, Urban vs Rural life, farming, farmers, ranchers, ranching, remarriage, step-mothers, step-parents, Jurassic Park, grief

 

Reviewed by

A.R.K. Watson

Darryl is a self-assured, sharp-shooting teenage girl, who’s been raised in the countryside as a rancher. What sort of animals does she raise? Dinosaurs! And defending these docile herbivores from the carnivores prowling just outside their tall electric walls has taught her how to deal with predators. But now, her father is marrying a fashion designer who has never set foot outside the city, much less seen a raptor. Having little say in the matter, Darryl will just have to make sure her new step-mom gets to the homestead safely, and hopefully not so scared that she decides to leave their family before she’s even set foot in their house.

Meanwhile, Dino Hunter, Joshua is saying goodbye to his raptor friend. Only eighteen years old, grieving the loss of his Uncle Z and dad, and facing discrimination for his profession & background, Joshua has to convince a bunch of city-slickers that he knows what he is doing when it comes to training, raising and capturing dinosaurs. For the first time in his life he is all on his own and if he wants to keep his job he’ll need to prove himself. But when an accident happens at the zoo he is soon inundated with too many opportunities to do just that. This day might be a pain in Darryl’s and Joshua’s neck, but it’s all good rollicking fun for readers.

Turner gives us a future that Jurassic Park fans have been wondering about for years. The whole of human society has adapted to having these genetically resurrected monsters running about. Not only are there Dino-ranchers like Darryl, but the way that roads, cities, and cars are constructed all reflect the new reality. The book alternates between chapters of Joshua’s unlucky day at the dinosaur zoo and Darryl’s road trip across dino-infested North America. It is fascinating to see how Turner’s world has a whole new set of traffic laws and safety measures specifically for dealing with things like stampedes, herd crossings and raptor attacks. It’s also fascinating to see the sort of social rules and psychology of the dinosaurs that Joshua can intuitively navigate. In fact, he is much better at negotiating raptor social politics than he is human ones. In another writer’s hands this could become a horror novel, but Joshua and Darryl are both such capable and intelligent young heroes who have a grounded maturity far beyond their years. I also must personally say that I haven’t crushed on a fictional character as much as I did Joshua in a LONG TIME. No doubt Darryl will earn her share of fans as well.

 The subject matter and book cover are all meant to appeal to a young audience, but honestly anyone who is in the mood for a short and fun action adventure is going to gobble this story up.

As far as the catholicity of this book, I’d classify it as ‘covert’ or ‘representational’. Joshua, Darryl and her family are all staunch Catholics. Darryl’s dad even has a little statue of a new saint on their dashboard whose story is all tied up in a miracle involving dinosaurs. Joshua himself offers up prayers to this patron of dinosaur hunters a few times. The family dynamic Darryl has with her widowed father and younger brother is wholesome and affirming without becoming melodramatic. Joshua’s lonely life makes a sharp contrast to Darryl’s story as he is all on his own but is reminded that he still has a community that will support him. At the start of the story he is in a world that only sees him as a stupid and backward hunter but he proves to himself he is more and finds people to whom he has nothing to prove.

 If you’re looking for a strong, positive family representation, this book is a solid example. Aside from references to their prayer life, the Catholic themes and motifs are not the focus of the story, so if you’re looking to support a Catholic artist but also looking for a book to recommend to a non-Catholic friend, this is a good one to include.

If there are any flaws in this story, it’s that it’s too short for an adult audience and while Joshua and Darryl’s stories complement each other very well the two heroes never meet. Hopefully they’ll meet each other in one of the sequels. I wanted to immediately buy the next book as soon as I finished this one! The depth of detail in the world-building and characters will leave you with plenty to think about long after you finish reading.

Get Catholic Books & eBooks for as little as $1 to FREE

Jennifer the Damned By Karen Ullo

A story of a teenage vampire without the glamorous tempting allure, trying to really live in the real world.

From the Shadows by Jacqueline Brown

In a broken world, Bria tries to unite a family even as she struggles to keep hope alive.

The Fire of Eden (The Harwood Mysteries Book 3) by Antony Barone Kolenc

The mystery of a stolen treasure might hold the key to Xan’s discernment about whether God is calling him to the priesthood or to Lucy.

A Printer’s Choice by W.L. Patenaude

The first nation in space has sworn off religion, but now they need the help of Fr. McCellan to solve a murder and save them from religious terrorists.

A Pius Man by Declan Finn

A hilarious espionage action adventure in the Vatican. Also a halberd fight scene. Nuff Said.

Welcome Courtney Guest Kim, Our New Classics Editor!

Courtney Guest Kim joins us to help readers figure out where to start in the long and renowned roster of Catholic Literary Classics!

If Wishes Were Dragons By Karina Fabian

What happens when LARPing becomes a lot more real than a group of D&D players can handle?

Anyone But Him by Theresa Linden

What if you woke up one day and didn’t recognize the person you were sleeping next to?

Will Wilder and the Relic of Perilous Falls

Follow Will Wilder as he discovers a hidden world, fights demons and rescues a hidden treasure!

Best Catholic Books of 2017

2017 was an awesome year for Catholic literature. Here are our best finds for every genre.

McCracken and the Lost Lady by Mark Adderley

McCracken gives us the grounded swashbuckling Catholic hero that our inner child has always wanted.

Everything Old: Love in Anadauk Book 1 by Amanda Hamm

Two youth group leaders rekindle their friendship and find love with each other along the way.

The Dunes by A.R.K. Watson

“The Dunes” raises questions that are relevant in any marriage: not just for the creepy, otherworldly couple who venture onto a lonely island to set up camp near prehistoric sand dunes for the last time.

2021 Summer Reading List for Preteens

Six series that are a must-have for your Preteen’s library ages 8-13

Gifts Visible and Invisible

If you are looking for a cozy read to get into the Christmas cheer, this collection has it all.

The Poppy and The Rose by Ashlee Cowles

While abroad in England, Taylor discovers a mystery linking her to an heiress and passenger aboard The Titanic.

The River of Life by Diana González Tabbaa

The death of little Anthony’s father shakes his faith until a heaven-sent friend helps him find his way back to God.

Nowhither by John C. Wright

Ilya Muromets fights off a dozens of tempting sirens and finally grows into the man he needs to be to defeat the Dark Tower.

Where to Begin with C.S. Lewis

When he was four years old, C. S. Lewis renamed himself Jack and refused to answer to Clive Staples. For the rest of his life, he was Jack to his friends.