Posted in Fiction

Religious thriller: Cradle and All

cradleCradle and All, by James Patterson, (Sept. 2016, jimmy patterson), $18.99, ISBN: 9780316315265

Recommended for 18+

Two teenage girls fall pregnant: one in New England, one in Ireland. Both virgins; one blessed with the child of God, the other, with the child of Satan, and no one knows which mother is carrying which child. It seems like the world itself is reacting, with outbreaks of polio, famine, floods, and droughts. Former nun turned private investigator Anne Fitzgerland is sent by the Archdiocese of Boston to investigate.

This is a 1980 James Patterson book that’s been “reworked” to be YA, but I have to be completely frank here: this is not YA. I don’t know what the original book read like, but the only thing that remotely makes this book YA is the fact that there are two pregnant teenagers who aren’t even the main characters in the story. There’s sexual violence, discussions of infanticide, let’s not even get into the religious issues, and the fact that a 23 year-old woman is a Harvard graduate, hard-boiled private investigator, and well-published authority on children and teenagers. Oh, and she’s a former nun who left the convent when she fell in love with a priest, who just happens to be assigned to the same cases.

There are huge plot holes. HUGE. One of which makes the entire premise of the book fall apart at the end, if you’ve read that far. There are over 100 chapters in the book, all ranging from about 1 1/2 pages to 4 pages, which makes for some choppy reading (at least for me). It was a disappointing experience for me, and it’s not because I read children’s and YA books over adult books (because I’ve seen that leveled at some folks, believe it or not) – it just wasn’t that good of a book, and I’m a little irritable that James Patterson and his people would even consider releasing this as a YA novel (again, because, pregnant teens).

I’m clearly not the audience for this book. I’m bemused that the jimmy patterson imprint will release this along with books like his excellent Middle School series, and the Maximum Ride YA series that disappears off my shelves. Read this one for yourselves and use your own judgement; I was not a fan. I’ll go re-read Good Omens next time I want to read about a rumble between Heaven and Hell.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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