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Literature / Noonday Jackals

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Noonday Jackals is a book written by Sandra Leone. It now has a sequel called Branding Jackal.

Jackal is not like most other kids. For one, she has a super-freaky sense of smell. Two, she's getting more powers all the time. Three, she's all alone. She has little to no memory of her past, except for what leaks through over the course of the book.

One day, Jackal meets a boy named Frank. Frank helps integrate her into a group called the Mad Dogs, and she soon gets to know and like most of them. But one of them, Edge, is a real dreg and keeps trying to get her killed. It doesn't help that there's a man who is stalking her and paying people to put her through her paces. What's Jackal gonna do?


Tropes present in this series:

  • Accidental Pervert: Poor Frank. He's not trying to be a bad guy, but he has to take Jackal underwear shopping and how to use the shower and other things like that.
  • Agony of the Feet: When Jackal kicks "Shades" in the knee, she discovers the hard way that he has a cyberleg - she gets a huge bruise on most of her foot.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Merc has only about half of his original limbs left. Cat and "Shade" both have missing eyes, and "Shade" also has a cyberleg.
  • Artful Dodger: Though they might be a little bit older than the traditional ones, both Iris and Frank have been living on the streets. Jackal even moreso, given that she's been living on the streets for as long as she can remember and is only 10 years old.
  • Badass Adorable: Jackal. She's only 10 years old, for crying out loud.
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  • Badass Biker: Both Axe and Frank. Axe has a hoverbike; Frank has a normal motorcycle in a world where everyone else drives hoverbikes or hovercars.
  • Badass Bookworm: While Axe is the group's medic, he is also able to kick butt when necessary and is also one of the group's better fighters.
  • Badass Teacher: Shades and Frank is this, because he's sponsoring Jackal.
  • Berserk Button: For Frank, it's lying. For Axe, it's saying that having a chip made you who you are.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Axe might be one of the kinder members, but that doesn't make him any less of a good fighter.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Most of the Mad dogs feel this way towards Jackal.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Ramone was this to Iris and Frank. Frank is now this to Jackal.
  • Big Brother Worship: Frank was seriously torn up by Ramone's suicide. Jackal bursts into tears for the first time in God knows how long when she thinks that Frank is going to leave her.
  • Bishōnen: If this were a manga, most of the boys would have Bishie Sparkle and everything.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Iris as the blonde, Elf or Scorpio as the brunette, Jackal as the redhead. Though Iris is far from an airhead, Elf seems to be pretty smart, and Jackal is quite fiery.
  • Book Dumb: Jackal. She's 10 years old, but she can't read and has difficulty speaking in full sentences for the first half, at least, of the book.
  • Braids of Action: When Iris thinks that she's going to be fighting, she always braids her hair and then puts it in a bun. In the sequel, Jackal starts wearing her hair braided, too.
  • Brainy Brunette: Elf. Scorpio is revealed to be really smart in the sequel, even going to a different school, for geniuses, than the other kids.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Jackal sometimes. Axe's younger siblings also seem to be this, considering they can't sit still for more than a minute.
  • The Bully: Edge and his pledges both see nothing wrong with going after Jackal, who is about 2/3 their age and half their size.
  • But Not Too Gay: Axe does not express interest in girls at all - he has a boyfriend briefly mentioned but never seen - but is still only bisexual, not gay.
  • Captain Oblivious: Jackal, while paying attention to what the older kids have to say, only really understands about half of it.
  • Catgirl: Dee. She has a tail and retractable claws, even if she doesn't have ears.
  • Combat Medic: Axe is the group's medic, but is still able to fight when need be.
  • Cool Big Sis: Iris helps take care of Jackal and teaches her about the birds and the bees, as well as how to braid hair.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Edge is so upset by Razz's "abandoning" him that he hates Jackal on sight from the moment she breaks Razz's jaw.
  • Creepy Child: Jackal sometimes. Or at least Frank thinks that the other kids will perceive her as this if they were to find out the truth about her.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: Lily has brown hair and eyes. Jackal is a sort-of example - she's a redhead with amber eyes.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Whenever Jackal is confronted by a situation, her first instinct is to fight. Even when they're not trying to hurt her (for example, when they were trying to help her after she split her head open), she fights.
  • Disney Death: Iris seems to be killed late in the first book, but is revealed to have survived after the battle has ended, although she spends most of the next book recovering.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: No one (except his girlfriend, that is) so much as bats an eye when Elf knees Hover in the crotch. But the second that Edge tries to hurt Jackal, the leaders of the group threaten to cut off one of his fingers.
  • Drinking Game: Take a sip every time someone says the word "frag" or any variant thereof. You will not end the second chapter sober.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ramone kills himself before the start of the first book, which has major ramifications for his mentees in the gang.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Some of the kids, who go only by their screen names. For example, Iris gets super-angry if you try to call her by her real name, which is Melissa.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Both Axe and Jackal. Axe has a chip that makes him amazing at medicine, but he can still kick your ass in a fight with his Aikido training. Jackal, meanwhile, has been geneered to fight.
  • Eternal English: Despite the fact that this series takes place in the distant future (for example, they live in "Neo" York and drive hovercars and things around), the only changes in the language appear to be the addition of "dregs" and "frag" as swearwords.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When people hear Jackal fighting, they do not assume that she is a little 10-year-old girl.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Edge. When his girlfriend gets hurt, he tries selling out one of the pledges, trying to get rid of her by any means necessary just because his girlfriend left him.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: "frag" and "dreg"
  • Free-Range Children: Especially in the low-lev fos-cares, the people really don't care where the kids go. They just care about the money they get off the parents.
  • Gentle Giant: Hover is one of the tallest members of the gang, but is much more level-headed than most.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: Jackal tends to do things with just Iris - for example, after Frank left upset and didn't come back until the next day, Iris took care of Jackal, taking her out to eat and making sure she showered. She also gave Jackal the "talk".
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Can sort of be seen in the kids' choices of weapons. Most of the guys tend towards gloves and things that can protect when they physically hit. Iris, the only girl whose weapon is actually seen, prefers throwing knives. Jackal's one weapon is a splat-gun, but she also has fighting gloves.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Hover is over a foot taller than his girlfriend, Scorpio.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jackal can get like this, especially in the beginning of the sequel.
  • Ill Girl: Iris in the sequel. She's still recovering from being shot near the end of the previous book.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Frank is definitely Hot Headed when his buttons get pushed, but he's also perfectly willing to take care of a much younger girl when he sees she has nowhere else to go.
  • Kid Hero: Jackal, the main character of the book, is only 10 years old.
  • The Lancer: Frank functions as second-in-command in Pitch's gang.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Jackal and Frank. He even tends to introduce her as his "little sis".
He is later shown to be very much displeased that he did not get laid that night.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Axe. He's the middle of 5 siblings. His older siblings both chose their own careers, but he had a chip implanted in him to make sure he'd become a doctor. It's unclear about the two younger siblings, but it seems like neither of them has been chipped, either.
  • Multicolored Hair: Axe. Jackal wants this - she wants to add purple streaks to her hair.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Jackal. She doesn't even know what the sky is...
  • Night-Vision Goggles: By the end of the book, Jackal has these naturally.
  • No Periods, Period: Although no one's period is specifically mentioned, Jackal, once she finds about it, asks if it's true that girls without their birth-control chip will bleed once a month but not die.
  • No Pregger Sex: All kids get a birth-control chip when they're born. You need to have someone take it out, presumably once you're overage.
  • No Social Skills: Jackal has no clue how to even speak in complete sentences in the beginning of the book, let alone hold a polite conversation with anyone.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Jackal being hit in the back of the head by a crowbar only knocks her out.
  • Official Couple: Pitch and Iris, and Hover and Scorpio.
  • Older Than They Look: Very few people think that Jackal is actually 10 due to her height and her speech issues.
  • One Head Taller: This is in effect for all three of the major couples: Pitch and Iris, Frank and Elf, and Hover and Scorpio, with the last couple having the largest height difference.
  • Only Child Syndrome: No one except for Axel and Pitch are mentioned to have any siblings.
  • Only One Name: Just about every single character - none of them have last names. Well, except for Pitch and Frank, whose last names (and in Pitch's case, real first name) are not revealed until 3/4 of the way through the book. Possibly subverted, though, in that each of them has a screen name and a separate first name.
  • Parental Neglect: Parents who don't want to spend even a few pennies per dollar of their paycheck can sign their child over to the state, leaving them in fos-care until they're 14 and their 'tracts can be sold.
  • Signature Style: Iris throws knives. Axe uses Aikido. Jackal uses her fists and her legs as her main weapons, but she uses her splat-shot once she gets it.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Jackal. She says "frag" way too often for a 10-year-old. Frank isn't much better, either, though he is also an older teen.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Doesn't happen because of the birth-control chips.
  • Teens Are Short: Averted. The only short ones are Cat, Elf, and Jackal (who's only 10 and so doesn't count). All the others are tall. Even "Shades" is explicitly described as being the same height as Frank, proving that at least some adults are the same height as teenagers.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Once Iris teaches Jackal how to, anyway.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Axe (bisexual and chipped). His bisexuality is never commented on, but several of the gang refuse to trust him after finding out about his chip.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Most of the rival gangs have no problem with hurting Jackal, even though she's two feet shorter than them, as well as about 2/3 their age.


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