Sixteen-year-old Ann Burden has been living on her own for a year, since the nuclear bombs turned everything...moreReviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com
Sixteen-year-old Ann Burden has been living on her own for a year, since the nuclear bombs turned everything surrounding her little valley into a wasteland, and her parents drove out to find other survivors... and never came back. Knowing she may be the only person left, Ann struggles with her loneliness and tends to the farm as best she can. But then a man comes over the hills in a protective suit and arrives in the valley. At first he provides Ann with welcome companionship, but as he recovers from a bout of radiation sickness, his actions become more sinister.
Z FOR ZACHARIAH is an intense, heart-pounding read. From the moment Ann first sees smoke rising from beyond the valley, each development wrenches her further and further from the life she's adjusted to--seemingly for good, and then with terrible consequences. The pacing is perfect, and with the story being told through Ann's journal entries, every event feels immediate. The personal details and unflinching descriptions of life after a nuclear war make the story even more gripping. As the tension escalates, readers will find it incredibly hard to put the book down before they discover Ann's ultimate fate. While the story leaves this somewhat open-ended, Ann's ultimate victory will make them cheer.
Ann is a likable narrator, with a natural voice and a well-developed personality. It's easy to sympathize with her based on her situation alone, but she is all the more admirable for refusing to give up even in the most desperate circumstances. She deals with her problems with intelligence and courage, but still has those moments of carelessness and fear that make her human. Readers will be on her side from the beginning, even as they struggle to imagine how they would feel in her place. Though her final triumph involves some loss, it's clear Ann will persevere and find a way to survive and be happy, which makes the ending satisfying.
Z FOR ZACHARIAH is a story that will haunt readers long after they've put down the book. It shows both the good and the bad that can emerge from human nature in the face of catastrophe, and gives hope that even in the worst situations, there are those who will remain strong. (less)
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
LITTLE BROTHER presents a pretty scary picture of the way things could be if terrorist...moreReviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
LITTLE BROTHER presents a pretty scary picture of the way things could be if terrorist threats continue, and politicians keep funding the Department of Homeland Security with no thought as to how this might victimize the average innocent American. There is already an incredible amount of technology devoted to "spying" on the citizens of our country, and we normally don't give it a second thought. This book will make you think - and not just a little bit.
Marcus is a seventeen-year-old tech wizard. Granted, he often uses his skills for less than ethical reasons, but he doesn't hurt anyone. When a terrorist attack destroys the Bay Bridge near his home in San Francisco, he and several friends are captured by police (DHS) as they are attempting to help a fallen companion. They become the victims of frightening interrogation and torture.
When Marcus finally gains his freedom, he vows to take back America from the out-of-control Department of Homeland Security. Using his vast techie skills, he creates an alternate Internet called Xnet, which utilizes the old XBox game system. Marcus becomes known as M1k3y and develops a huge group of supporters. Together, they attempt to undermine the government agencies determined to destroy the true meaning and protection of the United States Constitution.
Cory Doctorow has created a modern-day 1984. Set in the not-too-distant future, this book attempts to show what could happen if we sit back and allow the government to whittle away at our rights to "protect" us from terrorism. It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of terrorism and fear within our own government.
LITTLE BROTHER is full of adventure and intrigue. A lot of the suspense comes from all the technical tricks Marcus brings to the story. Some of the details might prove too much for a struggling reader, but any tech/geek teens will not be able to read it fast enough. (less)
It's the eighteenth year of Enclosure and everything on the islands in the Tranquil Sea have become regulated. E...moreReviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com
It's the eighteenth year of Enclosure and everything on the islands in the Tranquil Sea have become regulated. Earth Mother and her Corporation, who have a vision for a world with only happiness, control everything from jobs to the weather to children's names - and expect everyone to conform to this view of normality, no matter what the consequence. On Island 365 lives a girl named Honor and her family, who don't really fit into this society.
While Honor desperately tries to fit in, her parents try even harder to not fit in. They break curfew, don't pray to Mother Earth, and biggest of all have a second child. When Honor meets Helix she soon finds out some dark secrets; those that don't conform soon disappear...forever.
Filled with fear that her parents might be taken, Honor tries to change even more, thinking that if she fits in, no attention will be brought to her parents. Will all her efforts be in vain? Will she and Helix uncover more secrets about the island?
From the very first paragraph I was drawn into the story and knew that it would be great. As it progressed, I was certainly not disappointed. Having only read a few post-apocalyptic or dystopian society books, I was a little unsure as to what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with the ability of the book to hold my attention. I felt like most of the characters, especially Honor, were well-developed and real. Something that really stood out to me was Honor's ability to stay real, and very human-like, in a setting composed of conforming events and questions.
In this case it was easy to connect with Honor, because the author made the reader have some of the same questions as she did. Ms. Goodman also did a great job of creating suspense within the novel. There were many times where I was not able to pull myself away from the book at all. The questions that the book brings up keep you enthralled and wanting more. Overall, I was very much impressed with THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND, and am very much hoping that there will be a sequel.
Fans of THE CITY OF EMBER, THE UGLIES, and THE GIVER will really enjoy this book.
On a far-flung world newly settled by humanity, twelve-year-old Todd Hewitt of Prentisstown is a boy on...moreReviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com
On a far-flung world newly settled by humanity, twelve-year-old Todd Hewitt of Prentisstown is a boy on the brink of becoming a man.
When settlers came to this world, they found it already inhabited by aliens known as the Spackle, and a war was waged against them to colonize the planet. Now, almost twenty years after the first settlers landed, the world is low-tech but free of the "spacks." However, they left behind them the "Noise germ," a chemical contaminant that causes all the men who come in contact with it to broadcast their thoughts for everyone's hearing--and kills all the infected women.
On the eve of his thirteenth birthday, Todd has never seen a woman. He was the last child born in the settlement before his mother succumbed to the Noise germ and died, and now he's the only boy left in the village of Prentisstown, all the others having turned thirteen and been proclaimed men. Now, with Todd's birthday approaching, the entire town is anxious, and Todd can hear it.
The men of the town are keeping something from him; although they can hear each other think, it's possible to learn techniques that allow one to control the information that others can hear. Ben and Cillian, his adoptive guardians and old friends of his parents, are both worried for him, though Todd doesn't know why.
And then, with less than a month to go until Todd's thirteenth birthday, he stumbles across a secret that no boy is meant to know and all men have been forced to forget, a secret about the history of his world and the lies he's been told. Todd has no choice but to escape from the town he's called his home and the people who have been his parents, on the run from something more terrible than the alien Spackle, and more familiar.
The sheer intensity of the story Ness tells kept me reading straight through this book, despite its length and occasionally hefty prose. Todd's first-person, present-tense narration has an inexorable pull that places the reader within the context of the story and keeps you turning the pages. The plot is full of twists and turns, the world is immaculately and innovatively crafted, and the characters' pain and longing seeps from the pages.
My largest complaint with this book was the way in which it ended, without resolving some major issues that had been significant throughout the story. It is the first book in a series, so this sense of incompleteness may be slightly forgiven, but I felt like I'd spent the entire book hurtling forward into empty space only to be slammed at the last minute against a brick wall.
That said, I'd recommend THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO to anyone who enjoys dystopia or slightly darker fiction, and I know I can't wait to see what happens next!
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
THE ROAR is the latest in a new trend toward futuristic YA novels. Like THE HUNGER GAM...moreReviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
THE ROAR is the latest in a new trend toward futuristic YA novels. Like THE HUNGER GAMES and GONE, the setting is the future after the world has been changed by time and the mistakes of humankind. It's about survival, and teens play a significant role.
Mika and Ellie are siblings split apart by conditions beyond their control. Everyone but Mika believes that Ellie is dead. Something tells him that if he can just figure it out, he might be able to save her. When he gets the chance to compete in a special video game competition, he thinks it might provide just the opportunity he needs.
In a future world populated by haves and have nots, Mika and his parents become part of a sinister scheme to control individuals through programs and chemicals advertised to create healthy and more intelligent young people. Can Mika resist the brain-washing and use his skills to learn what is necessary to rescue Ellie and save his family, or will they become part of a controlled society?
This edge-of-your-seat first novel by Emma Clayton will captivate readers from the very first Pod Fighter flight. Although almost 500 pages, the short chapters and non-stop action make this a fun, fast read.
Eli has been living with his parents in The Compound for six years. The Compound is an elaborate nucle...moreReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Eli has been living with his parents in The Compound for six years. The Compound is an elaborate nuclear bomb shelter his father spent an enormous amount of money to build in order to keep his family safe from nuclear fallout. The plan is to stay underground for fifteen years until the radiation danger has passed.
Eli has had the hardest time adjusting to life in The Compound. In his six years there he has steadily distanced himself from everyone in the family. He maintains a strict schedule of exercise, studying, chores, and reading.
His loneliness comes from the fact that not everyone made it to The Compound. During the nuclear attack that led his family there, Eddy, his identical twin, was accidentally left behind. Eddy snuck away with their Grandma without his parents knowing when their father chose to take the family underground. Their father had already locked the door when he realized Eddy and Grandma didn't make it.
The locks were set for fifteen years and there wasn't any way to go back for them. Eli feels a hole in his life that no one or nothing can fill.
Eli starts to take a hard look at what is going on in The Compound - and he doesn't have a good feeling. Food is running low, supplies are being depleted, and his father's behavior is changing. Eli suspects there is more going on than his father leads them to believe.
Shocking surprises are about to be uncovered. Secrets never meant to be revealed are exposed. Eli is left with the job of saving his family. He will have to break the shell he has created around himself and build connections with the people he has tried to keep away in order to find the truth and survive.
THE COMPOUND will remind you of the movie Blast from the Past, just without all the quirky, fun-loving humor.(less)
It is important to read the first book in the CHAOS WALKING trilogy, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, be...moreReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
It is important to read the first book in the CHAOS WALKING trilogy, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, before beginning THE ASK AND THE ANSWER. Patrick Ness doesn't leave anything out when he begins book two of the trilogy; THE ASK AND THE ANSWER picks up exactly where THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO leaves off.
Todd, after being captured by Mayor Prentiss' men, wakes up with thoughts of Viola. He is beside himself with worry since Viola was dying in his arms when they were captured. Is she dead or alive? No one will tell him, and it is consuming his thoughts.
Thoughts that everyone around him can hear.
While everyone around Todd can hear what he is thinking, he can't hear the thoughts around him. It seems Mayor Prentiss has found a way to stop his Noise and the Noise of his men, thus explaining how Todd and Viola were lured into Haven and captured.
Mayor Prentiss, now calling himself President Prentiss, uses Todd's concern for Viola to control him and force him into working with Prentiss' son, Davy, the one who shot Viola in the first place. Todd can't stand the people around him and feels the tasks assigned to him are barbaric and inhumane.
Fear for Viola's safety prevents him from going against Prentiss and he suffers along with the other townspeople as security gets tighter and more strict every day because of a rebel uprising by a group calling themselves The Answer.
Patrick Ness has done it again. THE ASK AND THE ANSWER contains the same heart-pounding excitement as THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO. The reader will experience Todd's internal struggle with every decision he is forced to make in order to survive under Prentiss' control.
You won't be able to stop reading and you'll be disappointed when you get to the end. The third installment in this fantastic trilogy can't come soon enough.(less)
Rachel has lived on The Property since before she can remember. Her mother works for Ms. Moore, the ow...moreReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Rachel has lived on The Property since before she can remember. Her mother works for Ms. Moore, the owner, as a housekeeper of the large house. Rachel enjoys living far from town and away from the strong governmental control most other people must suffer. People living in towns deal with unfair and random taxes and, when they can't pay, are taken to jail.
Most people would hate living on The Property because it backs up to The Line, a small section of the National Border Defense System that separates the people of the Unified States from Away and the Others. The Line is an invisible barrier that can only be crossed if the government grants permission and deactivates The Line.
Rachel doesn't feel fear when she thinks of Away. She even tried to cross it once, but simply bounced back from The Line and landed flat on her back.
Rachel's quiet life is turned upside down when two things happen.
First, she finds a battered digital voice recorder with a partial message requesting help. Then, during a trip to town with her mother for the weekly supplies, they witness the arrest of a woman her mother recognizes.
Rachel discovers she doesn't know her mother as well as she thought she did, that Ms. Moore has some unbelievable secrets, and the Away and the Others are closer than she thinks. She must use her wits and bravery to get through a dangerous and exciting time in order to save an important historical document and people she doesn't even know.
THE LINE by Teri Hall is a fascinating dystopian novel full of strong female characters and a dark, creepy plot. The end, while a bit abrupt, is satisfying. Readers will definitely want to read more about the adventures Rachel is sure to find. The author leaves the story completely open for a sequel, and I for one can't wait to read it.
The synopsis isn't the only thing I found intriguing about THE LINE. Just take a look at the cover and tell me you don't want to read it! Fantastic art choice!(less)
Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for TeensReadToo.com
Thomas is brought up to the Glade in an elevator with only his name and no memory...moreReviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for TeensReadToo.com
Thomas is brought up to the Glade in an elevator with only his name and no memory at all. He finds himself with a group of boys like himself. They all have no memory of an outside world. All they know is that there is a maze and they will try to find a way out -but every night the doors to the maze will shut.
The day after Thomas arrives, a girl, the first ever in the Glade, arrives with a note that she is the last. Thomas is determined to figure out what is happening in the Glade and unlock the secrets that are buried.
THE MAZE RUNNER is the start to a thrilling new trilogy. If you are a fan of dystopian science fiction, then this title needs to be added to your must-read pile.
Author James Dashner has a brilliant start to the book; the Gladers use different slang, which takes some time to get used to. However, this leaves the reader feeling just as jarred as Thomas when the book starts and you find yourself learning about the Glade right along with the main character. I've never really had that experience with a book before, so kudos to Mr. Dashner for a brilliant storytelling device.
The story has somewhat of a slow start, but readers who stick with it will be rewarded. I'm warning you - there are lots of cliffhangers and heart-stopping adventure, and you'll want to stay up late turning pages to find out what happens next.(less)
Laura Brown lives in the U.K. - and unfortunately the U.K. is the first country to establish carbon ra...moreReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Laura Brown lives in the U.K. - and unfortunately the U.K. is the first country to establish carbon rationing. Everyone will be expected to reduce their carbon consumption by 60%. Everyone has 200 Carbon Points per month to spend on travel, heat, food, and fun. The 200 Carbon Points are loaded on a card. In order to use anything, you have to swipe your card. If you have enough points - fine. If not, your oven could shut off in the middle of cooking dinner.
People have to choose what is really important.
As tough as the carbon rationing is, the extreme weather patterns are worse. Unbearable heat, droughts, hurricanes, and floods put normal life on hold for everyone.
In addition to adapting to this new life, Laura also has to deal with typical teenage issues. Her family seems to be falling apart, her band is attempting to stay together, and she is trying to get the boy next door to notice her.
With the U.K. falling down around her, does Laura have the luxury of being a typical teenager?
Saci Lloyd has written an addicting eco-thriller. Following Laura through the toughest year of her life is fascinating. Readers will be anxious to read the follow-up, THE CARBON DIARIES, 2017.(less)
Gaia (Guy-ya) Stone is following in her mother's footsteps. She has been training to be a midwife for...moreReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Gaia (Guy-ya) Stone is following in her mother's footsteps. She has been training to be a midwife for years and is ready to accept her role in the community. For as long as she can remember, life on the outside of the wall has been this way.
The first three babies of the month are advanced to the Enclave to be adopted and live their life inside the wall. While the pain of losing a child is great, the mothers know that their baby will be living in a community with conveniences not available to the people living in Wharfton, like electricity and running water.
Gaia doesn't know what to do when her parents are arrested and taken by the Guard of the Protectorat. She finds it hard to believe that her parents know anything the Enclave would want to know, but by the questions they ask her when she comes home to find them gone, they think her parents have important information. Gaia is completely in the dark. The only thing she has to go on is the long piece of ribbon with a strange code sewn in it that her mother's assistant gave her and told her to keep secret at all cost.
Gaia's life becomes a complicated game of cat and mouse as she attempts to get inside the wall, find her parents, and solve the mystery of the coded ribbon.
Caragh M. O'Brien has written a wonderful addition to the dystopian genre. Readers get a glimpse of life in the 2400's after a drastic weather change has dramatically reduced the human population. Even though the world is completely different than the one we live in, the problems Gaia encounters are very similar - she enjoys time with her family, likes socializing with friends, and is insecure when it comes to love.
BIRTHMARKED is fantastic. I loved it and stayed up much too late because I couldn't put it down. It definitely deserves the Gold Star Award. The author leaves the ending open for a sequel, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next.(less)
Life has become grim in the futuristic world of debut author Kat Falls' novel, DARK LIFE. Climatic and tectonic sh...moreReviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com
Life has become grim in the futuristic world of debut author Kat Falls' novel, DARK LIFE. Climatic and tectonic shifts have caused sea levels to rise and continents to fall, leaving humans fighting for precious space in "stacked cities" of the skies, or submerging themselves in "dark life" on the ocean floor.
Ty Townsend is one of those people.
As part of the first generation born and raised farming his family's underwater plot , he dreams of reaching his eighteenth birthday in order to claim and farm his own hundred acres. Trouble is afoot, though, as the Benthic Territory and their supply ships are being raided and the settlers terrorized by a ruthless group of bandits.
In response, the topside government, the Commonwealth of States, issues a "request" to the territory's inhabitants: help us capture the Seablite Gang and their mysterious leader, Shade. Just in case the threat posed by the bandits isn't enough, the Commonwealth provides three incentives: a halt on all supply shipments, reassignment of the territory's doctor, and no new homesteads until the gang is apprehended.
Ty is determined to ensure the realization of his dream, but his love for exploring vast underwater canyons has also thrown him another complication in the form of teenage Topsider runaway, Gemma. While searching the outpost for her missing brother, the Seablite Gang's attacks intensify and hit closer to home than either Ty or Gemma ever could have imagined. It's not long before they realize their best chance for survival and success resides in each other.
Despite a slow start, the characters soon plunge right into action. Ms. Falls has created an eerie, haunting world filled with mysterious creatures, nefarious villains, and two genuine protagonists, who are well-supported by a passel of quirky, intriguing secondary characters. Without a doubt, DARK FALLS will satisfy anyone with a dystopian future craving. (less)
MONSTERS OF MEN is the wonderful conclusion to the CHAOS WALKING trilogy. It picks up where THE ASK AN...moreReviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
MONSTERS OF MEN is the wonderful conclusion to the CHAOS WALKING trilogy. It picks up where THE ASK AND THE ANSWER leaves off - right at the beginning of WAR!
The Spackle, the Answer, and the Mayor's army are all converging on New Prentisstown - and Todd and Viola are stuck in the middle.
Patrick Ness creates the same heart-pounding suspense in this novel as he did in the first two books. Multiple points of view give the reader a full understanding of what is happening.
Be sure to set aside a block of time when you start this book - or the first two, for that matter. Once I started, I didn't want to stop. I was so worried for Viola and Todd throughout the story. I was stressed and cringed as I got further into the story - afraid for what the author had in store for them.
Mr. Ness made me growl in frustration and brought me to tears. MONSTERS OF MEN ended perfectly! (less)