I highly enjoyed this book. It’s the first in a series, but the second book hasn’t come out yet. In a way, I wish I had waited since now I am anxious...moreI highly enjoyed this book. It’s the first in a series, but the second book hasn’t come out yet. In a way, I wish I had waited since now I am anxious to see what happens with Nina and her friends. I hate starting a series I really like that’s only one or a couple books into the story. I get impatient to read the rest of the story, and this series’ next book won’t be out until 2012. Hopefully before the world ends.
This book centers around fifteen-year-old Nina Oberon. A girl who lives in a dystopian utopia that has taken away most rights from the people, especially women who are treated more like cattle than humans. At sixteen, girls are forced to get the tattoo XVI on their wrists showing that they are “ready” for sex.
The public in general is carefully fed what the Governing Council wants them to believe including the idea that sixteen-year-old girls are nothing more than sex-starved nymphs who deserve whatever happens to them. The girls themselves—referred to as “sex-teens”—often buy into this same line of thought, prepping themselves to become what the media portrays them to be.
Nina diffidently rebels against this, not wanting to have anything to do with lecherous boys and men or forced sex. Despite the constant surveillance they’re under, Nina’s mother instills values in Nina, telling her that there’s more to life than what the GC force-feeds them. Then, her mother is murdered, and Nina finds herself finding out thrown into another world where she learns more about her mother, her presumably deceased father, and the rebel world beneath their “utopia.”
This was refreshing for a number of reasons. Firstly, I liked Nina very much, which is saying something for the character for me. Lately, I haven’t been too terribly impressed with YA protagonists, especially their female protagonists. I’ve found more of them annoying than truly admirable. Authors seem to overplay the traits that make teens who they are thus throwing them into a category that makes them overly aggravating. This shadows their admirable qualities.
Nina is a typical teen. Yes, she has traits that make her annoying like other teens, but they’re not overworked. She’s a good kid with a good heart. She knows she’s worth more than what the media says she is, but she has to be careful about expressing her opinions. She’s a good big sister to her younger sister, Dee, and she loves her grandparents. She goofs off with her friends—one of whom is a sex-obsessed girl who is completely taken by the media. But she is likable.
Secondly, I liked the world. It’s a dystopian utopia where no one supposedly has to do without unless they decide that they’d rather not take any government assistant. While things like religion repression is outlawed and everyone is a vegetarian (and Nina can’t believe there was a time when people actually ate meat), history has been erased to suit the GC’s agenda, not to mention the way it treats its teenage girls.
Yes, it is very reminiscent of 1984, but Karr worked it to her advantage, and in mentioning some of the changes that the world has gone through over time, you see that it went through many changes including having a period where women ruled that supposedly didn’t work out before deciding the former United States needed to be policed strictly.
I also liked hat Karr tried to create a lingo for teens in 2150 A.D. and the whole world in general. But I couldn’t help laughing a little at cars being called “trannies.” When I first read about a couple of “trannies” bumping into each other, I had mental images of Chi Chi Rodriguez and Noxeema Jackson running into each other and falling out in the street.
There were parts of the story that were too coincidental or convenient, but that happens in YA books (and many adult books). However, I can see where it was needed to set off a chain of events. I'm hoping the later books will go into why teenage girls are the focus of so much misogyny in this society, but we shall see. Overall, though, I thought this was a great book and can’t wait to continue with the series. It’s been a while since I was this excited about a YA book.
Without giving too much away, the story is this. Jacob’s grandfather has always told him fantastic tales about monsters and an orphanage for “peculiar...moreWithout giving too much away, the story is this. Jacob’s grandfather has always told him fantastic tales about monsters and an orphanage for “peculiar” children. When Jacob grows older, he dismisses his grandfather’s stories as fairytales. Then, Jacob receives a strange call from his grandfather, and when he checks in on him, he finds him on the cusp of death after an attack. His grandfather’s last babbling words to him send him on a journey to a town called Cairnholm to find out more about his grandfather.
While he is able to fill in the gaps of his grandfather’s life during this trip, he also finds out something important about himself.
Even though this book came highly recommended by many people, when I first got into it, I was little skeptical that it would be as good as everyone says it is because the beginning was a little slow. However, after making it past the first few chapters, I was engrossed with this world. Personally, I didn’t think story was scary or “haunting” as the description said. It’s more along a fantasy mixed with sci-fi with some bits of intrigue. I don’t think I’d quite call this a young adult story, either. Even though the characters were young, it didn’t have that YA feel to it.
This plays out more like a mystery as little bits and pieces are revealed to the readers, and there was one major part of the story that I figured early on. But that didn’t make it any less of a great read. Also, I think part of the reason this was a four-star book for me is because of Rigg’s creative use of pictures throughout the book. All the pictures are real pictures (and some admittedly touched up for the book) that he borrowed from collectors, giving the book an almost eerie vibe.
It’s really hard to talk about this book without spoiling all the things that made it enjoyable, so I’ll end on this note: Bronwyn is my hero, and you’ll see why once you read the book. (less)
went into this with a Dandelion Wine mentality. I expected another story about a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood and childhood. This story wa...more went into this with a Dandelion Wine mentality. I expected another story about a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood and childhood. This story was that and much more. The story focuses around Robert. A twelve-year-old boy living on a farm in Vermont. He acquires a pig, which he loves because it is his, and well, his father butchers pigs for a living.
This book was just a little over 100 pages, and it is classified as a "children's book", but this book packs an awful powerful punch to be children's book. So many questions come to mind while reading that book. Religion, familial relationships, politics. I found the story very touching, and my eyes even misted over because of a scene or two. I don't know if Peck meant for the book to be this way, but it is.
In relating to Banned Books Week, I could see why some of the subject matter would get someone a little upset. I didn't so much care about the word "bitch", which wasn't used in a derogatory nature. There was a very graphic scene dealing with pigs mating. I mean, I wouldn't demand that schools stop reading this. Even in the "rape" of the pig, there's something to be learned. You can't just shield kids from things like this. Hell, they've probably heard/seen/read a lot worse than a graphic scene involving two pigs. (less)
Simply put, this is a vampire novel. A young boy who shows repressed homicidal tendencies befriends a vampire named Eli, a friendship that forces his...moreSimply put, this is a vampire novel. A young boy who shows repressed homicidal tendencies befriends a vampire named Eli, a friendship that forces his whole world to change. I'm sure everyone knows that by now, but unlike so many vampire novels today, there's nothing sparkly or darkly seductive about this world. It's evil, twisted, and ugly.
The ugliness of it all is what made this compelling. This is a fairly fast-paced read despite the page count, crafted so well. The story makes you want to keep turning as you read about horror after horror, defeat after defeat. And yes, in some of this, you do feel a sense of triumph when bad things happened to the characters who "deserve" it in this book.
I wanted to say that the characters in this novel have few redeeming qualities, but while some of these characters are truly disgusting human beings, most of them are just people struggling against poverty, alcholism, and other real world problems. Their lives become so entwined with each other because of Eli. You do managed to feel some sympathy toward some of the characters, but that doesn't take away from the ugliness of this story.
Young adult reading about a mentally ill 16-year-old girl who endures 3 years in a mental hospital. The story is told mostly from Deborah Blau's, the...moreYoung adult reading about a mentally ill 16-year-old girl who endures 3 years in a mental hospital. The story is told mostly from Deborah Blau's, the 16-year-old girl, point of view.
Deborah's mental illness established early in her life due to pent up rage, frustration, and the pain of not being accepted in life, among other things. Because of this rejection by the world, she created in her mind Yr, a fantasy land where she could escape the harsh realities of life, but Yr slowly turned into a place none-too-nice that held her captive in her mind.
I loved this book for the simple fact that we're allowed to see things from Deborah's point of view. Few books do that. Usually, we're presented with a view from someone who's sane, thus sealing the prejudices and pity associated with the mentally ill. People tend to forget that the patients are still human, preferring to ostracize them because of their state-of-mind. This story presents the patients as people, and they are surprisingly astute and introspective despite their illness, and they are aware of what people who don't have an illness think of them.
Deborah's story is a fascinating one. She works with a gifted psychiatrist to overcome Yr and its gods, which hurts her when she tries to tell the secrets of their world. We follow her sickness, her stages of recovery, and her eventual reintroduction to the world. It was nice to read a book that wasn't a horror that presented a view of mental illness. My lack to rate it higher comes from the fact that parts of the book were lacking in my opinion, but that doesn't void out the fact that book was a good read.(less)