I was so excited to find this on the shelf at the library. I loved memento Nora and the forgetting curve, and I love this one too. Smibert has done a...moreI was so excited to find this on the shelf at the library. I loved memento Nora and the forgetting curve, and I love this one too. Smibert has done a fabulous job of creating a society that is just one step removed from our own. It has become quite clear that the government is cooperating with the TFC corporation to gain power. They are attacking other countries as well, and creating power shortages to encourage people to vote for the new Patriot party. It makes you wonder how many of these kinds of things are going on in our world, as well. As in our world, a fight for a limited amount of power, such as gas and coal, drives much of the story.
The main plot is that Aiden and the others form an underground Internet called the Meme Net. This way they can communicate with each other without fear of government interference. They use it to publish music, comic books, and radio programs. The resistance movement continues to build throughout the book, and many people from their school, neighborhoods, and even the police join them. The perfect circle tattoo becomes the way they identify themselves.
In addition, we learn much more about our characters and their families. Like the first two books, this book will be enjoyed by teen readers who enjoy books that are just one step away from our reality, especially those who enjoy technology. Cory Doctorow's Little Brother is the most similar book to this one. In general, I think this series is one of the most underrated series out there. They are really interesting on a lot of levels, and I'm not sure why they don't get more press.
Spoiler alerts start here.
Winter is doing pretty well in this book, and her relationship with Lina continues to blossom. They spend a lot of time working on electricity enabled textiles and building nodes for the new Meme Net. Her butterflies have mostly quieted down, allowing her to work on her projects and relationships successfully.
Aiden is disappointed to learn that Velvet doesn't remember that they were dating, but decides to move on. He spends a lot of time working hard to make the computer hacking part happen. He also successfully makes a new ID Chip, that can replace the government issued ones, but is read as a legal one by the scanners. He does a radio show as Neo. There are a lot of Matrix references in this book.
Nora starts the book living with her dad in a very rich gated community. She enjoys some parts of this life. Eventually though her dad abuses her like he had her mom. So she ends up back living with her mom.
Velvet is excited to greet her dad when he comes home from the war. She learns that he and Micah's dad had fought together previously. She does a lot of the organizing work for the final concert. She also writes lots of poems and songs.
Micah has the hardest time in this book. At one point, he thinks his dad is a terrorist, at another point he thinks he's dead. At the end he's really not sure what happened.(less)
Terrific story set in the future where one company controls everything. Deep in the country's psyche looms the specter of a failed space mission where...moreTerrific story set in the future where one company controls everything. Deep in the country's psyche looms the specter of a failed space mission where many talented astronauts died, leaving a number of orphans who are mysteriously reunited via Human Services. They realize their importance and vow to make things right, no matter the cost.
I loved reading this book--it was fast-paced and interesting. The end seemed a little odd or abrupt, but that may have been because I read it so fast.(less)
(I read only the 1st 40 pages before it was due.) Good setup, interesting premise (aliens invade world, humans all slowly die, she may be alone in the...more(I read only the 1st 40 pages before it was due.) Good setup, interesting premise (aliens invade world, humans all slowly die, she may be alone in the world), decent characterization, and quite suspenseful writing. Not sure I'll take the time to finish it, but I'm impressed so far.(less)
Wow! This book blew me away with its magical combination of alternate history, science fiction, theology/philosophy, and a whole lot of adventure.
It's...moreWow! This book blew me away with its magical combination of alternate history, science fiction, theology/philosophy, and a whole lot of adventure.
It's 16th century England. Edward is on the throne, but Protestantism's hold on the people is still tenuous. Alchemists are seeking the philosopher's stone, distilling elements. Physics (doctors) know very little, but some are seeking to know more through the still-illegal practice of dissection. (So far, so historically accurate.)
Parris, doctor and alchemist sympathizer, restlessly seeks more knowledge to atone for his guilt over his son's death. When he hears of a ship that has gone to the end of the world (which is flat) and returned with mysteriously preserved corpses, he can't resist, and ends up embroiled in an epic attempt by Sinclair (alchemist, adventurer, and amazing leader) to go back to the end of the world and discover Quintessence, the very essence of life.
This novel is gripping from page one, with lots of complex characters who come to blows with each other often, fantastical creatures with amazing properties, and more exciting plot sequences than seems possible.
I would recommend it for readers who like large-scale adventure or fantasy or historical stories, as well as for readers who like to consider transcendent themes like the role and ethics of science, the nature of true faith, and guilt/forgiveness. The author's Christian faith comes through as he tackles these themes, but not heavy-handedly, tritely, or didactically, so it should appeal to a wide audience.
**Spoiler alert--Some events I want to remember for when the sequel (!) is published, and some questions I have-don't read if you want to read the book!---
--Joan and Parris end up reconciling at the end. They realize each was focusing on Catherine, not being selfish. (I'm not sure this is a truly great focus either.) --The alchemy is fascinating--it's like a puzzle where they figure out all the properties and apply them to useful purposes. --The bishop (Matthew's dad) ends up portrayed more positively by the end. --Sinclair gives up his life to save the bishop, and says "it's worth it." Is this a conversion? --The scenes with the void haunted me A LOT, especially the 1st times they created it. Walton is a really good writer. --Sinclair's power over people is amazing. --We agreed that the least likely event was the Spanish ship getting there so easily when it was so hard for their ship to get there. --Catherine is pretty consumed by the desire to be like a man; how will this go when she is married? --Can you really make a life at the end of the world? Is that how the colonists felt?(less)
The Travels of Thelonius, which is the first book in the Fog Mound graphic novel series, was really fun. I enjoyed its combination of alternate histor...moreThe Travels of Thelonius, which is the first book in the Fog Mound graphic novel series, was really fun. I enjoyed its combination of alternate history, futuristic science fiction, and animal fantasy. It reminded me a little bit of the Search for WondLa by Tony Deterlizzi, but this is much shorter. The main character is a chipmunk named Thelonius. He has always lived in the forest, but has heard legends about how humans use to live on the earth. The legend goes that humans destroyed the earth with pollution and overdevelopment and the like, and that now there are no humans anymore. His family does not support his interest in finding humans.
One day he gets washed away in a flood and finds himself in the City of Ruins. He realizes fairly quickly that this is where the humans lived and he starts to learn about humans. He also makes a friend, who is a porcupine named Fitzgerald, and together they explore the town. Fitzgerald also teaches Thelonius how to read. As their adventures go on, they start to chat with a bear named Olive who has a great desire to fly, especially back to her home of Fog Mound, and eventually they all end up flying off into the world.
This is a combination graphic novel/illustrated novel. Half of the chapters are mostly text with some pictures, and half of the chapters are laid out in traditional comic book style format. This style gives a lot more depth to the story, I think, because there are a lot more words that can be part of the story. Readers who enjoy science fiction or graphic novels that have more depth and interest and longer storylines will really enjoy this series. There is a fair amount of science fiction in it, with descriptions of how the Earth got destroyed, and also how the Fog Mound was built and how it runs, which science-minded readers will particularly enjoy. There is also plenty of conflicts and adventure and just a lot of fun that will appeal to readers who enjoy adventure.
Highly recommended for school-aged to middle school aged readers who like science fiction, adventure, or animal books.(less)
Alex and I noticed how much this book is the mirror image of Wrinkle: they go deep within instead of way out, the message is that you need to stay in...moreAlex and I noticed how much this book is the mirror image of Wrinkle: they go deep within instead of way out, the message is that you need to stay in community and deepen instead of being an individual against conformity. It is also less accessible than Wrinkle.
The descriptions of the cherubim are awesome in the true sense of the word.
The most fascinating part was the narrative of the temptation of the farandolae, tempting them to stay individualistic pleasure seekers caught up in the speeding whirl rather than deepening into their true nature, community, and purpose in life. It was challenging to me on a personal level in the way the similar passage in C.S. Lewis' Perelandra was. I thank God for artists and writers who help us understand ourselves and our world more truly.(less)
I enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the first one (Memento Nora); it will stand on its own and doesn't require having read the first one. Smart ki...moreI enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the first one (Memento Nora); it will stand on its own and doesn't require having read the first one. Smart kids who are figuring out how to work within the system to destroy the system itself. There was a big tech/computer/hacker element to this book that will appeal to a new group of readers, similar to Little Brother.
Recommended for teens who want a fast read, those who like "rebel against the gov't" books, and those who enjoy a fast-paced plot with interesting twists and turns.(less)
Genre-bending to the max, this book tells the story of tiny aliens who have taken a fly away from the Earth. When he gets sick, they decide to bring i...moreGenre-bending to the max, this book tells the story of tiny aliens who have taken a fly away from the Earth. When he gets sick, they decide to bring it back to its home environment, which is near a cow on a farm. Wikki the alien has a screen that displays information about whatever they are discussing, such as cow digestion. This information and accompanying photograph is highlighted, so kids can learn facts as well as read the story. I actually learned something too--cows have no upper teeth!
This series will likely appeal to fans of graphic novels and the nonfiction element is a nice addition.(less)
Compelling plot with a great setting, okay characters, pretty terrible writing. I'd recommend this to teens who enjoy dystopian/apocalyptic books and...moreCompelling plot with a great setting, okay characters, pretty terrible writing. I'd recommend this to teens who enjoy dystopian/apocalyptic books and have already read all the rest of them.(less)
Great stand-alone dystopian science fiction for girls and boys from MP Haddix. Very interesting ideas, both a girl and boy protagonist, and a good plo...moreGreat stand-alone dystopian science fiction for girls and boys from MP Haddix. Very interesting ideas, both a girl and boy protagonist, and a good plot.(less)
Fascinating premise involving time travel and causation. Takes a while to get going, but kids who enjoy books like The Mysterious Benedict Society, wh...moreFascinating premise involving time travel and causation. Takes a while to get going, but kids who enjoy books like The Mysterious Benedict Society, where you can just settle in and take your time and enjoy the ride, will probably like this. The characters are interesting too. Definitely a thinker's book.(less)
This book dragged a little at first but picked up toward the end. I'm getting more interested in the characters as more facts about their lives are re...moreThis book dragged a little at first but picked up toward the end. I'm getting more interested in the characters as more facts about their lives are revealed!(less)
A fast-paced interesting followup to Found, Sent will be a fun read for kids who enjoy adventure.
Jonah, his sister, his friend Chip, and another boy f...moreA fast-paced interesting followup to Found, Sent will be a fun read for kids who enjoy adventure.
Jonah, his sister, his friend Chip, and another boy find themselves in England at the time when Richard III had imprisoned Edward and his brother and mother in the Tower of London. Their mission: to "heal time" by fixing history so it won't get messed up, and get the 2 boys back to their 21st century families.
Through creative devices such as tracers (people who continue to act the way they would have acted if no one from other times had intervened) as well as a time period about which very little is known for sure, Haddix makes it possible for the kids to achieve their goal. So well, in fact, that Jonah and Katherine are asked to go along on the next journey to the past (in the next book).
The book has some depth to it as well, asking questions such as, "If I lived in the 1500s, would my understanding of God/death be different?"
Sure to be enjoyed by fans of Haddix's books and other science fiction, Sent may also appeal to kids enjoy historical fiction as well as fantasy adventure books. (less)
I really really enjoyed this book. It has a great combination of interesting characters, a setting that's all-too-believable in our near future, and e...moreI really really enjoyed this book. It has a great combination of interesting characters, a setting that's all-too-believable in our near future, and enough action to keep it moving.
Nora has it all--a glossy Pink Ice mobile, a mom who takes her shopping whenever she closes a big real estate deal, a successful father, and a well-established place at the top of her social hierarchy. One day while shopping, she witnesses a violent bombing and it bothers her so much she can't sleep. No problem, say her parents, and her mom brings her for her first trip to TFC, where she can take a pill that will erase the traumatic memory and allow her to continue her comfortable life. Since her mom has been doing this for years, Nora doesn't question anything--until a boy from her high school (Micah) walks out of the clinic and spits out the pill.
As Nora and her mother recount their traumatic experiences to the clinician prior to erasing them, Nora learns something so shocking about her mother, something so important that she too decides to spit out her pill and remember.
The rest of the book chronicles her interactions with Micah, his best friend Winter, and their attempts to fight back against the government and corporations, as they learn how much they are controlling.
This book is similar to Little Brother except their method of fighting back is through artistic and written expression, rather than technology. This book also has a more lyrical pace. As in Little Brother, it is so easy to read this book and see so many characteristics of our current society reflected here.
It was a quick read (and I am looking forward to the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy) and would be enjoyed by fans of near-future science fiction and possibly also readers who enjoy books about kids in high school that are just a bit out of today's reality.
SPOILER ALERT!!!--facts I want to remember about the book-- --Nora's dad has been abusing her mom for a long time. He used to make her cocoa with the forgetting powder in it so she didn't remember and her mom would go to TFC. --Nora and her mom visited the beach back when she was a defense lawyer--she was defending Winter's parents actually. Their vacation was cut short when her dad came along unexpectedly and said her mom's job was changing. --At the end of the book her family is moving into a gated community, which means she will have an ID tag implanted into her. --All 3 of the teens are arrested for distributing their comic--they do it on purpose to get some press. They all have to make a full confession and take a "big pill", which wipes out in their memories everything that has happened in the book, basically. These confessions form the book. --Nora and her mom are again on the beach, and her mom tells her everything that happened. She doesn't believe it. --Before the confession she wrote something in her history book to help her remember--I think it was Your dad beats your mom. --Winter is a classic bipolar artist who refuses to take medication. She is very well portrayed--realistic, a bit sympathetic, but not overly so. I was impressed. She also is a lesbian, in love with Jewel (I think) who is a tattoo artist and has a girlfriend who is the reporter that covers the teens' arrest. --There is a police officer who is a security guard at the HS and also a member of an underground group. --He is in love with the librarian, who ends up being a mole/spy in the underground group. I think. It's complex. --Micah lives with his mom in a community of transients (kind of) behind some business. It's a beautiful family community thing that is obviously fragile. --The teens publish a comic called Memento that tells the stories they experience. Winter sets up a dot matrix printer/printing press thing. They carry them into school in library art books that they took all the insides out of. (Carefully of course and they still have the insides.) They put them in bathroom stalls because those are the only places not on camera. (less)