**spoiler alert** The story concept is fairly compelling, I'll give it that.
I really don't understand a couple of throwaway lines fat-hating on Jeanin...more**spoiler alert** The story concept is fairly compelling, I'll give it that.
I really don't understand a couple of throwaway lines fat-hating on Jeanine ("layer of pudge around her middle" and referencing her "stretch marks"), and the decision (spoiler alert) to kill off both of Tris' parents almost immediately after she's reunited with them felt like a missed opportunity. How much more interesting the sequel might have been if readers could observe Tris reconnecting with her mother in particular now that she realizes she's misjudged her all her life?(less)
With the exception of the occasional engorged monster penis, I just love the universe Vaughan and Staples have created. Can't wait for the next instal...moreWith the exception of the occasional engorged monster penis, I just love the universe Vaughan and Staples have created. Can't wait for the next installment. (less)
I'm a big fan of Patrick Ness, so I was expecting to adore his latest teen novel. This didn't quite live up to the high standards set by the Chaos Wal...moreI'm a big fan of Patrick Ness, so I was expecting to adore his latest teen novel. This didn't quite live up to the high standards set by the Chaos Walking trilogy or A Monster Calls, mainly because the concepts in those books were so startling original. More Than This felt too much like an iconic movie (I won't mention which so as not to spoil it) for me to fall in love with it. Still, Ness is a masterful writer whose characters feel true. (less)
I finally read this now-classic dystopian teen novel. Wow. M.T. Anderson crafts an incredibly authentic sounding language for the narrative, a teen bo...moreI finally read this now-classic dystopian teen novel. Wow. M.T. Anderson crafts an incredibly authentic sounding language for the narrative, a teen boy named Titus in a future version of our world. Titus and his friends, like nearly everyone else in America, have computer software feeds implanted in their brains. Without any screens, they can virtually chat with each other, watch television shows, and be constantly informed by advertisements. It's normal life for them, until Titus' new girlfriend Violet's feed starts malfunctioning, proving there is a price for this lifestyle. So much to talk about, from consumerism to environmentalism to our growing dependence on technology. I won't soon forgot this story's haunting images, from the filet mignon "farm" to the lesions the characters suffer from - at first unwanted side-effects of the feed, then later, intentional body modifications to look fashionable. (less)
Interesting that I just read this after attempting (and never finishing) Stephenie Meyer's The Host. Both are told from the perspective of a soul with...moreInteresting that I just read this after attempting (and never finishing) Stephenie Meyer's The Host. Both are told from the perspective of a soul within another's body. In this case, "A" is a person who only occupies the bodies and lives of other people his own age. A only stays in another person for a day. At midnight, A is transported into another. A does not identify A's self as a particular sex; when A is a boy, A is a he. When a girl, she. A has figured out how to engage as little as possible so as not to disrupt the host person's life. But one day, A falls in love.
This book offers an interesting metaphor for the experiences of transgender youths - occupying a body in which you feel like you don't truly belong. A, through all of his experiences in all different young people, has a lot to say about religion and sex/gender identities; mainly, that our similarities are greater than our differences, that all people want something to believe in, and that people should love whom they love. Important ideas, yes, but A comes off a little too wise in these cases, perhaps too much the voice of his author. Still, an interesting exploration of identity and a unique love story.(less)
The Wild West meets the ocean floor in this science fiction adventure. It's told from the perspective of a young man (teenager, I think) who is joined...moreThe Wild West meets the ocean floor in this science fiction adventure. It's told from the perspective of a young man (teenager, I think) who is joined undersea by a girl, one of the few people who live on the surface. There's a band of outlaws making trouble, incredible (and real!) descriptions of deep-sea animals, and - spoiler alert - super powers!(less)
Peter is excited to leave New York City with his family for a long stay in Greenland, where his father can work on global warming research. Surrounded...morePeter is excited to leave New York City with his family for a long stay in Greenland, where his father can work on global warming research. Surrounded by blistering cold and a desert of glaciers, he and his parents stay in a specialized tent, wear heavy parkas, and travel by dogsled. At the same time, a girl named Thea lives another life. She also depends on dogs and heavy fur coats to shield herself from the cold of Greenland. However, Thea has never seen the sun. She and her colony of people have lived for generations underneath the glacier's thick ice in a world severed from that of Peter. But Thea wonders if her ancestors truly intended to stay under the ground for so long. As she searches for the truth, Peter also looks for answers about his mother's obsessive writing habits, the real reason his parents are in Greenland, and his own headaches that, for moments at a time, give Peter strange visions.
Rebecca Stead, in both First Light and her Newbery Award winning When You Reach Me, expertly blends science fiction elements into a (somewhat) familiar genre and setting. This is more a story about understanding the balance between your heritage and your destiny than it is about the technologies and secrets of Thea's underground society, yet the suspenseful mystery keeps the reader eagerly turning pages and guessing how Peter and Thea's lives will inevitably connect. A great choice that will likely compel many types of readers and interest levels. (less)
Gratuity, or Tip, as her friends call her, is assigned to write an essay that explains the holiday people used to call Christmas. Now, Smekday, named in honor of their leader, commemorates the day the alien race called the Boov first invaded Earth. Tip details the journey she takes when the Boov decide to relocate all humans to Florida. Her mother is seemingly abducted, so Tip sets off in the car (she's a really good driver, even without a license) and meets up with the enemy himself: a Boov who's taken the human name J.Lo and who is curiously willing to help her, especially if helping involves pimping out her car until it's a fire-spitting hovercraft.
This book is hilarious sci-fi, chockfull of references and allusions to great works like The War of the Worlds and "The X-Files." But this is not simply satire. At its heart, "Smekday" is a road-trip book: two people (or creatures), one car (hovership), the road ahead (kind of demolished from the Boov), and a blossoming relationship within. Tip ought to hate J.Lo, but somehow she can't, and the reader won't either by a longshot. J.Lo's downright lovable with a good nature and charming struggle with English; his quirky sentence structures and misuse of words had me thinking fondly of Roald Dahl's The BFG. Both Tip and J.Lo are deeply fleshed out characters with their own sets of fears, hopes, doubts, and needs. (They are also both really funny.) Added bonus: Rex includes a few pages of comic-style narration to explain the natural history of the Boov. Turns out J.Lo is a talented artist.(less)
I really wanted to love this book. It has so much going for it: a well developed, detailed futuristic London setting; complicated characters; and stea...moreI really wanted to love this book. It has so much going for it: a well developed, detailed futuristic London setting; complicated characters; and steampunk machines galore. However, something just never clicked for me. I just never really felt committed to the story or to Fever Crumb's character. (less)
What a great new graphic novel. Much like other fantastic graphic-novel/sci-fi books for kids (like those in the Amulet series) this book perfectly bl...moreWhat a great new graphic novel. Much like other fantastic graphic-novel/sci-fi books for kids (like those in the Amulet series) this book perfectly blends fun, even silly, adventurous moments with hard emotions like homesickness, loss, or fear. Illustrations are bright and detail-rich. It's amazing that comics artists continue to add to the immense world of science fiction artwork through markedly unique and fabulous contributions. Ben Hatke is no exception!(less)
Teenaged mercenaries (called Regulators) Durango and Vienne are hired to protect the lowly and forgotten population of miners on the now colonized Mar...moreTeenaged mercenaries (called Regulators) Durango and Vienne are hired to protect the lowly and forgotten population of miners on the now colonized Mars. Cannibalistic nonhuman creatures called the Draeu have been stealing and devouring the miners' children. Durango knows this may very well be a suicide mission, but the Rugulators' code forbids him to refuse to help the poor - plus, as a daalit, an outcast Regulator without a master, Durango struggles to find enough work to feed himself. When he and his crew arrives, they discover how ruthless and dangerous the Draeu are firsthand.
This is a high-action, darkly dystopic novel. The world on Mars has a long history plus new social ranks and structure, details of which are given slowly throughout the otherwise fast moving story. I found it sometimes difficult to follow or understand this world without more toploaded explanation, but many readers may enjoy little time wasted before the action begins. (less)