If you've been looking for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, look no further. This book has it all:
a dark grim setting (the Martial Empire of rIf you've been looking for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, look no further. This book has it all:
a dark grim setting (the Martial Empire of ruthless soldiers has conquered the Scholars and keeps them under its' brutal thumb);
brave heroes who must persevere against unbelievable hardships and oppression (a Martial warrior-in-training named Elias, who chafes against his cruel upbringing and his own culture's very nature, and a scholar girl named Laia who has lost nearly everything and will do whatever it takes to save her brother, the only family she has left, even if it means undergoing torture and worse);
fierce violent battles to the death and nasty foes;
and the spark of love among the despair. Oh, and there's the possibility of dark supernatural beings from storytelling legend actually being *real.* Strength. Courage. Loyalty. These will all be tested as Elias and Laia struggle to survive.
Excellent book! fast-paced, action-packed, full of heart and themes of courage and perseverance and humanity. Why do I have to wait another year for the sequel?! Aaaah!...more
Finally got to read this one and I wasn't disappointed. I love Raina Telgemeier's work. This is a funny, sweet, brilliantly illustrated memoir of a suFinally got to read this one and I wasn't disappointed. I love Raina Telgemeier's work. This is a funny, sweet, brilliantly illustrated memoir of a summer road trip she took with her younger sister, younger brother and mom. They drove from California to Colorado for a family reunion in their VW van, stopping at tourist attractions along the way, and the sisters bicker and fight in typical sister fashion. Flashbacks (on yellow-tinted paper, I loved this idea!) tell us how Raina longed for a sister to play with, but now regrets it because Amara gets on her nerves; family holidays and spats and job worries, etc. And things don't go as planned for Raina when they get to the reunion, either. This is just a really cute and realistic look at families, how they're not perfect, but they're full of love nonetheless. ...more
Okay, a book about genetically altered teens who can breathe underwater and telepathically communicate with dolphins? Who are on the run from the goveOkay, a book about genetically altered teens who can breathe underwater and telepathically communicate with dolphins? Who are on the run from the government and have to fight sharks, giant squids, and each other as they try to find a safe haven? I am so there! This book was a lot of fun, even with the slightly preposterous concept. But really, science fiction can cover everything, so why not talking to dolphins? I'm ready to read the sequel for sure. Give this one to fans of Maximum Ride, for the gene splicing and the chapters with suspenseful cliffhanger last sentences, and to any kid who loves dolphins, or to a reader of The Hunger Games who wants a shorter, lighter dystopian adventure. Set underwater, did I mention it's underwater? Interesting to read this one fairly soon after I'd read Atlantia, also set underwater but much more serious and supernatural in tone. Those kids can't breathe underwater without equipment; not nearly as fun!...more
A graphic novel story of one summer in the life of Rose and her friend Windy, spent at their families' lakeside cottages. They swim, ride bikes, talkA graphic novel story of one summer in the life of Rose and her friend Windy, spent at their families' lakeside cottages. They swim, ride bikes, talk about their families, do typical lazy summer day stuff. They sometimes watch R-rated horror movies that they rent from the convenience store where they also snoop on the drama going on with the older high school kids who work and hang out there. Rose has a bit of a crush on one boy, and Windy, the younger friend who's not quite into boys yet, teases her about it. Rose is introspective, quiet; Windy is chubby, energetic, still a kid, addicted to soda. There's also family drama between Rose's parents, involving their attempts to have a second child, and at the end the two plotlines converge, that of Rose's mother and of the store clerk boy's girlfriend. I liked this okay, but wasn't wild about it. Maybe because I'm no longer a teen with long boring summers of nothing much to do, and reading this really reminded me of those days, and I didn't particularly feel like going back there? I was a little bored reading this, just like on a boring summer day. Which on the other hand would be a complement, then, that it successfully evokes a time and place and feeling in the reader. The art is very good, for sure (still not sure why it won a Caldecott Honor, I think they were trying too hard to include graphic novels. The content of this is definitely at the upper upper end of Caldecott purview, with F-bombs and some other YA words.). ...more
This is a creepy, tense thriller, that starts out slow and builds to a very exciting conclusion. 15 year old Eli has been living with his mother, fathThis is a creepy, tense thriller, that starts out slow and builds to a very exciting conclusion. 15 year old Eli has been living with his mother, father and 2 sisters for the past 6 years in an underground bunker, a huge compound with multiple rooms, fully equipped with amenities and a decade's worth of food and supplies. His billionaire father had the compound built in case of nuclear war, and when suddenly one scary night it happened, Eli and his family were hustled into it. Sadly, his grandmother and twin brother were left behind, and in his grief Eli has become a sullen loner teenager, afraid to be touched by anyone. His sisters have developed weird personality quirks, like only speaking in a British accent. And his mother is pregnant again--she's already had a few babies underground. Then he discovers that perhaps his father has been lying to them all along... This book really does have creepy overtones, but thankfully it never goes where you think it might go, never gets fully nasty. Just vaguely unsettling. And there are surprises. Good for readers who like dark creepy psychological books with some action....more
Mexican-American high school senior Gabi tells her story of senior year in a journal, which includes drawings from her zine, and poems she writes as sMexican-American high school senior Gabi tells her story of senior year in a journal, which includes drawings from her zine, and poems she writes as she develops her skills in a poetry writing class. She suffers from low self-confidence, in both her ethnicity (being a light-skinned Latina) and her body issues (overweight). She also has issues at home--her father is a meth addict and his story isn't so great--and her mom is clingy and doesn't want her to leave home for college, which is Gabi's dream. And of course there is drama with her friends, from teen pregnancies to sexual identity, as well as Gabi's budding romantic relationships with a couple of guys. Gabi is a funny, nervous, charming, marvelous character. Her poems are fun to read, especially to see how her voice grows throughout the year. The journal is peppered with Spanish phrases, most explained loosely in context, so there's a great Latino flavor to the story, grounding it in its cultural setting. Content and language are high school, not middle school-appropriate. my only negative is that the cover is really weird--maybe if the color choicse were different, I might have liked it better. I understand the metaphor of Gabi feeling like she's "in pieces" as illustrated by the collage from her zine, but it's really an offputting image for me. I think only a few teens will pick this up because of the cover, which is a shame....more
Another great book from McGinnis and a sequel as good as the first book. Taking place ten years after Not a Drop to Drink, Lucy, the little girl fromAnother great book from McGinnis and a sequel as good as the first book. Taking place ten years after Not a Drop to Drink, Lucy, the little girl from that story is now 16 and living happily with Lynn, her mother figure (the teen who was the main character in the first book). Lucy doesn't know any world but the place she lives, the pond that provides their water, her friendships with Vera, Stebbs and a possible romantic future with Carter. But when polio strikes down many of the community and strangers who come straggling in for help, Lucy's world is shattered. She must separate from Carter and all she's known, setting out with Lynn to try to find a new place to live that will be safe and sustaining. Thus begins the hardest of road trips--a journey on foot from Ohio to California, braving the elements, lack of water, difficult terrain, and trying to avoid any people along the way, because in a world with hardly any water and no amenities, Lucy has to follow Lynn's example, against her own cheerful disposition, and not trust anyone they meet.
I loved going back into this harsh world and reacquainting myself with Lynn, who is tough, gruff, and amazingly strong, yet full of heart (she just never ever wears it on her sleeve). It was cool to see her grown up, and in the position of mother, and to see little Lucy coming into her own. The relationship between the two women is awesome. And Lucy's sense of humor was a great leavener in some pretty grim scenes. I've read quite a few post-apocalyptic survival stories, but I definitely rank these two up at the top for realistic setting and suspenseful plots and well-rounded characters you remember long after you put the book down....more
I really hate to give a book only 1 star, but I just didn't like this one and had to force myself to finish it. I felt the writing was very sloppy andI really hate to give a book only 1 star, but I just didn't like this one and had to force myself to finish it. I felt the writing was very sloppy and much in need of editing; I marked up my copy with a lot of typo-corrections. There were poor vocabulary choices: repeating the same adjectives or verbs multiple times on one page, and limited character descriptions--seemed like every guy the heroine met was "blankly handsome", as in, "ruggedly handsome" and "devilishly handsome", two phrases she used in the same scene! to describe two different men!-- and I just found the often stilted language hard to read. It read like fanfiction or a really lame romance novel. It has a unique setting, sort of--a weird magical forest with red moss--but not much was done with the setting otherwise. The strange otherworldly "species" of characters she meets are never named, and not really described enough to be a distinct 'species' at all, in my opinion. They have different-colored eyes. Big whoop. She spends more time explaining that they are NOT vampires than explaining what they really are; I suppose that comes in the sequel, but I shouldn't have to wait for a second book to have such major questions answered. I also don't get the blurbs about this book that say "fairy tales are real", when there's no references to any fairy tales that I've ever read. Just a dark spooky forest with weird people in it. I just couldn't buy it that Angelina, our heroine, would take one look at Nicolai, who's sorta kinda the bad guy at first--and fall instantly in love (again) with him. (He's supposed to be her long-lost husband from her previous life, and this fact was drummed into the reader many times, just in case you had forgotten that, hello, they've been married before and they're IN LOVE for ALL TIME.) He just creeped me out, he wasn't romantic at all. I found the creative character name spellings too twee for words ("Ctephanyi"? Really?), and when you're getting distracted by names, you know you're not enjoying a book. I'm not really sure how this got nominated for the Buckeye Teen Book Award, but it'll be interesting to see how well it fares in the voting when more teens have read it. I don't mean to be harsh, just giving my opinion. This book is like a pretty good first draft, that needs a lot of work to be better....more