so i'm trying to think of what this reminds me of, and it definitely has an element of Uglies in it, with a dash of battlestar galactica's politics.
i...moreso i'm trying to think of what this reminds me of, and it definitely has an element of Uglies in it, with a dash of battlestar galactica's politics.
it's the same dystopian setting. terrible things have happened in the districts, and when they tried to rebel, they were crushed. district 13 disappeared all together. now the remaining 12 districts stay far from the capitol, each separate and distinct, each not that well off.
once a year, to remind the people how much control they have over them, they choose a boy and a girl from each district to compete in the hunger games, broadcast everywhere.
the goal of the game? be the last one alive.
enter katniss everdeen, one of the most frustrating and yet appealing characters i've encountered in a while. she thinks of herself as confident, strong, and able to do anything. she's been in charge of her family, she produces food, cares for them, loves them. she takes the place of her younger sister, prim, in the games.
it's brilliantly written. i couldn't put it down. it has the reality show part down, the manipulation of the game-masters to make things more "interesting", the concept, the training, the introduction of the players.
it also has strong characters that you can root for, that you want to beat over the head with a reality stick, that you can somehow relate to, despite the strange setting.
absolutely loved it. just as a warning though, it's the first book in a projected trilogy. which, the book stands alone, but man, i want the next one NOW.(less)
i want to write an essay comparing hunger games to this, because HG clearly rips off some of the most impo...morethis book. this book, this book, this book.
i want to write an essay comparing hunger games to this, because HG clearly rips off some of the most important elements. (as in, shuyu=katniss, noriko=peeta, shogo=rue) but. that's not giving enough credit to either book.
if i've done my math correctly, this book is set in a world where after WWI, japan started it's imperialistic drive and never had to give it up. (it's fascinating to read the political stuff with america, knowing what happened in WWII and everything.) So Japan becomes the Greater East Asian Empire, and everyone is supposed to live happily ever after.
But like all great dystopian governments, they use fear to keep control. one junior high (ages 15 to 16) class from each prefecture is called to play "the game". the game ends when there is one sole survivor - literally - because everyone else is dead. weapons are handed out at random, some seemingly not even weapons. (one kid gets a fork, another gets a machine gun.) to build alliances or to stay apart? trust each other? how well DO you know each other?
it's just brilliant. absolutely and completely brilliant in a way that i can't even describe. i couldn't put the book down with 200 pages to go. these characters become real, even the ones that aren't in it very long, for we see how each dies, and in their death, we understand what type of people they were. their fears, their hopes.
shuyu, shogo and noriko are the best threesome i've come across in a long long time. there's distrust, and loyalty, and sickness and health. these are your average teenagers - full of crushes on boys in their class, pop stars, missing their parents, acting rashly out of anger and indignity, not being aware people love you because you are so involved in yourself. the discussion of the "dangers" of rock music. the government in control. the fear. the laughing men in charge of the game.
it's really, truly, one of the best books i have ever read, and i don't understand how reviews of hunger games don't talk about how it's a really good, modernized american take off of battle royale. heartbreakingly brilliant, i want more. (less)
oh man. i don't even know where to start with this, in all honesty.
it was recommended by someone who knows me very well, and it shows.
the prose echoe...moreoh man. i don't even know where to start with this, in all honesty.
it was recommended by someone who knows me very well, and it shows.
the prose echoes the story - sparse, beautiful, aching. there is so much and yet so little in every word. the language evokes such clear and startling images that in a way i felt like i was reading a movie, which rarely rarely happens to me. but the images were so simple that they just stuck - majken's painting hanging over dorrit's desk, johannes' shell, the winter garden, the monet pond, jock and dorrit on the beach.
i want to quote the whole book, but i can't. here's a part that rang very close to home for me:
"What do you think happens to the things we write here that are politically incorrect or taboo? Do you think they're destroyed?"
"No," he said firmly. "Everything is kept and archived."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Partly because we live in a democracy, and freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of a democracy; without the freedom of expression it would collapse. Therefore it is unthinkabe to destroy literary or artistic works because the content does not agree with the norms and values of society. So even the politically uncomfortable is taken care of and archived, presumably in some underground vault beneath the Royal Library in Stockholm. Partly because man is a collector, a fanatic when it comes to documentation, with a compulsion to preserve everything that can possibly be preserved for posterity. Life and existence have no value in themselves. We mean nothing; not even those who are needed mean anything. The only thing of any real value is what we produce. Or to put it more accurately: the that we do produce something - exactly what it is that we produce is actually of lesser importance, as long as it can be sold or archived. Or preferably both."
this is a sweden where people are divided: needed and dispensible. women over 50 without kids, men over 60 - they are expected to be "useful" and sacrifice for the "necessary". the sweden dorrit grew up in sounds much like modern day america, but the sweden she is old in is like a socialist nightmare. and yet - is it?
there are so many important and beautiful questions in this book, and it's heartbreaking and inspiring and lovely. i adore it. dorrit's discussions about her relationship with her dog, johannes, nils, her family, her fear of the "trap" - combined with the "realities" of this sweden - it is masterfully done.
so, i'm not really a huge fan of short story collections, as i'm not really a fan of short stories. however, a lot of my favorite YA authors have chos...moreso, i'm not really a huge fan of short story collections, as i'm not really a fan of short stories. however, a lot of my favorite YA authors have chosen this year to be part of anthologies (Diana Peterfreund, Claudia Gray, i'm looking at you!), i have found myself reading more of them.
which makes them a little hard to review - having so many different stories and authors.
however, i think this is the best collection i've read in a long time. first of all, you have zombies, which usually means the end of the world, which of course i love. and then you have killer unicorns, which thanks to ms. peterfreud, are the coolest things ever.
i remain fully on team unicorn, though Scott Westerfeld's zombie story, Carrie Ryan (come on, she like invented zombies) as well as Garth Nix's (truly creepy - wait, that might have been a unicorn story too) were stand-outs on the zombie side.
but when you have a baby unicorn in a cardboard box in a garage who you know is a man-eating monster, another unicorn named (i kid you not) PRINCESS PRETTYPANTS who actually FARTS RAINBOWS, is there really a chance? Meg Cabot, i love you too.
plus it was edited well, though i think justine did a much better job defending zombies than holly did with unicorns. but that's probably just because unicorns haven't always been scary, while zombie have. going against the grain!
conclusion: enough stories that i don't think you should miss to read it. (winners: diana peterfreund, meg cabot, garth nix, scott westerfeld, carrie ryan. major winners.)
i think maybe i missed something that everyone else picked up on. sure, it was a dystopian novel with a male protagonist. but . . . i didn't re...morehmmmm.
i think maybe i missed something that everyone else picked up on. sure, it was a dystopian novel with a male protagonist. but . . . i didn't really care about him. i didn't really care about any of the characters, and i usually end up caring a lot.
maybe this is because nailer himself has kept every one at such a distance, almost by necessity (not just because his father is a violent drug-abuser), but because that's what happens. kids grow up, switch off light-scavenge, get swept away by city-killers - who knows. there isn't a lot of stability on bright sands beach, and maybe nailer's indifference was his way of coping.
however, this doesn't really explain why, then, he attaches himself to lucky girl so easily, and so quickly.
i didn't think the world building was fantastic. basically, it's global warming and . . . we don't use oil as much because it's all gone. there are some cool ships, and some not so cool ships, no one really travels, and we finally gave up on rebuilding new orleans. but other than that? eh. oh! there's nippon, not japan. (that actually was something that rubbed me a little wrong for such a color blind book (in that the main characters are all of varied racial backgrounds and it means nothing - it's your blood that matters) because "nip" was/is definitely a derogatory term for the japanese during wwii. but.)
i don't know. i was expecting more i guess, especially for the printz award. i think there were books that were a lot stronger and more engaging, and i'm not exactly pleased there is a second book.
CAN'T ANYONE IN YA WRITE A STAND ALONE NOVEL ANYMORE?!
i really really liked the writing in this. (also, cover love!)
someone mentioned that cecily and lindon reminded them of cathy and linton from Wutherin...morei really really liked the writing in this. (also, cover love!)
someone mentioned that cecily and lindon reminded them of cathy and linton from Wuthering Heights, and i totally agree.
tatiana mentioned that the world building was weak, and i agree in that if you find out you are going to die at 20/25, why would you have babies? why was that the most important thing reproducing if the world is such a mess? (granted, rhine does think about these things, jenna as well, but only briefly.)
the writing is lovely. i didn't buy the inclusion/attraction of gabriel. i think it would have been more interesting to see the relationship between lindon and rhine develop. i don't think it's that stockholm-y - after all, lindon is totally clueless.
if you pick this book up, read the flap and the blurbs, you would think this is a book about what happens when you turn 16, become legal and a "sex-te...moreif you pick this book up, read the flap and the blurbs, you would think this is a book about what happens when you turn 16, become legal and a "sex-teen".
in reality, that is the smallest part of the plot.
(the world building is also really . . . not there, and the whole calling forms of transportation "trannie" REALLY threw me for the first half of the book until i figured it out. i kept think of transgendered people.)
when you turn 16 in this future chicago, you get a tattoo on your wrist that deems you legal. there are a lot of issues the book could have dealt with regarding the rights of women vs. the rights of men, how the fathers have the right to choose what happens when the woman is pregnant, how apparently, group rape is all too common. there's also the "caste" system that was set up that was touched upon, but never really explained (why were people put in different tiers? what did those tiers represent?) except that top tiers rarely married below their own tier.
this book is a fast-paced teenage psychological thriller/mystery. in a world where the GC (governing council) runs the americas and the moon, they strive to get individuals not to think for themselves. there are "verts" for everything you need and everything you don't need everywhere, so much that the resistance (NonCons) rebel by causing moments of silence.
(The author admits that 1984 was a big influence, but i just have to say, big brother totally owns the GC.)
the book opens with nina talking to her best friend, sandy. sandy has bought into the world of the GC. nina's mother has taught her differently, and nina doesn't really want to have sex, or date. she has friends who are boys, and that's how she likes it. ginnie (nina's mother) goes out one night, leaving nina in charge of her half-sister, dee.
but ginnie doesn't come home. stabbed in an alley and left to die, nina and dee get 5 minutes with her before she dies. ginnie tells nina two things: be careful of ed (dee's father), and that nina's father, alan, is alive and needs dee's baby book.
nina and dee move to chicago with her grandparents. ed is still around. the girls go back to the school they used to go to before moving to the burbs, and nina rejoins friends mike and derek, makes new ones in sal and wei.
is alan oberon actually alive? what is in dee's baby book that is so important? how can nina keep dee safe - and herself? what is the FeLS program actually about, and why was ginnie so against nina joining? what is going on with the rise in NonCon activity? why does everyone react strangely to nina's last name? what does it mean to fall in love? can you make yourself stop certain feelings?
another dystopian book about the dangers of love (think Matched, Delirium, etc.) if it was packaged as a mystery, or "what happens when everything that you knew was true, isn't?", i think i would have liked it better. also, this had the potential to be a 600 page book, and because it wasn't, i felt like a lot of threads were dropped. i did kind of like the ambiguity of the ending, though i hear there's going to be a sequel? ;((less)
i actually added this book to my "to read" list because in a review of XVI the reviewer mentioned that Unwind was much more believable. and let's face...morei actually added this book to my "to read" list because in a review of XVI the reviewer mentioned that Unwind was much more believable. and let's face it, i love dark dystopian ethical dilemma books.
here was are in the midwest (and later, arizona), in a society where abortion has been banned but "unwinding" exists.
unlike many readers, i don't think this book tackled the question of abortion (the book is set after a war between the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice groups), but rather, what value we find in our lives and in each other. the line that sticks with me the most was early in the book, and one of the peripheral characters said, "If only more people had become organ donors." (unwinding is the process of harvesting 99.4% of a teenage body in order to use the organs, skin, eyes, etc. for those deemed "normal".)
talk about bringing up some existential questions. If you divide a person into parts, do they still exist? We can now breakdown atoms, the building blocks of matter - but does that matter?? do souls exist, and if so, where do they go? can they still exist if there is no whole? where does the soul exist? at what moment does it arrive? when does it leave?
there was another interesting moment in the book - the idea of "storking". here in america, we currently have the "safe haven" laws. created to hopefully stop women from leaving babies in dumpsters and having them die, you can leave a baby at a hospital, and just walk away. in shusterman's world, these unwanted babies don't get left at hospitals, they are left on doorsteps. a citizen must take the child if they find it. this leads to large families, or babies getting passed around an entire neighborhood in one case. i took this to mean that even in a society where human life is so "valued", there can still be the unwanted.
connor isn't wanted anymore. risa has outlived her time at the StaHo and must do her part by donating herself to those that need her, even though she is a talented pianist. lev is a tithe - the 10th child in a religious family that believes in donating 10% of everything to the greater good/church.
nothing goes as planned.
to be honest, i found myself not caring much about lev, but more about hayden. and roland. and the admiral. humpty dunfee. the Akron AWOL.
seriously, there are so many threads of discussion in this book, i don't even really know how to write a coherent review. pick this up if you are looking for a good story, grab it if you are looking for something to make you think even after you put the book down. (less)
i am beginning to think the name "xander" is cursed in popular media.
anyway. there was a LOT of hype over this book. i think it has a beautiful cover...morei am beginning to think the name "xander" is cursed in popular media.
anyway. there was a LOT of hype over this book. i think it has a beautiful cover, i think the writing was lovely, but i didn't really *care* about any of the characters - except grandfather.
i think i found a lot of it predictable and sad, and never answered the question of, "what if you didn't know?" it does a good job of exploring what happens when you DO know, and i have to admit cassia's official kind of creeped me out, but would things have been so miserable if the screen never flashed?
it also reminded me a bit of my issues with katniss, from Hunger Games, in that cassia (and katniss) are incredibly selfish when you really look at it. i could forgive katniss for it in the beginning, because it really was about survival, but i had a much harder time with cassia.
the Officials and the government were sufficiently creepy. the idea of programming everything, that it is actually our wealth of choice that brings about the end of our society is really intriguing. as a result, cassia's world has 100 poems, 100 history lessons, 100 songs, etc. (apparently 100 is the magic number.) to be honest, i wanted to hear more about what 100 history lessons were deemed okay.
i loved the inclusion of the dylan thomas poem. my heart broke thinking of all those books being sliced and fed to incinerators. at times, Matched felt like the love child of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 - which, to be honest, i loved as books and ideas, but never really felt drawn to any of the characters either.
once again, i like this ending the way it does, but i have a feeling there's a sequel coming, and that makes me a little sad. just like xander makes me a little sad. and i have to wonder how much of cassia's attraction was due to the fact that what she was doing was something forbidden, and how much was real in that moment. after all, one of the reasons for the matching system is because history has shown teenagers in love can do stupid things - that love is dangerous. (though this is more "let's breed genetically beautiful babies" than "love is dangerous" like in Delirium.)
the cover is still beautiful. and it's worth a read, because of all the buzz, especially if you are working with teens.
so, i think i would have rated this higher if it hadn't been put in this "alternate universe". i am a little tired of this trope, i think, especially...moreso, i think i would have rated this higher if it hadn't been put in this "alternate universe". i am a little tired of this trope, i think, especially when not much has been done to create the alternate universe.
(i also didn't think adina's motivation was really necessary, but you know.)
what i did like: taylor. i loved every bit of taylor, including miss miss. i also loved cross dressing pirate, SURVIVOR METHODS, and tiara. oh man, tiara, i love you.
i liked the moral, i liked the plot (when i didn't feel like i was being asked to suspend disbelief too much), and i liked the whole presentation:
after all, what really is the moral of this story? who is the narrator and why are they telling it?
i think it's going to be a book i'll reread and like even more. (less)
but i really liked locke in this. (i didn't like jenna very much.) i liked kara. and i liked dot maybe the most. how awesome is dot? she made me want to cry. love.
i liked the idea of the story. i liked the world building, but also the sense that certain things didn't change. i liked the differences between locke and kara, the way some things stay the same and some things don't. i thought there was just enough development, but with the clear sparse writing that makes pearson's work so unique.
but it wasn't a necessary story. it did feel a little tacked on, and cursory. (you do, i think, have to read adoration to understand inheritance.)
if dot wasn't in it, i think i would be a lot less happy. besides, i read it in one sitting, so it's not like i lost a lot. (less)
i hate the love triangle. i really do. i think the same story could have been told without the xander/ky/cassia matching mishap. i mean, what about th...morei hate the love triangle. i really do. i think the same story could have been told without the xander/ky/cassia matching mishap. i mean, what about the abberations and anomalies - they obviously have relationships without getting Matched, so what does that mean?
that said, i found this installment more . . . emotional. more moving. indie and eli, vick. hunter. the boy with the cavern. it didn't move that quickly, but i felt a lot more for the characters this time around - except, interestingly, cassia and ky.
looking forward to the last book and hoping for some serious closure, though i feel like this set up so many threads, how is one book going to possibly wrap them all up?(less)
so this was better than bumped, but still not the same level as the jessica darling series. i wonder if this is aimed at a younger audience? which doe...moreso this was better than bumped, but still not the same level as the jessica darling series. i wonder if this is aimed at a younger audience? which doesn't really make sense, but it does seem to be . . . a dumbed-down-version of mccafferty's writing.
melody and harmony really come into their own here. i was annoyed with the boys, to be honest, and wished they were just gone. (except for ram and zeke!)
fast read, political undertones, a coming of age story that you wouldn't expect. (less)
i really liked callie. think i liked helena even more. will certainly pick up Enders in december when it comes out, but don't feel stressed about it,...morei really liked callie. think i liked helena even more. will certainly pick up Enders in december when it comes out, but don't feel stressed about it, which is nice!
(liked the twist with the love triangle, but that whole thing seemed a little forced to me.)
there are stragglers. there's a government. climate change happens and the snow doesn't stop falling...moreso i just kind of don't get it. the plot, i mean.
there are stragglers. there's a government. climate change happens and the snow doesn't stop falling. willo is trapping animals (especially hares) in the mountains and dogs too and he makes a coat from the dog skins and also sometimes he wears a dog skull?
(i don't understand how he wears it? a dog head is much smaller than a human head. even a kid. i just.)
written in a type of dialect, which didn't bother me as much as i thought i would.
it wasn't bad, it just didn't grab me. i couldn't follow what was really going on. except - they want to stay out of the city. there are pony men. did the next door neighbor farmer actually turn them in? what was up with patrick? why did the government care so much? what are they planning on doing?
i was confused. but it was different, and i like different. (less)
a nice quick read that delved into new territory. i mean, cinderella as a cyborg? pretty awesome.
the characters started to get richer as the story we...morea nice quick read that delved into new territory. i mean, cinderella as a cyborg? pretty awesome.
the characters started to get richer as the story went on, and the plot picked up too. (even if i saw the big plot point miles and miles away.)
it's a good story that the young set will really love. i hope the writing gets stronger as the series progresses, and i look forward to reading the next books (though i wish they were coming out faster!). and i did like the ties to the fairy tale - especially the concept of the foot. and the evil step-mother. oh, just HOW evil! (less)
i too was really bothered by the ending. however, there are things that make sense - the way "brother" was so possessive of elysia (...morehere's the thing.
i too was really bothered by the ending. however, there are things that make sense - the way "brother" was so possessive of elysia (the beta clone), the comment "mother" made at the very beginning - and what the governor did, etc. and i didn't really get the whole "oh my god i'm so in love" thing, but then i remembered that elysia is beta TEENAGE clone. in a drug induced world. she is supposed to be fairly ridiculous. come on, this is a book that says that teenagers hit the "awfuls" so no one would miss them later.
i mean, the whole island is based on stereotypes, and very western world stereotypes at that.
i also don't believe that whole "soul-less" thing. i mean, what is "awakened" if not the soul? and for those concerned about the science of the whole thing, i think that is going to be addressed in book two, because that last reveal definitely brings all the science into question.
Rachel Cohn is a brilliant writer. it was a quick and fast and neat read about a world that could exist somewhere even in this reality. it raised a lot of questions about humanity and spirituality and more. i was a little sad it was over, to be honest, and will be picking up book 2 as soon as i can - i want to know more about astrid and biome city and liesel-with-her-door-locked and zhara. funny thing is, i don't really care about the two main characters - or at least, the blond dude. i would like to see elysia continue to grow, especially as she learns things that aren't on her microchip. anyway, i like the premise better than Matched and it has the same sort of problems of instant-love, so that's promising. (less)
i don't know what category to put this book in. maybe i need a sci-fi shelf, though i'm pretty clueless . . .
anyway. i was all good until the ending....morei don't know what category to put this book in. maybe i need a sci-fi shelf, though i'm pretty clueless . . .
anyway. i was all good until the ending. i don't know how that's even . . . remotely ethical or whatever. i liked jeb. stupid love triangles though. give it a rest! sadly, i know i am going to read the sequel. i just can't help myself sometimes. (less)
oh, i don't know how to rate this! 2.5? the thing is, it wasn't horrible! i was just kind of bored. i liked cassie at times, but the whole thing with...moreoh, i don't know how to rate this! 2.5? the thing is, it wasn't horrible! i was just kind of bored. i liked cassie at times, but the whole thing with evan was just. WEIRD. also, the whole ben parrish thing.
i did like the psychological aspect of it - trust no one goes against the human's wiring as a social creature, so that's always an interesting dialectic, but not enough of it made sense. the aliens, for the example. i couldn't figure out their motivation for the kids and the fifth wave and WHY in the first place.
not a whole lot of anything new. i didn't read it quickly because i didn't find it a real page turner until about the last 30 pages. the alternating POVs didn't work so much, and the only thing i thought was interesting about evan was the line about how it was hard to rewire the first 16 years of his life.
but he was twilight level creepy. and mostly i was disappointed. sigh. (less)