Rated 3 stars *** 2015. Orbit (Hatchette). 431 p. (Includes “Interview [with the author],” “Reading group guide,” and a chapter from an upcoming book.)
A strange type of spore has invaded the world, changing most of the population into zombies. Mindless “hungries” are left to wander the ruined land seeking blood. There are just a few pockets of normal civilizations, who shut themselves behind barricaded walls guarded by soldiers. Ten-year-old Melanie has grown up in such a place with other children, strapped into wheelchairs by soldiers for school, and kept in cells at all other times. Her mind is eager for knowledge, and she longs for the times when Miss Justineau, her favorite teacher, visits the classroom.
After hungries attack her secure area, Melanie, Miss Justineau, an evil doctor and two soldiers are left to make their way South towards one of the only remaining civilizations left in Great Britain knowing that hungries lie in wait on every crumbled street in every forsaken city. It is the ingenuity of little Melanie, and the love she has for her teacher, which powers the book towards its inevitable ending. I wasn’t a fan of that ending, but it seemed to make the most sense given everything else that happened in the book.
At first I was bored, and couldn’t get into the book. It wasn’t until the hungries invaded that I became more invested. Though it had a slow start it raised a lot of thinking about what happens when an Apocalypse occurs, but it also left quite a few unanswered questions. The Q & A with the author at the end was very enlightening.
I recommend this book for Adults.
Rated 2 stars ** ebook. 1986. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
In a futuristic dystopian world, women have become chattel. Since diseases, sicknesses and other events had caused women to become infertile, it was believed women of childbearing age should become handmaidens to bear children for the wives of rich officials. Rachel’s maid Bilhah had done so with Jacob in Biblical times, setting the stage for these modern day handmaids to do the same.
In addition to securing a future with more children in it, the rulers sought to remove societal blights of all types. This included anyone who didn’t worship the same, who didn’t believe in their way of doing things, or who otherwise caused the status quo to be questioned. Though secret groups of resistance existed, it was clear resistance was futile.
Readers are introduced to this dark world by a handmaiden who tells her story of how she became a handmaiden and, bit by bit, reveals how she lost her best friend, mother, daughter and lover.
I failed to figure out why such a big deal is being made over this book because of the tv series by the same name. In fact, I found the book to be very boring, and it took every ounce of willpower to read it in its entirety. I was sure it would pick up, but that never happened. Perhaps I’m missing the author’s reasoning for why she wrote it, but I could barely keep from nodding off every time I picked it up.
Though I was not a fan, I’ll leave it up to you Adult readers to decide if you want to read it or not.
Rated 5 stars ***** 2006. Knopf Books. 221 p.
Duncan and his boyfriend Jimmy, along with their friends, have been working hard on the campaign of Abraham Stein hoping he will become the first gay, Jewish President of the United States. Stein wins by 1000 votes, and everyone is ecstatic – except for the governor of Kansas who insists there was election tampering and hopes to have him defeated. With his opponent refusing to concede the election, hoping to have Stein lose votes in the recount, Stein invites Americans to join him in Kansas to protest the behind-the-scenes politics working to take away the people’s vote.
Jimmy fiercely believes in action when he spots wrongdoing, while Duncan hopes silence will make bad things disappear. Their differences of opinion begin to rise to the surface with Stein’s election issues, and the trip to Kansas seems to be the match that could set them off in different directions. With a strong belief in America’s founding principles of “liberty and justice for all,” the two embark on a trip that will forever change the views they hold of their country, its citizens and themselves.
Levithan mixes politics, romance, relationships and history to give readers a dystopian story that, though written in 2006, is eerily prescient of the 2016 elections. His descriptions of the Kansas rally reminded me of the Atlanta Women’s March, where I joined millions of other women across the nation to march in solidarity for civil rights and liberties. It’s impossible to not compare the hateful vitriol spewed forth from the opposition party in “Wide awake” to that emitted by supporters of our current administration.
Eleven years have passed since Levithan took pen to paper, and many things have happened politically – including the election of our nation’s first Black president. One can only hope America will have its own Abraham Stein to elect in the years to come. Thank you David for opening our eyes to its possibility.
Highly recommended for ages 14 and older.
Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. To be published September 23, 2014. Egmont USA.
Sarah was patiently waiting for her last brain surgery. Finally she would be relieved of all the memories that had been clogging her mind and would be free to reinvent herself as a new person. The hospital she was in had the latest technology and the best nursing care available, so Sarah wasn’t worried. Everything was going to be just fine.
On the last day of her surgery, everything was going as planned until a power failure caused it to be postponed. Within a matter of hours, she’d regained part of her memory, began fleeing for her life from an army of trained soldiers sent to kill her, found herself falling in love with a strange hacker dude, and uncovered heartbreaking memories which revealed a deep, dark secret about her past.
Lippert-Martin’s dystopian, action-packed, thriller adventure will have its readers on the edges of their seats as they eagerly read to find out what will happen next to Sarah. Each cliffhanger chapter ending reveals a new key to the mystery, making it impossible to put down the book until it’s all finished.
Highly recommended for ages 12 and older.
Rated 3 stars *** To be published June 3, 2014. ebook. ARC. Sky Pony Press.
What do you do when you have only 15 days left to live? This is the fate that awaits sixteen-year-old Sia as she and everyone in her sector prepare to die. Hundreds of citizens have not been selected by the leaders and airlifted away to safety in the New World so, with the sector surrounded by metal walls, which block their escape; they must all face their fate at the hands of a cyborg army. These will be sent to kill them in 15 days and, since no other sector has survived a cyborg attack, death is inevitable. Sia has prepared herself to die, and is upset her mom won’t accept their fate while her dad seems to be avoiding conversation about it.
When Sia meets eighteen-year-old Mace, her opinion changes as she realizes she could try to fight for her life. Along with a small band of rebels, Sia and Mace plot to overthrow the New World and gain freedom for their sector. Along the way, they will encounter fierce resistance, while learning of the power of love, sacrifice and friendship.
Ormand’s foray into YA dystopian lit is a novel which will inspire conversation about the reasons of selection to the New World versus those who were left behind, slated for death. The semi-open ending left room for a follow-up book, leading me to believe “Dark Days” will become another one of those series books I detest reading.
I will leave it up to those of you who are 14 years old and older to decide if you want to Read it or Not.
Divergent, 0.1. ebook. Sept. 2013.
My brand new kindle came in handy to download this very short story giving background information on Four, aka Tobias. Readers will find out details of the abuse he suffered from his father, as well as the confusion and fear he felt as he debated switching from Abnegation to Dauntless.
Roth will continue her mini ebook series with “The Initiate” (#0.2), “The Traitor” (#0.4), and “Free Four: Tobias tells the story” (#1.5).
Twelve and older fans of the popular “Divergent” series will enjoy these “behind-the-scenes” looks at their favorite characters.
Divergent, book #3. 2013. Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins). 526 pp.
The factions are in shambles, while Evelyn has turned into a tyrannical leader assisted by her loyal group of Factionless. She is insistent no one behave as a faction but, with no other knowledge of how to live, it is inevitable problems will arise within the city. Tired of having to hide their true selves, a small group forms “The Allegiant,” a group responsible for overthrowing Evelyn and restoring the normal faction way of life.
Tobias and Tris feel torn between their feelings for Evelyn, the change she’s trying to impart and the plan presented by The Allegiant. They like the former feeling of belonging and peacefulness amongst faction members, while also sympathize with the Factionless and their homeless problems. However, they don’t agree with Evelyn’s thirst for power and the rules she’s imposed on everyone.
As members of the Allegiant, they are chosen to go outside the walls which surround their city to find the other society alluded to in the video of Tris’ ancestor in “Insurgent,” and gather support for their plans. Since no one has ever been outside of the city they do not know what will befall them, nor are they aware of the terrible trials they will soon encounter.
In this last book of the popular “Divergent” series, Roth pulls out all the stops. Cowardice, bravery, betrayal, love, and friendships are all put on the line while rumors of war continue to escalate. Tobias, Tris, Christina, Caleb, Peter and many others are tested in ways which will cause even the strongest to cry foul, and will call up howls of protest from her loyal readers aged 12-18.