03. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer, 276 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/15/2014

15927598On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia’s mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren’t as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That’s their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather’s survivalist compound in West Virginia.

Highly recommendable book for both boys and girls.  Along the way to find their uncle and grandfather, Nadia and Rabbit show a knack for avoiding trouble, for the most part.  However, after they begin traveling with Zack, you just want to yell into the book that they need to hide their vehicle better, when they leave it to explore a nearby mall.  Along the way, they rescue a dog, a bird and a little girl.  It’s a feel good story, even when you aren’t sure that their uncle and grandfather are going to be at the final destination.

03. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Award Winner, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, 448 pages, read by Kristy, on 10/31/2014

Uglies follows the story of Tally, a youth who lives in a dystopian world where everyone turns “pretty” when they reach age 16. This extreme plastic surgery changes people from normal to beautiful, but at a terrible cost. At first Tally both craves and embraces her society and the opportunity to become pretty, but she learns how corrupt the government is. Tally decides to defy her society, which opens up a new world of friendships, romance, and unexpected tragedies.

Uglies is the first book in the Uglies trilogy, and it brings up many themes ranging from corrupt governments to self acceptance.

I found this novel to be thought provoking, but perhaps not particularly believable. I’m excited to learn how Tally faces her mounting challenges in book 2.

30. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

The Finisher by by David Baldacci, 497 pages, read by Kira, on 10/29/2014

index2 I hadn’t read anything by popular author David Baldacci, so when I saw this book in my favorite genre I thought I’d give it a try.  This strategy paid off when I discovered Nora Roberts’ fantasy trilogy Morrigan’s Cross.  It is a very fast-paced read with a rather different world, some sort of apocalypse, I believe, with perhaps magic or maybe its technology.  Things are Not as they seem, it took me awhile to figure out how this universe/world worked.  The main character Vega Jane (an orphan of course) sees her coworker being chased by tracking hounds followed by the City Council members.  Her friend is headed into the Quag – wherein there are only monsters and no sane member ventures into.  Yet things are Not as they seem.  Vega Jane’s transformation seemed a lot more believable than a number of heroes, I’m Not sure why.  I cannot wait for the sequels!

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23. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Jessica, Romance

Red Hill by Jaimie McGuire, 369 pages, read by Jessica, on 10/22/2014

81n0AeyebHL._SL1500_When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Icons by Margaret Stohl, 428 pages, read by Leslie, on 09/18/2014

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After an alien force known as the Icon colonizes Earth, decimating humanity, four surviving teenagers must piece together the mysteries of their pasts–in order to save the future.

While I’m sure that many readers of a younger age will enjoy this dytopic novel, I was not so enamored with it.  There was just enough suspense and action as to be interesting but I just did not care for the plot.  We never really find out anything about the aliens except for the fact that they invaded Earth and put icons in certain cities to control the humans that were left.  The teens, who figure out that they have abilities that may overcome the alien technology, never really seem to click together.  I would not recommend it to younger teens.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, 480 pages, read by Angie, on 10/05/2014

So aliens have invaded the earth. First they set off an emp that took out everything electrical, then there were the tsunamis that took out the coasts, then came the red death that killed billions, and then there were the silencers (aliens who look like humans). Now the survivors are just trying to survive and prepare for whatever comes next. Cassie has survived with most of her family. Cassie, her dad and her brother are at a refugee camp when military vehicles arrive and take the children away (adults are supposedly leaving later). Of course the military lies and kills everyone else at the camp except Cassie. She is determined to keep her promise to her little brother Sammy though and find him. But in a world where anyone can be the enemy who can you trust? Ben has recovered from the red death and has been recruited into the new military at Camp Haven. All the recruits are kids, some as young as five, and are all being trained to kill. Ben takes young Sammy under his wing and promises to protect him. Meanwhile Cassie has been shot by a silencer but rescued by hotty Evan Walker. She isn’t sure she can trust him but he sure is dreamy with his beautiful eyes and soft hands. She is still determined to rescue Sammy and decides she might need Evan’s help.

There were times when I really wanted to quit reading this book. I think it started about the time Evan appeared and Cassie lost all sense. It is the end of the world and she has seen so much death and destruction. I liked her when she was the crazy person in the woods, but once she started thinking about how dreamy Evan was I was pretty much done. He is basically a stalker and a killer who had no real redeeming qualities other than the fact that he saved her life. I hate when a romance element is forced into a story and this one was more egregious then most. It just really didn’t make any sense in the plot of the book. The plot itself, while not original, was at least a bit entertaining. I am not sure why teen books always have to use the child soldiers theme but whatever. The aliens are out to get us all and make us do all the work ok sure. The end of the book where everything comes together and Cassie and Ben meet up in their quests to save Sammy made the book at least a bit worth the read.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch, 320 pages, read by Leslie, on 08/28/2014

17381993  A civil war rages between the Glorious Path–a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier–and what’s left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path’s dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path’s deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal’s loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.

I did like this story, of what could happen should extreme religious beliefs take over in our country.  Sometimes I felt the storyline could have delved a little deeper but overall, a very good story and moral to take heed of.  It wasn’t until the end that I even understood why the dog was such a focal point of the story.  Some of the characters seemed shallow and fairly unnecessary at times but added to the plot in their own way.  I don’t know that younger readers will understand the implications of such a story but older teens will find it a good read.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, 336 pages, read by Leslie, on 08/06/2014

13326831  Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale is chosen to participate in The Testing to attend the University; however, Cia is fearful when she figures out her friends who do not pass The Testing are disappearing.

Very similar to the Hunger Games in how the country is divided into groups, how the Testing is conducted, the potential romance between 2 of the characters.  Though there was enough difference that is was not an exact copycat version, still close enough to make it not as interesting, to me, at least.  Rather than expecting the citizens to live in poverty, education and science are encouraged.  Citizens live fairly well but cannot live outside their areas unless needed elsewhere for their knowledge, due to the environmental disaster that has ruined the land.  Where in the Hunger Games, there is only one expected winner, no one is encouraged to kill, but it isn’t discouraged and Cia finds out quickly that she can only trust certain members of her potential class.  Teens will enjoy the read.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Ruins by Dan Wells, 464 pages, read by Leslie, on 08/01/2014

Ruins (Partials Sequence, #3) There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

Just had to read the last installment of the trilogy, but though it tied all the strings together, I just did not feel the ending did justice to the storyline.  Some people died, the opposing forces finally worked together to stop fighting and try to survive, but I feel they left a lot out that could have been addressed.  Maybe another book is forthcoming?  Teens will enjoy this if they like the Hunger Games and similar books.

 

 

29. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Apocalyptic, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, 294 pages, read by Courtney, on 07/22/2014

Temple has been on her own for a long, long time. She’s been living on an island lately, but the season is changing and it’s only a matter of time before the will have to move on. The zombies will come. So Temple takes off. She starts off attempting to stay with an established community, but accidentally kills a man in the process of defending herself from his advances. She is then forced to flee before the other men retaliate. Temple decides it’s better to move on her own. She picks up a companion, a man with special needs that she finds and feels compelled to help care for. Together, they embark upon a journey that takes them across the American South. They’ll meet a variety of other people and groups who have all adapted (or not adapted, as the case may be) to this post-apocalyptic and unforgiving landscape. All the while, the brother of the man killed by Temple is determined to track her down to exact his version of justice.
This book was amazing, particularly for a zombie novel. I’ve read a fair amount of zombie-related fiction, but nothing has ever had quite the same emotional impact that this book had. Of course, it’s really not so much about the zombies in the first place. It’s definitely Temple’s story. Temple is tough, street-smart and has the soul of a poet. The book opens on a moment that captivates Temple and fills her with a sense of wonder. Moments later, she’s smashing in the head of a zombie with a large rock. She’s compassionate to an extent, but survival is her primary motivation. And then there’s the fact that this book starts years after the zombie infection has taken hold. Temple doesn’t know who her parents were, she’s never seen the inside of a school. She doesn’t know how to read. She does, however, know how to survive. There’s also a running theme of religious imagery that is both poetic and thought provoking, particularly since it shares space with a setting that seems almost entirely devoid of happiness and hope. Highly recommended.

27. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry, 537 pages, read by Angie, on 08/26/2014

I am not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading this final book in Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series. I love this series and I loved this book. It was the perfect ending to the series. 

Benny and the gang have made it across the desert and to the safe haven of Sanctuary. Of course nothing is quite what it seems. The military staff at Sanctuary is very secretive and won’t tell them anything about what is happening. The Reapers led by Saint John are still out there and headed to the Nine Towns. Chong was bitten in the last book and is becoming more and more like a zombie. This is the first time Benny, Nix, Lilah and Riot have a chance to take a moment and take stock of themselves and what they have discovered in the Rot & Ruin. They are not the same people they were when they started this trip to find the mysterious plane. They thought they would find all the answers and all they found were more questions. There is also the case of the missing Dr. McReady. She was supposed to be on the plane they found in the desert and she supposedly has a cure for the reaper plague. The teens set off with Captain Joe Ledger to find her and the cure and bring an end to the zombie nightmare. 

What I love about this series is the fact that even though it is about zombies it really isn’t about zombies. It is about the inhumanity of man and how without society’s strictures man becomes the monster. Zombies are just mindless disease carriers. They have no thought or rationale, but man chooses to do evil or good. This theme is more explicitly stated in this book than in some of the others, but it is an important theme. Benny has to find the person who can fight and win against Saint John. He has to do decide if doing what has to be done to win will make him cross that line in becoming a monster himself. In some ways this book is about redemption; the redemption of Benny, Chong, Nix, Lilah, Riot and even Joe and the redemption of mankind. Is mankind worthy of saving? Or should they allow everyone to be released to the darkness. I really loved how this series ended; it was perfect and felt natural. Humanity is worth saving and there is hope in the world.

11. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters, 405 pages, read by Angie, on 08/10/2014

Adam is helping his friend Todd with a paper in their high school computer lab when all the sudden the power goes out. And it is not just out in the school, but all over town and the world. Turns out everything with a computer chip is fried. Fortunately, Adam has a pre-computer car and is able to get home. His mom is a police captain and his dad is an airline pilot stuck in Chicago. His neighbor Herb is an ex-CIA operative (never stated but assumed) who is ready for the apocalypse and quickly takes charge. Soon their neighborhood has checkpoints and a census of people’s skills and walls to protect them. The world has ended but these people can still be good people and help each other out. Of course there are bad people out there. People are fleeing the cities and turning on each other. 

This book reminded me so much of the TV show Revolution. Of course this covers the beginning of the power failure not several years in and there are no supernatural elements. I thought it was frighteningly realistic in its portrayal of what would happen if everything went dark. People would not be prepared and there would be panic. I liked all the details of how the neighborhood came together and how they organized themselves. However, I did think there were a few things that were just too good to be true. Herb for one is a fabulous character but so over the top prepared and knowledgeable that it seemed almost unrealistic. I also thought it was interesting that their neighborhood never really suffered. They had plenty of doctors and security and weaponry and know-how to make everything almost normal. It was like the best possible group of people lived in the same neighborhood so they could survive the apocalypse together. I was also a little disappointed in the conflict with the “bad” group. I was expecting to read about an actual conflict but again it was the best possible outcome for our intrepid group. I really enjoyed the book and thought it was fairly realistic for an apocalypse story; however, I wanted the realism to extend into the characters and their circumstance which didn’t happen. 

07. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Brian, Fiction, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, 526 pages, read by Brian, on 08/06/2014

alliegenAllegiant, is the final book of the Divergent series.  Power struggles and violence has destroyed the fraction-based society.  Tris, Four and others venture outside the fence for a more peaceful society.  What they find is shocking and appalling and new problems arise and our heroes must find a way to make the dystopian world whole or at least die trying.

 

06. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Fragments by Dan Wells, 564 pages, read by Leslie, on 07/21/2014

13170596

After discovering the cure for RM, Kira Walker sets off on a terrifying journey into the ruins of postapocalyptic America and the darkest desires of her heart in order to uncover the means—and a reason—for humanity’s survival.

While we have gotten a lot of gadgets from science fiction stories as life imitates art, I can only hope that we never see stories of post apocalyptic earth ever come true.  The series is definitely a story of perseverance and the human spirit never giving up.  A thrilling, can’t wait to see what happens next, kind of story, a good young adult series.

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The Living by Matt de la Pena, 320 pages, read by Angie, on 08/04/2014

Shy is working on a Paradise Cruise ship when a man jumps overboard right in front of him. The story picks up on the next cruise and this time people are asking questions. A mysterious man in a suit starts asking about Shy and what the suicide victim might have said to him. Shy’s room is searched and the man keeps following him. We have no idea what this is about. Then a big storm approaches the cruise ship and we learn that “the Big One” has hit the west coast of America. A tsunami is headed towards the ship and in fact three waves hit and cause it to sink. Shy ends up on a broken lifeboat with no supplies. He rescues an older man and a young girl. The man has been bitten by a shark and eventually dies. The girl is a rich snob who picked on Shy on the ship. Addi and Shy have to come to terms with each other and fight to survive. Just when all hope is lost they are rescued and taken to a mysterious island where things just get even stranger. 

This book felt really disjointed like it wasn’t sure what kind of book it was going to be. The beginning was a realistic story about people from different backgrounds and socioeconomic status mingling on a ship and how they react to each other. The second part was pure apocalyptic with the earthquake and the tsunami and having to survive at sea. The end was a bit sci-fi mystery with the secret island and the weird scientists and the sickness infecting survivors. I think any of those books would have been interesting but together they were a bit of a mess. I wish the whole evil corporation bit would have been left off of the story because I think it would have been stronger with just the other two storylines. However, since this is the beginning of a series I guess you really needed somewhere to go. 

01. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 07/31/2014

Weird, wonderful, confusing, lyrical, strange, magical, incomprehensible…how to describe this book. The language of the story is beautiful and lyrical. The journey of the book is magical and schizophrenic. The story is a bit of a mess mixed with the Odyssey. On one hand I liked it, but on the other I thought it was a disaster of a book. 

This is the story of Pen (Penelope) who lives in LA with her mom, dad and brother Venice in a pink house by the sea. The end comes in the form of an Earth Shaker which destroys the world. Pen is left alone in her pink house with the sea even closer. She hides out until she is forced to leave. Then she sets off on a journey that mirrors the journey of Odysseus in the Odyssey. She blinds an one-eyed giant, gets stuck in the lotus-eater hotel, meets sirens and witches and seers. She is joined on her journey by beautiful Hex (boy who used to be a girl with a lot of problems) and tragic Ez and Ash. She is searching for her family. Turns out their is also an evil genius who created and cloned these flesh-eating giants and has a vendetta against Pen’s family. There is all kinds of crazy going on which just forces Pen to toughen up. She loses an eye but that only makes her able to see even more. And of course her entire journey is based on the path of orange butterflies. 

If you are confused by the description, just imagine how confusing the book is! The writing is beautiful and Pen’s story is fleshed out through flashbacks to her life Then (before the Earth Shaker). This is not your typical post-apocalyptic novel. There are magical forces at work here that make the story just a bit incomprehensible. It is interesting and beautiful, but definitely confusing. I thought there was just a little too much reliance on The Odyssey. The characters quote from it constantly and are way more familiar with the story than your average teenagers; they also say things like “this is just like the Odyssey” which I thought was a little too obvious. I’ve finished the book and am still not 100% sure what I thought of it. I liked it and disliked it. 

22. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Noelle, Science Fiction, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, 457 pages, read by Noelle, on 07/03/2014

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

26. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Lazarus, Vol. 1 Family by Greg Rucka, 96 pages, read by Brian, on 06/25/2014

lazarusIn the future, there is no government and no countries.  The families with the most win.  Each family has Lazarus a family member brought back from the dead to protect the family.

 

07. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Attack on Titan, Volume 01 by Hajime Isayama , 208 pages, read by Courtney, on 05/01/2014

I picked up this series because my teens are massive fans and our anime club has watched several episodes. The premise is interesting enough: a race of massive humanoid creatures known as Titans have destroyed enough of humanity that the entire remaining population lives within the concentric walls of a single city. One hundred years goes by without any attacks and humanity has developed a false sense of security. Eren Yeager joins the guardians of the wall and dreams of a life outside. Then the Titans return. Destruction and bloodshed ensue.

I didn’t really get into the manga and a lot of that might have been due to the translation. Unless the writing wasn’t very good to begin with. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I kept stumbling across lines like “Your father, Dr. Yeager, said…” and unless there’s something seriously wrong with Eren, I’m guessing he knows that Dr. Yeager is his father. I might have forgiven it once, but it happened multiple times alongside other examples of clumsy translation. I’ll leave this one to my teens. 

30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Legend by Marie Lu, 305 pages, read by Kira, on 04/27/2014

Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_coverIn post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, two highly intelligent teenagers alegendTess n Dayre working for opposing sides.  Rebel, Day was to have been killed when he supposedly failed his trials, but lives on the streets with, helping his family survive, as well as thumbing his nose at the Republic, by wreaking havoc.  He is the Republic’s Most Wanted Criminal, Not because his crimes are heinous, but because they make the Republic look bad.

On the other side is child prodigy June, assigned the task of hunting down Day, because he supposedly killed June’s brother Metias.

This is a fast-paced action book, with a romance that is at turns cute and then annoying.

I disliked the number of torture/terrorizing scenes and thus will NOT read the 2 sequels..