10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking, read by Angie, on 03/17/2012

The world has come to and end and zombies are run amok. This is the world of Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland. This is a fast paced zombie adventure novel. It reads almost more like a movie than a book and I could definitely see it unfolding on screen. There are things I like about this book. I like the heroine; I think she kicks ass and has come to grips with the world as it now is; she isn’t sentimental except about her brother. She sees things as they are and she is realistic. So often the characters in these post-apocalyptic books don’t seem to be in touch with the reality of their world and she is. I like that. I also love Ripley the zombie eating lion. I know…not very realistic, but for some reason it worked for me and I liked it. I didn’t really like the boy in this one. Didn’t get the romance angle didn’t see the point and not sure why it was in there. Didn’t make sense to me why she was attracted to him or why they got together in the first place. My quibble since all these teen books seem to have to have a romance angle. This was a fun zombie book and I am glad I finally got to read it.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Feed by M.T. Anderson, read by Kristy, on 01/25/2014

Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon – a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books

Allegiant: Divergent series book 3 by Veronica Roth, read by Tammy, on 01/27/2014

allegiantTold from both Tobias’ and Tris’ perspective this story ends the Divergent trilogy. Tris and Tobias must discover the secrets that lay outside their city’s walls. Tris tries to understand the decisions others have made and faces the truth about their city and about her and Tobias’ family history. They both learn what courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love really mean.

 

13. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 01/09/2014

  Beatrice Prior (“Tris”) was a divergent who chose to join the Dauntless faction when she turned 16.  This book continues exactly where Divergent left off with death and destruction fresh in Tris and her boyfriend, Tobias’ minds.  They have to figure out what is happening and how to stop the simulations.  This book explains a lot more of what is happening between the factions and makes you realize that each faction needs the other to survive.  This book was fast-paced and full of twists and turns that leave you breathless.  You have to read it to believe it.

13. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Sarah, on 01/03/2014

  Divergent is an awesome, thrill-ride full of an attempt at a utopian society, romance, death-defying experiences, and life choices that will change the world.  Society is divided into five different factions with each focusing on a different personality characteristic that is believed to be the best.  Courage, pursuit of knowledge, selflessness, and peacefulness are a few of the ideal traits.  When a person reaches 16, he or she can choose which faction to join for the rest of their lives.  This decision can make all the difference in how your life unravels afterward.  I highly recommend this book.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, read by Kristy, on 12/15/2013

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, read by Kristy, on 12/08/2013

Feisty Scarlet is young the star of the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. When her grandmother, a former military pilot, goes missing, Scarlet does everything she can to find her. This quest to find her grandmother leads Scarlet on a dangerous journey with the street fighter, Wolf. Her quest also leads her to cross paths and develop and unexpected friendship with Cinder.

This book subtly deviates away from the retelling of Cinderella and instead displays innovative retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Fans of the first book will be sure to enjoy the second book in this series. My only complaint is that Cinder’s storyline fades too far into the background of Scarlet.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Kristy, on 12/05/2013

Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, is a must-read for teens or adults who enjoy retellings of classic fairy tales. This book features a teen named Cinder: a talented cyborg mechanic who has a miserable home life and a mysterious past. Despite her second class status and occupation, Cinder manages to catch the eye of the local prince. But with a plague destroying the earth’s population, a war being threatened by a ruthless lunar queen, and Cinder concealing the fact that she’s a cyborg, will the romance between these two blossom or burn?

This retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale is fresh and original. But be warned: once you pick this book up, it will be hard to put down!

11. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Kira, Romance, Science Fiction · Tags:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, read by Kira, on 12/06/2013

This title unlike the previous 2, is narrated by both Tris and Tobias. I’m Not sure this adds that much (unlike hearing Beans narrative in contrast to Ender’s version of the same story). I’m always suspicious that the author is trying to pad their work to add more pages.  Maybe Roth is pulling a Hobbit Movie extension trick, trying to get as much out of the story as she can.  Overall, I liked this book, no it wasn’t as fast-paced as the other two, but you gained a lot of explanation.  I wonder if Roth knew where the series was headed when she published the first book.

 

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If a song was playing during the opening scenes, it could be the Who’s “Don’t Get Fooled Again” new boss, same as the old boss…

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Teen Books

Unsouled (Unwind #3) by Neal Shusterman, read by Courtney, on 11/24/2013

Book three of the Unwind Dystology picks up where book two left off. Pretty much everyone is on the run or in hiding. Connor and Lev are in search of asylum from the Juvenile Authority and a particularly determined parts-pirate. Risa is on her own, also seeking save haven. Cam is busy compiling damning evidence against the Juvenile Authority while living the life of a celebrity. Connor and Lev head to the Arapache reservation where they must come to terms with the tragedies inflicted by the Juvenile Authority the last time Lev was in their care. Risa changes her appearance and mostly travels alone. Cam plays up his public image until he is informed that he is now effectively owned by the military, a fact that doesn’t sit well with his already-fragmented mind. The love triangle is still more or less in effect, although the characters aren’t really around each other enough in this installment for any real progress to be made one way or another. Eventually, all the major players will reunite and starling revelations regarding the history of unwinding and the role of Proactive Citizenry will come to pass.
A lot of this volume consists of traveling or hiding. All of the major players are nationally famous and must keep to the shadows if they are to survive. The Juvenile Authority and Proactive Citizenry continue to the embodiment of government-sponsored evil. While this book will not work as a stand-alone, it definitely expands the world that Shusterman has created. I didn’t love this one as much as the first two, mostly because it’s super-long and relatively low-action. There’s a lot of reminders about the outcomes from the first couple of books, presumably for readers like me who may have forgotten exactly how everything played out earlier. New characters are introduced, which is always fun and interesting. Things are complicated, but the horrifying premise gains a lot more traction with the extra world-building supplied by this installment. I’m interested to see where this series ultimately ends up. Evidently, there’s one more book to go, but I’m still not so sure Connor and co. are going to be able to take down such an insidious system.

03. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Allegiant by Veronica Roth, read by Bryan, on 11/20/2013

allegiantThe final part of the trilogy, Tris and Tobias’s lives continue to be jumbled as they are selected to leave Chicago and visit the outside world.  Once there, they find that their entire world-view is false and they have to decide to live in this reality or face that all they know will be erased.  This book is a good conclusion to the trilogy, although the wrap-up chapters take way too long, in my opinion.  The book is also written differently than the others — it alternates between Tris and Tobias as first-person POV.  It becomes clear why Roth did this as the story unfolds, but I found it a bit distracting.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, read by Bryan, on 11/07/2013

36zxyqpbInsurgentTris Prior continues on her adventures in factioned Chicago.  This book is the typical second act of a three-act play — darker and basically a “how much worse can it get” plot.  Tris’s life continues to unravel with losses of family and friends.  Politically things erode to a point that she is faced with joining the Factionless.  However, there are agendas at play there as well…

This book continues the pace of the previous and does a good job building to the climax.  Not a bad read.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Bryan, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Bryan, on 11/03/2013

divergentTris Prior lives in a future Chicago that is recovering from war.  Society is broken into groups of like people, and at the age of 16, each person gets to choose their group.  Tris makes a difficult decision to choose against her family’s group and the adventure begins.  Plots are uncovered and all of society (as they know it) is at stake.  Much like the Hunger Games, this book is a good read and would be appealing to teens who do not feel in control of their lives.  It is fast paced but still has some substance.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, read by Leslie, on 11/06/2013

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In a future Manhattan devastated by environmental catastrophes and epidemics, sixteen-year-old Lucy survives alone until vicious hounds target her and force her to join Aidan and his band, but soon they learn that she is the target of Sweepers, who kidnap and infect people with plague.

This wasn’t too bad, as far as dystopian novels go.  I thought it was good, but fairly predictable to me.  Teens will enjoy it and want to read the rest of the series to see how the characters turn out.  I think I may pass on the rest of them.  Very interesting to wonder if we would turn out the past as quickly in order to get our survival skills fine tuned.

26. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books

The Death Cure (The Maze Runner Series book 3) by James Dashner, read by Tammy, on 11/09/2013

death cureThe conclusion of the Maze Runner trilogy. Our hero Thomas does not trust anyone at Wicked even though now they say the time for lies has ended. Wicked claims that it is up to the Gladers to complete the final blueprint for the cure for the flare and that they need to have their memories restored to complete the process and agree to a final voluntary test. Thomas already remembers more than anyone at Wicked knows and he doesn’t trust that the memories that would be restored would be real. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas can imagine. Will he survive the cure?

 

22. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Insignia by S. J. Kincaid, read by Courtney, on 11/11/2013

Tom and his father have been traveling from place to place, grifting along the way to keep themselves fed. When Tom’s talent for virtual reality simulation games gets noticed, he is tapped by the those in the highest echelons of the US military to join their elite group of combatants who are currently fighting World War III. Tom agrees and is quickly shuttled off to the Pentagonal Spire, where these new types of soldiers are trained. He’s in for a bit of a shock when he gets there though. While the military aims to get the best and brightest, natural traits just aren’t enough in this brave new world. Each plebe (combatant-in-training) must receive a neural transplant. The brain is altered in such a way as to enhance memory and processing, while also allowing plebes and combatants to directly connect to the space ships that are doing the actual fighting in the war. Tom isn’t crazy about the transplant and realizes that he’s been manipulated, but eventually agrees to it on his own terms.
At first, Tom kind of loves his new transplant; he’s faster, smarter, better looking – everything that he wasn’t before arriving at the Pentagon. It isn’t long, however, before the drawbacks of the technology become glaring apparent. For instance, Tom learns rather quickly that the brain can be easily accessed and hacked by others, including curmudgeonly teachers, bullies, enemy combatants and the corporations that finance a plebe’s promotion to combat. Naturally, in a school full of teenagers with the same type of implant, hijinks ensue.
For me, this book had a kind of Ender’s-Game-meets-Harry-Potter (or Percy Jackson, if you prefer)vibe. Tom and his friends were, to me, strongly reminiscent of the Harry-Ron-Hermione trio. His programming professor reminded me of Snape. The bully? Total Draco potential. The virtual training and manipulation of children comes across as an updated rendition of Ender’s battle school. It’s both fun and thought-provoking. I read this with my middle school book group; everyone in the group loved it. Interestingly enough, roughly half the group said they’d love to have similar implants while the rest shuddered at the thought.

06. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, read by Courtney, on 10/15/2013

After the first four waves of the alien invasion, there’s not a whole lot of humanity left on earth. Cassie has been on her own, struggling to survive. The only thing keeping her going is a promise she made to her little brother. Of course, she’s not sure that her brother is even still alive. But if she doesn’t try, then what’s the point? Cassie isn’t even sure she knows who she is anymore; she is so far from the girl she remembers herself being before her life became focused on survival. When she meets Evan, she isn’t sure about him, but is willing to give him a chance. After all, saving her brother will be easier with help, assuming that Evan really is human.
This book had a lot of hype leading up to its publication and I approached it with some trepidation, in spite of the fact that I’ve been a fan of Yancey’s Monstrumologist series. Fortunately, I found it to be quite entertaining, even it wasn’t the mind-blowing experience the early press made it out to be. Starting the story during the fifth wave of the alien invasion is an interesting place to begin. Cassie doesn’t have all that much information about what’s going on. All she can do is speculate based on what she has witnessed, but appearances can be deceiving. Fortunately for the reader, there are other narrators whose perspectives aid in the world building. I cannot say that any of the revelations came as a surprise, nor are any of the themes particularly ground-breaking. Readers will likely be more interested in the characters themselves. There are strong survival and military elements which balance out the hints of romance rather nicely. Adept plotting adds to the tension and makes for a fast-paced read. There’s plenty to like here if you’re not going into it expecting miracles.

22. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Gordon Murphy, read by Angie, on 10/21/2013

Punk Rock Jesus is about the second coming of Christ. In the not so distant future, Jesus is cloned from the Shroud of Turin. His birth and life are all part of a new reality tv show called J2. Chris and his mom Gwen are basically prisoners on the J2 island. Gwen becomes more and more unhappy with the J2 life and repeatedly tries to escape. Finally, evil Dr. Slate, the head of the project, has her fired from the show and subsequently killed. Chris rebels, escapes the island, becomes lead singer of a punk band, and becomes an atheist. His life polarizes the population pitting atheist scientists against right-wing Christians.

I found the premise of this book fascinating and not all that unbelievable. This is the perfect combination of our adoration of reality tv and the rise of the Christian right. I thought it was drawn really well and I rather liked the message of the book. I just wish the story was a little stronger. The characters all seem very one-dimensional and caricatures of who they are supposed to be. The only one with a little bit of personality and backstory was Thomas, the IRA henchman turned security guard. I thought it was a little sad that all the scientists were shown as brilliant atheists and all the religious were militant crackpots. I kind of felt like Murphy was trying to make this story as controversial as possible, not that controversy is bad or wrong; however, the strongest controversial messages are those that make you question and think. This story is so in your face that it doesn’t leave any room for anything else.

21. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, read by Tammy, on 10/12/2013

scorch trialsThe continuing adventures of Thomas and the Gladers. They escaped the maze and thought that they were safe only to wake up to a scarier and more confusing world. A few questions are answered but many more remain. Can Thomas and the rest of the boys from the maze survive their latest test through the hot, dry scorched desert terrain?

21. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Brian, on 10/03/2013

divergentDivergent, is Veronica Roth’s first book in a trilogy. Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian world of Chicago, where society is divided up into five fractions: Candor is the honest people, Abnegation is the selfless, Dauntless is the brave, Amity is the peaceful and Erudite are the intelligent .Every year on a special day, the sixteen year old children must decide which fraction to belong to.  Many stay with the one they grew up in but others leave to a stranger environment.  Beatrice leaves her family to try to become a Dauntless.  After going through a very tough initiation, Beatrice renames herself and begins the very hard journey into this new world.