30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Jane, Teen Books

Variant by Robison Wells, 373 pages, read by Jane, on 04/11/2014

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 374 pages, read by Kira, on 04/25/2014

Ready Player One Paperback Covertumblr_m6agh9Kd9O1rvnsrpo1_500

What a delightful and fun read.  Teenager Wade is living in the US about 2014’s, in a post energy world.  He lives in the stacks – stacks of trailers/mobile homes linked together with steel poles, and whatever jetsam is lying around, his trailer is on the 32nd level, and actually receives a little sunlight.  His aunt steals his food vouchers.  He has found a safeplace at the bottom of a mound of abandoned vehicles (no gas left), which he crawls into every day hooks into the Oasis (FB on steroids) with a visor and haptic glove and goes to school.  This is the environment.  The multibillionaire, James Haliday who invented the Oasis and numerous other internet games died 5 years ago and set up a series of challenges, the winner will inherit the billions.  Wade is one of several hunters searching for the 1st key.  Haliday loved the 80’s so the hunters as well as the readers get to share in 80’s culture.  Personally, I don’t think I’m very in touch with pop culture, but was amazed at all the culture references I caught – Blade Runner, LadyHawke, War Games, John Hughes movies, Excalibur, Gary Gygax, D & D, etc.

I REALLY enjoyed this book! and have recommended it to all  sorts of people.

 

 

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28. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Ashes of the Earth: A Mystery of Post-Apocalyptic America by Eliot Pattison, 359 pages, read by Tammy, on 04/27/2014

ashes of the earth  Thirty years after a nuclear holocaust, survivors struggle to rebuild society in the few remaining areas not poisoned by radiation and germ warfare.

One of the founders of the colony of Carthage, Hadrian, joins forces with a police woman to solve mysterious murders that have started happening. The most painful for Hadrian is that of his close friend and the colony’s leading scientist, Jonah. Is it a government plot? Have some mobsters from the days before infiltrated and re-established a crime syndicate? Why would either of these groups encourage stories among the children of a better life in the afterlife that has lead to so many child suicides?

28. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Champion by Marie Lu, 369 pages, read by Angie, on 04/27/2014

Champion is the final book in the Legend trilogy and picks up where the second left off. June and Day are now firmly on the side of the Republic. The Colonies are not happy about the bio weapons that were used on them in the past and have started up the war with the Republic in earnest. Day is concerned about his brother Eden and his connections with the plague in the Colonies. The Republic has asked for help from Antarctica since the Colonies are aligned with Africa, but have received no help. It is up to June and Day to save the Republic in any way they can.

I have been getting a bit tired of dystopian books lately, but I really enjoyed this series. Champion definitely wraps everything up nicely. I liked how June and Day’s relationship progressed in this book and while I found Day’s illness heartbreaking, I did like where it took the story. I think the thing I enjoyed most about this series was the fact that it was really about the people. Despite all the dystopian elements it came down to a story about two teenagers and how they made their world a better place.

27. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Award Winner, Classics, Dystopia, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Rachel, Teen Books

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 208 pages, read by Rachel, on 04/26/2014

Before The Hunger Games there was Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.

Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.

12. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Classics, Dystopia, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Rachel, Science Fiction, Teen Books

1984 by George Orwell, 328 pages, read by Rachel, on 04/12/2014

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, 458 pages, read by Kristy, on 03/22/2014

Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born .

26. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Jane, Teen Books

Maze Runner by James Dashner, 374 pages, read by Jane, on 02/20/2014

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade-a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up-the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

26. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Jane, Teen Books

Prodigy by Marie Lu, 371 pages, read by Jane, on 02/13/2014

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

26. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Jane, Teen Books

Legend by Marie Lu, 320 pages, read by Jane, on 02/06/2014

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Dystopia, Fiction, Helen, Science Fiction

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, 344 pages, read by Helen, on 01/31/2012

I am red now. It was her first thought of the day, every day, surfacing after a few seconds of fogged, blessed ignorance and sweeping through her like a wave, breaking in her breast with a soundless roar. Hard on its heels came the second wave, crashing into the wreckage left by the first: he is gone.

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

A powerful reimagining of The Scarlet LetterWhen She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated, and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.

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

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons , 362 pages, read by Angie, on 03/18/2012

Imagine a world ravaged by war and taken over by the religious right. This is the dystopic future of Kristen Simmons Article 5. Sometime in the not so distant future the United States has lost a war with foes unknown. The outcome of that war is that the moral majority takes over and takes away the civil liberties of the population. Sounds scary and just a little bit possible doesn’t it? This is the world of Ember. She is a regular 17-year old worried about mom, school, friends. Then she comes home one day and the Moral Militia are arresting her and her mom for article violations. Why? Because her mom became pregnant without being married. Ember is a bastard. Doesn’t matter that it happened long before the MM took over. They are still arrested and taken away. Ember has no idea what happens to her mom; she is taken to a reform school with a bunch of other girls like her. Then her childhood love, Chase, who now belongs to the MM comes and rescues her. They embark on a race to find a safe place in a world that is hunting them.

We don’t learn a whole lot about the war or the group that brought about this dystopian power. Now most of the time I would rage about the lack of world building and how it makes the book weaker, but in this case it is ok. The present time of the world is developed enough that I don’t think you need the whole back story of the world. It makes it scarier in my opinion to leave parts up to your own imagination. The articles themselves are pretty interesting and don’t seem that out of the realm of possibility: you have to worship the one religion; family is defined as man, woman, children; you can only read appropriate materials; you have to behave morally; etc. Seems like things you hear about in present day. Of course the military isn’t killing you if you violate any of these right now. I thought the MM coming in and cleansing towns and people was also a really interesting idea and well thought out. I can just see this systematic taking over of the country. I also liked the rebellion because of course there will be a rebellion. Not everyone is going to fall in line.

I think my biggest issue with this book was the main character. Ember is a really hard character to like or root for. She is whiny and stupid for most of the book. She is 17 so you would think she would be a little smarter and she is about some things but then she is really stupid and naive. Her relationship with Chase is one example. They were in love, he joins the military (because he is drafted and has no choice), he is there when she and her mom are arrested, he rescues her, but then she runs away from him and doesn’t trust him several times even though he has shown no reason for this. I didn’t get her motivation for most of the book and she really didn’t grow into a decent character until about the last 50 pages or so. If I was Chase I probably would have left her on the side of the road. Chase was a great character. You could see his conflict and his determination to do what is right. He was a character I could root for.

Of course there were things about the book that were very predictable as well. The storyline with the mom was so predictable I couldn’t believe it. I was waiting for the twist throughout the whole book because I couldn’t believe it would be so obvious, but it was. I couldn’t believe Ember didn’t ask more questions or pick up on the signs or that situation. The MM was also very one dimensional. I wish we could have seen a little bit more from the bad guys. However, I like where this world is going and I will probably read the next book in the series.

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

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking, 312 pages, 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, 308 pages, 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, 526 pages, 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, 525 pages, 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, 487 pages, 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, 526 pages, 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, 454 pages, 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, 387 pages, 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!