Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Ward by Jordana Frankel

It is so great that I have been working with a group of avid readers at one of the schools. These girls have compelled me to get reading YA books again. Of course there are many new dystopian novels coming out which makes jumping back into the YA pool much more enjoyable! The Ward is a futuristic dystopian novel set in New York City. At this point in time, most of New York is underwater. All that is left are the skyscrapers and bridges, and the fight for clean water to drink. Everyone living in New York fights a constant battle for fresh drinking water. The buildings that are left are good for one thing though- and that is racing a vehicle that can travel along the sides of the buildings and over the water. And that is what the main character Ren does to survive- she races at night in order to keep her and her sister alive. But her sister is very ill with the Blight- a disease that is wiping out the population of The Ward (formerly known as Manhattan) This disease has now spread to the richer part of New York and suddenly it has come to the attention of the mayor and other people in power. They are now trying to find a cure for the Blight. Ren is asked to find a new freshwater source as she goes about her nightly races, but this leads to trouble for her. She finds more than freshwater and there are many different people who want to keep her discovery a secret. As with many dystopian novels, there are times when I found the plot a bit confusing. The whole racing was exciting, but I could never get a picture in my mind of how it actually worked. Having said that, the book was exciting- I enjoyed the plot and the idea of racing along buildings. I also like the fact that Ren is a strong female character who participates in an activity that is typically only for males. She is a great character. This is only the first in a series of books and I am looking forward to the next one.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

After staying up quite late last night and getting up early this morning, I finished this book and can hardly wait to share it with people. I haven't read anything by Suzanne Young before (you can check out her blog here) , but you can be sure I will be buying more of her books! In this book, suicide is an epidemic. Teens between the ages of 13 to 18 are killing themselves in large numbers. It is believed that these teens have a disease and the only way to cure them is to enter The Program. The Program is a 6 week regim where teens are cured from having any thoughts that will make them sad or anxious. But when these teens come back from The Program, they seem empty and can't remember any of their friends. The main character in the story is Sloan, she is trying to play the game of keeping all of her emotions in check. She tries to avoid bringing any attention to herself and just keeps her head down. She does this all day at school, but she is also aware of her overly sensitive mother and so even at home she can't express how she really feels. Only with her boyfriend James can she share her true feelings. Even though James has promised to keep her out of The Program, Sloan is worried that he won't be able to do that. Things seem to be getting bad for both of them, depression is setting in and they are both afraid of what will happen next. I loved, loved, loved this story. As a mom I can totally understand the desire to do everything you can to keep your child safe and protected. But I also know that you can't go through life being safe and without emotions. All emotions are real and everyone has set-backs and sad things that happen to them, you need to learn to deal with them, not pretend they don't exist. I love the relationship between Sloan and James, two teenagers who are in love and trying to survive in a world gone mad. Their story and their personality made this book such a great read. I know that they will live with me for a long time. I do have to say that there is some mature content in the book. I would be hesitant to share this with anyone younger than grade 7. The mature bits are handled in a very careful manner, but it would still give me a bit of a pause when considering who I would give the book to. I think the message and the story is well worth the risk though.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

This is another book that has been getting a great deal of talk in book circles. I thought it was going to be a dystopian novel, but it turns out to be more post apocalyptic than anything. The story is set a few months after aliens have shown themselves on earth. At this point there have been 4 waves, each designed to reduce the number of people left on earth. Cassie has survived the 4 waves and is waiting for the 5th wave to strike. She is alone and knows she needs to either kill or be killed and she is prepared to do that. As we learn about Cassie's story, we learn how she went from being a big sister and part of a family to hiding out in the back of an abandoned car on the highway. When Cassie meets Evan, she must decide if she trusts him or not. Everything inside of Cassie tells her she is better off on her own, but there is something about Evan that pulls her to him. Cassie must face all of her doubts and fears to save not only herself, but what is left of her family. I did enjoy reading this book. As with most books that deal with an alternative future, it is hard to understand the ins and outs of the new reality that is the world. I like Cassie, she is a typical teenage girl before the aliens arrive, and through a set of horrible situations she realizes the inner strength she actually has. Although this book has lots of military scenarios which I don't tend to like, but in this book I enjoyed reading it. This book reminds me of several different books, in some ways it is like Ender's Game and in other ways it is like The Eleventh Plague and in some ways like The Scorch Trials If you are a fan of any of those books, you will like this one too. I think if you like post apocalyptic, dystopia, science fiction or military type books, you will enjoy The 5th Wave!