# of Pages: 277
Eva’s twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death mere months before he is supposed to participate in the testing. The testing is a rigorous and dangerous competition in which 12 contestants ride sleds into the frozen wasteland outside their city in order to lower themselves into icy ravines in search of relics from the civilization that died out 200 years ago after a vicious flood covered the earth. Eva steps up to take her brother’s place and is met with harsh opposition. A female has not competed in this in 150 years, but she knows the rule book inside and out and knows there is no reason they can forbid her to participate. Jasper is the man everyone intends her to marry and he seems intent on keeping a protective eye on her during the testing, but Eva can’t shake the feeling that his intentions might not all be admirable. Does she have what it takes to not only survive the testing, but to succeed in her mission? Whom can she trust and whom should she be wary of? If she finds a relic what will it tell her about the civilization that came before her?
Fans of futuristic stories such as The Maze Runner and Divergent will enjoy this title. Eva is a strong and willful character that is pulling on her brother’s strength to carry off this mission. While there are several supporters of her, there are also several who would love to see her fail. Most of the story focuses on the testing itself, but there is definitely going to be at least one more in this series and readers will hopefully learn more about this community and how they came to believe some of the things they believe. Eva is definitely the character to find out the answers to the many questions that come up during the testing. The imagery and description of the setting is especially important since it plays such a big role in not only the testing, but the everyday lives of this civilization since the flood that destroyed the world 200 years before.
Published February 28, 2014
Mystery , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: accident, aspirations, college, death, goals, parent/child relationships, scholarship, teenage relationships
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 277
Parker is a high school senior who has always followed the rules and done what she was supposed to, which is why she is currently a finalist for a prestigious scholarship that would give her a full ride scholarship to her dream school. Her best friend, however, feels she needs to break a few rules before graduation. The opportunity surprisingly arises when she is asked by a teacher to mail out notebooks full of wishes and goals written by a group of high school seniors ten years prior. As she gathers the notebooks to send out to these graduated seniors from ten years ago she comes across one for a Julianna. This is a big deal because Julianna died in a car accident with her high school sweetheart shortly after graduation. They have since been immortalized in the town as the “golden couple” who were meant to be together forever. Parker decides to open the notebook and read what Julianna’s last thoughts were in those weeks leading up to her death. What were her aspirations? Her dreams? When Parker starts reading the notebook, however, she is very surprised by Julianna’s words and it makes her question everything the town promotes about this girl. Was there more to that fateful night that led to the horrific car accident? Parker decides to investigate.
Fans of Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks will devour this title. It is full of colorful characters, including Parker who is always pushed for greatness by her mother but deep down she doesn’t really know what she wants for her future. Meanwhile, Julianna’s notebook opens a flood of feelings and fears leading up to graduation that anyone could identify with. Plus, there is the added intrigue of finding out what exactly happened to Julianna and her boyfriend. It’s a fun romance story that will be popular with many young adult teens.
Published February 14, 2014
Adventure , Fantasy , RAC
Tags: betrothed, family relationships, government, marriage, rules, secrets, teenage relationships, utopian society
# of Pages: 356
Morgan lives on a city that is floating in the sky. The legend is that the gods of land believed the humans to be greedy and wasteful and were going to exterminate them and begin a new race when the god of sky decided to save them. Therefore, their floating city is suspended in the sky and anyone who attempts to look at or jump to the earth either dies or is seriously injured. Morgan’s brother was blinded when he attempted to see the ground below. The community has limited space and resources so everything is carefully monitored such as who will marry who and when or if they will be allowed to have children. Morgan and her betrothed are very close and have no secrets from each other. One day a young girl is found murdered on the train tracks and this makes for the first willful murder ever to take place in this city. Naturally, the citizens get scared and are on high alert even as security is enhanced. Then, Morgan sees the suspected culprit running free in the woods despite all accounts of his being in custody. Is the government lying to the people? If so, what exactly are they lying about and what can she do to find out the truth?
Futuristic stories are incredibly popular right now amongst young adults and this one will fit into that niche easily. The story has similar aspects to books like Matched and Divergent but is different enough to encourage interest. Morgan comes to find that much of what she believed her world to be is in fact a lie. Her government, her teachers, and even her family have all kept secrets from her. The end of the story is exciting and leaves an opening for a thrilling sequel. The supporting characters all enhance the story as you see how each person responds to the world they live in and the rules imparted on them differently. Recommended.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 405
Sloane and James live in a world where teenage suicide is suddenly very common and often unexpected. They are still reeling from Sloane’s older brother’s suicide, which they both witnessed. Despite having many mixed up feelings about all the loss and stress around them they feel compelled to act happy all the time for fear they will be sent to The Program. The Program is the government’s answer to all of these teenage suicides and so far the only answer available for stopping them. Teenagers believed to have suicidal warning signs are sent to this building for 6 weeks and when they emerge they are completely happy and oblivious to their old life regarding friends, appearance, and personality traits. Sloane and James are terrified of The Program because of how some of their friends have returned, but parents are truly terrified of losing their children to suicide and will call the authorities if they are at all nervous about their child falling prey to this epidemic. Can Sloane and James keep each other safe and out of The Program? What will The Program entail if they do get sent there and are they strong enough to resist?
There are several epidemic type stories that are popular right now such as Delirium and Blackout and this one will find an audience with fans of those books. The motivations behind the teenagers and parents are accurately portrayed so that the reader can truly identify with everyone and their fears and motivations. The setting itself is told in such a believable way that it is easy to imagine how a community could get to the point of instituting something like The Program. The relationship between Sloane and James proves to be incredibly strong throughout the book and reveals their true feelings for each other. Like many other YA novels this one leaves an opening for a sequel. Recommended for reluctant readers.
# of Pages: 426
This futuristic novel depicts the U.S. suffering from multiple terrorist attacks at the hands of U.S. teenagers. The army begins gathering up all teens to have them tested for a particular virus they believe is causing special powers in these young adults. Every teen seems to manifest different powers, but they are all extraordinary such as manipulating minds and turning invisible. Alec and Laura belong to one of the terrorist groups trying to destroy national landmarks and industrial buildings. Meanwhile, Aubrey and Jack are merely two teens at a high school dance when they are apprehended and tested for the virus. Aubrey knows she has a special power, but Jack is shocked to learn he tested positive for the virus. Through exciting circumstances all of these characters will come into contact with each other and try to survive this deadly situation. Unfortunately, some want to make the chaos and destruction stop while others want to be the cause.
Fans of futuristic novels such as Divergent will enjoy this title. There’s even a super hero feel to this as the teens learn of their different and amazing abilities. The story moves at a steady pace and the characters are portrayed in a way that really lets the reader know who they are and what they want. However, there are a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained potential that most definitely will be used in future books so readers need to be prepared to end this book with a lot of questions. All young adults will enjoy the title, but boys and reluctant readers will especially enjoy it.
# of Pages: 290
In this sequel to The Name of the Star Rory is recovering from her near fatal encounter with a deadly ghost in Bristol with her parents. After a few weeks, her therapist surprisingly advises she return to school in London to resume her schoolwork and begin to move forward. Rory is thrilled at the idea of returning to school, but she is very far behind on her schoolwork and has no idea how she can make it up. Meanwhile, Stephen and the other shades are trying to solve an unusual murder that occurred very close to where Rory’s attack was. Are they connected? Did her encounter somehow trigger other supernatural attacks in the immediate area of the school where all of her friends go?
This sequel moves very quickly and has a very exciting ending. Fans of the first novel will enjoy this title as the Shades are detailed a little more and the challenges of their group’s existence are explained in a bit more detail. Rory’s future in London seems very unsure at this point, but there are possibilities for how she will proceed laid out that could come into play in future books. The supporting characters from the school are still just as colorful as ever, but are not featured as much as they were in the first book. Overall, it’s a good sequel, but a tad fast and fans will be eager to see another one sooner rather than later.
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery/Adventure
# of Pages: 310
Michael enjoys playing video games, but he lives in a world where the best games are part of the VirtNet. In the VirtNet you can actually immerse yourself completely into the game and leave your body behind in your house. There are many types of games you can play, adventures you can try, and friends to meet in the virtual world. People like it because they can do things they wouldn’t normally do in real life and if they “die” they simply wake up safely in their own home. Recently, there have been reports about a gamer who has managed to hurt people both in the game AND in real life. Michael and his friends are enlisted to track this gamer down because they are very successful hackers and can see stuff others can’t. Michael and his friends learn quickly that this is no ordinary gamer and if they are not careful they will not come out of this alive. If they do not help the Virtual Authorities to catch this guy they will have all of their privileges revoked and can never game again. Can they face a life without gaming? Are they willing to risk their lives to keep gaming?
Fans of The Maze Runner series will enjoy this title as well. Like that series, this one has a fair amount of excitement and violence. The book is also set up as a series of tasks the characters must accomplish in order to be free. The tasks are very challenging and often scary, but the characters feel they have no choice but to press on and follow through. The ending is a bit of a surprise, but fans of Dashner would be surprised if there wasn’t a twist at the end. Video gamers, boys, and reluctant readers will enjoy this title.