Genre: Realistic Fiction/Adventure
# of Pages: 368
Colt Shore grew up attending an elite private school where he was trained in many skills required of a spy, but he always intended to enter the profession as an information person and never as a field agent. He also grew up believing his parents had him after their first beloved child died, which always left him feeling left out. He is quite surprised to learn that who he believes to be his parents are actually his grandparents and his dad was actually a spy killed in the line of duty. His mother is still an active agent and introduces him to spy headquarters. When he is asked to help out with a mission, his mother argues against it, but does not stand in his way. He finds that the mission is simply too good to resist, but once he gets in the field he must learn quickly how to make decisions as the mission morphs into something much bigger than he signed on for.
The evolution of this mission is done so in a way that seems logical, although there does tend to be a lack of fear on the part of Colt and the person he is trying to protect. The action sequences are well written and adequately describe how Colt manages to get from one tough situation to another. He does have luck on his side in a few instances but not in an unbelievable way. Colt’s personality engages the reader from the beginning and many will want to follow his adventures for many books to come. Highly recommended for fans of spy novels and reluctant readers.
# of Pages: 540
Jamie Carpenter witnessed his father’s murder a few years before the story begins and ever since he and his mother have believed that his father had been a traitor to the country. On the night his father died, he witnessed some strange phenomena outside his house, but had since convinced himself he was hallucinating. That changes when he is attacked by a vampire and barely escapes only to find his mother has been taken by one of the most powerful vampires in the world. Then, he learns of a secret organization called Department Nineteen that takes care of creatures most people do not believe exist. Despite the fact that many people believe his father is a traitor, he is welcomed in and allowed to train briefly in order to go after his mother. Does he have what it takes to fight vampires for his government?
This book has been named an Iowa Award Winner for 2013-2014 and it is easy to see why. Fans of fantasy enjoy the back story of this book as well as the truly colorful characters (Frankenstein is an actual employee at Department 19). There are many twists and turns in the story and the action is almost continual. This book sets up the possibility for many more to come. Recommended.
Published April 29, 2013
Adventure , Award Winners , RAC , Realistic Fiction
Tags: battle, betrayal, dating, friendship, futuristic, secrets, trust
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 305
RAC Book: Yes
In this futuristic story, Day is a rebel who hides in the shadows and pulls pranks on authorities. He is the number one wanted criminal. June is a girl living in the Republic whose brother is a soldier for a high ranking official. She is considered a prodigy because she is the first and only person to earn a perfect score on the training test given to every ten-year-old in the Republic. After an attempt to obtain medicine from a hospital leaves June’s brother murdered she is led to believe Day was the culprit responsible. June goes undercover to find and apprehend the biggest criminal standing in the way of the Republic’s goals so she can avenge her brother. Day ends up being much more than she bargained for, however, and she finds the more questions she answers the more that arise. Whom can she trust in this government? Can she believe anything she was told over her entire childhood?
This exciting story will interest readers who like books such as The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games. The setting is reminiscent of Divergent, but focuses much more on the goals of the Republic and not the little sectors that make up the people. The chapters alternate between Day and June so that you see each of the sides of this battle and why they see each other as the enemy. Many secrets unravel quickly, but it’s obvious there are many more where that came from. There is currently one sequel out and there will probably be more.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 296
On a normal school day, Dean gets on the bus for school when all of a sudden giant hail beats down on the bus. The bus crashes and catches on fire, but another school bus who was behind it drives into a giant superstore and returns to save those who are uninjured. Dean is pulled from the wreckage moments before it explodes. Inside the superstore, they learn that only 6 high school, 2 junior high, and 6 elementary school kids survived the hail and the bus crash. They tend to the wounded and the bus driver leaves in the hopes of finding help. Meanwhile, they are shaken up by an earthquake and toxic gas that is poured into the air due to a leak caused by these natural disasters. They are safe in the superstore, but do not know how long they will need to survive there. Is anyone coming to rescue them?
This survival story is incredibly realistic and forthcoming about what life would be like after several natural disasters. The kids all have different strengths and annoyances as they strive to find the best way to live together. Some of their solutions for how to make the store more efficient and inhabitable are very clever. Other actions are not as clever, but reveal that they are in fact just kids trying to survive. The story moves at a quick pace and packs a lot of interesting plot developments. Readers may be disappointed by the abrupt ending, but most likely a sequel will be on the way.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 247
RAC Book: Yes
Danny Higgins is forced out of his home when a domestic dispute between his parents ends badly. Surprisingly a man he’s never met before, Gino, comes to rescue him from foster life claiming to be his godfather. Gino lives a very extravagant lifestyle with his wife and two kids, but welcomes Danny wholeheartedly. As Danny begins to get used to this life that is so different from where he came from, he learns that his godfather has ties to the mob. He cares about his godfather and wants to protect him, but he cannot deny that Gino has made some terrible choices in his past. Plus, he is being blackmailed from more than one person and he has to figure out how to protect himself from all the people who want to hurt him and his new family. Is there a way to protect Gino and his family without having to give up his new happy life?
This story is quite engaging. Danny is a likable character from a tough background who finds himself in happy new surroundings. Of course he doesn’t stay happy for long as he struggles to find ways to save his reputation and protect his adopted family from those who wish to tear them down. Danny is very clever and often comes up with elaborate plans in order to get what he wants. This is refreshing because many characters simply let things happen to them and Danny is very proactive. High school boys will especially enjoy the story because it has a little espionage and a lot of action that they tend to enjoy. A very fun read.
Published November 14, 2012
Adventure , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: capture, espionage, family, fighting, monarchy, princess, spy, torture
Genre: Futuristic Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 295
Before the book starts there are many days of environmental disasters in a row that leaves England struggling to survive and unable to reach anyone outside of their country. Months later, Eliza is horrified as a child when she witnesses her mother, the Queen of England, being poisoned to death. Years later, there are rumors that a ruthless dictator is plotting to overthrow her father and crown himself King. Her father assures her that everything is fine, but there is an elaborate attack on Buckingham Palace that leaves Eliza’s father dead and her brother and sister captured. Eliza manages to escape, but must then decide how to proceed. Should she run for her life? Should she stand and fight? There is a handsome reward out for her capture because once the dictator catches all three of the children he plans to have a very public execution so that there will be no confusion as to whether or not there are any rightful heirs out there.
Eliza encounters many dangerous situations trying to find out information about her brother and sister and often things do not go her way. This heroine faces some serious struggles and is even tortured at times. The villain is particularly evil, but is not in the story that much. Fans of futuristic stories will like this one, but need to be prepared for violence and frustration at times. The story is open for a possibility of a sequel, but doesn’t necessarily require one.
Genre: Futuristic realistic fiction
# of Pages: 327
RAC Book: Yes
In this prequel to The Maze Runner series, readers learn what happened on earth that led to the events in the trilogy. Mark and Trina were normal teens going home from school when the sun flares struck and they had to run for their lives from devastating heat, floods, and other disasters. They ended up living with a few other survivors in a big office building until they deemed it safe to leave. Eventually they found themselves living in a little village full of survivors from the natural disasters, but are horrified when they witness a plane land near their village and start shooting everyone in the town with a terrible virus. Once again they are on the run to survive and they can’t help but wonder what will come at them next. In order to save themselves they must go toward the people who spread this terrible disease. What if they were already exposed? Why would humans spread this virus? Is there ever going to be a time when they feel safe and do not constantly worry about what tragedy could befall them next?
Fans of the trilogy will enjoy the prequel. It’s a little slow to introduce the characters of the book so that the reader cares about what happens to them, but the book answers any questions leftover where the trilogy ended. Also, there is a lot of action and plot twists that will keep readers interested. This series feels very planned out and well-developed.
Published October 24, 2012
Adventure , Fantasy , RAC , Romance , Science Fiction
Tags: cryogenically frozen, family, leadership, lies, politics, Romance, truth
Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages 398
RAC Book: Yes
Amy must make the very difficult decision of whether or not to cryogenically freeze herself with her parents. They have been chosen for their elite skills to lead a new planet in 300 years. Amy can choose to wait 300 years to continue her life on a new planet with her parents or she can stay and live the rest of her life without them. She chooses to get frozen, but is unexpectedly awoken 50 years early by someone wishing to cause harm to frozen people. Amy feels it is her responsibility to protect her parents from the person trying to hurt the frozen people, but how? Meanwhile, Elder, the future leader of the ship, is trying to learn what it will take to lead one day from Eldest, the current leader of the ship. Eldest is tyrannical, oppressive, and difficult to work with. Worst of all, as Elder soon learns, he has no problem with lying to the passengers of the ship. Can Elder become the kind of leader the ship needs? Will he go along with the lies they currently believe just to make Eldest’s life easier?
Fans of Glow and Divergent will enjoy this title. The plot is interesting, even for those who have read similar titles. Although the plot can be predictable it is also clearly thought out and multi-layered. Some difficult issues are discussed or displayed such as suicide and sexual assault, so beware of younger readers. All in all, it was an interesting, enjoyable read.
Genre: Science Fiction
# of pages: 335
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel, Michael and his friends who escaped from the academy are trying to stay away from Dr. Hatch, while also finding and rescuing Michael’s mother. They learn Michael’s mother is being held in Peru and try to find a way to get there, but no matter where they go the Elgen keep finding them. A mysterious voice on a cell phone keeps warning them of impending danger and vows to help, but so far they have not stepped in to do much. Going to Peru is very dangerous because they are being tracked. Plus, the place where Michael’s mother is being held is highly secure and a place where torture is commonplace. Can they really breach the fortress in order to save her and safely get out again?
Like the first in the series, this book is full of action and adventure at every turn. There is no dead time for Michael and his friends to catch their breath. Every time they think they have created a brilliant plan they are thwarted in their endeavors by Hatch. This one is a bit darker than the first and torture is featured quite often. It’s not gory, but becomes a huge focus of the book and in many ways it feels like the plot does not develop that much. We know pretty much what we knew before this book. We still have a lot of unanswered questions about the Electroclan, what their plans are, and how they plan to survive. Fans of the first will enjoy this one too. Recommended for reluctant readers.
Published June 26, 2012
Adventure , RAC , Realistic Fiction
Tags: civilization, cult, friendship, lies, survival, trust, tumor, zombie
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Apocalyptic Society
# of Pages: 465
RAC Book: Yes
Alex goes into the woods against the wishes of her aunt and doctors in order to distribute the ashes of her parents before her brain tumor kills her. While she is in the woods there is an electromagnetic wave that sweeps the country and maybe the world. The pulse kills most people instantly and leaves others either saved or in a zombie-like state. She meets a young girl, Ellie, who is unharmed, and a teenage boy, Tom. Tom is a former U.S. soldier from Afghanistan. Together the three of them try to survive, but keep finding more and more challenges to finding food and staying safe. Will they ever feel safe again? Will they all survive this disaster?
This story is engaging and students who like survival and futuristic type stories will enjoy the action. The characters all have secrets that they are reluctant to share, despite their close relationships they eventually form. There are many unanswered questions by the end of the story and the ending itself may frustrate some readers who are looking for more of a resolution. Hopefully, some of these questions will be answered in the inevitable sequel.
Genre: Science Fiction
RAC Book: Yes
Thomas is back in the third and final installment of The Maze Runner series. Thomas begins in solitary confinement where he is tortured for several weeks before he is told what the final plan for WICKED will be. He is reunited with the friends that are still alive, but the organization wants to give them their memories back and he believes this is somehow a trap. He refuses and must escape with Minho and Newt. Once they escape to the real world they find that the Flare is much more advanced than they realized and worry that it will be impossible to find a cure in time to save mankind. When WICKED informs Thomas he must turn himself in for one final test in order to save the human race he reluctantly agrees, but what is he agreeing to?
Much like the rest of this series, there are many twists and turns and no easy answers. The characters act with bravery and fear to help them navigate these difficult situations. Readers will learn more about the truth behind WICKED’s evil plans, but not everything is revealed and that is okay because readers know enough to piece together what happened before the series began. The ending is believable, acceptable, and satisfying without going over the top. The finale of this trilogy is so strong is makes the first two novels even stronger, which is a feat in itself.
# of Pages: 326
Michael Vey has known his entire life that he’s special. He can somehow conduct electricity through his body and it sometimes shocks people that he touches. Due to this abnormality, his mother has done many things to protect him including moving to another state and working a dead end job. She pleads with him to never reveal this strange power for fear of persecution, even though he is constantly bullied at school. One day as he is getting bullied his emotions take over and he zaps the bullies. His actions are witnessed by a cheerleader and he is shocked by her reaction. He is even more shocked when he finds out that there are others like him and there is a menacing force trying to gather them all together. Can he keep himself and his mother safe? Can he protect himself against the forces that want to find him and use him for their own gains?
This story was interesting and reminded me of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Witch and Wizard series based on content and writing style. Michael has tried to hide his gift his entire life, even as his life continues to get worse. When he finally embraces his power he finally realizes that he does not need to be the victim anymore. Michael’s friend, Ostin, is an important member of the story as he helps Michael realize his true gifts. The story is exciting, dramatic, and menacing. Fans of fantasy or science fiction will not be able to wait for the next installment.
# of Pages: 302
RAC Book: Yes
In this third installment of the CHERUB series, James is sent undercover into a prison to befriend a young murderer who has a famous weapons dealer for a mother. The idea is that James and another agent will break the unsuspecting inmate out of jail in exchange for fake ID’s from his mother after they break out. The FBI have been chasing this weapons dealer for decades and haven’t even seen a picture of her for years. James never backs down from a challenge, but life in prison is nothing like he’s ever experienced before. Can he keep it together to pull off this very difficult mission?
Fans of this series will not be disappointed in this third book. This is James’s most difficult mission yet and there are several times where he almost gets killed. His sister, Lauren, is with him on the mission after having recently completed her training and is a great addition to the team. The action and suspense are written so that most readers will have difficulty putting it down. The ending is satisfying and does not feel rushed. Recommended for young readers who like spy books.
Published September 12, 2011
Adventure , Fantasy , RAC
Tags: brothers, zombie
# of Pages: 458
Benny has grown up in a world where there is a constant threat of zombies. When he was very small his mother and father were killed by zombies and in his eyes his older brother, Tom, did nothing to save them. Tom has now become a famous zombie hunter, but Benny thinks he is a coward who ran away from danger when he should have stepped up. Benny is of age to find a job and cannot seem to find his niche. He is forced to work with Tom in order to earn his food rations and what he sees on Tom’s hunts surprise and horrify him. The world of zombies is not as simple as he once believed. Can Benny make peace with his brother and find his own way in this world of fear and survival?
Fans of zombie books will devour this story. It has the thrill and excitement of the zombie attacks, but also the heart and truth of life under these conditions. The characters are multi-dimensional and easy to identify with while this difficult society batters them in more ways than one. The relationship of Tom and Benny is especially special as the two of them begin to move forward while also facing the past that initially tore them apart. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 390
When a plane crashes into a remote island carrying the fifty contestants of the Teen Dream Pageant complete chaos ensues. Several contestants do not survive the crash, but those that do seem to be confused as to their priorities. Some feel like they are still being judged for the pageant and choose to use their time practicing their talent routines and question answering skills. Others choose to spend that time looking for food or possible means off the island. What they do not know is that there is a sinister presence on the island that does not feel too happy about the sudden appearance of these perky girls.
This story is funny, unique, and unexpected in many ways. The girls each have unique voices and motivations for entering the pageant and each reveal a variety of flaws and strengths that they can either help or hinder their situation. The relationships between the girls as well as the outside threat from the island presence make the novel a quick and fun read that many teenage girls will enjoy.