Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages: 466
Ella lives with her mother in the new city that was built after a major world war. Her mother is famous for inventing the technology of reveries, which enable people to go into a sleep where they can relive their happiest memories. Her father was also a brilliant scientist who worked on finding a cure for the terrible disease her mother had before he was suddenly and tragically killed in a lab accident. Ella’s mom has lived longer than anyone else with this disease, but she’s getting weaker and Ella knows it is only a matter of time before she’s on her own. Her mother’s childhood friend helps run the reverie spa and one day informs Ella that she needs to go meet with the president of their newly established government. The President informs her that she feels rebellious rumblings and will do whatever it takes to stop another war, including altering the memories of the rebels. Ella isn’t sure about using her mother’s technology that way and goes to her father’s grave to think it over when a teenage boy comes up and acts like she should know him. He knows things about her family and seems genuinely hurt she doesn’t know him. Is it possible someone is using her mother’s technology to alter her memories? If that’s true, what else doesn’t she remember?
This thrilling sci-fi novel takes many plot twists to get to the final conclusion. Some readers may find the constant revelations start to get a little confusing at times as they happen quickly near the end. As Ella’s parents were both genius scientists there are numerous referrals to science and technology in the ultimate resolution of the plot. The characters are very memorable and engaging, especially considering some of them aren’t in the story that much. The romance between Ella and the boy is well described and a believable source of angst for Ella, but isn’t dwelled upon too much in a book that has a lot going on. Fans of sci fi will devour this title.
Genre: Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 293
Margaretha lives on her father’s estate in Germany and knows she must choose a suitor to marry soon. When a man named Claybrook comes and begins to woo her she thinks he might be the one, but then an injured man is brought to the healer’s cottage from England. She is one of the few people around who knows English and she translates what he’s saying. He followed a man named Claybrook from England in order to make him pay for murdering a young girl, but instead Claybrook’s men beat him and left him for dead in the street. Margaretha is unsure who to believe, but decides to spy on Claybrook and learns he is plotting to murder her father and take over his estate. Can she save her family and her family’s land without alerting the wrong people to the threat? Does she know whom she can trust? Is she equipped for such a venture?
This is a fun, fast paced adventure story in which Margaretha and her new companion from England try to save her family from a very miserable future in which they are pushed out of their own land by sheer force and violence. There are many twists in the plot as Claybrook tends to be one step ahead of them at all times. Many of the characters lack depth, but they do not need to be over developed since the plot rests mainly on Margaretha and her English gentleman. Fans of other period stories like The Selection and The Queen of Someday will enjoy this title.
Genre: Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 343
Verity is a young female British spy who is captured in France while on a mission simply for looking the wrong way when crossing the street. The first half of the novel is Verity’s written confession about her incarceration, interrogation, and even torture by the Gestapo for information on the British. Some of the things she says seem tedious or unimportant, but in the second half you hear from her best friend, Maddie, who is a female pilot working for Britain. She was the pilot who flew Verity in on her mission, but her plane was hit and Verity had been forced to jump out with a parachute leaving both of them unaware of the other’s fate. Maddie ended up crashing, but then found herself stranded in a land where if she were caught she would definitely be put in jail as well. As Maddie’s story is told some of the facts Verity mentioned suddenly make sense. All of this leads up to the shocking ending when the reader learns what happens to these two dedicated friends.
This title has received amazing reviews and for good reason. The story is captivating, intriguing, mysterious, and unique. Verity and Maddie’s friendship ends up reflecting just how important these relationships were during wartime. The very beginning starts a little slow as the setting it set, but eventually this leads up to an exciting premise as these two unique voices tell their tales of female involvement in WWII. Highly recommended.
# of Pages: 298
Rio and her twin, Bay, were born in the underwater town of Atlantia and it is now their chosen time to decide if they wish to stay below or go up to the surface for the rest of their lives. People in the underwater city believe that life above ground is dangerous, labor intensive, and fairly short while residents of Atlantia are believed to have an easy life where most people live a very long time. Unfortunately, their mother, Oceana, was recently found dead and many suspect foul play. Rio has always dreamed of going above, but now that their mother is gone she has promised Bay she will stay with her down below. All decisions are final in this ceremony and there is no going back and forth allowed. Rio is shocked when Bay ends up leaving her and choosing to live above the water, but she is ushered away before Rio has a chance to ask her why. She does have time to utter one word that alerts those near to her of what she truly is, which is a siren. Her mother has trained her to keep that truth a secret for reasons unbeknownst to Rio. Can Rio survive in the one place she has wanted to leave her entire life without her mother or sister? Why would her sister choose to leave after making her promise they would stay together forever? Is it possible to bridge the two societies together?
This novel is fresh and interesting right from the beginning. It feels like yet another futuristic story, but the setting and characters quickly help you to forget all of that as you cannot help but get immersed in the story. Rio has many plot details to figure out in order to find out the truth of her family and Atlantia itself. While many great characters are introduced, it does take Rio awhile to discern whom she can and cannot trust which makes the journey more interesting for the reader. It also appears that this is going to be a stand alone novel which is refreshing in a world where every book seems to have three sequels. Recommended for students who enjoy fantasy.
Genre: Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 249
Sophie has been summoned to Russia to meet with the Empress and her nephew, the heir to the throne. Sophie’s mother has impressed upon Sophie how important it is for their family to secure a match with the prince because they have many debts and are in danger of losing their title and land. Once Sophie arrives in Russia it becomes clear that the prince is very self involved and wants all attention on him at all times. She begins to spend a lot of time with her Russian tutor, Sergei, and one of the prince’s men, Alexander. Eventually, Sophie begins to have affection for Alexander and she knows how much trouble she would be in if anyone ever found out. Meanwhile, she is informed that she must learn fluent Russian and convert to Greek Orthodox before she can marry the prince. Can she turn her back on her family and marry the man she loves or must she marry a man she finds vile in order to save her family?
Loosely based on Catherine the Great, Ficklin makes no apologies for any historical inaccuracies. The story is interesting in that very little is written in the young adult category for this era in historical fiction. Due to the fact that it is based on true events, there are some twists to the story that may shock and dismay readers, but is essential in order to follow the arch of Catherine’s life. The characters are interesting and written so that they are not easily confused. Fans of series such as The Luxe or Cleopatra’s Daughter will enjoy this title.
Genre: Futuristic/Survival Fiction
# of Pages: 225
Charley lives in Meritropolis where everyone is judged on their merit and given a score. He has an unnaturally high score of 118. He loathes the system, however, because when he was 8 his only brother was taken away and put outside the gates to die simply because he had Down Syndrome and therefore had a low score. He has been plotting his revenge since. Every time a person is put outside the gates every adult is required to go to the gate ceremony to watch. At Charley’s first one they led a little girl with a disability to the gates and he went crazy and started fighting the guards. He was eventually overtaken, but due to his high number he was not sent outside the gates as punishment. Instead, they put his best friend out there to remind him of who is really in charge. At that point Charley started plotting how he can take down the system.
This book seems very simple at first, but touches on many important issues in any society. For example, the sick and elderly are discussed quite often and how “valuable” they are in society. There are different views on this throughout the book from different characters. There are also hunger issues, which is a terrible problem in all societies. Some people get a lot while others barely get by. Finally, even abortion is touched on. The main character is strong and not afraid to speak up and could be a great literary hero for reluctant boy readers. The plot is full of unanswered questions, some interesting revelations, and lots of action. Recommended for fans of survival fiction.
Published January 16, 2015
Mystery , RAC
Tags: copycat, FBI, serial killer
# of Pages: 375
In this sequel to The Naturals, all the main characters are back and still reeling from the very scary encounter Cassie had with a serial killer in the first book. It isn’t long before another case draws in the naturals even though the FBI has sworn to leave them out of any active cases in the future. A young college student’s body appears on the lawn of the campus, but the method mimics that of Dean’s father and that immediately complicates things. Dean’s father will only answer questions for Dean so he has to come face to face with his dad for the first time since he was arrested for heinous crimes. Meanwhile, Cassie, Michael, Lia, and Sloane all try to help but everything they try seems to get them in more and more trouble with the FBI. On top of all that, a new FBI agent has been brought in to oversee the naturals programs and she seems determined to end the program one way or another. Can they find out who is copying Dean’s father and how that person is getting information? Can Cassie and her friends prove how valuable the program is so that it doesn’t get cut by the FBI? Will Cassie ever choose between Dean and Michael?
This is a solid followup to the first book. The mystery itself is engaging and is more complicated than most readers will think at first which will keep them guessing until the end. The characters grow and develop more in this book and makes the naturals program seem more useful and interesting than before. The love triangle between Dean, Michael, and Cassie finally gets resolved, but will most likely be revisited in the next installment. Fans looking for a fun mystery series will enjoy this.