Archive for July, 2008

Rash by Pete Hautman

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 249 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Bo Marsten tells this story from the late 21st century. In this world the USA is now called the USSA and people are monitored closely so that any false move can result in swift incarceration to a work camp. Almost a third of all adults get incarcerated at one time or another due to the stringent rules that have been put in place by the new government. Bo’s father and brother are already at different work camps working off time they have accrued through incidents stemming from their hot tempers. Bo follows suit when he is blamed for spreading a rash around the school. A subsequent public outburst leads him to a work camp of his own.

Once at the work camp he realizes that it would be better for him to become a Gold Shirt, which is the elite group that only has to work eight hours a day and has a lot more options for meals. The Gold Shirts put him through a bizarre tryout and he makes it. He quickly realizes that life as a Gold Shirt is not as simple as he had previously thought. He starts to fear for his safety when it becomes apparent that no one cares if any of them survive their sentences in order to be released.

Bo’s story is very well detailed in how this society is set up and functions on a daily basis. For example, safety regulations are much stricter than we know them to be today. Many activities like riding horses or playing football are against the law entirely. The idea of people working for corporations as punishment for their discretions, varying by degree of severity by quite a bit, makes an interesting tale about how everyone must learn to survive in this society. Students who enjoy futuristic type stories will find this one unique and interesting as they follow Bo’s struggle against the inevitable.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 328 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Aislinn has a secret that only her grandmother knows and that is that she is able to see faeries. All of the women in her family have always been able to do this and so Aislinn was trained at a young age to pretend like she cannot see them, because if the faeires know they are seen they will torment the human who has that gift. Unfortunately, one day Aislinn notices that two faeries keep following her and becomes alarmed enough to tell her best friend, Seth. Seth tries to help her figure out what the faeries want and how to get them to leave, but of course the problem is much more complicated than they anticipate.

Keenan is the Summer King, but his power has been bound for many, many years. Unless he can fulfill his mission and find the girl destined to rule alongside him he will never get his power back and catastrophic things will happen to everyone in the world, faeries and mortals alike. Standing in his way,is his mother, Beira, who is the Winter Queen. She is a cunning and deceitful villain who will stop at nothing to win.

Fans of any fantasy series such as Twilight will enjoy this book. The plot is unique and original and contains a lot of mystery, action, and adventure. There are many rules in place that the characters have to abide by in order to win, which makes the plot complicated and unpredictable. So far it has already caught the attention of many students and I think will continue to pull in readers as word spreads. A must read for fantasy lovers.

The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose by Mary Hooper

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Age Level: 13 and up

# of Pages:  333 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Eliza Rose is shocked when her stepmother throws her onto the street and tells her she is no longer welcome at the home she has always known.  She travels to London alone looking for her father who works as a carpenter.  In the meantime she falls upon some hard times trying to survive.  She experiences jail and many other horrors that the poor had to deal with during this time.  She ends up getting rescued by Nell Gwyn, a real person who was believed to be a mistress of Charles II.  Eliza must learn a lot about herself and her capabilities in order to find where she belongs.

The balance of actual people, events, and places with the fictional story make it seem as believable as possible.  Eliza’s story is interesting, if not a bit predictable.  The people she encounters and the situations they are in make the story really interesting and give an idea of what London was like in 1670 for everyone from the monarchy to the highwaymen.  The fates of many she meets are bleak and not everyone gets saved in those situations like Eliza does.  The ending seems quick, but is still an acceptable finish to this delightful story. Fans of historical fiction books will enjoy it.