Archive for November, 2014

Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix

full ride

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of page:  322

RAC:  Yes

Becca Jones and her mother just want anonymity after Becca’s father is sentenced to ten years in prison for multiple counts of conning people out of their life savings so that his family could live a very privileged life.  Becca is about to start high school and completely humiliated by her father’s actions.  Becca and her mother flee Georgia and run to a small town in Ohio where they live very humble, simple lives trying to avoid anyone knowing who they really are.  Three years later Becca is an A student and ready to apply to colleges.  She has tried tirelessly to prove how hard she is willing to work for her future and that she’s not a cheater like her father.  Yet, when she asks her mother for help on financial aide forms her mother gets paranoid and says it won’t be safe for her to do anything online where someone could find them.  Eventually, Becca learns that her mother is harboring a terrible secret about the real reason they fled Georgia in the first place.

This book is written in a way that any young adult girl reading can truly identify with Becca and how she must feel learning about her father’s transgressions and being forced to deal with that humiliation.  Becca and her mother are written very well and have multiple dimensions and motivations for all of their actions.  Becca’s friends start a little flat, but eventually they start to have some real personalities and genuinely seem to care for Becca.  The plot definitely has some twists and turns that readers might not be expecting, but the ending is handled very quickly and neatly.  Overall, an exciting read that reluctant readers will enjoy.

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Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

salvage

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of pages:  520

RAC:  Yes

Ava is a young woman who was born on a merchant ship in deep space and has never set foot on a real planet before.  The only way of life she knows is on board this ship, which includes strict separation of women’s and men’s duties.  Women cook, clean, sew, and have babies while men train for jobs in areas such as business and engineering.  When a rumor comes down that Ava has been betrothed to a man on another ship she cannot help but hope it is the young man she met once when they were kids.  He even encouraged her to fix a broken device herself, which was something women are never allowed to do on her ship.  When the two ships come together Ava makes a very unfortunate mistake and her punishment is death, but she manages to escape to earth.  Is she strong enough to survive going “planetside” after a lifetime of never experiencing that kind of gravity?  Can she find her way in a world that assumes she knows basic skills she was denied on her ship such as learning to read?  Will she ever find a way to punish those on board her home ship who failed to stand up for her under unfortunate circumstances?

Fans of Glow, Across the Universe, and other space adventure stories will enjoy this very real and dangerous life that Ava is living.  The supporting characters are interesting and multi-faceted in a way that the reader can understand their point of view, but at the same time Ava is the heroine of this story.  Values, morals, and other societal laws are called into question as each planet and ship tends to make up their own, but all of these discussions can be applied to different cultures and countries on Earth.

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

dear killer

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  359

RAC:  Yes

Kit has been trained to be a killer since she was a small girl by her mother.  Kit’s mother felt called to kill, but eventually felt like she was getting too close to getting caught so she retired and trained her daughter to believe she was merely performing a service.  Kit truly believes killing is neither right nor wrong, but just is.  By day she is the chipper private school girl who blends in everywhere and yet has no close friends.  Once every few months, however, she visits a local coffee shop where there is a secret drop box in the bathroom wall where people deposit letters and cash to have the “perfect killer” dispose of their unwanted family and friends.  She reads the letters and chooses which victims she feels most comfortable with and takes care of it in a way  that no clues, DNA, or fingerprints are ever found.  She leaves the letters at the crime scene so that the police know it was her.  One day her mother invites the lead detective on the perfect killer case over for dinner and they strike up a friendship so that Kit can know where they are on the investigation, which is nowhere.  Can she keep up this facade forever?  Will the job ever bother her or have lingering effects?

This book is dark and yet written in a light way so that it appears like Kit is a very normal and sympathetic girl.  The more you get to know the character, however, the more disturbing she really is.  She is able to kill perfect strangers for money without feeling any remorse or blame in any way.  What’s worse is it almost seems like a game to her.  Fans of mystery books might enjoy the thrill of living vicariously through someone who truly does what she wants when she wants, but eventually it gets a bit old as you discover how scary someone like this actually is.

Avalon by Mindee Arnett

avalon

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  418

RAC:  Yes

Jeth and his sister have been working for the evil crime lord, Hammer, ever since their parents were executed for treason and their uncle gambled away their parent’s beloved spaceship, Avalon.  Jeth and his friends work by stealing spaceships to give to Hammer that are then chopped up and sold for pieces.  They are hoping to save enough to buy Avalon back so they can escape for good.  On a routine job, a government official comes to Jeth and claims that his next job will include going to a dangerous part of space to retrieve a lost ship.  He wants Jeth to return the ship to him instead of Hammer and in return promises Jeth full ownership of Avalon as well as the truth about his parents.  Jeth is tempted, but Hammer is not someone people generally cross.  Can he trust this government official?  Does he have a choice?

This space adventure is full of action and twists and turns that keep the reader guessing.  Jeth’s crazy crew all have fun personalities that make them likable and interesting.  The villains are truly terrible people who do unbelievably terrible things.  The plot feels refreshing and unique, unlike some new series out there.  Recommended for fans of Glow, Salvage, and even the Michael Vey series.