Archive for the 'Adventure' Category



Blackout by Robison Wells

blackout

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  426

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

eye of minds

Genre:  Science Fiction/Mystery/Adventure

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  312

RAC:  Yes

Meg and her sister, Mary, have been moved from one location to another multiple times over the past year since their family was placed in witness protection.  Each time they must change their names and backstories so that no one has any idea where they came from.  They do not know why they are in witness protection and Meg blames her father for whatever he did that landed them in this hellish situation.  Mary has begun withdrawing and their mother has started drinking heavily.  The reason for why they have to be moved so many times is elusive to them too and Meg has about had it with being ignorant about their own situation.  When they move this time she vows to remain neutral and distant so that she does not become attached to anyone or anything, but that becomes very difficult when she meets Ethan…  Can she stand to lose him if they get moved in the middle of the night again?  How can she ever make him understand why she acts the way she does?

This book is highly exciting and engaging as you learn the reason for why Meg and her family are in witness protection in the first place.  People are obviously looking for them and Meg often feels as if people are watching her.  At the same time, she is beginning to feel angry and bitter about spending her senior year going from school to school, working an after school job to keep her family financially afloat, and taking care of her family emotionally.  Once the reality of their situation is revealed, Meg feels responsible to fix their situation even if it means putting herself in danger to do so.  The ending is very dramatic, but a tad quick.  Most readers will be satisfied by the resolution at the end of the story.  Recommended for everyone, but reluctant readers will enjoy.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Image

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  344

RAC:  Yes

Cia Vale lives in a very small farming community on the outskirts of their civilization.  The civilization was once ravaged by the Seven Stages War and everyone left behind is simply trying to survive.  Every year when the local school graduates a class of students everyone secretly hopes that someone from the government will arrive to invite someone to the Testing.  The Testing is a super secret test that only the best and brightest are invited to.  No one really knows what it entails, but if you do well you get to go on to higher education.  Cia’s father underwent the testing in his youth and is a very accomplished scientist, but he does not remember much about the test and seems leery of wanting his children to have this same great opportunity.  No one from Cia’s community has been chosen for years, which is why it’s so surprising when four are invited, including Cia.  As Cia begins her journey she is warned to trust no one.  What has she gotten herself in to?  Will she ever return from the Testing?

This book is definitely similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent, but for readers who enjoy that type of novel it is still very engaging.  Despite some of the similarities to other stories out right now many readers will care about the characters in this book and wonder what will happen to them through the course of this testing.  The book does have a fair amount of violence, betrayal, and overall treachery so readers who prefer lighter novels should keep looking.  Recommended for reluctant readers.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

emerald green

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# Of Pages:  447

RAC:  Yes

In the third novel of the Ruby Red Trilogy, Gwen is still fuming over her treatment by Gideon in the last book.  She feels betrayed and like she cannot trust anyone.  She is also convinced that there is more to the story of her ancestors, Lucy and Paul.  She does not believe they would simply steal the chronograph for their own gain.  She does not trust the Count, but has no way of knowing how to protect herself from anyone because she does not know who to trust.  Then, she discovers something hidden in her own house by her late grandfather and she uses it as a means for communicating with him back when he was still alive.  Can he help her to decipher the prophesy enough to know what her role in this is supposed to be and manage to keep everyone safe?

This trilogy has been engaging from the beginning, but there were always unanswered questions and this book puts many of those to rest.  The final resolution regarding the Count, Lucy and Paul, and even Gwen and Gideon are all interesting and exciting.  Gwen’s interactions with her grandfather are also enlightening concerning the overall story.  The book has a satisfying ending to the trilogy, but still leaves a little room for more in the future.  Recommended for fans of fantasy romances.

The Roar by Emma Clayton

The-Roar

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  481

RAC Book:  Yes

This Iowa Teen Award Winner for 2013-14 begins with Ellie trying to escape after being held hostage for several months on a strange space ship.  Her twin brother, Mika, feels that she is alive despite the fact that the government has told his family that she drowned.  Mika and his parents live in a the poor area of London that is now beneath the newer, brighter buildings that were built on top of the poor when land got scarce.  The wealthy literally walk on top of the poor people all day and dictate what happens to them.  The more Mika resists the acts of the government the more they try to knock him down.  When a new video game simulation is introduced to all of the 12-year-olds he is intrigued and feels instinctively that this is his way to finding Ellie.  Can he succeed enough at this game to find his sister and what really happened to her?  Will he discover the sinister plot the government has for these twelve-year-olds?

This book has a futuristic feel to it and will be popular with The Hunger Games crowd.  There isn’t much violence, but the plight of these poor people is very raw and realistic.  Mika must endure bullying, unfair punishments, and overwhelming guilt for trying to stand up for what he believes in and ask unpopular questions.  The revelation of the goverment’s plot is surprising and satisfying.  Each of the characters is well developed with clear motivations in the sequels that are sure to follow.

Agent Colt Shore by Axel Avian

About Agent Colt Shore Domino 29

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Adventure

# of Pages:  368

RAC:  Yes

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.

Department Nineteen by Will Hill

department-19

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  540

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Agency: a spy in the house by Y.S. Lee

a spy in the house

Genre:  Mystery/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  335

RAC:  Yes

This title was recently named to the Iowa High School Award Winners for 2013-2014.  The first in this series, Mary is rescued from a death sentence for stealing in 1853 by a woman who runs a special school for young girls.  After many years of schooling, Mary is taken into a special program designed to turn young women into spies.  Her first assignment is to be the paid companion of a wealthy teenage girl who is ungrateful for the company at best.  As Mary enters the house she is supposed to keep her ears open for information about the family business and whether or not they are really suffering from as many lost ships as they claim, but in the end she overhears much more than that.  She also meets another spy trying to dig up information on this family.  Will he be a threat or an ally?  Can Mary perfect her spying skills in order to become a permanent fixture in this alliance?

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this title because it is set in a unique time period while also including intrigue and mystery.  The story moves fairly quickly and the ending is exciting.  The final revelation of who is behind the lost ships is surprising, but also a bit confusing in the details for some young readers.  Mary’s background is touched on, but readers will look for more to be revealed in the future sequels.

Legend by Marie Lu

legend

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.

Fire by Kristin Cashore

fire

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  461

RAC:  Yes

In this companion to Graceling, Fire is half human and half monster.  She is amazingly beautiful and has the ability to control people’s minds, but due to the horrible things her father had done she chooses not to use her abilities and often covers her multi-colored hair.  She lives in a remote area with her best friend, Archer.  The Kingdom Fire lives in is in great turmoil as other kings are trying to take control of King Nash’s land.  After offering a warning Fire sensed to Nash’s mother he extends an invitation for her to come to the castle and help him identify other possible threats.   Fire chooses to go to the castle even though she is terrified of how people will react to her after the heinous deeds her father committed because she believes she must help save the kingdom she has grown to love.  As time goes on, however, it appears that whoever is out to get the king also wants her.  Can she save them all from certain destruction?

Fans of Graceling have enjoyed this title since its release and it has been named an Iowa Award Winner for 2013-2014.  Fire’s story is compelling as she struggles against a reputation she did not earn simply because of who her father is.  She is surrounded by strong, open minded people who yearn to overcome their bias of her, which is refreshing.  The plot is fast paced and involved an elaborate plot that most readers will not figure out too early.  The ending is very satisfying.  Recommended.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

monument

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  296

RAC:  Yes

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.

Accidental Mobster by M.M. Cox

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.

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Genre:  Futuristic Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  295

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Kill Order by James Dashner

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.


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