Posts Tagged 'future'

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Genre: Romance

Yvette’s world shatters when her parents announce they are getting divorced and her belief is true love is put to the test. She does not react well to the news that her mother, her sister, and her must move out of their family home and into a smaller apartment and decides it is time to downsize her belongings as well. She takes all of her favorite romance books to donate to a free library. When she is there a mysterious woman convinces her to take a book in return for her donation and she grabs the book titled Instructions for Dancing. After receiving this book, Yvette notices that every time she sees a couple kiss she see flashes of their entire relationship from beginning to end, and they always end. This only cements her belief that love never lasts and she decides if she gets rid of the book she might not see these premonitions anymore. She notices that there is an address inside for a local dance studio and goes to return the book, but the instructor sees something in her and convinces her to practice for a big ballroom dancing competition. Yvette does not know why, but she feels drawn to the dance floor and her magnaminous partner, X. Can she really get involved with someone when she is so down on romance at the moment? Will she ever be able to reconcile with her father after he tore their family apart?

Fans of Nicola Yoon will not be disappointed with this story about two very thought out characters and their struggle to find their way in a complicated world. There are also many interesting side characters that prove nothing is ever as cut and dried as it first appears. Not all young adult readers enjoy reading romances, but this one truly has something for everyone if they are willing to give it a chance. The characters are all going through very relatable issues and most everyone can find something they can identify with. Highly recommended.

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

Genre: Realistic Fiction and 327 pages

Alex Rufus has had the ability to see into the future ever since his parents died. Every time he touches any item or person he sees what will happen to that person or thing in the near or distant future. For example, he knows the ice cream shop he works at will one day be owned by someone else because he can see it when he touches the ice cream scoop at work. He learned long ago that there is no changing the future he sees, no matter what he does, so he tries to avoid touching anything he doesn’t want to know the future to. Having this ability has made him more closed off with his girlfriend and his brother, Isaiah, but he doesn’t know how to change it since so much of his time is spent dealing with the many visions he sees. Then, one day he sees a vision of himself at Isaiah’s funeral in the not so distant future and he knows he needs to act fast. He needs to reconnect with Isaiah and see if there is any way to change this terrible vision he sees. Is there a way to save Isaiah? Is there a way to ever rid himself of this terrible condition so he can truly just enjoy life as it comes at him? Will the community he lives ever see him as anything but a young, black man?

This story really paints of picture of not only how terrible having the ability to see the future would be, but also how difficult growing up black in America can truly be (even in affluent neighborhoods). Alex struggles to communicate with those around him because he fears no one will be able to understand what he is going through, but along the way they show him that they are there for him no matter what. He also learns that by not sharing his thoughts and feelings with others he has also been missing out on what is going on with them. He and his brother have drifted since their parents’ untimely death and while he understands how it happened he also realizes how precious life really is. The ending is satisfying, but does give the reader a lot to think about long after the book is over. Recommended.

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

independent study

Genre:  Futuristic/Adventure

# of Pages:  310 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to The Testing, Cia is living in Tosu City having survived the testing in book one.  Tomas, the boy from her home town, is also in Tosu City.  Their memories were altered to keep them from remembering anything that happened during the testing, but Cia had left a message for herself secretly on the navigation device she brought from home so she remembers the hardship and loss they all experienced.  They are about to be given a rigorous test that will determine what they will study in college.  Cia studies incredibly hard and does pass, but not with the major she was hoping for.  Instead, she is put into the government field of study and must move into a dorm with other government students.  Students are not merely tested on paper, however, and must in fact survive a rigorous initiation process.  Can Cia survive yet another dangerous challenge that could end with her dying?  What does Cia learn about this government while living there?  Whom can she trust in his mission to stop the testing from ever happening again?

This is a solid follow-up to The Testing and will be  welcomed by many readers.  There is not as much focus on the students themselves as there is on the government officials and overall structure of the government.  The problems Cia has for freeing herself and other children from the testing regimens are only beginning to surface as this program involves many more people and secret layers than she could have ever thought.  Plus, the head of the government department seems to have it out for Cia.  She has a lot to do and is unsure who is really willing to help her do it.  Fans of The Hunger Games or adventure spy novels will enjoy this title.  This book really starts to set itself apart from other similar series.

Taken by Erin Bowman


Genre:  Futuristic, Mystery

# of Pages:  360

RAC:  Yes

In the town of Claysoot all men are taken at midnight on the night they turn eighteen while the entire town watches.  This has been happening since the beginning of the town’s existence, but no one knows what happens to these teens or who is behind it.  After watching his brother Blaine get taken, Gray learns they are in fact twins.  Therefore, he knows whomever is taking these teens did not know this or else he would’ve been taken too.  He decided to take the deadly trip to climb over the wall that surrounds the town in order to find out exactly what is going on and who is controlling all of them.  Emma, his childhood friend, follows him and climbs the wall too.  What will they find on the other side of the wall?  Will they live long enough to find out?

Another offering in the rapidly growing dystopian genre, this book will easily find an audience.  The details of the rustic town they live in give the reader an idea of what life was like growing up in Claysoot.  For example, Emma and her mother work as the town’s only healers.  Many of their priorities and rituals seems a bit shocking, but this town is trying to survive without any adult men so simple ideas of getting married and having families suddenly become an impossibility.  The characters that are introduced are colorful, multi-dimensional, and full of a desire to learn the truth no matter what the cost.  My high schoolers are waiting in line for this title.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  356

RAC:  Yes

Emma and Josh are high school kids in 1996 when the story begins.  Emma gets her first computer and hooks it up to AOL only to receive the bonus Facebook.  She finds her username and password for AOL work on Facebook and is shocked to find that she is looking at her own profile in 15 years.  When she tells Josh, her estranged best friend, he finds a profile of himself as well.  To say their futures are not what they expected is an understatement.  Emma is especially disappointed in her future and vows to make decisions that will permanently change it.  Josh is not necessarily disappointed in his future, but a bit confused as to how he gets there.  As they begin noticing that little changes affect their future profiles they both need to think hard about what they want in their futures.  Can they come to terms with their possible futures or do they want to make big changes that might help them get closer to where they hoped to be?

The relationship between Josh and Emma is complex at best due to the romantic rejection Josh felt when he tried to tell her he wanted to be more than friends.  Despite the slight distance that has grown between them they still share a connection, which is why they get so jealous when they see the other person in a romantic relationship.  The idea of getting a glimpse of the future is intriguing, especially to teens who are making those big decisions such as where to go to college.  The references to 1996 are humorous, even if many are lost on current teenagers.  The overall story moves quickly and will engage many young readers.  Fans of romance and realistic fiction will enjoy this title.

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.