Posts Tagged 'society'

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

the-jewel

Genre:  Futuristic Fiction

# of Pages:  358

Violet was pulled away from her family three years prior to the beginning of the story because she tested positive for a specific gene that made her desirable in their community.  After completing three years of training she is to be sent to auction to be sold to a rich and powerful royal family to be a surrogate for a royal child.  Violet would rather return home to her family, who resides in the marsh, in order to live in poverty than to be a plaything for the royals whilst living in true luxury.  Once Violet is purchased she does not know what to make of her new owner, her owner’s ungrateful son, or her owner’s absent husband.  Plus, she begins to discover there are lots of secrets in the Jewel, where the royal live.  She finds herself struggling not to rebel against those around her, but they really do have all the power over her.  Can she keep her beliefs intact while everyone around her views her as an object to be owned and manipulated?

Fans of The Selection and Divergent will enjoy the first in this series.  Violet is tough and smart, but there is so much she does not know that the reader gets to find out the true nature of her situation along with her.  There are some very intriguing supporting characters including the man who helped her prepare for her auction, her best friend who went to auction at the same time as her, and the royal women who scheme and gossip behind each other’s backs.  All in all, an intriguing premise that will hold your interest until the surprising last page.

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Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Meritropolis-Cover

Genre:  Futuristic/Survival Fiction

# of Pages:  225

RAC:  Yes

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.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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Genre:  Realistic fiction/Futuristic fiction

# of pages:  327

RAC:  Yes

America Singer is a 5 on a caste system where 1 is the royal family, 2s and 3s are the wealthy and powerful, and 5s are the artists of the world.  She is secretly meeting with Aspen, the neighbor boy who is  a 6.  Girls almost never marry below their station because they then become that station.  One day the palace announces that Prince Maxon is ready to marry and begins The Selection.  Any girl between the ages of 16 and 20 in any province can fill out an application to be entered into a random drawing for The Testing.  One girl from each of the 35 provinces will be chosen to move to the palace in order to be considered as the country’s next princess.  America does not want to do this because she plans to marry Aspen, but when she tells him that her mother is pressuring her he encourages it so that he will never feel responsible for her missing out on something great.  To everyone’s shock, America is chosen and must move to the palace.  Does she try to become a princess where she might be able to make some real changes that could benefit people lower on the caste?  Does she refuse to go and announce she is marrying Aspen?

This book crosses The Hunger Games with The Bachelor.  America is a fun, modern girl with goals and aspirations that have nothing to do with her two suitors, but they are fun as well.  There is a lot of political turmoil that she is not expecting and the relationship she begins with Maxon is very different from anyone else’s.  The cast of characters is very intriguing and vibrant and despite the number you really do get to know several of these girls as people.  As part of a trilogy, the story holds up well through to the end and America never compromises herself for a man or a crown.  Recommended.

Reached by Ally Condie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  512

RAC:  Book

In the final installment of the series, Cassia is back with the Society working as a sorter when the Rising takes control and produces a cure for a mysterious plague that the Society was trying to keep quiet within city limits.  Xander is working in the clinic as a physhic and was well aware of the plague and is thrilled when the Rising takes over simply because he was always on their side and now they can cure these people.  Ky, meanwhile, is working as a pilot for the Rising and his job is to deliver the cure to different locations.  They all end up coming together, but the virus mutates and threatens to wipe out the entire civilization.  Will Cassia choose Xander or Ky?  Will they all even survive the plague?  How will the Rising govern better than the Society did?

This ending was satisfying, but slow and a bit underwhelming.  The first book in this series was so interesting and raised so many questions about society in general and what is considered “normal.”  It seems like the second two books in the series lost their way a bit and struggled to recapture that spark the first one had.  It’s not bad, but just not as good as Matched.  Die hard fans will enjoy seeing what happens, but many readers will find this book tedious and cumbersome.  There are still some unanswered questions as well and the ending, although satisfying, is definitely realistic which hopefully readers will appreciate.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Genre:  Futuristic Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  487

RAC Book:  Yes

Beatrice lives in Chicago in the future where the entire population lives in one of five factions.  Each faction focuses on a different virtue:  truth, bravery, selflessness, peacefulness, and intelligence.  She was born and raised in the Abnegation faction, which focuses on selflessness.  At the age of 16 each person is tested to see which faction they are best suited for, but each person is given the free choice to choose where he or she would like to spend adulthood.  If Beatrice should choose to leave her faction, however, she will rarely if ever see her family again.  When she is tested she finds that she does not fit easily into any faction and therefore has mixed results.  She can truly choose any faction she wants.  The choice she makes surprises everyone and she worries she has made a mistake.  Can she survive initiation in order to feel she is a true member of her faction?  Can she trust the society she lives in to create a city she feels is righteous and fair?

There are many futuristic society stories out right now, but this one is a bit different and will appeal to readers who like this style of writing.  Beatrice makes some difficult decisions that will affect her future, a topic many young adults can relate to.  Meanwhile, there are some unexpected realizations about growing up and seeing the flaws in adults, especially those with power.  As Beatrice struggles through initiation she makes new friends and enemies as she lives in a competitive environment.  In the end, the story is about society and how people treat each other, which is something young adults must ponder as they reach adulthood.  The story has excitement and action and will leave readers wanting more.

Crossed by Ally Condie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  367

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to Matched Cassia is trying to find Ky by getting herself sent to the outer provinces as an abberation.  Of course, she is an actual citizen, but is willing to jeopardize her citizenship status for true love.  Ky has been fighting the attack on the Society for some time and has seen many people die around him.  One day he decides to run for his freedom and takes two friends with him.  Cassia arrives at the outer provinces to discover that Ky is gone or possibly dead, but she never loses hope.  Instead, she tries to follow where she believes he might have gone in the hopes of finding him and the rebel organization fighting the Society.  The journey is very difficult and some of the lies she was told by the Society threaten her life out in the wild.  Can Ky and Cassie find each other against all odds?  If they do find each other will they be able to rekindle the spark they once had or will their future goals pull them apart?

This installment of the story moves very slow and leaves many questions unanswered, which could frustrate the readers.  Cassia does learn a few things about Ky’s past and the truth surrounding the attack on the Society that they do not want citizens to know about.  However, there are still many things left unmentioned and favorite characters either don’t appear at all or only for short instances.  The ending was intriguing, but ambiguous and after the long journey it took to get there readers should expect more.  Hopefully readers will be intrigued enough by Cassia’s overall journey to keep reading after this, but the lack of answers in this book might make them question how forthcoming the third book will be with answers.

Matched by Ally Condie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  369 pages

RAC Book:  Yes

Cassia lives in a perfect society where everyone has the same clothes, houses, food, and education.  Everyone is watched by the officials to make sure they are behaving correctly and following all the rules.  When Cassia goes to her match ceremony to find out who the officials have chosen to be her perfect match she is shocked when it turns out to be her best friend.  She is even more surprised later when another boy’s face appears on her match’s ID card.  Can the society make mistakes?  Do they have a choice in ANY aspect of their lives?

This book resembles societies in books like The Giver, but delves a little deeper into a world where literally everything is chosen for you and nothing is really yours.  Everyone must follow orders about every aspect of their lives down to how they spend their free time.  Disease, pollution, and drug dependency are all a thing of the past, but is it okay to live people’s lives for them?  Condie creates a great series here with characters that readers will want to know more about.  It also encourages readers to think about the choices they make everyday and the way they choose to live their lives.  This book is bound to find a following and could be great for classroom reads as well.


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