Posts Tagged 'survival'

Fractured Tide by Leslie Karen Lutz

Genre: Survival/Realistic Fiction

Fractured Tide is a unique book that follows Tasia and her family who operate a diving company and have been struggling to get by since Tasia’s dad went to prison. The entire format of the book is Tasia writing of the unexplainable adventure they have been having to her dad in prison in case she never sees him again. After trying a new location for a dive, tragedy strikes when a man mysteriously dies while submerged and everyone blames Tasia. She claims he was there one minute and gone the next and that she does not know what happened to him. She also believes there is something unnatural about this new dive site and cannot shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong here. The boat and electronics mysteriously stop working so they are stuck floating there until help comes looking for them which could take awhile. By morning, their boat is attacked by a phosphorescent sea creature unlike anything Tasia has seen before. She wakes up on a nearby island she never noticed when they were floating mere feet away and there are only three other survivors, one of whom is injured from the monster attack. Can they survive on an island by themselves long enough for help to find them? Even if help comes looking will they be able to see this mysterious island that all of them missed before they washed up on shore? Is that sea creature still out there hunting them?

Fans of survival and unusual tales, such as the Miss Peregrine series, will enjoy this captivating book. Right from the beginning, readers will be enthralled with Tasia’s story, both the suspenseful parts and the adventure parts. The plot itself has many twists and turns that will keep readers guessing, but the ending delivers in a way that will satisfy everyone. There are so many details it can be easy for fast readers to miss something and need to go back to pick it up. The characters are developed and it’s easy to see how they all feel marooned on this island together under such stressful circumstances. Recommended for readers who need exciting stories to keep them interested.

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages: 340

This book focuses on 6 high school students who all have their stereotypical characteristics.  Diana is the senator’s daughter who always looks and acts perfect.  Frankie is the star football player who goes out of his way to prove there are no rules for him. Tad is another football player who is biracial and has also recently come out as gay and is struggling to get people to see him as he is.  Cas is a lonely, overweight girl who feels like she won’t ever fit in anywhere.  Z recently lost his mother, but all people see in him is a colossal screwup who will never get his life together.  Rashid is a Muslim who struggles to be seen as a person and not as religion by those around him.  They are all at school for different reasons days before the actual start to the school year when a bomb goes off and they are all trapped.  As they try to find a way out more bombs go off and the police are clearly scared to enter to try and find survivors.  Then, they find a radio and learn that the police believe the bomber is one of the students trapped with them in the building.  Could it be one of them??

This one has done very well in my school media center.  Some very avid readers were initially bored by the seemingly stereotypical characters, but quickly became intrigued when their personalities came out and most readers were surprised by the ending which is always a plus with a mystery.  The story itself moves quickly as each character reveals intimate details about what led him or her to be in the school that fateful day.  Recommended for fans of thrilling mysteries.

Not If I Save Your First by Ally Carter

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Survival

293 p.

Maddie used to live in Washington D.C. with her father, who was head of the Secret Service.  Her best friend was the President’s son, Logan.  Everything changed when a group of terrorists infiltrated the White House to try and take the first lady and were gunned down by Secret Service, injuring Maddie’s father and Logan in the process.  After the incident, Maddie’s dad quit his job and moved the two of them to very remote Alaska where there was literally no one else around.  Everyday Maddie wrote Logan letters that were never answered.  Six years later Logan lands in a bit of trouble and his punishment is to get sent to Alaska to be safe with Maddie.  Logan finds a very cold welcome in Alaska as Maddie is very upset with him and there are indeed people out there still trying to hurt him and his family.  Shortly after he arrives he and Maddie are attacked in the woods and kidnapped.  What does this person want and can they manage to get away before the big storm hits?  Can Maddie make peace long enough to try and save Logan?

There are many aspects of survival in this story that Maddie has learned while living in Alaska that come into play.  The book is very fast paced and would appeal to reluctant readers who would like a quick read with many plot twists.  Fans of Carter’s other series’ such as the Gallagher Girls might find this one a little one note by comparison.  The characters do not seem to be as developed as some of Carter’s other series and many plot reveals seem rushed and unsurprising.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Genre: Historical Fiction

# of Pages: 372

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2018-19

In 1845 Sammy, a Chinese American teenager flees her town after her father unexpectedly dies and she realizes there is no one else she can trust.  She’s hoping to chase down her father’s business partner who recently departed for California on the Oregan Trail.  She convinces Annamae, an African American slave to join her on the run. They disguise themselves as boys since the Oregan trail can be so dangerous with gangs and other threats.  Annamae is hoping to find her brother who was sold separately from her and she has not seen for many years.  Even as they befriend three young men on the trip and manage to avoid thieves, disease, and even wild animal attacks they know eventually they will have to go their separate ways and at this time they are the closest thing to family each of them has.  Can they find a way to survive the Oregan Trail?  Will they find what they are looking for?

This historical fiction book tackles an area that students have probably never seen before and that is what it would have been like to be on the Oregan trail at all, but also for those people who were labeled as minorities at the time.  How would that make life harder for them than everyone else?  How would they know who they could trust?  Sammy and Annamae have a really difficult road ahead of them, but they stick together and never give up which helps them to survive.  Even though it is a historical fiction book I think fans of survival stories would also enjoy this title.  The characters are multi-dimensional and well developed which helps the readers truly understand their motivations.  Recommended.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

salt to the sea

Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  391

RAC:  Yes

In this companion to Between Shades of Gray, a group of individual refugees are trying to escape the final dangers of war as the Russians close in.  Joana, Emilia, Florian, and a few others end up coming together to try and escape the final horrors of this war.  They endure many difficulties on their journey (and they all have their secrets), but eventually make it to the ship called the Wilhelm Gustloff and are granted passage to freedom.  The ship is meant to carry 1500 passengers and instead thousands of women, children, and wounded soldiers fill every corridor of this luxury liner.  Unfortunately, tragedy and heartache are not behind them quite yet.

The characters in this book are all different and yet interesting in their own way.  They’re all escaping something and wish to forget their pasts yet for various reasons they cannot. The story of the Wilhelm Gustloff is in itself very interesting because it was a bigger tragedy than the Titanic, but yet very few people even know about it.  Sepetys always finds a way to tell the stories of those people and events that were not properly told in history books.  Students at my school have greatly enjoyed learning about Stalin’s regime in Between Shades of Gray and I think they will also enjoy this title and its unique perspective on this terrible war.

After Impact by Nicole Stark

after impact

** Special Review**

Genre: Futuristic Sci/Fi Thriller

# of Pages:  259

RAC:  Yes

Avalon wakes up in her cryochamber and learns that she has been frozen for 100 years.  She also remembers that when her father predicted that a meteor would strike earth, and completely decimate life as they knew it, only 5000 people were allowed into the underground habitat that was created to sustain life until humans could return to the surface again.  Since such a limited number of people were allowed into the habitat only younger people were allowed and Avalon was forced to say goodbye to her beloved father.  Upon reawakening, Avalon notices some strange happenings in the habitat including that some people seem to be getting deathly ill when they are supposed to be immune from such diseases due to a vaccine everyone receives once they come out of the cryochamber.  Who could be behind this?  Whom can she trust in this new place surrounded by people she does not know?  Should she speak up and ask questions or simply take the safer route and follow the rules?

Fans of futuristic novels such as The Testing, Alive, Across the Universe, or Red Rising will enjoy this title.  The plot moves quickly and the characters are interesting and engaging.  There is some resolution, but the ending definitely leaves room for a sequel.  While some aspects in the story can be found in other similar titles, there is enough originality here to draw readers in and make them want to know what’s going on in this strange habitat controlled by a few people.  Recommended.

Kalahari by Jessica Khoury

kalahari

Genre:  Adventure/Survival

# of Pages:  354

RAC:  Yes

Sarah has lived in one exotic location after another her entire life since her parents are both scientists and often move to where they can conduct research.  After the recent passing of Sarah’s mother, they are still grieving but decide to carry on with a previously scheduled educational safari so that they can earn some extra money.  Shortly after the five teenagers arrive, Sarah’s dad is called away to stop some poachers and she is left to entertain them in the middle of a semi-desert.  Hours go by and Sarah’s dad does not return and finally she receives a very panicked call over the radio from a frantic man who sounds like her father claiming it was a setup and he was being chased.  The call cuts out with the sound of gunshots.  Sarah and the other five teenagers are alone, with little food, and no transportation.  They decide to go looking for help and must rely on Sarah’s survival skills in order to survive.  They eventually find a silver lion who tries to attack them and Sarah knows something unnatural is going on and more than likely whomever created that monstrosity would do anything to keep it quiet.  Can Sarah get the others to safety?  Will she ever find out what happened to her dad?  Where did the silver lion come from and is there some illegal experimenting going on?

Fans of survival books will enjoy this title.  There are multiple scenes in which one or more of the teens is in serious danger due to some natural wildlife threat, like snakes.  However, once they uncover the silver lion they face many dangers from humans as well as the people behind the altered animal want desperately to contain the situation at all costs.  The characters are sympathetic and relatable as they truly just try to just survive this very unexpected situation and in the process must face the many reasons they all wanted to escape to the Kalahari in the first place.

Atlantia by Ally Condie

atlantia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  298

RAC:  Yes

Rio and her twin, Bay, were born in the underwater town of Atlantia and it is now their chosen time to decide if they wish to stay below or go up to the surface for the rest of their lives.  People in the underwater city believe that life above ground is dangerous, labor intensive, and fairly short while residents of Atlantia are believed to have an easy life where most people live a very long time.  Unfortunately, their mother, Oceana, was recently found dead and many suspect foul play.  Rio has always dreamed of going above, but now that their mother is gone she has promised Bay she will stay with her down below.  All decisions are final in this ceremony and there is no going back and forth allowed.  Rio is shocked when Bay ends up leaving her and choosing to live above the water, but she is ushered away before Rio has a chance to ask her why.  She does have time to utter one word that alerts those near to her of what she truly is, which is a siren.  Her mother has trained her to keep that truth a secret for reasons unbeknownst to Rio.  Can Rio survive in the one place she has wanted to leave her entire life without her mother or sister?  Why would her sister choose to leave after making her promise they would stay together forever?  Is it possible to bridge the two societies together?

This novel is fresh and interesting right from the beginning.  It feels like yet another futuristic story, but the setting and characters quickly help you to forget all of that as you cannot help but get immersed in the story.  Rio has many plot details to figure out in order to find out the truth of her family and Atlantia itself.  While many great characters are introduced, it does take Rio awhile to discern whom she can and cannot trust which makes the journey more interesting for the reader.  It also appears that this is going to be a stand alone novel which is refreshing in a world where every book seems to have three sequels.  Recommended for students who enjoy fantasy.

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.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

enclave

Genre: Futuristic fiction

# of Pages:  262

RAC:  Yes

2014 Iowa High School Award Winner

In this futuristic novel, Deuce is a huntress who lives underground in an enclave.  Humans have moved underground because life above ground is believed to be uninhabitable.  Her hunting partner, Fade, is very mysterious and there are rumors that at some point he has been above ground.  Together they work in the tunnels surrounding their enclave to find food for their people, but it dangerous work since there are many mutated “Freaks” in the tunnels fighting them for food.  When Deuce is officially allowed to finish her training and go into the tunnels she is surprised by how well the Freaks seem to fight.  She was taught that they were simple minded and easy to fool, but they appear to strategize and work together to outsmart the other fighters.  Meanwhile, a good friend of Deuce’s is accused of a crime she knows he did not commit so she takes the blame and is exiled to live above ground.  Surprisingly, Fade stands with her.  Can they survive above ground?  Will the enclave be safe without them to help defend the colony?

Fans of futuristic novels like Divergent and The Maze Runner will enjoy this novel because it does have a different spin on the genre.  Deuce is a very strong female character who will not give in to pressure to change her opinions or beliefs.  The story itself moves quickly with a lot of action which will pull in those reluctant readers who do not like slow moving plots.

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

raft

 

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  231

RAC: Yes

Robie lives in the Midway Atoll with her family, but often goes to stay with her aunt in Honolulu.  One summer, her aunt is called away unexpectedly and Robie decides to take the shuttle plane home to her parents.  The phones are out so she cannot call her parents and tell them she is coming and in the commotion she forgets to get weighed before her and her bags climb aboard the plane.  A major storm knocks out one of the engines and the plane goes down.  Robie ends up struggling to survive in the middle of the ocean with only a raft and a few supplies.  Can she survive out there by herself?  Will anyone come to look for her?

This survival story realistically portrays exactly what it would be like to be drifting on a raft for days including symptoms of dehydration, starvation, and environmental dangers.  The details of the region including geography, animal life, and weather are all perfectly accurate which helps this story to feel even more realistic.  The story itself is very exciting and moves quickly so it is recommended for reluctant readers.

Taken by Erin Bowman

taken

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.

Deep Green by Trisha Haddad

Deep Green_Trisha Haddad_150dpi

** New Release Excerpt **

Genre: Adventure/Contemporary Romance

Format: e-book and print

Tagline: They fight for survival, but their secrets could ruin everything.

 

About the book

Leah Taylor prefers the quiet adventure and romance of books, but during a cruise with her parents, a terrorist attack leaves her adrift in a lifeboat with strangers.

University student, Blue McCree impresses her immediately with his knowledge of literature and philosophy. Equally thrilling is strong, quiet Musir. While he is slow to speak, translating his thoughts from Arabic to English, his chivalry and wisdom capture Leah’s curiosity.

Together they face danger after danger as they fight for survival. Leah also struggles with the growing attention from the men she’s stranded with, and her mixed emotions toward them.

When Leah learns the dark secrets her fellow survivors hold, the truth will blow apart any semblance of civility and test Leah’s preconceived notions of just how far dedication can go before it crosses over into fanaticism.

 Excerpt

I could have sworn it was silent all over the ship in that moment. The ocean stood still, the wind slowed, and the other passengers walked silently. It must have been so. I certainly couldn’t register a sound. It was as though the world awaited his voice and words.

Then I began to feel awkward when they did not come. Here I was, staring like a love-struck fool into the eyes of a guy I never met before.

I tended to fall in love with characters in books. Most guys I went to school with were far too interested in sports or video games. How could they ever hope to hold a candle to Mister Darcy’s intensity, Tom Joad’s ethics, Martin Eden’s passion, Caleb Trask’s struggle for goodness, or Edmond Dantes’ cunning intellect? No real boy ever sparked in me the passion these fictional characters did; until now.

Yet, I didn’t know a thing about him. Did he have a strong sense of justice? Did he thirst for knowledge? Was he a romantic to the core? Did art touch his very soul? I had no idea. All I knew was that his gaze bore into the essence of me. I could read in it something deeper than I saw before in anyone’s eyes. It was a sort of sadness, like he carried with him all the sorrows of the world.

I had to know if there was more than his beauty. Surely I couldn’t feel how I did if he weren’t passionate, if he lacked depth? It simply wasn’t possible.

 

Find out more: www.TrishaHaddad.com

 

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.

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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