Posts Tagged 'survival'



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.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Apocalyptic Society

# of Pages:  465

RAC Book:  Yes

Alex goes into the woods against the wishes of her aunt and doctors in order to distribute the ashes of her parents before her brain tumor kills her.  While she is in the woods there is an electromagnetic wave that sweeps the country and maybe the world.  The pulse kills most people instantly and leaves others either saved or in a zombie-like state.  She meets a young girl, Ellie, who is unharmed, and a teenage boy, Tom.  Tom is a former U.S. soldier from Afghanistan.  Together the three of them try to survive, but keep finding more and more challenges to finding food and staying safe.  Will they ever feel safe again?  Will they all survive this disaster?

This story is engaging and students who like survival and futuristic type stories will enjoy the action.  The characters all have secrets that they are reluctant to share, despite their close relationships they eventually form.  There are many unanswered questions by the end of the story and the ending itself may frustrate some readers who are looking for more of a resolution.  Hopefully, some of these questions will be answered in the inevitable sequel.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  307

RAC Book:  Yes

Waverly and Kieran live on a giant space ship that houses a large community of people who have fled earth due to the inhospitable conditions.  Waverly and Kieran were actually born on this ship so they never knew earth.  The idea is that after many years they will be able to inhabit a planet called New Earth.  They are not the only ship who deserted earth, but the ship that took off before them left an entire year prior to their departure.  Therefore, they are shocked to see this other ship one day.  The captain assures everyone that everything is okay, but naturally everyone is on edge to see a ship after all this time.  Their suspicions are confirmed when soldiers from that ship attack their home and take all the female children hostage.  Waverly is taken to the new ship against her will and believes it is her job to protect the younger children.  Meanwhile, Kieran is left in a position of power on their home ship, but has difficulty getting others to follow his will.  Will they ever be reunited?  Can they ever sort out all of the lies to find the truth?

This story is simply captivating.  Once you begin it is almost impossible to stop.  There are so many things Waverly and Kieran do not know about the people who have been making all the decisions around them.  In most cases, people they either  trusted or hated end up have sympathetic sides as well as deplorable ones.  The situation is unique, yet the actions taken by the humans seem believable and understandable given the circumstances.  Fans of books with futuristic themes will love this book and will eagerly await the next installment.  Highly recommended.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  390

RAC:  Yes

When a plane crashes into a remote island carrying the fifty contestants of the Teen Dream Pageant complete chaos ensues.  Several contestants do not survive the crash, but those that do seem to be confused as to their priorities.  Some feel like they are still being judged for the pageant and choose to use their time practicing their talent routines and question answering skills.  Others choose to spend that time looking for food or possible means off the island.  What they do not know is that there is a sinister presence on the island that does not feel too happy about the sudden appearance of these perky girls.

This story is funny, unique, and unexpected in many ways.  The girls each have unique voices and motivations for entering the pageant and each reveal a variety of flaws and strengths that they can either help or hinder their situation.  The relationships between the girls as well as the outside threat from the island presence make the novel a quick and fun read that many teenage girls will enjoy.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  374 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Thomas wakes up in a metal box and cannot remember anything except his name.  A group of young boys come to help him get out of the box and Thomas finds they are living in a small community surrounded on all sides by a maze.  The first group of boys arrived two years prior and one new boy arrives every month.  They work hard to grow crops and raise animals in order to survive and everyone has a job.  The most powerful members of the community are maze runners and run in the maze everyday trying to find a way out.  There are many dangers in this place, but the worst part for Thomas is knowing that he should know more about their situation, but being unable to remember it.  Only one day after Thomas’s arrival they receive a shocking surprise:  not only do they receive a new member, but she is a girl!  Can Thomas help these boys to escape the dangers of the maze in order to get back to wherever they came from?

Readers who enjoyed the Hunger Games will enjoy this book due to the suspense, action, and mystery.  The characters develop and change according to events that happen in the maze and no one ever seems to know for sure what has happened or will happen, which puts them on level ground with the reader.  Unfortunately, this is the first in a series as many boys will be especially anxious after the ending of this story!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  374 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

This book, set in the future, follows a society in which every child ages 12-18 must be placed in a yearly drawing to “win” a chance to play in the hunger games.  The hunger games is a fight to the death in a challenge filled arena for everyone to watch via television.  Each district (12 in all) must send one boy and one girl to compete in the games.  Of course, no one in the capitol has to fight in the games.  Katniss lives in district 12 and takes care of her family by illegally hunting and gathering so that they do not starve.  Her father was killed in a mine explosion and she feels it is up to her to take care of her mother and sister.  Therefore, when her little sister’s name is called she knows she cannot let it happen and volunteers to take her place.  Peeta, the boy chosen to go with her seems to have some strange ideas for winning the affections of the audience and Katniss is not sure whether or not he is being honest or a very good liar.

The hunger games has a similar feeling of government control as the Giver or Uglies, but these games are extremely violent and show no mercy to the children forced to play it.  As Katniss tries to maneuver her way through this difficult game in order to survive, she must come to terms with the fact that if she wants to live others have to die.  The conditions of the districts, Katniss’s in particular, show that this government has no problem withholding food or supplies if it means that there are no thoughts of rebellion among the citizens.  At one point Katniss ponders what it would be like not to have to worry about starving every minute of every day.  She wonders what those people must do with all that time.  Some serious issues are discussed, but in a way that is exciting, suspenseful, and shocking.  This one is definitely a page turner and one that could lead to some very good discussions.

Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Adventure

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  191

RAC Book:  Yes

This book is based on a true story about a Boy Scout Troop who go into Halape, Hawaii for a weekend campout.  When an earthquake strikes unexpectedly and causes a tsunami, the boys’ survival skills are put to the test.  All of the boys are put in peril and although some of them do not get along, must work together in order to survive.

The fact that this story is based on fact makes it all the more exciting and adventuresome.  As the boys strive to survive this ordeal they come to learn a lot about themselves and each other and begin to appreciate each of their different backgrounds.  Readers who enjoy reading about true survival stories should not miss this one.  It is mainly catalogued as fiction because a few minor details have been changed, but the body of the story is based on fact.  Overall, this is an exciting and suspenseful journey.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  337

RAC Book:  Yes

Miranda, her mother, and her little brother Jonny are all excited about the upcoming event of a meteor crashing into the moon.  Meteorologists have been predicting it for weeks and believe people will be able to see it just by looking at the sky.  People plan big parties and everyone is outside to watch, but somewhere the calculations are off and the meteor has a much bigger impact than anyone predicted.  In fact, the moon is pushed closer to earth, which causes a string of events that end “normal” life on earth.  First, the tides begin to change and cause floods, tsunamis, and tornados.  Then, volcanoes start to erupt all over earth.  The ash in the air causes the sun to become blocked, which kills the crops, etc. 

Miranda and her family live in a place that is not directly affected by any of the natural disasters, but everyone in the world is affected by what has happened.  All of the grocery stores and restaurants close, the price of gas keeps rising and rising, the schools close, and there is no electricity.  Miranda tells the story through her diary where she depicts her family’s activities each day following this disaster.  They gather as much food and supplies as they can so that they can be prepared, but still find themselves eating as little as possible so that they can conserve.  They also spend hours on household chores such as washing clothes and chopping wood since they won’t be able to count on their appliances anymore.

As the story moves on, things keep getting more dire for Miranda and her family and there are times where they all doubt their survival.  There is a theme of hope in the book, but there is also always the possibility that they will all die.  The story is told realistically and accurately portrays how one incident can change everything about life on earth.  Some students may find it too realistic and therefore disturbing, but it is good for students to be aware of how we all depend on each other and what might happen if even one thing went wrong.

 


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