Tag Archives: teen reads

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

The basic plot of this story has two children growing up together as inseperable best friends from birth until, as they become teenagers, this inevitably turns to them having a romantic relationship. However, by the age of 17, one of them is dead and the other is on trial for her murder – but is […]

The Maze Runner movie is coming

 The Maze Runner by James Dashner is incredibly descriptive, elaborate storytelling and full of emotion. It is well written with likeable characters, clever plot twists and will surely evoke mixed emotions as you read. It gave me chills, it made me laugh out loud and it even moved me to tears in parts. Admittedly the story is slow […]

index January 31

The fault in our stars: why is it that the complex books are now written for teenagers?

The fault in our stars is not about cancer, although the lead characters meet in a cancer support group. It’s a book about dealing with the universe’s lack of empathy. It does have a sweet romance, and some tragic parts in it, because fate is conspiring against the lovers. I don’t consider that a spoiler […]

Once…a solid sequel

The last time Eve was with Caleb was right before she was forced to leave him behind in the wild and enter the protected city of Califia. The final chapter of the first book in the Eve series saw these two desperate lovers torn apart with Caleb insisting that Eve enter the city for her own protection and leave him behind. Once is the follow up novel – a sequel that starts with a bang! It begins with an unsuspecting twist and you will instantly realise this second book is going to be amazing. Eve yearns to be reunited with Caleb and her desperation see her battle tough circumstances that would make anyone want to give up. However, Eve is strong and tackles the rough stuff head on dealing with moral dilemmas, sticky situations, sneaky plotting, awkward guilty feelings, confusion, loyalty and desire. It’s a whirl wind of emotion.
Once can stand by itself as a book in the sense that it has its own story with a distinct plot and direction. I do suggest reading the first book (Eve) to get an understanding of the characters and an appreciation for where they have been. Once is a solid sequel, it offers a much stronger picture of the world the characters live in and the issues at stake. It has the perfect balance of descriptive narrative and action and I enjoyed learning about the privileged City of Califia and of Eve’s young past. The characters are developed nicely as secrets are revealed, identities uncovered and agendas realised. The ending is quite abrupt and bittersweet to read yet it left me curious with anticipation for the third book.

Eve by Anna Carey

You will read a touching sad letter at the start of this book written by a desperate mother for her daughter, Eve to read. The letter gives you the premise of the story and tells of a horrible epidemic that will soon claim this mother’s life and leave Eve with little hope for the future. Fast forward to a world where this epidemic has killed off the majority of the world’s population and young girls have been raised in schools and boys in labour camps. Girls have been educated with the idea that once graduating the world is their oyster….they will go on to learn a trade, earn money and live very successful and rewarding lives. However, on graduation day Eve uncovers the disturbing truth of what the girls’ future really holds. (I won’t spoil it for readers by revealing this truth) but Eve yearns for much more out of life. She runs away from the school and embarks on an incredible journey. She meets up with another girl named Arden, who has also escaped, a girl she wasn’t fond of while at school. They quickly form a strong bond as they are forced to rely on each other for survival.

The girls run into a boy named Caleb, who tales them back to a place were a group of wayward boys have taken up residence after they have run away from a labour camp. The three swap childhood stories, the girls telling of their fake education and their predestined fate and the boys of their harsh upbringing and dismal future. They soon discover that the King is searching for Eve and she must once again go on the run. Nothing quite goes to plan as Eve, Arden and Caleb come up against unsuspecting problems which force them into all different situations.

The writing style is good and the characters are very different yet all likeable in their own way. Eve is brave, intelligent, considerate and full of thought. Arden is tough, street smart and resourceful. Caleb is charismatic, protective and a real sweetheart. The three interact really well with each other and I connected with them all. They are so real – it would be hard not to bond with them :-)

Anna Carey had me believing what I was reading, an essential element for a dystopian novel to work. It’s fast pace had me turning the pages and I couldn’t put it down. The summary for the second book, entitled Once, is intriguing with a plot centred on dealings with this King. What will Eve do now???

The Industry

Welcome to The Industry – a thrilling espionage drama that reads like a Hollywood blockbuster penned by debut Australian author, Rose Foster. It begins with a click of a mouse as Kirra Haywood navigates onto a mysterious website that challenges her to a puzzle. What she thinks is some fun is a whole lot more as this is no ordinary puzzle but a worldwide attempt to find anyone who can solve it. It’s called the Spencer Code and apparently only 3 people in the world possess the ability to crack it. Kirra is one of these masterminds! From the moment she cracks her first Spencer Code her life changes forever. She is hunted down, kidnapped, tortured, manipulated and used for her unique ability by the Industry. It’s this code that provide the means to complete various assassination missions.

As word of Kirras’ unique ability spreads she increasingly becomes the most sought after girl in the contracting organisation so she is kept under duress as prisoner. Her only communication is with the head contractor named Latham, a meek woman named Lena, a young man named Milo who gets imprisoned with her and later on another contractor with a different agenda.

Foster has created a very likeable main character in Kirra, who because of her predicament is forced to grapple with internal conflicts of good vs evil, of whom to trust and what to do. She finds that she is second-guessing who is on her side and who is against her. It’s an action packed adventure with a fast paced plot, unsuspecting twists and solid characterisation. It’s pure escapism and I wait with anticipation for the next installment entitled, The Estate.

Truancy

Violent, rapid, action-packed, intense and heart felt are some words I would use to describe this book. Truancy is a story from a seventeen year olds imagination and boy what an imagination he has! It is essentially a post apocalyptic story with an unnamed City under the brutal regime of an unnamed Mayor who’s only ambition in life is to create a society of well trained slaves – the perfect society in his eyes. While most of the City’s students are obedient more and more have swayed and a group known as the Truancy has formed. It’s the Truancy’s endeavour to stop the Mayor and his regime by using whatever means it takes for they aren’t the type to shy away from violence. The central plot of this read is the war between the Truancy and the Mayor and his Educators (a group of loyal Mayor abiding teachers). It’s a war that is increasing becoming more brutal.

The main character is Tack, an average student who aims to finish school without too much attention; none at all if he can manage it. That is his ambition until he meets Umasi, a strange fellow living in an abandoned district that he quickly befriends and starts to train alongside with. This training provides a much needed outlet for Tack as he is finally free to release his frustrations. He is really enjoying this time with his new found mate and starts to learn things school doesn’t teach. However, after a shocking event in which a much loved one dies Tack sets out on a mission of revenge. The death comes at that hands of the leader of the Truancy and while Tack is against the Mayor and the Educators rule he now pledges war with the Truancy. He is caught in-between! It’s a real physical and emotionally struggle for him.

The book is written with each character telling their tale from a different point of view. All of the character accounts somehow connect quite neatly with the book’s central theme. The fight dialogue blends perfectly with the raw emotion and it will have you gripped to the core. It’s a page turner and an amazing accomplishment for such a young writer.

A thought provoking dystopian read anyone?

There is so much information to absorb in this book and from the very first chapter I got a feeling it was going to be an amazing read. It sure is a roller coaster ride, full of emotion, suspense, intrigue, terror and fun. The cover stood out to me and caught my attention with the girl’s two different coloured eyes staring directly out, certainly a striking image! Starters is the story of the girl on the cover, Callie as she fights to save what family she has left after the Spore Wars. This war has killed everyone between the ages of 20 and 60, leaving behind a younger generation (the Starters) and an older generation (the Enders). The Enders hold the power and the money yet they yearn to have the youth of the Starters. It is this yearning that leads to the creation of Prime Destinations, a body bank that ‘rents out’ the bodies of Starters to the older folk. While the Enders seek youthfulness the Starters need money to survive so they sign up for this rental opportunity thinking it as a temporary scheme. Callie is desperate, her little brother is sick and she needs money to buy him medicine. They are homeless and every day is a struggle to find food. So Callie visits Prime Destinations and agrees to a ‘rental contract’ – a temporary scheme or is it?? From there the story escalades, its really quite frightening!!

This is an amazingly well written, captivating dystopian novel that will entertain both young people and adult readers. It’s also more than entertaining – its thought provoking – a unique take on the generation gap, the changing views of family and the home and the potential (but some what totally absurd) ramifications of an ever evolving technology. It is pure fantasy, pure escapism and full of unsuspecting jolts. A powerful knock out book.

Maria V Synder’s Inside Out

Trella captured me! Trella is the central character of Inside Out. She is a scrub, one of the thousands of workers that live in Inside’s great lower underground. She spends most of her day scrubbing pipes and airducts to make life comfortable for the privileged uppers, those living above them. Trella absolutely hates her life and her fellow scrubs. She has been given the nickname ‘Queen of the pipes’, a name not meant in any regal way but to describe her solitary existence, among the pipes.
One day Trella’s only friend, Cog introduces her to a dude named ‘The Broken Man’. This dude claims to know of a Gateway – a portal which scrubs are thought to pass through when they die and are re-born into the Outside. Trella is very sceptical but does grudgingly go about in search of the truth about this Gateway. What she discovers starts a revolution of sorts among the scrubs and the story explodes.
This is an entertaining teen read but I felt it lacked emotion so I had a hard time connecting with the characters, expect for Trella! The writing lacks the urgency that creates a great read. I did appreciate the detailed description, the author sure has a vivid imagination. The unsuspecting twists and turns did encourage me to read the book all the way through. Overall a good light dystopian read.

Dystopian fiction…..Divergent by Veronica Roth

I have discovered a genre that is new to me, dystopian fiction! After reading The Hunger Games I went searching for something similar and was recommended Divergent by Veronica Roth. Its pure escapism and I felt involved in the story from the very first chapter. You really do get thrown into a different world, a world where society has been divided up into five factions. Each faction standing for a certain virtue – supposedly Dauntless is the brave, Candor is the honest, Amity is the peaceful, Erudite is the intelligent and Abnegation is the selfless & at age 16 everyone must choose a faction to live the rest of their life in. Some will choose their childhood faction but others will transfer to another but all will have to pass the initiation process. If they don’t they will live a life of poverty as factionless.

The main character, Beatrice chooses and you follow her decision and her path. I really enjoyed reading a strong story will a strong female lead, Beatrice is a real heroine but she also is one will many flaws. This book is fast paced, easy to read and for me was a page turner. I liked that the author included background information about some of the characters so you feel like to really get to know their stories. Why they have chosen their paths. The last quarter of the book is a total adrenaline rush and things are nicely tied up at the end but there is more to come with the second book in the series due for publication soon. A great read for young people and adults who enjoy this dystopian genre.

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