Archive for the ‘dystopian fiction’ Tag
Summer is almost here! Summer Reading has started, school is winding down (okay, exams don’t feel like “winding down” but they do signal the end is near!), and the sun is shining. We could use a few more warm days, but soon enough we’ll be complaining about the temperatures and running inside for the air conditioning. On that note: the library has free air conditioning all summer long. Come hang out when you need a break!
Without further ado, some awesome new summer reads. Pick these up ASAP!
Ahh first love! Summer is a great time to explore romance, whether fictional or in real life. In Anthem for Jackson Dawes, the first love happens to be between two young cancer patients, Megan and Jackson. Sound familiar? While it does have some similarities to The Fault in Our Stars, this story has a very different feel. Less raw sarcasm, more quiet hope. Jackson is the only other teen in the pediatric cancer ward with Megan, and she takes comfort in his presence as she pushes everyone else out of her life. But every love has an ending, and ends come too fast when you’re sick: when Megan goes back into the real world, she is left only with the memories of Jackson to sustain her and bring her back to life.
Sneak Peek! (from Megan’s anthem to Jackson) “Jackson Dawes. He’s as tall as doors, standing in his battered old hat, singing his battered old songs, slapping his fingers down the length of the stand like an upright bass.” (Text copyright 2013 by Celia Bryce)
A Cinderella story perfect for the summer months. Cousins Zoe and Jess just landed their dream summer jobs – working at Fairyland Kingdom theme park. With a huge college grant on the line for outstanding interns, Zoe has a lot riding on this summer. But when she’s assigned to “serve” the Queen, and finds herself woefully distracted by all the handsome Princes running around, things do not seem promising. As the title implies, Zoe – and all of us – can’t make every dream come true, even in Fairyland Kingdom, but the tough choices she must make between friends, family, and boys, lead to a happy ending.
Sneak Peek! (from the Prologue) “There was no getting around the fact that Tinker Bell was a little bitch. The tiny, white powder-puff bichon frise with professionally manicured toenails scampered under the thornbush and out of sigh. Aghast, I stared at her diamond-studded collar swinging perilously from her leash like a noose swaying from the gallows.” (Text copyright 2013 by Sarah Strohmeyer)
With “summer” right in the title, you know this is a sure bet for a beach read. This incredibly fresh and unique dystopian tale takes us to a futuristic Brazil wherein men are no longer the dominant gender, having been nearly wiped out by a plague 400 years earlier. In the matrilineal society of Palmares Tres, 16-year-old artist June Costa dreams of greatness. Until she becomes entangled in a love affair with this year’s Summer King, Enki, the boy who will be sacrificed at year’s end so the city can continue to thrive. June’s art thrives, and as Enki’s sacrifice draws near, the two escape the political turmoil of their city, risking everything in the process.
Sneak Peek! “When I was eight, my papai took me to the park to watch the king die.” (Text copyright 2013 by Alaya Dawn Johnson)
Thursday is the February meeting of the 712 Book Club for y’all in grades 7-12. We’re reading our way through some different kinds of dystopian fiction, since there’s so much of it and it varies a lot! (Last month was Enclave by Ann Aguirre, which was awesome. The sequel, Outpost, is out now and is similarly great.) Read on to find out why you need to be reading this book right now:
This Thursday, in honor of last week’s Valentine’s Day – a day that celebrates all things chocolate – we’re reading All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin. In the dystopian world that she imagines, food is somewhat limited, water is rationed, phones are strictly landlines and cost a bundle, alcohol is legal for everyone, and coffee and (worst of all) chocolate are utterly illegal.
Anya Balanchine’s family is the Russian mafia and she’s a no-nonsense kind of girl. She runs her family, her immediate family that is, as she is in charge of her sister, brother and ailing grandmother (who was born in 1995, just to give you some idea of when this story takes place), after her father was gunned down when she was young. Even when her older brother, who is mentally handicapped, is recruited to work for “the family” under somewhat suspect terms, and she gets sent to jail for dishing out poisoned chocolate, Anya keeps it together. Nothing can cause her to waver from the path of doing what’s right for her family and friends. Luckily for us, there is a forbidden romance in Anya’s future. It might be the only thing that can shake up her cynical, overly practical worldview and let her change her life, and that of those around her, for the better.
The world is not an easy place in this dystopian version of New York City, yet the cool thing about Zevin’s futuristic NYC is that the government’s corruption and distorted sense of rules and regulations have meant that life is sort of a throwback. There are no hover cars or people living on the moon, because dystopia means that people really just live harshly. The rules are strict, and so just like in historic times, such as the Prohibition Era in the 20s, people find a way to get around them. There are speakeasies. And weirdly harsh prisons. Teens get “high” on coffee and chocolate, but don’t like the taste of alcohol, which is legal for everyone, so don’t drink it much.
It’s a really cool example of the dystopian idea that is everywhere in books these days. More like the sci-fi dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451 than the more violent and dark books like The Hunger Games, it’s realistic fiction zoomed into a future gone a bit wrong.
Come chat about it over pizza and chocolate (which is legal here, thank goodness) this Thursday!
Valentine’s Day is over, but why not look at some romances? Are you gagging right now? Okay, then I’ll throw in a totally anti-romantic one, too. This week, two love-centric books and one that is guaranteed to make you forget about romance and that stupid person you have a crush on who does not know you exist.
For Emerson and her BFF Trina, this is the Year of the Boy. They’re determined to boost their social status by finding some boyfriends. Emerson’s only got one little problem, though. She can read the minds of the guys she locks lips with. What seems like a curse (you don’t really always need to know what someone is thinking), has its perks when Emerson realizes she can steal test answers while she steals kisses. Even with her shallow nature – she’s addicted to lip gloss – Emerson is a completely endearing character who grows up a lot during this Year of the Boy.
Sneak Peek! “It’s important that you know: my obsession with lip gloss has officially ruined my life.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Katie D. Anderson)
Erin, unbeknownst to her friends and family, is the genius behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. When her ex-friend sends a letter, Erin dishes out advice as usual. But then she sees her advice acted upon and is not exactly thrilled with the results. In her efforts to clean up the mess she caused, keep her blogging identity secret, and not drive the rest of her friends away, Erin finds her own path to love, not through fortune cookies.
Sneak Peek! “My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity. Intentionally.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Lauren Bjorkman)
And now for the utterly unromantic choice:
Another in Doctorow’s line of awesomely dark and cool high tech dystopian novels. Marcus Yallow’s past as a “hacktivist” means he’s well-regarded amongst plugged in teens in futuristic California. Despite being locked up for his hacking work, he lands a great job putting his tech skills to work for a politician he can believe in. When hacker friend Masha gives him a flash drive loaded with seriously bad news, he is torn between feeling the need to leak it to further undermine the corrupt government, and knowing that he risks his life, job, and more if he does so.
Sneak Peek! “Attending Burning Man made me simultaneously one of the most photographed people on the planet and one of the least surveilled humans in the modern world.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Cory Doctorow)
OOOO don’t you just love cracking into a new series? There’s something special about reading a story you know is just the beginning of something. This week in New Books Highlight, we’ve got THREE (!) brand new series to jump around over.
This book is going on my list of 2013 Awesome YA Covers, first of all. It’s neon and cool and looks like a video game I want to play. Second of all, it’s a new, fresh take on some things we have seen in other YA books before such as the afterlife and a rebellious struggle between good and evil led by a powerful female protagonist. In Level 2, the first book in a series called the Memory Chronicles, Felicia is dead but happily living in the good memories from her life while plugged into her memory chamber in the hive-like colony of Level 2. When a bad memory breaks through and demands that she come with him, Felicia comes face-to-face with the complex reality of the afterlife and becomes part of a rebellion against conniving “angels” who are keeping the dead trapped. When’s the sequel out?!?!
This is one to add to the list of post-apocalyptic stories. If you’re like me and feel like this genre just keeps expanding in amazing ways and getting better, you’ll definitely be excited to read this one. It’s eight years after an alien invasion almost wiped out humanity on earth by taking away all the adults. Holt is a loner, survivor, and hunter, fending for himself in this gritty new reality. It’s a weird world made up of orphaned children, gangs, and the ever-present aliens. When he joins forces with Mira and Zoey, his loner ways are challenged, but he finds himself on a fast-paced adventure across a war-torn country. The series is called Conquered Earth.
Another post-apocalyptic-type story, but also another with a really interesting take on the action. In Ruby’s world, the teens who survived a deadly epidemic now find themselves with psychic abilities ranging from what has been deemed mildly safe (labeled as Blues or Greens) to what the government has decided is truly dangerous (Reds and Oranges). Even the Blues and Greens are imprisoned in horrible work camps to keep them out of the government’s way. Ruby has been posing as a less-threatening Green, even though her powers are much stronger and she is truly an Orange. An anti-government faction breaks Ruby and others out of the work camp, their will to survive is tested as they come face-to-face with what society has become.
So there you have three awesome new series to get started on!
Divergent takes place in Chicago with a society divided into five fractions. Each pledged to develop a different virtue; Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and the Erudite (the intelligent). When teenagers turn 16 each of them must choose which fraction they will commit to for the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, Tris, Prior, this choice means either betraying her family or discovering her true self. She can’t have both, but the choice she makes surprises everyone including herself.
During her first few days of the initiation she realizes how competitive it really is and it comes down to the survival of the fittest. If she doesn’t make the cut she could be fractionless, living in poverty. Tris struggles to figure out who her true friends are and falls in love with someone who isn’t allowed to love her back. But, Tris also has another secret, a dangerous one, if found out she could be killed. When she discovers another growing conflict between two other fractions that threaten the safety everyone she loves, she learns that her secret allows her to be the only one to eliminate the threat. Or her secret might be the death of her.
Reviewed by Namrata, 16, Teen Advisory Board member