Archive for the ‘Apocalyptic’ Category

New Books Highlight: More Apocalypse, Please

Whew! It’s been a busy week. You might have noticed that last week I took a break from the New Books Highlight feature. Just to keep things super fresh, I thought I’d let it lie for a week and then come back full force!

SO many apocalypses and dystopias are happening in YA books, it’s super hard to keep up. But I’m not one to ignore a trend. And I happen to really like this trend! Authors keep doing super awesome, unheard of things with the whole apocalypse – and what comes after – thing. From disease to environmental degradation to techno warfare, there are many, and many hauntingly realistic, ways for the world to end according to YA lit. Here are three new books to check out immediately if you’re a fan of the genre, too!

The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewelives

This one is actually a sequel to The Way We Fall which came out last year. After the deadly virus killed off hundreds in Kaelyn’s island town, spreading beyond the quarantine to send a wave of terror washing over the rest of the world, Kaelyn knows she must do something to stop the destruction. She finds a vaccine for the virus in the remains of her father’s lab and sets out on a quest to the mainland to find someone who can help her by reproducing it.  People on the mainland, though, are dying in droves, and killing for the very vaccine Kaelyn carries. All the thrills of a dystopian/post-apocalyptic story!

Sneak Peek! “This is how the world ends: with the boy who used to be my best friend stepping off the ferry, hair shaggy and tangled, face too thin, looking at me like he isn’t sure who I am. Like he isn’t sure of anything.” (Text copyright © 2013 Megan Crewe)

Doomed by Tracy Deebsdoomed

A dystopian take on the classic Greek myth of Pandora and her infamous box? Yes! In this techno-apocalypse, Pandora is a normal teen who, when her long-lost father sends her some heartwarming childhood photos via email, unwittingly unleashes a super-virus on the world that takes down the grid. Internet, cell phones, everything is gone in the click of Pandora’s mouse. All that is left, once all power in the world is gone and people are plunged into mania, is a game that Pandora’s father created. Pandora’s Box. She must beat the game, with the help of some good friends of course, to save the world. High stakes technology thriller at its best.

Sneak Peek! “My seventeenth birthday starts with betrayal. Lies. Mayhem. Fear. It ends the same way, but that’s a different part of the story. At least for now.” (Text copyright © 2013 Tracy Deebs)

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardnermaggot moon

This is a slightly different take on apocalypse and dystopia. It’s more similar to books that were written closer to the time period in which this story is set, 1956, than to other brand new dystopian novels. In an unnamed country, simply referred to as “the Motherland,” impure and different people are squashed into ghettos, living in poverty, with the threat of torture looming. Standish is unique among the “impure” different people in Zone 7, where he lives. When he gets expelled after witnessing the killing of a student in his school, Standish knows the scary camps are next for him. But Standish knows a very important secret about the Motherland that may end up saving him from the totalitarian empire. Another very unique, and literary, look at dystopia.

Sneak Peek! “I’m wondering what if. What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. What if Hector had never gone looking for it. What if he hadn’t kept the dark secret to himself. What if…Then I suppose I would be telling myself another story. You see, the what ifs are as boundless as stars.” (Text copyright © Sally Gardner)





New Books Highlight: New this month!

This week there’s not much rhyme or reason to the new books I want to highlight. They are just brand new to the Shorewood Library and have shiny new stickers on them that say 1/13! It’s a new year, people!

Rootless by Chris Howard

This is a very different and very fresh take on the post-apocalyptic theme that comes up again and again in YA books. In a world that has been devastated, in which the environment has been so degraded that trees no longer grow, 17-year0ld Banyan is a tree builder. He scavenges and hoards bits of scrap metal and other waste to create a replacement forest, one that does not shift or change. He’s never seen a real tree in his life, but he’s hear the stories about the old world. When Banyan stumbles across a clue to the possibility of real, growing trees, his world is irrevocably changed and he must seek them in spite of the danger.

Sneak Peek! “They figured me too young for a tree builder. I could see it in their eyes. Bunch of rich freaks, staring at me like I needed to impress them. But I did need to. That was the problem.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Chris Howard)

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss

A brand new historical fiction novel that takes us to vibrant and mysterious Renaissance Italy. Giulia, the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman with what would seem to be a predetermined fate, finds something altogether different when her forced cloistering at a convent leads her into a world of painting. A warning that came just before she left – to be careful what she desires her fate to be – haunts her as she finds romance, friendship, and  skill in the art of painting. Does she know what she desires? Can she be the master of her own destiny?

Sneak Peek! “Milan, Italy, Anno Domino 1487. The clouds broke apart and sunlight flooded down, burnishing the rough bark of the apple trees and tossing their shadows across the grass. Giulia caught her breath at the sudden beauty of it, her charcoal stick racing across the paper on her knee as she tried to capture the moment before it vanished.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Victoria Strauss)

And now for something completely different…

Home Front Girl: A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America by Joan Wehlen Morrison

This book is a real life diary from Wartime Chicago, rich with all the fascinating details of what it was like to grow up and be a teenager at that time. It’s daily life, it’s just like yours, but it’s so, so different. Joan’s daily record of the political atmosphere as America watches the world succumb to Hitler’s war and then finally becomes involved after the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Joan is 14-20 years old through the course of the diary. It’s entertaining, amazingly well-written and beautifully thought-out.

Sneak Peek! “Saturday, December 28, 1940. The world’s not going to come back the way it was…London is brave somehow – burning and huddled in shelters, yet walking also into the unlighted streets…London is Troy.” (Copyright ©2013 Susan Signe Morrison)

New Books Highlight: Dude Lit

How about looking at some books that really have guys’ interests at heart? I mean, not every book out there has to involve a love triangle.

The Bridge by Jane Higgins

In a bleak war-ridden future world: Nik is a high school student destined for greatness as a member of ISIS, the Internal Security and Intelligence Services. But when Nik is passed over, his life changes tracks. Soon, his best friend Sol has gone missing, and Nik is on the hunt, even if it means crossing over from the relative safety of Cityside into the dangerous outside world of the Southside. But ISIS is also on the hunt, for Nik.

Carter’s Unfocused, One-Track Mind by Brent Crawford

You might remember Will Carter from Carter Finally Gets It and Carter’s Big Break. Here he is in his sophomore year at Merrian High, without having learned much from the previous year’s hilarious and socially disastrous events. Carter’s on the bench for football, in a state of confusion over his on-again off-again girlfriend, and primed and ready for a fight with just-out-of-juvie Scary Terry Moss. Brilliantly funny.

Momentum by Saci Lloyd

Set in a future less bleak but just as divided as that of The Bridge, this story is a gripping thrill ride. The privileged Citizens and struggling Outsiders of future London live completely separately. The government, run by the Citizens, is not a friendly one, but Hunter has to live with it since his father works for them. When Hunter meets, and soon teams up with, Outsider Uma, he is awoken to the secret world of the Outsiders.

New Books Highlight: Short Reads

How many of you are insanely busy right now? *Surveys sea of hands indicating everyone*

Let this week’s new books highlight show you some reads you can pick up, put down, come back to later, or just finish in one quick sitting. Short stories and short books are as refreshing as newly fallen snow…

The Magician’s Apprentice by Kate Banks

This short read clocks in at just over 200 pages. Along with being a quick read, it is lyrical, poetic, and philosophical. 16-year-old Baz’s life changes when his cruel former master trades him to the mysterious Tadis, who turns out to be a magician. Tadis’s craft and wisdom show Baz the way through his geographical and emotional journey.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills

Gabe is Elizabeth, and Elizabeth is Gabe. And Gabe hosts a radio show on his local community radio station, called Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, that pulls him into a spotlight he might not be ready for. This is an incredibly unique book featuring a transsexual protagonist trying to make his way in a world that doesn’t totally understand his choice to be a him.

Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti

This is a brand new short story collection featuring tales from many of your favorite authors like Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Malinda Lo. The stories are all “speculative fiction,” that large genre that encompasses dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. Each story features a diverse perspective: that of the author, most of whom have very diverse backgrounds from multiple cultures, and that of the protagonist or culture they write about.


Meet the Morris Award

There are so many book awards these days. Whoever says that reading is a dying art has not explored the world of book awards! There also seem to be an increasing number of awards for YA books, which is great for us YA fiends. Here’s one that you might not know about, but which is really worth exploring: The William C. Morris Award, given by the American Library Association, honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. Looking at the award nominees for this unique award is a great way to find authors you might not have heard of yet! Here’s the list of this year’s nominees:

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby


Historical fiction. Set in Depression Era America, Wonder Show follows Portia Remini who is on the run from the creepy McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls, and on the hunt for her father.

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Romance. Amelia is 15 and her grocery store coworker crush is…a little older. Set in Australia, this is a funny story of heartbreak and love and, above all, awkwardness.

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett


Post-apocalyptic. In the year 2059 a new Ice Age took the world. Willo Blake was born into this freezing future and must search out his  family after they mysteriously disappear from their mountain home.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post


Realistic/LGBT. The early 1990s was not a great time for the plight of LGBT teens. This fictional look at that time in history tells the memorable and moving story of gay teen Cameron as she makes her way through a gay conversion center.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Fantasy. Dragons and humans co-exist – although not in total harmony – in this cool fantasy debut. Orphan Seraphina grapples with her identity in a magical world rife with scandal and secrets.

Are You Ready For The Apocalypse?!

…in fiction, that is.  According to the Mayan calendar, the world is supposed to end on December 21, 2012. The end-date idea has been pretty much debunked. One debunking theory says that since the Mayan calendar did not contain Leap Years, which add one day to our calendar every four years to account for the fact that our trip around the sun actually takes 365.25 days, the end-date that they predicted has already passed. And we didn’t even notice!

But it’s interesting to imagine what our world could be after it stops being the world we currently know, and plenty of YA writers do just that!  The genre called “Apocalyptic Fiction” has become super popular these days. Books in this genre are also sometimes called “post-apocalyptic” and/or “dystopian.” Now you’re wondering, is there a difference between apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, or are these all the same thing? If you’re looking for a new book that is like something else you’ve loved, it kind of helps to know what genre you really like. How are you supposed to know when all these great books are so confusingly classified within several different genres at once, all of which have confusing names?! Here’s a look:

Apocalyptic Fiction:robo

Books in this genre encompass a lot of different story lines, like zombie apocalypse or a disease outbreak or a huge war. In apocalyptic fiction, we generally witness the actual apocalyptic event unfolding, and then follow our characters as they deal with the aftermath. But plenty of books that show us just the aftermath – technically the post-apocalyptic world – are also just called apocalyptic fiction. Sigh, it’s so confusing!

Dystopian Fiction:delirium

In dystopian fiction, there has sometimes been an apocalyptic event which lead to the re-creation of the world as a utopia. However, sometimes there has not been an apocalypse at all, the world has just changed completely in an imagined future. Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 are two very famous examples of dystopian fiction. In dystopian fiction, the author imagines a world that is designed to be perfect – a utopia – but is actually far from it. Dystopian books differ quite a bit from apocalyptic books, even if there was an apocalyptic event that spurred the creation of the “utopia” in which they are set, because they focus on how problematic the so-called utopia is. Think of books like Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series which imagines a new world governed by logic, and therefore supposedly perfect because that troublesome emotion of “love” is eradicated.

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction:divergent

Books that fall into this category, like The Hunger Games, are trickier to define because they sometimes have elements of dystopia about them as well. But unlike what we call dystopian fiction they are not focused on the idea that the world in which the characters live is supposed to be perfect. Instead, the world is just barely hanging on after a serious event caused it to fall apart. We know that the Districts in The Hunger Games are badly planned out, and that the Capital is totally corrupt – they were not set up to be utopian, but to be repressive. The citizens are not supposed to feel lucky and special as they are in a utopia. Other examples of this genre include M.T. Anderson’s Feed, in which the world has all-but ended due to serious environmental collapse.

Come check out all the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction you can before the end-date arrives! (Or, you know, just to keep you occupied during the long days of winter break which is very quickly approaching…)