I love dystopian stories. They are even more fun to read during tropical storms…this I promise you.
Beatrice “Tris” Prior lives in future Chicago, where all 16-year-olds must choose which faction they belong to. The choices are Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite, and Amity. They undergo tests to see which faction would best fit, however Beatrice’s results are inconclusive. She is Divergent. Still, she must choose one of the five factions. She decides to leave her family in Abnegation and join the Dauntless faction, which is a big deal, since her society lives by the phrase “faction before blood.”
The majority of the story takes place during her initiation ceremony, where she learns that being Dauntless isn’t just about bravery. The faction is brutal and cruel and she is just hoping to survive. She quickly learns that being Divergent is dangerous and the faction leaders are on the lookout for Divergent rebels, so she must try to fit in as seamlessly as possible, which proves difficult in her initiation trials. Because I don’t want to give too many spoilers, let’s just say Tris becomes privy to confidential information that may or may not endanger her family, and chaos ensues.
I read this in a couple of sittings. Veronica Roth writes with such gripping magic. Her style does in fact remind me a lot of Suzanne Collins in all the good ways. It’s descriptive without being so embellished, and the focus is much more on the fast-paced action of the plot. Best of all, no love triangle. I repeat, NO LOVE TRIANGLE. And I loved Tris, you guys. She’s a total badass. Rose Hathaway is my queen bee, but still. I can’t wait to see who they cast in the movie!
I tend to measure post-apocalyptic fiction on a scale of 1 to Hunger Games and I must say this went beyond in my book. Or maybe tied HG. I don’t know yet. It was excellent.
I’m off to read Insurgent…review to follow!
You guys, this:
This is by far the best book I have read in recent memory. If you are headed to your bookstore/library in the near future (which, you probably are, or SHOULD BE), this is a must-read. Must. Must. Must.
From the inside cover:
“Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”
This book has it all. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, hysterical, witty, and just so incredible. I’ve never laughed/cried so much while reading. Hazel and Augustus quickly became two of my favorite literary characters, their voices so honest and sad but supremely clever.
John Green deserves the world’s greatest high five for this masterpiece (and like a rucksack full of actual literary prizes).
P.S.! You can watch John read the first chapter here:
HOKAY, I read Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie. I’m a little late to the party (anyone else?).
Synopsis via Goodreads:
“Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.”
Le sigh. Can we agree that the best love stories take place in dystopias? Nothin’ like Society royally messing with your plans. Give ’em the ole 1-2 punch, Cassia! Both Xander and Ky are great. The love triangle reminds me of the Hunger Games (Team Peeta, anyone?).
I like this story a lot, *but* it seems like so much of it was taken from The Giver, which isn’t a bad thing (who doesn’t like The Giver?)…I would just love for a YA author to do a completely fresh take on the dystopian world. With that rant out of the way, I do love the bird’s eye view of the general plot: the Match ceremony, which intrigued me from the get go. That hasn’t been done (that I know of). Plus there were enough twists and turns to keep me flipping pages like a madwoman. And just….Ky. And Xander. *swoons*
Then there’s Crossed:
Synopsis via Goodreads:
“Rules Are Different Outside The Society
Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky–taken by the Society to his sure death–only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of a rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices every thing to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.
Narrated from both Cassia’s and Ky’s point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.”
Oh, Crossed. I’m just gonna throw it out there and say I didn’t like it as much as I liked Matched (Please let’s still be friends!).
Maybe it’s a common problem with trilogies…there’s a tendency for the middle book to be like a bridge between the first and third. Sure, there are a couple new characters that appear will have a big role as the third book plays out, and more secrets about the Society and the Rising are revealed, but this one just seemed a little lacking in substance…like there was a lot of “fluff” with the internal dialogue. Did anyone else feel that way? Am I making this up?
Ally did a really cool twist with the narration for this one, though: The POV switches between Ky and Cassia each chapter, which I thought was super cool since they start out on separate paths in this book!
Don’t get me wrong, I finished this book in like 1.5 sittings (I started it before bed then woke up 5 hours later to finish it). I liked it, and you know I’m going to be on edge until Reached is published, but I just didn’t think it was *quite* as strong as the first.
But I still love Ky. And Xander.
Apparently The Hunger Games is the gateway drug to dystopian lit. I’m now living in the future and not looking back.
From the back cover:
“Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license–for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world–and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.”
Tally lives in a post-apocalyptic city where everything is contained, controlled, and isolated. She has spent the past four years in Uglyville and is looking forward to finally joining her best friend Peris in New Pretty Town. Until she meets Shay, that is. Shay shows Tally that there is a world outside of their own, one that is unregulated by the authorities, and when Shay tells Tally that she’s not going to turn pretty, Tally has a tough choice to make.
She can either turn pretty and spend her life devoid of original thought, partying all day and looking gorgeous just like everyone else, or she can escape with Shay and find freedom in the unknown land that lies beyond, called “the Smoke”. But then there’s Peris, waiting for her back in New Pretty Town, and he reminds her of the promise she made to him. The day of Tally’s operation does not go as expected, and Special Circumstances sends her out as a spy to retrieve Shay and the others that escaped.
I really, really enjoyed this book. Not only was I totally engrossed in the plot, I felt really connected to Tally and torn with the decisions she had to make. Westerfeld does a supreme job of building a sci-fi world. I loved how he made connections to contemporary society (i.e. the rollercoaster in the Rusty Ruins) and coupled that landscape with the futuristic hoverboards, bungee jackets, and other gadgets. It made the story that much more believable, like Tally’s city was really constructed on top of our world.
Happy Monday, friends! I’m on recess for the rest of the month, kind of like the Supreme Court, which means full dedication to tackling my ever-growing Goodreads list.
Let’s get to it.
I’m still sort of wrapping my mind around Thirteen Reasons Why. I’ve been both wanting and waiting to read it (if that makes sense), mostly because I was intrigued by the premise but at the same time, the idea just seemed so…heavy. It’s not exactly a summertime beach read if ya know what I mean.
From the back cover:
“Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her. Then Hannah’s voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes–and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death. All though the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his small town…and what he discovers changes his life forever.”
Any copy that ends in “changes his life forever” and I’m so there. You got me.
But suicide. Oy.
The concept of the book is basically brilliant. You are reading a simultaneous narrative: Hannah’s voice on the tapes and Clay’s thoughts as he’s listening to them. Genius, right? Now I’m kicking myself for not listening to the audiobook. It took me a couple chapters to really get used to the style, but I think overall it’s great. From the get go I needed to know what happened.
As the title suggests, there are thirteen reasons why Hannah commits suicide, thirteen people, really, who affected her life is way they didn’t know. She leaves a shoe box full of cassette tapes to be passed around among them. It’s as ghoulish and haunting as it sounds. The first cassette centers around the incident that started a whole chain of events that led to her death, and the buildup keeps the pages turning, especially as various characters and stories intertwine.
Along with the tapes, Clay has a map of the town that Hannah left him. Throughout the narrative, Hannah directs him to points on the map where each incident took place. Clay’s an interesting one. He’s the “good kid” at school, whose reason for being on the list is far different from the others, and he’s the character who really makes the story compelling. You feel like you’re with him on this journey to unraveling Hannah’s story and understanding her actions.
I think this book is a great read for anyone in high school. If I had to sum it up, I’d say that the book is about what we do and say to others, and how those actions and words, no matter how small, affect people (so go give someone a high five).
…and I’m off to secure Jay Asher’s second book, The Future of Us!
A very wise friend of mine once told me to judge a book not by the quotes on the back cover, but by who said it. So you can imagine my expression as I picked up The Goose Girl and saw Stephanie Meyer’s quote on the front cover *rolls eyes* (only kidding, Twihards). But then I flipped it over to see the New York Times Book Review call it “enchanting”, which so happens to be one of my favorite words, so there was that.
From the back cover:
“Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue. She spent the early years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the swans. Then, a colt was born with a word on his tongue–his name, Falada–and when Ani spoke it, she found the key to his language, too. But as Ani’s gift grew, so did others’ mistrust of it, and soon her mother felt she had no choice but to send her away to be queen of a foreign land…”
This description only covers the very premise of the book, which I like! No spoilers. But I didn’t really know what to expect plot wise. Without giving too much away, I’ll let you know that the story is largely centered on treason, friendships, and loyalty, chronicling Ani’s journey to and sojourn in the new kingdom, Bayern, and the traitors who accompany her. I can only sing the praises of Shannon Hale’s writing. She writes so eloquently with vivid imagery but not so much that you get distracted from the action. This is a really, really great read. Fairytale retelling with princesses and magic? Count me in. Luckily, there are three more books in the Bayern series! I’m reading them all.
Like most 90s children, I thought a part of my soul
was put in a horcrux died after finishing the Harry Potter series. I suppose that’s expected after you spend half of your life anticipating the release of the next book. It took me a few years to read another YA book. Tragic, right? It started with the Hunger Games and Percy Jackson and everything Sarah Dessen and Richelle Mead and rereading Lemony Snicket and Narnia. Maddy, step away from the YA section. (Don’t worry, I didn’t tap into my Judy Blume collection.)
Then I turned 24 and thought why stop now? That’s when I found Fledging: Jason Steed by Mark A. Cooper at my local library. I had read great great great reviews on Goodreads and have been wanting to read it for months (months!) with no luck finding it in any bookstores. So I read it, today, and loved it.
From the back o’ the book:
“Jason Steed is just like any other kid…except that he’s a martial arts expert, skilled pilot, and a member of an elite British military group called the Sea Cadets. When a routine training exercise goes terribly wrong, Jason finds himself in the middle of a deadly secret mission. Can he use his expertise to help stop a nuclear war?”
After reading so many YA books with werewolves and vampires and what not, it’s so refreshing to read about a superhero human kid who doesn’t have supernatural powers (did I just say that?). But seriously, I was on the edge of my seat. Jason Steed is one tenacious 11-year-old spy. The story is original, moving, and action-packed with good twists. It’s a tale of adventure, friendship, bravery, and loyalty. There’s even a little love story! Two thumbs up.
Any other shameless YA addicts out there? Come forth. Tell me what to read next.