Tuesday, July 26, 2011


by Veronica Roth
The future is here and the world is a scary place. Beatrice has turned sixteen, and now she must make the most important decision of her life. She must join a faction and go through the initiation to be a member. Being factionless is not an option if you want to survive. The question is, which faction? Each represents what the members feel is the most important for the survival of man: Abnegation-her current faction-prizes selflessness above all else; Dauntless strives for courage and being a warrior; Candor believes in telling the truth no matter how hurtful or trivial; Euradite guards the need for knowledge at all costs; and Amity cherishes nurturing and caring for all citizens. Beatrice can chose her current faction, or forge a new path, breaking all ties with her family and the past.

This book series is the next Hunger Games. The action is amazing, the idea is fresh and the twists keep it that way, the morality it forces the reader to ponder keeps it in your brain constantly. I loved it. I read along with Beatrice, wondering at her decisions as I made my own. I can not recommend this strongly enough.


by Allie Condie

Cassia has trusted those around her to run her life. The Society makes all decisions, using data that is collected in every possible way, and she's fine with that. When her matching ceremony occurs, and her best friend Xandar's face shows up on the screen, she is relieved that the Society's plan seems perfect for her. She just needs to figure out how to ignore the fact that Xandar's wasn't the only face to show on the screen-a boy she barely knows, a loner and an outsider named Kyle, was there before.  She knows she should be logical, agree that it was a rare malfunction as the Society tells her, and move on. But she can't.

I loved the cover of this book, and that is what compelled me to finally buy it after picking it up multiple times. I was surprised that this didn't end up being the cheesy, love-triangle story that I expected. The complications at the matching ceremony do lead to romance, but the story seems to be more about the importance of finding out who you are-being the one who makes that choice-and not allowing someone else that right, even if it is just easier.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

by Jeff Kinney
Greg is just starting middle school and decides to keep a journal (NOT a diary) of his life. He figures that it will make things much easier to hand over his writing when he is rich and famous then have to recount everything to all his adoring fans. Through his writings we meet Greg's best friend Rowley who he is often humiliated by; he's just so uncool. We also meet some of Greg's other friends, like Fregley who seems to just be from another planet. We learn about Greg's family, especially his older brother Roddrick who Greg seems to love-hate-worship-fear, all at the same time.

This series chronicles Greg's life from his point of view, and I find him pretty hard to like. He is selfish and looks down on a lot of his friends, but his redeeming quality is that he comes through in the end. I do enjoy the portrayl of the family and how they seem to have high hopes. I also enjoyed how sketches are included to make different points; they add authenticity to the story. I don't know how strongly I would recommend the series-I could take them or leave them-up till the 3rd book.  There were parts in The Last Straw where I laughed so hard I cried! Overall, they are an easy fun read.


by Michael Grant
You live this day just like every other. You get up, get ready, go to school. You look down at your doodle in the middle of class, and when you look up again something is different. The teacher is gone-vanished. This is what happens at the beginning of the Gone series. Everyone over the age of 15 has just poofed; to where, no one knows.  Not even Astrid the Genius can figure it out. Surrounded by some type of force field, nicknamed the FAYZ, there is also no internet, phones or television.  At first, it's a party. Then Sam, Astrid, and the others begin to realize that things are wrong. Who will take care of the babies and toddlers? Who will organize the food and stop the bullies? In short, who will be the adults now that they are gone?

This series sucks readers in. You want to know more. You need to know what will happen to all of the kids-the bullies and the heroes alike. On top of that feeling, author Michael Grant adds so many twists and turns that you have to read at least one more chapter to see how things unfold. The disappearance of the adults and FAYZ are some of the least terrifying things that happen in the strange new world. No one knows what the FAYZ will create next.

I Never Had It Made

by Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson is someone everyone should learn about in school-just as we learn about others who have changed our country. The man who changed the sport of baseball by integrating African-Americans into the players' ranks realized his life was not to be just about baseball, but that he held the future of how people will be treated in his actions. The book looks at all parts of his life- UCLA, his time in the army, his family-and how they all made him the man who was able to change our country forever through determination and strength.

He was often described as quiet man, but after reading this autobiography you can't help but realizing that wasn't true. He realized that actions were what would speak loudest and most effectively.  His critics couldn't argue with his actions, so he contained his voice until it was time to tell his story. It also tells of the man after baseball, and Robinson's dedication to his race through politics even when he no longer played and had already sacrificed too much. A read for those who are ready to learn about his journey from his words.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan
A tiny village in the middle of the woods is forgotten to all. It might be the last of its kind since the Unconcencrated have run in the forest. Surrounded by the fence that seperates them from the once-human, now beasts, the residents try to live normal lives.

Mary wants to try to survive, but the truths she depends on are starting to crumble in front of her. Will the Sisterhood keep them safe? Is there a world outside the forest with other people? Mary will soon be forced to discover what is real and what is myth.

This book by Carrie Ryan, as well as the two sequels that follow, are fantastic zombie adventures that delve past all of the gross-out factor found in some books about the undead into true questions about love and what makes us truly human. Mary is an authentic character who the reader relates to in even the most unrelateable situations. I would recommend these to readers who enjoy realistic fiction and are ready for something a little different.