Thursday, January 26, 2012


by Marie Lu

Goodreads Summary:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My Review:
I picked this up after getting a Barnes and Noble giftcard for Christmas. It is unusual for me to just stumble across a book I haven't heard much about, but was glad I tripped over this one. The characters tell this story from alternating points-of-view. For awhile I felt frustrated that their paths had not crossed yet, but it was worth the wait. The author spends a lot of time on each character, crafting them into people you like even though each one is incredibly different from each other.  

The biggest complaint I have heard about this story is what people are calling "world-building". Some readers were disappointed that we weren't given more information on the natural disasters that destroyed the East coast. There is some mention of a rebel part of the United States, but isn't central to the story (yet?) so not much detail is given. I am witholding judgement on this part of the story since this is the first in a series, and I wouldn't be surprised if Lu adds to the setting as the story continues to develop.

Dark Life

by Kat Falls

Goodreads Summary:
A thrilling futuristic adventure set deep undersea, Dark Life follows the settlers of the world's first subsea settlement as they defend their homesteads against a brazen band of outlaws.

Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.

The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family's homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws' attacks on government supply ships and settlements everything changes.

My Review:
I could kick myself for not reading this story, and its sequel Riptide, sooner. The story is so different from  the recent wave of dystopian stories-which makes me wonder if people don't read it solely because they assume it will be more of the same. The simple change in setting-with much of it taking place underwater-makes it unique. With the pioneers that brave the deep, there is almost a feel like it is the Old West. I liked the voice of Ty, also. He is brave, but is scared, like you would expect a kid to be. This is a must read!

Here Lies Linc

by Delia Ray

Goodreads Summary:
When 12-year-old Linc Crenshaw decides he wants to go to public school, his professor mom isn't so happy with the idea. He's convinced it will be the ticket to a new social life. Instead, it's a disaster when his mom shows up at their field trip to the local cemetery to lecture them on gravestones, and Linc sees her through his fellow-students' eyes. He's convinced his chances at a social life are over until a cemetery-related project makes him sought-after by fellow students he's not so sure he wants as friends, helps him make a new, genuine friend, and brings to light some information about his family that upends his world.

My Review:
While the cover of this book may hint to a creepy fantasy story, this is a great realistic fiction read that gives us Linc, a great kid who is so unusual, but still relatable. He makes a lot of mistakes, including hurting his eccentric mom's feelings, but they lead him to figure out a lot about himself. 

I love that the setting for this story is Oakland Cemetary  (where my grandparents are both buried) in Iowa City, Iowa-right down the road. This is a special place for many people in the area because of the legend of the Black Angel, which is looked at closely in this story. 

If I Stay

by Gayle Forman

Goodreads Summary:
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... 

My Review:
This story takes the idea of one's life flashing before your eyes to a new level. I must start by first saying, as someone who has been in a car accident, the details and vivid description given during that moment made me shake. It was so scary and sad-and so well written. The battle that Mia wages within herself, watching herself fight and wondering if it is time to just give up is heart-wrenchingly real. It is the story of choices and family, including what actually makes someone family. 

The Limit

by Kristen Landon

Goodreads Summary:
An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever. 

My Review:
It is so easy to want what others have, but would you be willing to trade your life as you know it? The idea of sending children to workhouses to support family spending habits seems very disturbing, but also very realistic. It is a book that takes place in the future, but seems to show flashes of our past mistakes in regards to child labor. The parents in this story are particularly frustrating-they seem inept with taking care of their finances, and don't fight enough to help Matt. Thrilling at times, disturbing at others, this is a great read for those who like realistic fiction and are ready to try sci fi.


by Suzanne Weyn

Goodreads Summary:
It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.
Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope - there has to be hope - just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.
Teens like Niki, Tom, and Gwen may find what they need to survive. But their lives are never going to be the same again.
My Review:
This book really helped me think. What would life be like without gas? How would we survive without cars? The characters could be somewhat flaky at times, but were pretty consistent to who they were made to be. They also helped to show what would happen to all of us-no matter how rich, smart, or popular-if the world ran out of oil. The great thing about this book is the "What ifs..." that come to your mind while reading it. Especially, what if this happened to me?


by Eireann Corrigan

Goodreads Summary:
They've gotten good grades - but that's not good enough. They've spent hours on community service - but that's not good enough. Finn and Chloe's advisor says that colleges have enough kids with good grades and perfect attendance, so Chloe decides they'll have to attract attention another way. She and Finn will stage Chloe's disappearance, and then, when CNN is on their doorstep and the nation is riveted, Finn will find and save her. It seems like the perfect plan - until things start to go wrong. Very wrong.

My Review:
This book has an interesting premise, especially with all the pressure students feel to stand out, to be special or extraordinary. The quick fix these girls come up with has bad idea written all over it, and when things really start to get scary my gut was twisted in knots. There were a few slow parts, sections that seemed unnecessary to the main story, but the idea is so unique it makes it a fun read.