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Posts tagged ‘Young Adult Fiction’

Divergent

By: Veronica Roth
divergent
Tris is sixteen, and that means she has to make a choice that will dictate the rest of her life. She can stay with the family and people group she has always known or she can choose another. Whatever she decides she had best make the right choice because there is no returning if you change your mind. There are five families, each one has it’s place in the very organised dystopian society in which she lives, the problem is, Tris doesn’t know where she really fits.
Although it breaks her heart a little she follows her gut which tells her to choose Dauntless. It is a tough choice, and a tough group to become part of. Tris didn’t realise just what she was signing on for and as the testing and brutal challenges start to take their toll she has to wonder if she has made the right choice. It is all complicated by the fact that Tris has a secret. Her secret means she doesn’t really fit in one place and in a society ruled by strict boundaries this means Tris is a threat. Conformity means survival but if she is discovered it could be the death of her.
This is a tightly written story. Tris is a likeable character there are moments I was frustrated with her but you don’t always have to like everything about a character to like them. (It’s a bit like real life, even best friends can have annoying traits). The world Roth created is interesting on the visceral level and on a theoretical level. She has created something that you can clearly picture, the restraint of the Abnegation, the sterility of the Erudite, the chaos of the Dauntless. In some part of the mind though you may start thinking just where would I fit. And how much a structured world like that would really limit your choices. Four is an interesting character, his story is even more layered than Tris’s and it will be interesting to see how those layers impact on his arc in later books. Enjoyable read, well worth picking up if you haven’t yet. Don’t let your opinion of the movie colour your choice too much, like always there are differences, some I think for the better and some, well they always have to cut some subplots out when turning a book to a film.
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Published: 03 May 2011
Format: Paperback 496 pages
Categories: Fiction General
ISBN 13: 9780007420414
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Sweet Honey

I received my copy from the publisher

sweet-honey

By: Cathy Cassidy

Part of the Chocolate Box Girls series.

Honey Tanberry has been in so much trouble back home that she is moving to the other side of the world to be with her father. She knows this is her chance to straighten out but at the same time she is thrilled to be moving in with her father. Things don’t start of quite how she expected when she finds it’s not just him, her dad has a girlfriend he hadn’t thought to mention. Still Honey isn’t put off. She loves the weather and the beaches. She is even looking forward in a way to the alternative school her parents agreed for her to try, until she discovers that her dad has gone behind her mother’s back and enrolled her in a boring private girls school.

She tries to change, but she struggles at the new school and her dad is often absent. She starts up a social media account so she can keep in touch with family, but soon she adds new friends and one of them isn’t what she thinks. Things start to appear on her account that she didn’t put up there, including hurtful things to family and about friends. Honey struggles to understand what is going on and her dad is not interested. Thousands of kilometres from home she feels she has no one to turn to. Who will believe her, especially with her past.

There are some dark themes in this book. Honey has always been the darkest of the Tanberry girls. The most rebellious. She is in Australia as a consequence of her own actions. She thinks things are going to be perfect because she always saw her dad as perfect. This story touches on hard truths of divorce and cheating, also the very serious nature of cyber stalking. It is a tight story and Honey’s journey takes you further down before it starts back up. Her story is one of fresh starts, comfortable behaviour even in bad choices because it is what you know, and the need to be very careful who you allow into your life on line. This story provides a good opportunity to talk about some of these topics. At its heart it is a coming of age and redemption story. I like this series, I always have, it is an easy read that doesn’t shy away from some incredibly relevant yet difficult to talk about topics, cyber stalking and eating disorders, and it deals with them in a real and heartfelt way.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Puffin BOoks

Published: 28 May 2014

Format: Paperback

Genre: Family, Friendship, Cyber Stalking

ISBN 13: 9780141341620

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

Half Bad

I received my copy from the publisherhalf-bad

By: Sally Green

Nathan Byrne is a witch, but he is a witch no-one really wants anything to do with. His mother was a white witch, a healer, his father a black witch, a killer and a very notorious one at that. The time is coming for Nathan to come into his powers but those who are in control, the council of white witches are not about to let that happen. Nathan is persecuted his whole life, he can’t even date the girl he wants because she is a white witch and therefore off limits. Then he is taken from everything he knows and cares about. He is tortured, trained and doesn’t know why.

It appears as though the rules are being changed just for him as the council pull out all stops to try and use Nathan presumably to catch his father. Nathan is desperate to meet his father and get his powers and he will make whatever deals are necessary for this to happen.

The premise of this story is fairly solid. What happens when you don’t fit in because you’re not one thing or another? The story itself though is very slow moving. I enjoyed the last perhaps third but it took a bit of perseverance for me to get there. I’m also not sure how I feel about Nathan himself. I can see how he is pushed into making some choices, but on the whole I don’t think strongly about him in one way or another. He is troubled and has potential but he feels, in some ways, quite bland.

I may give the second book a read purely because the premise has so much potential, where do you go when people are pushing you to be something you’re not sure you want to be. If it remains so bland I may not finish it. Having said that though, if you like your books to meander through the story telling and you want something interesting with witches at the core, give this a go, it was a popular book by all accounts in its country of origin and we can’t all like the same thing.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 27 March 2014

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Fantasy

 

ISBN 13: 9780141350868

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Mockingjay – Trailer

I think we all know the plan is to split the third book into two movies, personally I’m not sure how that is going to work, I don’t know that there is enough substance to do this. However it’s not my decision to make.

This teaser trailer has been released and I’m not sure how I feel about it, the direction they appear to be taking and all, even though I love Donald Sutherland and he plays a smarmy dictator so well.

I guess only time will tell how people respond to this trend in movies to drag adaptations out.

Pandora Jones Admission

I received my copy from the publisher.

pandora-jones-admission

By: Barry Jonsberg

The day comes, the world falls apart, or at least the bits of it Pandora Jones can remember once she wakes in a hospital somewhere. She quickly finds out nearly everyone has become the victim of a terrible plague, a pandemic, and her family as well as most of humanity has gone. Pandora and a few others have been rescued and are now quarantined in a facility referred to as The School, by those who run it. Here they are being taught to start over and all that entails; limited food, power and no hot water. It is harsh but supposedly safe. Pandora can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right. She is one of a team but she doesn’t know who to trust and when she steps out, taking a risk to discover something, anything, things don’t go as she planned.

This is a dismal world Jonsberg has created. It’s dark undertones draw you in. The central characters all suffer nightmares of the things they remember of that final day, no one really wants to talk about them. Pandora is one of the students who believes it shouldn’t just be about survival of the fittest, she stands for her beliefs that art is important as are other things because they are what make us human. Pandora’s ethics are central to her character, her drive to discover what is really happening and to question the way things are done around her. Her gift is a strange one, Pandora can find things, and this isn’t necessarily a good thing because more than anyone else’s gift (which are in the more normal spectrum of things) her psychic ability sets her apart. There are interesting dynamics being developed between some of the charters who surround her, most noticeably Jen, who is the one who clashes with Pan the most.

It is a dark tale, set in a dark and hidden world. Hidden in as much as we only know what Pandora knows and there is so much that is kept from her. Pan’s strong moral centre and unique ability makes for an interesting character and I am curious to see where this series goes, where her character goes.

Publisher: Allen and Unwin Children’s Books

Published: 01 May 2014

Format: Paperback 312 pages

Categories: SciFi, Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic

ISBN 13: 9781743318119

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Books to Check Out

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Different people look for vastly different things in the books they choose for their children. I try to read a wide variety of books but without question I am drawn more to the genres I love, this is why sometimes it’s a great idea to check out the best of lists. Now no-one is likely to agree with everything that makes these lists, but sometimes it is good to expand our horizons, you might be surprised. To be totally honest those Best of All Time lists, are filled with books I have absolutely no desire to read, but I still go through them and sometimes am reminded of books that I’ve been meaning to pick up.

So with that in mind here is a link to The Bank Street Centre for Children’s Literature list.

Some great titles here and a large number of ones I’ve never heard of. Oh if only I didn’t actually have a day job, but I have to pay for my book addiction somehow.

Mockingjay Part 1 – Pics and Casting

This series continues to draw great actors to fill rolls, truthfully I’m not sure about making it two films, it just seems to be the way they do things these days but we will see what happens.

Julianne Moore on the film and her character President Coin.

Here are some awesome pics from the upcoming Mockingjay film.

Not sure how much Phillip is going to be in it but here he is with the wonderful Julianne Moore as Coin.

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Some favourite characters.

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The poster.

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