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Posts tagged ‘Young Adult Fiction’

Mind Games

I was sent this book by the publisher
mind-games
By: Teri Terry

Luna is different, she has a secret. In a world where nearly everything is done online she remains unplugged. The pressure to join the crowd is great but she stays strong for a long time, until someone hands her a possible answer. Even online though there are things she must keep hidden for she is different and those differences are ones that could cost her her life. Luna plunges into a world that killed her mother and is fraught with dangers that few others seem to be able to perceive. Even amongst the hackers she is gifted and can do things no-one else can do. She wishes she knew why, that she understood what was going on but finding out those answers changes everything for her.
Luna is an interesting character, her developing gifts make it difficult for her to be sure of her place as she finds she has abilities that no-one else has. She learns that everything she does is being watched. She doesn’t know who to trust, just when she thinks she has a grasp on it, things turn sideways. Luna has cause to be skeptical, every time she thinks she has a friend she can trust something happens to undermine that. The characters that come alongside her are an eclectic group of individuals all with their own agenda.
It is an intriguing read. The world is how is could be if everything goes digital, the pros and cons. There were some fascinating concepts woven into this story and it could certainly be listed as a tale of caution about relying too much on technology. The only thing that threw me was that the author put in a reference to her own books, an action that seems to me to be self serving and a bit pretentious. That aside I would say this book is well worth investing the time to read.
Recommended.
Publisher: Orchard Books
Published: 10th March 2015
Format: Paperback 433 pgs
Key Words: Science Fiction, Family, Intrigue
ISBN: 9781408334256

The 100 Society

I received my copy from the publisher
the-100-society
By: Carla Spradbery

Grace Becker attends Clifton School, a school with a not so secret, secret. There is something that is part of the school’s history called the 100 Society and being part of it is something Grace is absolutely determined to do. The 100 Society isn’t just a game to Grace, the objective is to graffiti tag 100 specific locations around the city, each location has a risk often greater than the one before it. She has managed to convince some friends to help her achieve this goal even though it could result in suspension. The problem is what started as a sort of game has become something much more, someone is watching them, playing them, targeting them. Her friends are in the cross-hairs and Grace won’t stop. Will she be able to figure out who is behind it all before it costs her everything?
This is a tight, tensely woven story. One moment you think you know who it might be, then you’re not so sure. I must admit to getting a little frustrated with Grace at some point, her drive to do something better than her brother clouds her vision but this is her flaw and ultimately I prefer characters with flaws to the perfect ones. The characters all stand alone on their own merits and the darkness isn’t so overwhelming that it becomes detrimental to the plot.
An enjoyable read.
Publisher: Hachette
Published: 28th October 2014
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781444920086

The Fearless

I was sent this book by the publisher
the-fearless
By: Emma Pass

The Fearless are coming, and then suddenly they are here. Cassie’s life is torn apart that night. The Fearless are brutal, they destroy whatever and whomever gets in their way. Somehow Cassie and her brother get away. They get to be part of the small group who make it to the island. Her brother is the last person she has left in the world and she will do anything to look after him. When the island is invaded and he is taken, there is nothing Cassie won’t do to find him and bring him home. This includes making a deal with Myo, a strange boy who turned up on the island the same time as the Fearless. He came from the mainland and seems to think he knows where her brother is going to be taken. Myo though has secrets of his own. Secrets that will destroy their very fragile truce if Cassie was to discover them.

This is a zombie story with a twist. These zombies are man made and they are not totally brainless, some of them, they are however very driven. There is a lot of dark texture to this story. Cassie is tough and focussed but not as competent as she originally thinks. She also doesn’t know as much about what is really going on as she should. This narrow focus and interest is part of what will cause her big problems. Myo is just as driven as Cassie but his reasons are part of his big secret. This secret adds an interesting layer to the story. Cassie has to go through a big learning curve as she begins to understand that things aren’t as simple as she has been led to believe, the world she thought was black and white really has many shades of grey.

PUBLISHER: Random House
PUBLISHED: 1st May 2014
FORMAT: Paperback, 392 pages
KEY WORDS: Apocalypse, Zombies, Survival
ISBN: 9780552566155

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.

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