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Posts tagged ‘Society and Social Issues’

GIRL! The Ultimate Guide to Being You.

By: Anna Barnes

Now I don’t normally review non-fiction, mostly because I don’t read a lot of it but I started going through this and thought it was a great idea. Not only a great idea but very well executed. This is a book that doesn’t stick to one theme in regards to growing up, it doesn’t push any one thing at you. Instead what Anna Barnes has presented us with is a self-discovery guide. It contains chapters dealing with everything from creating your own style, to body image, environmental issues to changing the world.

This book is choc full of information about all sorts of things (parents can even learn things as they look through it -I did).

It is an open, honest look at what it is to grow up and try to figure out who you are. At times it is serious other times it is funny. Best of all it offers a variety of suggestions letting the reader know that no one way is the right way to be. We are all different and this is a book that celebrates that. I would totally recommend giving this to a pre-teen or a young teen, it may even provide an icebreaker for broaching certain topics.

Definitely worth a look.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 28 March 2012

Format: Paperback 240 pages

Categories: Social Issues, Growing Up, Adolescence

ISBN 13: 9780143305767

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

People’s Republic – December Book Club

Of all the themes in the Cherub series human trafficking is one of those topics that pushes my buttons. So you might think it strange that I chose to post about that at this time of the year, what with Christmas only a few days away. In some ways though I think now is a perfect time to think about things like this.

I live in a prosperous country and have a roof over my head, a job, friends, clothes and food. People that get swept into the complex world of people smuggling often don’t have the luxuries afforded to me. Those that are smuggled at any rate. Those that do the smuggling in many ways live possibly as well or better than I do.

I don’t claim to understand more than a fraction of this complex issue but what I know makes me angry and sad. I am angry that the world we live in has such horrid violations against decency and it makes me sad that so many people are in a position to be taken advantage of.

The people smuggling in People’s Republic focuses on illegal workers ending up in sweat shop conditions rather than the more high profile sex trade but without a question both these issues are tragic and important.

As in Cherub the issue is wider than most of us will ever think about and there is no easy solution. Any smuggling operation like this, is a chain and cutting off one head will more than likely not just result in someone else popping up to fill the void.

I guess really then the question I should ask, before I continue to rant on the topic, is ‘do issues like this have a place in young adult fiction?’

I know there are many who think our youth don’t need to know about all these things but the truth is they do. Young people talk about all sorts of things, they are aware of what is going on in the world, or at least some of them are. Teenagers shouldn’t be underestimated, their interests and passions are as varied as those in any given group of adults.

Books like the Cherub series address the darker issues of our society, and our teenagers face some of these things everyday. Admittedly most won’t have contact with anything to do with people smuggling but influences such as drugs, cults and gangs? Well in my opinion we would be naïve to think otherwise. As far as I can see the Cherub books are interesting stories, I enjoy reading them, the adventure and action. I have problems with the way characters like James treat women, but then the women have the ability to kick his butt – though with Kerry constantly going back to him…well that says things I would like to talk about but this is not the forum for that.

The other thing is if you are so inclined these books can springboard topics of discussion or research. Books that include such topics give us the opportunity to look at things we would sometimes prefer not to look at too closely and sometimes awareness is vital in dealing with issues like these.

So then yes, I believe there is a place in young adult fiction to broach such delicate and inflaming topics.

Inside Out

By: Maria V Snyder

Trella is a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands whose place it is to work the lower levels making sure everything is clean and working properly for the Uppers. Trella is a loner even by Scrub standards, she has one friend, does her job and tries to go unnoticed by the Pop Cops. being on of thousands makes it hard to ever be alone so Trella has taken to sneaking around in the pipes, even sleeping in them. It has earned her the title of ‘Queen of the Pipes’ and that is where the trouble starts.

She sets out to prove once and for all that the Gateway doesn’t exist. She does it to help a friend and figures it doesn’t matter because it’s just her life she is risking. But then she finds the disks and saves the Broken Man. These actions start events spinning out of control. Somehow, inadvertently she stars a rebellion, meets an Upper, might be falling in love, uncovers lies and ends up leading a rebellion. Not bad for someone who really only wanted to be left alone.

Snyder has created a dystopian world with two distinct classes, both under the control of one family. This is a story of power corrupting. The world is developed well and slowly it isn’t until the end that you really begin to understand the world you have been traversing through. She has woven a tight tale with a determined and flawed heroine, who despite her trying to keep people at arms length, you can’t help but like. The characters she places around Trella are wonderfully diverse and the world layered. There is plenty of intrigue to keep you guessing, a ton of loyalty and totally heartbreaking betrayal. I like this as a standalone and am not sure how it will translate to a series but I will certainly pick up the next one to find out.

 

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Published: 01 April 2010

Format: Paperback 315 pages

Categories: Fiction, Society and Social Issues, Relationships

ISBN 13: 9780373210060

Purchase: here

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