Friday, March 23, 2012

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

I know this book has been sitting on my "What am I reading" spot for the last several months (I think it might actually have been there since September) and I really haven't been reading it that long. I did pick this book about almost a year ago and have actually given it to a student to read in the meantime. This student, Emily has great taste in books. Her and I like all the same books, so if she says a book is good, I know I'm going to like it as well. Emily told me after she had read it that I would like it, so I decided to move it up on my to be read pile!

Blood Red Road is a story about a family living in a post-apocalyptic world. The family is made up of the father and his three kids, 18 year old twins Lugh and Saba and 9 year old Emmi. Lugh and Saba are best friends, Saba cannot imagine her life without her brother. She follows him everywhere and lets him do all the thinking. She doesn't always agree with the way he treats their father, but she never goes against him. One day, Lugh is taken by a band of mysterious men on horseback and it is all Saba can do to carry on. But, she made a promise to Lugh that she would find him, even though that means setting out on her own into the unknown.

On her journey, Saba discovers who she is when she doesn't have her brother to depend on. She realizes she is a fighter, and she never gives up on her quest to find Lugh. She meets many people on her journey and has trouble trusting any of them. Mostly, she has trouble trusting Jack, a secretive but attractive boy.

I really really liked this book. The dialogue is a bit hard to follow at first. As with some dystopian novels, there seems to be a different language or slang to learn, but once I figured it out, it was a great read. Saba is this strong, confident, determined young woman who is a great role model for girls. The story is exciting and very fast paced. Even though the main character is female, I know many boys will like this book as well. It's a great read!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney

The Rivals is the sequel to the book The Mockingbirds that I read just over a year ago. You don't really need to have read the first one to read this one, but it would probably be easier to understand. In The Mockingbirds, Alex is a student at a very prestigious private school. Every student enrolled is an overachiever and excels at something. The teachers believe that because these students agree to live by the school code of conduct, there is no need for any discipline. When Alex is date raped during a school party, she really has no where to turn and this is where the Mockingbirds come in. They are a student run organization that enforces the code of conduct and deal with issues that arrise when students cross the line. Alex was taken in by the Mockingbirds in the first book to help her deal with the terrible situation she found herself in.

Now, a year later, Alex is head of The Mockingbirds. She couldn't wait for school to start so that she could give back and help other students. Yet things aren't as easy or black-and-white as she thought they would be. Alex doesn't have confidence in herself as a leader and constantly finds herself crossing lines she never thought she would. She is faced with trying to balance her friends, her boyfriend and this organization she truly believes in, but has no idea how to steer. When rumours start surfacing that the school debating team is using drugs to win, Alex and the rest of the Mockingbirds feel they must investigate. This leads to hard feelings between those that Alex are closest to and she is often confused and unsure of herself.

I really loved The Rivals, I thought it was amazing watching how Alex went from victim to victor. I liked how in The Rivals she is unsure of herself and is still dealing with the aftermath of her rape. I think it wouldn't be accurate to have her be full of confidence and totally accepting of what happened to her. I liked watching her struggle with her morals and beliefs in this book. Growing up isn't easy and I really like it when books reflect this. I'm hoping that Whitney will be writing a third book in this series. I'd like to know what happens to Alex and the rest of her friends as they head off to college.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

I can't believe how long it has been since I've read a YA book. I have been reading, just adult fiction lately. One of my students from last year dropped this book off the other day and after reading the front cover I realized I had to read it right away.
Jay Asher wrote a book I really loved called Thirteen Reasons Why
This book has been getting a lot of buzz on twitter and I knew I wanted to read it but I just hadn't picked it up yet.

Imagine being able to find out what your future life holds. But every time you check, your life has changed. This is the premise of this story. It is set in 1996, before the Internet and social media had really taken off. The story alternates between Emma and Josh, who are childhood friends but have lately drifted apart. When Josh brings over an AOL CD for Emma's new computer, they are suddenly able to access their future Facebook pages. On those pages they catch glimpses of their lives, although they are totally confused by many of the references- even what Facebook is exactly. As they try to live their lives normally, they realize that every decision and every action that occurs now affects their future.

This is such a cool premise for a book. I loved reading about life in 1996, but I also loved the fact that Josh and Emma had no idea what some of the things that are popular now are. It is pretty neat to think about that. It's also interesting to think about how you might change your life or decisions you make if you knew what your state of happiness might be in the future.

I thought this book was brilliantly written and explored such a neat concept. I can't wait to share this with my kids at school.