Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The world has changed.  Aliens have appeared in the sky and two thirds of the population has died.  There are no friendly E.T. aliens here, they want our world, without us in it.  

The 5th Wave is huge, 480 pages, 12 hours and 41 minutes on audio.  That will make it a tough sell for some readers, but it’s action packed and I have several advocates already in  place at school.  The boys put this on my TBR pile.  As big as it is, I think it will make a good movie--there are a lot of introspective thinking scenes that could be done with voice over and flashbacks, on the way to the action sequences.  A bloody plague, bombs, child soldiers, and survival issues will probably carry the film.  But in the mean this!  Both Cassie and Ben tell fascinating stories of how the world has changed and how they’ve had to change attitudes, behavior and expectations.  It’s amazing how priorities crystallize when first world problems are merely luxurious memories, once important but now seen as frivolous and empty.  

Read The 5th Wave, but be prepared to be anxious for The Infinite Sea; at least, you only have to wait until September 16, 2014.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Kindle  Nook
Anna doesn't know when the boys came, or why the boys are in basement; but she goes down every night, to talk to Sam and Trev.  Even though she works with her dad doing blood tests, and recording other test results, she cherishes her nightly visits with them. When the government agents show up to take them away, she's willing to leave with them to find answers.

I'd wanted to read this book for some time, but knowing it's the start of a series made me hesitate, and I was right...I'm sucked in now.  Only two of the trilogy have been published, with the third set to release in January, 2015. Not too long to wait, but long enough.

Altered is a fast paced chase/adventure/survival book that I think my girls will enjoy.  I could maybe talk a few boys into reading it, but the cover is certainly for girls, as is Anna's POV. There are a lot of chases, because the group is on the run from the people who "created" the boys. Shoot outs, memory loss, flashbacks, a little romance, and a new series set up, will appeal to quite a few of my students.

Goodreads summary:
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1) 

Goodreads summary

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

My take:

This mystery sucked me in and kept me reading.  I’m not a big mystery person, so I didn’t figure out the big reveal in advance, but that’s okay with me.  Some suspension of disbelief must be applied here, gifted teens working for, and with the FBI?  Not really plausible, but yet, it’s a popular YA sub-genre. (See Anthony Horowitz, Alane Ferguson, Andrew Lane, and others.)  This promises to be a bit like CSI, or Cold Case for teens.  I will buy for the high school, and the rest of the series.  I’m ready to read the second one, now. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reality Boy by A.S. King

Imagine being on a reality tv show at the age of five.  Are you good?  Are you awful?  You’re five, of course, you’re awful.  Now imagine being 17, and remembered as “the Crapper.”  That’s right, it’s just as bad as it sounds; life sucks, doesn’t it?  

This was a fast read for me.  I can’t wait to tell several of my students about this one.  I wish I’d read it sooner.  It’s timely, and probably way more accurate than we’d want to admit.  Part pathos, part redemption, Gerald’s journey is one worth reading.  

read in one evening
lots of cussing
boys will like this one
I think Hannah’s notebook is her “Gersday” equivalent

page 5

“There are plenty of angry guys like me in jail.  Its, like, anger central. If we put together all the jails in this country and made a state out of them, we could call that state Furious.”


Monday, August 4, 2014

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

We interrupt the summer schedule to bring you an amazing novel:  


Goodreads summary:  
"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

 My take:
Attachments was so engaging, that it made me giggle, and read parts out loud to my husband.  My husband, who is not a reader, (cringe, I know) even found this exchange funny.  “Your car smells like juice boxes.  Well, you smell like Pier One and BO. It’s sandalwood!  I didn’t say I didn’t like it.”  That’s just an exchange between secondary characters. Ms. Rowell has taken a stereotypical dungeons and dragons group, and given them nuances, so we see beyond the stereotypes.  Even our main character, Lincoln, recognizes the stereotypes, as he tries to figure out which one he is. We only meet Jennifer and Beth, through their emails, and yet, we get to feel like we know them.  We see everything the way Lincoln sees it,  confusing, sympathetically, compartmentalized, and finally related.  

My friend and I think that Rainbow writes the best book boyfriends.  We want a double date with Lincoln and Levi.  Levi is from Fangirl (click to read my review.)  Rainbow writes leading men who are regular, ordinary guys.  Great guys, thoughtful, trying to do the best they can guys, real guys.  The kind of guys girls say they want, but pass over in favor of the shirtless, alpha bad boy, who is fun to read about, but not have in real life.  

While this book is marketed towards adults, the characters are in their late 20’s, I think my student RR fans would like this, too.  The thought of someone’s job being reading other people’s email would probably freak them out, but I can remember when that was happening in my work place.  There is nothing in this book that would make it inappropriate, or off limits to my students.  So, it’s decided.  I’m buying it for PHS.  :)