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These books are the first two in the Chaos Walking series.  Todd lives in Prentisstown, a town that is full of noisy men, men who can hear each other’s every thought.  But even though each thought is public, secrets are still being kept.  Todd discovers a mysterious girl and suddenly must run for his life, away from everything he thought was true.

Some things I loved about these books: The combination of sci-fi (they take place on another planet) with the dystopic society; the growth that Todd shows from a boy to a man; the hard questions the characters face about the use of violence; the complex, lying “bad guy” (who reminds me of Ben from Lost); the relationship between Todd and his arch-enemy Davy; and the fine lines the characters walk between good and evil.  Even though this is a young adult series, the questions the characters must wrestle with are difficult ones that people of all ages will have to answer.

These aren’t happy books.  They are quite violent and there’s a lot of death.  If you’re looking for a happy read, or a story that wraps up at the end of the book, these aren’t for you.

Exodus by Julie Bertagna

18th August 2009

If you can breeze past a few sermons about global warming and polar icecaps melting, this was a great book.  Mara’s town is a tiny shrinking island in the Atlantic.  As far as the people in her town know, their island is the only dry land left on earth.  But as the waters keep rising, they must find a new home.  Mara convinces the islanders to set off in search of a rumored refuge–sky cities built high above the wet earth.

Gone by Michael Grant

14th August 2009

When everyone over age 15 mysteriously vanishes from the town of Perdido Beach, the remaining kids are left to survive on their own, cut off from any contact with the outside world.  Albert and his friends look for answers, while trying to care for the younger children.  Caine and his gang also try to find answers, while trying to gain control of the town through fear and intimidation.

This was an action-packed novel of survival and teenage independence.  I would have loved it as a teenager, and even now, I really enjoyed it.  The mix of sci-fi and horror made for an exciting read.  It’s not going to be a classic book, but it’s definitely a great summer read and I’ll probably pick up the sequel too.

Goodman’s first Young Adult novel is fantastic!  Honor and her parents live on Island 365.  Honor tries hard to obey the rules of their totalitarian government and just “fit in”, but her parents long for the freedom of days past.  When Honor’s parents are “redistributed,”she must decide whether she will accept their loss, or risk her life for change.

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Katniss lives with and takes care of her mother and young sister in the dystopic nation of Panem.  Life is difficult for all but the elite ruling class.  Each year, the citizens of Panem are forced to send 24 young people to participate in The Hunger Games.  At the end of the Games, there is only one survivor.  When Katniss is selected for the Games, she knows that she will be fighting for her life, and for the survival of her family at home.

This was a FANTASTIC book.  I had trouble putting it down.  Collins has created a unique society, built on the runins of North America.  From the first paragraph, she draws you into the tension of “reaping day,” when the Hunger Games participants are selected.  Little by little, she reveals more about the dreaded Games, and the evil society behind them.  This book is the first in a series and I cannot wait for the second book.  If you enjoy survival, apocalyptic-type stories, you will not be disappointed by this book.

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