Showing posts with label Young Adult Dystopian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adult Dystopian. Show all posts

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sketching Rebellion by Felicia Ketcheson

Genre:  Young Adult, Dystopian
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Wow! As I read this book I was thinking, this has an undercurrent of "The Hunger Games." then I thought about the society in the book "The Giver."  There were so many things going on that you have to keep reading. Think about a society where everyone works for the good of all. That is everyone except the President. His biggest job is being present and pumping people up for an execution that everyone is required to attend. While he stands in front of them he tears down the person for their crime which can range from saying something against the government, or drawing a picture, which is illegal. All creativity is illegal. He claims it benefits the individual and not the society so they are being selfish. He pumps up the crowd the way cheerleaders would before a game. All the while he stands safely behind a wall of glass. He even has the are you watch from broken into sections; bronze, silver, and platinum.  All relatives of the crimanal and those who have higher positions in the society stand in the platinum section. Age is no issue. You can be executed even if you are a child as young as seven.  But the president's plans don't go as expected. A rebellion has formed. It is made up of people who have just disappeared. They have been waiting for just the right moment and for two teens who are the key to their plan working. As I read about Creel, one of the main characters, I felt sorry for her. She is smart, intelligent and loves to draw. Unfortunately, people are asked to turn those in who break the law, such as drawing. Creel has had her second warning and promises not to draw anymore because if she is caught the consequence will be mortae (death).  

As I read this book I could not help but see the Stasi who were responsible for getting people to spy on each other, including family members, in East Germany during the Cold War.  I didn't expect the ending that I read. It did tie things up nicely and left you hungering for a sequel. I have learned one is expected in the Spring of 2024.  I can't wait.  

Every year I challenge my students to read from eleven different genres. They are to attempt to read a minimum of eleven books. They must write their goal down and give it to me to chart. In turn my students set my reading goal.  This was the first book out of 83 they have set for me to read.  Definitley a great book to start my challenge.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Enslaved Series by Katie Clark

This review is for all three books in this series.  This is a must read.

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Christian, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Vanquished Book 1
Imagine a future where society is divided into three classes; Lessers, Middles, and the Greaters. Every dystopian society must have someone at the top who perverts life. In this case the Greaters have control of everything that affects the Middles and Lessers including medicine that could cure people. They have also outlawed religion. In this story we meet Hana who's mother has become deathly ill. She has cancer. Hana's society is so controlled she has a curfew, isn't allowed to date, and has grown to believe everything the Greaters have told her. But, when her mom gets sick and she is told there is no medicine for her mom she begins to open her eyes and look around at what is really happening. A medic named Fischer at the hospital tells her that there is a power higher than the Greaters who can help her mom. He shows her a forbidden Bible and encourages her to seek the truth. Her eyes are opened to so many things that are wrong in her world. She realizes that a lot of what is wrong has been created by the Greaters who supposedly have society's best interest in mind.
This is a great and unique dystopian because it isn't just about questioning the upper end of society, but their forced outlawing of religion.  Unfortunately, it is beginning to parallel our world way too much.  This is a book I would definitely recommend. 

Deliverance Book 2

This book picks up right where the first one ended. In this sequel we get more of a Hunger Games feel. Hana is in the Greater City where the president takes and interest in her, just as President Snow did in The Hunger Games. However, this is not as similar to the previous mentioned series from this point forward. Hana really wants to help. Unfortunately what she does is often inadvertently  at the cost of others. She is now a 'Greater'. This puts her in a position to learn what is truly happening with the government. It also puts her in the crosshairs of the president. He knows she has become a threat. She has found a pocket of Christians that have not let the government take away their belief system. Now she must find a way to let people know what is really happening, and at the same time protect those she loves. The suspense just keeps getting higher and higher.  One suggestion for the reader is make sure you own all three books because you are going to want to read them one after another.

Redeemer Book 3
In this book there are so many changes for Hana. She's been stripped of being a Greater. This in itself opens the door for her to truly find and do what she must for the greater good of society.  This book is so suspenseful and full of twists and turns you can't put it down.  The author has done an excellent job of tying everything up. It has a very satisfying ending. This is also a series I would definitely reread. I believe every time I read it I will see something a little bit different, something I missed the first time. Will I recommend it?  You'd better believe it. I will also be looking for other books by this author in the future. She is one awesome writer.

Author Bio

Katie Clark's published works include multiple children's books including A Tour of Your Muscular and Skeletal Systems, Animal Actors, Police Horses, and more. She is available for classroom visits and Skype chats to discuss her books. 

You can find her in the following places:


Book Trailers
Enslaved Series
Beguiled Series

Friday, December 23, 2011

Multiple Reviews: Random Souls, Scored, The Goodbye Man

It is my hope and desire that I can read and post 2 - 3 book reviews throughout my winter break.  My family has given me the gift of quiet.  They are leaving me alone to do what I love best.  Read and write.  So here are three more books that I have read and reviewed. As you can see, I am a very eclectic reader.

Random Souls - Deanna Rutledge
Publisher:  WestBow Press
Pages:  320
Source:  Review copy from author
Genre:  Adult, Christian, Realistic Fiction

In This Day and Age, it is not uncommon to turn on the television and find a scandal involving a church or members of its staff.  So it is with "Random Souls".  Aloha Community church is no stranger to scandal.  This tends to make the congregation stay alert.  Then we have Miss Lottie.  She seems to always be on the lookout for the negative or evil that may or may not exist.  She isn't content to look for trouble, she gossips about what she "thinks" is happening.  When Pastor Jason makes a mistake in the way he handled a situation with a woman he was counseling, Lottie sees it, puts her own spin on it and then her tongue goes to wagging.  God uses Pastor Jason and the events that threaten to destroy this church to actually begin the healing process.  Lives are changed because God shows that love conquers all.  Love for fellow man and church.  This was a wonderfully written book.  It demonstrates how rumors can ruin a church.    I whole-heartedly recommend this book.

Scored – Lauren McLaughlin
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages:  240
Source:  I received a copy from The Picnic Basket for review
Genre:  YA, Dystopian

From Goodreads:
Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily foreseeable future.

My Thoughts:
As a teacher, I’m always trying to get my students to work hard.  We all know that the state test scores determine so much for a student.  It looks like someone finally wondered what it would be like if we went to the extreme and came up with this awesome book.  Imagine a world where you are continuously watched and judged.  Imani is a teenager who has bought into the whole ScoreCorp garbage.  Why?  She has a high score.  Everything affects your scores,  who you are friends with, who you date, who you work with or help in school.  There is no privacy.   Step out of line and you could ruin your whole life.  Of course, isn’t it funny that ScoreCorp is the one in control?  Only the rich can afford to go to college.  If you want a chance then your parents must agree to have you scored.  Imani’s score drops.  She is paired with Diego to complete a project.  Diego doesn’t have a score because his family is filthy rich.  This pairing up opens Imani’s eyes to many things that are going on around her.

I have to say this would be a wonderful book to read together in class.  The debates that could occur would be great.  I could see picking an issue from the book and using Socratic circles to discuss those issues.  I guess I see it this way because I am a teacher and we see so much pressure put on teachers and students about test scores.  I think this is a book that parents, teachers and students will enjoy.
I hope there is more from this author on this topic.  If not I look forward to reading more of her work.

The Goodbye Man – Chad Barton
Publisher:  AuthorHouse
Pages:  220
Source:  I received a review copy from his publicist
Genre:  Adult Thriller

From Amazon:
As more people filled the packed church, Jack was forced to move down the wall toward the front, until he was very near the altar. From that vantage point, he could see the young mother's face. He found himself staring at her, unable to look away. He didn't know why. Perhaps it was the terrible sadness in her face. He watched her intently as she clutched a little brown teddy bear and a picture of her daughter, who now lay only feet away in a small casket. The size of it made him wince. Jack felt the anger rise within him At sixty years old, Jack Steele has long since retired from putting criminals-especially those that hurt children-in prison. Following his retirement from law enforcement, he built a successful multimillion-dollar company, allowing him financial freedom in his golden years. Following the unexpected loss of his wife, Sarah, however, he withdraws into himself. He becomes a loner whose only companion is his German shepherd, Sadie. Sick of a court system that lets monsters out of prison to torture and kill again and again, he decides there is only one way to stop them. Using his own resources, his credentials as a retired police officer, and his .380 Walther, he and his dog begin to hunt-bringing justice to those whom the system cannot control. After all, enough is enough.

My Thoughts:
The Goodbye Man is one of those books that makes you think about heinous crimes and vigilantes.  As I read about Jack Steele who takes justice into his own hands I thought back to all of the Charles Bronson movies I watched when I was younger.  I understood why he exacted justice, yet I did not completely agree with it.  If we let vigilantes rule the world we go back to the beginnings of the Old West days when people exacted their own justice. In the book, I understood the Jack’s feelings.  Let me give you a personal example. 

I graduated with a young man who was nice looking, extremely polite, expected to marry his high school sweetheart and become a success.  He did all of that.  His wife, also a girl I graduated with was best friends with a family with whom I attended church.  This young couple often babysat the niece of this family.  When this man’s marriage began to fail, his wife temporarily moved in with her friends.  Out of anger and revenge toward his wife, he picked the young girl he had babysat up on her way home from school.  No problem for her, no fear, she had been picked up by him before.  This six foot two, 280-pound man raped, murdered and cut up the body of this sweet little seven year old.  I was devastated when she went missing as we had lost a young girl who lived at the end of our street the year before. They hunted for her.  The parents who were in the Bahamas trying to reconcile their own marriage flew back.  A month later hunters found the girls body.  When the young man was convicted, I danced around the room.  We had the electric chair at that time and I watched for years as he sat on death row waiting his turn.  When it finally came, I was glued to the TV because I wanted to know it was over.  The funny thing is, I was not thrilled like I figured I would be.  My heart ached because another family had lost a child.  True it was due to  his own fault.  The young girl’s family had met with this young man on several occasions and let him know that they forgave him.  They were vilified for doing such a thing.  As a Christian, I understood why they did so, and understood why I felt so bad about my own feelings.  Do I believe in capital punishment?  You bet I do.  However, I have known of several cases where people were wrongfully convicted, served time and released and then the courts system comes back and says, “Oh yeah, we found the guilty party but didn’t have enough evidence at the time and someone had to pay.”  That was a true story.  That person’s life was ruined.  His reputation was ruined.  It didn’t matter what the law said, because they had been convicted, so there had to have been some element of truth to the matter.  On the other hand, I have seen people go free on technicalities or lack of good evidence only to repeat the same offence.  We all want to see justice done.

Now that I’ve gotten off my high horse let me finish my review.  The characters were well fleshed out and it was an on the edge of your seat read for me.  It kept emotions flowing throughout.   I did enjoy it for that very reason.  I enjoyed it because I know the difference between fiction and reality.  I can justify reading something like this because we all feel like Jack Steele at times.  It gives us an out for those feelings.  Would I recommend this book?  You had better believe it.  If I didn’t like crime novels like this, I wouldn’t read them in the first place.  This was a very good book and I will definitely read anything else this author writes.  I highly recommended it.