The Dog Stars

 

By Peter Heller

I found this book to be extremely moving.  While the story is both grim and bleak, it is also wondrously hopeful and beautifully written. The story is about love, courage, and finding one’s home.  It is written from the main character, Hig’s, perspective in short segments.  While the first part of the book moves at a moderate pace, the last half moves quite quickly.  Continue reading

Mockingjay

By Suzanne Collins

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Scholastic Press, 2010

Genres: Science fiction, adventure, dystopian, thriller

Series: The Hunger Games; 3

ISBN: 9780439023511

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 392

Setting: Panem – mainly District 13 & the Capitol, but also Districts 12, 8, and 2

Time period: Sometime in the future

Plot summary: Katniss must face the reality of her new situation.  She and her family are all alive and living underground in the rebel District 13.  Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.  The rebels of District 13 want Katniss to become the face of the revolution; they want her to become the “Mockingjay”, a role which has already been designed for her without her knowledge or acceptance.  The questions are: what does Katniss want?  And how will she go about getting it? Continue reading

Matched

By Ally Condie

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Dutton Books, 2010

Genres: Science fiction, dystopian, romance

Series: Matched; 1

ISBN: 9780525423645

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 369

Setting: The City & Mapletree Borough, Oria Province

Time period: An unspecified time in the future

Plot summary: Cassia Reyes lives in a perfect society.  Debilitating illnesses have been eliminated.  People die when they are old, surrounded by loved ones.  The Society makes all the decisions for everyone to ensure that everyone is contributing to The Society for the benefit of all.  This includes who people will love and to whom they will be Matched.

When Cassia learns that her Match is her best friend Xander, she is both happy and confused.  It is extremely rare for Matches to know one another from childhood.  Her confusion is magnified, however, when she looks up the information about her Match given to her by The Society at the Matching Banquet.  For a moment, she does not see Xander’s face on the screen; she sees another friend.  But how can this be?  The Society does not make mistakes. Continue reading

Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Scholastic Press, 2009

Genres: Science fiction, adventure, dystopian, thriller

Series: The Hunger Games; 2

ISBN: 9780439023498

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 391

Setting: Panem – mainly District 12 & the Capitol

Time period: Sometime in the future

Plot summary: When Katniss returns to District 12 after surviving the Capitol’s Hunger Games, all she wants is for her life to be as it was prior to the games.  Unfortunately, this can never be.  As victors, she and Peeta must live as such.  And while the Capitol’s audience was quite convinced by Katniss and Peeta’s undying love for one another throughout the games, President Snow was not.  He tells Katniss this personally just prior to her and Peeta’s Victory Tour through the districts.  He also mentions that some of the districts have had uprisings and threatens to harm Katniss’s family if she doesn’t comply with his wishes. Continue reading

Bones of Faerie

By Janni Lee Simner

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Random House, 2009

Genres: Fantasy, dark fantasy, faerie tale, dystopian

Series: A sequel – Faerie Winter – is due to be published in April, 2011

ISBN: 9780375845635

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 247

Setting: St. Louis, Missouri area

Time period: About twenty years in the future

Plot summary: Many years after the war between humans and Faerie has ended, humans are still wary of any kind of magic.  Everyone knows that magic is evil – at least that’s what fifteen year old Liza has been taught.  This is why when Liza’s sister was born with Faerie clear hair, she was left on a hillside to die; shortly after this, Liza’s mother disappeared.  When Liza starts having magical visions she must leave her village immediately, or risk putting herself at great harm.  Unfortunately, there is no place safe for Liza to go, for magic lurks everywhere. Continue reading

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Scholastic Inc., c2008, 2009

Genres: Science fiction, adventure, dystopian, thriller

Series: The Hunger Games; 1

ISBN: 9780439023528

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 374

Setting: District 12 & the Capitol, Panem

Time period: Sometime in the future – after “the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol” (p. 18).

Plot summary: When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, is selected as a tribute for District 12 in the Capitol’s televised Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to go instead.  With her hunting skills, Katniss has a better chance of surviving the games than her twelve year old sister.  In spite of this, it will take all of Katniss’s wits and a good amount of luck, to make it through the games alive. Continue reading

Boneshaker

By Cherie Priest

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Tor, 2009

Genres: Fantasy, steampunk, horror, science fiction, adventure

ISBN: 9780765318411

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 416

Setting: Seattle, WA

Time period: 1880

Plot summary: In an alternate history, the Klondike gold rush began a few decades earlier and brought huge numbers of people to Seattle.  Commissioned by the Russians, Leviticus Blue built a giant drill capable of penetrating the thick Klondike ice to reach the gold below.  However, when Levi takes his Incredible Bone Shaking Drill Engine for a test run in Seattle, it has dire consequences.  Not only does the Boneshaker cause massive structural damage to the city of Seattle, it also releases a poisonous gas, later named The Blight, which causes people who breathe it to turn into zombies, or rotters.

Sixteen years later, Levi’s widow, Briar Wilkes lives in the Outskirts of Seattle, which is now surrounded by a thick, massive wall to keep both the Blight and rotters inside.  When Briar’s teenage son, Zeke, decides that he wants to try and clear his father’s name for the history records, he ventures inside the walled city.  When Briar discovers where her missing son went, she also ventures inside the wall to try and find her son. Continue reading