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Friday, September 30, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

A "cautionary tale" that just shines...
Wow, "deadliest of all deadly things". I've read about love before, but haven't seen or heard it described like that! This is one dystopian story that focuses on the emotional connection among the characters as much as the society in which they live, which makes for a more personal and interesting story. The author does an incredible job of building a society where love in it's many forms is held up for examination...love between and by parents, siblings, friends and those of the same gender...

The storyline touches on a number of interesting ideas and perhaps the one of greatest impact, what a society is willing to give up in lieu of personal freedoms is seamlessly woven throughout to great effect. The use of characters who had never known another way of life was thought provoking when played against the lives of sympathizers and the "Invalids". As the story unfolds, the reader gets to explore the idea of how ceding human rights and humanity by allowing politicians and governments to determine what is or isn't safe is scary and [for THIS adult reader] too familiar for comfort --"a cautionary tale" indeed.

This book would be a great read-along/compare-contrast for middle school students studying the holocaust. The parallels of how a society goes about marginalizing a segment of its population (Invalids) and then determining that if they can't make them disappear from memory that deadly force against them is acceptable would lead to interesting class discussion.

Along with the bigger ideas presented in the story, other situations more familiar to the daily lives of teens are woven in as well, "I'd never understood how Hana could lie so often and so easily. But just like anything else, lying becomes easier the more you do it." hmmmm....
I will be recommending this book to teens in my library who are exploring this type of fiction. The book's references to running will likely make it 'a sure thing' for girls who love running or cross-country as a sport.

My Rating:     Category: Science Fiction, Dystopian fiction/love story

Friday, September 16, 2011

Outside the Box by Dan Allosso

Okay this one surprised me. I'd bought the book for my middle school library base upon some reviews I'd read. When book arrived, I skimmed the book and read some language and situations in a couple spots that gave me pause. Thought I'd give it a read cover-to-cover (nothing like taking something out of context and basing ones opinion of an entire book on THAT)...[a favorite activity of would-be book censors by the way]. It's true that the first part of the book describes some violent activity but it's in the context of a video game (by the way I'm SO NOT a gamer --ugh) and then the story is developed from there. I will be recommending this book some of my teen readers (probably mature 7th & 8th grade boys) for starters. Well written story and even with my non-interest in gaming the interaction among characters and situations carried the book for me and I found that I'd liked it well enough that I'll also be buying its sequel for my library. This is one of those reads that certain kids will like very much.

My rating:  
 Category: Adventure/Science Fiction