RSS

Tag Archives: young adult novel

Those who don’t learn from history are stupid

Note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) through my workplace. The book is scheduled to be released in March 2013.

The publisher Shadow Mountain has yet to fail me. When it comes to young adult fantasy and adventure, they know their stuff. Back in early 2009, they sent copies of teaser chapters from a new series by an up-and-coming author. Not one to read adult fantasy (save for the Quantum Leap books and a few others), I picked up the book sample and read it on my break. Instantly I was blown away. I wanted to continue reading beyond the two teaser chapters but the book wasn’t due to be published for another two months! Instantly, I ordered it and the day it arrived, I was eager to get home from work and start in on it. The book was The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner. He’d published a series before, but wasn’t widely known – yet. Within a year he published another book, The Maze Runner, through another publisher. It was through this new series (four books in total) that earned him the title New York Times Bestselling Author. I have every single one of his books and it is because Shadow Mountain first introduced him to me.

Then in late summer of 2011, my Community Relations Manager handed me an ARC of a book titled The Janitors by Tyler Whitesides. The publisher was Shadow Mountain so I thought I would give it a try. Once again, I was blown away by the clever and well written fantasy book!

Inventors SecretSo when my CRM told me he had an ARC from Shadow Mountain, I didn’t even ask who or what it was; I just said I wanted it. It was The Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris. Not surprisingly, I loved the book.

It’s the year 2074 and twins Abby and Derick have been admitted to the world-renown school Cragbridge, a school for gifted and talented students. Abby doesn’t believe she belongs there. It’s Derick who gets the perfect grades and programs video games. She struggles with math and has done nothing extraordinary with her life. So why is she even admitted into the school? Because her grandfather founded it.

This makes life for the socially shy Abby even more difficult. She gets ostracized by her roommate, who then tells the other girls that Abby’s at school while someone who should be there isn’t. At this point in the story, I was already emotionally attached to this young girl and my heart went out to her when people started being mean to her. But eventually Abby makes a friend, Carol, who thinks that being ordinary in a school full of extraordinary kids makes Abby special.

Like most of its students, Cragbridge is no ordinary school. Animals are studied through avatars and historic events come alive in the classroom. Thanks to the wonderful inventions from Abby and Derick’s grandfather, learning has become so much more than just reading books.

Because of his inventions, though, Oscar Cragbridge fears he is in danger. Indeed he is right; a man the reader only knows as Charles seeks to learn all of Oscar’s secrets and to get them, he traps Abby and Derick’s parents aboard Titanic three days before its doomed demise. All Abby and Derick know, though, is that their family is missing and it’s up to them to follow their grandfather’s clues to rescue them. The clues rest in various places, including books, quotes, and historic events. I won’t say how it ends but lessons are learned and there is an opening for more to come.

The book is also a clever history lesson. Morris does a great job of describing the historic events as Abby and Derick review them, making it feel as if the reader is right beside them as they watch history. One event they review is Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance being stranded in Antarctica. As I read this part of the book, I remembered my own fascination with the story when I first learned about it a few years ago (22 men stranded in Antarctica for two years and they all survived). It made me want to read even more about the event; perhaps other readers will feel the same and pick up history books after reading this one.

Fans of fantasy and adventure are sure to love this book just as much as I did. Download or buy a copy (preferably from a brick-and-mortar store) in March – you won’t regret it!

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Literature

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A million reasons to love Beth Revis

Okay, I don’t really have a million reasons, but I do have very two big ones: Across the Universe and A Million Suns.

Across the UniverseHonestly, I didn’t think I would ever read the first book. The title actually dissuaded me a little because I thought, “Well, here’s someone else trying to capitalize off  the Beatles.” But the day of its release, I read a synopsis of it on my nook and it sounded right up my alley. So I downloaded it and started reading in bed. I was so enthralled with it that I was pissed when my eyes betrayed me and decided to close up shop for 8 hours.

The worst part about any first book in a series is waiting for the next installment to come out. I’ve had friends who’ve purposefully put off reading the Harry Potter series until all 7 books were released, just so that there was no waiting. Sure, I like instant gratification, but I also kind of like all that anticipation, even though it can backfire (see yesterday’s post).

A Million SunsAfter 51 weeks of waiting, I finally got A Million Suns, the second book in the Across the Universe trilogy. Just like its predecessor, it drew me in and didn’t let go until the very end.

The book picked up a few months later from when the last book left off. Everyone on board the ship has been taken off Phydus. Complacency is no longer a norm. The Recorder Hall is filled with people every day who want to learn more about life on Earth and other topics like history and science. But with this curiosity for knowledge comes rebellion and the questioning of authority. Bartie, once a friend of Elder’s, calls for him to step down, to let a real leader emerge. Bartie doesn’t get much following at first, but once people start getting murdered, more join the ranks. Elder tries to balance between giving people freedom and controlling them so they don’t descend into complete chaos and he still plans on getting to Centari-Earth, no matter what.

Amy, meanwhile, starts exploring Godspeed more closely than before, even though things are far from safe. Luthe (now Luthor) still roams free and Amy fears he will attack her again. But Amy’s stubbornness to learn the truth will not let her stay safely locked up in the hospital. Soon she discovers secret stairwells and containment chambers, as well as clues left behind by Orion. The clue lead her and Elder to Godspeed’s biggest secret. But there’s someone on board the ship who will do anything to make sure it stays a secret. Anything.

There’s not much more that I can say about what happens in the book without spoiling it all. What I can say is this: it far exceeded my expectations. Once again, descriptions of the ship were so well written that I was able to clearly picture in my mind the new sections that were introduced. As more and more secrets of Godspeed were uncovered, the more I wanted to keep reading.

The third and final installment, Shades of Earth, is due out January 2013. It cannot come soon enough.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Literature

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Disappointment and aggravation

I finished two books this year that were both second installments of trilogies: Crossed by Ally Condie and A Million Suns by Beth Revis*. The first books in each series (Matched and Across the Universe, respectively) had the same effect on me. I didn’t want to put either down and I was excited and anxious as the release dates for the sequels drew nearer. Crossed came out first, in November of 2011. I asked for the day off work so I could download and read it without interruption. Like most books, I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it in a single day, but I figured I would get a good chunk read.

How wrong I was.

Matched was told entirely by Cassia’s point of view but Crossed took on a different format. Chapters alternated between Cassia and Ky’s points of view. Each chapter was marked by who was speaking, as books with alternating storytellers often do, but other than that, there was nothing to distinguish who was speaking. I found myself often flipping back several pages to find whose chapter it was that I was reading. The characters didn’t have their own voices. It all sounded like Cassia’s from Matched.

Then there was the action – or lack thereof. The mystery and intrigue that Matched had (who put Ky’s name in the system? Why did Grandpa have forbidden poetry? etc.) were missing largely for Crossed. Cassia and Ky are in search of each other, far from the Society where they first met. About half the book is taken up by this search, which is a lot of walking in deserts and hiding from Society spy planes. Once they find each other, the search continues for the Rising. It wasn’t until about 75 pages from the end that I started to feel that grip of intrigue pull me into the story. Something interesting was finally happening.

Despite taking the release day off to read it, I didn’t finish the book for three months. I didn’t feel the pull to not put it down. Instead, I felt the dredge of picking it up again. I had very little interest in it to keep me going. What would have taken me about a week to read took me months instead and that says a lot about the content.

But there’s still one more book in the trilogy, set to come out this November. And even though I was disappointed in Crossed, I am still curious to see what happens to Ky and Cassia and, therefore, will still download a copy of Reached. I just won’t bother taking a day off work so I can read it.

*Stay tuned for a review of A Million Suns.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Literature, Rants

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,