Hill W. (2011). Department Nineteen. NY: RazorBill.
Jamie Carpenter is a teenager who lives a terrible life. His father was a terrorist and ever since the day Jamie saw him getting gunned down on their home’s driveway, Jamie and his mother have been moving from house to house around the county alway being shunned and hated by everybody. So when Jamie’s mother gets kidnapped by vampires, Jamie meets Frankenstein, and is told about an incredibly secret government organization that keeps the country safe from vampires, it’s just another horrific day in Jaimie’s life. In order to save his mother, Jamie must join Department 19, a government organization that was founded years ago by the people who found and killed Dracula. Luckily enough for Jamie, Department 19 is stacked with weapons and equipment designed for killing zombies and together with Frankenstein and their only lead being Continue reading
Sanderson B. (2013). Steelheart. NY: Delacorte Press.
David was just a child when the first Epics came. A huge object called Calamity appeared in the sky, and only a year later, select people all around the world gained supernatural powers and abilities. Unfortunately the power corrupted, driving the Epics to greed and power. Steelheart is one such Epic whom David had the misfortune to meet one fateful day at a bank. It was two years after the Calamity and the world was mostly the same. David was at the bank with his father when an Epic named Deathpoint strolls in and claims the city, telling everyone that he rules over them. Just seconds later, however, an invincible, incredibly powerful Epic named Steelheart comes flying in to confront Deathpoint. Steelheart reclaims the city for himself and gives Deathpoint a choice, serve him or die. As the government soldiers come crashing through the door and chaos ensues, something incredible happens: Continue reading
Walters E. (2014). The Rule of Three. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR).
The Rule of Three dictates that you can last three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. It’s a harsh, yet realistic survival rule that normal people don’t have to worry about on a day to day basis. Adam, the main character of this book, is a rule abiding student at his high-school working on a paper with his best friend Tom when the power goes off. What he and everybody else naturally thinks is a power-outage quickly escalates into a bigger problem as other people realize that not only are phones dead but cars as well. In his rush to get home and pick up his little brother and sister in his super old car that’s somehow still working, Adam realizes that anything at all with a computer in it is broken. As more and more other people realize this, chaos escalates as people rush to gather supplies and valuable items. Once Adam gets home he sees his neighbour Herb who quickly tells Adam to drive him to a store so he can buy chlorine tablets. Confused, Adam does so and it’s only until afterwards on their way home that Herb tells him the purpose of the chlorine tablets. Herb explains that Continue reading
Takano, I. (2008). Dreamin’ Sun Vol 1. LA: Seven Seas.
Shōjo manga is manga targeted at the teenage female demographic. I gravitated toward this cute cover with a pink background and read from right to left about how Shimana Kameko feels out of place in her own home now that her mother has passed away and her father remarried. She runs away to a park and begins speaking to a strange man in a kimono. Old Fujiwara Taiga offers to help her on three conditions: Kameko must tell him why she ran away from home, she must go find his lost apartment key, and she must have a dream. Kameko fulfills the three Continue reading
Snyder, L. (2017). Orphan Island. MA: Walden Pond Press.
On a special island, only orphaned children live, dropped off one by one, once a year A green boat arrives on the shores, always through thick mist, and drops off the youngest islander and takes away the oldest. The island itself is a safe paradise where no one ever gets hurt by an animal or anything else. The kids may squabble, but nothing major ever happens
The eldest of the nine children living there has the responsibility of teaching the newest arrival. Throughout the story, Jinny, the eldest, is guiding little Ess. When it is Jinny’s turn to board the green boat that arrives as sure as the sun Continue reading
Silvera A. (2017). They Both Die at the End. NY: HarperTeen.
It’s the near future and in this future, the government knows when everyone dies. At around midnight two teens Rufus and Mateo receive the dreaded phone call from Death-Cast Organization claiming that they are both going to die today. They aren’t told how or exactly when they will die, only that there is no stopping it. Both have decided that they don’t want to spend their last Continue reading
Levithan D. (2012). Every Day. NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers.
Now a movie, the sci-fi concept behind this young adult love story is that there is a spirit who wakes up in a different body each day. One day the spirit wakes in the body of someone with a girlfriend. Upon meeting her and spending the most beautiful day together, he falls in love. Unfortunately she attributes his romantic nature to her boyfriend, not the spirit. He spends awhile waking up in different bodies, always going to her, finding her and attempting to convince her of what’s going on. You can imagine some of the funny conversations and disbelief on her part!
Every Day integrates interesting topics throughout as we see the spirit enter different bodies. This “what if” science fiction novel explores what it means to be genderless, without a body, and without a family.
Glaser, M. (2017). The Book Jumper. NY: Feiwel & Friends.
This is one you’ve got to read if you’re a bibliophile and you liked the concept of Inkheart. In The Book Jumper, Amy Lennox and her mother pick up and travel from Germany to her grandmother’s house on the Scottish island of Stormsay. She’s not looking forward to it, and upon arrival her grandmother already has one rule in place – she must read. Except Amy discovers she has the power to jump into books and interact with the characters! In fact, she discovers her family shares this skill and they are also keepers of an antiquated library. Amy quickly learns that a book jumper’s duty is to insure important ideas aren’t stolen from books; indeed, there is a book thief on the prowl. She meets another book jumper, Will, and together they travel from world to world, meeting famous characters and fighting to save crucial ideas before the books themselves are lost forever.
Incredibly crafted and plot-driven, this story is unique enough to keep you happy. I especially found myself wrapped up in the Gothic island setting.
Salerni, D. (2014). Little Monsters. NY: Harper Collins.
Jax Aubrey is a normal orphaned kid. He goes to school, wears normal clothes and hates his incompetent guardian Riley Pendare. On the day after his thirteenth birthday however he wakes up to find out that everybody is gone. Naturally Jax thinks it’s the apocalypse and runs around like crazy until he holes up in his room with a load of supplies. When he wakes up the next day though everybody is back and acting like nothing happened. At this point Jax thinks he’s gone insane. It takes a whole week for Jax to finally find out what’s going on, and to his surprise Riley has the answer. Riley tells Jax that the day everyone had disappeared was called Grunsday. A few people, including Riley himself, called Transitioners have the ability to transition from the real world over to Grunsday, a world where Continue reading
Kaufman A. & Kristoff J. (2015). Illuminae. New York: Ember.
Illuminae is a stunning book about an illegal mining colony that gets attacked by a rival mining corporation. The plot is told in an unusual fashion, as the book does not contain the normal word after word story. Instead it is mostly comprised of several chat rooms, emails, maps, interviews, transcripts, etc. This style of telling the story makes a real impact and you feel like you’re right there experiencing these events with the characters. The story follows two main characters, Kady, onboard a science vessel called The Hypatia and Ezra, onboard an attack vessel called The Alexander. They’re just two of the thousands of refugees that escaped the attack. Now they’re part of a heavily damaged fleet that’s slowly limping towards safety, a wormhole station called Heimdall, with an attack vessel, The Lincoln, slowly closing in to mop up the mess. If they don’t think of something to get to the wormhole in time, The Lincoln will destroy the fleet, killing everyone. It feels like it couldn’t get any worse, except it could. From a faulty and somewhat lethal Continue reading