Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In the After by Demitria Lunetta

What an intriguing debut novel In the After by Demitria Lunetta is! Set in the future, this dystopian piece is not to be missed. The plot is fast paced. Fans of similar titles such as The Hunger Games, Ship Breaker, and Divergent will surely enjoy this new title.

Amy Harris has survived what she believes is an alien attack. Everything that has taken place before the attack is referred to as Before whereas her existence after the attack is The After. The aliens are extremely gross looking, incredibly fast, and completely unstoppable. The only way to survive is to not draw their attention. If they catch you, their only thought is to consume you. Yes, they survive by eating humans! So how do you avoid being noticed by them? You are completely silent! You never talk! You avoid the daylight when they roam for their human prey.
It helps immensely that Amy’s house has an electrified fence around it. It also helps that Amy is very smart. She observes the behavior of the aliens and learns how to survive. In one of her roaming missions to find canned food, she comes across a baby in what was a supermarket. Amy has no idea how the toddler has been able to survive on her own, but she is more than delighted to have a human with whom to interact and learn to love.

Have others also survived the aliens? If they have, where are they? How can Amy and Baby find them? Is there any hope for existence or is this the end of the world?

Warning: these creatures are merciless! They are described in detail. Some may find this too graphic.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Survivors by Will Weaver

The Survivors by Will Weaver is a sequel to The Memory Boy. My major dilemma as a reader of this realistic fiction piece was that Will Weaver wrote it in 2012 yet set the story in 2008. The entire premise of the story rests upon a world forever changed due to an environmental disaster—volcanic eruption-- that has caused the climate to change. As readers deeply enter into a story, we have to be able to suspend our disbelief and enter into the world created for us in the book. My personal problem was how to enter into the story when I lived through 2008 and this environmental disaster never took place.

Given that problem with the setting of the novel, I can’t give it a stellar rating. Here is what I can say about the title.
It is about a family from Minneapolis, Minnesota who find themselves thrust back to living off the grid in a shack previously owned by a Mr. Kurz. Since the family can’t live in their plush suburban home due to the lack of electricity, heat, food sources, etc., they are forced to survive through nature by hunting and trapping. Miles, the teenage son, is the source of knowledge for the family. He has Mr. Kurz’s journals that tell how to live off the land. He met Mr. Kurz when he volunteered in a nursing home. Sarah, Miles’ younger sister, clearly has the most attitude adjustment to make in regards to their predicament. Their parents, Nat and Artie, clearly find it difficult to make the changes that will help them all survive the bitter winter.

I think students might enjoy the book more than I did as they will probably not be as bothered by the flaw of setting this novel in 2008 when everyone knows no volcanic disaster occurred.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Endearing is how I would describe this realistic chick lit title The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen.

 Emaline lives with her dad (who adopted her when she was three), her mom Emily and two stepsisters—Margo and Amber-- in a small coastal community which comes alive during the summers as a vacation location for many. Since Emaline’s family is in the realty business, she is working during the summer following her senior year in high school as one of the go to people for anything that goes wrong in the many properties that her family’s realty company manages.
Emaline and her boyfriend of three years—Luke—have an easy going relationship that is about to see some changes as the summer season begins.

Ivy, a documentary filmmaker from New York and her intern Theo, rent Sand Dollars, one of the most exclusive properties that is managed by Emaline’s family’s business. There in the small berg called Colby, they hope to interview and film the reclusive artist named Clyde Conway. Their job proves most difficult as Clyde wants to maintain his low profile in Colby.

Will Ivy and Theo succeed in shooting their documentary? Will the people of Colby accept them? Will Emaline’s and Luke’s relationship survive the summer before they set off for college? Will the arrival of Emaline’s biological father and her stepbrother Benji cause Emaline to grow and change in unexpected ways?
Read this realistic summer chick lit title to find out!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher

Catherine Fisher has written other books that I have enjoyed including, Incarceron . I was looking forward to this new science fiction/fantasy triology which begins with Obsidian Mirror.

I found the precise very intriguing—a magical mirror that allows those with a special silver bracelet to travel through time. The protagonist, Jake Wilde, is purposely failing at his boarding school in Switzerland. When he intentionally strikes a fellow student with a sword and draws blood during a drama practice, he is sent with one of his teachers to his godfather in England. Jake believes that the godfather, renown explorer and best friend of his father, has been responsible for David Wilde’s death. Thus begins the journey to find out what really happened to Jake’s beloved father.

There are many plot twists, broken trusts, and magical creatures known as Shees. For this reason, I would only recommend this title and series to determined, mature readers. I personally felt with a better editor, Catherine Fisher’s novel would have flowed better and been less difficult to follow.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

Fifteen-year-old Deo lives in Gutu, a small village in Zimbabwe, Africa with his older brother Innocent, his mother Amai and grandfather. Deo has always taken care of and watched over his older brother. Innocent sustained some type of damage to his brain at birth.

When government soldiers in jeeps enter their small village of Gutu, Deo’s and Innocent’s lives change forever. The entire village except for the two brothers are mercilessly brutalized and killed. Thus begins the run for their lives to a new land and hopefully a new life in South Africa.
Their journey is filled with danger. Their ability to endure the hardships and perils is compelling.

Read Now Is the Time for Running to begin to try to understand what less fortunate teenagers who live under strict dictatorships have to face in order to survive.

I believe this is a must read for teens today. I am glad to see it is a Connecticut Nutmeg Nominee for 2014.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem is the final book in the Delirium triology by Lauren Oliver.

After the blitz, the United States has been divided into the Cureds (also know as zombieland due to the surgical procedure done to all teens to save them from the delirium of ever experiencing the unsettling emotiom of love) and the Invalids who have escaped the Cure and who roam the Wilds--trying to survive outside the bounds of civilization.

Alex has been reunited with Lena in the Wilds. Hana, Lena's best friend, has been given the surgical procedure and is experiencing life in a very different frame of mind. She is betrothed to Fred who will become the new mayor of Portland, Maine. Fred's father, the previous mayor, has been killed. Portland, Maine is the childhood home of both Lena and Hana.

Lauren Oliver alternates the narrator of the story by switching between the two girls for each chapter so as the reader, you can see how very difficult life in the Wilds is compared to life in Portland, for example. Yet, the fact that Hana can't really make her own decisions due to the Cure, makes the contrast between the two girls' lives even more interesting.

Fames of the first two books in the series--Delirium and Pandemonium--will be intrigued by this final volume.