Uglies book review

Uglies

Scott Westerfeld

Dystopia/Romance

425 pages

 

I love dystopian novels! They are becoming my favorite genre because it is so fun to see how different authors foresee possible futures. Uglies reminded me a lot of Matched. I started it one day and finished it the next. It follows Tally, who is about to turn 16, and subsequently, turn Pretty. When you turn 12, you are sent to Uglyville to live with all the other Uglies until you turn 16, when you become a new Pretty and move to New Pretty Town. Tally’s best friend Peris has just turned Pretty and left her all alone. That is, until she meets Shay, who shares her same birthday.

 

Tally and Shay begin doing everything together, which mostly involves pulling tricks and sneaking out at night to go to the old Rusty Ruins. The Ruins are what is left of the previous civilization that almost destroyed the world. Tally and Shay trust more in each other until Shay lets Tally know that she doesn’t plan to become Pretty, but wants to run away to a group of people who have escaped from various cities. Of course, this means that they will have to stay Uglies the rest of their lives. Shay wants Tally to go with her and run away, but Tally wants to become Pretty and join Peris. However, things don’t end up going as planned.

 

When Shay disappears, Tally suddenly becomes important enough to call on the attention of a group that no one really thought existed, the Specials. They tell her that in order to become Pretty, Tally has to betray her friend and help them discover the location of the secret city that Shay ran off to. Tally has to decide what to do, and who to honor her promises with. She promised Peris she would meet him soon as a Pretty, but she promised Shay she would keep her secret. And if she does go, what will she find when she gets there? Will it be enough to change her mind and make her want to stay?

 

I really enjoyed this book; dystopian novels are almost always a fun read, in my opinion. This is a great book for young adults, or anyone else who likes these kind of stories. If you like these kinds of books, pick it up! Especially if you liked Matched, as I said, this reminded me a lot of it. This is the first book in what was originally meant to be a trilogy, but is now a 4 piece set. I’m excited to keep reading on and see what happens in the rest of the series.

Lunch-Box Dream book review

 

Lunch-Box Dream

Tony Abbott

Race/Historical Fiction

173 pages

This novel follows two different families; one White, one Black. This is seemingly no reason for their paths to ever cross, but destiny leads them to. They are each facing their own problems and challenges; both dealing with their race and family relations. The White family goes on a road trip across the country to help their grandma relocate to Florida. The mother of this family is having obvious marriage problems that she tries to keep hidden from her two boys. The boys have problems of their own and are struggling with their won issues.

The Black family sends their boy to stay with relatives, and then they find out that he has gone missing and no one knows where he is. The family is in a panic and sets off to find him, which eventually leads the paths of the two families to cross. The end of the story remains open, but leaves the reader with a hopeful tone that everything will work out in the end.

I didn’t really love this book. I think that it carried with it a good message, and that was the intent of the author, but it just wasn’t for me. There wasn’t a whole lot of suspense, and I never even felt myself really caring about the characters in the book; I just couldn’t connect with them. For me, it wasn’t a great book, but I’m sure there are those that would enjoy it.

Michael Vey Rise of the Elgen book review

Michael Vey Rise of the Elgen

Richard Paul Evans

Science Fiction/Adventure

335 Pages

 

Michael Vey and the rest of the Electroclan are back to battle Dr. Hatch and the Elgen empire in this second installment of the series. If you liked the first book, I think you’ll like this one. I thought it was really fun and I read it over the course of a few days because I was really into it and excited to see what would happen. Michael and his friends who helped bring down the Pasadena location of the Elgen set out to do whatever it takes to find Michael’s mother. It takes them a while, but they finally find out where she is being held and realize they need to travel to South America to get her back.

 

This book is packed with excitement. When the gang gets back to Idaho to regroup, they are met with traps laid for them by the Elgen and have to use their skills and cleverness to escape more than once. Then they have to figure out how to get to South America to find Michael’s mother. While they are figuring everything out, the electric kids try to practice and expand their powers, so they will be ready to face Dr. Hatch, his electric kids, and the rest of the Elgen army. Meanwhile, joining Dr. Hatch is a new electric kid with a dangerous power of his own, making the mission even more troubling.

 

When Michael and his friends make it to South America and find the compound that his mother is being held in, they see how daunting their situation is. There are thousands of guards there, the other electric kids, and even Dr. Hatch himself. Now they have to find a way inside the heavily guarded compound, rescue Michael’s mother, and escape with everyone safely. There was a lot of adventure in this book, it was very exciting to read. They are constantly getting into trouble and hairy situations, and it is often the ones without powers, Ostin, Jack, and Wade, who are most helpful at getting past them. I was glad to see that Jack and Wade stuck with Michael and the Electoclan to help them rescue Michael’s mother. I have come to really like all the characters in the book, they each have an important role and work together great as a team.

 

This book has enough excitement and twists to keep you guessing a bit. You hope that everyone will come out all right, but there are a couple times in the book where you just don’t know if that will happen. The ending of the book was a surprise to me, not what I was expecting, but it left me excited to read the next book for sure. I just wish that I didn’t have to wait and that it was out right now! I really enjoyed both the books in this series so far, and I can’t wait until the next one!

Cut book review

Cut

Patricia McCormick

Realistic Fiction/Self-Image

157 pages

 

Callie is a young teenage girl who cuts herself. The story starts out in a rehabilitation center called Sea Pines, although the girls residing there have nicknamed it “Sick Minds.” She is staying there to get help, but not of her own free will and choice; her parents sent her there. It is not just a place for girls who are cutters like her, she is living with a group of girls with a variety of issues, such as eating disorders and other things.

 

Callie doesn’t talk – at all – for a large part of the book. It is interesting because with no spoken dialogue from her, we get to see a lot into her mind and see her point of view. When her therapist and other people are talking to her, you can see where her mind is drifting to and what she is thinking instead of outwardly vocalizing her thoughts. She is resisting treatment and seems to not want to get any help for her problem. Through therapy and her own growth, Callie finally comes to an understanding that her recovery is up to her, but entirely possible.

 

This novel helps the reader explore the mind of a troubled teen. We might not fully understand how she feels, yet some of the feelings are things that we can all relate to. You can’t help but emphasize with the character and hope that she finds her way and gets better. McCormick put a lot of work into this short novel. She talked to girls who are actually cutters to hear their stories, and make sure that the fictional story of Callie was told right. I think that this book could be a great inspiration to teens who are going through something similar, whether it be cutting or something else entirely. It has a message of hope, so that they will know that they are not alone and that there is always help for such problems and a way that they can escape and better themselves. Some of the content might be considered advanced for some readers, but I don’t see any reason why anyone who is a teen or older couldn’t enjoy reading and even learn something from this book.