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Our Favorite Reads: Teens
by Nancy Farmer; Simon Pulse, 2004
A review by Madelyn Folino, Director
This title for 8th graders on our local school’s summer reading list caught my eye and I’m very glad it did. Originally published in 2002, Farmer’s dystopian sci-fi novel was a Newbery Honor Book, Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book for Young Adults and the National Book Award Winner for Young Adults. It is also a riveting read for adults. One hundred years in the future, a young boy named Matt lives in Opium, a poppy growing fiefdom that lies between the U.S. and Aztlan, the country once known as Mexico. El Patron, a sinister dictator who is 143 years old, and other “farmers” rule over Opium and control vast armies of “eejits,” unlucky northbound migrants who after capture and implantation of computer chips provide slave labor for their empire. As Matt comes of age, he struggles to understand why he is called “mi vida” by the doting El Patron, yet pitied and despised by others. He wants to know, but is afraid to learn, what being a clone really means. Farmer’s characters are sympathetic and the issues raised by the novel will be of interest not only to teen readers, but to any adult who wonders about the future of the U.S. and Mexico and how their fates might converge. This novel is reminiscent of 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World, but updated with an appealing young protagonist.
by Michael Scott; Delacorte Press, c2012
A review by Ashley Baroch, Library Assistant
This is the sixth novel and final installment of the series: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. For those of you who don’t know Nicholas Flamel, he was originally a character in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Michael Scott decided to expand upon J.K. Rowling’s character and tell Nicholas’ story. The series follows Nicholas and his wife, Perenelle, who have lived for close to 600 years without aging thanks to a Codex written by Abraham the Mage. The mysterious Codex is at the heart of the series as the Flamels were entrusted to keep it safe and out of the hands of evil humans, Immortals, Elders and Dark Elders. Along with the Codex, Nicholas and Perenelle are on the search for the Silver and Gold twins of legend who will save all humanity from destruction. I don’t want to give away the plot of the whole series as each book ends with a cliffhanger. I will reveal that the Flamels have encountered twins Josh and Sophie Newman whom they believe might be the true twins of legend. Each installment brings new characters into play and if you are a history buff, you will like the twist Michael Scott gives them. Along the journey to The Enchantress the reader meets such notable figures as: William Shakespeare, Prometheus, Joan of Arc, Dr. Dee, Machiavelli and a few others that make the reader go “ah ha”. As the Flamels try to awaken the powers of Josh and Sophie, they encounter many mishaps and adventures to thwart the bad guys and save humanity. The Enchantress is an entertaining book with lots of action, insightful encounters and interesting plots and is excellent conclusion to a wild fantasy through history. On one hand, this reviewer is glad to have a conclusion, but on the other, wish there were more to read. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!
by A.C. Gaughen; Walker Books for Young Readers, 2012
A review by Ashley Baroch, Library Assistant
This is a YA novel that takes the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men and gives it a twist for teen girls everywhere to enjoy. The story is told from the perspective of Will Scarlet aka Scar. Scar is good at two things: stealing and keeping secrets. The biggest secret of them all is that Scar is really a girl. She hides her figure under wraps and her long brown hair under a hat. Only Rob (Robin of Locksley) knows her true gender. Along with John Little and a one-handed boy named Much, they form the band that rob the rich and give to the poor. The band is out to thwart the evil Sheriff of Nottingham at every turn for his outrageous tax demands on the poor people of Nottingham. They do a pretty good job together, causing the Sheriff to employ Guy of Gisbourne, the “thief taker”. The novel weaves an interesting dynamic between Scar, Rob, John and Guy of Gisbourne, especially after John Little “discovers” Scar is really a woman. This novel has all the romps, romance and thrills of the original Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. I give this novel 2 snaps and a whoop whoop!
by Veronica Roth; Katherine Tegen Books, 2011
A review by Meg Sgombick, Library Assistant
In her debut novel, Divergent, Veronica Roth has penned a winner! Set in a future Chicago, 16 year old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life. Each of the five factions are dedicated to a particular virtue; Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). For Beatrice the decision is made more difficult when she discovers that she is not normal and does not fit into any one group. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation period Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to fit into the new life she has chosen. But she also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. She discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. This dystopian thriller will have you eagerly reaching for the sequel!!