“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins

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Following the events of the original hunger games, catching fire brings more action, story, and plot to the expanding universe of the hunger games franchise. Katniss, after surviving the 74th hunger games, enter into a special 75th game in which all of the previous winners participate. Catching fire again examines the class difference between the elites in the capital and the lower class’ that live in the 13 districts except this time the resistance within the districts are struggling to fight against the government. The themes in this novel consist of societal analysis on the social economic divide between these two types of people and the actions necessary to balance back the scales of justice. I would suggest this book to those who read the first book and enjoyed it. I would also suggest this book and the previous book in the series to those who are interested in dystopian societies.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Tyler M.

“La Lìnea” by Ann Jaramillo

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 The novel La Lìnea by Ann Jaramillo, tells the story of two young children who attempt to cross borders in order to improve their circumstances and join their parents in the United States. Elena and Miguel are two teenaged children who live with their grandmother in Mexico after their parents moved to the United States in order to better benefit their family’s financial and societal conditions. When Miguel receives word from his parents that he is now able to come and join them in the United States, he is delighted and anxious to come, not knowing that his younger sister Elena is planning on unexpectedly joining him on his journey. Together the two face many perilous obstacles during their travels as they try to give themselves the opportunity to improve upon their lives.

I chose to read this book since it depicts a very commonplace situation of less fortunate people fleeing to foreign countries as a means of improving their current economic and social situations, yet in a more adolescent-appropriate manner. Especially in the present political climate, being able to understand and empathize with the plight of refugees forced to leave their homes in search of solace is of vital importance. The serious and dangerous conditions the two young protagonists of the book are faced with clearly depict the suffering and risk that innocent people must endure with the hope of eventually reaching comfort and normality. I found reading this book to be very rewarding and insightful, and I would recommend it be read by people whom wish to know more intimate details of crossing the Mexico-United States border that is still an age appropriate story.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“The Death Cure” by James Dashner

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The final installment of the Maze Runner series, The Death Cure, was comprised of gripping characters, nail-biting suspense, and constant page-turning plot lines. The story continued to detail the fateful encounters and occurrences of the main characters, focusing primarily on their fallout’s and friendships with Thomas. Thomas works relentlessly to uncover the true intentions behind the actions of the company WICKED, and to gain a better understanding of why the maze was built in the first place. The book keeps the readers asking questions about what WICKED is actually trying to accomplish, making all the more of an impact when Thomas finally discovers the truth and WICKED’s master plan is revealed.

The hard-to-put-down final book of the series told the heart-wrenching and heart-warming fates of the characters that the readers had grown so attached to. Between the shocking plot twists, chilling descriptions of the main group’s encounters with the mind-addled cranks, and revelations about the motivations driving the initial experimentation, the book was both very enjoyable and exciting.

I would recommend that people who want a fast-paced, action-packed story read this book. The ending was rather harrowing, but the story leading up to it involved the readers experiencing a wide range of emotions and always being on the edge of their seat not knowing what to expect next. For those who want to invest themselves in an exhilarating story, The Death Cure is a must read.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“The Scorch Trials” by James Dashner

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In the second installment of the Maze Runner series, The Scorch Trials, the book delves into the story exactly where it previously had ended. Now that Thomas and the other “gladers” have escaped the maze, it is unclear if they have truly found their freedom. The characters are, for the first time, seeing the real world effects of the havoc that the disastrous sun flares have wreaked on people, while simultaneously trying to figure out if the WICKED company is attempting to help or harm them.

The “gladers”, who once felt as though the maze was full of the most unimaginable terrors possible, are quickly finding out that the world might have become even worse since they left it.  Additionally, Thomas undergoes his own personal problems as he is still only able to access partial, unclear memories, and cannot manage to understand the strange actions of both the WICKED organization and his friends.

This sequential book, that follows the hugely popular Maze Runner provides just as much of a captivating, action-oriented, plot line overflowing with suspense, shocking realizations, and betrayals. Those who enjoyed the first book are sure to find the second one equally enthralling as it continues the series’ theme of cliffhanger endings.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

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The book, The Maze Runner, by James Dashner is an exciting action-based novel set in a dystopian future. After waking up in what seems to be an elevator taking him to an unknown location with absolutely no recollection of who he is, the novel’s main character, Thomas, finds himself in the strange world of the “Glade”. Surrounded by a multitude of other teenage boys who all arrived under similar circumstances and work in the Glade serving different jobs, Thomas tries to find his place amongst his new peers. When an unconscious girl arrives in the elevator the next day, confusion ensues and Thomas is made an outcast. While attempting to find his footing in his strange new surroundings, Thomas must learn to assimilate while simultaneously figuring out the truth behind how all of the so called “Gladers” ended up in this strange situation.

This book initially caught my attention when I read that it was a YA novel about a dystopia. While this is a common mantra today for young adult books, the idea of the main group of characters being initially isolated from civilization, was a very interesting twist on a more commonplace theme. After I began reading the book, I found that Dashner had an interesting writing style in which he truly captured the motivations and aspirations of the characters when writing from their points of view. This along with the bone-chilling cliffhanger that the story closed on made for a compelling read. I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed similar novels about dystopias, such as the Hunger Games series, since I found that the book The Maze Runner was rather reminiscent of the series.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“Black Widow: Forever Red” by Margaret Stohl

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Eight years ago, Natasha Romanoff is sent to Ukraine to kill Ivan Somodorov, the man who trained her to become a Black Widow. S.H.I.E.L.D. has discovered that Ivan was trying to create more Black Widows, and cannot let that happen. Natasha rescues a young girl, Ava Orlova, from Ivan’s hideout before the base explodes. Natasha promises young Ava that she will always watch over her because they are both “Ivan’s girls”. Fast forward to the present and Ava Orlova is now a teenager who lives on the streets after escaping from a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house. She has dreams of a boy named Alex Manor, and she goes to a fencing competition in Philadelphia to attempt to meet him. When she meets him, he doesn’t recognize Ava at all, and she wonders why she is having dreams of him. When she tries registering for the competition, the lady running the registration table turns out to be Natasha, and she tells Ava that Ivan has sent men to kidnap her because he wants to continue testing on Ava. They go to the roof to escape from the men when Alex Manor appears because he was concerned about Ava. The three of them get to safety, and Alex joins Ava and Natasha to finish Ivan off once and for all.

Teens that are fans of Marvel comics or the Marvel cinematic universe will enjoy this story about the Black Widow. Marvel fans will pick up on the subtle references to the Avengers that other teens may not; those who have never seen a Marvel movie or have never read a Marvel comic may want to do a little research if they are interested in picking up this novel. Stohl’s version of Natasha Romanoff is up to par with the Natasha Romanoff portrayed in the Marvel cinematic universe and the comics, and the bits of Russian spoken by the characters make them seem even more realistic. Each chapter starts off with an excerpt of an interrogation of Natasha Romanoff by S.H.I.E.L.D., and they are meant to tell Natasha’s reflection on the events that have occurred in the novel. The ending will contain unexpected events, and it will be heart wrenching for some readers. Teens who want more Marvel stories should check this book out.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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In the year 2575, Kady and Ezra are barely on speaking terms after breaking up. They are forced together when their planet is attacked and they must evacuate to a space fleet. The fleet is trying to outrun the enemy, but they’re losing ground, and no one in command will say what’s really going on. Kady turns to hacking to see if she can dig up the truth from the ship’s data, while Ezra is made a pilot and sent to defend the fleet. They both soon realize the situation is far more dangerous than anyone thought. A plague has broken out on a ship in the fleet and is spreading at an alarming rate, and the fleet’s artificial intelligence seems to be turning against them all. As things get worse, Kady and Ezra realize that working together may be the only way they can survive.

Illuminae is an adrenaline rush of a novel told through the fleet’s hacked documents, including reports, interviews, maps, private emails, and messages. It keeps you guessing from start to finish as pieces of the bigger picture are revealed one by one through the documents. Kady and Ezra are working to save the fleet – as well as their relationship. At first, their conversations start out awkward, as they haven’t spoken to each other in a while, but as they go on, they warm up to each other again, exchanging witty banter and stories from their past. Illuminae is an incredible sci-fi thriller that really makes you feel the fear, grief, and hope along with the characters, and ultimately leaves you needing to get your hands on the next book in the trilogy ASAP. If you liked the The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey with its mind-blowing twists and turns and characters struggling to balance love and survival, I would definitely recommend reading Illuminae.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Jillian D.