“Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

2767052

The Hunger Games follows the story of a 16-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen living in a dystopic society that was once North America. This society is sharply divided between those who live in the capital and rule, thus enjoying all the comforts and benefits society has to offer and those who live in the districts and are ruled, living in abject poverty and fear. Once a year the capital selects a boy and a girl ages 12-18 from each district to compete in a fight to the death called the Hunger Games from which there can be only one victor. When Katniss’ sister is chosen Katniss volunteers in her place setting up a cascade of events which eventually lead to her becoming a symbol of hope for the people of the Districts and the leader of a resistance movement. I chose this book because I enjoy science fiction and books about dystopic societies.  The book was interesting to me because it explored the idea of social classes. It highlights how the ruling class reaps the benefits from the labor of the working class and why it is imperative for them to maintain the current class structure to ensure the continuation of their comfortable way of life. I would recommend this book for people who enjoy works of fiction and those who enjoy books that are critical of current social structures.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Tyler M.

“1984” by George Orwell

5472

The novel 1984, written by George Orwell, explores the concept of authoritarianism and its effects on the individual in society. The protagonist Winston Smith attempts to express himself against a society that ultimately determines his thoughts, actions, and role in this fictional society. As I cheered on Winston to overcome Big Brother and the oppressive regime, Orwell raised some thought provoking questions about society and its danger against the sovereignty of the individual. How can we trust “the truth”? Is “the truth” absolute when all evidence is skewed towards that absolute? Is our society comparative to the nightmare scenario of 1984? Readers that can appreciate philosophical concepts encompassed within an intriguing narrative and enjoy novels that leave them asking for more will enjoy this novel. At least that’s what I felt when I read Orwell’s 1984 and I’m sure that you will as well.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Tyler M.

 

“The Last Book in the Universe” by Rodman Philbrick

924194

Rodman Philbrick’s dystopian novel, The Last Book in the Universe, is a narrative framed in a dystopian future, in which escaping reality has become the primary form of entertainment. Due to divisive class separations leaving the less fortunate to struggle for survival in the “Urb” while the upper class live prosperously in the city of “Eden”, the less fortunate are desperate for even a short reprieve from their daily difficulties. This escape is achieved in the form of “mind probes”, drugs that are taken by many as they allow their users to experience realistic hallucinations of more peaceful, enjoyable lives.

The story follows the main character, a teenager called “Spaz” due to his epileptic seizures. Throughout his travels, Spaz makes many new friends, the most notable of them being Ryter, an elderly man with an intense passion for pieces of literature. This is a strange and intriguing hobby to Spaz as, in this largely apocalyptic world, reading has essentially been abandoned. The story follows Spaz as he embarks on a high-stakes, danger-filled journey with his newfound friends in his attempt to forever change the dismal world they are stuck in.

Another theme integrated throughout The Last Book in the Universe that I felt made the book captivating was the idea of genetic engineering. The privileged in this strange society are not just separated by money, but are also separated from the people of the “Urb” on a genetic level. The “proovs” who inhabit Eden are genetically altered to be superior both mentally and physically to the average person. I felt as though this was an interesting topic as many recent biological advancements suggest that the bioengineering of human beings could soon be a real possibility. Though largely grounded in fiction, I found the idea of genetically modified people playing a significant role in shaping society intriguing when considering the futuristic ramifications this type of science may one day actually impose on our society.

I would recommend this book to young adults who thoroughly enjoy novels that belong to the sci-fi genre. The Last Book in the Universe is a short read, but filled with plot turns and near-death encounters that make for a gripping story that many young readers are sure to enjoy.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“The Death Cure” by James Dashner

7864437

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

7631105

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

6186357

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.

“Noggin” by John Corey Whaley

Noggin

Travis Coates is sixteen when he is diagnosed with cancer. No treatment helps slow down the cancer cells, so Travis agrees to participate in a cryogenic reanimation experiment where a group of scientists are trying to bring back people from the dead. When Travis dies, his head is removed from his body and frozen since his brain is the only area of his body that is not affected by the cancer. Five years later, Travis wakes up in a hospital alive with his head surgically attached to a different body. He instantly becomes famous for being the second person to have successfully been brought back from the dead. Travis struggles with integrating back into daily life; his best friends are now in college and his extended family is in shock which makes it harder for Travis to accept that he can’t pick up his life where he left off when he died.

This book explores the intriguing scientific concept of bringing people back to life. The book feels like a modern twist on Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein; while Travis’s reanimation is an amazing scientific feat, his family and friends have mixed reactions to his return. Most of the characters are glad that Travis came back to life, but they also struggle psychologically because it is hard for them to accept that someone they have grieved over is now back, alive. Even though Travis is gone for five years, he is still sixteen mentally and he has trouble processing that people have moved on with their lives after his death. He tries to get back together with his old girlfriend Cate multiple times, even though she moved on and is engaged to somebody else. This book shows that coming back from the dead has both positive and negative effects on friends and family members. Anybody who is interested in medical advancements and future technology should check out Noggin.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Caylee P.