“Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

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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.

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“The Madman’s Daughter” by Megan Shepherd

Madman's Daughter Cover

When Juliet Moreau learns that her father, a scientist who has been banished from London after charges of performing unethical experiments, is alive and carrying on his work on a remote island in the South Pacific, she sets off to join him. It is not, however, the happy reunion she would have liked. Her father’s work is still shrouded in mystery and the island is populated by many unusual inhabitants. After a series of violent attacks on the residents of the island, Juliet becomes deeply suspicious of the exact nature of her father’s experiments.

Inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter has an excellent gothic-horror atmosphere. In addition, Shepherd stays true to the feel of early works of science fiction such as Wells’ novels and even Frankenstein. Although the book takes place at the end of the 19th century and the experiments described are quite fantastical, the discussion of ethics versus scientific progress is still incredibly relevant.

It was interesting to try to piece together what is actually happening on the island, and there are several truly scary moments in the novel. The Madman’s Daughter does feature the typical YA love triangle; Juliet tries to choose between her lifelong friend Montgomery, and Edward, a castaway she encounters on the way to the island. This was not my favorite aspect of the story, but overall it did not detract too much from the true strength of the novel: Shepherd’s skill in constructing a suspenseful gothic mystery. The ending will definitely leave the reader eager to begin the sequels, Her Dark Curiosity, and Her Cold Legacy, which are just as compelling.

-Check out this book or put it on hold.

–Caitlin C.