Monday, January 31, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

In the not-too-distant future, love is classified as a disease. The scientists of the day have created a surgical procedure that will cure all citizens over the age of 18, and Lena can't wait until it's her turn. She has seen the disease ruin the lives of her mother and sister, and she welcomes the idea of being free of her emotions. That is, until Alex comes along. When Lena and Alex are alone together, she beings to feel the first symptoms of the disease. Now that she's had a taste of Amor Deliria Nervosa, can she go back to a life without it?

Dystopian fiction (the branch of Science Fiction in which a seemingly perfect and controlled world has some deeply disturbing flaws) is all the rage in teen fiction right now, and Lauren Oliver's newest addition to the genre is not to be missed. Lena and Alex are well developed characters that readers will easily identify with, and the ending will leave you begging for more. This is a must read, especially for fans of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, and Lois Lowry's The Giver.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Delphine, Vonetta and Fern have been sent from Brooklyn to Oakland to spend the summer with the mother who left them. Cecile doesn't seem to want them there. Every morning, she sends the girls away to the Black Panthers' summer camp to keep them out of her hair. Delphine is used to taking care of her younger sisters, but she can't protect them from Cecile's distant behavior. As the girls make new friends at the community center, they learn about more than just revolution and equality. They learn about who they are, and about how they can be a stronger family.

This is an aspect of the Civil Rights movement that doesn't usually make it into children's historical fiction. For that alone, I'd recommend this book. But for all the mention of the Panthers and their agenda, this is, at its heart, a book about identity and family. I think most readers will identify with Delphine's struggle to find her place in her world and in her family.

*One Crazy Summer is the winner of the Coretta Scott King award and a Newbery Honor book for 2011.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

The descendants of dragons have been in hiding for a very, very long time. There are those in the world who would hunt them, and use the magical properties of draki blood for their own purposes. After Jacinda leaves the hidden compound and has a run-in with hunters, her clan's fury forces her family to flee. Now, she's living in the desert where it's too hot to change her shape and take to the sky. The one bright spot of her exile is Will. She knows his family are dragon hunters, but she can't keep herself from thinking of him, or seeking out his company. Can the descendant of dragons ever find a way to be with the son of a dragon hunter? And can Jacinda hold her own against her clan leader, who is determined to bring her home again?

The "Romeo and Juliet" setup has been done before, and it's the basis of many paranormal romance stories. That being said, Ms. Jordan does an excellent job of holding the tension, even while the relationship is building. Fans of the Twilight series who are looking for something similar should look no further. Firelight has everything readers loved about Twilight, with a whole new creature mythology to explore.

End of the Long Hiatus

Wow. It's been 10 months since I posted my last review. I've taken my time off and gotten my head on straight, and I'm ready to jump back in with both feet! Expect at least one review here a week (more if I'm not too busy), and be sure to let me know what you think of the books I'm featuring!