Dystopian

Book Review: 1984

1984
Author: 
Orwell, George
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

George Orwell depicts a horrific and terrifying alternate reality of 1984.
After years of war and conflict, the world is governed by three totalitarian regimes. The one that our main character, Winston Smith, resides under is ruled by the “party” and its leader “Big Brother”. The narrative follows Winston as he meets a mysterious woman named Julia, and the two begin to secretly rebel.
When I first started reading this book, I was a little bit disappointed. I had such high expectations (I think that was the problem) ,and it just didn’t live up to them. In the beginning, I thought Winston’s character was somewhat flat, and I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for what he was living through. I thought Julia was unrealistic and a bit obnoxious. But in the second half of the book, my opinions had changed. The book becomes quite disturbing, and it makes you question what is actually real and what is just a fabrication of the party. It’s terrifying to say the least. Despite the fact that I enjoyed parts of this book, I have to rate it 3 stars because I wasn’t engaged in the first half of the narrative.

Reviewer's Name: 
Sophie L

Book Review: Plague

Plague book cover
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The thrilling Gone series continues with this fourth book, and Grant does not disappoint. This series has been one of my favorites and Plague is no exception. As a highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate and predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach, morale continues to drop.
However, Sam, Astrid, and even Caine are determined to find a way to survive.
Everyone must make difficult decisions when it comes to saving themselves and those they love. Grant has written another phenomenal dystopian horror with suspense around every corner. I highly recommend this book to all high school aged readers.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: The Storm

The Storm
Author: 
Bergin, Virginia
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Sequel to "H2O", "The Storm" continues the story of a newly distopian Earth where the rain kills. This book focuses on the bonds of family in crisis, or lack thereof, and the pursuit of survival. Like "H2O" I would call "The Storm" a dystopian thriller with a hint of romance. Not only are all the characters in peril, but they are on their own without any governmental aid.

Truly a fascinating story that will make you uneasy around water.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K

Book Review: The Selection

The Selection
Author: 
Cass, Kiera
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I can honestly say that this book is my favorite book that I have ever read.
The selection is a book about a class system that divides society into groups within a monarchy. However, the extremely handsome Prince Maxon is holding a selection process to find his next princess. Thirty-five girls from all classes are selected to stay in the palace with Maxon for a chance and being his wife. America Singer is from one of the lowest classes, but by staying true to herself and never conforming to the Prince’s wishes she catches his eye. After a spark ignites in and Maxon falls in love with America, he struggles to decide if she will be suitable for the kingdom and fit to rule by his side.
Reviewer Grade:12

Reviewer's Name: 
Madison S

Book Review: The Hive

Hive Book Cover
Author: 
Lyga, Barry
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

In the near future, an app called BLINQ tracks all social media usage and amalgamates posts from a number of platforms. On BLINQ, you can vote to condemn a person for their social media output – if a person’s condemns to likes ratio gets out of balance, they’ll find themself condemned in real life. For example, a person who ignominiously dumps their partner on Facebook might find themself getting physically dumped in the trash. The punishment is designed to fit the crime. Called the Hive, its something our lead Cassie loved to participate in – until all of a sudden, it wasn’t. After a racy tweet, Cassie finds herself the target of the Hive, but her punishment is more severe than all that have come before it: death.

This was a fast paced, enjoyable dystopia which was a good change of pace from my normal fare of fantasy. I think teens are going to love it. Aside from a few horrendous decisions, our lead Cassie is likable, smart (ostensibly, anyway) and her experiences navigating a new high school will resonate with teens. As Cassie spends most of the book running for her life, it will definitely appeal to thriller fans or those that need their books to be very plot based. I read the book in a day or two even though I had a good idea of how it was going to play out. Little attention is given to the supporting characters, though the book did also present a few chapters from Cassie’s mom’s perspective, which I loved. The authors did a great job portraying a somewhat fraught mother-daughter relationship. There’s though-provoking, if heavy handed, social commentary to be found as well, and I think this book will stick with some readers long after they've turned the last page.

Ultimately, though, the book had what I’m going to call the “Scythe” problem: the premise just wasn’t believable. The Hive was certainly believable – its basically a physical manifestation of the shame that we’re willing to dole out to strangers online (if you’d like a great non-fiction read on the topic, try So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson ). Did I for one second think that the first person to get the death penalty would be a teenage girl who tweeted something offensive? I did not. I had trouble getting over that.

TLDR: If you liked The Maze Runner, Divergent or yes, Scythe, you should definitely check out this thrilling dystopia.
Lots of teens will love this one, but it didn’t do it for me – 2 stars. It was ok.

Thanks to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Hive will be released on 03 September but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: The Warehouse

Author: 
Hart, Rob
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Imagine a world where Amazon controls pretty much everything (its really not hard to do, right?). They are the only large employer, and they have managed to put just about every other retail company out of business. Most folks who need employment have to head to their nearest Cloud center (Amazon = Cloud), apply, and hope against hope they are accepted. This is the fate of our two main protagonists, Zinnia and Paxton. Paxton wants more than anything to keep his head down until he can get patent money for his invention, a business that was going well until Cloud forced him out of business. Zinnia’s reasons for working at Cloud are a bit more inspired (it would depend on your perspective) as she’s been hired to try to take Cloud down from the inside. As Paxton and Zinnia are thrown together, both will come to realize that the Cloud was more insidious than they thought and they’ll have to sacrifice more than they’re comfortable with the bring it down.

I read this book right after watching John Oliver’s sendup of this sort of corporate culture and dang, Rob Hart did his research. His version of Amazon matches quite closely with what Oliver presents as the actual version of Amazon. I mean, it’s not great. Its really fascinating to read this near-future take on what Amazon and their ilk could mean for our country and economy as, like I said, this is a future that is really easy to imagine.

The book takes turn between Zinnia, Paxton and Gibson Wells’ (think Jeff Bezos) narratives. The characters are believable and likable enough (save Wells, but that’s obviously intentional) that I was not overly fond of one perspective over the other and never found myself racing through one perspective to get to a different one. Nonetheless, the book ends up being a quick read. It was sort of John Grisham meets Brave New World, and I was not mad about it. It’d make a fantastic movie, and clearly someone agrees with me as the author thanks Ron Howard and Bryan Glazer in his afterword.

If you are looking for a quick summer read that’ll make you think (but not too hard), this dystopian thriller will suit your needs. 4 stars – I really liked it!

Thanks to Crown and Netgalley for the free eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Warehouse will be release on 20 August, and you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
Author: 
Bradbury, Ray
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic book that most people have heard the title of. With a similar style to Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, Fahrenheit 451 takes the reader into a future where books are outlawed and the people of this alternate future are basically mindless robots. The people of this future have an intake of mindless media that even surpasses that of us currently. The main character is a firefighter but different from what we are used to. These firefighters fight with fire, burning houses and books if they are found since they are against the law. But soon after meeting a girl who does not conform to this society’s media consumption, the main character begins to rebel and go against the norm. Fahrenheit 451 is a spooky prediction of what the future will hold and after reading it, I can already see us as a society heading on this path. A truly incredible read, Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that cannot be missed.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K

Book Review: Hunger

Hunger
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Michael Grant has written another thriller with Hunger. Continuing the story of Gone, everyone is still trapped inside of the FAYZ. However, a new enemy has filled the minds of every person: hunger. As they search for a solution to their hunger, Sam, Astrid, and the others must still resist Caine and the rest of his crew as well as a powerful being known as the Darkness.
Michael Grant keeps you in suspense throughout the entire novel and will leave you hungry for more. I highly recommend this book for any high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: Gone

Gone
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Michael Grant has renewed a classic for the next generation of readers. Gone has a very similar structure to Lord of the Flies but has enhanced the story in many ways. Gone presents added science fiction elements to the story that will draw in many readers and provides conflict that will force you to keep reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, some readers may find some elements of the story slightly disturbing. Therefore, I recommend this book for high school aged readers and up.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

16 year old Katniss Everdeen has had to fend for her mom and sister, Primrose Everdeen ever since her father died in a mining accident when she was 12. She has had to learn to hunt to keep her family alive with the bow and arrows that her father made before he died. It is the Reaping, and Katniss knows she is in danger of being reaped because of her extra names in the Reaping. After her father died she was forced to sign up for more food so that she and her family could live and she will pay the price now. It is Primrose's first reaping now that she is 12, and against all odds she is reaped. But Katniss volunteers so she won't have to go the the Hunger Games were a male and female tribute for each of the 12 districts are forced into an arena to kill each other in tell one lone victor remains. But when it is time for a boy to be reaped, he has a connection to Katniss' life. His name is Peeta Mellark a boy who worked in the bakery in District 12. As they get to know each other and prepare for the games they start working together so maybe one of them can survive the games.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie M.

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