Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

The Maze Runner book jacket
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I started reading this book in 2012, just a few years before the movie was released. This book is a personal favorite of mine that I have read over and over again. This dystopian story follows a boy who was placed in the center of a maze with several other boys and follows his journey as he uncovers dark truths and attempts to escape the maze. Personally, I love the attention to detail in this book and how it keeps you on your seat throughout the story all the way to the end. In no way was this book predictable. When I first read this book I wasn't aware that it was of a series, so I was delighted to find out there were more books because of how great of a story it was. I would recommend this book to tweens and up since there is some mature material such as fighting and dying (it doesn't go into gory detail). Overall, this is a great read that I would personally highly recommend!

Reviewer's Name: Ashley
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In a perfect world where overpopulation is the only problem, an elite group of unbiased assassins called Scyths are expected to “glean” the population to keep it at a manageable level. This is by far one of the best young adult sci-fi books that I've ever read. With its fast-paced plot, Scythe is a captivating story of two teenagers faced with enormous responsibility and life-or-death consequences. I have a soft spot for skillful world-building, action, and fleeting romance; this book was a masterful concoction of all three! Also, on a personal note, I have read far too many books with idiotic plot twists. I am pleased to say that this was not one of them. Get ready for an addicting read, as this book isn't easy to set down.

Reviewer's Name: Kate
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an incredible book full of suspense, surprise, and action! It was one of the best books I have read this year and I would strongly recommend it to dystopian lovers.
In a post-nuclear war world, there are twelve districts and the capital that are safe enough for people to live in, and every year the government holds a competition between 12-18 year-olds. A fight to the death, and the winner gets to live a peaceful, worry-free life away from the stress and labor of the districts. Everyone of age is entered into the drawing and when Katniss Everdeen's younger sister is chosen to take part in the Hunger Games she takes her place. Now Katniss faces stronger, faster, and better opponents, and the capital's clever propaganda. She must do all she can to survive.
I liked this book because the author did well at portraying the emotions of the characters and they were all so relatable. Hunger Games is a great read that kept me up all night. I decided on this book because of amazing recommendations and because I love dystopian books, Be warned... it measures up to its greatness! I would recommend 12+ for this book because it gets a little violent and the idea of kids being put in a competition to kill each other is a little dark. Overall this book is brilliant and worthy of recognition! Hunger Games was very surprising and I enjoyed the storyline very much. I would certainly suggest this book to you!
Reviewer Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Divergent book jacket
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of the best books I've read this year. It is action-packed and entertaining throughout the whole book.
Split into 5 different factions, or branches, based on your personality and character traits, Beatrice (Tris) Prior is a danger to all of society. She is what's known as Divergent, someone who doesn't fit into one of the preset sections in the civilization. Forced to hide it or face certain death, Tris decides to become a Dauntless, the faction favoring the brave. She faces a dangerous initiation there, in which she must face her fears and become a true Dauntless or live factionless forever. Soon the world becomes more dangerous for the Divergent and she must do everything possible to survive.
I liked this book because it's very attention-grabbing, it was a book I could escape into. It had very cool fighting and training scenes and was so detailed and relatable that I knew how Tris felt half of the time. The book had me hooked and up all night reading it. I think the author did an excellent job with all of the characters and plots that went into the book. I picked this book because I wanted a good dystopian book and I was not disappointed! Divergent is extremely well written, suspenseful, and quick... You will never want to put it down. This book comes with a great storyline and just the right amount of romance to add to the overall brilliance of it all. By the end, you will adore all the characters and it will leave you longing for more. (It's a 4-book series with 3 movies :) If you love a good young adult, dystopian, romance this book is for you!

Reviewer Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Fahrenheit 451 book jacket
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian novel written in 1953. Although some of the concepts and references are harder to understand due to when the story is written, it still holds many good messages relevant today. In this novel, books are banned, and firefighters burn houses with books inside instead of saving them. They are the protectors of happiness because books make people unhappy. Fahrenheit 451 follows a fireman, Guy Montag, as he starts asking questions about his job and society. This novel has many hidden meanings and is worth the time to read. The author does a beautiful job of keeping the writing and concepts simple enough for younger audiences. Overall, I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book was pretty good. It was a little harder to get into than I thought it would be. The plot of the story was all about these animals on a farm, and how they wanted to have equality with the farmer. It is an old book that was written in 1945, but I thought it was really crazy how it is similar to some of the modern day issues the world is facing. My big sister has read it and we talked about it a lot, I think it is a better book for adults than for teen agers (I'm 14). The ending was not what I expected.
- almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
The Handmaid's Tale
Atwood, Margaret
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Handmaid's Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, is a fictional account of Offred, who is a handmaid that lives in a dystopian society. A handmaid is a woman whose purpose is to have a child. Offred is conflicted with her job; she is separated from her lover, Luke and her child, thinking that they are dead but hoping they are alive. The new government slowly took away power from females until the females are essentially powerless. I chose the book because my Aunt recommended it to me. One thing I liked about the book was that the ending was essentially left to the reader's judgment. As a male, it gave me helpful insights to events that are happening right now that I never would have thought about.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
The Giver book jacket
Lowry, Lois
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I picked The Giver by Lois Lowry because it is on the Skyview Middle School Battle of the Books list. All books from this list have been amazing, and this particular one has a main character with the same name as my brother: Jonas. I enjoyed hearing about their way of life, the simplicity yet complexity of it. I also liked how everyone knew when to apologize, and everything about their life and job. Each job in the Community is given to a person who seems they would enjoy it. However, as the book goes on, you see the compassion of the community, or lack thereof. This book was very surprising to me at first. But it was easy to guess what was going to happen in Chapter 20 after the events of Chapter 19. I do find it a not very relatable book, but it does remind me of history. Seemingly perfect, wealthy, kind countries with dark, gaping holes underneath the pretty exterior. The ending of this book, I feel, is incomplete. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

(Grade: 7)

Reviewer's Name: Ruby
1984 book jacket
Orwell, George
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

1984 is kind of a dystopian novel written in the 1940's about the 1980s. It's not the "Hunger Games" type of novel (which I also don't really like), where a bunch of teenagers overthrow the corrupt government. It's about a middle aged man living in a society where a Stalin-like figure rules. It is kind of a depressing book, and for the most part is kind of slow and uneventful. Overall, while this book makes some interesting points, I don't know if I would recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Emani
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Giver is an eloquent novel that contains a meaning that eludes to a greater concept. It contains several twists that are revealed at the end making the book an interesting and exciting read. At the beginning of the novel, you are shown a world of gray and conformity, yet as the story progresses, you are introduced into a world of color and prominence. The characters are what make the book the great piece it is, and the way they are written allows you to relate to each of the characters. Overall an excellent book that I would absolutely read again.

Reviewer's Name: Veronica
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a novel following a group of farm animals who want to topple their human farmer's regime, creating a society that is perfect for themselves. While Animal Farm starts off a bit ridiculous, using pigs and other farm animals as the main characters of the story, I think that Orwell using farm animals to explain the message of his story was actually very imaginative, and made the story much more intriguing and unique. Since Animal Farm's main theme is about revolution and the obstruction of democracy, I enjoyed analyzing the symbolism that was placed in the novel, seeing the hidden parallels between the farm animals and the historical events that were occurring during that time. I liked being able to link events from the story to real historical events, such as the communist movement, the Soviet Union, and World War 2. Personally, I think that Orwell's technique in linking his novel to these historical events by using only symbolism was very creative and was written in a very thoughtful and intelligent way. Seeing how some of the book events contrasted with historical events was very strange and interesting for me, and it made me wonder how Orwell could have even thought of linking the two subject matters by only using farm animals.
Overall, I would recommend this classic novel to anyone who is open to an interesting and thought-provoking read.

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Awards:
Morning Star
Brown, Pierce
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

After a year being tortured by Adrius Augustus, better known as The Jackal, Darrow has escaped capture and resumed his campaign against the tyrannical rule of the Sovereign of the Society. But Darrow isn't the man he was a year ago: he's been broken down, dehumanized, and kept in a dark cell for over a year, and now has more doubts than ever. The people he thought were his best friends betrayed him, and the last time he saw the woman he loves, she was walking away from him after learning the truth about his Carving. While Darrow knows that he is likely the last chance at destroying the Society and bringing peace, his own self-doubts and struggles could be the thing that gets him killed.

Compared to the first two books of the trilogy, this book's plot is slower and admittedly, harder to get through. I did appreciate how there is more of a focus on Darrrow's growth from a teenager to a man, and his overall growth in shifting from fighting for himself to fighting for others and a better world for everyone, not just the Reds. However, the book is lengthy and I felt there was an unnecessary amount of "fluff" and plot points that weren't relevant to the overarching plot of the novel. The ending was nice (if not bittersweet), and I'm content with where each of the characters ended.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The House of the Scorpion book jacket
Farmer, Nancy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The House of Scorpion is a book set in the future in a place called Opium with a boy named Mateo who is a clone of a huge drug lord who goes by "El Patron". This book has always been a favorite of mine since I read in 6th grade for the first time, it stuck out to me because the creativity, plot, setting, it is such a fun book to read and the book also has a sequel, so its great that the book continues. There wasn't really a time I disliked the book, it always had my attention, and I think that truly matters when reading a book. I choose this book not only because its a childhood fave but I feel like others might love to read this book as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name: Makaia
Thunderhead book jacket
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The sequel to the dystopian novel, Scythe, Thunderhead delves deeper into Citra and Rowan's stories. Citra, now newly ordained Scythe Anastasia, is an up-and-coming junior Scythe, and already has begun to stir the pot in the community. With her unique gleanings, and progressive thoughts and opinions, Citra becomes a highly respected and wise Scythe, a Scythe who even the Thunderhead recognizes of value. Rowan on the other hand, after escaping the Scythedom, becomes the feared Scythe Lucifer, a black-cloaked vigilante Scythe who gleans Scythes that are driven by corruption. An equally as fast-paced and page-turning novel as the first book in the trilogy, Thunderhead was a fantastic installment to the series. I especially loved how this novel dived deeper into the inter-workings of the Thunderhead, and it's thoughts and opinions. I found it to be very interesting to see how an inanimate being like the Thunderhead, could still have morals and a conscience. This book, just like the first book in the Scythe series, was just as beautifully written, and the plot twists continue to be well developed and unexpected. The cliffhanger was also very interesting, and it was enjoyable to see the Thunderhead and it's "character development" that led to said cliffhanger. Overall, this novel was just as good as the first book in the trilogy, and I could not recommend it more.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

It's hard to express how beautifully written this book is. A novel that follows a dystopian plotline where the world has found a way to eliminate all diseases and achieve immortality, from start to finish, Shusterman keeps you hooked. We meet two teenagers, Rowan and Citra, both of whom are selected to become "Scythes," people whose jobs are to randomly kill, keeping the population under control. While the plot sounds intriguing, the way Shusterman tells the story makes it even more so. The extensively detailed world-building that was created in this story was beautiful and made the novel seem thought-provokingly realistic. I couldn't wrap my head around on how the author could think up of such creative details, such as the rules all Scythes must follow, and the premise of "splatting" and "gleaning." While the novel is supposed to be fantasy, it's written in a way that seems all too realistic. The way Shusterman writes makes all of his characters come to life, and the small details he injects into characters makes them seem shiveringly human. While reading, I completely could understand each and every character (even the minor ones) and their actions. Every single character in this novel is written in a completely realistic way-- fatal flaws and all.
The plot twists also completely awed me. Scythe is one of those novels that sprinkle in tiny minor hints that may seem insignificant at first, but come together to form a huge, whopping plot twist. I can honestly say that before actually reading the twists, I would have never guessed any of them. The plot also flowed very naturally, so much so that all the twists included all seemed to be important, and not just stuck in for shock factor. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the journal entries written before/after each chapter, and when reading them, I was awed at the depth and meaning included in them. It's pretty rare for a book to make you think so hard, but this book was one that made me contemplate many, many things. I would recommend this book for anyone, and although it's listed as Teen Fiction or YA, I believe that due to the very meaningful way this story is written, anyone can read this novel, also including the next two books included in the trilogy.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Hunger Games book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Hunger Games is a thrilling novel that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I read it. It is a dystopian fiction novel with lots of action aspects as well. I chose this book because I heard many great things about it, and I absolutely loved it!
In the setting of The Hunger Games, there are 12 Districts that the people live in. Many years before the story takes place, there were 13 Districts. However, there was a rebellion against the government, and the Districts lost and the 13th District perished. The government holds annual Hunger Games to remind the citizens what happened during the rebellion. The Hunger Games takes two kids from each District and force them to compete in a fight to the death match in an arena. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute when her little sister’s name is drawn during the Choosing Ceremony. During the Hunger Games, she makes friends and enemies, and learns some of the schemes behind the government.

This novel was so entertaining and I was hoping that it would never end. I think people who like action and dystopian novels would like this book, and if they don’t mind some violence.

Reviewer Grade: 8.

Reviewer's Name: Beatriz
Golden Son book jacket
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The second book in the Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son continues Darrow's quest to tear apart the Society from within. After having succeeded at the Institute, Darrow is now serving as a lancer in the House of Augustus. A Peerless Scarred of the Academy, his goal is to kill off the Bellona family before they kill him, and overthrow ArchGovernor Augustus of Mars. However, when a mishap throws his plan into jeopardy, Darrow finds himself leading a civil war among the Golds. While he's one step closer to overthrowing the tyrannical rule of the Golds, is at worth it at the cost of losing his friends, love, and loyalty?

Just like the first book, I couldn't set this one down once I started reading it! It's action packed and kept me on my toes the entire time, and the sci-fi elements were fantastical and literally out of this world. I like reading about Darrow's growth and how he's come to trust and see friendship in the Golds, and that while he's still fighting for the same purpose, he's opened his heart to the possibility of reforming the Golds rather than destroying them. Overall, the book is a great reference to power struggles and the inequity of class divisions. I loved all the allusions to Greek mythology, and the philosophical quotes and pieces. I can't wait to read book three and see Darrow's dream finally come true!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Selection
Cass, Kiera
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Selection by Kiera Cass is a teen-romance novel, following protagonist America Singer. America, along with 34 other girls is chosen to compete in The Selection. The Selection is a chance for these girls, coming from all sorts of social classes to seize a position in royalty. But for Prince Maxon, The Selection is a chance for him to find true love. We join America and the other girls as they journey to the royal palace to meet the Prince and compete for a chance to become future Queen of the kingdom of Ilea.
When I was reading The Selection, it reminded me a lot of the premise of The Bachelor. 35 girls all competing for the hand of a handsome prince? Sounds pretty much like the plot of a reality TV show to me!
And just like a reality TV show, I found myself completely hooked on this series. There was drama, romance, friendships, and even a hint of politics in this first book of the series. And even though some parts of the novel felt very cheesy and overdone, I couldn't help but want more. The Selection is the sort of book that you pick up for some lighthearted fun, just as you would binge a trashy reality TV show. While I definitely wouldn't recommend The Selection if you want something deeply moving, I'd make sure to give it a try if you're looking for something easy and fun to read to get you out of a reading slump.The Selection by Kiera Cass is a teen-romance novel, following protagonist America Singer. America, along with 34 other girls is chosen to compete in The Selection. The Selection is a chance for these girls, coming from all sorts of social classes to seize a position in royalty. But for Prince Maxon, The Selection is a chance for him to find true love. We join America and the other girls as they journey to the royal palace to meet the Prince and compete for a chance to become future Queen of the kingdom of Ilea.
When I was reading The Selection, it reminded me a lot of the premise of The Bachelor. 35 girls all competing for the hand of a handsome prince? Sounds pretty much like the plot of a reality TV show to me!
And just like a reality TV show, I found myself completely hooked on this series. There was drama, romance, friendships, and even a hint of politics in this first book of the series. And even though some parts of the novel felt very cheesy and overdone, I couldn't help but want more. The Selection is the sort of book that you pick up for some lighthearted fun, just as you would binge a trashy reality TV show. While I definitely wouldn't recommend The Selection if you want something deeply moving, I'd make sure to give it a try if you're looking for something easy and fun to read to get you out of a reading slump.

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I picked this because the plot seemed very captivating, and it turns out it was! I also picked this because it was a different genre than what I normally read. The book kept me very hooked and contained many plot twists. Divergent has easily become one of my favorite books of all time.
The setting is a dystopian setting, in a post-apocalyptic era in Chicago. Society is divided into factions, which members stay in their whole lives after the Choosing Ceremony. Depending on which faction you are in, you abide by different rules. Tris Prior got an unusual result from her aptitude test, a dangerous result called Divergent. This means that she doesn’t belong to one faction. She transfers factions and does her best to keep her Divergence a secret, all the while making friends, and enemies, in her new faction. And then war breaks out, and suddenly, her Divergence comes in handy.
This book is absolutely amazing and kept me hooked the entire time. I was actually disappointed when I finished it because I wanted to keep reading, but it is one of the best books I have ever read.
Reviewer Grade: 8.

Reviewer's Name: Beatriz
Legend
Lu, Marie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Legend by Marie Lu is a dystopian novel with its own flair. Some dystopians can feel the same, but Legend is unlike any other. We follow June and Day who couldn’t be more polar opposites. June will someday become the best general the Republic has seen and Day is the Republics most wanted criminal. Yet, they cross paths and June’s ultimate goal is to take down Day. Like a classic dystopian, this novel will take you through twists and turns and you will never expect how it ends. I loved this book because of the relationship June and Day have. I highly recommend this book to anybody who love dystopian novels.

Reviewer's Name: Jaala