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Category Archives: Young Adult

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Ship Breaker: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Audible Studios, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 9 hours and 8 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Audible.com Release Date: May 4, 2010, ASIN: B003KWL65SBook Review

In a dystopic society set in the future where the gap between the wealthy and the poor is vast and impassible, and the world has been depleted of natural resources, life for the poor is almost unbearable. Nailer, a fifteen year old boy, tries to exist working as a ship breaker on the south-east coast of North America. He, along with his crew mates, scavenge abandoned oil tankers for anything of value. It is imperative they meet the quota set by their bosses, or they could end up discarded, and become beach rats with nothing. Nailer not only has to deliver the goods, but he has to do this while avoiding his drug-crazed and violent father. So what will Nailer do when faced with a choice between killing a beautiful but helpless rich girl his own age, or letting the swank live and watch his chance for the easy life slip away?

Paolo Bacigalupi has been nominated, and has won, many awards for his work. For Ship Breaker he won the Michael L. Printz Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2011. Bacigalupi has written 5 novels including Ship Breaker, with a 6th one on its way, and he has written numerous short stories. He writes primarily biopunk, science fiction, and young-adult stories. Ship Breaker is a young-adult science fiction story told in a third-person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Nailer.

There are many fascinating aspects to this story. The setting is well thought out and the characters are well developed. The reader is immediately drawn into the story right from the first page when Nailer is introduced climbing through a service duct tugging at copper wire. The story shows both the depth of despair that the people working on the salvage rigs face, as well as the intensity of the connection between the people working together as crew.

This is a dystopian society that takes place many years in the future, yet it is also a story about people. I really enjoyed this novel, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading YA dystopian stories. I rate this book as a very good read, and I am looking forward to reading more stories by Palol Bacigalupi.

 

 

To purchase Ship Breaker from Amazon, click here

 

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Sabriel by Garth Nix

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Abhorsen Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in The Abhorsen Trilogy
Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (August 23, 1997), Paperback: 496 pages, ISBN-10: 0064471837, ISBN-13: 978-0064471831

Sabriel is a necromancer, but instead of raising the dead, she returns the dead back into the grave.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult fantasy novels and series, including: the Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the Kingdom. Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy and it is told in a third person narrative from the perspective of the main protagonist, a young woman who can control the dead. The story takes place in a world filled with magic that can be controlled through sound. Particularly the sound created by whistling or bells.

The story was intriguing from the first page.  The characters were all interesting and the concept of the world was unique and captivating. I was never too sure where the story was going but I was anxiously turning each page to find out what was going to happen next.  There was plenty of action during the fight scenes against the dead.

“Sabriel” is a standalone novel. There are two other books in the series, but each has its own characters and storyline, which only lightly touch each other. I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase: “Sabriel” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Lorien Legacies
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Power of Six: 2 Treasure Boxes
Book Two of the Lorien Legacies

 

John, AKA Number Four, has joined forces with Six and now the charm is broken, they are no longer protected. Instead, with the help of John’s human best friend, Sam and his shape-shifting dog, they are devising a plan to defeat the Mogadorians. But first they need to evade the evil aliens, who seem to be everywhere. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Number Seven, AKA Marina of the Sea, has her own problems but she is certain that John is Loric and is desperately trying to figure out how to contact him.

The Power of Six was much better than the first book, I Am Number Four. There were more characters, which made the story more interesting, and we learned a bit more about the deeper story. Also there was lots of action, which was exciting. I recommend The Power of Six as a good read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Rise of Nine.

 

 

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I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Lorien Legacies
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of I Am Number Four : 2 Treasure Boxes
Book one of The Lorien Legacies Series
Publisher: Harper Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 11 hours and 24 minutes, ASIN: B003YV7AKK

John Smith is one of nine children from the planet Lorien. This small group of aliens came to earth about 10 years ago, seeking refuge because their planet was destroyed by evil, extraterrestrial beings, the Mogadorians. These nine children, now all teenagers, have been isolated from each other and living incognito. Up until now, this has been necessary to ensure their safety and to allow them to develop their legacies, or super-human powers. However due to a powerful charm, the Loriens can only be destroyed in a certain order, and children one through three have all been murdered. John is next, because he is number four.

Pittacus Lore is the pen name for the dual writing team of James Frey and Jobie Hughes who wrote the young adult science fiction series, The Lorien Legacies. Not only is Pittacus Lore the name of the author, but he also plays a character in the series, a Loric Elder, from the Planet Lorien. I Am Number Four is the first book in the series, and to date three books additional books have been released. The story takes place on earth, and is told in a first person narrative by John Smith, a 15 year old teenager from the planet Lorien. James Frey is also the author of A Million Little Pieces; a book that was originally, inaccurately released as a memoir, because many details in the book are fictional.

John and his Lorien teacher and protector, Henri have never stayed in any one place for more than a few months. They know that the Mogadorians are hunting them, but when they come to a small town in Ohio, things start going wrong. This story has an interesting concept, but it is not very original. The book spends a little too much time in exposition and not enough in real character development. In some ways the characters are a little too stereotypical, and although the writing is fairly weak the story was still captivating.  I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

The book was good enough to entice me to start the next book in the series, The Power of Six. If you enjoy young adult, science fiction then you will enjoy this book.  If you enjoyed The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge then you will really enjoy I Am Number Four, because it is a much better story yet it is similar in many ways. I recommend this book as a good read.

To purchase I Am Number Four from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Maya’s Notebook: 2 Treasure Boxes

Maya, a young woman turning 20, has made a mess out of her life and needs to hide away in a small village in Chili to avoid the FBI and the mob. Her ruminations during this time are reflection in Maya’s Notebook and include her conclusions about life, death and love. Maya may be a spoiled brat but still I cheered for her and I enjoyed the story. I recommend Maya’s notebook as a good read.

 

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Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amsden

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Cassie Scot Series
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book 1 of the Cassie Scot Series
Publisher: Twilight Times Books; First edition (April 4, 2013,) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 484 KB, ASIN: B00C7VR69I

Cassie Scot, a “normal” young woman, is a misfit both within her family and within the community. She is the sole ungifted person among a family of powerful sorcerers. She has become a private investigator and although she advertises that she will only work on normal cases, she gets pulled into solving a paranormal mystery. While she is struggling to find her way, and her independence, she becomes entangled with a handsome, but mysterious sorcerer.

Christine Amsden has written both science fiction and fantasy. Recently she released a science fiction book, The Immortality VirusCassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective is the first book of four expected books in The Cassie Scot Series and is a contemporary fantasy. The story is told in a first person narrative from the main protagonist, Cassie Scot. Books two to four, have been written and are expected to be released over the next few months. The expected titles are: Secrets and Lies, Mind Games, and Dreamer.

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective is a twist on the contemporary fantasy genre. The main protagonist, Cassie, has no magical abilities, but she fully understands how the paranormal world operates. She is doing her best to find acceptance in the magical world and within her own family, while at the same time, protecting herself against magical attacks.  Cassie is a likeable person and her character is well developed. One of the themes in this book is family relationships. The story was interesting and I found it hard to put down.

This is not a standalone story, but is an intriguing beginning. I recommend Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective as a very good read and it is a great start to what proffers to be an interesting series. The book captured my attention from the first page and the story included several surprising twists and turns. I am looking forward to the next book, Secrets and Lies, because I am curious to see how Cassie is going to deal with the situation she now finds herself.

To Purchase: “Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Keys to the Kingdom

Book Review

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Keys to the Kingdom, Book Two
Publisher: Listening Library, Audible Audio Edition, Release Date: March 31, 2004, Listening Length: 6 hours and 52 minutes (336 pages), ASIN: B0001ZZ054

Grim Tuesday, the keeper of the Second Key is threatening Arthur’s family and the only way Arthur can protect them, and himself,  is to return to the House. The House is the center of the universe and the source of all creation. Arthur has only been home a few hours, but once again he must leave earth, and with Susie’s help, he must defeat Grim Tuesday in order to save his family and stop the universe from unraveling.  In Mister Monday, Arthur defeated the holder of the First Key, became the Lord of the Lower House, and has started to repair the damage that has occurred to the House and the denizens. He left some capable and trustworthy people in charge for several years so he could return to Earth and have some time to grow up.  However, Grim Tuesday has his own plans, which include retrieving the Key and Lordship of the the Lower House.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult books and series including: The Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the KingdomGrim Tuesday is the second of seven books in The Keys to the Kingdom series and it is a fantasy story that is told in the third person narrative primarily from the point of view of the main protagonist, a 12 year old boy named Arthur Penhaligon. This book is good for grades 5 to 8, can be considered a Young Adult fantasy, but it can also be enjoyed by adults.

I enjoyed this story, but I did not think it was as good as the first book because it followed the same format. There were some engaging characters, like Tom Shelvocke the Mariner, who is the second son of the Architect, and Suzy Turquoise Blue. Overall, the story was interesting and kept me wondering how it was all going to end. The beginning started with plenty of action and then the story progressed with steady momentum until the final conclusion. There were plenty of obstacles along the way and the ending was quite exciting. I was intrigued with the concept of nothing, where globuals of nothing floated around and destroyed whatever they touched. This nothing is also at the basis of  creation, with the concept that first there is nothing and then it turns into matter, creating whatever is required.

The story has a good and satisfying ending, but it is clearly just part of a bigger story. The end introduces Drowned Wednesday, the next book in the series as well as the holder of the Third Key.  I recommend Grim Tuesday as a good read, and I am looking forward to see where this story is going. I am planning to read the next book in the series.

To Purchase: “Grim Tuesday” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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The Tower by Jade Varden

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Deck of Lies

Book Review: 2 Treasure Box Rating
Deck of Lies, Book 2
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2012), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 361 KB, Print Length: 162 pages, ASIN: B007RTX4V4

While Rain is figuring out who she and her family really are, she is also trying to find Laurel Riordan’s killer. Rain knows that the answer to these questions will either lead her out from under the craziness her life has become or will send her further down the spiral into doom.

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, currently there are 3 books in the series with book 4 coming soon. The books are YA fiction and are told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist.

The story continues in this installment and it becomes more interesting and convoluted as it unfolds. While Rain is working through the lies that created her life, she remains relatively unchanged. Her name may have grown and changed but she is still the same person.. Once again there were many surprising and shocking events, with an interlocking connection appearing between the characters.

This is not a standalone novel, and in fact it ended with a cliff-hanger. I am curious to find out what happens next and where this story is going to end. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

To Purchase: “The Tower” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Justice by Jade Varden

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Deck of Lies

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Deck of Lies, book #1
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 23, 2012), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 364 KB, Print Length: 154 pages, ASIN: B006PW51F6

Rain Ramey received a scholarship to the Sloane Academy, but when she arrived the other students made it very clear, that she didn’t belong. Rain’s whole life falls apart after the Queen Bee of the school plays a dirty trick on her.

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, currently there are 3 books in the series with book 4 coming soon. The books are YA fiction and are told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist.

Justice is captivating, but at times it was surreal, and had a soap opera feel. Rain is a likeable teenager who faces numerous challenges after it is revealed that her whole life has been a lie. There were numerous moments when I was shocked at the outcome. The story has several twists and turns, some expected, but others were totally unforeseen.

This is not a standalone book, but it is an intriguing start to an entertaining series. As soon as I completed this book, I quickly picked up the second book in the series, The Tower. I recommend this book as a good read.

To Purchase: “Justice” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Daniel X Series

Book Review: 0 Treasure Box/0 Trash Cans

First Book in the Daniel X Series

Publisher: Hachette Audio, Listening Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes (272 pages), ASIN: B001D066JU

Daniel X, a young man, is on his own and he has super powers. A praying mantis-type alien (The Prayer) murdered Daniel’s parents when he was just a child. Now Daniel is slowly and methodically seeking out and eliminating aliens, while he searches for The Prayer.

There are currently four books in this series with book five expected to be released sometime in 2012. Each book was co-written with Mr. Patterson with a different co-author. These books are science fiction and they are told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, the young man Daniel. His last name is unknown, hence the “X”. Mr. Patterson has written numerous books in the young adult, fantasy and science fiction realms. Most of these have been co-authorized by various individuals, which explains the profusion of books that he is able to crank out. Note some of the books are better than others.

The story was initially interesting, but as the plot unfolded, there were numerous plot holes. I liked the overall premise of this book, but I found that the execution was really weak.

I did not think the story was well told, but it did have some redeeming qualities. I was curious to see where it was going, and this kept me engaged, but I was disappointed with the ending. I would not recommend this book or series.

To Purchase: “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X” from Amazon, click here or on picture above.

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