Escondido Public Library

 

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The Giver 

by Lois Lowry
03/24/2015 Categories: dystopia emotions & feelings ethics sci fi

The GiverThe Giver is a Newbery Medal winning novel written by the influential children’s and young adult author Lois Lowry. It tells the tale of Jonas, a boy who has lived his life in a world of perfectly crafted monotony, in a community of people who look similar to him, learn the same things as he does, and only know the world in one way- their Community, the small, enclosed city where everyone receives their role and spouse and children. He is chosen, at the age of twelve, to be an apprentice to the man known only as The Receiver- the man chosen to hold all the memories of the past, with all their pain and all of their joy. The Receiver is the one called upon to recall the memories of the past and find the wisest path in the face of a decision, and the current one is growing old and needs an heir to his title. Jonas embarks on a task that completely changes his world- as he starts to receive memories, he starts to experience things like love and colour for the first time. As he learns through tremendous joy and pain, Jonas begins to discover the sickening truths behind his Community- and starts to learn how potent the past can be.

The Giver is one of the most beautiful and moving books I have ever read. It is set in a world profoundly strange to us- there is no colour, no love, and everything is controlled. Everything is alien to our sensibilities, yet Lowry draws her readers into the mind and worldview of Jonas effortlessly. It has a sense of simple grandeur uncommon among the books that typically make it to the top of the Young Adult charts, and its heartbreaking yet ambivalent end sticks in its readers’ minds like a photograph. Jonas is at once a naïve boy and a beacon of hope for the triumph of love and emotion, and the background characters, while understandably bland, still feel real in a way.

Lois Lowry has been called the godmother of YA dystopia, and The Giver is unquestionably a shining example of her skill in telling moving stories about surreal and painful circumstances. Readers of dystopias will love experiencing the genre in its early days and exploring the roots of newer books like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy. Regardless of usual taste, The Giver is an important read for all young fiction fans.

Jake, 15

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The Things They Carried 

by Tim O'Brien
03/24/2015 Categories: military war

The Things They CarriedThe Things They Carried is a metafictional account of the lives and deaths of various men who fought in the Vietnam War. The book revolves around duty, shame, desire, "humping," memory, moral ambiguity, and the question regarding what "a true war story" consists of and the central protagonist is a fictionalized version of the author Tim O'Brien. 

Although I was required to read it for my English class, the book's unconventional plot progression kept me from getting bored. However, sometimes the author describes grotesque war happenings with such detailed language that the faint of heart may become too disgusted to continue reading - I know I did.

Those who dislike abstraction or philosophy should probably avoid this book. On the other hand, I would recommend this book to people who like to challenge their beliefs and don't mind when others wax poetic about the mundane because The Things They Carried contradicts popular conceptions of war, and because Tim O' Brien takes great liberty in analyzing certain situations from as many angles as possible and in great depth. 

Chimdi, 15

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Taken 

by Erin Bowman
03/24/2015 Categories: action adventure dystopia siblings

TakenTaken takes place in a society where all boys disappear (The Heist) on their 18th birthday. After his brother's Heist, Gray Weathersby finds a letter addressed to his brother from his deceased mother. This letter opens up doors about Gray and prompts him to discover the secrets beneath his intriguing society. 

I really enjoyed this book. The society was interesting and the story flowed smoothly.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about different kinds of societies embedded with adventure stories. The story is aimed toward a young adult audience, but anyone would enjoy it. 

Chanel, 15

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The day of their eighteenth birthday innocent boys are taken by a mysterious light from the sky. No one questions it, they just accept it. They call this The Heist. Gray Weathersby, a seventeen year old boy, is merely a couple months away from The Heist. His brother was already taken away from him and he did not want to be next. One day, Gray finds a note from his mother. After reading it, Gray starts to question the Council, his society, his family, and himself. In order to discover the truth, Gray will go on a journey that will answer all his questions.

Taken written by Erin Bowman, is an amazing novel filled with action, adventure, and romance. I enjoyed this book very much and I am very happy I gave the book a chance. I hope you do the same.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy action/romance books. I also recommend this book to readers who are 13 and up due to the romantic scenes, violence, and crude language.

Sara, 14

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Switched 

by Amanda Hocking
03/23/2015 Categories: mystery paranormal supernatural

SwitchedWendy Everly has always felt like she didn't belong. It might have had to do with the fact that her mother tried to kill her when she was six, screaming that she was a monster. Then, Wendy meets Finn, an attractive boy who seems to know more about Wendy then even she knows. She follows him and starts to discover who she really is and what she is meant to become.

I really enjoyed this book. Personally, when I first started reading it, I couldn't connect to the characters, but as the plot developed and she discovered who she really was, I felt like I could relate to her more.

I would recommend this book to any young-adult reader. It has a very interesting plot, with many twists and turns that you never would've guessed.

 Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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The Fault in Our Stars 

by John Green
03/23/2015 Categories: cancer romance

The Fault in Our StarsThe story's general plot went something like this: Two teenagers, both with cancer, meet and find love amidst the trials of their lives.

Being engaging and easy to read makes a big impact on readers, but those redeeming qualities aren't quite enough to bring this book above mediocrity. For starters, the author's portrayal of modern teenagers was completely unrealistic. Take this excerpt of Augustus's monologue: "I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you." Whew. The teenage boy who regularly spouts this kind of stuff on command is hard to find. This is only part of the immense cheesiness and feeling of insincerity that the novel exudes. 

If you are a fan of cheesiness and the cheap emotional roller coaster of most chick flicks, then I recommend staying on top of pop culture and seeing for yourself what the book with the undeserved hype is all about.

Brian, 17

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Torn 

by Amanda Hocking
03/23/2015 Categories: fantasy ghosts magic

TornIn the sequel to Switched, Wendy Everly learns more about her past and her bloodline than she ever knew possible. She finds out that she has a closer connection to the Vittra, the Trylle enemies, and is forced to choose a side and make life-changing decisions.

I did enjoy this book. It was well written and the story-line was very interesting.  I would recommend this series to many young-adult readers. It was a very interesting book set in the world of the trolls.

Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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The Treatment 

by Suzanne Young
03/17/2015 Categories: action dystopia romance suicide

The world rests in the hands of two rebels facing a problem that might end life as we know it. The Treatment is a story of two lovers who struggle to stay alive, as they face a suicide epidemic.  

The Treatment is an amazing book because it helps motivate you to not give up, no matter how bad the situation is. I loved the way the author depicted the scenes. The well thought-out descriptions allowed me to imagine what is going on in my head.

I would recommend this book to people ages 14 and older because of its romance. Its uses a lot of sexual content that I believe would be inappropriate to readers less than 14 years old. It also uses inappropriate language.

Sara, 14

Rating: 

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Paper Towns 

John Green
02/12/2015 Categories: mystery realistic fiction

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green is the third book by the author whose tragic novel The Fault in Our Stars stayed on top of the New York Times Bestseller List for 49 weeks on end. It follows Quentin Jacobsen, a high school senior from Orlando whose life has been spent next door to the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman, a girl with a propensity for disappearing and carefully leaving behind clues as to where she’s run off to. One night she climbs in his window and asks him for help on a brilliant escapade of revenge, and he tags along. After their all night campaign of destruction, Quentin (or Q) arrives at school and finds that Margo is no longer there. He enlists the help of his friends Radar and Ben to help him follow her scarce hints and find where Margo Roth Spiegelman might have hid herself- even though as they seem to get closer, she seems to be farther away.

This novel is Green’s under-appreciated masterpiece, raw and gripping at every turn. The characters were far from the average trite, two-dimensional high school kids found in too many young adult books- Q, Ben, Margo, Lacey, and Radar (whose parents hilariously own the world’s largest collection of black Santas) are written with real depth and a surprising realism. They suffer from the same stresses and expectations all teenagers do, and they manage to be funny but very thoughtful, and deeply moving. Green makes you feel Q’s anguish and fear as the reader’s own, he makes you feel the giddy high of the night of revenge and the heartbreak of the concluding pages.

It is a soon to be major motion picture, and it needs to be read by anyone with a love for young adult fiction. It proves to be one of the books you can fall into and not return from until you have flipped closed the back cover, and it deserves easily its five stars.

Jake, 15

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Hollow City 

by Ransom Riggs
02/05/2015 Categories: paranormal supernatural war

The sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City is the continuance of the journey of Jacob and his newly found peculiar friends. After leaving the island of Cairnholm, Miss Peregrine's wards search for escape from the wights and hollowgasts that seem to be everywhere. They learn that their headmistress can only be helped by a fellow ymbryne, so they devote themselves to finding the one yet to be captured.

I like this book a lot, it was exciting to learn that there will be another coming afterwards. I love how Ransom Riggs uses real, vintage photographs to tie together the intricate story. I can really visualize what he writes, which is very fun. Another thing I loved was that it took place in 1940 primarily, which is an era I'm interested in.

I would recommend this book to people who like strange stories, facts, old things, or the first book in the series. Anyone who is interested in the 1940's, strange phenomena, or just an exciting, cute story will likely adore this novel.

Desiree, 14

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The City of Ember 

by Jeanne DuPrau
05/13/2014 Categories: action adventure fantasy

City of EmberIn the underground City of Ember, the only source of light comes from the street lamps, and beyond the city is the unknown territory. When the lamps start flickering, everyone starts to suspect that eventually the entire city will go dark. Lina and Doon, two little heroes, work together to save their people from their dying city.

I enjoyed this book. It was an intriguing idea, a city underground lit only by street lamps. I enjoyed reading about the mystery of their city and how they were trying to save their people.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading about interesting and different societies.

Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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The People of Sparks 

by Jeanne DuPrau
05/13/2014 Categories: action adventure fantasy

People of SparksIn the the second book of the City of Ember series, after Lina and Doon save their people from their dying city, they have to figure out how to survive in a world unlike their own. They get some help from a small town called Sparks, but they must first work out their differences if they will ever be able to work and live together.

I did not really enjoy this book. I was expecting more from the sequel to the City of Ember series.

I would recommend this book to a younger audience if they have already read the first book in the series and they enjoyed it. I would not recommend it to anyone who is expecting the second book to be as great as the first one.

Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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The Prophet of Yonwood 

by Jeanne DuPrau
05/13/2014 Categories: action adventure fantasy

Prophet of YonwoodIn the prequel to the City of Ember series, Nickie, an eleven year-old tries her best to complete her three goals. One of her goals is to help save her almost destroyed world. The story follows her ups and downs in the town of Yonwood, where the Prophet was said to see into the future of the world.

This was not my favorite book. I did not really enjoy the plot and I did not find the prequel to why the City of Ember was built very interesting. I did enjoy how at the end, all of these loose ties and unknown facts came together, but the whole book was not as interesting.

I would recommend this to a younger audience. I think that they would enjoy the plot and characters more than I did. If you enjoyed the City of Ember, then I cannot guarantee that you will enjoy this book because it is not the same characters or story. I would recommend it to anyone who is curious to know why the City of Ember was built.

Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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Diamond of Darkhold 

by Jeanne DuPrau
05/13/2014 Categories: action adventure fantasy

Diamond of DarkholdIn the fourth book of The City Ember, Lina and Doon go on an adventure to find hidden treasures from their old city to help sustain their new city during the Winter. Some complications occur, such as Doon being captured, and Lina having to get help alone, but they their pursue their journey because they want to help their people.

This was not the best book in the series. I enjoyed the first book, The City of Ember, way more than the rest of the series because after three books, I was already tired of the plot and the characters.

I would recommend this book to a younger audience. They would probably not get too tired of the characters, as I did. Hopefully, they enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the first one in the series.

Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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Allegiant 

by Veronica Roth

AllegiantIn the third book to the Divergent series, Tris and her friends work to answer questions about their society and previous and current leadership. Tobias's mom tries to take over the city, while Tris and her friends leave to find out more about their mysterious society. Once again, Tris and her friends assume the roles as heroes and work to free their people from unwanted leadership.

I enjoyed this book because it wrapped up the series nicely. It explained how their society came to be, and it gave more history into Tris's parents.

I would recommend this to anyone who read the first two books in the series and I would recommend the entire series to anybody who enjoys a good read.

Chanel, 15

Rating: 

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The Fault in Our Stars 

by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars followed two teenage cancer victims. Both of them had a serious form of cancer and they knew that eventually it would win, but they still managed to make a little infinity together.

The book was amazing. It would take you from tears to pure joy and then back to tears again. The moral of the story was just heart-warming: No matter how much time you have left, you can always find happiness and love. It was just a beautiful story.

I would recommend this book to everyone who loves to read a sweet love story with heart-ache and heart-warming scenes. It was just amazing how realistic the characters seemed, which forced you to feel many emotions, ranging from sadness to pure joy. I would definitely recommend this to everyone, it is a must-read.

Chanel, 15

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