Great Reads for Teens and Tweens!

Helping you make an informed decision about that book

Drought by Pam Bachorz

Title: Drought

Author: Pam Bachorz

Publisher: EgmontUSA         Year: 2011

ISBN -13: 978-1606840160

Age: 12 and up

Genre: Fiction

Subjects / Themes: Young Adult, Slavery, Science Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Cult, Dystopian, Social Drama, Forbidden Romance, Friendship, Family, Coming of Age

Summary:

For the past 200 years, Ruby and the Congregation have been enslaved by Darwin West and forced to collect “blessed” water for a mysterious visitor. Brutally beaten and starved, the Congregation waits and endures for their savior, Otto to arrive and deliver them from their hell. Few people know that the secret to the water is Ruby’s blood which gives it healing and life-sustaining properties. When Ruby falls in love with an overseer she is greatly conflicted with the desire to escape oppression and live in the modern world, and the obligation to endure and sustain with the Congregation.

My Take:

BORING! Not only did the Congregants have to wait and endure until Otto arrived, but I spent the whole book waiting and enduring a poor storyline for something to happen. This book just seemed to drag on and on with very little action and not enough description. Based on how this book ended, I have a very bad feeling that Pam Bachorz is planning on releasing a sequel, gosh I hope not. Although, maybe it will be one of those rare cases where the sequel is actually better than the original but I doubt it. I guess we’ll just have to wait some more to find out. There just wasn’t enough information and back story to truly understand the Congregants plight. And what little action there was lasted no more than a couple pages.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars … I didn’t absolutely hate the book and the concept of it is interesting, I was just so bored.

Similar Read: I’m not sure what to recommend because I would hate for it to be another dud.

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Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Publisher: Speak      Year: 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0142419779

Genre: Fiction

Age: 12 and up

Awards: Chosen as one of YALSA’S 2011 Teens’ Top Ten,  Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010,  #1 Pick on the Winter 2010/2011 Kid’s Indie Next List,  YALSA 2011 Best Fiction for Young Readers,  YALSA 2011 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers,  Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2010,  Winner of the 2010 Whitney Award for Best Youth Fiction: Speculative

Themes / Subjects: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy Fiction, Action & Adventure, Love & Romance, Survival, Social Situations, Relationships, Coming of Age

Plot Summary:

17-year-old Cassia has always trusted the officials and their choices. She lives in the future society of Oria where every decision and action is decided by the officials. Meals are specifically tailored to each individual, occupations are chosen based on the data collected throughout ones early years, and everyone is matched with their genetic and perfect mate. So when Cassia’s best friend Xander appears on the screen as her perfect Match, she knows with complete certainty that he is the one for her … that is until she decides to view Xander’s microcard and his image fades out and is replaced with another. Now Cassia must decide whether to follow the official’s perfect plan or rebel and follow her heart.

My Take:

As soon as I started reading Ally Condie’s book Matched I immediately thought about Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games and immediately felt the same emotional tug at my gut. How could mankind allow our society to become a place where government officials dictate everything about our lives from who we love and where we work to when we die? Within a couple chapters, however, those intense feelings/emotions were replaced when I realized the focus of Condie’s book wasn’t the dystopian society but the crazy obsession of 17-year-old Cassia for a boy other than her match.

Don’t get me wrong. The whole love triangle, going against the rules set in place by the officials definitely moves the story along. However, I found Cassia’s obsession to be long, drawn-out and at times boring. When I really like a book I will devour it, yet with this book it was okay if I didn’t read a little bit each day. I wanted the author to, as my high school honors English teacher would tell the class, “go beneath the iceberg.” There are so many details about society that Condie introduces the reader to yet fails to fully develop them. Hopefully we see more in the sequel.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. While I like a book about crushes and falling in love, I really wish there had been more about the dystopian society.

Similar read: The Giver by Lois Lowry. Like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Matched by Ally Condie, Lowry’s The Giver provides readers a snapshot of a society where decisions are handled by officials and of course there will be someone who will rebel.

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Title: Twilight

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Year: 2008

ISBN -13: 978-0316038379

Age: 14 and up

Genre: Fiction

Subjects / Themes: high school, forbidden romance, fantasy & magic, vampires, relationships

Awards: Publishers Weekly’s “Best Children’s Books of 2005”, School Library Journal’s “Best Books of 2005”, 2008 #26 in USA Today’s list of “Bestselling Books of Last 15 Years”, bestselling book of 2008 and second biggest selling of 2009

Plot Summary:

When 17-year-old Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington she unwillingly becomes the center of attention in her new peers eyes, except one. Bella is mystified by the alluring and handsome Edward Cullen who spends little time socializing with his classmates and most of the time with his family. The Cullens have managed to keep their vampire identity a secret in the small community of Forks but everything changes when their existence and Bella’s life is threatened.Can Bella and Edward’s love survive their biological differences and will Edward be able to protect everyone he loves?

My Take:

This wouldn’t be a teen book review blog if I didn’t include the “hottest” book since Harry Potter and before the Hunger Games. I’ve put off this review because I’m not sure I can be completely unbiased. Let me explain …

The first time I read this book I was in college and recently single. I never really fit in with any of my classmates so I was totally feeling like Bella Swan. The idea of falling in love with a good-looking but dangerous boy? Enticing. I devoured every page and didn’t sleep a wink that entire week because I JUST HAD TO READ THE WHOLE SERIES.

The second time I read the book I hated every minute of it. Coming out of a tough break-up probably didnt’ help but all I could think was Bella was an idiot. I couldn’t understand what had appealed to me the first time I read the book but this second time I was definitely not Bella. How could she put herself in danger and not think or care about how it would affect her family or few friends? Or my biggest annoyance, how could their love be so deep and true if they hardly knew one another?!

Not too long ago I reread this book for a third time. I can honestly say, I don’t understand the hype around this book or movie. Sure the story is fun and a little daring but I found too many flaws and inconsistencies in Meyer’s writing to really enjoy the book. For example in one paragraph it’s the beginning of the week and Bella is getting ready for finals, the next paragraph finals are over but in the paragraph after that Edward is walking her down the hall after Bella finishes her first final. What the heck? I found myself having to reread certain passages over and over again before I could move on which made this third reading rather tedious. I found the characters to be rather shallow and poorly developed. How could Bella an honor student act so stupid sometimes? And if Edward has lived for a hundred years, why isn’t he smarter?

All in all … if you are thinking about reading it after a break-up, don’t. You really won’t like it. If you are thinking about reading it for fun, then enjoy. If you have an analytical brain who likes a story to have a consistent flow, I’d think twice.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Those inconsistencies really bug me!

Similar Read: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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