Archive | April, 2013

Review – Matched

29 Apr

Matched by Allie Condie. Penguin Group, 2011

  • ISBN-13: 9780142419779
  • Book one of the trilogy
  • YA fiction; dystopian fiction

The Plot:

Cassia Reyes doesn’t have to worry about anything.  All of the major decisions in her life are made for her, by the Society.  At her Matching Ceremony, Cassia knows she will be partnered with her perfect match.  During the ceremony, Cassia faces a screen and waits for the Society to reveal her perfect mate.  She sees Xander, her best friend and her destiny.  Suddenly the screen fickers and Ky Markham’s face appears.  Then the screen goes blank.

The Society reassure Cassia that Xander is her match, but her thoughts keep turning to Ky.  She begins to doubt the Society, which has always seemed so flawless.  Cassia is faced with the choice of following the rules which she has never previously questioned, or challenging the Society’s authority and creating her own future.

Book Snitch’s thoughts:

This novel starts a great premise which most people have thought about : what if we didn’t have to worry about finding ‘the right person’?  Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to worry about finding a compatible love match, because they would be find us?  At first the idea seems alluring, but Cassia’s internal conflict after she sees Ky’s face for an instant reminds us that many things can be controlled, but emotions are unpredictable.

From the start you will be drawn in to know how the Society works.  What do the red, blue and green pills that everyone has to carry around with them do?  What happens to the elderly?  Why is Ky an Aberration, and what does that mean?  Ally Condie creates a mysterious futuristic setting which fascinates the reader and will get them questioning the seemingly perfect appearances right from the start of Matched.

Who should read this?

Classified as YA literature, Book Snitch recommends this to readers aged twelve upwards.  This is definitely a must-read for dystopian fiction fans, and futurism enthusiasts.  It will also appeal to romantic fiction fans.

Note for educators:  Matched would make an great comparison with dystopian classics like Brave New World by Adolf Huxley and Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell.  It could be used an an independent reader in a dystopian fiction unit, or extracts could be used for close comparison analysis with another dystopian novel.

Book Snitch rating:

5 stars

Review – Thirteen Reasons Why

24 Apr

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher.  Razorbill, 2011.

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

  • 159514188X  ISBN-13: 978-1595141880
  • YA fiction; mystery; teenagers; drama

The Plot

Clay Jensen, a high school student, arrives home one day to find a package waiting for him.  Inside the package are casette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his High school crush.  Hannah committed suicide the week before, and the tapes are her thirteen reasons why she ended her life.  As Clay listens to the first couple of tapes, he realises that Hannah has left a personal testimony detailing the people who influenced her decision…and that he may have been one of them.

Book Snitch says:

Th1rteen R3asons Why is a detective story of sorts, and Asher combines Clay’s thoughts with Hannah’s as the reader switches between hearing Hannah’s explanations and observing Clay’s reactions.  The plot is well constructed and there are many moments when Hannah surprises you with the information she reveals, some of which will resonate with many high school readers.  Asher develops tension as Clay listens to each tape which describes the people who influenced her tragic decisions and why.  You’ll be gripped as Hannah hints at many events which are only revealed in later tapes, drawing you in on the mystery trail with Clay.

The power of the novel is transmitted through Clay’s reactions and our underlying knowledge that it is too late for Hannah.  Though the premise may seem depressing, Asher is careful to make sure that there is education in Hannah’s story.

Who should read this?

A great YA read for teenagers aged twelve upwards.  Mystery fiction fans may also like this one.

Book Snitch comment for educators:

Th1rteen R3asons Why would make a great support text for a Homeroom program in high schools, providing plenty of content relating to health and social issues teenagers should be encouraged to communicate about.

5 stars

Review – Across the Universe

23 Apr

Across the Universe by Beth Revis.  Razorbill, 2011.

  • Book one of the trilogy
  • YA adventure; fantasy fiction; sci-fi; adventure romance
  • ISBN 1595143971 (ISBN13: 9781595143976)

The Plot:

Sixteen year old Amy has been voluntarily frozen and placed as cargo on the spaceship, Godspeed, which is travelling to a planet where humans will create a new world.  Amy is suddenly woken from her frozen sleep, and she discovers that Godspeed still has fifty years before it reaches it’s final destination.  Trapped on the ship, with her parents still frozen, Amy must work out why she was woken up and discover the secrets that Godspeed and it’s inhabitants are hiding.

Book Snitch says:

This novel was compelling right from the first chapter where Amy describes the emotional turmoil she felt watching her parents being frozen and stored as cargo on Godspeed.  Revis writes using alternating first person male and female narratives which keeps the reader’s interest throughout, and builds up suspense as we follow these two characters and see their different perspectives.

The second protagonist is sixteen year old Elder, who was born on the ship and is second in line to rule the inhabitants of Godspeed.  Elder is transfixed by Amy from the moment he sees her. Eldest has his own problems, like dealing with the current ruler, Eldest.  Together, Amy and Elder try to navigate their way through the mysteries of Godspeed and being the only two teenagers on a ship that still has years before it reaches it’s destination.  The dynamics between the characters definitely work to raise the tension in the plot, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them.

The plot is cleverly crafted to make you imagine the futuristic world of Godspeed.  Thanks to Amy’s contrasting memories of Sol-Earth and life as we know it, you will also feel the claustrophobia of being stuck on a ship in the future with years stretching out before you and nowhere to hide.  The end of this book will not disappoint, and you will be hankering to read A Million Suns (the second book in the trilogy) as soon as you can get your hands on it!

Who should read this?

Classified as YA lit, Book Snitch recommends this to readers aged eleven upwards.  Fans of dystopian lit, fantasy or sci-fi should also check this out.

5 stars

Image

The Book Snitch says…

23 Apr
Image courtesy of GeekandSundry

Image courtesy of GeekandSundry