I stopped to pick up my books on hold at the library this morning, and this was one of them. It's written by the same guy that wrote the trilogy I just finished (ya know, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men.
I tend to like books about monsters, and this book was on the best seller's list, so I thought I'd give it a go.
This book is really short (I read it in about an hour) and it has pictures (yay!). The pictures are only every few pages, but they are the creepy black and white kind that could only pair well with a monster story. But, this isn't a typical monster story.
Conor lives in England with his mother, who has cancer, though they never actually say she has cancer. His dad moved to America to be with his new wife and their new baby, so it's just Conor and his mom. Since his mother is so sick, he does all the things parents nag their kids about for never doing: he keeps the house clean, takes out the trash, cooks dinner, cleans up after dinner--all of it, without ever being told, which is kind of a big grown-up thing for a 13-year-old.
But, Conor keeps having these terrible nightmares. Well, one specific nightmare. He won't explain what it is because it's too horrifying. Then, one night at 12:07 pm, he hears his name being called after waking from the nightmare. Conor is convinced he's still dreaming, especially when he looks out the window and sees a green monster waiting in his backyard.
The monster claims Conor called for him, but Conor doesn't believe it. The monster tries to scare Conor, but Conor isn't scared by him (it?). The monster says he has three terrible stories for Conor, and Conor, in turn, must tell him the fourth story: his own nightmare.
Along the way, bad things start happening to Conor both at school and at home. What is the monster doing to Conor? Is he the cause, the cure, or something else entirely?
Of Monsters and Men is the conclusion in the Chaos Walking trilogy. The first book was The Knife of Never Letting Go and the second one I just recently finished, The Ask and the Answer.
****SPILER ALERT***** DO NOT READ IF YOU INTEND TO READ ANY OF THE OTHER BOOKS** I WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR RUINING THIS AWESOME BOOK FOR YOU*****
This was a pretty neat conclusion to this series. Everyone is at war. People are at war with other people and the Spackle, the native species to the planet, are at war with EVERYONE.
The weapons used in this war are insane. But then, why am I surprised? If we have the technology to leave behind Earth, and bring thousands of people in a spaceship to a new planet, there have to be crazy weapons, right?
I don't want to give anything away, but there are some epic battle scenes, people you don't expect die, and bombings, bombings, and more bombings. This last book is the best reason to read this series.
This novel, The Ask and the Answer is the sequel to the book I read a few weeks ago called The Knife of Never Letting Go.
******SPOILER ALERT***IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE FIRST BOOK, DON'T READ THIS!*******
This was an interesting sequel. At the conclusion of the first book, Todd and Viola are left at Haven, Viola has been shot, and the man they were running from, the Mayor of Prentisstown, was waiting for them in Haven. When this book begins, the Mayor has declared himself the President of the planet, renamed Haven as New Prentisstown, and starts doing some really terrifying things. He's separated the men and women. He's torturing people for information pertaining to anything he wants to know about. Todd is locked in a tower, away from Viola, not knowing whether or not she survived the gun shot wound.
On top of everything else, the people from Haven who are upset that they have a new leader are starting to retaliate against President Prentiss and his army, and have started bombing and attacking places. The women are scared that President Prentiss will do what he did in his old town: kill all the women. With all the trouble President Prentiss is causing with his wicked ideas, he's also forcing Todd to work for him and do things he is ashamed of doing.
Will Todd find Viola? Can President Prentiss be stopped? READ THIS BOOK! :)
I finally read the sequel to the book I read last month, The Maze Runner.
****SPOILER ALERT***If you haven't read Maze Runner yet, STOP reading****
That first book focused on a group of young teen boys who were trapped in a maze as an experiment by a group known as WICKED. They escaped and were supposed to be taken to a safe place. WRONG.
The Scorch Trials is the second phase of the experiment put on by WICKED. The boys are at a facility in a desert like area, where the flares of the sun (which destroyed the human population) were the worst. The boys have one task: escape from the facility and walk 100 miles north to Safe Haven. Oh, and, as an incentive, WICKED infected all the boys with Flare, which eats at your brain and makes you go crazy. So, if they walk the 100 miles in the hot sun, they'll be given a cure.
The kink in the test is that Teresa is gone and has been switched with a boy names Aris. He was the trigger in a second group of experiments that were on an all girls group. Sadly, this group has one objective: kill Thomas. And, even worse, Teresa is with them, working as their leader.
So, does Teresa want to kill Thomas? Will the extreme heat and solar flares kill the boys as they travel to Safe Haven? And, what in the heck do these trials have to do with saving mankind from the Flare?
I just finished the City of Bones and couldn't be more excited to read the next book in the series.
I'm a big fan of science fiction/fantasy books that play on the idea of monsters and magic being real, and this book takes that to a whole new level.
Clary is 15 and lives with her mother and her friend, Luke. She's best friends with a guy named Simon. Clary reads a lot, she's very artistic, and seems extremely smart. One night, while at a club called Pandemonium, Clary sees a group of people kill another person, using strange looking swords. Clary freaks out over what she's seeing, except Simon can't see what she's talking about at all. Feeling crazy, she chooses to go home.
When she calls her mom to tell her she's coming home, her mom instead calls her and is screaming that Clary can't come home and must go someone where else--all while Clary hears screaming and destruction in the background. Clary, of course, goes home, and finds an enormous and smelly monster in her house and her mother has disappeared. Clary kills the beast, but not without injury. Then, the same people Clary saw at the club come to her aid.
Clary realizes that they are Shadowhunters, or demon killers. They're impressed that Clary not only killed a demon, but SAW it. Regular people (they call them Mundanes, think of Muggles from Harry Potter) can't see these creatures, but Clary can. Clary gets sucked into this battle of good and evil, all while trying to find her mother and a cup that could be used to destroy everything.
**This book will be a movie next year**
No matter what anyone says, life is different for each group, or culture of people. Many are treated differently due to the color of their hair, skin, social status, etc. instead of being based on what matters: personality, opinions, life choices, your heart, etc. The same is true in the short novel, Ask Me No Questions.
The book is titled after the unspoken rule of people who immigrate to the united states: ask me no questions, I tell you no lies. It follows the logic that if no one asks about your citizenship status, you don't ever have to lie to anyone about it.
Nadira, who is 14, along with her 17 year old sister, Aisha, and her mother and father both immigrated to New York from Bangladesh when Nadira was a small child. Being Indian, or just brown-skinned, never mattered before. Aisha explains it as though they are invisible because they take the jobs no one else wants and ignores. But, Nadira's family doesn't care. They merely want to start a new life in America.
Eventually, however, the family's visa, which they need to stay in this country legally because they are not yet citizens, expires. Nadira's father places his trust in crooked lawyers who don't keep up with his family's papers to try and gain citizenship. So, as Nadira, who has just started high school, and Aisha, who is about to graduate as valedictorian and has been accepted into some very good colleges, 9/11 happens. Before, no one noticed the brown-skinned people or cared about their residency. But after 9/11, when basically anyone who was brown-skinned was suspected of being a terrorist, Nadira's family lives in constant fear that the government will realize that their visas are expired, and they'll be deported.
This is an interesting story of life for an immigrant, who becomes illegal, and the lengths they will go to prove their worth to their new country in hopes of gaining trust (as people who are brown-skinned and definitely not terrorists) and citizenship.
This has been a popular book amongst my students for a few years, so when I finally saw a preview for the movie last Spring, it looked pretty neat to me. But, I think the preview lied a bit. There were a few surprises when I started reading this book.
First, the whole story is centered around a girl named Lena. She moves in with her recluse uncle and people start talking about her right away because her uncle is the gossip of the town. From the movie preview, I thought the book was narrated by Lena, but it's not. It's narrated by the boy who falls in love with her (don't worry, NOT a spoiler, really). I didn't expect that.
Second, this book takes quite a while to get interesting. By a while, I mean it took until half way through the book. Not to discourage you, but just being honest.
I was hooked on the story from the movie trailer, so I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. I just wish it got more intense, faster.
I want to call this book something sort of like Twilight, but instead of Vampires and Werewolves, you get a mortal (Ethan) who happens to be a popular and great basketball player and a girl who is destined to be a Witch, either evil, or good; it isn't decided yet.
Basically, Lena comes to town because she's under the protection of her crazy uncle, who everyone in town likes to talk about. When she starts to attend school, the students are mean to her right away. On her 16th birthday, her powers will come into full force and she will either become a good witch (they call them Castors), or a bad one. Lena's uncle wants her to be good, but other family members want her to turn dark. She's caught in this epic battle between good and evil. In between, she falls in love with Ethan, who, strangely, is able to protect her from a few evil members of her family.
This book is a part of a series. I'm slightly curious as to what choices Ethan and Lena make, since there are many unresolved problems at the end of the book.
**This book IS a movie!**
...but I have managed to read not one, but two books that made me all weepy this summer. Actually, I straight up wept, but that's not something we're going to talk about.
In this story, Hazel, a sixteen year old girl, has thyroid cancer. She explains how her cancer showed up when she was 13 and she was put into one of those medical trials to take experimental medications, and it worked to shrink her tumors. But, she's stuck on an oxygen tank, and her lungs constantly fill with fluid. So, Hazel finds herself feeling depressed. Her doctor makes her attend a teen cancer support group, where she meets Augustus.
Augustus is a bone cancer survivor, but also an amputee. Doctors had to remove one leg to save his life from cancer. He's great looking and very witty and he seems smitten with Hazel. Through the friendship of another support group friend with cancer in his eye, Isaac, Hazel and Augustus begin a beautiful friendship.
Through this new bond, Hazel begins to change her perspective on life. She's very cynical about death and dying, as she's in a constant state of dying. But what she learns from her relationship with Isaac and Augustus, especially as each character experiences cancer set backs, is something all of us should understand about our relationships with people.
This isn't a book I thought I would be interested in, but it is really worth it to pick up this book. I don't typically read regular fiction titles, but I'm glad I read this one.
**Next year, this book will be out in theaters!**
...then this is the book for you! I've seen this book lurking on bookshelves for a few years now and for some idiotic reason, it didn't seem interesting to me. I was WRONG. The book opens with the main character, Thomas, stuck in a dark box and it's traveling upward. He's lost all his memories and can barely remember his own name, much less how he got into a box and why he's even in the box. Once he reaches his destination, he's surrounded by countless teenage boys, who won't answer his questions and seem to mostly be annoyed by his presence. He finds out that no one remembers who they were before they were sent to this place, which the other kids have named the Glades. In order to survive, all the teens have created a new community, equipped with a main leader, a cook, medics, farmers, butchers, garbage cleaners, and runners.
The runners interest Thomas the most. Each day, they leave the compound where the teens live and run through a constantly changing maze. They report back at the end of each day, before nightfall, and discuss what changes the maze made with the other runners, in hopes of finding a way to escape. What no one wants to explain to Thomas is that, once night falls, dangerous creatures enter the maze, looking to kill.
All the other teens seem content to continue with the new life they have made for themselves in the Glades, but Thomas is sure that there is something wrong with being sent here, and wants desperately to find a way out. This plan gets set into motion very quickly when two days after Thomas' arrival, another teen arrives, which is unheard of, and it isn't another boy, it's the first and only girl.
Is the new girl the key to solving the maze and saving everyone from their prison, or is she a spy sent by the people who created the maze?
**Next year, this book will be in theaters!**
I don't often stray beyond young adult books or science fiction/fantasy, but this mystery book was worth the walk away from my usual reading. It's my favorite book that I've read this so far this sumer. In this story, Amy and Nick are forced to leave their nice life in New York, and move to Carthage, Missouri. Here, Nick's family, his older and ill parents, and twin sister, live. Amy, being a born and bred "city dweller" her whole life, is dissatisfied with the move, but wants to make the best of a bad situation. Through the point of view of Nick in present time, and Amy in flashbacks via her diary, Nick and Amy tell a very different story of their new life in Missouri. This difference becomes an even bigger deal when Amy, on the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary, disappears, with a scene of a struggle inside the house. Not long into Amy's disappearance, the police and Amy's parents begin to suspect that Nick has killed Amy. But, he is the right person to blame?
**Next year, this book will be out in theaters!**
This book is much more like something I typically read. I waited quite a while to read this, and I'm not sure why because it was pretty good!
In this futuristic story, Todd lives in a small settler town called Prentisstown. He is a month away from turning 13, when the people of Prentisstown consider their young boys, men. Todd has been in this settlement his whole life: but his parents fled Earth (it's over crowded and super violent) and they traveled to a new planet to start a new life. The one weird thing about this planet, they have what is called Noise. Really, Noise is the fact that everyone can hear each other's thoughts; well, not everyone. The men cannot hear women's thoughts, though men can hear each other's thoughts and women can hear men's thoughts.
Since Todd was born on this planet, he's always known what it's like to hear everyone else's thoughts. It isn't until he's walking in the swamp with his dog, Manchee, that he stumbles upon something strange: silence. He investigates, and finds a young girl, hiding behind a tree, near a crashed space ship. This girl's presence creates a such a problem in Prentisstown, that Todd and the girl are forced to flee from Prentisstown, as they are being pursued by everyone, and they may only be riding horses, but they have guns. Lots of guns.
Can Todd keep the girl safe? Why is the town so threatened by this one young girl? And, what lies does Todd realize he's believed his whole life as he stumbles into people outside of his town that help him along the way?
I'm an avid reader. One thing I've learned in my many years on this Earth is that no matter what is happening in your life, you can always benefit from temporarily escaping life in order to become absorbed in a make believe story.