Exciting End To The 5th Wave Trilogy.

 

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Book Three in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series is full of action.  The fast moving story ties up some things while leaving room for readers to speculate what happens next and fan theories to grow.  Cassi, Zombie, Ringer, Megan and Sam are trying to get Evan back.  He has been taken by the human/aliens for reprogramming.  We learn more about the silencers and who they are as the team comes in contact with them.  The book is also largely about the evolution of Ringer as a character.  She has the alien technology in her but she can how use it to help the humans instead of hurt them.  Cassi also has an important role to play in saving what is left of humanity.  The book is very fast paced and exciting. But in the mist of all the action, the characters are still able to reflect on what it means to be alive in this war zone.  The idea is interesting that the aliens might see us as bugs that need to be exterminated.  We do not usually feel bad if we wipe out a colony of ants or cockroaches.  That gave me a lot to think about.  Fans of the first two books will love this.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Cassi says she is having more cravings than a pregnant woman.  If you were a survivor during the apocalypse, what would you crave the most?

Discuss what losing your ABCs would mean.

Discuss the relationship between Cassi and Evan.  How he feeds her when she is hungry but it is very complex.

Discuss this passage, “The world used to contain two Bens, the real Ben who didn’t know I existed, and the imaginary Ben, who feds me popcorn with buttery fingers.  Now there were three.” pp. 33

Discuss this passage, “Our true selves shimmered like a desert mirage forever receding into the distance.” pp. 34.

Discuss what it would mean to destroy culture.

Discuss Ringer’s bombshell.

During the book, did you think aliens were real or are the humans behind this?

What do you think will happen next with the survivors?  Where do they go from here?

Great New Dystopian Read For Fans Of The Selection!

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)Amy Ewing’s The Jewel is compared to both The Selection and The Handmaid’s Tale.  I loved both of those books and grabbed this one from the shelf.  The comparison is a fair one but the book stands on its own.  Violet lives in a world with levels of society.  She is from the Marsh which is the lowest, comparable to Katniss Everdeen’s District 12.  We meet Violet when she is at a holding center/school where she learns to perform magic that will help her in her duty.  She will be sold to a royal family to help them reproduce.  She is a surrogate.  For an unknown reason, the royalty cannot reproduce on their own and need girls like Violet to carry the children.  She will live in the lap of luxury, have fabulous clothes and attend many parties however, she is a slave.   She understands what this fully means when she meets The Duchess Of The Lake.  Her world is full of bitter rivalries and scheming.  Amy Ewing does a beautiful job world building.  She beautifully describes the opulence of The Jewel, the highest of the social circles, the clothes and the magical elements.  I especially loved the moment where Violet makes an old oak tree grow.  Violet must walk a line between finding a way to escape, falling in love which is verboten and how to be a model surrogate so those she comes to care about won’t get hurt.  The Jewel is a great read alike for The Selection series and The Chemical Garden series.  I highly recommend this new read for dystopian/fantasy fans.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss Violet’s options.  What would you do if you were in her position?  Would you help the duchess? Discuss her relationships with Ash, Raven and Annabelle. Why do you think the royalty need girls like Violet? Why do you think they took away her name?  What about the lease?  Why would royal women use them? Discuss the rivalry between the Electress and the Duchess of the House of The Lake.  Why do you think the Duchess gets away with things? Was Ash worth the risk? Why do you think the surrogates are encouraged to have talents?  What do you think about how it ended? What do you think will happen next? Why do you think dystopian novels are so popular?  How does The Jewel stack up to the others you’ve read?

Strong New Characters And Plot Twists In Book 2 Of The 5th Wave Series.

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)The book opens with a terrifying scene where the alien’s latest plan catches a group of humans unaware, using the most innocent as a weapon.  Cassie, her brother and her crew have escaped the aliens with the help of Evan Walker.   They are now holed up in an abandoned hotel.  Evan made his escape as well.  But he is found by someone he would rather not see, another alien posing as a human he knows all too well.  Badly injured, he has to get away from Grace, the other alien who suspects he might be a traitor and get back to Cassie.  Evan’s relationship with Grace is one of the more interesting aspects of the book.  They both realized what they really were when they met at a fair.  The two knew what was to come and had a strange sort of relationship which made them both feel less alone.  This middle book in the trilogy examines how love for another can make a person vulnerable. I think this is the main theme of book 2.   We see it over and over again between Teacup, Razor and Ringer, who is a main character in this story.  Ringer is captured and Vosch tries to “change” her to become more like them.  This process is very interesting and is a large chunk of the book.  The element of risk on the alien’s part is another strong theme in the book.  Then a huge plot bomb is dropped that could change everything we know so far.  The Infinite Sea was a very satisfying read.  I can’t wait for the conclusion!

 

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss the opening scene and what that predicts for the rest of the book.

Talk about Zombie and Ringers conversation about things getting back to normal when there is a tardy bell.  pg. 6

Discuss when Ringer says to herself, “I don’t panic.  I don’t bolt like a frightened gazelle.  I am more than the sum of my fear.”  pg. 15

Discuss Evan’s relationship with Grace.  How are they different?  How do they view humanity differently?

Discuss Poundcake’s back story.

How has Sam changed since The 5th Wave?

Discuss Ringer’s transformation and her relationship with Razor.

Discuss this passage about Ringer: “After my father died, I built a fortress safe and strong to last a thousand years.  A mighty stronghold that crumbles with a kiss.” pg. 276

Discuss Vincit qui patitur.

Discuss the riddle of the rocks.

Discuss this passage about love.  Ringer: “Love is the only thing in the universe that’s unpredictable.”  Vosch: “Love’s trajectory is entirely predictable.”

Why do you think Vosch does what he does now that you know the truth about what he really is?

 

 

 

 

Lovely Ending To The Selection Series

The One (The Selection, #3)This was one of the most anticipated books for me to read this year.  I loved the first two Selection books and read them rapidly.  They are so much fun!  The One picks up right where Elite ends.  If you don’t remember what happened, I would review because Kiera Cass does not remind you what happened in the previous two books.  The action begins very quickly, as the palace is under attack again and America and the other Elite’s families are in danger from rebels.  America is falling more in love with Prince Maxon and he clearly feels the same way, but irritatingly they still do share this with one another.  But this is one of the things that makes this book so much fun to read.  My only wish was to know more about the history of why Illea came to be.  Cass hinted on it in book two.  I wish I knew more about the rebels and their back story.  I think it would have flushed out the story just a little better.  This is one of the few recent teen trilogies where I feel books two & three were just as great as book one.  I love, love, LOVE this cover.  All three books have beautiful covers, but this one implies a wedding dress but it is not clear who America will marry.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Once America clearly decides she is in love with Maxon, why do you think she hesitates telling him?

If you were Maxon and America, would you trust the rebels?

Why do you think Maxon keeps kissing the other girls if he loves America?

Discuss America’s moment with the revealing dress in the beginning of the book.

Discuss America’s choice during the sentencing.

How did you feel about the ending?

Creepy Classic Dystopian Is Great Read While You Are Waiting For The Catching Fire Movie

Feed

Feed by M.T. Anderson was the definitive dystopian book before the Hunger Games exploded.  I am looking forward to meeting him next week so I finally read this book.  I’d been planning to read it forever.  Titus is a teen who lives in a world where all internet, TV and any other technology you can dream of downloads right into his brain via “the feed.”  Titus thinks nothing of taking a trip to the moon with his buddies to unwind.  During that trip a hacker taps Titus and his friends on their shoulders and shuts down the feed. During this trip, Titus meets Violet and she has a way of looking at the world that is different than him and his friends.   Feed has one of my favorite first lines in all of YA lit, “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”  Anderson was ahead of his time.  While reading this book, I can’t help think of modern technology.  The new operating system of the iphone comes to mind.  Are we catching up with Anderson’s dystopian world?  It makes for fascinating discussion.  There is a discussion about cutting down a forest to build an air factory.  The meat farm is especially creepy.  This book is filled with interesting irony.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

If the feed was an option for you, would you want it if it was the newest must have thing?

Discuss how the feed compares to our current technology such as smart phones and tablets.

Talk about their visit to the farm.  How is it the same or different than other farms you may have visited?

Discuss this passage, “It’s like a spiral: They keep making everything more basic so it will appeal to everyone.  And gradually, everyone gets used to everything being basic, so we get less and less varied as people, more simple.  So the corps make everything even simpler.  And it goes on and on.”  (Pg. 97)

Discuss this passage, “When no one was going to pay for the public schools anymore and they were all like filled with guns and drugs and English teachers who were really pimps and stuff, some of the big media congloms got together and gave all this money and bought the schools so that all of them could have computers and pizza for lunch and stuff, which they gave for free, and now we do stuff in classes about how to work technology and how to find bargains and what’s the best way to get a job and how to decorate our bedroom.” (Pg. 110)

Discuss how Violet said everything was better if you delayed it on page 143.

Talk about Violet’s father’s unusual way of talking so that vocabulary is not lost.  Talk about how language changes with each generation.

What does Titus mean when he says Violet, “It sometimes feels like you’re watching us, instead of being us.” (pg. 168)

Talk about how Quendy gets lenticels.  Why would someone do that to themselves?

Discuss Violet’s rant on page 202.

Discuss the conversation between Titus and Violet’s father when he says, “We Americans are interested only in the consumption of our products.  We have no interest in how they are produced and what happens to them.” (pg. 290)

The 5th Wave Is One Of The Best Books Of 2013!

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)

I heard a great deal of buzz about this book and am happy to say it surpassed my expectations!  This is an excellent read for fans of The Hunger Games trilogy. The story begins with Cassie in the woods.  She is alone.  It is quiet… too quiet.  The setting reminds me of The Walking Dead.  Everyone she loves is dead or missing.  She wonders if she is the last human on earth and the quiet is so intense that she feels she can hear the stars scraping together.  Aliens who wait in a ship floating serenely in the atmosphere have killed most of mankind in a series of waves which included turning off all electricity and a plague that killed 97% of the population.  Those who survived are hunted by stealth killers called silencers.  Will there be a 5th wave?  What do the aliens have planned next.  You would think Cassie would just give up.  But she needs to find her little brother and that keeps her going.  This book is told in different sections with different points of view.  The storytelling grabbed me immediately and I hated to put it down.  The aliens could be anywhere.  We have no idea what they look like.  They could look human but no one is sure.  The humans can only assume they are being wiped out so the aliens can move in.  We hear points of view from Cassie, her little brother Sammy, a boy she knew in high school who is now a soldier and a man who may or may not be entirely human.  This book has it all, action, survival and some romance.  There is something for everyone here.  I am thrilled it is a series because I miss the characters and want to know more.

Ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss page 51 where Cassie talks about how her dad “pushed back against the darkness.”

Which books would you keep with you if you could only take two?

What would you keep in you backpack?

What would you have done at the beginning of the book when Cassie killed the man in the store and found out he only had a crucifix in his hand?

Discuss the Mayfly chapter and what happens between Cassie and Evan.

Discuss when Tank said, “The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.  Only the strong survive.” (pg 237)

Discuss when Evan said, “you can’t make yourself believe anything.  But you can let yourself believe.  You can allow yourself to trust.” (pg 280)

Discuss when Zombie (Ben) said, “By killing us, they showed us the idiocy of stuff.  The guy who owned this BMW?  He’s in the same place as the woman who owned the Kia.”

Discuss when Cassie sees Ben again for the first time.

Discuss this passage, “The world holds its breath, because there’s really no guarantee that the sun will rise.  That there was a yesterday doesn’t mean there will be a tomorrow.” (pg 456)

Fans Of The Hunger Games Will Enjoy The Matched Series

Reached (Matched, #3)

Reached, Book 3 in the Matched series picks up with Xander and Cassia imbedded with their new roles in the Society.  Both are in the rising although neither knows for sure about each others involvement.  Cassia is trying to see Ky but their new roles make it almost impossible.  Cassia is now a known trader with the Archivists, her poems make good trades for information.  Xander witnesses the beginning of the rebellion in the form of a virus.  The pilot unleashes a virus and the plan is for them to arrive heroically with the cure.  This seems to work until the virus mutates and a new strain threatens to kill.  All three of them escape to the outer provinces before Ky falls still.  The virus makes the victim appear still.  Xander must work fast to help find a cure to save Ky.  The book brings up interesting discussion points about what is more important, safety and order or freedom.  We learn much more about what the different colored pills are supposed to do and how Cassia starts to remember things about her grandfather and the “Red Garden Day.” The most interesting aspect of this series is the idea of information overload and limited all art and study to the top 100 things.  The top 100 songs, science lessons and poems.   My favorite part of the story is when the people begin making new art and they create a gallery inside the huge white barricades that the society moved to the beach also when Cassia begins writing poetry of her own.  Again with other YA series being written, Ally Condie did not remind us of what happened in the previous book as much as I would have liked.  It has been at least a year since I read Crossed.  There were so many important details that I forgot about and keeping some of the characters straight was a little confusing at first.  I did enjoy the whole series, although my favorite book was clearly the first, Matched.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss this poem written by Cassia, “Climbing into the dark for you, Will you wait in stars for me?”

Talk about what would happen if technology failed us.

What do you have that you could trade to an archivist?  What would you want in return?

Discuss this quote by the pilot, “This rebellion is different than others throughout history.  It will begin and end with saving your blood, not spilling it.”

Discuss the moment when Cassia writes these words on the paper on the tree. “Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Discuss when Lenya says to Xander. “You all called us Anomalies.  Not good enough to live among you.  Not good enough to marry you.  And now you need us to save you.”

Why do you think gravity was left out of the hundred science lessons?

What would be on your hundred song playlist?

Are there any aspects of the Society that you do like?  Discuss.

Discuss the idea of Ky’s mother painting on rocks with water, “the important thing was to create, not capture.” (page 404)

Discuss this passage from page 320. “So we’re never really safe, I (Xander) say,  “Oh no, my boy,” Okar says, almost gently.  “That might be the Society’s greatest triumph–that so many of us ever believed that we were.”

Discuss the quote, “It’s all right to wonder.”

Discuss “The Pilot. The Poet. The Physic.  They are in all of us.  I believe this.  That every person might have a way to fly, a line of poetry to put down for others to see, a hand to heal.”