Monday, February 14, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)  I know it's been over a week since I posted, but it's with good reason.  This book is a little longer than the ones I've been reading lately.  More importantly, it was worth savouring, so I limited myself to a few chapters a day (read: I got busy).  The premise of this book is interesting.  I do like apocalyptic type books (as long as they are somewhat believable).  This one slid nicely into that category, but did things I haven't seen before from this sub-genre.  The premise of the book is that Thomas arrives in 'the box' to a place called the Glade.  It's filled with boys who all have jobs keeping the Glade running (cleaning, cooking, farming, first-aid, etc.).  One of the jobs is being a runner.  Each morning the walls on one side of the Glade open up and the runners go out into the maze to map it.  Each day they come back and record their findings and each day the walls of the maze move.  Their only hope of getting out of this place is to figure out the message or code of the maze.  Then one day a girl, Teresa, shows up and brings a message of doom with her.  She triggers the Ending of the maze and the Glade.  The book is great for a reader who enjoys a lot of suspense.  There are great intense scenes and the epilogue is a satisfying enough close to book one, but leaves you excited for book two (which is already out.  Also, this book somehow gets away with bad language, except there isn't technically any curse words in it.  That's what happens when you make up your own words for the Gladers!  This is definitely worth being picked up.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall  If you like reading the same story seven times over with some variations each time, then this is the book for you.  This book tested my patience.  I appreciate what it was trying to do, but I felt like I was 'putting up with it' the entire time I was reading it.  This is the story of Sam Kingston, a mean girl, who through a series of self-initiated events, ends up dead.  After the impact, she wakes up and relives the whole day over again (and again and again and again) trying to set the world right each time.  It's an interesting concept, one that has been done before in book and movie format, but here it is being done again.  For the age group that it was most likely written for, they won't know that though. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk by Jan L. Coates

Although this story is not biographical, it is strongly inspired by the real Jacob Deng, a Southern Sudanese man who was driven from his home in Duk Padiet by civil war.  For me, this novel packs a multitude of lessons, not for 'young adult' readers, but for human beings in general.  There is a scene where Jacob asks an elderly traveler why their country is at war, to which the elderly man replies, "because we believe in a different God."  This, among other reasons told to a child, reminds the reader that war is thought a viable solution too quickly in too many countries.  As Jacob grows up, walking all over Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, he is reminded often of his mother's words, which are to get an education and learn to solve problems with words, not violence.  Jacob is from the Dinka people, who have a term, wadeng, which means 'look always to tomorrow, it will be better.'  After incredible hardships, intense hunger, thirst and suffering, Jacob lives by these words.  If you are a fan of a true survival story that opens your eyes up a little wider, try A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk.