Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feeding the dystopian fever

So you've finished Mockingjay. You're looking around, not sure what to do now that you don't need to worry about the fate of the world and everyone you've come to love (or maybe you just don't know what to read next--either way). Don't worry, we've got a few suggestions.

1. The Maze Runner Trilogy by James

This is one of those books that you won't need a bookmark for-- you'll read it in one sitting (or at least you'll want to). Thomas wakes up with no memory of who he is or where he is from. All he knows is his name. He finds himself being lifted in a metal box, and when the box opens, he is surrounded by other boys his age. Slowly he learns that they are stuck in the center of a maze, and that solving it is the only way out. Part Lord of the Flies, part Orwell, part fascinating mystery/thriller, with a little romance thrown in too. Absolutely addictive. Book two, The Scorch Trials, comes out October 12th. This was my favorite YA book from last year. And there is more to this story then just a maze--it promises to be just as large scale and political as HG.

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking Series Book One by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

3. Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Set in the future in a world affected by environmental damage and political collapse, Gaia lives with her parents outside the Enclave, the gated community reserved for the rich and privileged. She and her mother are midwives, and must deliver a quota of babies to the Enclave each month. When her parents disappear, Gaia must solve the mysteries that surround her family and her community. This has adventure, mystery and a bit of romance. I couldn't put it down!

4. Epitaph Road by David Patneaude

Fourteen-year-old Kellen lives in a future in which 97 percent of the world's male population has been killed off by a virus. Women have taken over all governments and have relegated the remaining men to second-class-citizen status. Boys like Kellen have very few options. Something sinister is brewing, and an uprising of men who live independent of female rule coincides with a new outbreak of the virus. Kellen and his friends, Sunday and Tia, travel to the Olympic Peninsula to investigate and make sure that Kellen's dad, who lives in the colony, is protected from the virus. Each chapter begins with a haunting epitaph for one of the deceased. Most of these epitaphs express sorrow, but some are clearly for men who were abusive and are not missed by survivors. The story is fast paced, and the concept intriguing. The competent world-building allows readers to fully accept the book's premise. (School Library Journal)

5. Life As We Knew It trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeiffer

Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. In her journal, Miranda records the events of each desperate day, while she and her family struggle to hold on to their most priceless resource—hope.

What are you reading after Hunger Games? Hmm?

Photo at top by Eva Skewes

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