Author: A.G. Henley
Publication date: November 12, 2013
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genres: Horror, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.
And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.
The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.
Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.
As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.
I won't spend time on setting up this story, because the summary is FOUR PARAGRAPHS LONG. That just seems a little long for a summary, that's all. It is a nice set up. I read The Scourge several years ago. I believe I got it free for Amazon Kindle and thought I'd give it a go. I remember being surprisingly pleased. You can still read it for free with Amazon Prime or Unlimited, or you can purchase it for $2.99.
Fenn's blindness adds to the suspense and storytelling. She's brave in the face of something terrifying, willing to regularly walk through a horde of zombies for the sake of her people, even the Lofties. I also enjoyed the progress of Fenn and Peree's relationship. Though, if you don't like a fair amount of lovely dovey prose and dialogue, this might not be the book for you.
Clearly, some sort of disease has spread to create the Scourge (zombies), but Fenn and Peree discover new truths about the pandemic that make this story unique. I don't remember there being a lot of violence. Peree fights off the Scourge with arrows, but the people are not slaughtering zombies.
Age Recommendation: 15
Language - mild to none
Drugs & Alcohol - none
Sex - There's no sex, at least one kiss
Violence - There's some mild violence between the two people groups and the Scourge.
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy The Scourge on Amazon.com for only $2.99
I'm currently reading an ARC (advanced reading copy) of a book titled The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever about three teenage boys aspiring to create just that. So, I thought why not run with the theme this week as we anticipate Halloween!
If you know me at all, you know that I hate horror movies, but somehow zombies have crawled/shuffled/ambled(?) into an accepted place in my life. Also, I've found it's easier for me to read scary stories than it is for me to watch them, unless we're talking about Shaun of the Dead, because, ellloooo, (if you can handle a fair amount of theatrical blood and British humor) Simon Pegg is really funny and he bashes zombies in the head with a cricket bat
*WARNING: kids under 18 should ask a parent before viewing said film.
On the flip side, we tried to watch The Walking Dead once, and got to like the very first scene and there's this little girl with her back turned to the camera and you can't see her face and we were like NOPE.
Like I was saying, it's easier for me to read about it. A year or two ago, I read the Razorland series by Ann Aguirre. The story is post-apocalyptic—think mole people meet zombies (or Freaks). Duece (named for a playing card) doesn't expect to live past the age of 20 (no one ever does). She helps fight off the Freaks in the tunnels, underground, where she lives. She also doesn't expect to ever see the sun. But when society turns against her and her hunting partner, Fade, she's forced to brave a new world above ground. Throughout the series, Duece and Fade wonder if there is any safe place left on earth.
Duece is a pretty cool chick. She's fierce, kicks zombie butt, but is not desensitized to the world she lives in. Fade is also an interesting character, just as tough, but with memories of having a normal life and real family (unlike Duece).
It's been a while since I've read these books, but if you're sensitive to violence, this probably isn't the series for you. It can also be creepy. There are also male-dominant gangs above ground, who have violent practices and abuse women.
Age recommendation: 15
Language - mild (from what I remember, please let me know if you discover otherwise.)
Drugs & Alcohol - some abuse in the gangs
Sex - Again, it's hard for me to be specific, but I think a couple has sex in the last book, and there are some kisses along the way. I don't remember this book being overly sensual.
Violence - Duece and Fade fight with knives and swords; fire and guns are also used to fight the Freaks; It's safe to expect violence, if I haven't already made that clear.
4 out of 5 stars!
Buy Enclave, Outpost, and Horde on Amazon.com
Author: Sharon Cameron
Published by: Scholastic Press
Publication date: April 28, 2015
Pages: 469 pages
Genres: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?
Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.
As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.
Sharon Cameron’s Rook is a post-apocalyptic Paris (now the Sunken City) where people speak Parisian and plastic is a rare commodity. Technology is banned because it’s believed to have been the fall of civilization—satellites still fall from the sky like meteorites and technological devices are mere myths. It’s a time that hearkens back to the Reign of Terror during the start of the French Revolution when thousands of people were executed by guillotine for “opposing the revolution.” Based on The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy, Sophia finds these people unjustly imprisoned and uses the mysterious persona of the Rook to help many escape.
Sophia Bellamy is obsessed with adventure. She is terrified of being bored, and fears the time when she’ll no longer need to be reckless. She’s brave and strategic, but her enthusiasm for excitement can make her vulnerable. That’s what René Hasard discovers about her, Sophia’s new fop fiancé. But Sophia soon realizes that René’s blasé fair attitude could be a ruse, and she finds herself drawn in by the mystery of him. I loved watching their relationship morph, as they each have to take risks to see the enemy destroyed.
A friend of mine recently asked me if I’ve given any books on my blog 5 stars. I had to admit that it’s really hard for me to give a book 5 stars, but I had recently vowed to do it more often, especially if I love a book. Folks, welcome to a FickleLit milestone: Rook = 5 stars. I really loved this book! It’s clean, well written, adventurous, and the characters are really fun, and the bad guy is really easy to dislike. It’s the sort of book I didn’t want to end, because I wanted to stay with the characters a little longer. Even days later, I wasn’t done living in Sophia and René’s world.
Would I let my teen read this book?
I love when I can recommend a book to young teens and have zero reservations about doing so. There’s some violence, but like the kisses in the book it’s not very graphic (surprisingly, even with guillotine executions).
Age recommendation: 13
Language – none
Drugs & Alcohol— none
Sex – several kissing scenes
Violence – some knife and sword violence; a few characters are beaten in prison
My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!!
Buy Rook on Amazon.com
Title: The Young World
Author: Chris Wietz
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: July, 29, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Adventure, Romance
The Young World is New York City run by teenagers. It’s been two years since the Sickness wiped the world of adults and children, and the only people left are the ones with the right hormones to make them immune. Once you turn 18, you’re dead.
Jefferson (a brainy, philosophical, good-hearted hero) reluctantly takes over the Washington Square tribe after his brother dies. They do their best to defend their territory, treat each other fairly, and help everyone survive. But when Jeff gets a clue to save teen-kind, he sets out with Donna (the snarky girl he’s secretly loved since Kindergarten) and three others to find the one cure to save them all. The journey to the cure is a cruel one as they defend themselves from chauvinistic, white supremacists, a group of cannibals, tween fashionista tunnel rats, and even an escaped polar bear from Central Park Zoo.
This is Chris Weitz's first book, but you might recognize his name from directing movies like The Golden Compass, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, About a Boy, and American Pie. Well versed in the juvenile arts, Weitz creates a dystopian story as cruel and relentless as the mean girls from high school. Actually, it’s totally worse.
The New York teens have resorted to violence to protect the short years of life they have left. This means the tribes spend as much time scavenging for firearms and bullets as they do for food. When Jefferson, Donna, Brainbox, SeeThrough, and Peter adventure out to find the cure, they repeatedly have to defend themselves. The first threat comes in the form of a baby bottle Molotov cocktail and Dora the Suicide Bomber – a doll with an unexploded M-80 in her backpack. This is just a taste of apocalyptic New York City. I was entertained for the first half of the book, along for the ride no matter what the kids faced and appreciating the comedic relief when delivered. Peter, who joined the journey because he was SO bored, had one of my favorite lines, “Um, I would just like to say that I signed on for a good time? And so far, I barfed, I got shot at, and somebody tried to feed me human flesh.” After what they’d been through, it was a welcome laugh. In the second half, I started to feel weary of the dark world Weitz created and sad that this was supposedly the world teens today created when everyone else died. The killing, the meaningless sex, the continued loss of loved ones, the abuse of the weak – it left me feeling less excited to pick up the book and generally like Ugh. Then there’s the end. I didn’t realize this was a series. After feeling a little downtrodden by the story, I was disappointed with how it ended and felt kind of emotionally blank. According to Goodreads.com, the second installment is scheduled to publish this year.
Between cannibals, fistfights, and shoot-outs, Jefferson and Donna question whether it’s worth loving anyone during such a short duration on earth. Love vs emptiness, God vs nothing, sameness vs change – these are some of the major themes of the book. Weitz also hits on now pointless cultural obsessions like Adderall, Cell phones, and “spreading words sideways” (which is Facebook and Twitter – information concerned with the present instead of the future). One thing The Young World does is offer a wealth of relevant discussion topics. In fact, if I recommended this book, it would be in a group setting, which brings me to the following question.
Would I let my teen read this?
Our Facebook status = It’s complicated? I liked some things about this book. It’s clever and funny, and it delivers so many subjects to talk about that I really could offer many more pages of analysis. Peter could have his own page; the African American gay Christian who poses questions about the presence of God during hell on earth and is also the comic relief. I wish more YA books had this analysis-worthy quality.
The underside is the heavy language, the hard topics of abuse of women and youth (12-13 year olds), and the unrelenting violence between kids. I also think sex is misrepresented. Jefferson says at one point that “boys are born easy,” that simply because they’re male they’ll have sex with anyone willing, which is a myth. It’s also another example of a good discussion topic.
The content of the book is not necessarily unrealistic to the teenager experience today. Sure, if it were a movie it’d be rated R, but as I recall, the same would be true for the hallways between classes in high school.
So, I think this would be an interesting group discussed book in a senior lit class, or if you’re looking for a book to read with your teen (maybe especially your son).
Age recommendation: 17
Swearing – Heavy: swears and derogatories
Drugs and Alcohol – References to addicts; some alcohol drinking
Sex – Many references to sex – the teens discover they can’t get pregnant. Between that and their short life span, they do it a lot; a make out scene; a sex scene (not detailed, you just know they’re going to and then they’re laying on the cold floor together); offers of prostitution, references to girls being owned for sex
Violence – Hand to hand combat; Sword combat (close range stabbings, cutting off hands, through necks, in the ribs); boy strangled in public; boy stabbed to death; teens mangled by bullets; reference to cannibalism
My Goodreads rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars
Buy: The Young World - on Amazon.com
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.