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
Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.
Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.
Eadlyn is a princess of contradictions. She wants to be seen as capable and strong, but also resents her responsibility of being groomed for queen. One thing she’s certain she does not want: a husband. Eadlyn has trouble letting in other people. She is so used to putting up her guard that she has few friends outside her family, and has never been in a real romantic relationship. When the Selection begins, she’s skeptical at best. She’s a difficult character to like. Disconnected with her people, and more self-centered than she realizes, I have a feeling Eadlyn will have a lot of growing to do in this series.
If you haven’t read the other books in The Selection series, then you don’t know the process is the Bachelorette for royalty. Prince Maxon (now the king and Eadlyn’s father) was the Bachelor in the first three books. There are recurring characters from the original series, but it’s not necessary to read it if you want to start with The Heir. I was a little disappointed in the adult versions of Maxon and America (Eadlyn’s mother). It was difficult for me to see their personalities beyond “paternal figures who went through the selection.”
When it comes to the men fighting for Eadlyn’s affections, there are a few front runners. A quirky foreigner and his translator make one of the most interesting options. A childhood acquaintance-enemy-friend (they’re confused) is also a growing relationship. I really don’t know where Eadlyn’s affections will alight in the end.
For a sample of the entire series, you can download this free Kindle Selection Series Sampler.
Would I let my teen read this book?
The Selection series and The Heir are fun, clean romances for teens who like royal romances and independent women. Eadlyn, in The Heir, is also a great example of a heroine whose faults are easily visible. Readers can recognize those faults and hopefully invest in her maturity through her experiences. I recommend these books for middle-schoolers and up!
Age recommendation: 13
Language – none
Drugs & Alcohol— none
Sex – A few kisses, one a little more heated than the other.
Violence – little to none – Eadlyn finds herself in danger, but angry villagers tossing tomatoes is only bruising.
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy The Heir 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.