Unwind- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for Unwind

Title: Unwind

Author: Neal Shusterman

Summary: The Second Civil War is over.  The Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies finally came to an agreement.  All children are safe until age 13.  Then, until age 18 their parents have a choice.  They can unwind their children; take apart their bodies and use 100% of their parts as transplants to aid other living humans, so the children never truly die.  This twisted dystopia chills you to the bone, the circumstances far too realistic, and the world’s reaction way too real.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman leaves you with the chilling question, what if?

The novel follows Connor Lassiner, a problem child with an unwind warrant signed who is desperate to survive.  Risa Ward, a girl who is unwound as a budget cut, who has the smarts to escape her fate.  And Lev Calder, a boy born to be unwound, who is in love with his fate and will do anything to complete the deed.  These three unlikely allies create a tentative alliance, and have to go to drastic measures to survive, as the world goes more and more insane around them.

This novel leaves you with so many questions, and an impossible moral debate.  Luckily there’s more in this incredible series, but the chilling realism of this book stays with you long after turning the final page.  Everyone should read this novel, if as nothing else a warning of the future.  You may say that there’s no chance that we can ever do something like this, but read on and look to today and how we’re already tumbling towards it.  This book stays with you forever, and this series should be a classic, and is a must read for all, teen or adult.

If you like this, try readingHunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Reviewer Rating: 5/5 Stars

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from RBdigital through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by-Josie, a teen reader

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Six of Crows- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for Six of crows

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Summary:  A thief that can outsmart anyone and is always one step ahead of his enemies.  The Wraith, a mysterious spy with a painful past who never slips up. A powerful Heartrender who uses her powers to survive, and has used her status to betray. A convict with a moral code, and a deep hatred for one of their own.  A mysterious runaway whose status on the team is uncertain.  A sharpshooter with a secret, and who can never walk away from a bet.  Six unlikely friends stuck together by even more unlikely circumstances, and whose adventures have even more unlikely conclusions.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo by is a spectacular fantasy novel set in an intriguing new universe.  Kaz, a mysterious thief who always knows more than he lets on, brings together six individuals for the biggest most dangerous job in the world, which is dwarfed by the even larger reward.  The job?  Breaking into the fabled Ice Courts to free a man who may already be dead.  An impossible task.  A job that holds the fate of the world in its hands.

We follow the heroes through a multi-perspective 480 page novel that constantly leaves you wanting for more, and always delivers.  The novel is rewarding and exiting, the adventures leaving your heart racing, and the twists leaving you reeling.  This found family novel both melts your heart and breaks your heart; but never fear, there’s a second book that you’re going to want to check out immediately after finishing.  My only criticism is that it isn’t longer.

If you like this, try reading- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Shwab,  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, and The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Reviewer Rating: 5/5

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library and Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Josie, a Teen Reader

Renegades

renegadesTitle: Renegades

Author: Marissa Meyer

Summary:  In Renegades, Marissa Meyer envisions a world where prodigies, persons  either born with or who attain later in life superhero type attributes, are relatively plentiful.  From being able to transform into a swarm of butterflies to the ability to create bombs out of thin air, the talents of prodigies are varied and unique.  Once they were persecuted and hated, but then a group of prodigies called Anarchists rose up and challenged the status quo, fighting against prodigy persecution and all forms of government and institutions of order and control.  For a time with the Anarchists in control, chaos reigned and those without powers suffered and starved.  Then the Renegades, five mighty prodigies intent on bringing back order and saving the world from itself, battled the Anarchists killing all but a handful.  Now the Renegades are a huge organization and symbol of justice and hope.  They also basically run the world and people without powers seem to be completely dependent on them.

Enter into the scene, Nova, aka Nightmare.  She was only a child when the Anarchists and Renegades fought- a child born with the ability to put a person to sleep by simply a touch.  She’s  a gifted inventor, has some serious fighting skills, and is bent on the destroying the Renegades.  Nova has a reason for hating the Renegades and plotting their demise.  But, some of her venom is tempered when she gets to know a young Renegade name Adrian.  Adrian truly believes in justice and doing the right thing.  But will being Nova’s burgeoning friendship (and possibly a little more) with Adrian be enough to throw her off her mission to destroy the Renegade organization?

Who will like this?:  Meyer’s writing is a hybrid of fantasy and sci-fi.  If you enjoy strong female protagonist, she is the author for you.   She carefully crafts her worlds and characters so readers must be willing to make a commitment to reading the whole story.  Trust me it is worth it…I would read the back of a cereal box if Marissa Meyer wrote it.

If you like this, try reading:  Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is a must.  For a little more light-hearted and humorous superhero take try Perry Moore’s  Hero.  And,  for a serious, epic tale of good against evil with strong female characters try An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library and digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Jen,  Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian

Flunked

FlunkedTitle: Flunked

Author: Jen Calonita

Summary:  Twelve-year old Gilly isn’t a bad kid, she’s just done some bad things.  Or, at least the rest of the Enchantasia thinks Gilly’s thieving ways are signs of a tween heading in the wrong direction.  What they don’t take into account is that Gilly steals to keep her siblings fed and provide them with the occasional extra treat or gift.  Unfortunately for Gilly, since motives don’t matter, when she is caught stealing for the third time she is immediately sentenced to the latest development for transforming wayward kids into upstanding citizens- Fairy Tale Reform School (“FTRS”).

FTRS was founded by Flora, the fairly-recently reformed and formerly wicked step-mother of Cinderella, upon realizing the error of her ways and wishing to make amends by helping mischievous youth.  And, FTRS doesn’t just offer troubled youths a second chance, it’s also staffed by former villains like the Sea Witch and Big Bad Wolf.   But with Pegasus riding, big prepared meals, new friends, and only having to share a spacious tower room with one roommate, Gilly is finding reform school really isn’t much of a punishment.  In fact, if she didn’t have a family to worry about it’s the kind of place a kid could get used to.  Then mysterious and dangerous events start to occur, and Gilly and her friends are beginning to wonder if all of their teachers have truly left their villainous ways in the past.

Who will like this?:  This light, quick read is a great selection for middle grade readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings.

If you like this, try reading: The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, Ever After High series by Shannon Hale, and Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski.

Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Wonder Woman

Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Summary:  Don’t read this book if you are hoping for an origins story that simply recycles the summer blockbuster movie.  But wait, don’t stop reading!  First, let me explain why I picked up this book.  I’m a huge fan of Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom series.  She is a master at world creating and crafts complex and compelling characters.  With that in mind, I had to see what she would do with this iconic superhero.  In this origins story, Bardugo takes a modern day setting  and combines it with Themyscira, the mythical place of Wonder Woman’s creation.  She puts her own spin on Wonder Woman’s origins while still managing to stay true to what fans love most about this hero.

In Bardugo’s iteration, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, risks all to save a mortal named Alia Keralis.  Unfortunately, her brave choice puts the entire world in danger because Alia is no mere mortal-but rather a Warbringer.  She is a descendent of Helen of Troy, herself, and is destined to bring war and misery to the world.  Alia’s death would bring an end to the threat of war her existence all but guarantees, but Diana can’t accept that solution.  Instead, Diana and Alia join forces, along with a small group of Alia’s mortal friends, to face both divine and human foes that seek to either destroy or possess the Warbringer.  Only by working together can they hope to succeed in their quest to save the world.

Who will like this book?:  Fans of all things superhero will love this new take on Wonder Woman’s origins.  If you like strong female protagonists this is the book for you.

If you like this, try reading:  The Black Widow Series by Margaret Stohl, The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer, Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas

Where can I find a copy: Print editions available at Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, and Pequot Library.  Digital copy available through Overdrive.

Recommended by: Jen Laseman,  Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

The Diabolic

The Diabolic

Title: The Diabolic

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Summary:  Kincaid envisions a future filled with contradiction where those in power relish utilizing scientific advances like genetic engineering and personal appearance modification but forbid the development or education of scientific theory.  So as spacecrafts  and high tech equipment created by their ancestors begin to break down, who will be able to repair and develop new technology?

It’s against this backdrop that we follow the story of Nemesis, a diabolic.  A diabolic is a genetically engineered being with a human-like appearance, beyond human strength and endurance, unencumbered by any sense of humanity or social conscience, created to bond with one person and protect that person with every fiber of their being.  Nemesis was created to protect the life of Sidonia, the daughter of an outspoken Senator who rallies for a change back to education and scientific development.   When her father’s beliefs rouse the ire of the power mad Emperor, Sidonia is summoned as a hostage to assure her father’s future good behavior.   But that order directly conflicts with Nemesis only mission in life.  So in order to keep Sidonia safe, Nemesis assumes her identity and goes to galactic court.   It’s a place filled with turmoil and rebellion where she realizes that maybe her mission goes beyond just protecting the life of one person- it might be all of humanity who needs her.

Who will like this?: Fans of Sci-fi and/or strong female main characters-particularly female assassin type figures.  And, if Arya Stark is one of your favorite GOT characters you will appreciate the hardcore nature of Nemesis.

If you like this, read this:  Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas, Graceling by Kristen Cashore

Recommended by: Jen, Teen Librarian

Black Panther

Cover image for Black Panther 1.

Title: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1

Author/Artists: Ta-Nehisi Coates/Brian Stelfreeze

Summary: Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Upon returning to Wakanda, King T’Challa faces a challenge that he had never anticipated: An uprising of the people. He is not sure if he has the ability to quell the unrest shaking the technologically advanced African nation, and neither are his team of advisors, who are still reeling from the death of T’Challa’s sister Shuri, assassinated while holding the throne on his behalf. With threats both intellectual and supernatural emerging from all corners, including by some disillusioned members of the Dora Milaje, his elite corps of female guards, can T’Challa redeem himself and bring his nation back to a place of peace, prosperity and understanding?

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a fantastic writer known mostly for his non-fiction and essays so it is  thrilling to see him dive into the comic book form. This collection is not a reboot or a reintroduction with an origin story, but it is still a great place for new readers to jump into the Wakandan saga before the release of the Black Panther movie in 2018, as it includes a re-release of the first-ever appearance of T’Challa from 1966.

Who will like this book: Marvel fans, of course. Anyone intrigued by Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Captain America: Civil War.

If you like this, try this: The Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson. The Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction. The March collection by Rep. John Lewis.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian