Only Ever Yours

OEY-USA

Title: Only Ever Yours

Author: Louise O’Neill

Summary: frieda and isabel are eves that have been best friends almost since they were created. Now, at age 16, they are in their final year of training at their isolated academy, both near the top of the class and sure to be selected as companions of the Inheritors – the boys who are born on the outside. The girls have been working towards this goal since they were designed – refining their beauty, maintaining their perfect figures, and learning how to cater to every whim of the men who control the world. Each year, three ‘eves’ are created for each boy born on the outside and those who are not chosen as companions will live the rest of their lives as concubines – set aside for male pleasure only, or as chastities – those considered so undesirable that they remain forever training future eves.

Even the idea of living as anything other than a companion horrifies frieda, so she cannot understand why isabel has drifted away from her during such a crucial time when they are so close to graduation. What’s worse is that isabel seems to have given up her top position – gaining weight rapidly and dropping off the weekly rankings of the eves entirely. As the other eves jockey for position and the introduction of the Inheritors – who will make the decision about their fate – looms, frieda is desperate to hold on to her future in a world where all that matters is your beauty. Can she face this world alone, without isabel’s friendship and support? Or will she be left behind to endure the cruelty of the eves, chastities and men?

This is a gripping dystopia that takes our modern obsession with physical perfection to a horrifying but all-too-plausible end. The sheer brutality of the world created by Irish author O’Neill will be challenging for some readers to engage with, but for those who are interested in dark social horror stories will find much to think about in these pages. It might make you angry, but you won’t soon forget this book and it just might make you look at our world a bit differently.

Who will like this book?: This is an intense book recommended for mature, experienced readers only. People who are interested in feminist theory, or who like to engage in philosophically- or morally-based dystopian ideas. Readers who like books that will keep them up at night, thinking and thinking…

If you like this, try this: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The Wither series by Lauren DeStefano. The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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Ink and Bone

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Title: Ink and Bone

Author: Rachel Caine

Summary: Jess and his family are black market smugglers who trade in the rarest and most dangerous of commodities: Books. The Great Library that rules over the world allows people to download and read things, of course, but very few people are allowed to actually own bound copies of books. In order to get an inside look at the mysterious agents who run the Great Library and it’s satellite locations all over the world, Jess is convinced by his father to apply for entry into the elite Library training program and soon he is on his way to Alexandria, Egypt. As he makes friends and enemies in his class and clashes with his surly, aggressive mentor, Jess begins to realize how seriously the Library takes its stance on the value of knowledge above everything else – including the lives of enemies, innocents and the trainees themselves. When his friend comes up with a radical idea that could change the way information is transmitted forever, Jess must decide what is more important: His family and the mission they have set before him, or exposing the secretive and deadly nature of the Library. Either decision will cost him greatly and be impossible to forgive.

One of the great intellectual tragedies in history was the legendary destruction of the Library of Alexandria. Although there are several different theories about what happened and when, what is not in doubt is that countless scrolls containing works by famous authors were lost forever. This imaginative and fast-paced tale imagines a world where the library not only survived, but managed to become the ruling entity of the entire world. Short communications before each chapter give you a sense of what’s to come and the larger scope of the story as you read, compelling you to keep turning the pages to see how it all works out. There is something here for almost every reader: Action, humor, romance and mystery. This thrilling adventure will leave you begging for the second installment of The Great Library series.

Who will like this book?: Fans of dystopian series like Divergent and The Hunger Games. People who love books.

If you like this, try this: The Archived by Victoria Schwab. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Archivist Wasp

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Title: Archivist Wasp

Author: Nicole Kornher-Stace

Summary: Wasp was chosen by the goddess Catchkeep to become an Archivist – the person who will protect her desolate village from the hordes of wordless, mindless ghosts that swarm just outside the walls. In order to maintain her position, she must battle – and kill – the three Upstarts who challenge her each year. Wasp is weary of her work, her isolation from the others in her town, the barely-contained hatred of the Upstarts who want to see her fall, and most of all, the abusive mind games of the Catchkeep priest who she reports to. She has a rebellious nature – while she is supposed to catch and destroy ghosts, she finds herself fascinated by them and takes her other responsibility – to study and learn more about them, as seriously as the first.

After a brutal near-defeat at the hands of the latest batch of Upstarts, Wasp goes hunting and makes a startling discovery: She meets a ghost who can communicate with her. He is unlike any other ghost she has encountered – physically strong, mentally aware and very, very persistent. This ghost needs her help. And so begins an incredible, sometimes brutal story about what it means to be a good person, the nature of friendship versus self-reliance, and the potential benefits of breaking all the rules. While this is technically a dystopian story, it has a timeless, almost fairy tale-feeling about it. This impressive novel will leave you with a lot to think about.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers of fantasy who like ‘otherworldly’ tales. Fans of strong, smart female characters. Anyone who likes books that keep revealing details on how they work as you read them.

If you like this, try this: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan. For mature readers, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Cinder

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Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Summary: This futuristic re-imagining of  Cinderella hits all the fairytale basics: unappreciated hard-working daughter, spoiled stepsister, cruel stepmother, handsome prince, and a ball for the entire land.  But, there are also cyborgs, androids, a fatal plague, a cruel Lunar alien queen set on planetary domination, and magic-well not so much magic as bioelectrical manipulation.

It’s a fairytale  like no other, set in New Beijing sometime after the Fourth World War-a war where nuclear and chemical warfare killed millions, decimated entire cultures, and reduced dozens of cities to rubble. This is the world of Cinder, a sixteen-year-old cyborg with an uncanny ability to understand how to fix things.  She supports her stepmother and two stepsisters by running a mechanic’s booth in the market and has earned a reputation for being the best in New Beijing.  Then, everything changes for Cinder when a disguised Prince Kai brings a broken android to her booth jokingly telling her that fixing the broken robot is “a matter of national security.”  Cinder believes there may be some truth to the prince’s joke and agrees to the job.

However, Cinder is quickly side-tracked from the job when her young stepsister, the only human friend she has in the world, is stricken with a deadly plague.   The same plague that threatens the life of the Prince Kai’s father, the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth.  Cinder’s stepmother blames Cinder for her daughter’s illness and in retaliation she volunteers Cinder for plague research, a task no one has survived.  The lead scientist soon discovers that there is something special about the latest volunteer.  Something that others would kill and die for.

Who will like this book?:  Readers who are looking for something a bit different from typical sci-fi/ fantasy story and open to a bit of fairytale romance.

If you like this, try this:  The Pledge by Kimberly Derting, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Across the Universe

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Title: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Amy gives up her boyfriend, friends, and very way of life to follow her parents into the future, three hundred years into the future to be exact.  A future that will take place on a new planet, Centauri-Earth.  And, to get there Amy, her parents, and a few hundred other people seen as necessary for starting life on a new planet have agreed to by cryo frozen and transported aboard the ship Godspeed.  However, fifty years before the scheduled landing, plans change for Amy when she is mysteriously unplugged and nearly killed in the thawing process .

Now Amy must adjust to an entirely new existence without her parents, on a ship where life is far different from the one she left behind on earth.  On Godspeed there are 2,312 unfrozen passengers who have created their own world.  There are those who live on the Feeder level who farm crops, raise animals, prepare food, and take care of the sick and mentally unstable. And, those who live on the Shipper level who take care of the actual ship.  Below that level lies a floor only a handful of people know about– the level where Amy and the rest of the “frozens” are kept. And, above them all is the Keeper level which houses Eldest, the tyrannical leader, and Elder, the teenage leader in-training.

And, while it all sounds like a perfect system, Amy is struck by the strange emptiness exhibited by the Godspeed inhabitants and their unwavering support of the dictatorial Eldest.  Amy knows that Godspeed has hidden secrets. Secrets that almost killed her and continue to threaten the lives of her parents and the other “frozens.”  Secrets that Amy may only figure out if she and Elder, the boy who found and saved her from her near disastrous thawing, find a way to trust each other and work together.

Who will like this?: It’s a sci-fi, dystopian, thriller with a dash of romance so really it holds appeal to fans of any of those genres.

If you like this, try this: The sequel  A Million Suns: An Across the Universe Novel, Cinderby Marissa Meyer,  Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Legend by Marie Lu.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Divergent

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Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Summary:  In this dystopian thriller society is divided into five factions.  Each faction is devoted to the cultivation of a particular virtue Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (brave), Amity (peaceful), and Erudite (intelligence.)  Every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select a faction.  Up to this point, the teen has been raised in the faction of their parents. If a teen elects to switch factions they will be separated from family and friends and thrust into a new and unknown life.

This year Beatrice Prior and her brother, Caleb, will make their selections.   Beatrice can elect to stay at home with her family and become a member of Abnegation or she can be true to who she really is. What Beatrice decides surprises everyone, including herself. 

But, before Beatrice can become a member of the faction of her choice she must compete in a merciless initiation.  If she fails she will become factionless, for some a fate worse than death.  While struggling through initiation, she makes new friends, finds a boy she may like, and discovers a hidden conflict that could destroy entire factions.  She also guards a secret about herself that could mean her death if it became known to faction leaders. 

Who will like this?  Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy will enjoy this futuristic thriller and its strong-willed main character.

If you like this, try this: Matched by Ally Condie. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

The Maze Runner

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Title: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner

Summary:  Thomas doesn’t remember his parents, his friends, or anything from his past life.  He doesn’t even know how he got in the elevator that is climbing to a place like no other, a place the inhabitants a group of about 60 teenage boys call the Glade.  Once he is pulled from the dark box, Thomas begins to learn about his new home and its occupants the Gladers.  The Gladers suffer from the same memory loss as Thomas and arrived in the same manner.  They live together in the Glade, a large town surrounded by walls that are hundreds of feet high.  The walls form a perfect square around them and each side has the same split opening.  Outside the walls, there is a maze that moves every night. It’s populated with deadly monsters the Gladers call Grievers, but they only come out at night. Fortunately, every night the walls close up protecting the boys. 

Inside the Glade everyone has a job.  Some boys cook, some grow food, some butcher animals, while others tend the sick, but the job Thomas is most interested in is being a runner.  Every day runners venture out into the maze and run through its ever-changing paths memorizing the changes as they go.  Before the walls close, each runner must make it back to the glades and sketch out the new pattern of the walls.  The job of a runner is dangerous but vital because the Gladers believe that the answer to escaping the Glade lies somewhere out in the maze. 
 
The Gladers have had a pretty routine life with the walls opening every morning and closing every night.  They have come to expect that every 30 days a new boy will be delivered in the elevator.  However, the day after Thomas arrives the routine is dramatically broken.  The elevator arrives with a girl.  Before passing out, she delivers the ominous message “Everything is going to change.” With her arrival, Thomas begins to feel different.  Something tells him that he and the girl can somehow provide the solution to the maze.  A solution that Thomas will have to go to great and dangerous lengths to retrieve from his memory. 

Who will like this?:  Fans of dystopian fiction will fly through this tense thriller.

If you like this, try this:  The follow-up to this book, The Scorch Trials. The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian