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

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

The Ghosts of Heaven

Title: The Ghosts of Heaven

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Summary:My new hypothesis: If we’re built from Spirals while living in a giant Spiral, then is it possible that everything we put our hands to is infused with the Spiral?” Maximillian Cohen in Pi

The spiral is an ancient shape, found in prehistoric art across the globe, in nature and even in our own DNA as a helix. It is that shape and the meanings hidden in it that unite the four parts of this book by Printz Award-winner Sedgwick. A young girl, longing to be chosen to create magic for her tribe of nomadic hunters, scratches spirals into the ground even though she is forbidden to. Another young woman, thought to be a witch, sees spirals during her trials, even as her world comes crashing down around her. A doctor with secrets befriends his patient, a poet living in an insane asylum who cannot bear to even look at a spiral because he knows its secret. Finally, in the distant future, a man races against time trying to save the ship that will colonize a new Earth incomprehensibly far away from ours.

How these tales connect to each other is the joy of reading this unique book. Readers can choose to read the book from front to back, or in any order they choose. It is thought-provoking and beautifully written. This is a set of stories you will want to take your time with because you won’t want to miss a single word.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like to see how different stories and characters connect.

If you like this, try this: The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes. Midwinterblood, also by Sedgwick.

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

Variant

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Title: Variant

Author: Robison Wells

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Benson Fisher thinks his life is finally about to change.  The scholarship to Maxfield Academy is his ticket out of the foster care system he bounced around in since the age of five.  Maxfield was to be his means of escape, but now he would give anything to escape Maxfield.  Because Maxfield isn’t like the place he saw on the website or what he was promised by the director, Ms. Vaughn, in the three-hour drive from the Albuquerque airport to the school’s remote location.  Instead, Maxfield is a school surrounded by unclimbable fencing and video cameras that monitor your every more.  A place where no adults are seen, but rules are strictly enforced and breaking one can have deadly consequences.

In order to survive and maintain a certain level of peace, students have developed three groups: Society, Havoc, and Variant.  Each group has specific jobs around the campus and certain beliefs with respect to life at Maxfield.  Everyone must join a group, but does that mean Benson has to buy into the beliefs of his group?   Benson is desperate to escape the school and when he discovers the real secret behind Maxfield he thinks he may have found the means to accomplish it.  Now he just needs to figure out who he can trust because escaping this prision-like school is not going to be a one-man job.

Who will like this?:  Fans of fast-paced thrillers/adventures will be surprised and intrigued with sci-fi kick near the end.

If you like this, try this: The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Compound by S.A. Bodeen, Lockdown: Escape from Furnance by Alexander Gordon Smith.

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