As with my review of Altered Carbon, I've arrived at the Starslip webcomic party a little late, as in, the seven-year series is finished. However, that might add a welcome bittersweet flavor to each strip I read as I come closer and closer to the end. I have fallen head-over-heels in love with all of author Kris Straub’s characters, his artistic style, and his off-kilter sense of humor as he simultaneously pays homage to and lampoons the best and worst traits of sci-fi soap operas. With every click of the forward-pointing arrow I know I am coming to the close of an incredible story, but, like with any good book, I can't stop!
Let me get this out of the way: if you're not a "computer person," someone with more than a vague knowledge of computer networking technology, Brain Jack, by Brian Falkner, is probably not the book for you. If, however, you ARE such a person, Brain Jack will start off as the kind of thriller that you think you will love, but its ending, like so many other cyber-thrillers, feels rushed and absurd. Don’t get me wrong--you'll enjoy reading it, but don't expect anything too deep from this book.
Sam is the generic hero of our story. He's 17; he's a computer prodigy; and he's going to save the country from itself. The world of Brain Jack is set only a few years into our future. Falkner does a good job of building a world that, initially, is entirely conceivable based on our present. Computer technology is even more prevalent, and its consequences all the more potent. Las Vegas has been the victim of a nuclear attack that has left it in ruins, and the rest of the country is decaying under strict martial conditions.
Mahlia and Mouse are War Maggots, children orphaned by endless bloodshed across future America. The seas have risen and many of our large East-Coast cities have struggled to keep functioning. That struggle leads to violence, the kind of which leaves only the young to deal with the consequences. These child soldiers have inherited and will fight to control The Drowned Cities.
Author Paulo Bacigalupi slammed onto the young adult scene two years back with Ship Breaker. Resources are depleted. Oil is gone. New Orleans has been destroyed by hurricanes and rebuilt multiple times. Nailer, a boy hired to scavenge scrap metal in massive retired oil tankers, manages to find a path to a better life. Nailer desperately tried to take that path, despite opposition from ruthless vultures, specifically his drunken, abusive father.
Insurgent is the sequel to the science fiction bestseller Divergent and picks up Tris Prior’s story immediately where the first book left off. Tris, Tobias, and the other Dauntless members who have not allied with the Erudites after the massacre of the Abnegation faction seek shelter with other factions, trying to find a place to regroup and recover. But Jeanine, the Erudite leader, and the Dauntless “traitors” give them no peace. One by one, their potential allies fall away until the only remaining option is to join forces with the previously despised Factionless.
Did you know that the Cinderella story is one of the world’s oldest fairy tales? The first version can be traced back to ninth-century China and was written about a heroine named Yeh-shen. Today, more than 1500 versions of the tale exist, many with a unique twist. I recently enjoyed what I consider to be the most singular version of Cinderella that I have ever come upon in Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
Cinder Linh is a cyborg – part human, part robot – who knows nothing of her birth parents or history. She is a ward of her evil stepmother, Adri, who relies on Cinder’s extraordinary talent as a mechanic to support the family all the while vilifying Cinder at every opportunity. Together with two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony, they live in technologically advanced, post-World War IV “New Beijing.” Unfortunately, New Beijing is threatened by an airborn plague called letumosis, which strikes at random and has an almost 100% fatality rate.
During Freedom Middle School Cafe Book Get Together Day at Salem Church Library Alia, Emily, Madison & Hope review Unwind by Neal Shusterman: In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs--and, perhaps, save their own lives.
See more teen book reviews on our YouTube channel.
See more teen book reviews on our YouTube channel.
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
In rural Ohio, friendships and a beautiful girl prove distracting to a fifteen-year-old who has hidden on Earth for ten years waiting to develop the Legacies, or powers, he will need to rejoin the other six surviving Garde members and fight the Mogadorians who destroyed their planet, Lorien.
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. See our other Book Matches.
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he's fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he's a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?
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The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski
This is the tale of twelve year old Petra. She travels to Prague with her magical tin spider hoping to retrieve the enchanted eyes the Prince of Bohemia took from her father. She meets a Roma boy and his sister who help her in her quest.
H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Mark Walden
Swept away to a hidden academy for training budding evil geniuses, Otto, a brilliant orphan, Wing, a sensitive warrior, Laura, a shy computer specialist and Shelby, an infamous jewel thief, plot to beat the odds and escape the prison known as H.I.V.E.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trent Lee Stewart
This is the story of four kids who pass a series of mind-bending tests and are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. The only rule is that there are no rules.
Hunger Games fans will definitely want to check out Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi:
A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....
This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. See our other Book Matches.
Maxiumum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Max, 14, and her adopted family-Fang and Iggy, both 13, Nudge, 11, Gazzy, 8, and Angel, 6-were all created as experiments in a lab called the School. Jeb, a sympathetic scientist, helped them escape and, since then, they've been living on their own. The Erasers have orders to kill them so the world will never find out they exist. Max's old childhood friend, Ari, now an Eraser leader, tracks them down, kidnaps Angel, and transports her back to the School to live like a lab rat again. The youngsters are forced to use their special talents to rescue her as they attempt to learn about their pasts and their destinies. (School Library Journal Review)
If you liked James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, you might try one of these fast-paced books:
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong. (catalog summary)
Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman
Aidan and Meg Falconer are their parents' only hope. The Falconers are facing life in prison -- unless Aidan and Meg can follow a trail of clues to prove their innocence. The problem? Right now they're trapped in a juvenile detention center. Until they escape one night -- and find themselves on the run, both from the authorities and from a sinister attacker t who has his own reason to stop them. The Falconers must use their wits to make it across the country ... with plenty of tests along the way. (catalog summary)