Tag Archives: books

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

The UnidentifiedThe Unidentified by Rae Mariz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Following along my dystopian kick, I picked this one up after hearing someone discuss it at the ICFA in Orlando. I thought the concept was spot on and it had a combination feel of Monica Hughes’ Invitation to the Game, MT Anderson’s Feed and So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld.

Rampant consumerism, consumerized education, branded styles, trendsetters and cool hunters, popularity and technology all surround apathetic Kid who is more concerned with making music and just getting by than trying to get noticed by sponsors and get branded. But after she witnesses a disturbing stunt, she starts to do some research. She stumbles upon the UnIdentified–a group committed to staying below the controlling technology and constant feed access of the Game. But Kid has been noticed now, and she stumbles onto something more than a bunch of teenaged rebels.

An interesting read, and some interesting characters. Overall I enjoyed the story arc and the world building, noticing that the focus on the microcosm of the futuristic high school kept the story quote controlled and not overwhelming in regards to world building. However, I was disappointed that the novel ended where it did…it felt sudden and unsatisfying. Realistic, yes, but I would have like a few ends to be tied up. It seems that this might continue into a trilogy, though I don’t think the existing story has enough momentum to do so. So, we’ll see.

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Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

WonderstruckWonderstruck by Brian Selznick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the man who brought us the Caldecott-Medal-winning novel Hugo Cabret (incidentially which translated wonderfully to the big screen), this graphic novel about deaf culture crosses two generations; one story told first in pictures and one told in words. The two characters become intertwined into a beautifully crafted story of illustrations and words that emphasizes family, acceptance and how one grows and changes over a lifetime.

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Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this dystopian novel. I snuck it in between Victorian children’s books by leaving early for school and taking the long way on the T.

Gaia’s society “advances” three babies a month from her sector to the Enclave where they are raised with every advantage, technology, money and society. The divide between the walls has a long established history. Gaia’s mother and father are taken by the Enclave for questioning, and Gaia is left to take on her mother role as midwife, while also keeping a secret safe. Uncertain as to what the secret means, Gaia enters the Enclave by stealth in order to find her parents and finds that the coveted world inside the wall is a lot darker than she expected.

With a plenitude of dystopias hitting the teen market, this one offered something new. There were several moments that took me by surprise.Gaia’s strong character is tinged with a strong sense of right and wrong that does not necessarily correspond with the law of the Enclave.

If you are looking for another book to fill the gap from Hunger Games, Matched or Delirium, Birthmarked is the next title you should read.

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Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure IslandTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this classic quite enjoyable. It was everything it promised to be. I am glad that I was finally officially introduced to Long John Silver, original badass “gentleman of fortune”.

There is a lot of rum in this book. It is good for the soul.

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The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald

The Princess and Curdie (Puffin Classics)The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Definitely not the same caliber as the first. This follows Curdie’s adventures in proving he is royal and worthy of marrying Princess Irene through the help of the Grandmother. The delightful fairy tale feeling does not carry through to this novel that feels more like a companion piece than a sequel. Curdie’s quest seems aimless and his actions are guided by a very didactic hand that felt like a step back from the progressiveness of his first title.

The ending is…something.

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Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly adored MacDonald’s first of the two Princess books. It was engaging, magical, adventurous and contained only minimal direct didactism (as compared to other books of this era. Princess Irene has agency, and the contrast with the goblins makes for great discourse.

Princess Irene discovers that her Great-Great-Great-Grandmother lives in a tower in her house and this grandmother appears both young and vibrant, as well as old. She provides Irene with agency to save her friend Curdie from the goblins and consequently the whole kingdom.

This fairy tale is delightful.

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Waterbabies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby by Charles Kingsley

WaterbabiesWaterbabies by Charles Kingsley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful Victorian fairy tale about de-evolution and learning strength, morality and character. Sometimes the narrator is a bit heavy-handed, but overall, it is an enjoyable romp through the waters with Tom as he learns the right way to play, treat others, and the consequences of being bad.

Rather fun, and filled with tons of Victorian pop culture and budding ideologies.

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