All Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

Matched
Condie, Ally
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Matched by Ally Condie tells the story of a young girl living in a society where everything is chosen for you - who you are, where you live, who you marry. Cassia, the protagonist, is matched with her best friend - everything seems to be going great until it is discovered that she has also been Matched with another boy. This book had a lot of potential and an interesting concept, but I personally felt it didn't really deliver. The pacing was slow. There wasn't much tension. The characters were a little one-dimensional and cheesy. Although it wasn't one of my favorite books, it could make for a nice summer read.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Atlantia
Condie, Ally
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Atlantia is about a girl named Rio. The earth was polluted long ago, so to make a safe haven, the people made Atlantia, an underground city. However, the people below could not survive without some people staying above to farm, and send them supplies. Some people sacrificed their health below so that their loved ones could be healthy instead. This formed the two civilizations: Above and Below. Rio has always dreamed of seeing the stars, the sun, the Above. When your 15 you are able to choose were you want to spend the rest of your life. Once you choose, you cannot go back. Rio’s dream of going above is crushed when her mother dies in a mysterious way, and her twin sister, Bay, makes her promise not to leave her, thus trapping her in Atlantia. When the time comes to choose, Rio goes first, being the older twin, and chooses the Below. However, to everyones surprise, Bay chooses to go Above, and abandons Rio with no explanation. True, the best friend of another boy who chose to go up, thinks he knows why his sister left Rio, and together, they find the truth, about more things then they were looking for. I first picked up this book, about two years ago, when Ally Condie was in Colorado for a book signing. As a volunteer at the library, I was at the event, and got my copy of Matched signed, and bought Atlantia and got that signed as well. I didn’t read it until quit recently. I especially enjoyed the book’s themes. Unlike other YA novels, the focus on the book was not the romance, but the sisterly love instead. This made a great combination of the themes of love in the book. Atlantia always found a way to surprise me, and the plot twists kept on coming. Unlike Condie’s other books, the Matched series, this book wasn't overly romantic and predictable. I was defiantly not disappointed in the writing. Another thing, however, is the reason that Bay leaves does not fit the plot, and confuses me more than anything. Other than that, it was a very well put together book.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn C.
The Scorpion Rules
Bow, Erin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Greta Stuart has been a hostage for most of her life. Well, technically, she's one of the "children of peace". You see, long ago, after the world was ravaged by the effects of global warming, an AI named Talis put himself in control, and decided to almost completely eradicate war by having the leader of each country turn over their heir to be a "child of peace" until the child reached the age of 18. Should that country go to war, the child will be killed. Greta's nation, the Pan Pols (Canada) are about to go to war over water, and Greta knows that her death is imminent.

This book is hard to explain. Basically, the world-building is pretty detailed, but not without some holes (many of which are explained by the end of the book), and most of the first half of the book was spent explaining the world that Greta and her fellow hostages lived in. Also, Greta is the proverbial ice princess - she is fairly stoic, even in her own head, and so I didn't think she was very likable for the first half of the book.

However, as the book progresses, Greta really comes into her own. Her stoicism and propriety have given her a certain amount of power in regards to the fellow children of peace, and it's really fun to see her step up and wield that power. And then, stuff goes terribly, horribly wrong, and the pacing and intrigue of the story really pick up.

I'd give the first half of the book 2 stars, and the second half 5. So, over all, like a 3.5 or something. By the end, I was loving it. If you like really complex dystopian novels (this is more like 1984 than Divergent), then this one is not to be missed.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
On Such a Full Sea
Lee, Chang-Rae
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

On Such a Full Sea opens in a futuristic Baltimore (“B-Mor”). The protagonist, Fan, is the descendant of refugees from a Chinese city whose population was transplanted to America to work in fisheries after the complete environmental collapse of their homeland. The US at this time is in crisis, with limited resources divided unevenly among the heavily stratified classes. There’s a very rare chance for children to be “promoted” into the upper classes via a national exam, as indeed Fan’s brother was, but most of the country lives in labor colonies and has their career set at birth -- in the government-controlled regions, that is. Outside the carefully controlled urban production centers, there’s nothing but lawless wilderness across most of the country (the so-called “open counties”).
The plot kicks off when Fan’s boyfriend (and father of her unborn child) goes missing -- possibly taken by government officials -- and she sets out into the wild open counties outside of B-Mor to search for him, encountering a bizarre, violent world. Fan is a bit flat -- in fact, nearly all of the characters are -- but what really stood out was the way the story was narrated. It’s told not from Fan’s perspective but from the point of view of the community back in B-Mor, always speaking as “we”. The narrator relates to us the legend that has grown up around Fan since her escape, speculating on what it was about her and this incident that sparked so much fascination -- and briefly protest -- in an otherwise defeated community. What we “learn” about Fan’s adventures is thus largely a compilation of the stories that have grown up around her since she left B-Mor. Her characterization makes a bit more sense when you think of her as a folk hero, but some readers may dislike the lack of insight into what she’s thinking or feeling. We move back and forth between events in B-Mor and episodes in Fan's search for her boyfriend, which (despite the weaknesses I mentioned) were inventive and compelling.
It’s not an entirely original setting, and the narration style was a bit (okay, a lot) off-putting at first, but the writing itself was beautiful and I ended up enjoying it much more than I had expected. If you like dystopian fiction, I’d recommend giving this book a try.

Reviewer's Name: Lauren
Awards:
Genres:
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I had originally picked this book to read because the movie is very popular.
I thought that the book would live up to the hype the movie had. It wasn't a bad book by any means, I was just expecting more. Most of the parts were predictable, but there were one or two things that weren't. It had fairly easy vocabulary considering how long the book was. I felt that this book was more geared toward guys with its derogatory terms like "klunk"(poop).
Overall, this is an average dystopian book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Legend
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A plague ripples throughout the cities, fatal to anyone who has caught it for too long. No one wonders where they come from; the bigger issue is the war. A new recruit, top in her class, is too blind to notice. A boy, Day, is on the run, he’s resourceful, cunning. The two are unlucky enough to cross paths on a dangerous adventure. I give this a 5/5, it is an emotional roller-coaster all the way.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Thomas can't remember anything.
He wakes up in a mysterious lift and finds himself in a strange place called the Glade with several other boys - all their memories wiped. Encircling the Glade is a giant maze that holds terrifying creatures and endless paths that lead to nowhere. But, who put them there?
This book was very fast-paced. As Thomas tries to unravel his past, we discover something very dark has brought them there - something even wicked. I read this book quickly - it was very hard to put down. The end is just as confusing as the beginning, making you even more anxious to pick up the next book!
The only real flaw I could see was the lack of character development. This may because it's the first book and the characters may change as the story continues. But, besides that, it was great!
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P
The Search for Wondla
DiTerlizzi, Tony
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This novel is about Eva Nine, a girl who had lived underground her whole life, training to be able to survive on the Earth's surface. Everything changes when a beast destroys her underground home; she was forced to run to the surface, but everything she learned about the earth from her training underground doesn't seem to apply to what she actually experienced.
I really enjoyed reading this book because Tony DiTerlizzi (the author) put a lot of effort into making The Search for Wondla's universe; he described everything very thoroughly and even had pictures in the novel as a visual aid to help the readers imagine what he was trying to convey. The made-up contraptions, plants, and animals in the story were all very unique and I was impressed by the creativity and the thought put into them.
Because of all of the detailed descriptions, it can be a bit overwhelming for some readers. I don't recommend this book to those who tend to skim, because if you do, you will end up confused and unsatisfied with the story.
The illustrations were absolutely fantastic and really tied the book together. The art made me feel like I was actually there with the main character and seeing what she was seeing.
This book is a very good example of adventure and fantasy, but I feel that The Search for Wondla had a little bit of everything mixed into it to make something amazing.
The writing was a bit awkward and not as fluid as it could have been on some parts, which can be noticed by more experienced readers, but it was fairly easy to get past.
The Search for Wondla is a great book and I could not stop after I started reading it.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Four
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Tobias Eaton - known as "Four" - tells his full story in a collection of short stories before the events of Divergent take place. Abused by his father, Tobias wishes to leave his faction, Abnegation, to escape his miserable life. When he joins Dauntless in the hopes of making a new life, he incidentally discovers dark secrets within the faction...secrets regarding Divergents.

This book was great! I liked hearing more about Four, who didn't have quite enough time to tell his whole story in Divergent. We also learn a great deal about the corruption within the factions. It gave a fresh perspective on the Divergent world overall. It was excellent.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

Mare Bellow's blood is red, which marks her for a life in poverty at best, and a brutal death on the front lines of a war she didn't ask for, at worst. She lives under the harsh rule of the Silvers, folks with special powers (mostly elemental, though some are X-men like). Later, surprise surprise, she finds out that she has special powers too and her life is upended.

Confession: I tried to read this book like 5 times. I finally got through it. I should've stopped trying. This book is one big, cliched, full of plot holes mess, there's a seriously stupid, unlikable, mean (and not even in a fun way) main character. In addition to an unoriginal plot and vapid characters, the writing is not stellar. I can see a certain type of reader enjoying it, but it certainly wasn't for me.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Witch & Wizard
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Witch and Wizard is an extravagant book for young adults and teens. From a kidnapping to an evil tyrant, Whit and Wisty Allgood can't accept the fact that they are the children from the proficy, the children with powers, the children destined to save and rule the world. James Patterson takes his readers on an adventure that you can't put down. This book was unpredictable and left me wanting more from the very beginning. This is one of the best books of I have read since fourth grade and I've read a lot. On my free time I will go to a bookstore and grab as many books as my arms can carry and this time I tried to find as many James Patterson books as I could and this book was yelling my name from across the room. This book captivated me within just the first paragraph. The language and content flashbacks kept me engaged to the end. Whit and Wisty will do much more than keep you intrigued, they will keep you close through the whole series. I would rate this book five of five stars and I would recommend this book to teens from ages 11-15.
Reviewer Grade: 5

Reviewer's Name: Samantha K.
Anthem
Rand, Ayn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Equality 7-2521 is a street sweeper in a society ruled by a Communist/ Fascist type of dictatorship where individuals rights have been destroyed and everyone works only to serve their government. As a young boy, Equality 7-2521 witnessed the execution of someone who had spoken the “Unspeakable Word” and ever since
then, he has wondered what that word is. Resuming to the present, Equality 7-2521 one day discovers
a metal grill leading down into a dark tunnel from the Unmentionable Times, the ancient period prior to the establishment of the present society. For the next 2 years, he does secret experiments down in this tunnel and discovers electricity, but when he shows it to the World Council of Scholars, he is rejected and must escape from being persecuted. I love Anthem by Ayn Rand because it talks about a dystopian society and about a curious mind that defies the government and learns something great. The beginning is boring and is of backstory, but from there it becomes so interesting that it feels like you are there with the main character. Also it’s a short book for those who hate 800 page books and want a quick read for school or just to kill some free time.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Awards:
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Manor Farm is home to animals who, noticeably, hate being controlled and oppressed by their farmer, Mr. Jones. One night Old Major, a wise boar, gathers the animals for a meeting and tells them of a dream he has where all animals live together with no human beings to oppress or control them. After his death, the animals take over the farm under the leadership of the pigs. As the story progresses the pigs move away from Animalism and move towards becoming human beings. Animal Farm by George Orwell is number 9 in my top books list mostly because it is a satire about the Russian Revolution and Stalinism. I did not like it in the fact that it overused personification and the use of animals to represent Russia in the 1970’s, but if we look at the book as a story just about animals taking over a farm, it is actually really interesting. I would recommend it to some people, not to others (those who dislike personification and satires).

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is about a fireman named Guy Montag whose job is to, ironically, start fires. Everything was going great for Guy, I mean he had money, a “loving” wife, and had an exhilarating job of burning books. That all changes when he meets a teenage girl who completely changes his view on the corrupt world and when he opens a book, which is illegal, he realizes why reading them is forbidden. Guy realizes he must escape this awful place, but where would he go? How would he get there? And who can he trust? Fahrenheit 451 is one of many dystopian society novels that catch my attention because it makes me wonder what would happen if this WAS our world. It is very boring in the beginning and is confusing at some parts, but overall it’s an amazing book and had me reading 20 pages within 10 minutes towards the end. I chose this book because I love dystopian society books and also the cover looked intriguing. I wonder what would happen if books were illegal and people were forbidden to read them?

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

District 13 has finally stepped out of the shadows and joined the rebellion. Unknowingly, Katniss has been a central part of their revolution for a while. Now, she must decide whether or not she'll collaborate with them. The success of the rebellion and the future of Panem depends on it.

This was my least favorite book of the series. I felt as if it dragged a lot because not much happened for a while. The end felt really rushed and thrown together, which I found disappointing. It's an okay book, but I didn't find it very satisfying.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After Katniss and Peeta win The Hunger Games, the Capital is upset. Katniss' defiance that allowed the both of them to win has inspired the Districts to rebel. The Capital, desperate to stay in control, must find a way to stop the rebellion before it actually becomes a force to be reckoned with. To do this, they must destroy the rebellion's figurehead in the right way. Just when Katniss finally thinks that she's safe, her world is turned upside down and she finds herself in more danger than ever before.

This book was good. While I enjoyed it more than the first one, it's a bit repetitive. Part of the plot was the same as the first book, just with different circumstances. Otherwise, I loved it.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The nation of Panem resides in a place that was once known as North America. It is a Capital surrounded by 12 districts. Once, the districts rebelled against the Capital and were defeated. Thus, The Hunger Games were born. Every year, each district must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to fight to the death in The Hunger Games, which is broadcasted across national television. When Katniss' sister is chosen, she volunteers to go in her place, knowing that to go means certain death.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be very interesting. It's scary to think that anybody would allow an event such as The Hunger Games to occur. Power in the wrong hands can lead to terrible things.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Animal Farm a group of animals are faced with some problems with the owner of their farm. Through these problems the animals form an alliance in order to try and get rid of their owner. It's full of action and controversy making it more fun to want to read. There are also some sad parts which also add a spark of emotions to the book. I believe this can also relate to actual human things that go on in the world, which makes it able to be relatable to the reader.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Undivided
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Proactive Citizenry has been hiding a way to create new body parts that would make unwinding completely unnecessary. If this information can be revealed, unwinding may finally come to an end, but nothing's as easy as it seems.

Starkey and his brigade of storks are growing more powerful every day. Instead of helping anything, the attacks made by the brigade are only convincing people that the new laws that allow teenagers (without parental consent) and convicts to be unwound must be passed. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

Between people's fear of feral teenagers and their belief that unwinding is the only way to provide them with a substantial amount of body parts, unwinding may never end.

I enjoyed this book. It really goes to show how fear can drive people to do drastic things. The only thing that I didn't like a lot was the ending. While the fate of the future was implied, it didn't feel very concrete. I personally didn't find it satisfying, but that's just my opinion.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book has been given more credit than it probably deserves. However, it is still a great novel. Bradbury has such beautiful writing, it grabs you from the first sentence. The story is about a man, Montag, who lives in the future as a fireman. Unlike today’s firemen, though, Montag is a fire-starter. He burns houses that have a single book in them, since books are illegal in this future. Montag meets a young girl, though, that changes his perspective on his previous perception of why books are so bad. If you are itching to read something quick, good, and that will make you think, this is a book for you!

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison H.

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