Disruption Review

disruptionTitle: Disruption

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi

Publication Date: 1st April 2014

Publisher: Harper Collins Australia

Reminds me of: a tinge of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey but it’s pretty original

What if a microchip could identify your perfect match?
What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loves most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it.

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for?

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking. Goodreads Continue reading

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The Giver Review

thegiverTitle: The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: Children’s

Publication Date: 1993 by Harper Collins in Australia

Reminds me of: Just because it’s a dystopian novel I want to rattle off the usuals, but I just can’t! Maybe Uglies… I’m gonna go with Uglies here.

I think I’ll begin by arguing: is it dystopian or utopian? Dystopia we think The Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium. There’s been an absolute boom in YA dystopian fiction but The Giver has been hanging around since long before.

A common theme with all dystopian novels is that they begin as a utopia (except The Hunger Games. I wasn’t tempted to live there at any point in time). The societies are built on the foundation that the founders have created the ideal and perfect state. In reality they’re masking a painful truth. The Giver isn’t like that. It’s a nice place to live, and the civilians accept society for what it is and not what they’re missing out on.

What is expected of Jonas is a huge burden for anyone to carry – let alone a twelve year old kid. In his mind he’s expected to carry the weight of the world. Everyone’s suffering and misery, every war and every loss. I don’t imagine any sane person being able to cope with that. With the bad, however, comes the good. The picturesque visions of sailing, of Christmas, of love – he’s blessed with the beauty too.

Ultimately, Jonas has the ability to defy every foundation his society has built. He has the freedom of choice. The newfound ability to let his consciousness speak and welcome the experience of decision making.

The concepts are written and discussed on a very basic level which is fine considering it’s a children’s book – Lowry has written extremely effectively for her target audience, I don’t know what more you can want of her. It’s filled with ambiguity but at the same time you learn appreciate everything for face value.

The lack of any emotion in this book emphasises the importance of pain (physical or emotional) and every other shitty feeling under the sun. Although Jonas’ society believes ignorance is bliss we, as the reader, have the capacity to judge their construction of harmony.  Without the bad we can’t appreciate the good for its full value. There is no good without bad – it’s as simple as that.

Rating:

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I really liked it! It was though provoking and I found myself daydreaming about its concepts while I was trying to study. As for my initial question – I’ll leave it up to you: dystopia or utopia guys?

On the Jellicoe Road Review

9780143011194Title: On the Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: YA/ Contemporary/ Drama

Publication date: 2006 by Penguin Australia

Pages: 290

Reminds me of: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road. Source

I think I’ll begin by telling you the reactions I got from others reading On the Jellicoe Road. I witnessed a combination of swooning, heart clutching and sighing the title out loud. Then there was the completely opposite reaction where there was growling, nose scrunching and tongue sticking out in annoyance. I was surprised how a book so highly acclaimed could elicit these negative reactions. It was all so dramatic and definitely intrigued me to keep reading. But opinions were based on their preference for genre. Those who loved the book did not appreciate her fantasy books, whereas the opposite group adored them. Turning the last page I was mopping up tears and getting over a good sob. She evoked a huge chunk of emotion from me. The journey I experienced to get to that point, however, was a bit conflicting.

The first 100 pages were tedious to get through and I really couldn’t understand it’s appreciation.
I found it sluggish and complex and I didn’t understand how the emotional aspect was so heavy for a story about a group of teenagers fighting a game-like territorial war at their boarding school out in the bush. But I persevered and I’m happy I did.

These opening chapters are a beautiful foreshadowing for something much more dark to come. They’re important and critical once you begin to piece the puzzle together. Marchetta strings us along, revealing only fragments at a time. It’s worded very carefully and sparingly. Every sentence or word placement has a purpose – she’s just such a talented and wonderful write I can’t get over her skill. Hannah’s manuscript is an important ploy you shouldn’t read over lightly. Don’t be afraid to read way too into it and speculate outrageous outcomes for its purpose – it’s part of the fun. She gives the reader that capacity to assume anything and everything. On this note, the setting is rich and has immense escapist occurrences – you really get lost in it. I’m from the city area of Sydney, and it was nice she transported us there for a brief moment but I really appreciated the bushland scope.

Taylor Markham is a flawed, bruised but remarkable main character. Her story is so personal and her inability to remember highlights the fragility of memory. She reminds us we can choose to remember what we want and that we shouldn’t be so dependant on our own recollections. We understand she’s undergone a traumatic and dark past especially evident by the fact she’s repressed such a large portion. It doesn’t make her delicate – she’s feisty and aggressive which is so different but perfect for a female heroine. I think there should be more of Taylor’s personality out there. Constantly we see female heroines who are happy, giggly and light hearted – which is a wonderful positive representation. But frequently they’re paralleled by male counterparts who are allowed to show aggression and frustration. I think Marchetta has done a fantastic thing by giving a female character a typically male characteristic even if the feminist approach wasn’t her intention.

Rating:

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

On the Jellicoe Road is testament to Marchetta’s skill as both a writer and a storyteller. I understand perfectly why she won Printz award for it. It’s an incredible piece of literature. Because it took me a third of the book to actually get into it I just couldn’t give it five stars and I so badly wanting to hop aboard the bandwagon of fans who literally swoon over this book. Unlike We Were Liars, I think this book does something deeper and more personal to the reader and for that reason I’m actually going back to edit that review. Marchetta’s book is moving and emotional, and it should be on your book bucket list.

* This was read as part of the Australian Women’s Writing Challenge

The Infinite Sea Review

infinite seaTitle: The Infinite Sea

Author: Rick Yancey

Genre: YA/Speculative Fiction

Publication Date: September 16th 2014 (by Penguin)

Pages: 300

Reminds me of: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I was hunting through the bookshops the day The Infinite Sea came out. Eventually I found a copy at Dycmocks and even squealed aloud (much to my boyfriend’s horror). But I had every reason to be that excited, because as far as sequels go Yancey did a really impressive job.

Synopsis: How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate. Source

The Infinite Sea is the second book in the trilogy. While it’s definitely quieter than the first novel I wouldn’t say it suffers from middle book syndrome (I don’t have the last instalment to compare it to, but I think it’s a fair assumption). Although not a criticism, I found myself backtracking frequently as I got too swept up in the plot to stay focused on the way things were worded (focus is a necessity). Yancey’s managed to construct a linguistically stunning piece of work in a YA novel, and keep us mesmerised simultaneously in the fast paced plot. He explores what exactly it means to be human and what makes up humanity – a central theme of the novel.  I’ll give you a hint: pay extra close attention to the mention of Vincit Qui Patitur and you’ll appreciate the novel for its full worth. Continue reading

Uglies Review

uglies coverTitle: Uglies

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Genre: YA/Dystopian/Sci-Fi

Publication Date: February 8 2005 by Simon & Schuster

Pages: 425

Reminds me of: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley or Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? 

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license – for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. 

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever… Source

I would have been 11 at the time Uglies was published and I can guarantee it was not my cup of tea then. I remember picking it up at the library and thinking ugh… In short, I wasn’t into sci-fi yet. It’s funny though how books we initially frown upon end up being quite notable in our later reading years. On first thought I found the book predictable and clichéd but the books I was comparing it to came years later! I don’t think it’s fair to describe Uglies like that because it most likely was a book that inspired contemporary authors. On the surface, Uglies is a book that glorifies cosmetic surgery and idolises aesthetics but there’s so much more to it…

Uglies is set in a post-apocalyptic world set off by a worldwide oil contamination (props to Westerfeld because that’s a brilliantly unique way to kill us all off). The city folk’s morals are conflicting. We understand killing animals or cutting down trees is an atrocious act so we get the idea they believe in all things natural and worship the environment – something Westerfeld has made clear their predecessors had no respect for at all (they’re called the Rusties and we think they’re pretty nuts for treating the planet as they did).

Then there’s a whole new kind of crazy – their obsession with beauty. It’s nice that kids aren’t pressured to be self conscious about the way they look but once they turn sixteen they undergo intense cosmetic surgery to aesthetically enhance them to perfection – or rather, Pretty. You’re Ugly prior your surgery and Pretty after. It’s pretty self explanatory. Life is easy from then on and your only job then is to love life and party it up every day in New Pretty Town. It’s paradise. But if everyone looked the same would that really make the world a better place? Would conflict appease? Continue reading

Anna and the French Kiss

anna-and-the-french-kiss-stephanie-perkins-book-coverTitle: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA/Romance/Contemporary

Publication Date: 2010 by Penguin

Pages: 372

Reminds me of: Die for Me Series by Amy Plum

Stephanie Perkins is doing big things and with the much anticipated release of Isla and the Happily Ever After I finally decided to hop on the bandwagon and give her novels a go. I was so happy I did. With summer around the corner, its novels like Perkins’ I’m on the lookout for.  The easy, happy go lucky type. The sort that makes you lose track of time and your surroundings. You’ll smile and blush and giggle out loud.

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?  Source

On Character…

Oh my God Anna. She is such a fantastic protagonist. Her sarcasm is so real and relatable. She doesn’t sugar coat things, she’s not blunt and has it in her to take any joke one step further. I just found her so different to any other heroine in such a fantastic way. Like when Anna jokes about pregnancy and her virginity while rubbing Victor Noir’s shiny wang… that scene had to have gotten at least a smirk out of you. She really makes you feel things – whether it be homesickness or frustration – one of her shining qualities is connecting with the reader.

I did like St Clair… and I didn’t. That’s the point. Continue reading

The Maze Runner Trilogy Review

Title: The Maze Runner Trilogy (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)

Author: James Dashner

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Action

Publication Date: October 6th 2009 by Random House (The Maze Runner)

Reminds me of: The Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

1370379044_4795_Maze-Runner

I’m give a 3 in 1 book review a go. So bear with me here!

In honour of read an eBook day, I downloaded The Maze Runner onto my Kindle. Over a week I ended up finishing the trilogy because I was absolutely hooked. I was so excited about my hour long train ride to work or uni because I’d get the chance to keep reading! If you’ve been contemplating picking up the books before you see the movie read on!

The Maze Runner was brilliant. I said above it reminded me of the Goosebumps series and for a good reason! If you’re familiar with them you’ll remember the cliff-hanger each one ended on. You had to keep reading. The suspense was killing you. It’s exactly the same here and in The Scorch Trials. Continue reading