Boorman, Kate A. Darkthaw. New York: Amulet Books, 2015. 978-1-4197-1663-8. 325 p. $17.95. Gr. 7 and up.
In this sequel to Winterkill, Emmeline and a small band of sympathizers leave the compound where they have had little free will in pursuit of freedom in a place she has seen in her dreams and from which her companion, Matista, has come. The two young women are connected by the foreshadowing dreams that involve each other, and now that the promising thaw has come in terms of both the environment and the fall of the Council that governed the settlement, Emmeline sets out. Her journey is fraught with challenges as she navigates the terrain, confused loyalties, the questions of forgiveness and redemption, illness, hostile tribes, and her relationship with Kane, whom she loves and who has told her he will go with her anywhere until his responsibilities are also tested. THOUGHTS: Emmeline is a strong female character upon whom secondary and male characters depend for modeling behavior, dedication and decision-making. Fans of Winterkill and similar fantasy adventure stories led by dominant female characters will enjoy this sequel. Includes mild sex scenes (kissing with “heat”) and graphic violence.
Fantasy Annette Sirio, Barack Obama Academy
Fowley-Doyle, Moira. The Accident Season. New York: Kathy Dawson Books, 2015. 978-0-525-42948-7. 291 p. $17.99. Gr. 9-12.
Every October, Cara and her family suddenly become extremely accident-prone. Having
no explanation for all of the cuts, bruises, and tragedies during this time, they refer to this month as the accident season and simply prepare for it as best as they can. This year, however, Cara notices that a strange girl named Elsie appears in every single one of her photos and begins to wonder if there is a connection between this mysterious girl and the accident season. As she searches for Elsie, family secrets are uncovered, relationships develop, and Cara’s entire world comes crashing down as everything she thought she knew about the accident season is turned upside down. THOUGHTS: An interesting mix of mystery, suspense, romance, paranormal fiction, and realistic family dynamics make this an intriguing read. Although the story starts out slow, the plot picks up about halfway through, and plot twists and turns will keep readers hooked from this point on. Some sensitive subjects, such as teenage drinking and sexual assault, make this book more appropriate for high school audiences.
Paranormal Fiction Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School
Kaufman, Amie, and Jay Kristoff. Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. 978-0-553-49911-7. 599 pp. $18.99. Gr. 8 and up.
When an illegal mining operation on the planet of Kerenza is attacked by BeiTech Corporation, escapees flee to nearby spaceships Alexander, Hypatia, and Copernicus. Among these refugees are recent exes Kady and Ezra, who wind up on different ships but manage to re-connect via pirated communication channels. Ezra is quickly conscripted into the military as a fighter pilot, while Kady is tapped for her computer hacking skills. When the battleship Alexander inexplicably bombs a member of its own fleet, killing thousands of people, it seems the ship’s artificial intelligence (AIDAN) has gone rogue. Kady just might have the skills to stop AIDAN, but at a great personal cost. Oh, and BeiTech’s attack included a highly contagious new virus called Phobos that turns its victims into paranoid space zombies. The novel is packaged as an intelligence report in the form of transcripts, data files, and images, compiled by the mysterious Illuminae group. It will be fun to booktalk with fans of zombies, science fiction, graphic novels, and IM-style narratives. THOUGHTS: Don’t be put off by Illuminae‘s hefty 599 pages; the novel reads at near-warp speed and its many deft plot maneuvers will have readers scanning the galaxy for the sequel, Geminae, coming in 2016!
Illuminae would be a great choice for fans of the movies The Martian and Interstellar. Thanks to the fun, unique format it has appeal for reluctant readers and avid readers alike.
Science Fiction Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School
Dunn, Pintip. Forget Tomorrow. Entangled Teen, 2015. 978-1-63375-238-2. 336 p. $16.99. Grades 6 and up.
Callie Stone, like every other young person turning seventeen in Eden City, looks forward to her birthday with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Each seventeen-year-old receives a vision sent back from the future to their younger self. This vision is viewed by society as the definitive course that each person’s life will take. People have visions of themselves as experts in certain fields, as parents of large families, or even as criminals committing terrible offenses. Callie hopes to receive a vision of herself as an expert chef, but in her horrifying dream, she has killed her sister, Jessa. Callie willingly goes to “limbo”, the prison for future offenders, because she must stop herself from doing something so terrible to her beloved sister. Her childhood sweetheart, Logan, who has ignored her for the past five years, unexpectedly appears to free her from prison. Logan is involved in the Underground, a resistance group that helps those seeking to escape their pre-ordained futures. Is the future already written? Can Callie change her fate? Logan has now given her the chance to find out. THOUGHTS: Forget Tomorrow is an exciting novel that creates a richly detailed dystopian society. Like many of the better offerings in the genre, it asks larger questions about the human condition. This book tackles the issue of free will and a person’s ability to circumvent fate. Forget Tomorrow is romantic and somewhat violent, but teen and pre-teen fans of dystopian literature will love it.
This novel hasn’t received a lot of buzz, possibly because it is from a smaller independent publisher, but it is one of the best dystopian novels to come along in a while. Callie, Logan, and the other characters are interesting and relatable. The action is exciting and a number of plot twists will keep the reader guessing. There is a cliffhanger ending that points to future adventures for Callie, Logan, and Jessa. Forget Tomorrow is a book that readers won’t forget any time soon.
Dystopian Susan Fox, Washington Jr./Sr. High School