Tag Archives: alternate history

The Girl From Everywhere

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The Girl From Everywhere

I am generally a sucker for time travel or pirates, so I was pretty sure I had hit the jackpot with this book, which combines both.  But I wasn’t convinced I had a five star read on my hands until the end.  Then my brain exploded. There is a lot of set up to this story that really pays off in the last third of the book. Don’t misunderstand, the first part of the book is still engaging, but it really comes together when all the pieces fall into place in a very satisfying way.

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Goodreads Summary

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

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My Thoughts

Nix is the narrative voice in this story, and it is easy to feel empathy towards her plight.  She is also smart and resourceful, but she still manages to make the mistakes and have feelings that teen readers will find believable.  The cast of secondary characters is diverse and entertaining, and they have back stories that book lovers and history enthusiasts will adore.  While the romantic relationships fell a little flat for me, I think it reflects both Nix’s own inability to make big decisions until her fate is decided, and her formative experiences with Earth-shattering love.  I wasn’t bothered when they didn’t sweep me away, but some readers will be disappointed.  I think it is more important to consider all the messages about love – the kind you feel for your family, your friends, and even places that you hold sacred.  Those are all thoughtfully touched on in this work.  The biggest draw for me, though, is the concept.  It really grabbed my imagination – time traveling pirates (of a sort) on a quest that takes them to places real and imagined with the help of maps and faith-fueled magic.  While some readers might find the rules a little limiting, I thought the idea was sublime. It takes some time to really establish how the idea works, it is so worth the effort.  It is also worth your time to read the author’s notes at the end, especially if some of the literary and historical references elude you (I’m an English teacher, and I still found it enlightening).  Overall, I think this is a book that will appeal to dreamers and readers with the souls of adventurers, and I have plenty of those in my high school classes.  This is definitely going on our classroom library wishlist.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+, but it will hold appeal for adult readers as well.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Gena Showalter’s YA offering, Firstlife, is the pop ballad version of the age old battle between good and evil

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Gena Showalter’s YA offering, Firstlife, is the pop ballad version of the age old battle between good and evil

So, I own a Miley Cyrus song.  An embarrassing one that is probably from a Hannah Montana album.  When my son saw it in my downloads the other day and began laughing his preteen butt off, I was ashamed.  But I rallied.  You see, See You Again makes me remember what it was like to be so young and uncertain in love, and, By Golly, it’s catchy.  It might be a far cry from high brow, but I enjoy it, so that should count for something.  I kind of feel the same way about this book.  It wasn’t a great literary work, and it might even have been a bad literary work in the scale of things, but I was engaged.  I’m a little embarrassed at how much I was entertained by it, but I did while away a few happy hours in this strange work, and that counts for something.  I gave it three stars.

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Goodreads Summary
ONE CHOICE.

TWO REALMS.

NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

My Thoughts

While Firstlife has sweeping themes about the battle between dark and light and the conflict between individual versus society, serious readers will find it difficult to navigate the fluff.  The first twenty percent of the book is full of unnatural conversational patter that relies heavily on references to testicles.  It is fast, and perhaps funny to the right audience, but it makes it hard to take the concept seriously from the start.  Add in the fact that the main character, Ten, seems more torn about her conflicted attraction to a super hot guy than the actual outcome of the battle for her soul, and this book becomes little more than a pop song rendition of one of literature’s most enduring themes.   Now, I’m a bit of a snob, and it hurts me a little to admit that, despite its shortcomings, I thought Firstlife was pretty engaging.  I didn’t understand the concept completely, but there was just enough there to keep me reading for answers.  There was a lot of suspense because, though I had my clear ideas about which side should win this fight, Ten was stubbornly uncertain until the end.  And while I didn’t care for all of the characters, I have to say that many of them were surprisingly dynamic.  I think the real star of the show was Ten’s nemesis turned ally, Sloan.  Overall, this was an entertaining, if not exactly memorable, read.  Language and innuendo make this most appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tessa Gratton’s The Lost Sun is one book that I really couldn’t find a single thing to complain about. Someone should get a trophy for that!

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Tessa Gratton’s The Lost Sun is one book that I really couldn’t find a single thing to complain about. Someone should get a trophy for that!

I chanced upon this book after reading one of Tessa Gratton’s short stories, and I’m so glad I did.  I have never even heard of it, and that is pretty shocking, considering how well written it is.  If you enjoyed but outgrew the Percy Jackson books, you need this book on your radar.  The setting is so well constructed and truly feels like an alternate but believable contemporary world populated by Norse gods and Viking warriors.  It is magical and almost dream-like.  The characters, too, are so carefully crafted and impressive in their depth.  Don’t get me wrong – you can read this and just enjoy it for the action and adventure, but it has a sophistication that will appeal to those who like a little more complexity in conflicts and characters.   There is something here for readers of both genders, and I think it is one that YA readers of all ages can enjoy.

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Goodreads Summary

Fans of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and Holly Black’s “The Curse Workers” will embrace this richly drawn, Norse-mythology-infused alternate world: the United States of Asgard.

Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood–the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd’s Academy. But that’s hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That’s not all Astrid dreams of–the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.
When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they’ve been told they have to be.


My Thoughts

I particularly enjoyed the narrator in this book. Soren had a complex internal conflict that was so clearly developed. I actually liked all of the characters, and that is a true rarity! The world building was engaging, and the way the author introduced aspects of Norse mythology without info dumping was pretty impressive. It was nicely paced to create the feel of a quest, and I appreciated how it had goals that were met along the way so that I wasn’t left waiting foreverlong for an event to happen. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I don’t have a single complaint.

This book is available in our classroom library.

Chanda Stafford’s First is a YA science fiction dystopian that explores the idea that one person’s life is worth valuing over another’s

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Chanda Stafford’s First is a YA science fiction dystopian that explores the idea that one person’s life is worth valuing over another’s

Under this rather innocuous sounding summary is a rather horrifying premise.  I won’t ruin all the fun, but let’s just say that advances in science don’t sound so appealing once you really think about the ramifications.  This book reminded me of Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison.  They had similar concepts, so if you enjoyed one, chances are good you will enjoy the other.  I thought this book was the weaker of the two, but they both put a spin on the idea of immortality and privilege that I found engaging.

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Goodreads Summary

Seventeen-year-old Mira works on a farm in the ruins of Texas, along with all of the other descendants of the defeated rebels. Though she’s given her heart to Tanner, their lives are not their own.

When Socrates, a powerful First, chooses Mira as his Second, she is thrust into the bewildering world of the rich and influential. Will, a servant assigned to assist her, whispers of rebellion, love, and of a darker fate than she’s ever imagined.
With time running out, Mira must decide whether to run to the boy she left behind, the boy who wants her to live, or the man who wants her dead.
My Thoughts

I liked the concept of this story, and I thought the world that the author created is pretty intriguing.  Mira is a well developed character with a lot of internal conflict and external pressure shaping her choices.  The moral dilemma she faces comes across as troubling and real, and I honestly waffled on which way I would go if I had her decision in front of me.  Socrates is a less engaging character initially.  He has a view about his decision to take a second, and it is only over time that he begins to grow and change as a character that readers will care about.  I think this story creates a lot of room for discussion and debate, so it would be perfect for a small reading group.  I did think the story had a few flaws.  First, I quickly guessed what the big mystery was, and I think most readers will as well.  I think the book is designed to allow readers to make the leap of logic that Mira can’t on purpose.  I see exactly why the author chose to delay the reveal, but as a reader, I just felt that the mystery dragged on for too long.  I also had problems with the lack of action.  This is a thinking book, so that is to be expected, but I wanted more than the farm and a room at the Smith.  Neither of these were deal breakers for me – I still enjoyed the read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ward Against Death – A bumbling hero navigates murder, magic, and one undead assassin

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Ward Against Death – A bumbling hero navigates murder, magic, and one undead assassin

Ward Against Death is going to be the perfect read for someone.  Ward is a screw-up who just can’t seem to catch a break, and the brilliantly efficient Celia (a secret assassin) is his perfect foil.  Murder, magic, necromancy and secret societies abound in this fast paced adventure.  Maria V. Snyder (who I adore for her Poison Study books) blurbed it, and Ward is favorably compared to Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files (I kinda see it).  I sort of feel like a punk because I didn’t fall in love with this book, but I was bored and easily distracted all the way through.  Ward, I honestly believe that it’s not you – it’s me.  I’m sure there is a reader out there somewhere just waiting to get their hands on you.

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Goodreads Summary

Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.
However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

My Thoughts

This book just wasn’t my thing, and that is surprising since the word “necromancer” paired with a female undead assassin should have really been right up my alley.  I think the biggest problem for me is that these characters are running all over the town for answers but those answers never added up to much for me as a reader.  So, I couldn’t put the puzzle together without one of the characters explaining in detail what had just happened.  When the two characters did slow down. They usually split up which didn’t give them much time to really bond as a team.  All the running around also stalled their development as characters – I didn’t feel like they were more than just characters, and that made me apathetic about the outcome of the story.  I also struggled with the many character names and the intricacies of this world – I just couldn’t seem to grasp how the social structure was set up, so I didn’t really understand the advantages of killing people or not killing people or raising people from the dead.  I really had to force myself to read this book after the first few chapters, but the whole time I was reluctantly reading, I was thinking that some readers would really love this story.  I think this book has a lot of things to recommend it to the right reader, but that just wasn’t me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

Lumière by Jacqueline E. Garlick would make a fabulous Tim Burton film, but as a book, it just didn’t hook me

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Lumière by Jacqueline E. Garlick would make a fabulous Tim Burton film, but as a book, it just didn’t hook me

If I could, I’d embrace whimsy and make every day a beautiful adventure for all of you.  Seriously.  Bubble machine fountains and sparkle pony stickers and . . . Well, you can see that even my attempts at whimsy are a fail.  The practical gene is so dominant.  I know that I’m not the ideal person to read steampunk because it is an entire genre made up to be whimsical and somewhat silly, but I still try, especially when they have covers that scream – we won’t wear miniature top hats and use the word “dirigible” (that word sets my teeth on edge).  Unfortunately, this book was too silly and perhaps my mood was foul(er) because the summer is slipping away.  But, dear friends, it doesn’t mean that you won’t love this madhouse of book about a girl on a quest in a very curious land that feels a little like a Tim Burton movie.

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Goodreads Summary

One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.

After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.

Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own. 

Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all. 

My Thoughts

This book was a mix of steampunk and magic which resulted in a charmingly strange world where steam powered elephants roamed carnival paths and zombie-like creatures devoured anyone unknowingly entered the wrong woods.  The world building was my favorite part of the book, and I was so happy to see a steampunk book that actually contained a lot of nonsensical and redundant inventions for me to marvel over.  Unfortunately, this book also had a high level of what I struggle to tolerate in steampunk books – the bumbling characters who are so very smart and so very clueless at the same time.  Both of the major characters annoyed me, so my favorite character ended up being the one sensible character in the batch – the mute kitchen maid who I considered the real heroine in this adventure.  I’m not sure why I didn’t connect with either Eyelet or Urlick, but I suspect that it is a case of bad first impressions.  I liked Eyelet until she encountered Urlich, and then she came across as nosey and rude.  Urlich was a problem for me from the start because he was so inconsistent – sort of a Jeckyl and Hide.  I didn’t think their romantic connection was given the development it needed to be plausible, even steampunk plausible.  I also had some issues with the ridiculousness of their respective “afflictions.”  I just didn’t see what the big deal with having seizures was (it equalled mental hospital lockdown in this setting, but even that was so stupidly primitive). I was doubly annoyed with the explanation for Urlick’s unusual appearance.  I think that if Tim Burton got a hold of this book and made it into a charming little film, I would really enjoy it, but as a book, it just didn’t work as a whole for me.  I still think that true fans of steampunk will really enjoy this and I think that some middle school readers will enjoy this adventure – this is a quest story, after all, and it has some really engaging moments and fast paced action sequences.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One determined witch and one powerful curse fuel the magic in Katie Cross’ Miss Mabel’s School for Girls 

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One determined witch and one powerful curse fuel the magic in Katie Cross’ Miss Mabel’s School for Girls 

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls reminded me a little of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle books, not because they had similar plots but because they shared similar elements: boarding school, family secrets, dark and forbidden magic, and of course, a group of girls vying for power.  It was also reminiscent of the Harry Potter books with its ever mysterious faculty,  its coming of age storyline, and its trio of supportive misfit friends.  I was a little underwhelmed, but fans of this sub genre of YA should give it a try.

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Goodreads Summary

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

My Thoughts

Magic is dangerous in this book, and the delights are few.  Bianca is a strong female protagonist.  She is smart, kind, and careful, but she does have enough doubts about her path to make her feel like a character with dimension and depth. Her adversary is certainly worthy of the title and probably unhinged, but other secondary characters are primarily flat.  The plot moves quickly and is engaging, but initial trials and challenges come across as too easy and less deadly than all the warnings and build up lead me to expect.  Nothing really feels threatening until the very end of the book.  There is a very tense action sequence at the climax, which hints of good things to come in follow up books.  Essentially, it waffles between a middle school read and a high school read for the first half before really reaching the complexity level to satisfy most discerning readers.  I would certainly be interested in continuing the series, but I wasn’t convinced of that until nearly the end.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Virginia Boecker’s The Witch Hunter should definitely be on your YA wish list

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Virginia Boecker’s The Witch Hunter should definitely be on your YA wish list

I haven’t seen much publicity for The Witch Hunter, but this is certainly one book that should be on your radar.  It is probably going to be overwhelmed by the biggest book publishing on the same day, Daughter of Deep Silence by veteran zombie queen, Carrie Ryan.  I got a chance to read both of them early, and I honestly believe that The Witch Hunter will be more of a crowd pleaser (at least among my crowd of people).  Elizabeth Grey is a strong female protagonist who enjoys her role as a witch hunter for the King until the tables are turned and she must seek the protection of those she once helped capture.  Readers who like to root for the underdog will enjoy this adventure, and the universal conflicts at the core of Elizabeth’s character add a nice depth.   *apparently Daughter of Deep Silence published a week earlier than expected, so no conflict (May 26).

Goodreads Summary

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

My Thoughts

Elizabeth may be one of my favorite female characters ever.  Initially I thought her belief system ruled her actions, but as the story progressed, it became clear that her loyalty and inner conflict are truly ruled by the universal desire to belong.  This made her vulnerable in ways she never could have predicted, and that is what made her feel so real.  The cast of secondary characters was just as carefully crafted, and they were a delightful mix of good and bad, you know, like real people who are driven by both desire and fear.  The plot was just as well done as the characters.  It moved along at a fairly consistent clip and, when things did slow down to develop characters, those moments still felt essential to the overall story instead of feeling like embellishment.  There was a little romance with a nice conflict built into it, but it wasn’t the focus on the story. Overall, this is a carefully crafted and well edited book that I didn’t want to put down.  I gave it a solid four stars, but many readers will consider this a solid five star read.

This book is available in the MHS library.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Taran Matharu’s The Novice is a YA fantasy that skews more to middle school readers.

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Taran Matharu’s The Novice is a YA fantasy that skews more to middle school readers.

The Novice is getting rave reviews on Goodreads.  Seriously.  Fifty  percent of readers left five stars.  I think I’m just not the target audience for this one.  I gave it a three star rating and passed it to my ten year old, who enjoyed it. Essentially, this is a story you’ve read before, with characters you’ve read before, with personal demons you’ve read about before.  It is Pokemon with a cooler cover, and that may be exactly what you are looking for, but I wanted something more complex.  I’m leaving you a link to the reading of the first chapter HERE so you can make up your own mind.  

  
Fletcher, an orphaned commoner, learns he has the ability to summon a personal demon. When others learn he has potential as a summoner, he finds himself in the academy and in the middle of fierce competition. There are demons and summoners who are quite like the pairings in the Pokemon world. There is the timeless battle between good and evil. There is a clear perspective about seeing beyond prejudices to the person inside. However, more mature readers are likely to be disappointed by the limited plot and character development. We have seen this predictable plot before — poor kid gets into magic academy and is awesome, so the privileged kids want to take him down, but he has a core set of good friends who help him overcome! It plodded on and on, and offered very few surprises. As much as this book attempted to forward a positive message about acceptance, it got in its own way by making all the high born people horrible, greedy, and remorseless and casting the poor people as kind, pure, and trustworthy. The characters are all very flat — they are either good or bad and they don’t really grow as anything but practitioners of magic. The hero is an angelic snooze-fest who came preprogrammed with morals and self control. The nuances and flaws that bring characters alive are missing entirely from this story. Again, this is a perfectly adequate high fantasy for the folks who can watch a Pokemon movie, but if you wanted something with more depth, this is a pass. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fiction that will loose the dogs of war

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I do try to read books that I think my male students will enjoy, so I picked both of these books with the guys in mind. I found both of these engaging and well worth my time. I also thought they worked well for readers of both genders. In honor of our many brave soldiers, I give you two military based books that piqued my interest and reminded me of all the sacrifices they made.

The Only Thing to FearThe Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Scholastic and Net Galley in exchange for a fair review
In an alternate history, the Nazi’s won WWII and are still running things 80 years later in the USA. The protagonist wants to join the underground rebellion but her uncle forbids her to take part in the dangerous activities or to use the powers she has inherited as a result of nazi engineered genetic alterations inherited from her father. This was a great YA read for all genders. The protagonist is female but she is not girly and easy for a male reader to relate to. The plot is tightly crafted, the pacing is great, and it was full of action. I appreciated the fact that there wasn’t a dreaded love triangle or even a lot of romance — this book was about raising a rebellion and did a good job of staying focused on that. The book wasn’t perfect, but I read it straight through and enjoyed every minute. The language and situations are appropriate for the 13+ crowd, but I was engaged as an adult reader. I will add it to my classroom library and recommend it to my students.

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Walking Wounded (Vietnam, #5)Walking Wounded by Chris Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Scholastic via Net Galley in exchange for a fair review.
This is the fifth book in the series, and it is the first one I have read. I still have some questions about what precisely went down at the end of the 4th book, but I was able to read and enjoy the book as a standalone. The book begins seconds after the death of one of four young men who made a pact to stick together through The Vietnam War. It covers the fallout from that death for the remaining three men. This book reminded me of The Outsiders because the characters seem very real and are carrying very adult concerns and responsibilities on their shoulders. There is the same dismissive attitude towards the authority figures in their lives, and that, too, rings true for young adults. The book was well written and well paced. It balanced action with character development and gave a pretty clear picture of how the war damaged people differently. Underlying themes of loyalty, friendship and duty keep this from driving the reader into depression, but it is a dark chapter in history and that is clearly conveyed. The language and situations manage to present the horror of Vietnam in a way appropriate for teen readers. I have a host of high school boys who enjoy books about war, and I can’t wait to recommend this title to them. The cover looks younger than the actual content, so I don’t expect a high school reader to pick it up without encouragement, but I think they will be hooked after just a couple of chapters. I will add this to my classroom library wish list. I know our high school library carries the series, and I will start recommending it tomorrow. As an adult reader, I was very engaged, and I plan to pick up the others in the series asap. If you enjoyed Band of Brothers, Unbroken, or The Things They Carried, you will probably enjoy this book as well.

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