Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Monument 14 is a book that will have you hooked from page one. This novel begins as Dean and his younger brother Alex are getting ready for school. Both begin their day by catching their separate school buses. This average morning is torn apart, though, with a hail storm. They begin as tiny pellets but quickly become football sized hail that come crashing down, tearing the bus up. Both Dean and Alex’s bus drivers attempt to find shelter in the local Greenway store. Alex’s bus crashes right through the front doors, while Dean’s bus just plain crashes. Fourteen kids and one of the bus drivers survive. They barracade themselves in the Greenway for shelter. When the bus driver leaves to find help, the six teens and eight children are left to take care of themselves. At first they think it will be temporary, however, they soon learn that a super-volcano has set off a chain of natural disasters and they may be stuck in the Greenway for awhile. The up side: they have everything they could ever want, including a pizzeria. The down side: they don’t know that is happening on the outside or even if their families are still alive. As the days pass, more and more things go wrong, and they have to decide: is it better to stay safe in the Greenway as long as possible and wait to get rescued, or do they risk leaving to find their families not knowing what is on the outside?
This novel is full of action, and it definitely packs a punch. There is a ton of thrilling suspense, and it really makes you question what you would do if you were in the position of these teens and kids. Monument 14 is also really hard to predict. Sometimes when you read a book you see what is coming, but not in Monument 14! I was surprised with every turn of the page, and I definitely was left guessing all the way until the last pages. Be warned, though! This ending is a huge cliffhanger! But there will be a sequel. Definitely pick this book up if you like action or survival stories, and if you like to read post-apocalyptic books.
Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday
If you’re like me, then you can’t get enough of X-Men. Instead of going back and watching all the movies again, I suggest picking up Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. Yes, Joss Whedon is the guy that brought you The Avengers movie earlier this year, and is most famous for his TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
The story of the first volume, Gifted, is this: Professor X is on sabbatical and Jean Grey is dead. Cyclops and Emma Frost are acting as heads of Xavier’s School. Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, and Beast are joining the faculty and make up the new X-Men team. Most of the story in Gifted is told through Kitty Pryde’s point of view. News breaks of a possible cure for the mutant strain, while at the same time the X-Men encounter a new enemy–Ord. But, the new cure and new enemy may be one in the same…
Before reading Gifted, I had not known much about Kitty Pryde (only that she was from Deerfield, IL!). As soon as I got into the story, though, she definitely became my new favorite X-Men character! The way that Whedon and Cassaday portrayed her made her a really relatable character. I also really got into the storyline that developed with her and Colossus (Peter Rasputin) . Also, there’s Lockheed, Kitty Pryde’s pet X-Dragon, and for that alone you’ll want to pick this book up!
The story had me hooked from the beginning but Cassaday’s artwork in this comic is also really well done. It conveys the emotion of the action. A lot of strips are done in single colored tones that fits the mood of what’s happening on the page. One of the best examples of this is where Kitty sees Colossus (Peter Rasputin) for the first time after she believes him dead. All the strips are done in all red tones and are interlaced with black and white memories. It is really visually appealing. Check it out:
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
War and a plague have destroyed New York City. Many generations ago, people went underground in order to survive and escape the Freaks (flesh eating monsters). However, the Freaks have been growing down below and the people underground are in trouble. Deuce lives in one of the last safe enclaves. At the beginning of the novel, we meet Deuce as she gets her new name and is given her role as one of the huntresses in her enclave. Unfortunately, Deuce’s hunting partner turns out to be Fade, a guy who came from topside but who has proven to be valuable to the enclave as a hunter. Since he was not born in the enclave, not many people trust Fade. When Deuce first hunts with Fade she learns why. Fade doesn’t like to follow the rules.
Deuce, however, has trained and worked hard all her life to be a huntress and always follows the rules. As Deuce continues to hunt with Fade outside the enclave she soon learns how desperate their situation is. Freaks are everywhere and they are getting smarter. After Deuce and Fade disobey direct orders, they are sentenced to a mission to travel to the nearest enclave. When they arrive and find it decimated and overrun by Freaks, they return with warnings to their leaders. But they are ignored and Deuce begins to see the flaw in her enclave’s leadership. As Deuce begins to challenge authority, her home in the enclave is threatened. When she and Fade are both accused of hoarding (an illegal practice) they are banished to the topside.
Without giving away too much more, the plot of Enclave really starts to unfold as Deuce and Fade go topside. Their fight to survive in the post apocalyptic New York City is a hard one. They encounter Freaks, gangs of savages who call themselves wolves, the sun (which Deuce has never seen before), injury, and finding safe food and water. This is a survival story as much as it is an action and adventure read. Be sure to check out Enclave if you want a fast paced, exciting read!
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
On the island of Thisby, deadly water horses rise from the sea every year. These carnivorous beasts have claimed the lives of many–some have been taken while too close to the water and some have been taken during the Scorpio Races. The Scorpio Races are held every year and draw in tons of tourists from the mainland. During the races, men try to tame water horses to race down the beach. It is a deadly spectacle, but one that is tradition on Thisby.
For Sean, his father was lost when competing in the races when he was a young boy. Since then, Sean has dedicated his life to the races and to his tamed water horse, Corr. Corr is the only family Sean has left, but for Sean there is always a threat that he will lose Corr. Sean is only allowed to race Corr because he works for the Malverns, and the Malverns own Corr. Sean is the water horse whisperer of Thisby. He seems to hold some magical secret of how to tame the wild beasts. These abilities have helped in the races, where he has won for the last four years in a row. But for Sean, winning freedom for himself and for Corr is his ultimate goal.
For Puck, both her parents were taken by the water horses while on the beach. That left her with her two brothers, one older and one younger. Puck’s older brother is leaving Thisby and without him they will lose their parents’ house. The only way Puck can think to keep her house and her brother is to compete in the Scorpio Races. Winning the races will provide Puck with the money to insure that she can take care of herself and her younger brother, as well as keep the house. It will also keep Puck’s brother on the island until the races are over. Due to a loop hole in the rules of the Scorpio Races, Puck is not only the first female to race but she is also the first to race a normal horse, her beloved horse Dove.
The Scorpio Races is told in alternating chapters from Sean and Puck’s point of views and it is a captivating read. At first you get to know Puck and Sean as individuals and the hardships that life has thrust upon them. Then, as they become connected from participating in the Scorpio Races, you see their relationship develop. Maggie Stiefvater weaves a wonderful tale that incorporates action and adventure, monstrous beasts, and the love that blossoms between two warriors. Definitely pick this up if you want a good fantasy read. It is fast paced, interesting, and very well-written.
Starters by Lissa Price
Callie lives in a world where a plague has left most middle aged people dead, but the young (the Starters) and the old (the Enders) have survived thanks to a vaccine. There is a side effect of using the vaccine, though: everyone’s life spans have been extended well into the hundreds. In this world only the rich young kids can live a normal life. The average teen has parents who are dead and are either sent to labor camps or forced to live on the streets. The senior citizens are the ruling class and the majority.
Callie is a street kid whose parents were killed by the plague. Callie also has a younger brother who she has to support. When Callie finds out about the body bank it seems like the answer to her prayers. All she has to do is let the body bank, also known as Prime Destinations, implant a chip in her head and give her an extreme makeover. Then she agrees to let a thrill-seeking senior citizen inhabit her body, via the chip, three different times and she will be paid handsomely. The first time Callie is occupied it is easy and she just feels like she went to sleep. Her second time goes just as smoothly. During her third occupation, however, Callie unexpectedly wakes up and is thrust into the middle of a life that she does not know how to live–that of a young, rich teen. To make matters worse the Ender who was occupying her is still in her head and warning her that she is in danger…
Starters is a really cool story! This is definitely not your typical dystopia. There are no average adults in this world–only senior citizens and young people! The way that the author, Lissa Price, describes the body bank and how seniors inhabit young people is so interesting. This book also reminded me of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, because Callie goes through a complete makeover with future technologies that we cannot even imagine. This novel is definitely action-packed, since Callie is not only trying to figure out why she is in danger but she also has to make sure that no one realizes that she is not being occupied while she is still pretending to be a young, rich teen. There is a great mystery in this story and at the end of the book you see the evil plan of some of the Enders unfold. Starters is definitely a great read for any age, guy or girl, and if you want a cool spin on a dystopian world.
Click here to find Starters in the Library!