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Teen SRC 2020 – Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead - Shusterman, Neal

Hey guys! This week I will be reviewing Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, which was actually my book prize from the SRC, and also the sequel to Scythe, which I very much enjoyed. I have a lot to say about this book, so I have included a TL;DR at the end!

Before the summary, I’ll just say that I’m pretty sure I have read this book before… but I completely forgot! I only figured it out when, at key points of the story, it kept jogging up a memory in my head, it all felt very deja vu. Anyway, that actually made the experience of (re)reading this book cooler than usual because I started to wonder whether it was the Thunderhead who had tampered with my memories.

SUMMARY (Contains spoilers from Scythe… so you may want to read that first!): Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are no more. After their apprenticeship, Citra has been replaced by Scythe Anastasia, who gleans with honour and compassion. Rowan, on the other hand, has transformed into Scythe Lucifer, whose goal is to rid the planet of scythes who are neither honourable nor compassionate. Meanwhile, the “New Order” scythes continue to recruit, leaving the “Old Order” scrambling. The Thunderhead is not happy, but it cannot do anything that interferes with the scythedom. He can only watch, and grieve, in silence. Once again, we see the flaws of a seemingly perfect society.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451: A Novel: Bradbury, Ray: 8580001038919: Books ...

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury uses the genre of science fiction as a paragon for the author’s message, in which an unbridled oppressive government will damage its society by hindering the creativity and freedom of their people. The dystopian sub genre that outlines a futuristic technocratic and totalitarian society that demands order and harmony at the expense of individual rights is a meticulous representation of the novel. 

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Teen SRC 2020 – Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm: Orwell, George: 8601417743553: Books - Amazon.ca

Hey guys! Summer School is almost over, and as a result, I’ve had more time to read! Animal Farm by George Orwell is a pretty short book though, so that may be why I was able to finish it so quickly.

This story starts at Manor farm, where Old Major, a very old and wise pig, shares a story/chant about the animals rioting against their owner and running the farm themselves. After Major dies, the animals really do riot, and they take over the farm. They start off living peacefully together, all animals are equal and they all help each other. However, things start changing, subtly yet consistently, and one begins to wonder whether all animals are equal after all…

Honestly, I really really enjoyed this book. The entire story is an analogy for the Russian Revolution and I recently just learned about that in Summer School, so it tied together very well. This is probably my favourite of the classics I’ve read so far, probably because it was short, yet very well written. Normally I find classics drone on and on about absolutely nothing important, so Orwell’s style was extremely refreshing. Every little detail contains multitudes of significance, and it just blows my mind how Orwell was able to organize all that in a way that showed, and didn’t just tell. My final rating is a 9/10 because once again, the writing is extremely powerful, and this is definitely a book where you will find new hints no matter how many times you’ve read it. If you’re looking to get into classics, this is the book to start with. The ending was also one that made me just sit down and say “wow,” so please do give it a read! It’ll take around a day or two MAX.

Teen SRC 2020 — Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World is a captivating read that has new relevance in our ever-changing world.
A 1930s dystopia written in the midst of a far different time of crisis, the story follows a futuristic London in which industrialization has optimized everything and the happiness of society takes precedence over scientific progress and thought.
In what seems to some like a utopia, and to others a well-oiled machine, select people find themselves deviating from the principles programmed into the minds of citizens from birth.

Bernard Marx is one of these people, who unlike his peers, sees the droning and repetitive nature of these societal norms as unfulfilling. While everyone else attends social gatherings and consumes the drug Soma, Bernard seeks value and isolation in his activities.
This culminates in him visiting an isolated community following norms more like ours, where the principles of science and societal control collide as a native boy of the community leaves with him to tour the hyper-industrialized London.

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Teen SRC 2020- Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Dry

Living in a time where dystopian books are common and overdone (the more apocalyptic and doomsday-ish, the better) it’s truly rare to find a book that will leave you with chills running down your spine. Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman does exactly that.

The idea behind this book is also unusual but not entirely unimaginable; what if the taps were to suddenly go dry? What if there was no more running water, and what if everyone around you suddenly became a thirsty water-zombie that would stop at nothing to get a few drops of the stuff? I know what you’re thinking. No running water, the end of the world, and ZOMBIES? Not another apocalypse book!

And while I don’t consider myself an expert on sci-fi or dystopian novels (not really my genre), I think this book did some things differently that changed it from an overused cliche doomsday book to something special.

First: This novel is narrated by a multiple person perspective. The first few characters stuck throughout the story, but others were just here to offer ‘snapshots’. I found it interesting because we didn’t just see what the Tap-Out meant for Alyssa, Kelton and their friends but for a whole host of different people. Living the apocalypse isn’t really fun when you don’t get the whole experience, am I right?

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner - Dashner, James

In the Maze Runner, by James Dashner, Thomas wakes up in the Glade with no memory of his past just like everyone else. The only thing they all remember is their name. Glade is filled with boys his age, with some who already been here for 2 years.

They all contribute in order to keep everyone alive; they raise livestock, grow food, build, etc. and the most crucial and dangerous job, the runners. The runners spend everyday running in the giant maze surrounding Glade, attempting to solve it and escape. Every night the doors close, and no one can get out or in.

However, this all spins out of control only a day after Thomas arrived. They had the first girl to arrive, she came a day after Thomas which is peculiar as the for the last 2 years only one child arrives every 1 month, the “controllers” had stopped sending supplies, and those who had “changed” all suspect Thomas of something Wicked.

I liked this book so much I finished it in one day. To see all as the plot unfolds, and have the secrets and answers come out. When I first started, the first couple chapters were so confusing as they spoke in “glader slang”. But as I continued it all started to make sense. I loved the plot and the story but I hated the ending. I would rate it 8/10 and definitely recommend it.

Teen SRC 2020- The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

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The Chrysalids by John Wyndham has the author focusing on a variety of issues that individuals are constantly challenged with in life. The people of the fictional village of Waknuk have to struggle against constant prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance within their community. There is a constant theme of using faith as a source of control over the population, as the novel beckons its readers to understand how fear has the ability to shape and manipulate society.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Matched by Ally Condie

Matched

Hey guys! I’m back again, and I managed to publish a whole lot of your reviews so go check those out! I think Angela’s taking up editing now so phew 🙂

This week, I read Matched by Ally Condie and… I have very mixed feelings about the book.

Matched takes place in a dystopian world where everything is carefully controlled by officials, and all things are empirical, or calculated, from the food portions you can eat to the person you marry (with whom you are Matched with at 17 based on compatibility). Cassia, our main character, has been Matched with Xander Carrow, her lifelong best friend, and she is ecstatic about this… until the glitch on her Match card one night. The flash of a different boy’s face appears only for a single second, but it is enough to both terrify and intrigue Cassia. In interacting with the second boy, Ky, Cassia learns more and more about the dark sides of her seemingly utopian world.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Legend by Marie Lu

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“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” – Marie Lu, Legend

Legend by Marie Lu is possibly one of my favourite books of all time. Honestly, I’m quite a sucker for dystopian novels because the rush I get when I’m reading is so wild. The pace that Marie Lu sets for this book is exhilarating, and there are no dull moments in this book.

This story is told through two POVs between Day (Daniel Altan) Wing and June Iparis. Day is an infamous criminal who’s on the run from Republic officials with the help of his friend, Tess. At the same time, June is a prodigy, recently graduated from a Republic academy (although she’s had a good share of rulebreaking herself). When June is set on a mission to hunt down Day, they end up colliding, and everything starts to unfold as they find out their real enemies and underlying secrets.

I enjoyed this novel because the action and the plot twists were invigorating. Every time I thought I had something figured out, something just had to go wrong. I had my breath held the entire way through because of how fast-paced it was (which I love), and I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end.

However, I felt like there were still pieces missing. I would’ve liked some more details about the world revolving around them. I had so many questions about their surroundings that were left unanswered. I also would’ve liked more time spent on Day and June’s chemistry. It felt rushed, and I wanted to see more development between them.

Lastly, I just want to put it out there that Tess and Day have the most intriguing friendship ever. Their friendship is so well developed to the point where it felt like they were siblings. The way that they cared for each other is a dream most people have, and they were always there for each other. Their backstory was so heartwarming, and it helped me realize how much time it takes to develop sincere trust. I feel like side characters don’t usually get the same amount of admiration as main characters do, which is quite a bummer- but I don’t see how anyone could not adore Tess!

All in all, this novel was an astonishing read, and I would definitely recommend it. My rating for this novel is an 8.5/10 because there were some missing pieces to the story that I would’ve enjoyed seeing.

Till next time,

Max.

Teen SRC 2020- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Today I’ll be reviewing perhaps the most controversial book of our times… JUST kidding, I don’t know that it’s especially controversial, but I myself had trouble forming an opinion on it. I didn’t quite know what to think about it all, but there is one thing I can tell you: Any author that writes a main character that readers can hate without making them hate the book itself is a talented as heck. And of course, with the Hunger Games trilogy, we already knew that about Suzanne Collins.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows tyrannical dictator President Snow… as a teenager. Coriolanus is struggling to maintain appearances while living in abject poverty with his cousin Tigris and grandmother. As one of the highest-achieving students in his class, Coriolanus is chosen to serve as mentor for a Hunger Games tribute. Coriolanus knows that if he carries his tribute to victory, he will have a better chance at the University scholarship that could be his last chance at saving the family’s dire circumstances.

When the mentors are given their district assignations, Coriolanus is horrified to see that he has been assigned the girl tribute for District 12. The lowest of the low– how could the Snow name have been reduced to this? And to rub salt in the wound, Sejanus Plinth, a district-born boy coming from new money has been given a District 2 tribute! Then his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, gives a striking show at her reaping and Coriolanus thinks he may have a chance after all.

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