Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Reviews: Looking for Alaska & Terra

I used to do book reviews on the blog of everything I read.  For whatever reason (life, baby, less reading/writing time, etc.) I stopped.  But I was inspired when I read one of Patti's year in review posts where she listed all the books she read in 2012.  I have no clue what I read in 2012.

So - I'm going to try my best to document every. single. book. I read this year on the blog.  Even if it's only a quick review, I want to have this for my own personal records, but I know a lot of you guys are readers, too, so maybe I can pique your interest in a new book.

I've read two so far in 2013.

1) Looking for Alaska by John Green
Our book club book this month is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  When I was looking at it on amazon, I saw some reviewers say it was as good as his other book Looking for Alaska.  When I then pulled up Alaska, I was immediately interested: kids at a boarding school in Alabama getting into all kinds of trouble - sold!  I think this is young adult fiction, although it's written a lot better than other young adult books I've read - dare I say the line between YA and "adult" fiction is even a little blurry?

Anyway, it's just as I described: a group of kids at a boarding school involved in all kinds of high school shenanigans.  All the main characters are meant to be super smart though, so it almost has the feel of a small liberal arts college instead of high school.  The kids do some funny things but also deal with some rather heavy life events.

I would recommend this book.  It's an engaging, fast read and makes you think a little (which is a nice element if it is, indeed, YA).

2) Terra by Gretchen Powell
I saw this book reviewed on another blog I read.  Apparently the author is also a blogger?  Who knows.  Anyway, this is a young adult dystopia novel.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've never met a dystopia I don't like.

So what I was saying about Looking for Alaska (how it could possibly be a novel for adults)?  Yeah - not so much with this one.  It is very clearly a book written for teens.  But I'm cool with that.

The book takes place on a future Earth that is basically a dead planet - natural resources are gone, plants are gone, acid rain falls from the sky, and the UV rays of the sun are so strong you can't be uncovered outside very long.  All the rich people in the World live in awesome, luxurious "sky cities," while the poor people are stuck on crap Earth.  Terra is the main character and she is an Earth dweller.  Her job is as a "scavenger," that is, she ventures into the plains just outside her shantytown to search for scraps of trash that have fallen from the sky cities.  This is how Earth-dwellers make their living (they turn in the trash they find for money).

Well, in the first chapter she uncovers something crazy out in the plains which, when turned in, basically makes her an Earth millionaire.  But with that comes a price (DUN DUN DUN!!!).  She's told by the authorities not to ask any questions, but as you can imagine, she gets in deep with it.  The male main character (come on, you know there's a male main character) is Adam, the super hot/charming/mysterious "sky boy" who becomes entangled in Terra's life.

It's everything you would expect from a YA dystopia novel, but I enjoyed it.  And the whole sky city vs. Earth city felt a little fresh compared to some of the other dystopias out there.  It's going to be a series, apparently, but this is the only one that's been written.  I long as you know what you're getting into.  If you're a lover of the dystopia as I am, and you like some good teenage drama/love stories as I do you'll probably enjoy it.

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