Haddix, Margaret Peterson. The Always War.
As long as Tessa can remember, Westam has been at war with Eastam. Life is grim as people slog to factories to make weapons and slink home to their tiny apartments. One bright spot in Tessa's life is Gideon, a childhood friend who was accepted into the elite military program and is now a war hero. However, Gideon is traumatized by his latest action-- bombing and killing over a thousand people. He buys a plane to try to make amends, and Tessa (as well as Dek, who is trying to steal back the plane) fly into enemy territory, only to find out that nothing is what it is supposed to be. Has the government been lying to people? And why?
Strengths: This nice, short, dystopian novel will be popular with Haddix's many fans because it is well-written, engaging and original.
Weaknesses: In the end, I couldn't quite buy the premise, and was overly annoyed by things like "Shargo", "Lake Mish", and "Terry-o". If we know the names of ancient cities, I don't believe that 75 years of war will wipe out the names of the Great Lakes.
Patrick, Cat. Forgotten.
Every morning at 4:33, the time that London died in a car accident before being saved, her memory is wiped clean. She remembers a few things, but not much. She relies on detailed notes to get her through the day, especially once Luke becomes her boyfriend. To make matters more difficult, London "remembers" the future, so she knows that her friend Jaimie is making bad choices that won't end well. Since she doesn't "remember" Luke in her future, she is confused as to what this means. The one thing that comes into her dreams time and again is a funeral, and finding out whose funeral this is becomes important to finding out many things about her past.
Strengths: This was a very intriguing book, and it was easy to suspend disbelief as London goes through her days. The mystery plays out well, and the romance with Luke is really sweet.
Weaknesses: I did wonder how London would be able to make it through her days at school and take tests, and also thought that she would have to get up much earlier in the morning to review that many notes!