Aguirre, Ann. Enclave.In a post apocalyptic world, children are so expendable that they are not even named until they reach 15. Up to then, they are called "brat" or "boy" or "girl". At their naming ceremony, they are also put into one of three groups: breeders, hunters or builders. Deuce has always felt she would be a hunter, and is pleased when she is. She is also paired with the malcontent fade, who has lived outside of the underground world and doesn't care for all of the rules that supposedly keep people safe. When the community is threatened by mutant "freaks", Deuce and Fade are kicked out for trying to
warn everyone, and try to survive on the Topside, assembling a band of others on their way to a settlement that Fade thinks exists.
Strengths: Seems to be a lot of research and thought into a post apocalyptic experience. I found the information on canned food especially interesting. As the cover says, fans of The Hunger Games will love this one, since it is pretty bloody. The reviews all said 8-12 grades, but there was nothing particularly objectionable except for the survival-type violence.
Weaknesses: This felt slightly derivative to me. Part Invitation to the Game, part City of Ember. I've never been a fan of dystopia, and I've had to read so much of it. Students who actually like dystopia will probably find the similarities to other books amusing.
Miranda, Megan. Fracture.
Delaney is out with friends, playing on the ice in Maine, when she falls through and is underwater for 11 minutes. The doctors don't think she will survive because of the brain damage, but she surprises them all and wakes up with little cognitive impairment. She does, however, occasionally get an "itch" in her brain that seems to draw her toward people who are dying. Her friend and neighbor(and also rescuer), Decker, is glad to have her back but alarmed by the changes in her and confused about his feelings for her. She meets Troy, who is also a coma survivor, and is at first comforted by the similarities in their experiences, but when she realizes that he too is drawn to the dying, but acts on this impulse in a way she doesn't agree with, she is not sure what to do.
Strengths: I was immediately drawn into this absorbing tale of struggle and loss. Brilliant lines, great characters, a nice amount of teen angst without overdoing it. Really enjoyed this.
Weaknesses: The moral dilemma gets a little complex for middle school, and the dropping of f-bombs becomes a bit gratuitous toward the end. Great for high school, but I will pass.
Flack, Sophie. Bunheads.
From Goodreads.com "As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet. But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?"
What I wanted: More books about ballet. Aside from Ballet Shoes the paperbound Dancing on the Inside and A Dance of Sisters and the oddly named Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, there's very little to give my girls who dance. Has anyone written a happy ballet book?
Why This Didn't Work For Me: Since Hannah is 19 and living on her own, this book is a bit mature for my girls. It's usually the 6th graders who want books on ballet. While the romance is fairly innocent, there are several gratuitous uses of the f-bomb that bothered me.