Linka, Catherine. A Girl Called Fearless
May 6th 2014
by St. Martin's Griffin
Avie lives in the near future when most of the women of child bearing age (except for some vegetarians-- my daughters would be pleased) have been killed by ovarian cancer caused by a hormone used in beef. The Paternalists have risen up and want to "protect" the young girls who can now bear children, but what they really want to do is to control them. Avie's life becomes more an more circumscribed; she has a bodyguard, her school stops teaching certain things, and she is not allowed to hang out with her best friend, Yates. When her father contracts with thirtyish business man and politician Jess Hawkins and expects her to marry him, she starts plotting her escape into Canada. When Jess gets creepier and creepier, she makes her break, even though it will mean the downfall of her father's company. She makes it to Las Vegas, and eventually ends up in a commune type community, which is attacked because of her presence. How can she manage to live her life free from government intervention, with Yates by her side? I think we'll find out in a sequel.
Strengths: Very good world building, with the whole growth hormone being the reason for the population devastation. Teenagers will love Avie's longing for freedom and to be with Yates, and any dystopian fiction still does well for now. (Vampire books, however, on definitely on the wane.
Weaknesses: Since I am not a teenager, Avie struck me as whiny, so the slappage factor was high. It was too easy to make Jess so evil and warped. It would have been a far more interesting story if he had been rather nice and she was attracted to him. Freedom is easy to seek from horrible oppression, but a lot harder to risk things for if it is benign oppression.
Deaths: 99% of the mothers; a friend who commits suicide after having a baby in a forced marriage; several minor characters in the attack on the town.
Cantor, Jillian. Searching for Sky
May 13th 2014
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Sky and River, two teens, are surviving alone on an island after the death of both of their parents. They continue to follow the rules-- no fires on the beach, and the like-- until food becomes scarce and River manages to attract a boat. Their rescuers are glad to see them, since they have been missing for a dozen years. They are taken to a military hospital and introduced to the modern world. River seems okay with being back, and doesn't want to hang out with Sky. Sky, who was formerly known as Megan, is introduced to her grandmother, who has put together a team of professionals, as well as teen neighbor Ben, to educate Sky so that she can rejoin society. Sky doesn't like living in a house and being away from River, so she is very resistant to her grandmother's efforts. To complicate matters, there is an awful reason why River and Sky were on the island to begin with, and this causes a media frenzy.
Strengths: Interesting twist-- our world being the "dystopia" and Sky not liking modern toilets, etc. Good cast of characters, and a really intriguing plot line. Don't want to give away too much.
Weaknesses: Really, really, really sad, from the reasons that Helmut took the children to the island, to Sky's inability to reacclimate, to the sad ending. May pass on purchasing due to sheer sadness.