Walters, Eric. Fight for Pow3r (Rule of 3 #2)
January 20th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
In this sequel to The Rule of Thre3, Adam is back, and the people in his subdivision, headed by the enigmatic Herb, have bombed out a bridge and killed a huge number of people who were trying to attack their settlement and kill them all. Adam is sick thinking about it, even though he knows that the survival of his subdivision is most important. There are people on the outside-- in tents, in a high rise condo building, in other settlements-- but Herb is very strong in his opinion that there are only so many people that the community can support. When these outside groups are attacked, the community sends medical help and does what they can, but food is an issue, and there's not enough to feed more people, especially after the community took in the women in children who had been abused by the group killed in the bridge incident. Adam still flies his Cessna, and spends as much time as he can with Lori, but has the growing realization that things are never going to get back to "normal", the way that everyone else seems to think they will. The attacks increase, and Adam is worried that his community will soon be a target-- until Herb finds the possible perpetrator in the community. Once the small group of disturbed young men is identified and locked up, Adam hopes things will get better, but they don't. There is definitely another book on the way which should answer a lot of the cliff hangers!
Strengths: This is definitely the way a dystopia would go down. No electricity, limited food, people turning against each other. Makes me want to hoard peanut butter! Boys who like military books have enjoyed the first one, but so have girls who like dystopias. Walters is a fantastic writer, and there is enough philosophy about good and evil in between things blowing up that it made me happy, too.
Weaknesses: Adam's world is awfully black and white, and it would be more interesting if, say, Lori were evil. I also saw the twist at the end coming a mile away, but it was a good development. Really looking forward to book three!
Conkling, Winifred. Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmondson's Flight from Slavery.
January 13th 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers
ARC from Baker and Taylor
Amelia Culverson and Paul Edmondson were slaves in the early 19th century who had 14 children together, even though they knew that their children could be taken away from them by their masters at any time. Eventually, several of the children (including Emily and her sister Mary) decided to run away, and made their way down the Potomac River only to be recaptured. The slave trader who ended up with them, Bruin, offered to sell the Edmondsons to their father instead of sending them to New Orleans to be sold, but the money took a long time to raise, and Emily, her brother and sister had to live in a slave pen in Louisiana for some time, and became ill with malaria. Eventually, the money was raised and they returned to Baltimore, and Emily went on to attend college and become a teacher.
Strengths: This is a fascinating story, and has additional information about historical events along with the narrative of Emily's life. It's not a terribly long book, which is good, and has a decent amount of pictures.
Weaknesses: The story is a bit dry and academic. I would have liked to see this book done as a fictional story with more adventure and emotional detail, and then had the nonfiction elements appear amidst the story, as they do in Wiles' Revolution. It would be easier to get students to read AND be great for fiction/nonfiction tie ins. That said, I did have a student who normally only reads horror books read this and enjoy it!