Wednesday, July 10, 2013

World Wednesday-- Smokescreen

SmokescreenHartry, Nancy. Smokescreen.
9 July 2013, Tundra Books
E ARC from

When Kerry's shin splints keep her from participating in Irish dancing competitions, her mother pulls strings to get her a job in Northwestern Ontario with the forestry department, scouting locations for cabins. She works with Yvette, who speaks French and has worked in the past. The two are the only girls among a lot of rough men, and when forest fires break out, they have to spend a lot of time working in remote locations. This is dangerous enough, but the girls also uncover a mystery that puts them in danger.
Strengths: With all of the forest fires in the west, this was very interesting. I liked Kerry and Yvette, and found out a lot about northwest Ontario, including a little bit about the Metis people. 
Weaknesses: More of a YA book. There's a lot of cigarette smoking and drinking, as well as some romantic entanglements with older men. This would be interesting for a high school library.

SYLOMacHale, D.J. Sylo
2 July 2013, Razorbill
Copy from YABC and reviewed there.

Tucker is shocked when an older football player on his team dies on the field, and his small island community takes it hard. When Tucker and his friend Quinn are out biking at night because they can't sleep in the wake of this event, they see a weird explosion right off the coast. They report it right away-- is it aliens? What is it? Tucker is approached by a man he has seen hanging about town, Mr. Feit, who offers him a new "nutritional supplement", Ruby, which he assures Tucker is just "salts and sugars". Tucker takes some because he is having trouble on the football team, but he realizes that something that makes him feel that strong probably is really, really bad for him. When another islander dies, the island is occupied by SYLO forces after the U.S. president claims that the island is the site of a virus he doesn't want to spread. Tucker, Quinn, and their new friend Tori (who also saw the explosion) think that the deaths are tied to Ruby, not to a virus. They also suspect that SYLO is not telling them the complete truth, so they make a plan to escape. They are caught, and become even more concerned when they are kept in a SYLO compound.
Strengths: Love that this involved football AND an invasion. The boys wear helmets when they are biking, and they are good kids (if somewhat misguided). There is some nice, light romance, and Tori is an excellent female character! At one point, the coach uses the fantastic phrase "fiddle farting around". (Or fart-fiddling. Either way, it's a gret phrase!) There's nothing inappropriate, but it would be a great read for high school or middle school. In fact, there was a whole lot that I loved about this one, which surprised me. MacHale's work usually just confuses me, even though it's really popular with my readers. (Could not tell you what the Pendragon series is about to save my soul, even though I read it and have every student who finishes it try to explain it to me. Complete fantasy amnesia about it.) The best part is that I really don't know where this is going, and how everything will be explained, so I really want to read the next book!
Weaknesses: There were some deaths of key characters which surprised me a bit. Of course, since this is a trilogy and one of the people was vaporized rather than killed outright, maybe he will return.

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave
7 May 2013, Putnam Juvenile
For more post-apocalyptic thrills, there is a new title by the author of the fabulous Monstrumologist. Unfortunately, most of the reviews I've read indicated that it was more Young Adult, and I have to concur-- not because of any violence, but because it started out in a rather slow fashion and had a bit too much philosophy and description interspersed with the action. I really, REALLY wanted to like this one, but when a book is around 500 pages long, it's got to pop right from the beginning or it will be returned right away. Reading Rants disagrees, but unless I have some money to spare, I'm going to direct readers to check this one out of the public library. Sigh.

"After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up."

Reboot (Reboot, #1)Tinerra, Amy. Reboot
7 May 2013, HarperTeen

This started off violently, and then just got kind of confusing. I'm impressed with the writing, though; it had an Alexander Gordon Smith Lockdown quality to it-- I really assumed the author was British! Sadly, I'll have to file it under Young Adult and send my Baker and Taylor ARC on to the high school instead of using it as a prize at my school.  Again, from

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders


  1. The better readers in my school (grades 7 & 8) love The Fifth Wave. A few said they were confused at first, but read on and ended up really liking the book. Many read it in just a few days.
    I have just finished a few more dystopian books that I will blog about next week-my students don't get tired of dystopian books!

  2. Our former Children's librarian used to say "Oh fiddle fart" when she was frustrated or upset. Good to know the expression continues.