After discovering that The Hunger Games was my 7th-grade extra credit reading book and that I haven’t read it before yet ( say what?!), I decided now was a good time to pick it up and finally start on it.
Yeah, I know, how could you have not read the Hunger Games before? Face it, everyone’s probably pretty familiar with this book. You know of it, of course. It’s a famous book that almost everyone knows, just like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.
Anyways, once I picked up this book, I found it impossible to put down. I read for two straight days and got it finished. And then I reread it. And reread it again.
I probably would recommend this book for older children, particularly because of a few violent scenes. But other than that, I would highly recommend this book for anyone who looks forward to action and thrillers.
Starting off with the famous Katniss Everdeen, the book takes place in District 12, her hometown. There are twelve districts, although there used to have been a 13th, which was destroyed because of their rebellion against the all-ruling Capitol, Panem. Because of this, the Capitol has ordered the event called the Hunger Games, where two tributes, a boy and a girl, are selected from each district (24 tributes total). They will be placed inside of an arena whose conditions can change with directions from the inventors of the Hunger Games, the Gamemakers. The whole point of the Hunger Games is for the twenty-four tributes to kill each other as a sport; the last tribute standing wins, leaving the arena with a life of luxury.
And the purpose of all of this? To prove how everyone is at the Capitol’s mercy, how they take the people’s children to watch them fight to the death.
From District 12, Katniss and the boy tribute, Peeta Mellark, are pitted against the other twenty-two tributes. They have no idea what the arena conditions will be like; the yearly Hunger Games change every year. All they know is that it will be difficult, and definitely lethal.
I have to say, Suzanne Collins, the author, was really suspenseful. Every fight scene, every page that she wrote, was filled with action from top to bottom. That’s what kept me hooked to the very last page. But even through all that, she also manages to weave in just the right amount of romance between Katniss and Peeta.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Catching Fire! I’m sure it’s as good as the first one.
But first, who will win the intense, action-packed Hunger Games? Because the tributes will either get out of there alive…or dead.
However, this book is not just a typical story about survival. It tells of the darkest, deepest secrets of humankind, and how those ordinary, nice boys turned into completely different people under those circumstances. Into savages.
The first two boys introduced are the main protagonists of the story: Ralph is among the oldest of the boys, handsome and confident, while Piggy, as he is derisively called, is a pudgy asthmatic boy with glasses who nevertheless possesses a keen intelligence. Ralph finds a conch shell, and when he blows it the other boys gather together. Among these boys is Jack Merridew, an aggressive boy who marches at the head of his choir. Ralph, whom the other boys choose as chief, leads Jack and another boy, Simon, on an expedition to explore the island.
There is plenty of everything on the island, including food and drink. At first, all of the boys are reluctantly to kill, as what the huge decision would mean loomed upon them. But eventually Jack is the first one to make that move, and as he keeps on doing it, he becomes more and more comfortable with it.
Jack Merridew is one of the first boys to go savage, creating himself a group of savage hunters that kill and hunt for fun. The only ones that remain goodhearted are Ralph and Piggy, who’s glasses represent knowledge and wisdom. They know that the goal is to get rescued, nothing more.
But the question is: will these group of boys survive on this island? Or will they be doomed forever?
In Michael Grant’s Monster, this choice becomes a reality. If you enjoyed his Gone series, this follow-up will definitely not disappoint you. Instead of just some kids inside a small dome getting powers, people around the world are starting to change, morphing into amazing creatures with seemingly limitless power.
From napalm breath to creating “meat puppets”, Grant’s genius really shines in these vivid, fabulous characters. Each line makes you feel closer and more relatable to each one. But for fans of this trilogy’s predecessor, Gone, you will be pleasantly surprised by the characters brought back for one more round.
– Luke D.
Monster by Michael Grant is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
Ashfall, by Mike Mullin, is about life after a supervolcano erupts in Yellowstone. Alex is a normal teenage guy. He’s a sophomore, plays video games, has a black belt in tae kwon do, and wishes he could go on a date with a cute girl. His family is on their way to visit his uncle’s family, and he didn’t want to go.
Even though he survived the explosion, it’s only the beginning. His family isn’t with him, he doesn’t know who to trust, and traveling through the ash is exhausting. Alex knows that he should try to track down his family, but did they even survive? But traveling to Warren, Illinois, where his Uncle’s farm is, is 140 miles away. What if his parents never even arrived at Warren? When Alex attempts to travel to Warren, some people are friendly, while others are as dangerous as the ash filled terrain. Is this new world the survival of the fittest?
Life after a volcano eruption is already scary, but a supervolcano eruption could ruin the entire world. In Ashfall, the eruption affects the whole world, not just America because of food shortages. This book also gets you thinking about a different way that the world can end because of nature, instead of disease, zombies, or other ways.
I thought that this was a well-written book, because Mullin makes it seem real. I wish I hadn’t read this book in one sitting though, because it is 450 pages long! I do recommend this book to anyone who likes any type of science fiction, or volcano eruptions. Also, this is a trilogy, with the second book titled Ashen Winter, and the third book called Sunrise. This book isn’t meant for younger audiences.
-Rebecca V. 8th grade
The Island by Olivia Levez was my “Book Set in The Wilderness” for the PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge. Let me tell you, I was not emotionally prepared for this one.
This story is built on pain, suffering, redemption, and most importantly, survival. I have fallen in love numerous times with survival stories. The Book Thief and The Storyteller broke my heart one after another. A word of advice, do not read these in succession. They will wreck you.
But there is something special about The Island. Outside of Levez’ incredible and unique writing style – one which uses, actually uses, syntax – the story itself is exciting, quick, and witty. Frances’ internal monologue is sarcastic and hilarious, if not a bit abrasive.
In between the struggle to live on her deserted island in the middle of the sea, Frances recalls the pain of her modern life. There is a constant fear of death, of losing what little one has gained.
Though I have never come close to feeling my life was in this level of danger, there is still a deeply engaging in a story about someone fighting for herself, and only herself.
The pages practically turn themselves. The Island is an under the cover with a flashlight read; one you read through the night and into the morning.
-Zoe K., Grade 11
The Island by Olivia Levez is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
We’ve had zombie apocalypses. We’ve had alien races kidnapping us. There have been so many dystopian stories, from Fahrenheit 451 and The Hunger Games to Divergent and The Walking Dead, in which human civilization is destroyed by some outside thing forcing humans to learn how to survive.
However, get prepared for giants eating humans.
In Attack on Titan, humanity has dwindled to an overall population of two thousand, kept safe behind three walls that separate themselves from the titans. However, Eren Jaeger’s life changes when the outer wall gets broken down by a muscle bound titan, a giant that eats humans. His mom gets eaten by one, in which he and his friends spend the next couple of years trying to get in the Survey Corps as a means of revenge against the almost impossible to beat titans.
Of course, he hates titans. So what happens when he becomes one himself?
Although this series is very popular in both the anime community and among non-anime lovers, I did not like it much. The artwork is not the best, but you can tell Isayama works really hard on each chapter. However, it is the plot that I enjoy. From the twists and turns to the corrupted politics being played in the background, it is easy to enjoy for someone who doesn’t like action. However, there is a lot of gore, as it is not just Eren’s mom who gets eaten. I will recommend it for any dystopia fan and for anyone interested in action.
-Megan V., 11th Grade
Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
The Hunger Games contains very important characters by the names of Katniss, Peeta, Gale and Prim. Katniss in my opinion, was the most dynamic character in this novel. She transforms from a very obscure girl whose sole job is to simply take care of her mother and younger sister Prim to being a “hero” and a victor, alongside with fellow competitor Peeta. Katniss volunteers for the 74th Hunger Games in her sister Prim’s place.
The Hunger Games is focused primarily on action, but partially romance as well. The plot was very well thought out and written as it maintained suspense throughout the entire novel. There were many instances where Katniss and Peeta were almost murdered by other rivals during the games and whether or not they would survive long enough to win this horrific competition.
I really admired the fact that Collins put a ton of emotion into these characters for their willingness to survive and take care of their loved ones which would make the readers actually care about them. The ending was redemptive as Katniss and Peeta were both able to win the Hunger Games.
The style of this novel was rather easy to read. Adjectives I would use to describe Collins’ style would be distinct and understandable as this book didn’t use much complex, long words and did not use much of short, simple words as well. Overall, I would without a doubt, recommend The Hunger Games because it puts readers on the edge of their seat as the story becomes more intense and suspenseful and even makes the readers actually care about the characters.
Lord of the Flies is an allegory by William Golding, following the robinsonade storyline of a group of schoolboys stranded on a tropical island. After the boys crash land on a deserted island, they form a mock government and mimic the society they once knew in hopes of being rescued. However, as priorities conflict among the leaders of the clan, a group of boys who wish to be savages, hunting and playing all day with painted faces, leaves the main society. Chaos and death ensues, and the once innocent boys become dark-hearted and desperate.
One notable element of Lord of the Flies was Golding’s seamless blending of metaphors and symbolism into an exciting adventure novel. Each boy on the island symbolized a certain aspect of mankind’s priorities, and their fatal flaws. For example, the protagonist, Ralph, symbolized democracy and order, and the antagonist, Jack, symbolized savagery. Other symbols were clearly evident throughout the novel, truly forcing the reader to contemplate both their meanings and their relevance on the island, that was closely mirrored to society in real life.
I personally loved this novel. Golding’s view on human nature, saying that humans are innately evil, and the pull towards savagery will always trump democracy, was refreshing in a world of overly optimistic novels. Although everybody loves a heartwarming novel about the triumph of good over evil, Golding’s opposite viewpoint was truly fascinating. I loved how flawlessly Golding was able to mirror the world on his fictitious island. Not only was the literary aspect of the novel amazing, it was fun to read. You’ll be hard pressed to put this book down once you start it!
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is looking for an exciting page turner of an adventure novel.
Partials by Dan Wells is an action-packed novel about the remains of humanity after a devastating virus kills 99.99% of the human population. The story takes place 11 years after the virus, RM, is exposed. Kira. the main character, is training to be a medic and interns at the only hospital. There is no cure for RM, so when babies are born they die within a couple of hours. RM is said to come from humanlike creatures called Partials. It is believed that they have the cure since they released it.
The urge to cure RM becomes stronger for Kira when she discovers that her best friend, Madison, is pregnant. She figures that her best bet would be to capture a Partial and bring it back. After embarking on a dangerous journey, Kira manages to bring one back. She is given five days to study the Partial, and to collect as much data as possible. Unfortunately, she is not able to complete her research because of unrest among the remains of the human population. They are angered by their government, and have become restless after hearing that a partial has been brought back. After the riots settle down, Kira discovers a startling secret about herself. It may make her reconsider everything she has ever known.
Overall, the book had an amazing plot. Partials had one of the best plot lines among recent dystopian novels. A major problem with this book was it dragged on and on for pages at certain points. It was as if the author just put in extra filler pages. The only thing that kept me reading was the plot-line. I wanted to see what would happen and if the cure for RM would be found. Something that I also enjoyed about this book was the whole conflict between humans and Partials. Initially, they were groups against each other; by the end of the novel, that relationship changes drastically.
Partials is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.