Teen Read Week: Surviving Antarctica, Reality TV 2083

survivingantartica_andreawhiteSurviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White is an adventure novel about a group of five fourteen-year-olds with different backgrounds selected for surviving together in Antarctica. In the year of 2083, society has changed. The government still exists, but the way the country is being run is different. Television is a major part of everyday life. The government has added a Department of Entertainment because most things, including education, are learnt through television. Schooling beyond high school is only possible by a process called The Toss. Otherwise, you are on your own for schooling.

The Department of Entertainment makes a series of programs called Historical Survival. This series takes important historical events and does reenactments with people (contestants). This time, the Department plans on an Antarctica Historical Survivor, but instead of adults being contestants, kids will be. Without the possibility of an education beyond the eighth grade, Andrew, Robert, Billy, Polly, and Grace are selected as the contestants for the Antarctica Historical Survivor. Surviving the bitter cold, these fourteen-year-olds must muster up courage to survive.

Picking up this book, I was intrigued by the plot line. The premise of the book was appealing to me. I am a fan of the genre of survival/adventure and this book is right up my alley. Generally, the book was okay. I liked the beginning and how each of the characters was introduced in their unique ways. As the story continued, I started losing interest. For me, at least, the book was written in very basic language, making it slightly boring to get through. As I continued, the book picked up when the kids reached Antarctica. I admired how they were brave and how they bore the cold. Overall, Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 is a good book for anyone looking for an adventure novel.

-Anmol K.

Teen Read Week: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

fastfoodnation_ericschlosserFast food has become an inescapable aspect of the modern world—especially for Americans. We drive along the freeway, see the recognizable Golden Arches, and think it’s typical to pick up an order of burger and fries after a long, stressful day since we are just too lazy to make the effort to cook a healthy meal. The obesity rate in America has soared in recent years. How can we escape the chains of fast food that have grown to be so normal in our daily lives?

In the non-fiction work, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser explores one of the largest industries in the United States, and perhaps, one of the most harmful. Focusing mainly on the McDonald’s corporation, Schlosser chronicles the rise of the fast food industry, which has grown at a remarkable rate. Why is it that ninety-six percent of American schoolchildren can identify the Golden Arches and Ronald McDonald before Mickey Mouse? How has the McDonald’s brand become so well-known throughout America and the rest of the world? From the farms where the cattle and potatoes are cultivated, to the meatpacking factories, to the restaurants, to our mouths, he explains the making behind the hamburgers and fries we consume. The aim of Schlosser’s book is to raise awareness of the unseen consequences of fast food and cause readers to contemplate “the dark side of the all-American meal.”

After reading Fast Food Nation for a summer assignment, my whole view on fast food has definitely changed. I’m sure everyone knows that fast food has dire consequences, but Schlosser brings to light many of the secrecies that are skillfully hidden from the public. The detailed account of dangers of working in the meat factories, as well as the sanitary issues of how meat is processed, is appalling. I usually don’t prefer to read non-fiction works, but Fast Food Nation was definitely a captivating, eye-opening read that I recommend to all Americans of any age, for it will forever make you question that burger you are about to chow down.

-Kaylie W., 11th grade

Fast Food Nation is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.

Teen Read Week: The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills by Joanna Pearson

ritesandwrongs_joannapearsonHave you ever watched Mean Girls? Or read anything pertaining to the stereotypical cliques found in modern high schools?

Well, that is exactly what Janice Wills, an amateur anthropologist describes in this thought-provoking novel. Janice is a self-taught anthropologist, who is conducting research on the students and people in the Southern town of Melva, North Carolina. She became an anthropologist to distance herself from others, but this has led her to become a person she doesn’t want to be, someone who makes fun of the flaws of other people. But through the events leading up to the Melva Miss Livermush Pageant, the rite of passage for all girls in the town, Janice experiences a welcome change in attitude.

This change was my favorite part of the novel. Often, it is hard to see how we appear to other people. In Janice’s mind, everything she said was from the point of view of “anthropology research.” But as her friends point out, her words are hostile. These comments give Janice an opportunity to reflect on who she is and who she wants to be, ultimately causing her to change. I loved the description of how she viewed other people after she changed, because it made me feel optimistic about the world.

Though this novel was a very simple read, it did make me think. A lot of points that Janice makes are very accurate. For instance, the way that people from different levels in the hierarchy treat each other not only connects to other literature on the topic, but also to some of my own experiences. If you’re looking for a short book to read, I definitely recommend checking this out. Though the pages fly by, the themes remain relevant long after the book ends.

– Leila S., 10th grade

The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Public Library.