Friday, December 2, 2016

Teen Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Here is the first review from our teen reviewer Zoe, we are very happy to welcome her to the reviewing team:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury is a haunting dystopian novel. This book really makes you look at the future with a new perspective. In the book, Bradbury describes a terrifying world. People are not supposed to think. Books are burned instead of read. There are new inventions, like wall TVs and cars whose normal speeds are 130 mph, but while these inventions sound amazing, in the book they corrupt the society that uses them. People are so fixated on their screens, they don't notice the world around them.

We follow Guy Montag, a married “fireman”, whose job is to burn the possessions of people who read books. One night while coming home from work, he meets his new neighbor Clarisse McClellan. She has a different perspective on life, which causes Guy to question his own perceived happiness. As days go by, Guy starts to meet Clarisse every day after work. One day at a burning, he steals a book without anyone noticing. He hides it in his house, and the secret starts to eat him up. Montag tells his wife about the book he stole, and that he has stolen many others. He decides that they should read them to see if they are really as bad as everyone says. To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the book.

Fahrenheit 451 gives you a glimpse of what our lives could look like in the future. I loved Ray Bradbury’s writing style. The way he holds back certain bits of information to make the story more exciting and suspenseful makes you want to keep reading. Every few pages a new plot twist would occur, making the end especially surprising.  This book never has a dull moment, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian fiction and/or sci-fi. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Teen Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Teen reviewer Johanna is back with a look at one of her new favorites:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Who needs adult books when we have such a huge selection of awesome YA books?! I hardly ever wander into the adult section, but this summer a book that my mom read caught my attention. You can find Station Eleven in the upstairs science fiction section at Central (don’t get lost!), but it could easily fit into the teen section.

Sometimes in YA, authors attempt to employ cool devices like jumping between distant settings, but they end up jarring, forced, or just plain weird. Mandel, however, employs multiple interesting devices effectively, creating an engaging story that spans our modern civilization and beyond – one that might make you more thankful of the miracle and craziness that civilization is. (Seriously guys, be thankful for oranges.)

The premise: a virus outbreak becomes a global pandemic, killing more than 99% of the people it comes in contact with. People abandon cities, and without the human organization and labor to continue basic operations, modern technology fails. What remains is the web of human relationships. Station Eleven is classified as science fiction, but it is hardly different than most fiction with its attention to character development, emotions, relationships, etc.
If you are like me, dystopians get extra scrutiny because I worry that the writing will be subpar or it will sound like a remix of The Hunger Games, but Station Eleven more than exceeded my expectations. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the science fiction genre’s simultaneous capacity for thoughtful commentary on our lives and engrossing storytelling of strange worlds.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Teen Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Teen reviewer and TAB star Anna shares a book she loves:

Ari is a lonely, angry boy. To him, Dante, who he thinks is peppy and unusual, is an enigma. But when they meet at the local pool in the summer of 1987, they have an instant friendship. Through their two summers together, they learn a lot about each other and themselves-- and the kinds of people they want to be.

The number one reason to read this book is the prose. While I am in love with everything about the book, the writing itself is beautiful and could bring anyone to tears. It's not extremely lyrical like I'll Give You the Sun (by Jandy Nelson, which I also highly recommend) or incredibly detailed like The Namesake (by Jhumpa Lahiri, another recommendation)-- it's actually spare. But that's exactly what makes it glorious: Benjamin Alire Saenz conveyed so much through his phrases.

The dynamics between Ari and Dante and their families were also incredible, they were all so raw and real. Not only were the character dynamics complex and intricate, the characters themselves-- especially Ari and Dante-- had personality traits and events in their lives that anyone could relate to. This relatability is what initially grabbed my attention-- and since then, I have read this book three times.

ALSO SIDE NOTE: The sequel is coming out within a year. I may die.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Useless Bay by M.J. Beaufrand

 Our resident expert on all things creepy, Librarian M, stops by with a new mystery:

Useless Bay by M.J. Beaufrand

The Gray quintuplets live on an island off the coast of Washington state. They are friends with Henry and his family, who have millions of dollars from the father’s computer business. One day, Henry’s little brother, Grant, goes missing and the quints drop everything to help Henry find him.

This is a creepy mystery with a touch of magical realism. Each quint has some sort of small power and they all seem to be psychically linked. Henry’s family has some deep, dark secrets that eventually rise to the surface. I recommend this title for anyone looking for a new mystery with some slight horror elements.

More to read:

Up and Coming: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Up and Coming: I Crawl Through it by A.S. King

Flashback Fridays: Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal