☕ Book Break ☕ | When The English Fall by David Williams

~When The English Fall by David Williams~

“I suppose that is why I still write here, to remember the blessings. And all things are blessings, even the hard things.”

An Amish Dystopian? I loved this story idea and could not resist.

Jacob is an Amish farmer. His daughter has strange fits and nightmares, speaking nonsense about “the English falling” until one night when the world goes dark and planes fall from the sky. What appears to be an EMP or solar storm from the narrator’s description disrupts civilization as we know it. Life on the farm, while harder, is still sustainable, but the outside world pushes in. Daily life is turned on its head.

Beautiful prose, moral dilemmas, harsh realities. A look at what might happen when human beings are put into intolerable situations. How would our society react if all of our systems failed? .
What kind of people are we? What is left after all else is gone?

This book was so engrossing. I do wish there was a sequel, though. .
Great book. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good read or philosophical discussion. Not just for sci-fi fans.

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Book Review|Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

Set in 2030, Free to Fall by Lauren Miller is a young adult dystopian novel in which “The Doubt”, a small inner voice, is labeled as mental illness and medicated away in those who cannot ignore it. In this world, nearly everyone has an app on their phone called Lux. Lux keeps track of all data and helps the user with every decision, major to minor. This setting is ripe for the unfolding tale of high tech social engineering.

Sixteen year old Aurora “Rory” Vaughn is accepted to Theden Academy, an exclusive college prep boarding school. Rory and her friends are addicted to social media, selfies, and coffee. 

The characters struggle with the typical teen issues ranging from dieting to dating, as well as the school work load you would expect at a private prep school. Secret societies, teen angst, conspiracies, mysteries, betrayal, and romance keep the action flowing while the characters grapple with moral questions brought up in Free to Fall. I liked the allusions and themes from The Bible and Paradise Lost woven throughout.

The first time I read Free to Fall, I was stuck by the eerie parallel of current social behaviors and the technological advances we have made that make this imagined world a little too plausible for comfort.

Highly recommended for teens and up. This is an excellent book for discussion.

Some language, kissing, intimacy and heavy petting (not graphic), secret society, simulated death and violence, mind control, drinking, death of parents

Click here for a discussion guide for Free to Fall with Bible verse references from Embracing the Detour.

Visit Lauren Miller’s author website here. 

Watch the trailer for Free to Fall.

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Book Review | Matched by Ally Conde

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Matched

By Ally Conde

In the young adult dystopian, Matched by Ally Conde, all decisions are made for you, from your food intake to who you will marry. Cassia is content with her life, ready to accept whoever The Society has chosen as her match, but there is a glitch.

We follow Cassia’s story In this coming of age novel as she becomes more aware of the problems in The Society and begins to question her way of life. Events pull her along, forcing her to make choices.

The setting for the story is much like The Giver by Lois Lowry. Dystopian fans might like this story. If your young adult reader tends towards the typical teen love triangle, they may enjoy this book.

This is not a fast paced book when compared to other dystopian young adult novels, but I found it interesting enough to plan on reading the rest of the series.

I think it will appeal to a wide range of upper school aged young people.

This book was recommended to me by one of my sons.

Teaching Guide for Matched from Penguin Books 

Issues of Concern

Some kissing, hand holding, grandfather’s death, talk of war, student watch a film depicting scenes of violence, mention of poisoning, parents’ death, murder of boy.

I listened to the audiobook of Matched narrated by Kate Simes. I like her voice and felt it suited the character of Cassia well.

Another young adult dystopian novel reviewed on this site is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson.

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Book Review|Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

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“The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.”

“I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.”

 

Kathy H is thirty-one years old and is entering a new phase of her life. The story unfolds as she looks back on her school days at Hailsham, a private school she attended with age mates Tommy and Ruth. Kathy reminisces with a sense of fondness for those days, but we quickly realize that all is not as it seems to be. Ishiguro’s style drew me along.

The children at Hailsham are continually told how special they are, but this specialness is shrouded in mystery and foreboding.

This alternative reality dystopian is quietly chilling, provoking the reader to examine their thoughts on the human soul and medical ethics. The story telling is brilliant.

Never Let Me Go is a beautifully written book worth reading and rereading. This book motivates thoughtfulness on many issues.

Lit Lovers Discussion Questions for Never Let Me Go 

Discussion Guide from Film & Bible Blog (contains a review with spoilers before the guide)

Issues that may be of concern (contains spoilers)

The students at Hailsham are clones created to be donors and will eventually “complete” after their organs are harvested, omission of information by teachers, Kathy looks at dirty magazines searching for the human “model” she was cloned from, frank discussion of sexuality, physical suffering, mental suffering, loss of hope, questions on what it means to be human, what is the soul, cloning, medical ethics, class structure.

I listened to the audiobook version of Never Let Me Go narrated by Rosalyn Landor. I found it to be well done and easy to listen to.

Other novels by Kazuo Ishiguro

A Pale View of Hills
An Artist of the Floating World
The Remains of the Day
The Unconsoled
When We Were Orphans
The Buried Giant

Another dystopian book that deals with medical issues and the meaning of the human soul is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson.

I have not seen the film adaptation of Never Let Me Go, have you? What did you think?

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