☕ Book Break ☕ |~Across The Universe by Beth Revis~

~Across The Universe by Beth Revis~

Seventeen year old Amy, along with her parents, is cryogenically frozen in order to make a 300 year trip to a new earth. Someone starts the thawing process early, and Amy wakes. We don’t find out who until the end of the novel.

Amy doesn’t fit in with the other people. The small society of ship dwellers have become genetically similar over the generations spent on board, and Amy sticks out with her red hair and white skin. The ship dwellers’ behavior is odd and troubling. Elder, in training to become the leader of the ship, The Godspeed, is the only person Amy’s age on board. He finds Amy irresistibly attractive. Elder searches for the person who is tampering with the cryogenically frozen passengers and discovers much more.

My eldest picked this book for me at the library. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. Before I made it to the last chapter, I felt the need to reserve the next book in the series. Many of the sci-fi novels my boys pick are too heavy on the technical side for me, but this one was perfect.

If you are a fan of sci-fi stories or shows, you might like this series. Great read. Highly entertaining. Satisfying ending to the book with enough left over to make me want to get the next book. Engaging. Satisfying story.

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☕ 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|Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

neverletmegobookcover

“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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Book Review |Greenglass House

Greenglass House Kate MilfordGreenglass House by Kate Milford

“There is a right way to do things and a wrong way, if you’re going to run a hotel in a smugglers’ town.”

Greenglass House, also known as a smuggler’s inn to certain people, is run by Milo Pine’s parents. The inn is also their home.

Milo is on Christmas vacation from school. Greenglass House is always empty at this time of year, which is not the busy season for their typical clientele. As a variety of unforeseen guests begin to arrive, it becomes evident that this will not be the usual Christmas season. Why are all of these people gathering at Greenglass House?

Smugglers, mystery, and even a ghost add up to make an adventure for Milo.

I felt the characters were very well developed and the story line was intriguing. I could relate to Milo right away when he had difficulty with the change of plans with Christmas vacation being thrown into upheaval! The story is engaging. There are even stories within the story, something I have a particular fondness for.

Milo does engage in a role playing game called Odd Trails, and pretends to be a brave adventurer to solve thefts and search out answers. Along the way he learns about himself.

If your children enjoy a mystery or adventure type story they may like reading Greenglass House.

The theme of adoption and Milo’s feelings about being different are an important element in the story. Adopted as an infant, Milo is of Chinese decent and is bothered by feelings of being different from his parents. There are many questions he turns over in his mind related to being adopted. One of the things that I liked about this book was the strong sense of family and the care shown between Milo and his parents.

This book is geared to ages 10-12

Issues that may be of concern to some are role playing games and mention of ghosts. These are in keeping with the fantasy element.

SPOILER

Milo befriends a girl who, near the end of the book,  is revealed to be a ghost. There are some paranormal elements, notably the little girl ghost becoming large and intimidating the agent who caused her father’s death and is now threatening the current inhabitants of Greenglass House.

Themes and Issues

Adoption, Ghosts, Smugglers, Thievery, Fantasy, Role Playing, Spying

You can read the first chapter here.

Kate Milford’s Author Website

 

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