Monday, May 23, 2011

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enter the world of Panem, the region that was once North America, which houses the Capitol and 12 surrounding Districts. Each district is responsible for a different segment of industry, and the Capital rules with an iron fist. Each year, one boy and one girl from each district are picked as tributes to play in the Hunger Games, an event that is a fight to the death with only one winner. The odds of getting picked are stacked against the poor and hungry, and to the victor go the spoils.

Katniss is a sixteen year-old girl who's been providing for her mother and little sister, Prim, since the death of their father in the coal mines several years ago. When Prim is chosen as the Tribute for District 12, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place and a chain of events is set into action.

Brutality and strife sell, and the Hunger Games capitalize on it all, creating events in the arena to make 'good TV' and generally forgetting that they're dealing with the loss of human life with each gory scene they display for all to see.

This is a YA series, but it's written so well that you don't feel like you're lowering yourself to a lower reading level to enjoy it. I really liked it, and can't wait to start Book Two: Catching Fire. I'm so glad I listened to friends who said I should have all three books ready to go, because once you start, you won't want to stop!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Bumped (Bumped, #1)Bumped by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was a huge fan of the Jessica Darling series, so when I heard that McCafferty had a new book out, I quickly bought it (and read it basically in one sitting). At first, I didn't know what in the world was going on with all the wink, wink, double-blinking, but quickly realized that because it was set in the future, the characters no longer needed to have their smartphones with them to update their status on MiNet on the fly, all they had to do was roll their eyes and do a series of clicks, ha! The whole premise is pretty disturbing, but that is certainly the point. I loved all of the social commentary, specifically the fact that the firm for whom her 'Surrogette' agent works is called UGenXX.

The inside cover gives a great synopsis, but I liked looking (as did my sister who recommended this book to me) at the conversations with McCafferty about where she drew her inspiration for the novel. As with most topics of personal freedom, and specifically reproductive freedom, every decision or absolute can lead down a very slippery slope. McCafferty certainly knows how to make it a great ride!

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Swamplandia!Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is so much to say about this book, but I'll try to limit it to non-spoiler comments. The first 50-60 pages really suck you in, and then there's a slight lull in the middle. After finishing, though, I feel like the majority of what was in those pages was necessary for plot and character-development. A coming-of-age tale that spins in some magical realism (or does it?) and also provides a great social commentary, this is a great book club pick because I felt like it was after discussion that I realized how much I liked it.

It may be one that I read again, but not for awhile. There's a lot to think about and digest, but it's wonderfully written, and there are so many places that give the reader pause. Will you get sucked into Ava's voice and naivete, or will you remain skeptical with all of your adult knowledge? I definitely found that I'm a cynic (but maybe only because I've seen the worst too many times). Travel deep into the swamp to be introduced to a world that will seem magical, if only because it's foreign, Swamplandia! is sure to make you start googling alligator parks you can visit in real life!

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