The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer
Scenario: Matt’s childhood is unlike anyone else’s: he lives in isolation on the estate of a drug lord who rules Opium, the kingdom bordering Mexico and the U.S. It is only gradually that he learns why, and the terrible truth of his origins.
- I loved Farmer’s ability to write convincingly (but not cloyingly) from the perspective of a very young child at the book’s beginning — though I wonder if teens would have much patience with reading about a six-year-old.
- I think the ethical questions behind cloning, drugs, and industry are handled delicately here, without sacrificing narrative power.
- Farmer introduces a lot of compelling, shades-of-grey characters to guide Matt on his journey.
- I feel like there was a natural ending here that Farmer missed, and then trundled into unnecessary territory by covering a few more adventures. The pieces didn’t really fit to me, and I struggled to finish the last hundred pages or so after loving the rest.
Bottom Line: A pretty solid read that hews close enough to the popular dystopia stuff today to make it a good rec for many younger teens, despite its older publication date.
2. You wonder how your relationship triangle is going to shake out. Will it be the moody, wild rebel who taught you about passion, or the sweet, gentle artist who taught you about love? (If you’re still waiting for the candidates to show themselves, you may be spending entirely too much time eyeing up your colleagues.)
My personal favorite?
You keep a spreadsheet to try to determine whether you exist in a utopia or a dystopia. (Corporate ownership of media? Dystopia. New Muppet movie on the horizon? Utopia.) You secretly hope it turns out to be a dystopia so you can demonstrate your awesomeness in some world-liberating way.
The third book in the Delirium series is going to be called Requiem, not, as I’d been hoping, CAFETORIUM.
This is THE WORST.
(no word yet on the third Divergent book, though we are all pretty sure that after Divergent and Insurgent, the final one is — realistically— going to be called CONVERGENT, right?)
I was hoping for DETERGENT as Divergent #3…but I’m actually not sure how I feel about the ending of Insurgent. Processing still, and I should probably write it up soon, if I can without being too spoiler-y.
Librarian Pirate's tumblr for Librarian stuff: My sister asked for good dystopian. This is my email in reply.
I just read an ARC of Diverse Energies which is a book of short stories of speculative fiction. It won’t be out until October but ZOMG it was genius. I mean - Malinda Lo and Ursela Le Guin together? Perfection.
Also read this:
Ooh, where’s the Divergent, ma’am?
I’m not sure I see it, but I do love Jena Malone as Lydia Bennet and in Saved.
Well, read the first few pages anyway.
Crossed, Ally Condie
Scenario: Banished to the edges of Society, Cassia and Ky alternate narration as they search for the love that keeps them alive.
- Liked what I saw of Xander.
- I don’t know that Ky’s voice contributed much. And his apathy toward any cause beyond himself and Cassia sometimes frustrated me.
- Love, romantic love, as everything.
- Felt like a filler between the action of Matched and whatever comes next. At one point, I lost my place and skipped ahead 50 or so pages without noticing. This is not a good sign.
Bottom Line: Why did I dislike this so much? I loved Matched and waited eagerly for Crossed, but maybe I’m finally burning out on dystopian romance. Certainly, it was surprisingly difficult to remember Cassia’s world this months after reading Matched, with so many similar stories in between. Normally I find second novels tedious in their asides about everything we learned in Book #1, but I definitely could have used more of that here. Recommended to fans of Delirium, Divergent and Hunger Games, of course, but not as the best example of the subgenre.