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Anderson, M.T. The Suburb Beyond the Stars. New York : Scholastic, 2010.
Friends Brian and Gregory have survived the Game of Sunken Places, but are once again drawn back to cousin Prudence’s house in Vermont, where they discover that something has gone very wrong with time, people have disappeared, and danger is lurking everywhere. (FVRL) (Supernatural; Space and Time; Vermont; Fantasy fiction; Good and evil; Friendship; Courage)
Austen, Catherine. All Good Children. Victoria: Orca, 2011.
Max is trying to evade the authorities and survive in a world where everyone must instantly obey, children are given drugs to make them obey, and consequences for misbehaviour are immediate and severe. [Schools; Friendship; Brothers and sisters; Single-parent families; Science fiction; Family life; Runaways; Young adult fiction]
Bodeen, S.A. The Gardener. New York: Square Fish, 2010.
“When high school sophomore Mason finds a beautiful but catatonic girl in the nursing home where his mother works, the discovery leads him to revelations about a series of disturbing human experiments that have a connection to his own life.” – CIP. Could be compared to Gem-X. [Fathers; Runaways; Science experiments; Secrets; Single-parent families]
Bloor, Edward. Taken. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
In 2036, wealthy Americans live behind security gates in fear of being kidnapped, and transmitters are surgically implanted into their children so they can be found if they are kidnapped. Armed guards escort children to and from school. In this science fiction suspense story, Charity tries to follow the instructions she has been taught in order to survive when she is snatched in the middle of the night. An engrossing novel for readers 12-years-old and up. [Fathers and daughters; Florida; Kidnapping; Poverty; Science fiction]
Buitrago, Jairo. Cave Paintings. Toronto: Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, 2020.
A young boy – on summer vacation – travels across the universe to visit his grandmother on Earth. Stunningly beautiful full-page coloured pencil illustrations by Rafael Yockteng help tell this brilliantly imaginative story highly recommended for readers 7 to 12 years old. Translated from the Spanish by Elisa Amado.
P.S. A great introduction to a unit on space travel or the history of technology or a genre study of science fiction.
P.P.S. A lovely addition to a unit on stories from countries around the world. The author lives in Mexico and the illustrator in Columbia.
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. Tom Doherty Associates, 1992.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Tom Doherty Associates, 1992) is the story of Ender Wiggin who was born to be the perfect soldier. Ender, isolated by the director of the Battle School, faces a conflict: should he stay isolated, or try and bridge the gap and build relationships with the other trainees? Because Ender was made to fight for himself, he is smart enough to realize that he can’t win any of the simulated battles on his own so he bridges the gap and becomes the International Fleet’s best soldier. But if he had stayed in his comfort zone and remained in isolation, what would have become of Ender Wiggin? (Jarod in grade eight)
Cass, Kiera. The Selection. HarperTeen, 2012.
Sixteen-year-old America lives in a future world formed after the destruction of the United States. She is chosen to compete in a contest to win the heart of the nation’s prince but wants, instead, to be with the young man she really loves. While the writing is somewhat stilted, the story will likely be appreciated by readers who enjoyed Matched by Condie. [Marriage; Contests; Princes; Love; Science fiction]
Clements, Andrew. Things Not Seen. Scholastic, 2002.
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements (Scholastic, 2002) is the story of Bobby Phillips who is an average teenage boy interested in girls and science. Will, who is fascinated by things that challenges the mind, faces a problem: he has become invisible. The blanket he bought was a faulty one, and the malfunction has caused a dismaying reaction. Bobby, who is interested in science, decides to try to reverse the effects to make himself reappear. In the end, he does reappears, but a blind girl, Alicia, whom Bobby has really come to like, still can’t see his face. I think that this story is very interesting in how Bobby finds a way to reverse his condition and in how he author portrays Bobby’s relationship with Alicia. Even though it’s just a novel, I still feel bad for Alicia because she and Bobby have a good emotional and intellectual connection but all Alicia can do is feel Bobby’s face to get a good image. (Carter in grade eight)
Colfer, Eoin. The Supernaturalist. Hyperion, 2004.
Fourteen-year-old Cosmo Hill escapes his miserable existence in an orphanage and discovers there are other people like him who can see supernatural creatures. Together, they set out to understand the purpose of these blue Parasites and discover a shocking secret.
Collins, P. J. Sarah. What Happened to Serenity? Markham, ON : Red Deer Press, 2011.
Katherine lives in an isolated austere world. Everyone obeys the leader. No one asks questions. Except Katherine. And she is punished but she does not stop questioning and searching until she finds another world outside her bleak community. Set in the Canadian prairies, this story could be compared to many futuristic dystopian novels but has a surprising twist at the end which will leave readers with questions about our present-day world. Who can we trust? What is more important: safety or independence of thought? What is the role of the media in a free society? An easy-to-read novel, quickly paced, recommended for readers in grade 5 and up. [Courage; Family life; Friendship; Government; Saskatchewan; Science fiction; Values]
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008.
I recently read an awesome book called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, 2008). This story takes place in an alternative future in which the United States is a nation of 12 districts. The main character is a young teenage girl, Katniss, whose father has died and so now she is responsible for her family of two: her sister and mother. Even though she is only a 16-year-old girl, she is a tough hunter who puts food on her family’s table. Katniss is very brave and will do anything to help her family. Every year, two tributes are chosen from each district to participate in the cruel Hunger Games. When Katniss’s sister Pam gets chosen to participate in these life or death games, Katniss steps up and decides to take her place. The second tribute who is chosen is the baker’s son, Peeta, who is attracted to Katniss. Katniss and Peeta fight together for survival in the arena! But how will they act when they need to kill each other? Read this thrilling novel of the Hunger Games to find out! (Simran)
Collins, Suzanne. Catching Fire. Scholastic, 2009.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2009) is the story of Katniss who already won the Hunger Games along with Peeta. Katniss, who has to go back into the Hunger Games once again, faces a conflict: save herself and let Peeta die or sacrifice herself in order to save Peeta. Because Katniss decides to save Peeta, she is very protective of him and suspicious of everyone’s intentions. Once the games begin, though, she notices something strange: it seems as if everyone is trying to protect Peeta. Katniss soon finds out that the other contestants are trying to escape to District 13, a district supposedly blown off the map years ago. This book was very suspenseful and original. I think it would appeal to kids in grade eight or higher who enjoy science-fiction novels. (Chelsea in grade eight)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2009) was a very well-written novel. Often, I found it felt as though I was in the book. It would seem like I could hear the cannons firing, anxiety filling my mind as I awaited names of the dead, warmth leaving my bones as a storm poured upon the moist soil beneath my feet. At one point in the book, near the end, I actually felt fear as a sudden explosion nearly killed the main character. I could imagine the light beige sand against the grey-blue saltwater segment of the giant clock-like map. I am eagerly anticipating the third book in this trilogy. I really want to know what happens after the uprising and revolution that occurred in Catching Fire. (Jonathan in grade eight)
Condie, Ally. Matched. Dutton Books, 2010.
Cassie has to choose. Will she follow the rules of her perfect society or will she follow the desires of her heart? Set in a futuristic society, this novel could be compared to Gem X by Nicky Singer. Set in a world where adults determine children’s futures, it could also be compared to Payback by Rosemary Hayes and The Giver by Lois Lowry. First in a series.
Crew, Megan. The Lives We Lost. New York: Hyperion, 2013.
In the second installment in this dystopian trilogy, the virus has spread beyond Kaelyn’s island, and she and her friends must head to the mainland, carrying with them hopes for a cure”–Provided by publisher. Recommended for readers who enjoy the futuristic novels by Pfeffer. [Viruses; Survival]
Crockett, S.D. One Crow Alone. New York : Feiwel & Friends, 2013.
The long, bitter winters are getting worse, and a state of emergency has been declared across Europe. In Poland, the villagers are subject to frequent power cuts and fuel shortages. After the death of her grandmother and the evacuation of her village, 15-year-old Magda joins forces with the arrogant, handsome Ivan and smuggles her way onto a truck bound for London – where she hopes to find her mother. But London, when they reach it, is a nightmarish world, far from welcoming.” – CIP Highly recommended for ages 12 and up. [Climatic changes; Survival]
Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. Delacorte Press, 2009.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Delacorte Press, 2009) tells the story of mystery, courage and friendship. Set in the Maze during sometime in the future, it describes the experiences of couragous boy named Thomas who has to find a way out of the Maze. This story kept me awake through the night. It entertained me with its possiblities of other cultures living underground. It informed me about the possible future. It also affected my emotions: I felt happiness as I read about their escape of the Maze. Most importantly, it has changed how I see the world. This book was more for entertainment. If you like books that have breathtaking adventure coupled with friendship, you are sure to enjoy this book. (Liam in grade eight)
The main character in The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Thomas, goes through many changes in the relationships with people he has just met. At first, he is just an ordinary teenager who arrives in a box, which happens on the same day of every month. Although one other kid, Gally, has suspicions about Thomas, everyone else treats him normally calling him a “Greenie”, a nickname for the newest member who arrives. However, people begin to treat Thomas differently once he survives mission impossible: spending a full night outside the walls of protection, without being poked, stabbed and cut to death by Grievers. Ever since Thomas has arrived, things have quite out of the ordinary. “‘Half the Gladers think you’re God, the other half wanna throw your but down the Box Hole’” Newt exclaims to Thomas. By the end, it is clear that most of the Gladers look up to Thomas as a leader. He has thrown himself into the pain of being stung by a Griever just so he can find out the secret to escaping the maze. Thomas leads the Gladers to what may be their death sentence, but they follow him anyway because he has given them hope of survival and a chance that they may taste freedom once again. (Ilar)
Dashner, James. The Scorch Trials. Delacorte Press, 2010.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Delacorte Press, 2010) tells the story of confusion, courage and teamwork. Set in the world above the Maze during the time of the Flare, it describes the experiences of an brilliant boy named Thomas. This story kept me up all night. It entertained me with its thoughts of distant futures. It informed me about the value of teamwork. It also affected my emotions: I felt happiness as I read about when they were picked up by their supervisers. Most importantly, it has changed how I see the world. This book was more for entertainment. If you like books that have a strong sense of courage, you are sure to love this story. (Liam in grade eight)
DuPrau, Jeanne. The City of Ember. Yearling, 2004.
In The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (Yearling, 2004), the characters experienced adventure, adrenaline, and dramatic scenarios. I think I would have reacted differently to some of the events. For example, when the children found the Mayor in the stock room eating all of the food, I would have had more of a reaction. The characters were angry, but I would have been furious at the Mayor because we had trusted this person and he had betrayed and lied to us. I would have been more outspoken and told the townspeople what was going on. I would have demanded that the Mayor share his food with all of us and that the Mayor be removed from his position as leader. I think I would have been more active in my community to support my town and its people. I would not have been such a follower had I been one of those characters. (Yasmine in grade eight)
Do you prefer a book full of adventure, and characters? A book like no other? If so, you should read the book City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau (Scholastic, 2003). Along with three other books in the same series, this novel is about a lightless city, but not a lifeless one. There are three gold-hearted heroes: Lina who is kind kind-hearted, Poppy who is a shy baby, and Doon who is a very observant boy. All three are assigned jobs, but as curiosity gets the better of Lina, Poppy, and Doon, they set out on a journey. Their desire is to find light or even a new city. They find themselves in rugged terrain but can’t turn back to home and so are forced to move on. Can they be physically and mentally smart and put themselves into a better situation? Or will they be trapped in a hole of darkness for eternity? If these questions pick away at you, then try reading The City of Ember and find out the answers. (Daniel in grade 7)
Are you looking for a suspenseful sci-fi book, full of hard decisions and brave, intelligent kids? Then City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau, is the book for you. Two twelve-year-old kids, Doon Harrow and Lena Mayfleet, make their way out of their old crumbling underground city without any help. Meanwhile, everyone in their city – from the mayor to regular town’speople – not only ignores them but the mayor becomes so worked up about them that he tries to have his guards arrest them! But despite all opposition, no one is able to stop the two determined children, and Doon, Lina and her baby sister Poppy make it out to a new, strange world where they spot a mysterious hole in the ground. Carefully and cautiously, they study it and find out that there is an actual city above the ground. They scream and shout, but it is no use. The underground city is 100 miles down under the earth, and no one there can hear them. Lena rummages through her stuff for a piece of old crumbled paper and scribbles a frantic note saying that she and Doon have found the way out of Ember! Read The City Of Sparks to find out what happens next! (Shayla in grade 7)
Are you a thrill seeker? Then do I have the novel for you! The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau (Scholastic, 2004) tells the story of Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow who embark on a journey to find the way out of their crumbling city of Ember, which is threatened by blackouts and depletion of its power supply. Their journey starts when Lina’s little sister, Poppy, is caught chewing on a note of something from an older-looking box tucked in a closet. Lina and Doon soon realize this could be something very important, maybe even the way out of Ember! But half destroyed by Poppy, it is very hard to make out what the note reads. Will Lina and Doon decode the message? Will the helpless City of Ember be left in the dark forever? Read this exciting story to find out! (Danielle in grade 7)
DuPrau, Jeanne. The People of Sparks. Scholastic, 2004.
Are you looking for a book filled with excitement and mystery? If so, I recommend The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. The main characters, Leanne Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, are trying to escape their dying city, Ember. They get away but when they realize they are underground, they search for a place above the ground where they are kindly accepted by the people of Sparks until that city’s food supply starts to run short. But the people of Ember demand to be fed, which leads them to be mistreated. Graffiti is written on walls, food is smashed on sheds, and poison ivy is spread on stairs. Will the identity of these people who do horrible things be revealed? Will Leanne and Doon be able to lead their fellow citizens out of this disaster? Read this thrilling novel to discover what happens.
DuPrau’s story is so similar to life today. The characters in this book are like us: they have arguments and they have wars. The difference, though, is that they solve their problems with minimal violence while some of our wars harm entire countries. Hopefully, you will read this book and understand that if someone does something unkind to you, it may be wiser – for both you and your rival – not to retaliate. (Jakob in grade 7)
If you are in the mood for a suspenseful journey, full of surprises, deep secrets and risky twists and turns along the way, I have a book you. The People of Sparks, by Jeanne DuPrau (Scholastic, 2004), is the sequel to City of Ember. Doon and Lina, two characters from the City of Ember, gather all 400 survivors from the underground city and set off to find help in a new and unfamiliar land above their world. They come across a town call Sparks. Have you ever made a deal and later realized that it wasn’t a deal you wish you had made, after all? Well, that is exactly where the people of Ember find themselves. The people of Sparks decide that they will help the people of Ember by providing food and shelter. However, this “help” will come at a price. The people of Ember will have to work and serve the people of Sparks. As weeks go by, the city begins to run out of food. Violence and conflicts between the two groups become a serious problem. Starving and exhausted from hard labour, the people of Ember wonder if they can continue. They definitely can’t stay, but what will they do? Move on and attempt to create a new town or be forced to stay and possibly starve to death? Are they strong enough to stand up for themselves and survive? Will they have to resort to more violence in their fight to stay alive? Read The People of Sparks to discover whether or not they will survive. (Shayla in grade 7)
Ely, Scott. The Elephant Mountains. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2011.
“Fifteen-year-old Stephen is suddenly left to fend for himself following a series of hurricanes that have put New Orleans and the low-lying areas of the South under water. In the chaos and anarchy that results, Stephen soon encounters Angela, a college student whose parents have been killed, and together the two set out to find Stephen’s mother and higher ground.” – CIP. Recommended for mature readers 13 years old and up. [Divorce; Hurricanes; Mississippi; Survival]
Farmer, Nancy. The House of the Scorpion. Simon Pulse, 2004, c2002.
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (Atheneum Books, 2002) is an extraordinary book about Matt, the main character, who is a clone of El Patron, an incredibly powerful, 143-year old drug lord who intends to take Matt’s organs when his own organs fail. Matt was grown from a cluster of cells taken from El Patron decades ago. He was taken care for inside of a test tube. After being fully developed, Matt was transferred into a surrogate mother when it became positive that he was going to survive. For the first six years of his life, he lives with a woman name Celia, a cook who works in El Patron’s mansion. One day, he is discovered by two children named Emilia and Steven. The next day, they arrive, and bring Emilia’s sister, Maria, who immediately captivates Matt. They observe him through the window for a while, but soon get bored and turn to leave. Matt is so lonely that he utterly destroys the window and leaps out to pursue them. Never having experienced true pain before, he was unaware of the danger in landing barefoot onto shattered glass. The children carry him to El Patron’s mansion to be treated. The people there treat Matt kindly until Mr. Alacran, El patron’s great-grandson, recognizes him as just another clod of El Patron.
This book was an emotional book written by Nancy Farmer who is a very famous author and has won many awards. This book was a journey. It was long and treacherous, but it was all worth it in the end. (Kelvin)
Fox, Helen. Eager. A Yearling Book, 2004.
Set in a future world where robots not only follow orders but also disobey them, Eager learns how to live with humans. A humorous novel recommended for readers 11 to 14 years old.
Fox, Helen. Eager’s Nephew. A Yearling Book. 2006.
In this sequel, in which self-aware robots have been banned, Eager and his nephew come out of hiding to investigate some mysterious events.
Gordon, Roderick. Tunnels. Chicken House/Scholastic, 2008.
Chris, in grade six, read Tunnels by Roderick Gordon. This exciting novel takes place in England where the main character, Will, faces many obstacles in his search for his missing father, a curator at a national museum. First, he calls the police who start searching but have no luck. Then, he looks in the basement of their house to see if he can find some clues to his father’s disappearance. He finds a hidden tunnel which has collapsed. Will is scared and gets his friend help him dig through the rubble, hoping that his father is hidden behind the dirt. No luck. What they find is a secret tunnel. Read this book to find out what happened to Will’s father and what really lies below the city of London!
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1998.
In this first book in the Shadow Children series, twelve-year-old Luke has lived his entire life in hiding because of a law that families may only have two children. But when he meets another third child, he starts to question the government edict that forbids his existence. On the ERAC recommended novel list for grades 6 to 8.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. The Always War. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011.
Tessa has only known war. All her life, her country has been at war. But then she meets Gideon and they go on an adventure together and they discover that perhaps there is no war. Perhaps everyone has been believing a lie. While not the most compelling novel of this genre, Haddix’s brisk action-filled story can nevertheless be enjoyed by readers eleven-years-old and up. [Science fiction; Runaways; War; Computers; Airplanes]
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Game-Changer. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012.
“While playing in the championship softball game, star pitcher KT Sutton blacks out and awakes to a changed world where the roles of academics and sports at her middle school have flipped, making talented athletes, such as KT, outcasts and brainy nerds popular.” – CIP. Highly recommended for 11 to 16 year old readers with a sense of humour. [Individuality; Schools; Space and time; Sports stories]
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Turnabout. Simon & Schuster, 2000.
In Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster, 2000), Amelia and Anny Beth are on the verge of death when they sign papers that could change their lives forever. Along with many others, they are given a chance to become young again. After a first shot, they begin to un-age from 100-years-old. Once they are younger and healthy again, they will be given a second shot to stop the aging process completely, remaining at that same age forever. But something goes wrong. Whoever is given the second shot dies. Amelia and Anny Beth leave the facility in hopes of living a normal life again before it’s too late. Now, in the year of 2085, Melly is 16 and Anny Beth is 18 and there are only a few years left till they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Will they be able to find someone who will be willing to nurture them as they begin to un-age? Someone who will believe their story and not tell the media about their secret? Melly and Anny Beth begin to doubt their previous choices, but it’s too late. Welcome to your new life. Welcome to Project Turnabout. (Ilar in grade eight)
Howard, Chris. Rootless. New York: Scholastic Press, 2012.
In a bleak future world, seventeen-year-old Banyan builds trees from salvaged scraps of metal. But then he meets a woman who sets him on a quest to find the last living trees. A convincing and compelling novel for readers 12-years-old and up. [Environmental degradation; Fathers and sons; Love stories; Science fiction; Trees; Voyages and travels]
Hughes, Monica. Devil on My Back. Methuen, 1984.
What if you didn’t have to study for tests or practise to learn new skills? What if a computer programme could simply be inserted into your brain and you would know everything you needed to know? But what if a programme was inserted that made you unquestionably obey any orders? Would you really be able to enjoy freedom?
In the book Devil On My Back, by Monica Hughes, (Julia MacRae Books, 1984), that song is sung by the slaves of ArcOne, an underground city built hundreds of years in the future to protect the people from the Age of Confusion. Knowledge is stored away at ArcOne in personal infopaks enabling the possessors to get almost any fact when they need it like a mind-controlled encyclopedia.
At the beginning, Tomi Bentt, the main character, has just become a new lord when the thousands of slaves go berserk and try to take over ArcOne. Then, after being captured by the slaves, Tomi tries to hide like a mouse in the kitchen garbage chute. But, by mistake, he slips off the ledge inside and falls down. The chute leads to the water generator which uses the river’s water from the outside to function. So, after Tomi plunges into the river, he is swept outside of ArcOne and into the outside world. As the story goes on, he discovers what freedom really is and the devastating truth that the computer system has hid from everyone for a very long time.
In the novel, Tomi’s emotions, thoughts, and actions are influenced by the Age of Confusion and how ArcOne was built so that when the Age of Confusion was over, the world could have a fresh start. When Tomi finds out the enormous issue with ArcOne and what his father really does, it’s a major influence on him.
I made a connection to Tomi’s emotions when he was being dragged away by the slaves like a rag doll and threatened with death. It reminded me of a dream I had of a criminal grabbing me and dragging me away at night in the dark. While I was being dragged away, I tried to scream but he threatened to put duct tape over my mouth like a cardboard box. Though it wasn’t a very happy connection, it was a very strong one.
An image especially vivid in my mind was when Tomi needed to escape from the slaves that were going to kill him. He decided to go hide inside the gravy spattered, rotten vegetable scented, garbage chute. He crawled inside and stood on a ridge a few feet down hiding in fear. I am able to visualize that image very vividly.
In conclusion, Devil on My Back is a fantastic, heart-racing book that is really hard to put down. I give this book 4.5 infopaks out of 5. (Mitch in gr. 7)
Hughes, Monica. The Guardian of Isis. Atheneum, 1981.
In this second story in the Isis trilogy by a Canadian author, all the scientific knowledge brought from Earth to this settlement has been destroyed and everyone now survives in a primitive agricultural society.
Hughes, Monica. Invitation to the Game. HarperCollins, 1990.
It is 2154 and robots do most of the jobs. Lisse and seven friends face a boring future after gradution from high school until the government invites them to participate in a ‘Game’. On the ERAC recommended list for grades 8-10.
Hughes, Monica. Keeper of the Isis Light. Tundra Books, 2000.
In this first story in the Isis trilogy, sixteen-year-old Olwen lives alone with her robot until she falls in love with a newcomer from earth who is unaware of who she really is beneath her human-like space suit.
Hughes, Monica. The Tomorrow City. Metheun, 1978.
Caroline and David try to escape from a computer-controlled city which seeks to control all the inhabitants, as well.
Kostic, Conor. Epic.
If you like Anne McCaffrey’s books, and if you like The Giver by Lowry, try Epic, by Kostick. All three authors write about collapsed societies. In the society is based upon the one piece of technology they have left: a video game. Their currency is in there. They can buy food and other necessities with that currency. Of course, there are problems. The main problem is that the government is like an anarchy within the game. And the government always wins. (Connor in gr. 7)
McNaughton, Janet. The Raintree Rebellion. Toronto: HarperTrophy Canada, 2006.
Eighteen-year-old Blake and her adopted mother return to Toronto in a future world that is struggling to survive after a technocaust. While her mother works on a justice council, Blake discovers that a microchip in her arm holds surprising and unwelcome information. This sequel to The Secret Under My Skin is a compelling and believable novel for 12 to 17 year olds. [Toronto, (Ont.); Science fiction; Identity; Secrets; Terrorism]
Marsden, John. Tomorrow When the War Began. Pan Macmillan, 1993.
Many vivid images come to mind while reading Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden (Pan Macmillan Publishers, 1993 ). One is of a camping site: a deep crater with large granite slabs that drop down step by step to a slight hill covered by plants. In the centre is an area, the size of a hockey field, spotted with trees and inhabited by large snakes and numerous bugs and insects living in the heavy undergrowth. A shallow creek that runs up from Hell to the other side. And that is just one of the many images this book gives me. (Jake in grade eight)
This is the first in a series of seven young adult novels by an Australian author. The stories are told from the point of view of a teenage girl who is part of a guerrilla band fighting an invading army in what has become World War 3.
Nelson, O.T. The Girl Who Owned a City. Dell, 1975.
After a plague kills everyone over the age of twelve, ten-year-old Lisa organizes a group of children who are struggling to survive.
O’Brien, Robert C. Z for Zachariah. New York : Simon Pulse, 2007, c2002.
Sixteen-year-old Ann is alone. Her world has been destroyed by a nuclear war. After living alone for a year, a stranger enters her isolated valley. Can she trust him? [Science fiction; Apocalypse; Survival; Young adult fiction]
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It. Harcourt, 2006.
Sixteen-year-old Miranda is alternately enjoying and hating school, her friends and her family when life suddenly changes. A meteor hits the moon. First there are storms and tsunamis and weird weather patterns. But soon the electricity disappears, businesses close and gangs start to roam the streets. Winter arrives and everyone has to huddles together to survive. But will they survive? Will life ever return to normal? Pfeffer is a competent writer of many young adult novels and this ALA Best Book for Young Adults is one of her most compelling. (Survival; Family life; Diaries; Natural disasters; Science fiction; Dating (Social customs); Young adult fiction) (Ms. Rosen)
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. This World We Live In.. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
A meteor crashing into the moon knocking it closer in orbit with the earth. Earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions. And that’s just the beginning. The world as we know it has ended in This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010). Miranda Evans’ life has been changed ever since a meteor collided with the moon one year ago. Catastrophes have been happening. The earth’s climate has shifted, but not for the better. Miranda’s friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce. Miranda tries to hold on to the ordinary activities of her previous life with her mother and brothers, but they all know that the Earth may never truly become normal again and Miranda feels like life isn’t worth living anymore until Alex walks into her life and shifts it forever.
I have felt what Miranda has felt: The loneliness of being without friends. The pains of having to grasp onto that little glimmer of hope shining through the dark clouds of the world. The pain of knowing that even if you try to return to your normal everyday life, it will be impossible. But even through all that, there is still that one person who makes you happy. Who can always make you smile and cheer you up when you’re down. That is why even if the world truly does end someday, I will know that it doesn’t matter because I will be happy with the life I have lived and the friends I have made. (Tina in grade eight)
Philbrick, Rodman. The Last Book in the Universe. New York: Blue Sky Press, 2000.
Spaz has heard about a world with books, but he has never seen one. In his world, people use mindprobes, needles which shoot pictures straight into your mind and let you escape the grey misery of life. But then he meets an old man, Ryter, and learns the power of stories. For readers who liked The Hunger Games or Fahrenheit 451, this thoughtful but easy-to-read novel. [Science fiction; Fathers and sons; Adventure and adventurers; Epilepsy; Books and reading]
Reeve, Philip. Fever Crumb. New York : Scholastic Press, 2009.
Fourteen-year-old Fever has been trained as an engineer in a futuristic culture which believes women are not capable of rational thought. When she leaves her home in London, she makes suprising discoveries and faces unexpected dangers. For 12 – 16 year-olds. [England; Foundlings; Identity; Science fiction; Technology]
Reeve, Philip. A Web of Air. Scholastic Press, 2010.
In this sequel to Fever Crumb, the main character is now two years older and working as an electrical engineer for a group of travelling performers. In this futuristic world where people scoff at the old myths of people landing on the moon, she meets a young man secretly building a plane and fights against powerful people who use religion to keep people subservient. [England; Science fiction; Technology]
Singer, Nicky. Gem X. Holiday House, 2006.
When 16-year-old Max discovers cracks in his face, he also discovers that he is the subject of an experiment by his scientist father. Can human beings be genetically altered so that they will not age? What will happen to the subjects if that experiment fails? And what other experiments are being conducted?
Stead, Rebecca. First Light. Wendy Lamb Books, 2007.
Twelve-year-old Peter travels on a scientific expedition with his parents from New York City to Greenland where he unexpectedly stumbles upon an underground civilization. Meanwhile, independent-minded Thea lives in that civilization which has almost forgotten a world above ground exists. What will happen when the two adventurers meet? [Science fiction; Adventure and adventurers; Greenland; Polar regions; Extreme environments; Secrets]
van Eekhout, Greg. The Boy At the End of the World. Bloomsbury, 2011.
Fisher has to learn how to survive in a world in which humans have disappeared while animals and machines have evolved in dangerous ways. [Science fiction; Robots; Survival]
Wyndham, John. The Chrysalids. Penguin, 1955.
Set in Labrador, Canada, far in the future, this classic novel describes a society in which anyone not conforming to strict physical standards is killed, sterilized or banished. But Sophie, who hides her six-toed feet, and David, who has telepathic skills, become friends and start to question this culture that considers them to be “Blasphemies”.