June 10, 2009

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Enter the Hunger Games, a sporting event that no other can match; in scope, in pagentry, in fame for the victor. And for the losers? Nothing less than death.
In this dark picture of the future of North America is Panem, a country divided into twelve districts, plus the Capitol. To remind it's citizens of it's power, the Capitol requires each district to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the Hunger Games; a televised event where the combatants must fight to the death until only one remains. Enter Katniss Everdeen a 16 year-old girl who, because of the loss of her father, has learned to survive and support her family. When her younger sister is selected for the games she steps in to take her place. Katniss enters a world more extravagant than she could dream, and so dangerous, she doubts that she can survive. An engrossing story that pulls you in immediately and maintains a tenseness throughout. A thought provoking look at how a strong sense of humanity can survive in a heartless world.
Read Reads Score: 4.5

June 3, 2009

The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich

I love science fiction because I get to see into the imagined future. It’s the same with historical fiction except it's factual: I get to peek into the world the author has researched and really see how someone lived from day to day. Louise Erdrich wrote three books about a Ojibwe girl growing up along the rivers of North Minnesota in the 1800’s.  Her name is Omaykayas and her family is a colorful group of native Americans with bad moods, and funny traits just like your family. The difference is that they live totally off the land and the waters, their existence threatened by the Western expansion of the United States. In the third book, “The Porcupine Year,” her brother takes a porcupine as a pet and even wears him as a hat! Omaykayas loves an Ojibwe boy older than her twelve years; her uncle steals the winter supplies from the family, and she almost drowns in a river storm. The entire series begins with “The Birchbark House” followed by “The Game of Silence” and finally “Year of the Porcupine.” Survival skills and family are key here. Ms Erdrich also writes adult historical fiction, and I find all her books fascinating.

Reed Reads Score: 4.5

The Evolution of Capurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Lately, I seem to always write about historical fiction with a girl as the main character. But there are plenty of guys in this book, including a rascal of a grandpa. Hanging out with old folks may not be your idea of fun. It all depends on who it is, right? Calpurnia Tate, 11 years old in 1899, discovers three important things: her granddad is NOT a mean guy; learning how to observe nature as a scientist is really fun, and being forced to learn housekeeping is NOT.  It's the era when Charles Darwin's theories of evolution are making news, automobiles make their first appearance in town, and it's the mating season for Cali's older brothers. Natural science is all over the place!  I predict that this novel will win Newbery honors, and that when you read how the author, Jacqueline Kelly, weaves all these ideas together, you will also love The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

Reed Reads Score: 5