January 21, 2012

The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer

This book is weird. Weird in the most literary way. Which makes this book not for everyone. This is a book for readers that love post-apocolyptic science fiction. A book for readers that love the unpredictable. A book for readers that constantly ask themselves questions and make predictions as the story turns and twists in a non-linear way. A book for readers that appreciate beautifully written and lyrical story telling. Definitely a book for mature readers...
       Marvin Maple has spent his entire life with his father isolated on an island offshore. During the winter, he and his father build a machine, for which Marvin does not know its purpose. During the summer, the island is a retreat for vacationers that his father avoids. When the machine is almost complete his father must go ashore for the last part. Marvin's father never returns, and neither do the vacationers. For two years Marvin is alone raiding homes for their food and their books, as Marvin reads voraciously to learn about the world. Marvin finally decides he must go ashore. When he arrives, he finds a world that is completely devoid of people. As he wanders inland, he at last discovers another young boy who directs him to a town named Xibala, where 40 children have created a functioning society. As Martin acclimates to this new world, he becomes convinced that the machine his father built has the answers. As the story moves forward, there are answers...just not the answers you would expect.
Read Reads Score 4.5

January 1, 2012

Best Books 2011

At the end of the year we all tend to reflect on the past year. As I am no different,  below are what I would consider my favorite reads of 2011. These are books I read in 2011, not necessarily those that were published in 2011. You can read the full reviews by clicking on the title. While not all rated a 5, each one has some sort of emotional attachment for me...

Posted February 20, 2011
A blend of YA realistic, a touch of fantasy, and a heart warming story about a teenage cab driver that seems to have lost his way, who is "enlisted" to do good deeds for people in need. Sounds a bit dweeby, but for me this was a box of Kleenex.

Posted May 6, 2011
The length, the complexity, the fusion of science fiction and fantasy was captivating. Don't let the length turn you off, it will go quickly.

Posted June 30, 2011
An outstanding science fiction thriller in the vein of The Hunger Games.

Posted August 2, 2011
Maybe because the time period is the 60's/70's (my childhood), maybe because its about a boy who is able to move beyond his abusive father, or maybe because the writing is so perfect, I absolutely loved this book. I wish I had an easier time of it when I try to sell the book to my students.

Posted August 30, 2011
An excellent dystopian science fiction novel. Well developed characters within a detailed and textured world, with plenty of action.

Posted October 2, 2011
Just as brilliant as Hugo Cabret, but uses the format ingeniously to explore two story lines. The book is ultimately about the strength of family and overcoming adversity which always pull me in.

Posted October 19, 2011
After The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger,  Zusak is clearly one of my favorite authors. This was his first book released in the U.S. Some of the themes are a precursor to I Am the Messenger. A story about working class teenage brothers, seen as losers, but have big hearts for each other and their family. I am particularly impressed by how their parents are very real and respected by the main characters rather than being portrayed as idiots that are oblivious, or abusive.

Posted November 20, 2011
This one has grown on me. An excellent techno, sci-fi thriller, that is plausible, and cautionary.