Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

The Eye of MindsThe Eye of Minds by James Dashner, 308 pages.
@ SPL: YA FIC Dashn

In a future world, technology has become so advanced that by using a body pod, video games can transfer a player’s consciousness to a virtual reality, a fantasy world called “VirtNet”.

Michael is an avid gamer in that world. He is also a skilled hacker.

There are other VirtNet hackers too, and one of them is using this virtual reality to attack other players in such a vicious way that they are almost “brain-dead”.

To catch the ruthless cyberterrorist, another expert hacker is needed. Knowing this, the government recruits Michael and two friends, Bryson and Sarah.

The three friends are thrust into a struggle in which incredible danger is always around the corner. The many unexpected twists and turns in the plot happen at breakneck speed. Reality, virtual reality and virtual nightmare become impossible to separate at times, and Michael learns a harsh truth: although they can be hacked and changed, most rules – even in the virtual world – are made for a good reason.

As is usual in his books (such as the Maze Runner books), James Dashner’s writing has many layers and is more complicated than it appears at first. Every detail is included for a reason. Readers will find that the adventure and action in his books are non-stop.

The second title in the new Mortality Doctrine series, entitled “The Rule of Thoughts”, will continue the mind-boggling suspense of The Eye of Minds.

** Recommended for ages 12 to 16 years.       

The Here and NowThe Here and Now by Ann Brashares, 242 pages.
@ SPL: YA FIC Brash

Described as a “twenty-first-century version of an impossible romance”, Ann Brashares’ time-travel science fiction adventure deftly weaves together the present and the future.

Seventeen-year-old Penna James and her mother, with a small group of other “Travelers”, have escaped the catastrophic world of the future (in the 2090’s) to live in the safer world of present-day New York. The group has a mission: change the world’s environmental history in order to avert the tragic future that they have left, with its devastating plagues, food shortages and weather disasters.

Before leaving the future, Penna lost her two younger brothers to a “blood plaque” for which there is no cure.

The time-travel group must observe strict rules in the present world. They must not reveal their origins to others or have a romantic relationship with someone outside of their group.

When Penna’s friendship with Ethan develops into romance, she has a decision to make. Soon she faces another decision when an elderly man warns her that she and Ethan must act to prevent a murder on May 17, just a few days away. To do this, Penna will need to break the fundamental rules of her group for the greater good of civilization.

The difficult choices and decisions that Penna must make - as well as the suspense and characterization in this excellent book - will keep readers very much engaged until the end.
Fans of author Ann Brashares will note that this book is quite different, but no less well-crafted, than her Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series.

** Recommended for ages 12 to 15 years.

Published in the Stratford Gazette. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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