Though our reviewer recommends Steven Arntson’s The Wrap-up List to teenage girls, I can vouch that it will also appeal to adults—especially with its references to classic reaper stories. If you’re looking for something with zombies or aliens, or just a sharp contemporary read, Bookmarked has some recommendations here as well. Read on.
AGUIRRE, Ann. Outpost. Feiwel & Friends. September 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780312650094.
Gr 7–12—In Outpost, Aguirre’s sequel to Enclave (2011), Deuce has finally reached Salvation in Canada. That is, until she learns that there are sexist people who want to prevent her from being a Huntress. After she joins the summer patrols—to keep the fields safe for planting—everything goes wrong, and she has to build a nearby outpost because of the continuous attacks. While she’s there, she notices that the muties/freaks are growing smarter. Although she hopes this isn’t true, her hopes are dashed when she finds a village and a city in which the muties/freaks are cultivating humans to eat. After they follow her back to her settlement and surround it, she’s forced to go for help, setting the reader up for the next book in the series.
This series is one of my favorites because it makes you question which side is the “good guys.” It does this by showing these creatures as more than just monsters. In most zombie books, the zombies are flat and can only be described by a few characteristics. In Outpost, they’re fully fleshed out and are just another group of people trying to carve out a place for themselves. This book tests the saying that there are two sides to every story, by making you only want to see one.—Kaleb B., age 14
FALKNER, Brian. The Assault. Random. September 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375869464.
Gr 6–10—The alien species, the Bzadians, have invaded earth—first Australia, then Asia, Europe, and Africa. Now they’ve pushed the human race all the way to North and South America. Humanity needs to strike back. Six of the best soldiers have undergone advanced training to be exactly like the aliens, including thinking, looking, and talking like them. Now it’s time for the six’s first and maybe most important mission, to find out the Bzadian’s best-kept secret. And the best part is finding out one of the soldiers is a traitor…
The book starts with a quick pace and continues on this track until the end. The technology is believable and the mission justified. The main characters aren’t fully fleshed out, and I didn’t bond with them. I was also left wanting more background information. The leader’s story, which seems the most interesting to me, is the least told. If this aspect was fixed, the book would be amazing.—Dylan V., age 14
HOPKINS, Ellen. Tilt. Margaret K. McElderry Books. September 2012. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781416983309.
Gr 9 Up—Tilt is about three teens who are clinging to their past. As things begin to change drastically, they realize that they aren’t in control, so all they can do is hang on for the ride. Mikayla is certain that she has found the right one until one mistaken night changes everything. Shane has recently come out of the closet and has found true love but it comes with a deadly consequence. Harley is a good girl who wants to experience more, even if it will push her to the edge and test the limits.
Tilt is a riveting story that keeps readers wanting to read more. Strong emotions and intense situations construct the backbone of this spin-off of Ellen Hopkins’ Triangles, an adult novel. Readers don’t have to read Triangles first because Tilt focuses on the stories of the children of the main characters in Triangles. This novel will have readers smiling one moment and close to tears of frustration the next. Throughout the story there are points of view from minor characters, which adds a new perspective to the story. Overall, Tilt is one of Hopkins’s best, and I recommend it for her fans or anyone interested in teen and drama genres.—Jazmine W., age 15
ARNTSON, Steven. The Wrap-Up List. Houghton. January 2013. Tr. $15.99. ISBN 9780547824109.
Gr 8–11—Gabriela is a 16-year-old who receives a letter from a Death—an eight-foot-tall, mysterious, gray creature with gills. The letter informs Gabriela that she only has a week left to live and that her Death, Hercule, will come for her departure to the afterlife. People who are to be “departed” are usually chosen at random, and not from the same family line. Gabriela develops a “wrap-up list,” which is basically a list of the things she wants to accomplish before departing. Hercule sends her back the list with hints of how to get those things accomplished. Since the list includes Gabriela wanting to be kissed for the first time, at first, I found it shallow and superficial. But as it turned out, getting those “first kisses” wasn’t a big focus of the story, and Gabriela and her friends go on a journey in which they discover that she may not have to die.
I enjoyed this book. However, some of the story seemed cheesy to me. I’m not fond of the book cover as many would judge the story to be pointless and girly especially with the line on the cover, “Number of days left to live: 7, Number of times kissed: 0, What would you do?” But apart from that, teenage girls will thoroughly enjoy the story’s funny moments, growing characters, and endearing friendships; plus, it’s an easy read.—Darla N., age 16
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