Archive for the ‘Survival’ category

Excited about Catching Fire

June 11th, 2009

The rebellion begins today.

Gone by Michael Grant

January 6th, 2009

You’re in class, bored by the teacher. You look around and the other students are starting to zone out, as well. When you focus back up front, the teacher has disappeared. As you explore the rest of the school, what looks like a joke seems more and more like reality: everyone 15 years-old and older is gone.

Gone by Michael Grant surprised me. It was definitely a quicker read and students are also liking it.

On top of the adults disappearing, everyone is on a countdown until their 15th birthday. One of the creepiest moments is when one twin blinks out and then we know that the other twin only has minutes to live. I was shocked and I loved it.

The other moment that still sticks with me is a teleporting stray cat. And it getting stuck in a reference book.

If you love action, if you love survival, you’ll love Gone. Teachers, it’s like Lord of the Flies, but now with superpowers.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

October 8th, 2008

You need to read it. This will be one of those books people talk about for years. The pacing is amazing: when you have a question, so does the main character. The chapters are just the right length and there’s enough society-challenging that this may end up being a class novel. Great stuff, Suzanne Collins!

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

November 14th, 2007

In 2005, over 100,000 teens were held in boot camp facilities. Until they are 18, those kids are treated like the property of the camp. Many camps hire transporters to bring in detainees (as featured in Nadya Labi’s Want Your Kid to Disappear? ), kidnapping them from their own homes.Returning with the same research style that made Give a Boy a Gun and Can’t Get There From Here work, Todd Strasser gives us a scary glimpse of one boot camp in the northern part of the United States through the eyes of Garrett.

A Great Escape

  1. This book screams of Shawshank Redemption and 1984. Garrett may have been wrongly thrown into the camp, but since the police are not involved there is no trial. Once Garrett is inside the camp, all rights are forfeit.
  2. Garrett struggles with maintaining his integrity and compassion in such a harsh environment. Many times he chooses not to retaliate but instead to try to understand what is going on.
  3. The camp members will beat him until he recants. The adults may be under contract, but what is to stop other detainees from getting in a couple of cheap shots to move up. Detainees are ranked by levels of merits, earning more by selling out other camp members. More than once Garrett points out that the guards (much like Hitler’s soldiers) are still responsible for their actions, even if they were “only following orders”.
  4. There is a chase scene where Garrett and his transporter are face to face and it distinctly reminded me of the face-off between Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive. Throughout that chase the level of suspense is expertly maintained. I honestly didn’t think that the book would have that type of action in it, but it still added to the plotline.
  5. The book will challenge students to compare to their own lives and then to expand their worldview, much like Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It got students talking.

A Shiv in the Back

  1. The book is rough. Namely, someone gets stabbed in the back by a homemade toothbrush shiv.
  2. The topic of boot camps is controversial, especially when the parents in the book could be very wrong.

I personally love the book. The students that have read it so far have been very gripped by what’s inside.