Not Another Teen (Post-Apocalyptic) Book

Welcome to a new blog about what’s being read over at the Blackstone Library. I’ll be posting about things I’m reading, what other staffers are reading, maybe add in some library how-tos and information, too. I’d love to make it a two-way conversation, and I welcome any comments, questions, arguments or praise – in person or online.

While I do enjoy books from almost every genre, lately I seem to just keep coming back to Young Adult post-apocalypse/dystopian future/sci fi books … I just finished Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, which is made up of four books: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras. At first, I thought the series was about high school cliques, but there I go, judging books by their titles again… I finally decided to pick it up and was pleasantly surprised.

The series is set 300 years in the future, after our current society has crumbled. The survivors developed a new societal structure to ensure there were no more wars, no greed or hunger, but also no more curiosity or ambition. Not everyone believes the solution – becoming a “Pretty” is right. The main character, Tally, meets Shay, who talks about these anti-Pretty rebels and plans to join them. So begins a series of events that lead Tally to find out the truth about the new society… and force her to do something about it.

The books are engaging, compelling and well-written. Uglies was a 2009 Nutmeg Teen Award nominee, which is Connecticut’s state book award. Learn more about the Nutmeg Awards here: http://www.nutmegaward.org/

Other YA dystopian-future series that I’ve enjoyed and would recommend:

 – The Knife of Never Letting Go, part of the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

This was my entry into the YA post-apocalpse-sci-fi books; it was a 2008 Guardian prize-winner. Loved-loved-loved the series. And, you can download a short, free prologue, called The New World, from Amazon to read on a computer or e-reader: http://amzn.to/jtXEk5

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Movie is coming out soon. First book, The Hunger Games, is a 2012 Nutmeg Nominee and is on the Branford High School Summer Reading List.

The Maze Runner trilogy, by James Dashner (book three due out October 2011)

This series is full of surprises; half the fun us trying to figure out who the bad guys really are. It is compelling and interesting, and I’m looking forward to the last book in the series. Also a 2012 Nutmeg Nominee.

Some worthwhile non-series books with the same bleak-but-maybe-not-so-bleak-future themes are:

 – Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Reminiscent of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, the story is strong until the end – it seems as if the author got tired of writing and just wanted to wrap everything up.

 – Unwind by Neal Shusterman

This was a 2011 Teen Nutmeg winner. A movie is in the works, and according to Shusterman’s blog, there will be a sequel in 2012.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Stark, vivid and brutal. The author writes sci-fi for adults, and this is his first YA offering – not for the faint of heart.

Any titles you’d recommend for this genre? Any thoughts about these titles – have you read any or plan to? Why? Why not?

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