Blitzball

Creepy vibes to the WW2 extreme in this original dystopian YA story. “Addie” is a teenage soccer player in Reichfield which is an all-white suburb in the middle of nowhere USA. The soccer team often plays the next town over whose players are ethnically diverse. Addie and his friends were all raised to be white supremacists.

There are some issues, and it turns out that Addie is a genetic clone of Adolf Hitler and he lives in a Truman Show situation. Addie isn’t all bad, but he is no saint. It’s an exciting premise and not for the younger end of the YA audience. I would say high school and up.

So, besides the mature themes who else will like this?

World War 2 buffs, kids who love to think about all that kind be done with DNA, soccer players, kids who know German (lots of German swearing in this)

My only complaints are some seriously dark moments which I think are necessary but hard to read and the fact that it took so long for Addie to figure out what was going on. To balance that I’d say that in spite of all that there were many dark laugh out loud situations.

Blitzball by Barton Ludwig

November 12, 2018

Children of Jubilee

I squealed when I opened the envelope containing this book. Then I put it aside and went back to read the end of book two, Children of Refuge. I wanted to get my mind right back into the story.

This book proved to be a twisty ending to this trilogy (Children of Exile series), the world building spectacular as it always is with this author. The plot keeps rolling along at a rapid pace.

Kiandra and the other kids end up on an alien planet where they are forced to mine for some pearls that give endless energy.

I don’t think it gives too much away when I spoil the fact that aliens have some technology that can make them look and sound like humans which proves to be exciting and challenging for the kids.

All in all, it was a great conclusion to an exciting series.

Children of Jubilee by Margaret Peterson Haddix

November 6, 2018

Dragon Pearl

Mix Science Fiction with Korean mythology and you get the Dragon Pearl. Thirteen year old Min sneaks away from her home world to investigate her older brother’s disappearance and supposed desertion from the Space Forces. She is also a fox with special powers. Most of the people in this universe have different abilities and appear as a human though they are different animals such as tigers and dragons.
Min can shape-shift into other people as well as inanimate objects. When she arrives on her brother’s ship, Min assumes the identity of a deceased cadet whose ghost wants her to find out who is responsible for his death. Min is not the only supernatural being aboard. The Space Forces, pirates, and mercenaries are all looking for the Dragon Pearl, a mythical object that can create and/or destroy worlds and it is quite the adventure!

My only complaint is that since this is the first in the series the plot drags at some points as I’m guessing that they are setting up characters for the next books in the series.

I would recommend this book for fans of fantasy, science-fiction, and mythology in grades 4 and up. You could read it aloud to interested younger kids too.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

January 19, 2018

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from NetGalley without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

The Prophet Calls

The Prophet Calls is a story about a polygamist cult in New Mexico. It is a middle grade book and approaches all that you can imagine would be involved in that lifestyle with a middle grade lens. It is a page turner, the action never stops and several times I got pretty worried for the MC. The adults in the story don’t do anything to help the kids and so thirteen year old Gentry and her siblings have to rescue themselves from the life they were born into.

For awhile its unclear if Gentry will actually find a way to escape this life, but after her arranged marriage is announced she realizes that she has to leave while she still has the chance.

I don’t know that I would hand it universally to the younger end of the age range, but certainly kids in junior high would enjoy the adventure and look into a very different lifestyle.

The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow

November 6, 2018

Monster’s of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files

If you or someone you know is an X-Files fan this is the best. Every episode is broken down to discuss all the details. It’s like binge watching the series with a couple friends where you pause and discuss all the best parts. For the most part you get a bunch of inside info on the set and story line.

I’d love to create a sort of Sci-Fi/ Cryptozoology course out of a re-watch of the series and this book.

My only complaint would be that the authors felt the need to look at most episodes through the social media lens of 2018 instead of the mores of when the episode aired. Not everything ages well, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to watch.

Monster’s of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files by Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff

October 16, 2018