Friday, September 05, 2008

Sci-Fi/Fantasy from a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Hater!

It seems unlikely that I should have fallen in love with so much science fiction and fantasy this summer - and yet I have. The first of the three books that have blown my mind is THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. She wrote The Underland Chronicles which my 10 year old loves. This is written for older teens. It is the story of a future society that evolved from the ashes of the North America we know today. The premier form of entertainment is the Hunger Games. A Survivor-like event where 24 teens (two from each of the country's districts) are sent into an arena to fight to the death. I am only halfway through it and I can barely put it down. I was late yesterday to a VERY IMPORTANT MEETING because I had to finish my chapter. Okay, that is not as rare for me as it should be. But still...

I also loved DREAMHUNTER by Elizabeth Knox. This book is set in a country not unlike Knox's home, New Zeland, at the turn of the century. It is very much like our world, except that superimposed on part of the island country is the place, an otherworld where beautiful dreams can be harnessed by Dreamcatchers and later performed for the populace. Of course, not all the dreams are beautiful and Laura Hame, a new dreamhunter, is left to make a choice about how dreams are used. The second in the series, DREAMQUAKE was a Printz honor book and looks to be just as amazing as the first. I will keep you posted.

Finally, UNWIND by Neal Schusterman was also fantastic. I read this back in the spring and even though usually once I have read something it falls into the big file in my brain called BOOK (say this as if you were Frankenstein's monster or a troll) and sort of gets mashed together with everything else I have ever read. UNWIND hasn't disappeard from my conciousness yet though, because it was such a unique story. It is a definite pick for 2009 summer reading and I have a feeling it will be very popular. In the future, there is no such thing as abortion. All babies are brought to term, but birth mothers who feel unable to take care of their babies have the opportunity to "stork" them - leave them on a random doorstep where the family is obligated to take the often unwanted child in. There is an option though once the child hits puberty. The family can choose to have him or her unwound. This means that every single part of the child will be donate as skin grafts, organ donations, etc. As I write this, I realize for the first time how truly creepy this sounds! The story really focuses on three kids on their way to be unwound for different reasons and how they escape their fate - or do they? Intrigued?