Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teen Read Week 2010: October 18- 24

"Read Beyond Reality”

It’s Teen Read Week. In keeping with this year’s theme “Read Beyond Reality,” I’ve made a list of some of my favorite YA dystopian novels. My 12th grade English teacher first introduced me to dystopian novels, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

For those of you new to the concept, a dystopia is defined most simply as a bad place. It is the opposite of a utopia—a perfect place. Often dystopian novels reflect current society but with a horrific twist. Think dysfunction on a large scale. In fact, Diary of Anne Frank, though nonfiction, is considered a dystopian book. Perhaps it is the scariest of dystopian books because it is true not fiction.

Dystopian novels fall into the category of fantasy, science fiction, and often, post-apocalyptic. The setting is usually in the near future; the reader can easily imagine her society slipping into the horrific circumstances of the book. Themes often include oppression, abuse of power, pitfalls of trying to turn ideals into reality, and living in constant fear.

Here is a list of some of my favorite YA dystopian novels:

The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used to be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Katniss' sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.
(Sequel: Catching Fire)

By Scott Westerfeld
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever. (Also in this series Pretties, Specials, Extras)

By Neal Shusterman
Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until theireighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away. (Join the LOV Teen Book Club on Thursday, November 19th @ 7:30 for a discussion about this novel!)

The Declaration
By Gemma Malley
It's the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can't sustain population growth, however...which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids--called surpluses--despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn't live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna's not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought? (Sequel: The Resistance)

The Bar Code Tattoo
By Suzanne Weyn
It's the near future. When you turn seventeen, you get a barcode tattoo. It's a rite of passage. It's the be-all and end-all of identity. Everybody does it. But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. And eventually she finds herself on the run. (Sequel: The Bar Code Rebellion)

The Tripods Trilogy
By John Christopher
Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintain their freedom and ultimately do battle against them.

The Compound
By SA Bodeen
Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy. No amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, only his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary--and their sanity--Eli can't help but wonder if he'd rather take his chances outside. Eli's father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe--really?

By MT Anderson
For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play around with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who knows something about what it's like to live without the feed-and about resisting its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires.

And don’t forget these classic dystopian novels:

The Giver By Lois Lowry

Ender’s Game By Orson Scott Card

Fahrenheit 451 By Kurt Vonnegut

Watership Down By Richard Adams

Nineteen Eighty-Four By George Orwell

Brave New World By Aldous Huxley

Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood

Diary of Anne Frank
By Anne Frank

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Upcoming @ the library

For Teens:

Virginia Reader's Choice High School Book Club
**Thursday, October 15, 7:30 pm**

Tamar by Mal Peet

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War -- and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.

Teen Wii Wednesday
**Wednesday, October 21, 4:30 pm**
Gamers should be ages 12 and up.
Join us for Wii fun and snacks.

For Children:

Book Character Pumpkin Pageant
**October 14-October 28**
Create a pumpkin (or other squash) decorated as your favorite book character and bring it to the library for our display.

Pumpkin Tales Storytime and Craft
**Wednesday, October 14, 4:00 pm**
For ages 2-6 with a parent or caregiver.
Register online up to 2 weeks before the day of the event.

Regular Storytimes @ the library

Mondays @ 10:30 - Terrific Twos
Wednesdays @ 10:30 - Baby and Toddler Storytime (0-24 months)
Wednesdays @ 11:30 - Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5)

No registration required.

See you here soon!