Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Unwind" by Neal Shusterman

Far in the future, we have finally settled the argument between the pro-life and the pro-choice, after a war that could've been the end of our country. The solution: Unwinding.
This is a process that our government came up with at the last minute. There are no more abortions. You must have the child, and either Stork it (placing it on a random stranger's doorstep, after which the child is legally theirs) or raise it until the child is thirteen, and then you have a choice until they're eighteen: keep the kid, or send it to an unwinding camp, where the boy or girl is unwound – surgically taken apart piece by piece, the body parts saved for spares. Someone breaks an arm? No big deal – just get another. Have cancer? Eh, whatever. You can replace that part of you with someone else's. Everyone's happy.
Not the teens who are being sacrificed.
Unwind follows three teens: Connor, 16, whose parents have finally decided to have him unwound because he's too much trouble. Risa, a ward of state, is being shipped off because she's too expensive. And Lev, who is a tithe: since birth, he's known this was to be his fate. His parents have given ten percent of everything they own to charity, and that includes their son.
Connor runs. Risa is on the bus when it crashes, and joins him, a total stranger, in her escape. And Lev is "abducted" by the two desperate teens who are sure they are saving him. But life on the run isn't easy. Not when there's juvie cops and starvation and spies tossed into the mix...
Definitely a great book – a bit creepy, but what can you expect from a plot like that? The characters are pretty believable. Connor has anger issues, Risa just hides all her emotion, and Lev is definitely in denial. But they develop, and the ending wraps up the story well. Eight of of ten waves!

– Cassandra

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"WItch Child" by Celia Rees

Sorry for the long-time-no-update – school, homework,  yadda yadda yadda. Anywho.
It starts with drama and heartache, in the form of 16-year-old Mary's grandmother. A kind healer-woman, she has been condemned as a witch. Her neighbors, who she's helped many times, now turn against her. After torture and starvation, she is hanged – and now that the "witch" is dead, attention may turn to her granddaughter.
A rich woman takes Mary away from the site of the murder and tells her she is going to America, acting as a young orphaned Protestant. In a small trunk of essentials, Mary finds a journal and a note – the woman is her mother. 
The journey overseas is long and dangerous, though Mary meets and befriends Martha, Rachel and a ship's boy whose future she sees in the water. It seems that the peril of England is gone when the pilgrims reach the New World. But it is not so; an old woman warns her that superstitions are not banished, but multiplied by the dark forests, full of natives and unexplored dangers and wild animals.
And though Mary befriends a few of her neighbors, the rest are not so kind. So when the preacher's son takes an interest in Mary and Rachel falls in love, some are not satisfied. There are two that come to Mary for witching: Hannah and Sarah. But when Mary refuses their requests and denies her witchcraft, the girls take matters into their own hands.
An excellent read! Celia Rees is way up there on my favorite author list, up in the top ten. She weaves a tale of dark and light, full of hope and evil, good and loneliness. It ends in a huge cliff-hanger, but luckily there's a second one: Sorceress
Eight out of ten waves!