As I mentioned in a former post, I've been on a steady diet of teen books in search of this summer's Teen's Choice review books. I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at a couple of titles which will be on this year's list.
Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson is an exceptionally well-researched piece of historical fiction. The teen protagonist, Isabel and her five year-old sister, Ruth, are slaves living in pre-revolutionary New York. They were promised their freedom by their former owner. Upon his death, however, his relatives sell the two girls to a wealthy family in the area who happen to be Loyalists. Isabel, logically stunned by and chafing at her continued enslavement, and worried about her sister, becomes interested in helping the rebel cause when she is promised her freedom in exchange for information. Several things Anderson does so well in this book include giving readers a glimpse of some of the complexities and dangers of revolutionary times, as well as throwing the idea of freedom into high relief. Will this young country-to-be win its freedom from the tyranny of unjust governance? Will Isabel win her and Ruth's freedom from the tyranny of the unjust system of slavery? While you're reading, check out the upcoming Juneteenth celebrations.
The ever-popular Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins is also on this year's Teen's Choice list. I read this book because it was one that "all the teens are reading" and I felt I should have an idea what it was about. I didn't expect to like it at all, because I knew that *spoiler here* many characters don't survive the book. This is futuristic dystopian science fiction, truly at its best. Here's a brief summary: In a future world 16-year-old Katniss takes her younger sister Prim's place in the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death. All she hopes to do is survive as long as possible, revolution doesn't even cross her mind. In this tour-de-force Collins asks many provoking questions. Is compassion a strength or is it a weakness? How can people with few resources resist a government which preys upon its children in order to maintain control? If put in a situation in which your only choices are to kill or to be killed, what would you really do? And is survival in that situation the best thing or is their a way to strive for something better? This is a highly discussable book and would be a great one for a book discussion group. Here's the link to Suzanne Collins' interview.
Those are just a couple of the titles we're reading this year keep an eye on our Teens Choice Awards blog for further news.