June 25, 2009
When Miranda Evans hears astronomers have predicted that a meteor is going to hit the moon, she doesn’t think too much of it. But when it hits, because the meteor is denser than believed, it pushes the moon closer to Earth. This change in distance completely alters life on Earth, creating tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, etc. Miranda, along with her mother and brothers, must fight for survival in a new world of dangerous weather, decreasing supplies of food and water, lack of electricity and heat, and complete isolation.
Susan Beth Pfeffer wrote Life As We Knew It as a journal from Miranda’s perspective. This makes the novel extremely compelling as readers get a true sense of what life is like for Miranda and her family. We see her anger, fear, and sadness when dealing with this drastic change. The descriptions are so vivid that it’s easy to get lost in the story, believing chocolate chips are rare delicacies and the sight of the large moon is unsettling. Pfeffer’s second book is called the dead and the gone and follows the same scenario from the perspective of a new character in New York City. I think I’ll be reading that one soon…
May 1, 2009
Scott Westerfeld’s science-fiction futuristic novel Uglies is the first book in what was originally a trilogy. Tally Youngblood eagerly awaits her 16th birthday when she will finally become a Pretty, joining the rest of her friends, family, and society by receiving surgery to make her physically, mentally, and attractively superior to the “ugly” littlies. While waiting for her birthday, Tally meets Shay, a fellow Ugly. Just before their shared birthday, Shay leaves the city in search of the mysterious city known as the Smoke – where some Uglies have gone to to escape the surgery. However, before Tally can be changed on her birthday, the secret police – the Specials, tell her she must leave the city and locate Shay and the Smoke or she will remain an Ugly forever.
This was a great, compelling young-adult novel. The science-fiction elements are very captivating, and although a little preachy at times (for example, the old civilization, the Rusties, destroyed their world with war and pollution), the futuristic aspects are really interesting. The descriptions in Uglies were so vivid, I could easily envision what was happening. The characters are also interesting, and for the most part, I didn’t have any problems with them. I really enjoyed the short chapters in the book, which help push the story along, and the way the book ends leaving you ready for and wanting to read the next book in the series – Pretties.