Friday, January 24, 2014

Skin by Donna Jo Napoli

It starts with her lips, one morning Sep wakes up to discover her lips have lost all their pigmentation, turning them white.  It is a terrifying moment, and to make matters worse she has to wait to see a doctor to find out what is wrong.  The next few days pass in a worried daze of secrets hidden behind lipstick, and the sudden attention of her former childhood friend - except now he is the popular captain of the football team, and she is feeling more and more like a freak everyday.

When Sep gets the diagnosis of vitiligo she should feel relieved - it is a non fatal and non contagious disease, but Sep is not relieved because she now knows that nothing about the future is certain.  As more and more patches of her skin loose their pigmentation, Sep throws herself into a routine that she knows without doubt will vanish as soon as her vitiligo is too bad to hide.  She knows with certainty that Josh will leave her as soon as the patches of white skin show somewhere really obvious, he has to right, because that is what boys do when their girlfriend becomes a freak.  Sep is building walls to protect herself and making choices based on a future that she believes will happen - but does she really know the future and what it will bring?

Skin is an amazing coming of age story about an ordinary teenager with ordinary dreams who suddenly finds herself with a diagnosis for a condition she has never heard of before, a condition that can be hideously disfiguring and has lead sufferers to commit suicide.  As her life spirals beyond her control she starts to make choices, and not all of them are the right choices or for the right reasons.  There are moments of careless teen abandon, moments of normalcy, and times when it seems as though her heart will break.  Her journey is one of self discovery and self acceptance told with a deft touch by a master storyteller.

If you like this book then try:
  • The raft by S.A. Bodeen
  • Counting backwards by Laura Lascarso
  • Dirt bomb by Fleur Beale
  • A girl named Digit by Annabel Monahgan
  • The killer's cousin by Nancy Werlin
  • I swear by Lane Davis
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Flawless by Lara Chapman
  • Locked inside by Nancy Werlin
  • I am not Esther by Fleur Beale
  • Thousand words by Jennifer Brown
  • You are my only by Beth Kephart
  • Skinny by Donna Cooner
  • Trafficked by Kim Purcell
  • Street dreams by Tama Wise

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Kitty Doe has just sat the most important test in her life, and because she can not read she has become a III - a status tattooed forever on the back of her neck.  As a III she is one of the lowest of the low, barely a person, someone who will spend the rest of her life working to support her "betters" and barely making enough to exist.  Worse still, she is being sent from the only home she has ever known in D.C. to the streets of Denver - where she will be miles from the only home she has ever known, and the only people she has loved and been loved by in return.  It is a bitter truth to swallow, and rather than face the misery of an unknown future Kitty decides to change her fate - and wakes up in the skin of Lila Hart.

Lila Hart is part of the Hart family, the family that rules the remains of America with a tight fist, a fist that controls the puppet actions of the supposed patriarch Daxton.  Kitty is given a choice, she can go along with their plans and pretend to be Lila, or she can be killed and disposed of - she may have the face of Lila Hart, and bear the VII tattoo of the family, but it is all just an illusion and Kitty quickly comes to realise that she is a rat in a maze of twisting and turning betrayals and counter betrayals.  Kitty will have to make some life changing decisions, decisions that could make her dreams come true or shatter them completely.

Pawn is a fast paced and convoluted story that introduces Kitty and her world through an explosive story that barely leaves you time to breath as the conspiracies and betrayals come thick and fast.  At the centre of a vicious power struggle she doesn't understand, Kitty is left feeling overwhelmed and confused as she tries to figure out who the good guys are and what the ultimate goal is.  Her life is radically different from what she would have been as a mere III, but is the grass really greener as a VII?  In a carefully orchestrated and silent battle, the Hart family struggles to gain the upper hand, everyone striving to reach their own goals no matter what the cost.

Pawn introduces us to a world that could be our (relativelly) near future, one where the resources of the world became strained and the only way to make sure humanity could survive was to divide up the resources based on what people can offer society in return.  If you are smart or can provide essential services then your life is pretty good - as a IV or higher you can expect a good life.  If you test poorly and society can not see your value then you are lucky to get enough to eat and a roof over your head - and as a III your life expectancy is well below what it is now.  It is a scary future to consider, and the worst part is you can easily see it happening through a series of "reasonable" changes in times of desperation.  This series shows a lot of promise and hopefully Captive will not suffer from "sequel blah".

If you like this book then try:
  • Inside out by Maria V. Snyder
  • Eve by Anna Carey
  • The testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  •  XVI by Julia Karr
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • Article 5 by Kristin Simmons
  • The limit by Kristin Landon
  • Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • The barcode tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
  • ACID by Emma Pass
  • When we wake by Karen Healey
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • In the after by Demitria Lunetta
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Among the hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Luke Garner lives a relatively free life on his family's farm, relatively free until the men come with their machines and start cutting down to the trees to build houses - the moment the men arrive Luke is told to stay inside and stay hidden.  Luke is an illegal third child, he was born into a world where you are allowed two children only, any more children than two and you risk coming to the attention of the dreaded Population Police.  Suddenly Luke is no longer allowed to spend any time outside, even at night, and his movements in the house become severely restricted because he can only come into a room if the shades are all drawn.  To make matters worse his mother has to go to work just so the family can survive, so Luke is left all alone everyday - it didn't matter before, but now he has to stay inside and there is only so much he can do indoors before he gets bored and restless.  

Then one day Luke notices a face at the window of one of the new houses, a face where Luke knows the parents and two sons are already gone, a face that gives him hope that he is not alone.  When he finally gets up the courage to cross the distance between their houses he meets Jen, another shadow child just like him, a child that should not exist.  Luke is almost too startled to think about anything beyond the fact he is not alone, but then Jen starts telling him about what is wrong with the population laws and how she plans to fix them.  Luke is in over his head, and he is going to have to make some choices that will have consequences he can't even imagine - and most of all, because of Jen his life will change forever.

Margaret Peterson Haddix is one of my favourite authors - not only because I love her books, but also because she writes amazing stories full of action, drama, and strong storylines that hook you from the beginning and refuse to let you go until the story ends.  I first read Among the hidden many years ago, possibly even when it was first released in the late 1990's and I have read more books in the series but not quite keeping up to date, but with the release of the last book in the series (Among the free) I decided it was time to pick up the series from the beginning and read the series through from start to finish.  

Among the hidden was just as amazing as I remembered, it is not a deeply detailed book with a heavy weight of description and tangled subplots, it is instead a straightforward story told with sparing prose that keeps you focused on the heart of the story - the characters.  Luke is a sheltered child who is loved by his family and can not understand why his life has to be restricted, and Jen is a privileged child who can not see why things can not be changed and why she should remain silent when she sees an injustice.  The ending is just as dramatic and heart wrenching as I remembered, and I jumped straight into the second book in the series (something I couldn't do when I first read the book) and have only a few pages to go before I can leap straight into book three.  

Haddix is an amazing author for a lot of reasons, but one of the best reasons is that her books are carefully written to include the maximum story impact without the use of overly descriptive language or lots of heavy prose.  When I come across teenagers who are struggling with reading (either due to ability or interest) I often recommend Haddix because her characters drive her stories and her action, not the size of the novel or the big words.  Haddix also writes in a number of styles and genres, although she has a particular knack for writing edge of your seat adventures with a dash or dollop of science fiction.  There is plenty to like about Haddix and her writing, and there are loads of stories to enjoy if you like her writing style.

If you like this book then try:

  • Among the imposters by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Among the betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Among the barons by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Among the brave by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Among the enemy by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Among the free by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • Don't turn around by Michelle Gagnon
  • The rules by Stacey Kade


Reviewed by Brilla

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Fiona has awoken to a strange and broken world - her bed is not the freshly made bed with clean sheets that she remembers, and the world outside her window is broken and lifeless.  Confused and disorientated by what she has found, Fiona is easy prey for the monsters that stalk the streets - monsters that bear a tattoo like the mark on the back of her right hand.  Fiona went to sleep as a normal girl, but she has woken to a world where children and teenagers with the tattoo turn into vicious monsters with a thirst for death and destruction, and everyone thinks she is going to Turn into the worst of the worst.  But there is some hope, she can still talk and function, and she finds a surprising ally in the world outside the Wall.  If Fiona can survive outside the Wall long enough to find the truth she will find that it will set her free - but first she has to live long enough to find it.

Stung is a fascinating glimpse into what our future could be like, a future where messing with nature creates a barren world where something that was meant to help is instead the destruction of most of humanity.  Too often one of the first responses to a problem is how can we use science to fix something, but that is not always the best thing to do - I always remember the (possibly slightly misquoted) line from Jurassic Park where Dr. Malcolm says "we were so busy wondering if we could, that we didn't stop to think if we should".  Fiona's world is one of sharp contrasts and sharp divides - there is the world inside the Wall, and the world outside the Wall, there are the Fecs, and there are the people.  

Fiona is interesting as a character because you don't know too much about her at first, and the discoveries you make about her come from the memories that are fresh in her mind and the memories that she recovers throughout the story.  The rest of the ensemble cast that fills out the novel is a mix of interesting stereotypes and unexpected surprises - there are some cliches, but that is always going to happen.  Wiggins has obviously spent a lot of time developing her mythology of why things are the way they are, and she has created characters that think, feel, and react the way you expect them to.  I really enjoyed my time with Fiona and her world and didn't want to put the book down - especially for the last few chapters.  An excellent thriller/adventure read with a smidge of science fiction, a pinch of romance, and a healthy dose of conspiracy.

If you like this book then try:
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera
  • Enclave by Ann Aguire
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • In the after by Demitria Lunetta
  • Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  • Altered by Jennifer Rush
  • The hunt by Andrew Fukuda
  • The darkest minds by Alexandra Bracken
  • Thyla by Kate Gordon
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • XVI by Julia Karr

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The raft by S.A. Bodeen

Robie has spent the past few weeks in Hawaii with her aunt AJ, a chance to get away from the close confines on Midway Island where she is the only teenager among the scientists living and working on the island.  When her aunt has to travel for work she leaves Robie alone, confident that Robie wont get into too much trouble because someone will be looking in on her - but instead Robie finds herself unexpectedly free of babysitters and supervision.  Although she is sensible she makes one small mistake which leads to a last minute decision to catch a ride on the freight flight back to Midway Island, a chance to return to normal quickly.

On the way back to the island disaster strikes and the plane goes down, leaving Robie and the co-pilot Max stranded in the middle of nowhere in a raft - a raft that keeps them out of the water but has no supplies and seemingly no hope.  Lost in the water they can only depend on each other, but Max is in a bad way and their raft has sprung a leak.  Robie will need to find the strength to survive, not only for herself but also for Max.  They are facing an unknown time at sea with no emergency locator beacon, no water, a bag of skittles for food, and they are surrounded by a part of the ocean where Robie knows there are Tiger sharks - the garbage cans of the ocean who would have no problems picking either of them off.  Robie and Max have tough times ahead of them, and it will take all their mental and physical reserves to survive.

The raft is a gripping read that sucks you into the story and refuses to let to you go from the moment you realise the plane is in trouble until the last sentence.  This is one of those stories where describing what happens or dissecting the characters too much will spoil the story because there are some important moments for you to discover alongside Robie - as it is her voice and story that drives the novel along.  I was impressed with The raft and really enjoyed losing myself in the story for an hour or two - Bodeen has a talent for writing tense drama with a minimum of fuss and without all the excess description that can drag down some novels and make them boring - you simply don't have time to be bored with Bodeen because you never know what is going to happen next.

I would highly recommend The raft, and although some boys may roll their eyes because the main character is a girl this is one of those books that deserves to be discovered by readers of all ages and both genders.  If you are looking for a fantastic read about human nature and survival then this is it - this could be the Island of the blue dolphins for a new generation.

If you like this book then try:
  • The compound by S.A. Bodeen
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • Checkers by John Marsden
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • Island of the blue dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • When we wake by Karen Healey
  • Survival by Chris Ryan
  • I am the cheese by Robert Cormier
  • The limit by Kristin Landon

Reviewed by Brilla

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Mason lives in a small town with his mother, a small town where he is the kid who was attacked by a dog when he was a child and still bears the scars on his face.  He is the teenager who has to go out at night and collect his mother from the local bar because she is too drunk to get home herself - it often seems lately that he is the one in the adult role and his mother is the irresponsible teenager getting into trouble for stupid things.  When Mason decides to apply for a summer science programme through TroDyn his mother completely looses the plot but refuses to tell him why.

When Mason discovers a beautiful teenager hidden away in the nursing home where his mother works his whole world is rocked to the core - especially when she snaps out of her coma and starts talking to him.  Helping the girl seems like the thing to do, but Mason is soon way over his head because the people who stashed her in the rest home want her back and will stop at nothing to get her back. Suddenly Mason is on the run with a girl he knows nothing about, and her one hope may be to turn her over to the people who caused her to be the way she is.  Mason is about to get a crash course in conspiracies and desperation - and it is a crash course he may not survive unscathed.

The Gardener is the second S.A. Bodeen book I have read in the past few weeks and was a gripping read with deftly written action scenes wrapped around a story about human nature and what it means to be human.  The characters are all flawed and complexly relatable - Mason is not perfect, but he is the perfect lead character for this story.  It is not often that you find a book that has been well written on such a sparse frame of words - the language may not be complex and the length of the novel is relatively short but you still get the full punch of the story.  This is one of those rare books for teenagers where the story is accessible to teens who struggle with reading, but does not give them a watered down version of the story. 

S.A. Bodeen is an excellent writer and I can't wait to dive into The raft next to see if the high standard of writing will continue.  The Gardener has elements of science fiction but can also be read as a straight forward action/thriller - the science fiction is a component of the story rather than the driving force of the story.  It is unusual to come across such a readable book that works for 'tweens and teens, as well as the teen boys and the teen girls.  Give Bodeen a try if you are looking for a good read, I doubt you will be disappointed.

If you like this book then try:
  • The compound by S.A. Bodeen
  • Checkers by John Marsden
  • Inside out by Maria V. Snyder
  • I am the cheese by Robert Cormier
  •  XVI by Julia Karr
  • The limit by Kristin Landon
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • The line by Teri Hall
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • The barcode tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
  • When we wake by Karen Healey
  • Letters from the inside by John Marsden
  • Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Reviewed by Brilla

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The darkest minds by Alexandra Bracken

Ruby is one of the "lucky" ones, one of the small percentage of children who survived the Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration (IAAN) virus that decimated the adolescent population of America.  Six years later Ruby is trying to stay under the radar because she is not the benign "green" that the PSF think she is, she is an "orange" and if she is caught she knows that she will be taken away like the other Yellow, Orange, and Red kids from her rehabilitation camp.  The past few years have been bearable, but only just, and with her unpredictable ability she takes every effort to avoid touching people and using her ability by accident - because she remembers only too well what her abilities can do to the people she loves.

When she is unexpectedly broken out of the camp it seems like a saving grace, but a chance moment shows her that not everything is as her rescuers would like her to believe and a split second decision sees her alone and adrift in the hostile world her country has become.  But Ruby is not alone for long, and she soon discovers that there is more to the rehabilitation camps than she thought, and that there was something particularly unusual about her own camp.  Keeping her Orange status a secret seems even more important than ever and with her rescuers and the skip tracers on her tail, it seems like only a matter of time before Ruby falls back into the hands of someone - or some group - that wants to use her for their own needs.  Her only hope is the legendary Slip Kid and the camp he has established at East River, a place where they can all be safe - but only if they can find it.  Ruby is learning quickly that nothing is what it seems in the real world, and that there are things worth fighting for.

The darkest minds is one of those (usually) rare books where even though I read it from cover to cover and enjoyed parts of it, I didn't actually like it that much.  At times it seems like the story is dragged out to make the story longer, while at other times it feels a little tangled and jumbled as if the editing process was rushed and something was cut out of the story without someone taking the time to smooth it back over and make it make sense.  The idea behind the story is both scary (the way people mess around with genetic research you can easily see a super virus escaping out into the world) and fascinating (we do only use a small percentage of our brain capacity) - but I found the execution a little shaky and would have loved to see the story tightened up, trimmed down, and had the action ratcheted up a novel. 

The darkest minds is one of those science fiction/fantasy novels with a tangled web of lies and star crossed lovers that is likely to appeal to readers who have enjoyed books like Twilight, but it lacks the story power and action to really appeal to teenage boys - which is a real shame because this story in other hands (or with the before mentioned better editing) could have had the pull of series like the Gatekeepers series by Anthony Horowitz, or The Maximum ride series by James Patterson.  I don't regret reading The darkest minds but it did leave a slightly bitter taste of disappointment when the potential promise of a gripping and thought provoking  story was not delivered - especially when the book is over 400 pages long and required a reasonable amount of commitment to finish.

If you like this book then try:
  • Raven's gate by Anthony Horowitz
  • Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
  • Maximum ride: The angel experiment by James Patterson
  • What's left of me by Kat Zhang
  • Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
  • The unwanteds by Lisa McMann
  • The hunt by Andrew Fukuda
  • Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Wake by Lisa McMann
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward
  • In the after by Demitria Lunetta
  • Altered by Jennifer Rush
  • Origin by Jessica Khoury
  • Every other day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, January 3, 2014

Jessi-Cat the cat that unlocked a boy's heart by Jayne Dillon with Alison Maloney

Lorcan Dillon is a special young boy with an uncommon problem - he has selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that leaves him unable to speak around certain people or in certain situations.  Selective mutism is a challenging disorder, and for Lorcan the condition exists alongside Asperger syndrome which brings its own challenges and complications.  Lorcan is blessed though because he has two parents who love him and refuse to let him slip into the cracks of a seemingly uncaring and unhelpful public health system - and because of a little bundle of fluff that enters his life called Jess.

Jess is a Birman kitten who is renamed Jessi-Cat in short order and becomes an unlikely source of companionship and healing for a child who faces challenges on a daily basis not only because of his Asperger syndrome, but also because his selective mutism sometimes renders him unable to explain why he is struggling with something or someone.  Jessi-Cat is a perfect match for the cheeky. loud, and outgoing Lorcan his family is used to bouncing around the house, but she also has a wider reach - helping him in everyday situations. Jessi-Cats devotion to Lorcan was recognised when she won the Cats Protection National Cat of the Year in 2012, and by winning the award she has helped to raise awareness around the benefits of owning cats, of the wonderful connections people can form with their companion animals, and she has also helped raise awareness of selective mutism.

Like other books of its kind, Jessi-Cat is a very personal and deeply touching story of a family who was changed forever with the arrival of four little paws - except in this case it was the arrival of four little kitty cat paws instead of four little puppy dog paws.  Jayne Dillon has an easy to read writing style, and while she does describe the frustration and set backs she experienced dealing with the public health system, there are no bitter words or haunting disappointments - Dillon accepts Lorcan whole heartedly as he is and she doesn't ask for pity for herself, for Lorcan, or for her family, she is merely sharing an amazing story about an amazing little cat.

I have read a lot of stories about the human companion animal bond, and Jessi-Cat was one of my favourites, purely for the fact that Dillon is such a positive person and presents her story so well - although she does credit Alison Maloney with making her disorganised stories into the book we read.  There are many reasons Jessi-Cat is an amazing book, not only does it raise awareness of the benefits cats can bring, it also raises awareness of selective mutism - which can only be for the good as so many people are unaware that the condition exists.  The wonderful story is supported with some beautiful photographs, most of all the charming picture of Lorcan and Jessi-Cat from the cover.  A heart warming read that reminds us all that being different isn't a bad thing, and that sometimes mans best friend is of the feline variety rather than the canine variety.

If you like this book then try:
Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Exodus code by John and Carole E. Barrowman

Torchwood is a shadow of what it once was - the only ones left are Jack and Gwen, and they are no longer working together as a functioning team.  Now a stay at home mum with little Anwen, Gwen's days are full of the mundane day-to-day tasks of shopping, feeding Anwen, and kept their home.  It is a far cry from the action packed days with Torchwood, and occasionally she has moments where she misses the excitement and action of tearing round the streets of Cardiff in the Torchwood SUV with Jack, Ianto, Owen, and Tosh - but those days are long gone, or are they?  At the supermarket Gwen discovers a woman who seems to be suffering from a mental breakdown, complaining about the noises around her that no one else seems to be hearing.  Gwen tries to help but ends up getting into trouble herself - in more ways than one.

It soon becomes clear that something is happening to not only Gwen and the woman from the supermarket, but also to women in different parts of the world.  For no apparent reason women are hurting themselves and the people around them, leaving the dead and maimed in their path as they react to things that they are seeing, hearing, and feeling.  As more and more women show symptoms Jack suddenly reappears in Gwen's life, struggling to remember something buried deep inside his memory - a memory triggered by what is happening to women, something connected to a memory from his time spent in Peru in 1930.  As the "masochistic madness" affects more women, Jack realises that he is going to have to revisit his past if he wants to save the future.

I love the original Torchwood series (here read series one and two as the original series) and one of the driving forces of the series is the mystery of Captain Jack Harkness, a character that at times seems completely devoid of passion and humanity as she destroys one being, while seeming to be a tortured soul with his heart on his sleeve when he fails to save another being.  Gwen Cooper is the other driving force of Torchwood, a huge dose of common sense and can-do-attitude who often brings Jack back from the brink of doing something heinous.  Brought back together in Exodus code, it "felt" like a genuine episode of the series, almost like a script that escaped the writers room to end up as a book instead - at times I could hear the voices of Captain Jack and Gwen (especially when she starts a sentence with "Jack"). 

One of the interesting things about Exodus code, and one of the things that really kept me absorbed in the story is the amount of connection you have with Captain Jack Harkness and the emotions and thoughts that run through his mind - in the series he is often difficult to read and it is only the extremes of emotion that you tend to see, but here you really connect with him and what he is going through.  I loved this book and spent an afternoon reading it because I didn't want to put it down, I wanted to finish reading the story to see how it ended and I was not disappointed.  The writing partnership between John and Carole E. Barrowman is amazing, and I hope (really, really hope) that they add to the Torchwood universe with some more novels because Exodus code was everything you hope for in a television series tie-in and nothing you hope its not.  A fantastic read.

If you like this book then try:
  • Torchwood: First born by James Goss
  • Something in the water by Trevor Baxendale
  • X-files: Ruins by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-files: Antibodies by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-files: Skin by Ben Mezrich
  • Doctor Who: The kings dragon by Una McCormack
  • Doctor Who: Nuclear time by Oli Smith

Reviewed by Brilla

Resist by Sarah Crossan

Resist is the sequel to Breathe so there are ***SPOILERS*** in this review if you have not read the first book in the series.  I highly recommend that you read Breathe before you read any more of this review and before you read Resist as it is one of those series where it is really important to read them in order.

Alina, Bea, and Quinn are still on the outside of the Dome, their hopes of joining the rebels in the Grove reduced to ashes along with the Grove itself.  Their only hope now lies with the remaining rebels who live in Sequoia, but they are an unknown quantity, a splinter group that broke away from the Grove because their leader didn't agree with the philosophy of growing plants to help bring oxygen and life back to the world outside the Dome.  Alina and survivors from the Grove have found a boat to carry them to Sequoia, but Bea and Quinn are forced to make their own way with a straggler in tow.  There are plenty of challenges for them on the outside, but there are challenges in the Dome too.

Ronan has lived a privileged life as the son of the pod minister, but when his father is killed during the riots a new minister rises in his place and the Ministry has plans for the capture of Quinn and Bea - to make them examples.  As a highly trained soldier Ronan is expected to travel into the area outside the Dome and play his part in the destruction of the rebellion that threatens the Dome.  But Ronan has lost his taste for fighting, and what he discovers outside the Dome will change his life forever.  With time running out, Bea, Alina, and Quinn are in a race for their lives and the lives of everyone in the Dome - everyone is in danger not only from forces inside the Dome, but also forces from without.

Resist is the sequel to Breathe, and it feels very much like it is the final book in the series because there is a lot of closure at the end.  What started as a gripping and fast paced read in Breathe, finished at breakneck speed in Resist a story that leaves you so caught up in the story that you barely notice the rapidly vanishing ages until you reach the mind blowing conclusion.  The core cast of characters from Breathe are back for Resist, and it is these familiar characters who drive the story, introducing new characters that create a wider cast and make the story bigger and more intense than the first book in the series.  Resist benefitted from being read so quickly after Breathe, something that is unusual for me as I usually read the first book in a series when it is first released and then read the second book a year or so later when it is finally released - this time I found Resist first so didn't have long to wait to get a copy of Breathe to read them in order.

Sarah Crossan has an interesting writing style, switching rapidly between her characters to present the story from multiple viewpoints (which has the potential for disaster if you can't keep your characters straight) - a style which suits the story and brings a strong voice to all her characters and allows you to connect to the story on a deeper level.  At times it felt like Crossan was pulling her punches a little because she seemed to be heading the story in a certain direction and then twisted it back to something a little more palatable, but that makes the story more suitable for a younger audience which is a saving grace as this is an otherwise exceptional story.  Hopefully Crossan will continue to write for the teen audience as she has created a world that could realistically be just around the corner, and through Alina, Bea, and Quinn we see that a small group of people working against the system really can change things - though not without sacrifice and loss.

If you like this book then try:
  • Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • The testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Eve by Anna Carey
  • Inside out by Maria V. Snyder
  • Amongst the hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • The limit by Kristin Landon
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • XVI by Julia Karr

Reviewed by Brilla