Sweet teen reading for fans of X-Men, Star Trek and all things geeky.

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ANOMALY

This teen sci-fi debut features a nerdy heroine who can add and subtract objects from reality.

For Josie Harper’s 17th birthday, her boyfriend dumps her. Worse, she hasn’t seen her father in a month, and her summer internship at a physics lab has fallen through. She misses her deceased brother, Nick, and nothing seems right, until the darkly handsome Reid Wentworth arrives at Oceanside High on his motorcycle. He gets Josie away from her overprotective mother to explain that he—and she, now that she’s of age—have the power to Push reality; they can create inanimate objects at will, contingent on being able to visualize them. They can also Retract objects that have been Pushed, making Reid and Josie Anomalies. The catch is that both gifts draw from a finite reservoir of energy, and depleting it brings mental and physical degeneration. Reid then informs Josie that the Schrodinger Consortium wants to kill them (and others like them, called Oculi), but as a member of the Resistance, he can protect and train her. Josie is reluctant to trust Reid and his partner, Santos, but the more she contemplates her father’s absence and her mother’s work as a neurological researcher, she realizes her life isn’t quite what she thinks it is. Debut author Kuper’s sleek prose—saturated with pop-culture references—invites both nerds and the uninitiated into the world of the Oculi. “Thank Thor,” Josie says, as well as adorably dorky things like “even though he could be an underwear model, I would’ve rather made out with a Romulan.” Nods to quantum theory abound, too, with normal, non-Pushers called “Plancks,” after the physicist. The chemistry between Reid and Josie is solid, despite an underwhelming secret connection. Problematic, however, is Reid’s assertion that “We can’t Push anything with a soul,” meaning anything living or dead; Josie eventually Pushes trees and yet later cannot Push a viral serum. Aside from these slippery details, the narrative redeems itself through great twists and the positive message that reality is ours to shape.

Sweet teen reading for fans of X-Men, Star Trek and all things geeky.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1622664054

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned...

THE HUNGER GAMES

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 1

Katniss Everdeen is a survivor.

She has to be; she’s representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers—a crying shame. [Note: Errors have been corrected in subsequent printings, so we are now pleased to apply the Kirkus star.]

Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. (Science fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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