Rave Reviews Log: Science Fiction

November 30, 2009

When You Reach Me

By Rebecca Stead
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

The day an unknown kid walks up to Miranda's best friend Sal and punches him in the stomach, everything changes. Suddenly Sal doesn't seem to want to be her friend anymore. A crazy guy she nicknames "the laughing man" is always on their corner. Their spare apartment key gets stolen. Her one solace is to continually reread her favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time. And then she finds the first note in her library book, part of which reads: "I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own." At first, Miranda doesn't think it is meant for her, but then the second note arrives with her actual name on it. And the third lists proof, proof of things that haven't happened yet. How can someone be sending her notes with things that haven't happened yet...from the future? As Miranda muddles through making new friendships, puzzling out Marcus (the kid who punched Sal), helping her mother prepare to be on the tv game show the $20,000 Pyramid, and the painful process of growing up, she starts to see things in a different light. But when she finally puts all of the pieces together, will it be in time to change anything? Can you change the past? This story is part-mystery, part-science fiction and pulls you in as you try to figure out exactly what is going on. Miranda is an interesting character, especially as she grows and changes as she discovers more about the world she lives in and the choices people make. Even if readers figure out the more mysterious piece of the story early, they will still be eager to see how everything fits together at the end. A very good story!

November 07, 2009

Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins
Rating: 4 3/4 stars

This is the second book in the Hunger Games series and we pick up where the first book left off. Now that Peeta and Katniss have won the games, they are living privileged lives in beautiful homes with plenty to eat. But Katniss feels hollow--she has no purpose, no reason to sneak into the woods and hunt, and Peeta will barely look at her after he learned about her pretense of love during the games. And her relationship with Gale is even more confusing--is there romance there or not? Then President Snow pays a call on Katniss to inform her that rebellion has been brewing in the other Districts due to the way she showed up the government during the games. He threatens the lives of everyone she cares about if she can't calm the masses during her and Peeta's victory tour and convince him and the world that she and Peeta are truly in love. Katniss does her best, but is sickened by the government's deathgrip on the people who seem buoyed up by her appearances, even wearing her mockingjay pin symbol themselves. But her best is not enough, and President Snow has another trick up his sleeve--a trick that promises to bring about the end of Katniss and everything she holds dear. Readers MUST have finished The Hunger Games to have a prayer of following this story, but it is well worth everyone's while for this series continues to be brutal, intense, psychological and downright mesmerizing as we follow Katniss down to the cliffhanger of an ending that will have fans panting for book 3.