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Little, Brown Young Readers – May 1st, 2008

Imagine, in the blink of an eye, in the flash of a blue light, you and every other human on the planet are reduced to less than six inches tall.

Imagine what it would be like in the world where nothing else was reduced in size.  All the animals, insects, food, and shelter remained their regular size.  Your backyard literally becomes a jungle.

IN THE SMALL presents just that scenario.  Survivors struggle to make it to the safety of the home of their make shift leader, picking up stragglers along the way.  Word has it, there are demons in their midst so Mouse, the leader, does his best to keep everyone together until they they make it to the safety of his home where he is hoping he’ll find his mother, sister, and grandfather alive. 

The story moves very fast and anyone who enjoys reading about the post-apocalypse and survival will love this graphic novel.  It is scheduled to be made into a movie in 2010.

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In the Small

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Walker Books for Young Readers – April 29, 2008

Someone created a deadly virus.

Someone let it loose on their enemy.

Someone didn’t realize how powerful it was.

The creators didn’t know that the virus would spread and kill everyone in its path. Including themselves.  The virus killed everyone except for the children.

On a day like any other, families made their way to the Isles of Wonder. The Isles of Wonder is a gigantic theme park consisting of five islands, each specializing in a certain type of entertainment.  The kids that showed up on this particular day didn’t realize they would have to call it home after their parents and older siblings dropped dead in the middle of the park without warning.

Josh, along with his sister Maddie, are just two of the thousands of children left wandering the islands alone after the catastrophe.  It takes a couple of days for them to snap out of the shock of losing their parents and older sister, but when a voice booms from the top of the Palace calling everyone to listen, Josh and Maddie go to listen to what the speaker has to say. 

Milo, whose father used to be in charge of the sound system at the Isle of Wonder decides it’s time to get people organized.  Taking on the persona of King Neptune, he attempts to enlist vounteers to serve as a committee to make decisions for the larger group.  Soon, children are pulling together to dispose of the dead bodies, take care of the children that are too young to care for themselves, and make sure there is enough food and supplies to last them a long time.

Everything seems to be working.  People are getting along, no one is going hungry, and kids are working themselves into a comfortable rhythm of day to day tasks.  But, the question that many people have is, “What is outside the park?”  When Josh and his friend Zoe witness lights in the distance, they decide to tell Milo, hoping he’ll put together a scouting party to see if there is anyone else alive. 

Can everything stay perfect in their fairy tale world?  Will King Neptune allow people to leave the Isle of Wonder?  How far will people go to remain in power?

NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN is a fascinating page-turner.  The author creates a relatively safe world for the setting.  The children never face hunger, lack supplies, or have to deal with harsh weather.  The story relys on the interactions between the characters.  Josh, the main character, isn’t always in the core group of decision makers, so the reader has to suffer right along with him when he doesn’t know what is going on around the park.

NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN would be a good suggestion for someone who enjoyed GONE by Michael Grant.  There are many similarities.  GONE is just categorized as a fantasy and involves supernatural elements whereas NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN does not.  This is a great choice for anyone that enjoys the post-apocalyptic/survival genre.

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Neptune’s Children

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Delacorte Press – April 14, 2009

Mary’s world is surrounded by the moans and shuffles of the Unconsecrated.  The Unconsecrated look for ways to breach the fences that protect her village.  They try to find weakness in the metal links.  They reach through trying to grab hold of anyone unfortunate enough to walk too close to the fence.  Mary’s world is based in fear.  Fear that the Unconsecrated will one day break through and devour everyone in the village.

Mary’s mother goes to the fences everyday to look into The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  She is searching for a glimpse of her husband who disappeared in the Forest months ago.  Mary’s mother is the only one that remains hopeful that he’ll come back to her unharmed.  Mary and her brother Jed, a Guardian, makes sure their mother never goes to the fences alone – afraid she’ll get too close if she sees her husband.  When Jed is off on a fence repair mission and Mary gets held up doing laundry, her mother does the unthinkable.  She gets too close to the Forest and is bitten by an Unconsecrated.  

The ramifications of this disastrous event leave Mary with no choice but to live with the Sisters.  The Sisters hold the knowledge of the village and make the rules for the community.  They never marry, but instead devote their lives to the Scriptures.  Mary must decide if she can settle for a life with the Sisters or if she is going to keep faith in the stories of a life outside the village and beyond The Forest of Hands and Teeth that her mother always told her about. However, after a major fence breach, her decision is made for her as she must brave the Forest along with Jed and his wife, Mary’s best friend, the man Mary loves, and the man who loves her.  Emotional complications just add to the stress of staying alive when they are surrounded by the Unconsecrated.

THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is an enthralling post-apocalyptic masterpiece.  Carrie Ryan’s description of the unrelenting Unconsecrated comes through loud and clear to the reader.  At times, the suspense will cause you to put the book down for fear of what you might read next only to pick it up again because you can’t wait to find out.  You’ll be able to feel the boney fingers of each and every Unconsecrated reaching for you as you turn page after page of this amazing novel.  The ending definitely leaves the reader begging for the next installment in this amazing series.

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth

compoundEli has been living with his parents in The Compound for six years.  The Compound is an elaborate nuclear bomb shelter his father spent an enormous amount of money to build in order to keep his family safe from nuclear fallout.  The plan is to stay underground for fifteen years until the radiation danger has passed.

Eli has had the hardest time adjusting to life in The Compound.  In his six years there he has steadily distanced himself from everyone in the family.  He maintains a strict schedule of exercise, studying, chores, and reading.  His lonliness comes from the fact that not everyone made it to The Compound. During the nuclear attack that led his family to The Compound,  Eddy, his identical twin, was accidently left behind.  Eddy snuck away with their Grandma without his parents knowing when their father chose to take the family underground.  Their father had already locked the door when he realized Eddy and Grandma didn’t make it.  The locks were set for fifteen years and there wasn’t any way to go back for them.  Eli feels a hole in his life that no one or nothing can fill.

Eli starts to take a hard look at what is going on in The Compound and he doesn’t have a good feeling.  Food is running low, supplies are being depleted, and his father’s behavior is changing.  Eli suspects there is more going on than his father leads them to believe.

Shocking suprises are about to be uncovered.  Secrets never meant to be revealed are exposed.  Eli is left with the job of saving his family.  He will have to break the shell he has created around himself and build connections with the people he has tried to keep away in order to find the truth and survive.

THE COMPOUND will remind you of the movie Blast from the Past, just without all the quirky, fun-loving humor.

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Eli has been living with his parents in The Compound for six years.  The Compound is an elaborate nuclear bomb shelter his father spent an enormous amount of money to build in order to keep his family safe from nuclear fallout.  The plan is to stay underground for fifteen years until the radiation danger has passed.

Eli has had the hardest time adjusting to life in The Compound.  In his six years there he has steadily distanced himself from everyone in the family.  He maintains a strict schedule of exercise, studying, chores, and reading.  His lonliness comes from the fact that not everyone made it to The Compound. During the nuclear attack that led his family to The Compound,  Eddy, his identical twin, was accidently left behind.  Eddy snuck away with their Grandma without his parents knowing when their father chose to take the family underground.  Their father had already locked the door when he realized Eddy and Grandma didn’t make it.  The locks were set for fifteen years and there wasn’t any way to go back for them.  Eli feels a hole in his life that no one or nothing can fill.

Eli starts to take a hard look at what is going on in The Compound and he doesn’t have a good feeling.  Food is running low, supplies are being depleted, and his father’s behavior is changing.  Eli suspects there is more going on than his father leads them to believe.

Shocking suprises are about to be uncovered.  Secrets never meant to be revealed are exposed.  Eli is left with the job of saving his family.  He will have to break the shell he has created around himself and build connections with the people he has tried to keep away in order to find the truth and survive.

THE COMPOUND will remind you of the movie Blast from the Past, just without all the quirky, fun-loving humor.

In the nation of Panem, formerly known as North America, the Capitol rules the twelve outlying districts harshly.  Because of a past uprising, the Capitol requires each district to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games – a fight to the death broadcasted on live TV.

When Katniss hears her twelve-year-old sister’s name called to serve for their district in the Games, she doesn’t hesitate to volunteer herself to go in her place.  Katniss resolves herself to the idea that she will never see her family again.

Once Katniss is transported to the Capitol with the male counterpart from her district, she is put through several days of rigorous training before being thrown into the unknown landscape of the competition.

The HUNGER GAMES is a mix between The Lottery, The Most Dangerous Game, and Stephen King’s The Running Man.  Heartpounding action runs throughout the entire book.  You’ll be holding on to the edge of your seat until you find out who survives this barbaric form of governmental control.

Well, this is it!  My 100th post.  To celebrate, I’m having a contest so help spread the word.  Answer these two questions to be entered to win the following wonderful prizes.  If your name is drawn you’ll win a MP3CD Audiobook of both I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter and Born To Rock by Gordon Korman.

So, here are the questions:

1)  What connection does Ally Carter have to Oklahoma?  (I’m from Oklahoma so this was interesting to learn about her.)

2)  What is the new Scholastic series that Gordon Korman has been signed to write called?

If you want to be entered into the drawing a second time, post about this contest on your blog.  Send me the link to the specific post along with your answers to the trivia questions to karinlibrarian@gmail.com by Thursday, September 4th at Midnight.

HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

In the nation of Panem, formerly known as North America, the Capitol rules the twelve outlying districts harshly.  Because of a past uprising, the Capitol requires each district to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games – a fight to the death broadcasted on live TV.

When Katniss hears her twelve-year-old sister’s name called to serve for their district in the Games, she doesn’t hesitate to volunteer herself to go in her place.  Katniss resolves herself to the idea that she will never see her family again.

Once Katniss is transported to the Capitol with the male counterpart from her district, she is put through several days of rigorous training before being thrown into the unknown landscape of the competition.

The HUNGER GAMES is a mix between The Lottery, The Most Dangerous Game, and Stephen King’s The Running Man.  Heartpounding action runs throughout the entire book.  You’ll be holding on to the edge of your seat until you find out who survives this barbaric form of governmental control.