Set in Ohio, Any Sign of Life by Rae Carson is about a post-apocalyptic world when an airborne virus more deadly than the corona virus has wiped out most of humanity. Terrified and overwhelmed, the few survivors must decide whether they wish to fight or they will give in to despair. Carson invites her readers to wonder what keeps us going since so many of our hopes and dreams—our reasons for living—are determined by sociocultural constructs. Do we recreate what we’ve lost or do we rebuild with something new and better? By asking what happens when all our reasons for living are taken away, CarsonRead More →

Wrenched from her childhood home in Memphis and from a father she loves, sixteen-year-old Skye Rogers has been transplanted to New York City’s Upper West Side to reside with the ultra-wealthy—the American Royalty.  Calling The Monmouth School, which she attends with her twin brother Red, her personal hell, Skye lives with her mother, Deidre Allen, whom she despises, and a detached stepfather who tolerates her. While Red makes friends effortlessly, Skye (aka Blue) struggles to make tentative connections. However, she does befriend Jenny Johnson, with whom she bonds over a mutual wrist-slitting suicide attempt.   Both girls are also ambitious, with Jenny hoping to be aRead More →

Gamers often play video games for the thrill of the game, for the confidence-building rewards as they move from level to level, or for the opportunity to act in a heroic role.  Others play for the power, competition, action, and sometimes violence experienced vicariously through the game. Although it is not played online but in real life, BZRK Apocalypse by Michael Grant describes a conflict that resembles a massive multiplayer online game (MMOG).  Grant’s science fiction thriller is the last in the BZRK trilogy, and the stakes in this final battle are high; the fate of BZRK players is death or madness.  Sixteen-year-old Sadie McLure, akaRead More →

Isis Ann Murray, known by her friends as Ice or Icie, loves language, Starbucks, smart-ass T-shirts, horror films, her iPhone, and Tristan.  With her best friend Lola, Icie engages in linguistic creativity, creating Ripples—words that lose their individual identities when they swirl into new forms, adding flavor to conversation.  Freaking idiot, for example, becomes fridiot, and terrifically boring becomes borrific.  Icie’s life is flowing as smoothly as life can for a seventeen-year-old whose dad is a nuclear physicist and whose mom works for the federal government, but she learns that, regardless of life’s banality or beauty, Psycho-style surprises can erupt. When Tristan—two weeks before prom—dumpsRead More →