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April: The Wren Hunt
by Mary Watson
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What has our Teen Book Club been reading?
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now. Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily.
What our bookclub thought: Very exciting. We loved the time-travel, and the characters were a lot of fun. We want to know what happens next.
What it was about (in one to two sentences): “A girl gets pushed through a passage and ends up on a ship in a different time, and then goes on a journey through different times to find a magic astrolabe and falls in love.”
Favorite characters: Both main characters were awesome. Nicholas is more emotional and becomes a more developed character than Etta. But we loved Etta’s stubbornness and defiance. She doesn’t do as she’s told. It felt like something we would do.
Least Favorite part: Cliffhanger. This one isn’t as bad as some other books we’ve read, but still…
The battle on the pirate ship was confusing. We weren’t sure what was going on.
Problems/Questions: What is the point of creating the passages? If the passages weren’t made there would be no book, but within the world, we don’t think it was wise. We don’t understand how/why they came into existence in the first place. Not that we’d change it, but we want to know more of the “why” behind it.
Also, we’re pretty sure we would die if we went back in time.
What we would change: Nicholas’s sneakiness and lying to Etta. We want him to be honest with her. It would have solved/avoided a lot of problems.
Will we read the sequels? Definitely! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. (the next book was checked out five minutes after we ended our discussion)
Recommended for: Fans of The Glass Sentence (another former book club read), Back to the Future movies (You know, because of the time travel.)
The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer
In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.
What our bookclub thought: Loved it!
Stopped reading all other books to focus on this one.
Favorite characters: Charlotte (main character), also Linnet is awesome
Favorite part: Meg’s mom
The bandits in the wood
Least Favorite part: The Love Triangle. Coe is creepy and kind of a jerk.
The blurb on the front cover “Would you give your life for freedom?” It makes us think, but we’re not sure we like it.
Problems/Questions: The exact setting (time-wise) was not entirely clear. Want clarification.
What happened to the big figures of the Revolution (Washington, Franklin, etc)? Did any of them survive?
The magic in the story sort of seems like it was just tacked on as an afterthought. Either do more with it or nothing.
What we would change: The ending. No explosion. (Read to find out what we mean)
Will we read the sequels? Yes
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
In this imaginative escape into enthralling new lands, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege. Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family she can be whoever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best contenders. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between two Fives competitors–one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy–causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
What our bookclub thought: We didn’t want it to end!
Favorite characters: Jes (main character), Kal, Jes’s mom is also pretty great
Favorite part: The rescue and how it tied into the games
The Fives games were exciting and sound like fun (minus the potential for injury and death)
Least Favorite part: The little brother was creepy. We think he might be possessed.
Why did it have to end there?! We want more!
Didn’t like Ro. He’s very rude for no apparent reason.
What we would change: Add a chapter to the end.
Explain more about the baby
Will we read the sequels? Already started!
Recommended for: Fans of Throne of Glass, Hunger Games, or other “girl-power” fantasy/dystopia.
Epic by Conor Kostick
Generations ago, violence was banned on New Earth. Society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. Everyone plays. If you win, you have the chance to go to university, get more supplies for your community, and fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing.
When Erik, seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends find themselves up against with the ultimate masters of the game: the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying Epic’s tyranny over New Earth. But if they lose . . .
What our bookclub thought: “Five Thumbs Up!”
Favorite characters: Cindella (main character’s alter-ego), B.E.
Favorite part: The Final Battle was really cool and crazy! (The number of different kinds of creatures they were fighting was a little confusing though.); Lightning and Thunder were awesome!
The story grabbed us right away. It was exciting and engaging.
Least Favorite part: The Council Meetings. Those got kind of slow.
What we would change: Save the Dragon!
Fix the game rather than destroying it. That way they could still explore.
Get the game Avatar a girlfriend so it isn’t lonely anymore.
We want more! A continuation of the story with Epic and Cindella.
Will we read the sequels? YES!
Accidental Samurai Spy by local author, Mariko Tatsumoto
Thank you to Mariko Tatsumoto, for coming to speak with us about her book!
Aritomo Genji, a twelve-year-old heir to a samurai lord, training to become a warrior, yearns to fight against his family’s archenemy, the Kuroda clan. But he and his loyal dog, Tama, are sent away on a ship to keep them safe. After the ship sinks in a typhoon, and they’re rescued by Kuroda soldiers, Aritomo must pretend to be an orphaned peasant.As reward for saving the life of Lord Kuroda’s daughter, Aritomo and Tama live in the enemy’s castle where they become friends with the girl. When Aritomo learns of a plot to massacre his clan, he must choose between saving his family and staying true to his friend.
What our bookclub thought:
We really liked that we got into the action really fast. We loved the dog, Tama! She’s awesome! It was funny and painful when Aritomo got shot in the butt.
Aritomo is smart, and resourceful, and deeply loyal to his friends and family. His struggle with loyalty to his family or his friends and his confusion over who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy” was interesting and engaging.