Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Age Category: 14+
Louis Sachar: The Cardturner
High school junior Alton Richards is gearing up for a bummer summer. Dumped by his girlfriend (for his best friend, no less), with no money and no job on the horizon, he is bullied by his parents into driving his ailing (and extremely wealthy) great uncle Lester to his bridge club. Alton’s parents are determined to stay on dear old Uncle Lester’s good side in case he kicks the bucket any time soon. Alton is more than just a chauffeur, though Continue reading →
Sixteen-year-old Joey Crouch used to be fairly happy. He and his mother enjoyed life in Chicago. He had a best friend. He played the trumpet. He wasn’t popular, but he wasn’t so unpopular as to be a target for abuse by those higher up the social ladder. All in all, life wasn’t bad. Then one day, everything changed. His mother dies, and Joey is uprooted from his life in Chicago and sent to live in rural Iowa with a father he’s never met. Continue reading →
Today I finish my series on Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games Trilogy with a summary and review of the much anticipated, and much hyped book for teens, Mockingjay. In this Mockingjay summary and review I will discuss the ending of the book/series in the last section of this post (I can’t resist, given some of the controversy in the blogosphere), so if you don’t want to spoil it, skip that part. I will not give away anything important in the “Summary” or plot synopsis, so those parts are safe.
Mockingjay: Summary of Review
Mockingjay is a stunning finish to an amazing trilogy. I loved every minute of it, and so will most teens. Collins masterfully brings resolution to the central tensions and conflicts of the story, including the struggle between the Districts and the Capitol, and the love triangle between Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and Gale Hawthorne. However, since the over-arching theme of the series is war, the close of the trilogy is appropriately untidy—indeed tragic—in certain ways. Such untidiness helps to communicate what I take to be Collins’s central message: there can be hope and joy on the other side of war, but never a complete return to the way things were. War changes things. Permanently. Continue reading →
I highly recommend Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. First, the book is bursting with subjective appeal. The plot has the many exciting twists we’ve come to expect from The Hunger Games, the deepening characters make us care about what happens next, and the tastefully developed love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale is enough to pique the interest of any teen beginning to think about love. Second, Collins’s thoughtful examination of ethical issues—particularly those related to war, and moral psychology—stimulates productive thought and emotion, giving the book developmental value. My one caution is that the book, like The Hunger Games, is quite violent (though, I think, in a productive and justified way), and so sensitive readers should be forewarned. Keep reading for an in-depth review. Continue reading →
Well, I’m late to the “game” on this one. Nevertheless, having just read the first in Suzanne Collins’s young adult fiction trilogy—in the wake of the buzz around the just-released third book of the trilogy, Mockingjay—I feel that I must write something about it. My reaction to The Hunger Games can be summed up in three words: Blown. A. Way. For those who have not yet read it but plan to, my Hunger Games summary and review will not spoil any crucial plot twists.
The Hunger Games: Summary
The Hunger Games portrays a dystopian vision of the future of North America, now the nation of Panem. In Panem, a powerful and technologically advanced city—The Capitol—rules mercilessly over 12 outlying districts, each named simply for their number. Every year, The Capitol requires that each district select two teenagers by lottery—one boy and one girl—to represent the district at the annual Hunger Games, as “tributes”.
The Hunger Games are a cross between the reality show Survivor and the Roman Colosseum: the 24 teens fight to the death on live national television in a huge outdoor arena (we’re talking many square miles here), which encompasses a range of natural geography that varies from year to year. Continue reading →