Monday, April 20, 2015

Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott - ADVISABLE

Scott, Victoria  Salt and Stone (Fire and Flood #2), 313 pgs.  Scholastic Press, 2015.  $17.99  Content: Language: R (29 swears; 1 “F”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13.   

Tella is in a contest to win a cure for her ill brother.  There are four environments that everyone has to compete in and Tella has only the ocean and the frozen tundra left.  She has managed to keep her rag-tag group together and her protector Guy is still watching out for her, but Tella feels the need to make her own way.  As the group survives the ocean they see evidence that those in charge are making their environment more deadly than necessary and Tella and Guy become more determined to take down the whole operation after they survive the race.   

I love this series because there is a lot of action and the storyline is constantly moving forward.  The main character is likable and funny and the challenges are interesting.  The PG-13 rating for violence is because one character is brutally attacked by a shark and there are other times that the pet animals are tormented.  

 MS-OPTIONAL.  HS-ADVSIABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson. 

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott - ADVISABLE

Scott, Victoria  Fire and Flood (Fire and Flood, #1), 305 pgs.  Scholastic Press, 2014.  $17.99  Content: Language: R (56 swears; 3 “F”); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.   

Tella’s brother is dying and she is her family’s only chance of finding a cure.  Tella has to enter into a game where she competes with other kids for the cure.  There are four environments that they have to survive through and in this book she competes in the desert and rain forest.  As Tella tries to find people to join with as a team, she also finds someone she cares about and someone who becomes an enemy.  Tella begins to understand that this game has been going on for a long time and might be the reason her brother is sick in the first place.   

I loved this book-it pulled me in from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down.  If you like Hunger Games or the show Survivor, then you will get into this storyline.  Although the book is intense, the main character is funny and I found myself laughing out loud.  The violence is pretty gory.  I was frustrated by the “F” word because middle school readers would totally get into this series and it moves the book from essential to advisable.   

MS-OPTIONAL, HS-ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson. 

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher - PUBLIC

Christopher, Lucy. The Killing Woods, 359 pgs. Chicken House LTD, 2013. $14.14. Language R: (50 swears,  20+ "f"), Violence PG-13.

Damon and Emily were the two main characters, and I felt sorry for them.   Emily's father has a history of PTSD.  So when he comes out of the woods carrying some girl’s dead body, things get heated.  Emily knows, deep down, that her father is innocent and she sets out to prove herself  right.  Damon is the dead girl’s boyfriend.  He knows that Emily's father is guilty and he sets out to prove himself right.  Throughout the book, the two characters have to deal with each other and find out who killed the girl from the woods. 

I loved how the book went back and forth from two different perspectives.  It gave the story a 3D viewpoint instead of a 2D viewpoint.  I didn't like how the middle of the story was slow and dull.  The beginning and end take you for a roller coaster ride, but the middle is like waiting in line to ride the ride.  With that being said, the book was very good. 


Infected by Sophie Littlefield - OPTIONAL

Littlefield, Sophie. Infected, 242 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2015. $17.99. Language: PG-13 (23 swears,0 "f"); Mature Content: PG-13 (several references to off page sex); Violence: PG-13. 

As the story opens, Carina is sitting at her Uncle Walter’s funeral wishing she was anywhere else.  With her mom gone and now Walter, she feels completely alone; although she is grateful Sheila agreed to be her guardian.  Carina spots her boyfriend, Tanner, and manages to slip away with him for a few minutes.  She tells Tanner that she found a letter that Walter left her and she needs just a few moments of privacy to read the letter.  She has no idea how everything will change with that letter.  Her Uncle tells her that she is in danger, that he and her mom were working on a highly classified virus that gives a person super human abilities that would be deadly in the wrong hands, and that he was completely wrong about Sheila.  He doesn’t trust her at all.  Worried about their welfare, she and Tanner run.  Sheila spots them running and sends her bodyguards after them.  Walter also leaves her a recording that gives her more information on the virus.  After watching the recording, they realize their ability to outrun, out maneuver and outsmart the people after them wasn’t due to the adrenaline and fear of being caught but more likely due to the virus.  Somehow they have been infected.  How will they find the antidote and stay alive?  They have less than 36 hours before it is too late. 

This is a quick, fast-paced sci-fi story filled with action and I thought the cover was great.  There isn't a lot of time to develop the characters and I never really connected with them but we do learn enough about Carina to understand her motivation and everything wraps up nicely at the end. There is some fighting and killing but the violence is more about survival and never gets too bloody or gory and the characters do experience remorse at killing the people sent after them.  While there are only a few kisses and nothing explicit, I'm recommending this to High School only because of the number of times Carina reflects on the night that her and Tanner spent together before the story starts.  

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer:  RB