The Uglies (#1)
This interesting futuristic sci-fi novel is set in a dystopian America and reflects a standard procedure that takes place when a person (called the Uglies) turns 16 years old. A physical cosmic surgery and emotional make-over transforms males and females into the Pretties. Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. She will join her boyfriend and be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
Enter Shay who has decided to abandon the process, flee the city and join David and the rebels. A chance meeting between Shay and Tally opens the plot and the window to alternatives. This book is written for young readers and is a clean read – sexually and in vocabulary. This is the first book of a series, but it can be a terminal volume if you want to fill in the blanks on your own without knowing the ultimate destiny of the characters. I have not decided if I am going to pursue the next installment or not.
This is not my favorite genre, but this book was both intriguing and well-written. I enjoy some of today’s young adult literature and this story was real enough so that my “impossible” buttons were not pushed, and yet mysterious enough to keep me guessing in the flow of the plot.
The Apothecary (#1)
The year is 1952. It is a time of anti-communistic-phobia in America. Fourteen-year-old Janie’s parents are blacklisted as Hollywood writers and the entire family must move… to gray, cold, postwar London. Janie is not happy with the move from sunny California to dreary England.
School presents a problem for homesick Janie until she meets a kindly apothecary who provides a prescription for homesickness and his son, Benjamin Burrows, a fellow student. Before you can turn a few chapters, the story has brought the teens into a fantastic world of international intrigue, atomic warfare, and potions that can change the matter and nature of reality.
The book moves along at an interesting pace and involves a good “chemistry” among the characters. For a person that does not enjoy fantasy very much, these first two books are filled with worlds of imagination and wonder. Parents should give eyes on this book and be careful to provide input and discussion for their children. Lying, deceit, violence, and death are all part of this volume, topics that might need parental interaction.
There are at least three books in this series – I have not read beyond this initial offering.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5)
This classic Sherlock Holmes mystery is so well written, although the older English vocabulary and syntax is not the easiest reading. The incredible death of Sir Charles Baskerville is completely filled with the impossible and yet Sherlock is more than capable to sort through the details. I, of course, am totally confused most of the way through the novel. Watson is the main investigator and narrator of the work as Sherlock is immersed in another pressing case.
Knowing that there are answers to every aspect of the case, the plot slowly opens up many details and relationships that add layers of questions to confuse the “facts.” I have seen the story on film, but it was many years ago, and all I could remember was the huge beast of a hound and being confused at the conclusion of the case. This is worth a slow read and contemplation. Holmes is truly amazing.