Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 22
Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.
Who: Lenore of the blog, Presenting Lenore, one of our dear blogging buddies and a fellow Dystopian and YA enthusiast.
Ladies and gents, please give a warm welcome to Lenore!
I’ve always been a big fan of dystopian lit, but this year I upped the ante by featuring not one, but two theme months (February and August) dedicated to the genre on Presenting Lenore. I read over 40 dystopian novels this year (1/4 of my overall reading) so I thought I’d use this opportunity to talk about my favorite 5 dystopian reads released in 2010. In no particular order…
MONSTERS OF MEN by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking Trilogy)
This was the end of an amazing trilogy that explored some of the same themes as MOCKINGJAY (war effects everyone) but did it way better. Major Prentiss is probably the most layered villain I’ve ever encountered (far more so than President Snow). He’s EVIL but somehow, Ness still made me root for his redemption. Also Boy Colt! I daresay by the end, Chaos Walking involved me emotionally more than the Hunger Games Trilogy (although out of the individual books, HUNGER GAMES is still my #1, followed by THE ASK AND THE ANSWER, MONSTERS OF MEN, CATCHING FIRE, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO and finally MOCKINGJAY).
SHADES OF GREY by Jasper Fforde
Fforde is such an inventive writer (I love his Thursday Next series) that I couldn’t wait to find out how he’d write a dystopia. I was not disappointed in the world he created – a world where the colors you can see determine your status – what job you’ll have, where you can live, and who you will marry. He takes his trademark satirical wit to lighten the darker aspects of the Chromatacia society, introduces us to quirky characters and gives us a rich beginning to a trilogy that I can’t wait to keep reading. It’s just too bad that with Fforde’s writing commitments, I could be waiting a long time for book 2.
INSIDE OUT by Maria V. Snyder
This may well be the most controversial of my picks, because I know that many dystopia fans were not so enamored with this one. I however experienced a huge reader high after finishing this story of a “scrub” named Trella who accidently starts a revolution against the rulers of her very large, self-sustaining cube home who live on the upper levels in relative luxury while she and the other scrubs toil below. There were fun twists and a sweet romance between Trella and one of my favorite YA boys of the year, Riley. (The others, if you want to know, are Peeta (even though he was hijacked in MOCKINGJAY) and Joe from THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson (not a dystopia)). Can’t wait for OUTSIDE IN, the next book in the series, due early in 2011.
THE UNIDENTIFIED by Rae Mariz
The only debut novel on my list, THE UNIDENTIFIED was a breath of fresh air among a slate of dystopian offerings which wore out the usual genre tropes. In it, 15 year old Kid must play by the rules set by the corporations who run her school or it’s GAME OVER for her and her future. The world building shines with perceptive insights into the effects of social media and branding, and Kid’s journey from introverted wallflower with low scores to empowered, conscientious consumer feels authentic and hopeful.
SHIPBREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi
When you hear that there are really people in today’s real world that do ship breaking for a living, this novel takes on a whole new level of scariness. The main character, Nailer, is small enough to work on a light crew, stripping old ships of their electrical wire, but he won’t be forever, and like everyone else on his beach in the Gulf of Mexico, he’s looking for the “lucky strike” that could set him up for life. It’s a thrilling post-apocalyptic adventure novel with well-rounded characters and originality in spades. Looking forward to the planned sequel.
Emmy Looking NOT Impressed with Lenore’s Picks
Of course I cannot fail to mention those dystopians you should be looking forward to in 2011.
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
Ok, so yes, I already read this hopelessly tragic first novel in a series about a society where love is considered a disease. Lena is set to get the procedure which will cure her at 18, but before her birthday rolls around, she does the unthinkable and falls in love. I am in so much love with this book, it is ridiculous. February 2011.
WITHER by Lauren DeStefano
I was so desperate to read this, I downloaded an eGalley and read it on my laptop – that’s sacrifice people! Rhine lives in a world where girls die at 18 and boys at 25. She’s kidnapped to be a wife/breeder for a rich young man along with 2 “sister wives”. This novel is so atmospheric, it’s difficult to look away from. March 2011.
BUMPED by Megan McCafferty
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Described as a cross between HEATHERS and THE HANDMAID’S TALE, this is one I’ll be reading asap. April 2011.
ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin
From publisher’s weekly: Set in a dystopian future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband, teenage cellphone use is illegal, and water and paper are carefully rationed, the series relates the ascension and ultimate downfall of 16-year old Anya Balanchine, the heir apparent to an important and dangerous New York City crime family. Sept 2011. Sounds irresistible!
There are TONS of books I could put in the 5th spot – check out this post for some of them.
Thanks Ana and Thea for having me as a guest again this year!
Thank YOU, Lenore, and happy Smugglivus!