Thursday, July 30, 2015

Steven Universe - Rebeca Sugar

Steven universe is your normal everyday kid. Or is he?

Steven's life is not was it seems. He is part of the Crystal Gems. A group of magical beings that fight monsters that try to cause havoc in his home city. A cute story about team work and facing every day challenges when you are growing up as a half-alien.

Cute art and colorful designs once you pic up this comic book you won't want to stop reading.

Read all about while you wait for the show!

Deadly Design - Debra Dockter

Kyle and Connor are twins, but Kyle was born two years later.  Their parents are carriers of a fatal disease called spinal muscular atrophy, and their mom has had six miscarriages.  They went to a fertility doctor who designed them in the lab, and while Connor was inside his mom Kyle was frozen in the lab.  Kyle started asking questions right after his preschool graduation.  His dad explained things to him later that day.  Connor knew they were twins, but was told to keep it to himself until their parents felt it was the right time to tell Kyle.  Fast forward eleven years to Connor's last track meet and graduation a few weeks later.  Kyle is considering not going to either one.  Emma, Connor's girlfriend, is trying to convince him to go.  She tells him that Connor would want him there to support him.  After getting the guilt trip by his father Kyle goes to Connor's last track meet.  He runs into Cami, Emma's best friend, and she is surprised to see him there.  After the meet they all go to Luigi's to celebrate.  Cami and Kyle are off to the side while Kyle's parents praise Connor and Emma about how they will graduate in a few weeks and then after the summer head to Kansas State University.  Later that night Connor comes in Kyle's room and they play video games for half the night.  The next morning Kyle goes to wake Connor up and finds him dead in his bed.  The day after the funeral Kyle's parents tell him Emma wants him to read Connor's valedictorian speech at graduation.  He reluctantly agrees, but thinking he's not worthy to read his brothers words.  At graduation Kyle reads the speech that would make Connor proud of him.  Shortly after graduation the autopsy results come back saying Connor died from a heart attack.  Kyle goes and gets tested, and the tests come back clean.  As Kyle comes back from getting a job application he hears on the news that Alexis Warren collapsed and died, a day before her eighteenth birthday.  His parents knew her and her parents from the fertility clinic where Connor and Kyle were made.  Later that night Kyle does some research and he finds a blog for another kid Triagon Summers, who also died on his eighteenth birthday back in April.  The next day Kyle tells Cami what he found out, and asks her to take him to the fertility clinic where it all started.  They see his dad walk out of the clinic when they get there.  Kyle talks to Dr. Preston who says all he can do is direct Kyle to Dr. Hodges, the same thing he told Kyle's dad.  Dr. Hodges tells Kyle's dad, Kyle, and Cami that Dr. Mueller, the one who started Genesis, disappeared eighteen years ago.  Dr. Hodges explains to them how after fertilization happens the embryos with undesired traits are discarded, leaving only the best traits.  Dr. Hodges suggests they find who ever is left and do genetic screens on them.  Kyle puts out a Facebook post about a missing dog named James M. to try and make contact with one of the other Mueller babies.  He goes out for a run and encounters a bully named Teddy.  As they start to fight and Emma shows up and intervenes.  After the fight is broken up Emma tells him she needs a fresh start and she's leaving and moving to Minnesota.  Kyle says good-bye to Emma the next morning, and goes to eat at Don's Diner where Cami spots him and joins him.  They see a strange man they had noticed at Connor's track meet and the Sac and Save taking pictures.  They think nothing of it and make plans for later that night.  They set off fireworks as a distraction from everything, and Kyle contemplates about how things will never be the same again.  On the Fourth of July Kyle and his parents head down to Dallas to have tests run on him.  He meets a few other of the kids made by Dr. Mueller, and runs into James M. in the flesh.  Amber only has a few weeks till she's eighteen and James has a month. Kyle runs into Amber again and as they are talking Kyle sees a woman that was also at their hotel.  As Kyle tries to figure out who she is Amber collapses and dies. The doctors tell everyone they tried to save Amber but couldn't.  They have mapped out their DNA and found a sequence that causes catastrophic heart failure around the age of eighteen.  Their solution is to put a pacemaker into James to keep his heart going.  If it doesn't work then James will die in a few weeks.  While waiting for the taxi outside the hotel Kyle spots the same person who was at Connor's track meet taking pictures.  He chases after him and the guy gets hit by a car.  Before the guy dies he tells Kyle he was made differently, and he won't make it to seventeen.  Can Kyle figure out a way to live beyond seventeen? 

This was an intriguing book.  It shows how much we trust science to make everything perfect, including children.  Most parents will do anything for their children, but what happens when science takes over?  What is to stop the scientist from using the children as guinea pigs for their own personal goals?  Children are the future of humanity, and if we let science manipulate them then humanity may not have much of a future. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

During Kelsey's junior year of high school, her family moved away. She started fresh at a new school and gladly left behind her first two years of school. During her senior year, however, her past found its way back into her life. When David moves to her new school, she can't avoid the memories of the fact that they'd been inseprable best friends. That was before he started dating girls who hated her and suddenly things became complicated. One event changed it so that for an entire year she didn't have any communication with him. Now he's back in her life and she has to figure out if she ever really let go of the past.

This book is told in alternating chapters between present (senior year) and past (freshman and sophomore year). It jumps between the fact that Kelsey is currently at odds with the fact that David is in her life and the way things had been between them. The novel is fairly typical in the teen drama department. You have the tension between David and Ryan's current boyfriend - not only in terms of Kelsey's affections but also because they're both competing for spots on the baseball team. There's also drama as Kelsey sees her best friend dating someone and not seeing the same side of the girl that she sees. Then there's also the fact that Kelsey doesn't fully understand her own feelings - then and now - as she struggles with him being just a friend and not more. When it comes to the big culminating event that drove them apart, it's a little bit anticlimactic. In my opinion, it makes Kelsey's reaction to completely cut him out of her life a little juvenile and that their entire relationship meant nothing to her. 

The novel is a good read if you're looking for teen romance and a tale of second chances. The drama is fairly typical, but what would the life of a teen be without drama? It has more meat than other teen romances, so it is worth picking up.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Messengers by Edward Hogan

In the Final Destination movie series, people try to cheat death. In this novel, certain people are messengers of death. While one messenger believes death is inevitable once they receive the message, another tries to change the course, hoping that there aren't negative consequences.

Frances has this odd condition where she blacks out and the draws a weird picture when she wakes up. To everyone else, the drawing are abstract shapes but to her, the drawings have emerged as detailed pictures of someone's death. None of it makes sense until she meets Peter who has her deliver a postcard. The day after she delivers the postcard, she witnesses the exact scene she saw on the card. Peter explains to her that they are "Messengers." They draw people's death and have two days to get the person to see the picture (even though the people only see shapes) or else someone they love will die instead. Peter has always delivered the message, but when Frances draws the death of someone she knows, she intervenes and prevents the person from dying. Now she's on a mission with Peter's help to do what they can to cheat death. When Death changes the game, though, they begin to wonder if they really have any chance of making a difference. 

The struggle of being a messenger really pulls you in, although the novel has a slow start. Frances is dealing with a lot of personal issues with a mother that's abandoned her and a brother that's on the run. A lot of time is spent on that and her memories of her brother, and while it seems to drag out the story, its importance does emerge at the end. The story is really engaging and pulls at you emotionally as you realize the sacrifices these people make and the burden they carry. Every picture is a mystery and you're right along with them, hoping that they're successful in solving it. Then, once they get on the path to saving people, the stakes are raising and you're praying for a happy ending. Failure is ultimately devastating to them and to you. I think this novel takes place in England, so there are some language things that seem odd, but nothing that detracts from the story. The only thing I really did not like in the novel was the death of a cat, which seemed a little cruel, although maybe I'm just overly sensitive as a cat lover.

This novel draws you in the with mysteries of a messenger. With a ticking clock over their heads, they're up against Death and you're along for the ride. It is definitely worth the read.