Monday, January 4, 2016

Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall.  Reedy, Trent.  Crawfordsville, IN: Arthur A. Levine Books, c2014.  374 pages.

This book on the Iowa High School Book Award reading list was written by a former member of the Iowa National Guard.  When he describes events in the book, he knows what life in the Guard is like.  From time to time people who object to government regulations hold protests or even standoffs like the one in Oregon right now.  In this book, the State of Idaho chooses to take action by denying the government mandate to issue Federal ID cards. When the guard is called in to maintain order at a protest from the opposition to this decision, an accidental gun shot begins a chain of events that have disastrous results for 17-year-old Daniel Wright and for the relationship between the State of Idaho and the Federal Government.  Daniel has a lot of responsibility for his mother who is mentally fragile and for his long-time girl friend.  He feels things have gotten out of hand, but there is no way to make them right again.  You will be asking yourself some questions as you read.  Where would YOU draw the line when government becomes too intrusive.  What would YOU be willing to fight for?   There is a lot of action and violence in this book, but some important concepts about American freedom make this a thought provoking read as well.  The sequel to this book is called Burning Nation

Recommended for high school.  Review by Mrs. Belknap

Half Bad

Half Bad.  Green, Sally.  NY: Viking, c2014.  394 pages.

If you are a fan of books about witches, you should find this a good read.  In modern-day England, there is a constant struggle between white and black witches.  Although one would think black means "bad" when you see what the white witches do to 16-year-old Nathan, a boy with a white witch mother and a black witch father, you would wonder.  Though he has done nothing bad for his entire life, Nathan is kept in a cage, beaten, shackled, and trained to kill...his father!  He struggles to maintain his identity and vows he will never give in to their wishes.  Toss in a little romance when Annalise becomes his friend and more.  This is the first book in a trilogy.  The second books is called Half Wild, and the third book is Half Lost, to be published in March of 2016.  A lot of comparisons have been made to the Harry Potter books, but I personally don't see it.  The only similarity is that Harry is not treated very nicely by his guardians and his father figure is a mystery.  Perhaps when I read the whole series I may change my mind.  At any rate, I am anxious to find out what happens to Nathan and you will be too.

Recommended for grades 8 and above.  Review by Mrs. Belknap