Friday, January 20, 2012

Away (fiction)

Leave your family behind...
Abandon all your technology...
Venture into an uncertain future...

Could you be as brave as Rachel? Could you live in the Unified States whose heartless government refused to rescue any of its citizens who were stuck on the other side of the Line when the crazybombs fell?

This compelling sequel to Hall's first novel (review) takes us to the other side of The Line where "the Others" have lived a generation among ruined buildings with no electricity, scavenging what they can and trying to keep their children alive long enough for them to grow up. Perhaps these psychically gifted kids can help this fragile society survive attacks from ferocious mutant animals and equally ferocious humans who've embraced their savage side with a vengeance.

This couldn't really happen in our future, could it?

Book info: Away / Teri Hall. Dial Books, 2011. [author's website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Rachel knows she can never return home if she crosses the Line, but it’s the only way to save a man’s life. So she carries medicine into a primitive land – the land where the government stranded some of its own citizens when it sealed the country against enemy invasions when a terrible weapon was unleashed.

Seeing something – someone - on the other side of the Line’s energy field was amazing and dangerous for them both. Pathik asks her to find medicine to cure his father, and Rachel is amazed at her own willingness to risk sneaking anything past the government’s ruthless Enforcement Office.

After her dad Daniel was reported dead in the early fighting, Rachel and her mom were safe at Miss Vivian’s property away from the city. But even in little towns, the EO keeps tabs on everyone and wants to know why Rachel has run away from home and where she went.

Far away from the Line, Rachel finds a world of mutated animals and scant resources. Without the psychic gifts of the other teens here, she’s a liability to her new community until she learns survival skills. Each small village keeps to itself, and only a few Travelers dare to cross the barren land between settlements.

When they hear that Daniel the Traveler has been captured by a nearby village noted for its brutality, the leaders of Pathik’s village decide to rescue him. They reluctantly allow Rachel to go on the mission since only she knows how to use the modern tools she brought across the Line.

Could this Daniel possibly be her Daniel, her father sent unwillingly into battle across the Line? Rachel has to face the dangers to find out.

Can Rachel survive without the psychic gifts that everyone else has here? Can she really make it in a world without technology? What will the EO do to her mom and Miss Vivian since Rachel crossed the Line and went Away?

The dystopian future of Rachel’s life may be closer than we think, closer than we’d like to believe… sequel to The Line. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whose Internet is this, anyway? (reflective)

If today (January 18, 2012) is "Internet Blackout Day" to protest SOPA/PIPA bills under consideration by the US Congress... then why am I still online? Why are you online, if you're reading this post on the 18th?

Is it because we cannot go a single day or hour or minute without our entertainment and news and communication? Perhaps - but there are still movies and print newspapers and telephone calls that can fill those voids.

More likely, we're online - now and any time - because we must share something. I mean that we are truly driven to share good news, bad news, cute kitten pictures, tidbits of information, and titles of books that someone else will just love; we are humans, and our culture of sharing is part of what makes us human.

To me, giving credit to the originator/creator/performer of a painting, a song, a book, a charming and witty sentence is a moral obligation, according to my upbringing and my education as a librarian. This was much easier when books and paintings were "one-off" and there was only one original with no easy way to copy it. Then along came the printing press, camera, tape recorder, photocopier and so on. Thank goodness for US copyright laws.

Yes, piracy of intellectual property is a real and growing problem. Yes, there do need to be legal ways to stop and punish intentional internet piracy. But I agree with many others that SOPA/PIPA is the wrong way to accomplish this.

This tweet today from Erin Bow (author of Plain Kate, which I recommend) puts it in perspective for me: "I'm an author; I make a living because of copyright, and piracy takes its toll. But SOPA would stop piracy by poisoning the ocean." @ErinBowBooks

Google has started a petition to protest passage of SOPA (the House of Representatives version)/ PIPA (the Senate version); you can sign it here.

The bills are scheduled for Jan. 24th vote, so you have time to read them yourself (PIPA here, SOPA here) and contact your Representative and your Senators to help them understand that censoring the Internet through SOPA/PIPA will not stop piracy of intellectual property online.

If we do not speak out, how can we help our lawmakers decide?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Big Picture (reflective)

Have you ever WORDLED? I used their free app to create the nifty word cloud here, using my initial blogpost about MotherReader and Lee Wind's annual Comment Challenge for kidlit bloggers, 2012 edition.

What fun it's been to "meet" illustrators, authors, and book bloggers through the Challenge! Getting out of my "writing silo" where I see only my computer screen and the books that I'm recommending so that I interact more with the diverse and supportive kidlit community online - priceless!

Since BooksYALove is a fairly new blog, I'm grateful for new visitors (and new followers - yay!) who will help spread the word about the wonderful YA books from debut authors and smaller imprints that I'm discovering.

After all, I'm writing these recommendations (no spoilers ever! I promise) for YA readers... right book for the right reader!