The story is centered in a middle eastern city called Khorasan, many years ago. It follows a teen girl named Shahrzad who is on a revenge seeking mission to kill the young king of Khorasan. The king has been marrying a different woman every night, and then having them murdered the next day for many months now, and he had Shahrzad’s best friend killed. Shahrzad is the first woman to volunteer to be the next bride sacrifice, and the king cannot help but wonder why this girl would give up her life. As the two start to spend more time together, Shahrzad begins to realize that there must be a reason why the king kills these women, and she is determined to find out why. I was so impressed with how strong the female characters were in the story, and how the author seemed to make a point that women are capable of saving themselves. The story has romance, suspense, action, humour, and it is a bit like Game of Thrones mixed with Aladdin but for Young Adults. A good book to read in the summer. (Submitted by Joy)
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Gratuity, or Tip for short, is a terrified, angry, badass eleven-year-old. Ordinarily, Tip is used to handling all sorts of situations, having grown up managing her absent-minded mother. But these aren’t ordinary circumstances. The main reason she’s terrified is because an alien race, the Boov, have taken control of Earth and are forcing all humans in the United States to relocate to Florida, and no one knows what fate awaits them there. The main reason she’s angry is because her mother was abducted by the Boov last Christmas Eve, and Tip hasn’t seen or heard from her since.
And as for the badass part? Tip has decided that instead of boarding the Boov rocketpods to Florida along with everyone else, she is going to drive the family car across the country herself.
Adam Rex creates that great mixture of page-turning, immersive action and wry, self-aware humour that I loved so much in Douglas Adams’ writing. (When I finished, I felt like I needed to read it over again to catch all the satire and social commentary that I missed while I was barreling through to find out what would happen to Tip.) The True Meaning of Smekday is peppered with laugh-out-loud scenes and earworm phrases that I found myself chuckling at days after I had finished reading. Whether you read the book, which has accompanying illustrations by Adam Rex, or – like I did – listen to the audiobook narrated by the incomparable Bahni Turpin (you will be thinking in a Boov accent for weeks), you really cannot go wrong with this quirky, irreverent, giddy romp of a book. (Submitted by T. Thomas)
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Reading the previous installment, Warm Bodies, (or watching the movie) isn’t a necessity. If you have, you’ll get a richer understanding, but if you haven’t, no big deal. That’s impressive, because I loved Warm Bodies, but I was sort of wary about a sequel. Don’t worry – Marion has expanded on Warm Bodies and brought us an action-packed, philosophical, futuristic powerhouse of a story. There are zombies trying to slowly regain their humanity, there are zombies who are not nearly human, there are survivors building a new world, and there is an eerie and mysterious new “Axiom Corporation” controlling the puppet strings somewhere. It’s a great read. Great fun, great adventure, and great writing. I loved R’s journey into self-discovery, I delighted in the mystery of the wholly unsettling Axiom Group, and I loved the band of resistance fighters scattered around what’s left of North America. The pages flew by. Definitely a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction and The Walking Dead.
Side note: This isn’t a book for the squeamish. It is about the undead and a bunch of humans desperately surviving, and there is some gruesome stuff in here. Zombies, you know. (Submitted by Veronica)
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