The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Maze Runner is another book from the teen dystopian genre. A group of teen boys have been placed in a glade inside a huge maze. They have no memories of their lives before the maze but they know they need to get out! Instead of reverting to a Lord of the Flies society, they build a community in the glade and work together. While this is happening, the boys are also menaced by strange half organic-half machine monsters!
Things go side ways when a young women is sent to the Glade and the craziness begins.
I liked the book as you can see by my 4 star rating. But, this is also a genre I favor. The plot is good, but it does take the story a while to get moving. I almost gave up on it about a third of the way in. After checking online at a few other reviews, I decided to stick with it and I was happy I did!
One negative, the writing is a little weak. Some of the dialog seems contrived and a few places the book is worth a quick skimming over.
If you like this ‘type’ of book go for it! If it’s not your genre skip it. Unlike Hunger Games, I would not qualify Maze Runner as a cross-over book.
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Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a young adult novel about an early teen in the late 1980’s dealing with the AIDs related death of her uncle.
It is a story of strongly written characters (not to be confused with strong characters)who are dealing with how relationships change over time. Over and over the reader is hit with the idea that we can never really understand other people. June, the main character, realizes she only knew one side of her uncle. June realizes her mother had another dream in life. June realizes her sister is hiding things and reacting to June in negative ways not because of June, but b/c of the sister’s own issues. Things are never what they seem.
It is a lesson that many people in life never really learn. Instead of judging others we should act with compassion. (The theme of compassion is finally realized at the end of the book by June’s mother and June’s forgiveness with her sister.)
Throughout the book we see the guiding hand of Finn, June’s dead uncle, leading all the characters to find each other. He seems to say not only do you need to find each other, but stop trying to “understand” each other and just enjoy the time you have with “only the best people”.
As I said, I thought the characters were well crafted and multi-layers. I a few issues with June’s sister–she seems to be overly dramatic. Additionally, the father is somewhat MIA as a character. I was disappointed by this because the author does such a nice job with other characters I want to see what Brunt would have done with the dad if she allowed herself more time.
I also loved the book because I am only a few years younger than June and I lived very near where she grows up. All the references to the time period and location brought me back to the time and place. (High school parties in the woods, how people dealt with the fear of the unknown that AIDs symbolized at the time, taking the train to New York, the Cloisters — a favorite childhood place of my own as well–, the suburban in the city, 1010 WINS and on and on and on.. If only the garbage barge could have made it into the novel!)
While I really liked the book for the stated reasons, it ended rather abruptly. And, for me, it was not the kind of compelling YA literate that really grabs adult readers — Its no Book Thief or Hunger Games.