Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

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Release date: 2012
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Themes: Action & Adventure, Re-tellings, Robin Hood, Friendship, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
Why did I read it?: Recommended to me

Gaughen, A.C. Scarlet. Bloomsbury USA Children’s, 2012. Print.  Digital.
Formats available: Digital, Hardcover, Paperback (amazon.com) **Currently only $2.40 on Amazon Digital**


Synopsis (from amazon.com)

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth-that the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It’s getting harder to hide as Gisbourne’s camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.

 

But Scarlet’s instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it’s not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet. Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves


My Thoughts:
Re-tellings are very big right now. We are seeing a lot of fairy tale retellings in the YA sector recently, and it is a trend that I personally enjoy. I love when an author takes a story you already know, and turns it on its head. You go into it knowing that there will be major twists, but you don’t get to know what they will be. Scarlet is a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend, where Robin’s pal Will Scarlet is a girl named Scarlet, who disguises herself as a boy. One of the things I enjoyed is that is steers clear of some of the typical tropes used in the “girl disguised as a boy” storyline, which kept the plot fresh. For instance, while the average villager thinks she is a boy, her two love interests know she is a girl the whole time. So we avoid the overplayed “oh my gosh, you’re a girl!” aspect from the love interests.

One of the things I loved about this story is that we get to see medieval England through the eyes of a young woman who is living as a young man. We get to take part as she ruminates about the different avenues in life that are available to her as a “boy,” which would not be available to her as a girl. So the story includes a gentle discussion of gender roles during this historical period. Plus we get to see a pretty believable, and yet still kick-butt heroine who saves people while running from her dark and mysterious past.

An overall enjoyable read that had me reaching for the sequel in this completed trilogy.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is called Lady Thief.

In the meantime you might like to try:


About the Author:
Visit A.C. Gaughen’s author website to learn more about her.

Partials by Dan Wells

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Partials
Release date: 2012
Author: Dan Wells
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction (Sci-fi)
Themes: Futuristic, Apocalyptic, Prejudice, Artificial Intelligence, Dystopian
Rating: 5 stars
Why did I read it?: Recommended to me

Wells, Dan. Partials. Belzer + Bray, 2012. Print.  
Formats available: Digital, Hardcover, Paperback (amazon.com)


Synopsis (from amazon.com)

For fans of The Hunger GamesBattlestar Galactica, and Blade Runner comes the first book in the Partials Sequence, a fast-paced, action-packed, and riveting sci-fi teen series, by acclaimed author Dan Wells.

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one’s own point of view.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


My Thoughts:
It seems almost every YA sci-fi book is heralded as being for “fans of The Hunger Games,” which makes many of us, rightly, suspicious. After all, The Hunger Games was a surprisingly fantastic addition to the YA Dystopian genre. So, when Partials was recommended to me via Goodreads.com, I was naturally suspicious. However, after I watched the book trailer (see below), I knew I had to read this book. Go ahead and watch the trailer right now.

Ok, are you back? Do you see what I mean? It has a GREAT hook.

And I’m happy to say the book delivered on its promise. This is the first book in the trilogy (all three are out now) and it grabbed me right away. It has everything I like: mystery, high-stakes, scientific experiments, and end-of-the-world consequences. Also, there is a pervasive undercurrent of morality, bias, racism, and a questioning of what it means to be “human.” This is a fantastic read for sci-fi junkies, fans of apocalypse stories, and those who like to read about how mankind’s obsession with technology might effect us in the future. It you enjoy Artificial Intelligence and robots who take on a life of their own, this might also catch your fancy. Plenty of excitement, mystery, tension, and enough “will they, won’t they” romance to please most readers.

Personal note: I loved this one, its a great story that also gives you some wonderful discussion and thinking topics of human nature.

 


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is called Fragments by Dan Wells.

In the meantime you might like to try:


Extras:

  • Partials book trailer

About the Author:
Dan Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thriller. Learn more on his website.