by Monica Hughes
The Game is a science fiction novel about a dystopian society that was written long before the current popular dystopian novel series--The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and Matched. In this novel jobs are scarce due to robots taking over many of the jobs. Children are removed from their families at an early age to attend boarding school. Here they are trained and compete for jobs. Upon graduation job assignments are given, and those who have not received jobs are located to a sector of the city where they live in poverty with minimum government support and maximum government scrutiny. Lisse, the main character, and several classmates who are deemed unemployable band together for survival reasons. At one point they receive an ongoing invitation to participate in a virtual reality game. As Lisse, and her friends progress through the game, it becomes increasingly more challenging. In the end there is an unexpected twist when they discover there is much more to the game than simple entertainment.
Although it does not have as much action as the current dystopian novels, it is a fun read. As you read through the novel, you may recognize elements of other more popular dystopian novels.
A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park
A Long Walk to Water is two stories in one. Though the stories begin in the same country (South Sudan) with children the same age, they are set years apart. The two stories which run parallel seem unrelated until they intersect at the end. The minor story is about a girl named Nya who journeys each day to collect water for her family. The main story is of a young boy, Salva, who escapes an attack on his village by rebel soldiers. Not knowing the fate of his family or his village, Salva joins other fleeing refugees walking from South Sudan, to Ethiopia, to Kenya. His journey is full of uncertainty and danger. Salva ends up spending years in refugee camps before he is able to immigrate to the United States. As a young man, Salva returns to his native country where he is determined to make a difference. This book which is based on a true story has adventure and unexpected twists. A Long Walk to Water is truly inspiring with its message of perseverance and hope.
I love working in the middle school library because each day I get to work with wonderful students. In addition, I have access to lots of interesting books. It is always fun to help students connect to books they like, and to talk about what they are reading.