The future sound of London is an air raid siren.
Lex lives on The Strip. No not the area of Las Vegas which according to everyone who goes there "has been ruined since the mob left".
The Strip is what's left of London after a series of brutal wars between the government and an organisation known as The Corps.
To the government, The Corps are terrorists, plain and simple. To those in The Corps, the government's 24-hour drone surveillance, lies and disorder has left them no choice but to fight back.
Lex's father is a member of The Corps, and therefore a target. Their family does their best to survive in an anxious, bombed-out reality.
Lex wants to do something meaningful with his life, but he doesn't know what that means yet.
Alan is climbing the government ladder, he controls a surveillance drone and watches Lex's father for any suspicious activity. Alan lives with his mother, who disapproves of his career choice. Alan's plan is to make enough money to move out and never see his mother again.
Although Lex and Alan never meet in person, their lives are tied together through government policy and fear and the horrible nightmare that is everyday life in The Strip.
We See Everything is a tight thriller that is all-too real given the current climate in the United States and around the world. It's a book about choosing which side you're on when you don't really want to choose a side at all. It's about trying to survive the ignorance of those who hold power in our world and it's about protecting those that are important to you.
I really enjoyed this novel, check it out!
It's the early 1900's in the UK and women still can't vote.
That's the reality that I hope teens take away from this novel right away. It's something I constantly stress in the library when I teach responsible researching skills to students using WWI as a backdrop.
Speaking of research, Nicholls has done hers and in the process created a thrilling and engaging tale about a topic I've never before come across in a YA novel: the plight of the Suffragettes and women's rights in general during World War One in the UK.
Seventeen year old Evelyn comes from a wealthy family but is filled with frustration at the fact that she can't go to university. Women were expected to stay at home and raise families, and although she could apply to go to Oxford, her father forbids it. Evelyn decides to join the Suffragettes and is immediately plunged into a dangerous and exciting world filled with police brutality, hunger strikes, protests and serious jail time.
Fifteen year old May comes from a Quaker background, already part of the Suffragette cause, she rallies against violent protests that some parts of the movement get involved in. When May meets Nell, a girl who has known nothing but hardship her entire life, something awakens in May that she never knew was there before.
Nell has always known she was different, she dressed, looked and acted unlike any of the other girls she grew up with. Her life is taking care of her siblings in their tiny flat in London. Starvation and extreme poverty is always on the horizon. With May, Nell finds a temporary release from the misery.
Set against real-life events that changed the lives of women everywhere, Things a Bright Girl Can Do will anger you, bring you to tears and enlighten you to the extreme hardship brought to the UK because of the foolhardy decision to engage in a ridiculous war that nobody won.
Nicholls also brings to life the effects of PTSD on soldiers that returned home and the pain, confusion and frustration felt by those left at home to pick up the pieces.
I can't wait to talk about this book to teens at the library, it's an important topic that has been handled with grace, wit and a razor sharp insight into history.
It's 1945 and the Nazi army is crumbling.
Four teenagers are on the run from the advancing Soviet army. Tales of their brutality have preceded their arrival.
Each teenager is from a different country but their lives have all been shattered by the war.
Together, they travel across a frozen wasteland towards the only thing that gives them hope: a ship that is evacuating refugees away from the Soviets.
They are frostbitten, starving and terrified. Not only that, they are each carrying with them a dark secret.
As they near their destination, they come to realise that not everything is as it seems within their motley crew of survivors.
This is by far one of my favourite books that I've read in a long time. Based on a nautical disaster that I had never heard of, it is chalk-full of brutal scenes that will make you angry, sad and unable to put the book down.
It's a book about the absolute brutality of war and how it whittles people down to their very core. But it's also a book about how strongly people hold onto hope in the middle of Hell.
I highly recommend this book to ages 13 and up!
You had me at Nazi motorcycle race to the death.
It's the 1950s and the Nazis have defeated the Allies in WWII. To celebrate, Hitler holds a deadly motorcycle race for teenagers that spans the newly minted Axis continents. The winner meets Hitler on live television at a grand ball held in Tokyo.
Yael is a survivor.
In the camps, she was an experiment for sadistic Nazi doctors. Injected with toxins, she was given an amazing ability, one that ultimately helps her blend in to Nazi society without getting caught.
Now, she must impersonate the best Nazi motorcycle rider in the land. Why? Because she needs to win the race across the continents. She needs to get to that ball in Tokyo, she needs to meet Adolf Hitler so she can assassinate him.
This book is pretty amazing. It has a strong female lead that kicks some serious butt. It has intrigue, danger, history and love all wrapped up into a pedal to the metal motorcycle race that combines threats and dangers worthy of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I loved it, I read it in a day. You will fall in love with Yael and you will be there with her on the back of her bike, rooting her on, picking the dust out of your teeth and watching a darn good story unfold.
I recommend this book to Year 8 and up!
Get ready to feel conflicted.
It's 1936 and the Nazis are in full swing. They're three years into what will become the infamous Lebensborn (Fount of Life) program. The program's aim is to complete Hitler's vision of a pure Aryan race based on Nazi health and racial ideology.
Unmarried women are brought to facilities to be impregnated, the babies are then adopted by carefully selected parents that will install in the children Nazi values.
This is when we meet Max, in the womb of his mother. He's already got things figured out, how he'll help the Third Reich crush its enemies when he's strong enough. At least, he thinks he does.
Born on Hitler's birthday and possessing all of the qualities of a perfect Aryan baby, Max is untouchable, the perfect Nazi gift. Hitler himself visits the hospital to see the amazing specimen that is Max.
As Max gets older, he's given special tasks, being the chosen one and all. He's sent undercover to "Germanification" camps, places where the Hitler Youth are trained to fight in future wars against the unsure. Max's job is to weed out the weaklings and see if anyone is plotting against the regime in any way possible.
Everything changes when Max meets Lukas. Without spoiling too much, Lukas is the Cool Hand Luke (probably aptly named) character of the camp. He refused to acknowledge the perfection of the Reich and openly rebels against it.
At first, Max hates Lukas and the way he flaunts his independent thinking. As the horrors of war draw nearer, however, Max is torn between the propaganda he was born into and the reality he sees before him.
I really loved this novel. It makes you feel empathy for a character who, initially at least, embraces everything evil about the Nazi regime. It is a really heartbreaking story that will make you angry and teary at the same time.
This is an important book that's based on true events: over 200,00 children were kidnapped from their homes by Nazi nurses (The Brown Sisters) in occupied countries to be "Germanized" during the war. The names of the organizers of the Fount of Life program, Max Sollman and George Ebner, were real people who were found not guilty of any criminal activity during the Nuremberg trials.
A must read for anyone interested in the Second World War and the brutality it brought upon the people of Europe, Germans and all.
I'd recommend this novel to Years 10 and up.