Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He – An Unsteady, Slow Start Gives Way to a Thrilling and Thematic Story about Sisters on the Brink

Synopsis:

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

True to its promises, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is indeed twisty and surprising, and the themes explored in this book are one of the most confronting and alarming that I have read in recent memory. (The comparisons to Black Mirror are accurate.) While I liked The Ones We’re Meant to Find well enough and I feel that others should give this book a read, my thoughts about The Ones We’re Meant to Find are multi-faceted and complex – which I will try and do justice in today’s book review.

Read More »

[Blog Tour] Fanart: Spell Starter by Elsie Chapman – An Intense and Action-Packed Dystopian-Urban Fantasy about Cost and Family

Foreword:

Last year, I had the absolute delight of being given an ARC of Caster by Elsie Chapman – an exciting dystopian-fantasy where magic – or ‘casting’ – comes with a cost, and is often at the expense of the magic-caster’s body. I enjoyed Caster, and eagerly anticipated the sequel.

Read More »

Book Analysis: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera – Examining its Fantastic Socio-Political Themes; A Metaphor for Classism, Institutional Control, and the American Dream

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera, analysed by CW, The Quiet Pond

Today’s post is in vein of something that I don’t do often (but wish I did more): a book analysis! Typically, I review books for The Quiet Pond but my analyses in book reviews are generally superficial and more orientated towards my thoughts about a book. However, I had the chance to read Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera and finished it last week.

What stuck out to me while reading Dealing in Dreams was that the themes were fantastic – and really resonated with me. When I started book reviewing in 2015, my main motivation for book reviewing was to engage with books on a sociologically and critical level and write analyses about what I’ve read. Though my motivations for book reviewing have now changed – I write book reviews because I want to promote inclusive literature – there are times where I read a book that resonates with me and engages with me on a critical and sociological level. The last time I did a book analysis, it was for Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – a book that I found very engaging, layered, and made me want to analyse it for fun. (Whether it’s a good analysis is beside the question, but I did have fun doing it!)

Dealing in Dreams unexpectedly engaged me – I was prepared for a fun and gritty dystopian book about Latinx girls surviving a desolate landscape. I did forget, though, that dystopia often have social discourse – and there was certainly discourse in Dealing in Dreams. Moreover, I feel pretty compelled to write about it, because Dealing in Dreams captures the themes that I loved learning about when I was in studying Sociology way back when. Nonetheless, I’m pretty excited to write this analysis today.

Read More »

Book Review: Underdog edited by Tobias Madden – A Powerful and Relatable Collection of Stories About Australian Teens

Underdog, #LoveOzYa Short Stories. [Authors:] Sophie L Macdonald, Tobias Madden, Felicity Martin, Stacey Malacari, Sofia Casanova, Cassi Dorian, Kaneana May, KM Stamer-Squair, Sarah Taviani, Vivian Wei, Michael Earp, Jes Layton
Synopsis:

Short tales from the Australian writers of tomorrow.

#LoveOzYA celebrates the best of new Australian writing for teenage readers. It has grown from a humble hashtag into a movement, reflecting the important role young-adult fiction plays in shaping our current generation of readers. This anthology collects, for the first time, some of the tremendous work from the #LoveOzYA community.

Featuring a foreword by award-winning Australian novelist Fleur Ferris (Risk, Wreck, Black and Found), Underdog celebrates the diverse, dynamic and ever-changing nature of our nation’s culture. From queer teen romance to dystopian comedy, from hard-hitting realism to gritty allegory, this brilliant, engrossing and inspiring collection of short stories will resonate with any teen reader, proving, yet again, why there is just so much to love about #LoveOzYA.

My review:

I am floored, friends. When I was given the opportunity to read Underdog, an YA anthology of debut Australian writers, I was excited. But now, having read all the stories and being immersed in such incredible narratives, inspired visions, and powerful voices, I am ecstatic to tell you all about this anthology and its brilliant stories. From dystopia to comedy to explorations of grief and love, Underdog promises something for everyone – and you will definitely find a new favourite short story within this anthology.

Read More »

Book Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed – Incisive, Deliberate, and Unforgettable

Text: Internment, Samira Ahmed. Image: A brown girl wearing a black cap with the word 'RESIST', her face partially concealed by her long hair. An illustration of a barbed wire stone fence is imposed on her shirt
Blurb:

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Joce’s Review:

Samira Ahmed’s INTERNMENT is both dystopian and contemporary, transporting readers into a terrifying alternate reality. One day, suddenly, Layla Amin’s home is stormed and her family is forcibly removed and placed in an internment camp for Muslim-American citizens. There, she forms friendships and alliances in a rebellion, hopeful for freedom. With each act of resistance against the Director and his guards, Layla and her companions become more calculated but also more frantic. They struggle to balance hope with powerlessness, two hugely polarized extremes. No one knows who to trust, and all dialogue feels tense.

Read More »