Me Before You: A Novel
I took a brief (very brief) break from YA Lit with this book. I loved it. This was one of those books where I found myself hoping that the author would stay the course and avoid a typical Hollywood ending, but at the same time, hoping that she wouldn't. This book goes beyond a typical love story and raises some powerful questions about ethics and how far you would go to help someone you love get what they needed and wanted to make them happy. It definitely struck a chord and made me think about the quality of a life worth living. Put this one on your list.
A Million Suns: An Across the Universe Novel
Back to YA Lit! This is the sequel to Across the Universe. It's really hard to write about books that are part of a trilogy because I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that in reading the second and third books of the Across the Universe trilogy, I definitely felt that it became more dystopian. Book One felt more science fiction to me. The next two books felt more dystopian.
Shades of Earth: An Across the Universe Novel
I may have stayed up way too late reading this book because I was dying to know the conclusion to the Across the Universe trilogy. I was tired in the morning, but it was worth it. Like A Million Suns, this definitely felt more dystopian than science fiction--much more. I don't want to give anything away, like whether or not they reach Centauri-Earth and if they do what happens when they reach it, but it was good and when I was done, I wanted more.
I've seen my students carrying this one around lately and Barb mentioned it as well, so I decided it was time to read it. I was hooked pretty quickly, as it reminded me of a more modern version of The Giver. While The Giver will always be relevant, the technology in Matched makes it seems a little more realistic. I can see that some people would find the whole love story angle off-putting in a dystopian novel, but I think that when it comes to YA lit, you're going to hook in otherwise reluctant readers with the love story angle, so that didn't bother me--I'm more about getting kids to read and less about staying 100% true to form when it comes to YA lit (except for Twilight, don't get me started). In a society where everything, including who you marry, is controlled, Cassia's confusion over who she loves is significant. I also liked this novel because the lexile level is lower, which makes it easier for struggling readers, though it's not short by any means.
Luckily, I was able to get book 2 in the Matched trilogy quickly because I was anxious to follow Cassia's journey. This one is more action packed than the first and you get a better look into the Society and the powers that don't agree with the Society. Unfortunately, I'm 8th on the wait list at the library for the last book in the trilogy, so now I am anxiously tapping my foot and dying to know how it all ends up!