The Young World
Hopefully I remember that this is part one of a trilogy when the other parts are released. In this dystopian world, teenagers are the only survivors of a disease that kills both the young and old with no discrimination. The remaining teens are seemingly immune until they turn 18, then the sickness hits fast and furious. The majority of this novel takes place in New York City, until five of the survivors set out on a road trip (fraught with disaster and danger, as dystopian worlds tend to be) to find what they think might be the cure--or at least an answer. The narration bounces mainly back and forth between Jefferson and Donna. I found Donna's character a little under-developed, but Jefferson was interesting. Overall, I enjoyed this one and look forward to the rest of the trilogy.
I am trying to find books for a novel study we're doing next year, which is not as easy as it sounds. Since most of our curriculum focuses on wars, I chose this one because VietNam is going on in the background of the story. I really enjoyed it. Holling Hoodhood is in 7th grade. He is neither a Catholic, nor Jewish, so when the rest of his classmates leave for religious study on Wednesday afternoon, Holling is stuck behind. With his English teacher, who he is pretty sure hates him, especially when she makes him read Shakespeare. I loved the storyline in this novel and the richness of characters, especially Holling as he navigates through 7th grade.
This was a book that made me feel insanely naive. I knew about the link between opiates and heroin use and that the majority of users are rich, white kids. I did not, however, know how widespread and rampant it is and what a complex system is behind the force of black tar heroin within this country. The true eye opener was the mention of the influx of college students from my university driving to Indianapolis to buy heroin, at the same time that I was in college. Obviously I was in a heroin-free bubble, but it just makes you realize what a huge epidemic this is. With recent news that a small Indiana town is facing an HIV epidemic, due to its already existing heroin epidemic, it felt like I needed to know more. This was written like a story and drew me in, the way big pharmacy refused to acknowledge how addictive opiates are and took decades to make it more difficult to inject them, the way doctors just threw pain pills at people like candy, how hard it is to break down a system that just keeps sending in new suppliers and how the silence of parents contributed. This was, honestly, a scary and brave book. He took a lot of brave risks in the names he named here, and it is a book that needs to be read by everyone.
What are you reading?