survival (2)

How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff Pub Date: 10 Nov 2020 read courtesy of Put five different competitive high schoolers together to see who can survive hypothetical apocalyptic disasters, and you get five unique interesting challenges. Falkoff crafted an entertaining story that expertly incorporated five different characterizations into the survival scenarios. I found some fairly profound truths in this story that resonated with me: (1) "I hated that I tended to assume people were straight unless they indicated otherwise." (2) "Funny how different it felt, having a crush versus liking someone who liked you back. I'd had butterflies with Hunter, but they'd made me feel a little bit sick. Wyatt made me feel nothing but happy." (3) "We'd been so fixated on managing big-picture problems that we hadn't yet learned how to deal with the day-to-day complexities of being ourselves..." Unfortunately, the author used some standard YA story formulas that I tend to dislike. For example the characters don't tell others how they feel but then expect others to be mind readers and act a certain way. In addition, this author actually comes out and has a character articulate another overused plot line "...where we need to help ourselves because the adults weren't going to be of much use." Throughout the book, the lead character Amina frequently claims she doesn't know her friends as well as they know her. The purpose of this characterization is so she can eventually prove she does end up knowing one her friends better than her other friends do. The repetitive self-deprecation, however, is annoyingly tedious. Nonetheless, I like the ending in which the characters learn to be " ...less concerned with what we put in our go-bags and more about how to use cooperation and empathy to prevent the things we were so scared of from happening." I only wish that Falkoff had listened to her own advice. Why was it necessary for her to call out 'Republican' vs. 'Democrat' in a doomsday scenario in which a Republican was so "unpopular" that he got elected for a third and fourth term? Since the good messages outweigh the trite precepts, I will enjoy putting this book into the hands of my high schoolers.

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The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker, #2)The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This companion novel to
Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)
is totally gripping and as much as I totally loved it, the torture many of the characters went through was beyond what any child or adult during a time of war should have to endure!!! I disliked thoroughly what Mahlia, Mouse and any of the child soldiers were put through minute by minute, never knowing if they could be killed even by their own friends, war maggots and/or leaders. Seeing Tool back in this book was awesome, he is so unbelievable and there were many times you just were not sure he would survive this time. The characters of the doctor, Mahlia, Mouse, Tool and Ocho were very well drawn and author Bacigalupi did a terrifyingly good job with the evil characters and there was never a short supply of them. I lost hope alot, can you imagine what it was like for the characters in the Drowned Cities. Mahlia's hope was always being buoyed by recalling her Chinese mother and her teachings about survival because if she didn't constantly think about a better way; she could just abandon hope with all the violence she sees surrounding her. Mahlia is now one of my favorite heroes and so is Tool (I loved him in Ship Breaker too!) with his augment status and his allegiance to no one but himself. Two of my favorite quotes, Dr mahfouz is explaining why the troops keep fighting, "Whe people fight for ideals, no price is too high, and no fight can be surrendered. They aren't fighting for money, or power, or control. Not really. They fight to destroy their enemies. Soeven if they destroy everyhting around them, it is worth it, because they know that they'll have destroyed the traitors."
The boat man they took captive on being forced to take Mahlia, Mouse and Tool down river. "Children with guns, We aren't even people to you."

Highly recommended, just know it is very difficult to will keep thinking about this book again and again and cringing again and again. Unfortunately the author did his research on the child soldiers and what they are forced to endure...

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