Thursday, January 10, 2013

No, this post isn't about that awesome BBC show (is it still going? *err, nevermind.  that's Being Human), but it's about some books I've read recently that have excited my imagination.

I'm not one for following trends, but I'm usually aware of what's new or popular. I find that I don't always trust something so fleeting. However, I really appreciate those books that find a way to ground themselves amidst the excitement of something new. The trend I speak of? Bionics, my friends.

The first book that made me think of cyborgs in a really long time is also one of my favorite 2012 reads...Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The hook for this story is off the charts--Cinder is the dirty princess we know so well, but she's also part machine. In particular, her leg that is attached to the "glass slipper." So clever. But this book is more than the sum of its parts. There is a seriously scary plague going around and lots of political backhandedness. But the thing that amazes me is how a character only part human (mostly human, in fact) makes me understand humanity just a little bit more. It's not always a pretty picture. This is why stories are told, right?

Then there's this little ARC I read called MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza. (Possible SPOILERS here) This book was so heart wrenching in a way that Cinder didn't have to be because Mila is not human at all. But she's lived her life thinking that she is a real girl. That contrast makes you root for her and feel for her in such a strong way as a result. It makes you ask the question: What IS human, anyway? Is it just biology or spirit? Or is it a real, ticking heart, and senses that make you feel? Is it our minds and personality? It's really complex and I love thinking out these sorts of themes. This book is going to be popular when it releases. It's a page-turner and it's a bit different than what's out there. Oh, and it's going to be a TV show from the creator of Grey's Anatomy. All good signs.

Okay this last one is a cheat because it's not about being part machine or a cloned robot, but about a girl who is invisible. In a sense, I think the main character feels not quite human and learning to accept herself is a challenge when she doesn't even know what she looks like. It makes me ask the question, How much about our appearance makes us human? Shallow though it may seem, it's something that we are all concerned about at some point. We just get better at accepting ourselves for other qualities. Transparent by Natalie Whipple was entertaining--even had me reading at the dinner table because I had to know what was going to happen next. I don't do that often, and it might be that I was just in the mood for this kind of story, but I'd like to give credit to the author. :). Her character work was fantastic--they're people who you'd want to hang out with and you'd definitely want on your side. It's another book with characters with superpowers (personally, I'm growing tired with this trend), but this one stands out from the rest.  Hey publishers, We Heart YA would like a sequel!!

What books am I missing?  Let me know what's been exciting your imagination lately.  xx


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Off the top of my head I can't think of any that you're missing but I do actually like this trend. Bionics is a really fascinating topic and I hope some other YA books include it.

Anonymous said...

I like new worlds/disnotopia. But two of my favorites Authors to go back to and reread (beside JK Rowling Harry Potter Series) are Tamora Pierce and Alison Croggon, I have reread the book a few times and listen to the books a few times, as well (which reminds me, I want to reread or relisten again, :)

Erica said...

I love the idea of bionics. Branching off the "Almost Human" topic r ather than just bionics there is SO many coming out or released lately. The best one I've read has been False Memory by Dan Krokos, which is just FANTASTIC. Also Altered by Jennifer Rush.

Kristan said...

Suuuuch a good discussion, Sarah! I love how you've teased out the common thread from these 3 very different stories. Plus I enjoyed CINDER and TRANSPARENT, so now I really can't wait to dig into MILA 2.0. :)

I haven't read it myself, but I bet the UNWIND series by Neal Shusterman would add to this conversation. THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer (which you and I both love) does too.

kaye (paper reader) said...

Three cheers for this post, and for Kristan's mention of UNWIND. I'm not so interested in CINDER, but MILA and TRANSPARENT are books on my TBR for sure.

I'd also include THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX and perhaps VARIANT. Maybe even WARM BODIES, though that's not quite YA.

Unknown said...

@Bookworm...Yes, I'd like to read more. I think 2013 is going to big for sci-fi so no doubt more will be popping up.

@Anonymous...I haven't read Alison Croggon, but will check her out. Dystopian is certainly linked to this category and stirs up the imagination for so many other reasons. Thanks for the comment.

@Erica...Ooh, False Memory AND Altered are on my tbr list, but might have to read the Krokos first. :)

@Kristan...thanks, buddy. :) Haven't heard of Unwind so will be checking it out. Oh yeah, The Host! How could I forget?

@Kaye...hello, darling. Let me know what you think of Mila and Transparent! Great suggestions. Warm Bodies isn't YA? interesting...

Mary @ BookSwarm said...

I always think of that robot movie (a big 80's one, if I recall) where the way the guy finally believes the robot is "alive" is that the robot gets a joke and laughs. Humor. A very human emotion.

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



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