Teentober Reviews: Bringing It To An End With Dystopian Fiction

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Attention Citizen: it is the designated time for your state-supplied dose of TeenTober Book Reviews! For any rebel spies who might just be joining us, all throughout the month of October we’ve been celebrating our teen users by highlighting some of the reviews we received from them during our Teen Summer Reading program. This week’s theme, as decided by The Shadowy Government Council, is all about highlighting books with a dystopian theme, whether they are fantasy, science fiction, or maybe a little bit closer to our reality. So gather your tributes, plan your rebellions, and break free of your chains with this week’s reviews! 

Our first review this week comes to us from Julia, with a 5-star review of “Verify” by Joelle Charbonneau. Set in a near future Chicago, this novel follows the story of  Meri Beckley as she recovers from the sudden tragic death of her mother, only to discover that her mother was involved in a secret society dedicated to fighting back against a government bent on censorship and oppression. As Meri learns more about how deeply her society has been warped by government censorship, she decides that she must do whatever it takes to live in a society that is as free as she thought hers was. These themes seemed to really strike a chord with our reviewer, with Julia saying,  “I loved this book because right from the beginning there was a page-turning mystery and suspense. This book urges people to not just go along with what everyone says. It urges you to ask questions, investigate, and educate yourself. Then pass on that information to others.” Questioning authority is a sentiment that is certainly important to keep in mind in times like these. If you want to see a book that deals with that directly, as well as being, “urgent, relatable, and insightful” according to our reviewer, put “Verify” on your to-read list. 

Next we come to a dystopian novel with a bit more of a fantastical flair, as Addie brings us their 4-star review of “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard. This novel follows Mare Barrow as she navigates her society, divided between the supernaturally gifted Silvers and the lowly Reds, and tries to make a life for herself and her family. Yet when she discovers a secret that threatens to overturn her whole world, she is thrust into a life of secrets, intrigue, and a burgeoning revolution. It seems like this story of a fantastical dystopia had appeal beyond fantasy readers, with Addie saying ,“This is the first fantasy book I’ve ever read and I really liked it! Very interesting plot with fun characters and some romance. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because I don’t know how great the fantasy is compared to other novels.” Sounds to me like it barely missed that five, but made a new fantasy fan! If you’re on the fence about fantasy or just looking for a little bit more of the supernatural in your dystopian stories, consider giving “Red Queen” a shot!

The last review for this week comes from a reviewer, whose identity is kept secret to protect from assassins, who gave a 4-star review to “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins. A distant prequel to the “Hunger Games” trilogy, this novel follows the exploits of a young Coriolanus Snow, future president of the autocratic state of Panem, as he attempts to make a name for himself in the 10th Hunger Games. Through manipulation, deception, and careful plotting, Coriolanus must find a way to raise his disgraced family out of disgrace and carve a place for himself in the world to come, no matter the cost. Our reviewer seemed to greatly enjoy this prequel, saying that they “…liked this book because I am a “Hunger Games” book series fan…One of the things I most like about this book is at the end of every chapter there is a cliffhanger urging readers to read more. You will get so involved in The tenth “Hunger games” that you will find yourself tuning out the world.” For fans of the Hunger Games who are looking for more in that universe, and a pretty good book according to our reviewers, look no further than “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”. 

And that brings our series of TeenTober book reviews to a close! We have to thank the many teens who submitted reviews to us and gave us permission to highlight them here. We hope that you have found some great books from these reviews and recommendations, and that you return here for more highlights and articles about all things Teen at DBRL. 

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