Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

I guess I'm just not one of those readers who gets super excited over one book - most of the time. I love all books and finding a book I want to squee about once a week is difficult, yet I try anyway! This week I went through my Goodreads to read list and found a book coming out next February that sounds utterly original and different and awesome.

Cat Hellisen's debut WHEN THE SEA IS RISING RED comes out February 28, 2012 from FSG. Let me know what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Oh, and I'm waiting on my diploma. If anyone sees the registrar at my grad school, please tell them that four and a half months is four months too long to send out a piece of paper.

In sixteen-year-old Felicita’s world, magic is strictly controlled—or so those in power like to believe. After her dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Brats Off The Topic - Television

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a bit slow reading this week. I would normally do Teaser Tuesday today, but since I'm reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS along with everyone and their uncle, I'll just pass on that for today.

So today's topic, you ask? Fall television! Basically, I'm going to give you my opinion of the pilots I've seen and what I'll be watching this season. Note, I haven't actually seen that many. I'm not very qualified to be doing a post on the subject. I'm a book blogger after all, not a television blogger, but I wouldn't actually mind to be a TV blogger, too. Coming soon - Book, Television, Film, Magazine, Makeup, and Cat Toy Brats.

Without further ado, here are my brief opinions on what to watch and what not to watch this season.


2 BROKE GIRLS - On CBS at 8:30p on Mondays, I found this show to be cute and funny. And Kat Dennings is one of my favorite actresses, so of course I was going to give it a shot. Having lived in NYC (well, nearby - don't tell anyone that it was actually New Jersey), I know how tough it can be being broke and surrounded by temptation. My rating: B+

PAN AM - On ABC at 10p on Sundays, I watched this today with moderate expectations. It was good, but it just isn't there yet. And I might be biased because I've traveled to Asia and Europe regularly for the past three years (until recently when I went broke and ran out of US government education funding). I enjoy the characters, but it needs some work. My rating: C

TERRA NOVA - On Fox at 8p on Mondays, this was the show I was most anticipating this season. And I was disappointed. It's like some giant mishmash of Stargate, Lost, Primeval, Jurassic Park, Outcasts, Lost in Space, and Law and Order. And the dinos are sissies! If the son dies or is less of an emo idiot soon, it'll be better, but otherwise it's going to get eaten alive. My rating: C

What else do I plan on checking out? Up All Night and Prime Suspect.


CASTLE: My favorite show on television currently, this show isn't the best thing in the world, but it's like crack to me. Delicious crack. It's fun, it's dramatic, it's romantic, it's twisty and turny and ooey gooey fun. I'm along for the ride until the end.

PARKS AND RECREATION: I started watching this over the summer and fell in love. Mostly because I do love Amy Poehler and Leslie Knope and I are like personality twins. And Ben Wyatt is so adorable.

I'll be catching up on Fringe soon. I'm also watching Project Runway and will be tuning in for Project Accessory, Mad Fashion, and Work of Art (I was exhibited at the NC Museum of Art for a year. And I never saw my own exhibition. I lived 5 miles away from the museum

So yeah, this is my write up of what I'll be watching this fall television season. What do you plan on watching? Any can't miss suggestions?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie! It features a list of what books you have received over the previous week, either for review, from the library, or from the bookstore.

In the continuation of my sporadic In My Mailbox postings, I have decided to suddenly post with what I can remember getting! Huzzah! And this week was better than the post on the 11th because I'm not utterly depressed this week. I know I got at least one more, but my mother is currently borrowing some and I don't know where she's put them.

Embassytown by China Mieville (signed) (thanks Del Ray/Spectra's twitter!)
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce (signed) (thanks Jackson!)
The Post-Mortal by Drew Magary (thanks BookTrib and Penguin!)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Chameleon by Cidney Swanson (from the author)

Thanks to everyone who needs thanking! I'm still fighting my way through The Highest Frontier (it's like a fictionalized science book - yeah, hard to believe, I know, but so true) so I hope to resume reviews soon! And when I finish The Highest Frontier, my reaction will be...

Yeah, I just wanted to work a GIF in her somehow. And I did.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Book Brats View on... Book Trailers

One of the more recent things in the book world has been the infamous book trailer.

Yes, I am going to post yet another rant about book trailers, I know, you've probably seen a hundred of them already, I know, but bear with me. I need to post more and I like to rant, so why not rant while posting? Kills two birds with one stone.

So you're asking, "Megan, really, what do you have against book trailers?"

Well, reader, let me tell you what I think. Book trailers, in my humble opinion, don't add much that a synopsis doesn't already cover. Some pretty pictures, a little music, maybe a few really good looking models and actors running around looking good looking. But what does it really make a reader do? Does a book trailer make anyone want to rush out to buy a book then just based on a few carefully selected words and pictures presented to them? Does it make them go to Amazon and read the synopsis? Does it make them want to go to the movies and see the latest Jason Statham movie?

Yesterday I watched the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE book trailer on a whim. Okay, mostly it was because my friend shoved it in my face saying "LOOK AT THE PRETTY!" I watched it and felt nothing. It didn't make me want to read the book anymore than I already do. I can't afford to buy it right now and my library doesn't have any plans to buy a copy as far as I know, so I'm kind of stuck up a creek waiting for someone to give me cash before I can enjoy the awesome (unless someone wants to be nice to me and send me a copy, hahaha). I watched and felt apathetic towards it. Same with the trailer I recently saw for some other book I can't even remember the name of. A few pretty pictures, some words, some strange ethereal music, but nothing that told me what the book was about.

My opinion - book trailers are a waste of time and money. A book is not a movie. If I wanted to watch a trailer, I'd pull up the kick ass trailer for WATCHMEN that totally deceived me from the fail that was that movie. Such a good trailer. If I want to think about buying a book, a book trailer isn't going to sway me. I'll go to Goodreads or Amazon and check out reviews. I'll read a synopsis. I'll check out an excerpt. I'll wait for a book to randomly appear in front of me (it happens).

But a book trailer? Nah, I'll skip it. I don't see the need to watch them and choose not to. Unless Karl Urban is in it, I'll pass.

I'd love to know YOUR view on book trailers. Do they make you buy books? What do you think the publishing industry should do to get readers more interested in books? I want to know your thoughts!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spotlight on The God's Wife by Lynn Voedisch

So this week on Book Brats we are happy to be part of the blog tour for Lynn Voedisch's new book THE GOD'S WIFE, released last month by Fiction Studio. If you're looking for a book that mixes ancient history, the paranormal, and a bit of romance, then you might want to check this book out. It has everything that is right up your alley. I really suggest this if you're a fan of Ancient Egypt, because the detail the author uses is extensive. You'll learn a lot about Egyptian religion and history, trust me. Combining the stories of an Egyptian girl destined to be the next Wife of Amun and a modern day girl from Chicago, the story weaves magic and realism to create a compelling, harrowing story. These two girls aren't just two random people thrown together - their stories are interwoven and laced richly with history, magic, and originality. While maybe not the most straight forward book ever written, if you can get into the story it's definitely one that will keep you interested and wrapped up in the layered, intricate plot and settings. Rebecca and Neferet's stories will draw you in and won't let you go. The literary nature of the story could potentially be off putting, with heavy usage of metaphors and similes, but don't let that deter you from giving this book a look.

The God's Wife by Lynn Voedisch
Published August 9, 2011 by Fiction Studio
275 pages

The God's Wife on Goodreads

The God's Wife on Amazon

The women of ancient Egypt were the freest of any civilization on earth, until the modern era. In several dynasties of ancient Egypt the God’s Wives of Amun stood tall, priestesses of wealth and power, who represented the pinnacle of female power in the Egyptian state. Many called The God’s Wife of Amun second only to the Pharaoh in dominance.

THE GOD’S WIFE follows the adventures of a 16-year-old girl, Neferet, who is thrust into the role of The Gods Wife of Amun without proper training. Surrounded by political intrigue and ensnared by sexual stalking, Neferet navigates the temple, doing her duties, while keeping her family name pristine and not ending up like her predecessor—dead.

Meanwhile, a modern-day Chicago dancer, Rebecca, is rehearsing for a role in an ancient Egyptian production and finds herself blacking out and experiencing realistic dreams about life in Egypt. It’s as if she’s coming in contact with Neferet’s world. Are the two parallel worlds on a collision course? They seem to be, for Neferet has just used an old spell to bring protection to her world, and Rebecca meets a mysterious Egyptian man who says he’ll whisk her away to Alexandria. Magic and realism mix for a powerful ending in THE GOD’S WIFE.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Brats Top Ten Fave Books

Since I've been a naughty blogger the past few days (bad Megan, bad Megan!), I've decided to do a little impromptu post where I tell you about my ten favorite books of all time and tell you why I think you should read them. As you might have noticed by now, Book Brats doesn't focus on a genre, we focus on a demographic - young women ages 18-30. Being right smack in the middle of that, I hope that maybe suggesting some of the books I've loved will broaden your horizons and give you some new ideas for what you should pick up next time you hit the library, Amazon, or the book store! But it might be of note that yes, I do love science fiction, so it might be a bit weighted towards science fiction.

1.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
268 pages
My all time favorite book, Brave New World is the epitome of a dystopian future to me in addition to being a classic of science fiction. It's hard to believe it was written 80 years ago. A definite must read.

2.) Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
525 pages
A historical drama about the life of a little person in World War II Germany, this is probably the only story that has ever made me cry. Trudi's story is heartbreaking and inspiring. Truly touching.

3.) Contact by Carl Sagan
580 pages
A science fiction story for the realist scientist, Contact is a book where the movie is also amazing. Not only about the search for extraterrestrial life, it's also a story about the search for who we are inside, and for the human condition.

4.) The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
399 pages
My favorite young adult book of all time, The Golden Compass is a definite classic that has inspired me and helped me discover who I am as a writer and a reader. So imaginative and powerful.

5.) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
529 pages
Middlesex is a story about an intersexed person growing up in Detroit. Yes, I am a Jeffrey Eugenides lover and cannot wait for his next book coming out next month, but Middlesex is a rich story about families and self identity.

6.) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
536 Pages
A romance for the ages while combining fantasy and science fiction in a contemporary, literary story, this book moved me and made me ask myself questions about love and what it really means.

7.) A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
416 Pages
Something of a forgotten science fiction epic, this is hard science fiction at its finest. An epic work of world building, romance, biology, and feminism, it's definitely a girl power book that also serves as a story about what happens when civilizations expand and look for new territory.

8.) Dune by Frank Herbert
608 Pages
Dune is one of the few books my father has ever suggested to me, but it's so layered and complex with some amazing back story and characters. The way the universe is created (and expanded upon in later books) is alluring and makes you ask questions - the mark of a good book, in my opinion.

9.) She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
465 Pages
A coming of age story with love, growing, and hardship, you can't help by root for Dolores as she grows from a 13 year old girl addicted to television and food abandoned by her family to a woman who struggles with herself and doubt. Heartbreaking and revealing tale into the human condition and the struggle to overcome our hardships.

10.) Watchmen by Alan Moore
408 Pages
The first and only graphic novel I've bought and read, I've read this over and over and over again. Completely out there and different, but so vivid and jarring, Watchmen takes you and shakes you hard as you watch the world unfurl, along with the superheroes who inhabit it.

So yeah, these are my ten favorite books of all time. I hope if you haven't heard of them or read them, you'll add them to your to be read list and pick up a copy. And if you have read any of them, I'd love to know! These are some great stories.

Honorable mentions: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, Expendable by James Alan Gardner, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, Lethe by Tricia Sullivan

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rippler by Cidney Swanson (REVIEW)

An engaging superpower story, RIPPLER is extremely implausible at times but leads up to a fun, exciting conclusion. The rest of the story, though? Rather meh.

Samantha Ruiz has a freak gene that turns her invisible. She can’t control it, and it’s getting worse. Afraid of becoming a lab-rat, Sam keeps her ability secret, until fellow runner Will Baker sees her vanish into thin air. Will promises secrecy and help, and Sam begins to fall in love.

Together, the two discover there are worse things than being a scientific curiosity. Someone’s been killing people who possess Sam's gene. A mysterious man from France sends letters that offer hope for safety, but also reveal a sinister connection with Nazi experiments.

The more time Sam spends with Will, the less she can imagine life without him. When Sam uncovers secrets from her past, she must choose between keeping Will in her life or keeping Will safe.

RIPPLER by Cidney Swanson is one of those interesting cases in books to me. On one hand, it was boring and implausible. On the other, it was interesting and kept me thinking and waiting for more. Let me preface this review by stating that my rating is skewed up because of circumstances even I don’t understand (actually, I’m feeling nice today), but this book is the type that will split reviewers down the middle between love and hate. I find myself on that fence, leaning one direction or the other depending on the moment.

The story is a first person past tense narrative of Sam, a girl living in California who suffers from a disease that causes her to disappear for a few minutes at a time. Needless to say, this is not convenient, but mysteriously she finds that one of her friends and cross-country teammates is very knowledgeable about her condition. In fact, his sister researched it with a scientist and he knows all about it and how dangerous it can be. Not the disease itself, which is actually REALLY awesome, but the people who are going to want to hunt her down and study her. Dozens of people with the disease have already been murdered, and Sam appears to be next on their hit list.

So you want to know why I was iffy about this story? I’m going to make a list and in making this list, I might start swaying back towards a lower grade.

1.) The disease is one giant superpower with no drawbacks. Slight spoiler, but Rippling is not just turning invisible. Nope. It’s turning invisible, going intangible, super speed, halted aging, and telepathy. And once Sam is shown how to use it, she’s basically an expert overnight. No limits to use, no disappearing fingers or toes. Her hair gets stuck in a wall once but that just blows the wall apart. Not a big drawback.

2.) The characterization. The characters…fall flat. I liked Sam to an extent, and Mickie as well, but Will was just blah. His role in the story was love interest and companion. His personality was just meh.

3.) The writing. Well, not much of an iffy, but it was just okay. There were things I wanted to edit out but luckily the story was otherwise well edited and composed.

So what did I like? I enjoyed the premise, the setting, and the action. I wanted to know more about the villains, but that is what book two is for, right? I will give this book one thing that helped the grade go up. The last 20% of the book was where everything really happened, meaning the last 20% was actually pretty awesome. We meet the villains, there are problems, there is stupidity on the part of the characters. It sets up a second book nicely and really makes up for the 80% of randomness and stodgy pacing. This book would have been rated solidly higher if the last 20% had carried over into the rest of the book.

This book needed a heavy dose of more action and less “OMG this power is AWESOME!” We are told it’s something that people will kill over yet all Sam does is play around with her power and use it recklessly many times, just because. So does the other character we find with this same power. It’s somewhat dull, but I did like the ending.

VERDICT: With a solid and engaging ending, RIPPLER goes into book 2 well situated, but the series begins rather haphazardly with a clunky beginning and lots of implausibility. A good book. 3.5 hearts rounded up.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

In all honesty, it took me awhile to figure out which book I wanted to select for my WoW this week. Most of the stuff I'm dying to read I've already talked about, or else it doesn't have a cover. In one case, a book I am dying to read was due to be published 10 years ago and hasn't even been written yet (Melanie Rawn's The Captal's Tower - still waiting on that one). So I finally found a book kind of near the top of my to read list, but to be honest I mostly wait for stuff to show up in my house or library or cheap before I read stuff, which makes WoW hard for me!

Steampunk generally isn't my thing, but DEARLY, DEPARTED by Lia Habel seems pretty interesting. Romance. Futuristic. Zombies. Sounds like my cup of tea. Check out the synopsis and then let me know what you picked out for WoW this week!

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, steampunk meets romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres (REVIEW)

Although not the usual Book Brats fare, A THOUSAND LIVES is a must read for any Book Brat. Nonfiction with a literary flare, the story of Jonestown is a story that nobody should forget - even those of us born long after the events.

“I love socialism, and I’m willing to die to bring it about, but if I did, I’d take a thousand with me.” —Jim Jones, September 6, 1975

The people who built Jonestown wanted to forge a better life for themselves and their children. They sought to create a truly egalitarian society. In South America, however, they found themselves trapped in Jonestown and cut off from the outside world as their leader goaded them toward committing “revolutionary suicide” and deprived them of food, sleep, and hope. Yet even as Jones resorted to lies and psychological warfare, Jonestown residents fought for their community, struggling to maintain their gardens, their school, their families, and their grip on reality.

Vividly written and impossible to forget, A Thousand Lives is a story of blind loyalty and daring escapes, of corrupted ideals and senseless, haunting loss.
A THOUSAND LIVES by Julia Scheeres
Published October 11th, 2011 by Free Press
320 Pages

Let me begin this review by saying yeah, yeah, this really isn’t the type of book I normally read and review for my blog. In fact, this will probably be one of the stranger things you view here because non-fiction generally isn’t my thing after six years of political textbooks and memoirs about Presidents and Secretaries of State. The Jonestown deaths happened nine years before I was even born, but I’ve read all the books I can get my hands on about it because it is a moment in our past that we really should remember and reflect on, and that includes young women ages 18-30.

A THOUSAND LIVES by Julia Scheeres starts with a main point – the people who eventually died with the Peoples Temple in Jonestown did not join a cult. They thought they were joining a church that cared, a group of people who were genuine in their search of equality. What the victims wanted was something genuine and desirable – a world without discrimination and hate. Scheeres uses a mixture of documents collected from Jonestown and the Peoples Temple and firsthand accounts to piece together a story that reads like literary fiction while being all too real. The stories these people tell mix horrifying elements, control, and domination with hope for the future, hope for a better life. The way Scheeres tells the story of Jonestown is perfect, eloquent, and heartwrenching.

From the stories of scared teenagers looking for a second chance to elderly women who strove to be equal with the world around them, the stories in A THOUSAND LIVES will make you step back and think about your world and what you would do if you were in their shoes.

So yeah, this isn’t my usual blog fare. I mean, yeah, it says in my review policy section that I like books about cults, but I didn’t expect that I would ever post a review of a book about a cult on Book Brats. I never thought that many other people my age with my taste would want to read a book like this besides me. But do I think you should give it a shot.

“Those who do not remember history are bound to repeat it.” A quote that Jim Jones used to stir his people, but at the same time, a quote that is so true. If we don’t remember our past, we really are bound to make our mistakes all over again.

VERDICT: A stirring retrospective of a deranged leader and the fanaticism that lead to the deaths of hundreds of people looking for real change. A definite must read.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie! It features a list of what books you have received over the previous week, either for review, from the library, or from the bookstore.

Life has been bad to me this week. If you didn't hear, one of my favorite hockey players of all time died in that Russian plane crash and I've been sad and depressed because he was one of those players I'd actually chatted with and gotten to know through a bunch of events and some minor stalking. Just kidding about that last part. Maybe.

Anyway, this is just what I can think of actually getting this week. I might have gotten more. I can 't really remember right now.


Paradox: The Angels Are Here by Patti Roberts (once I read and review this, the author has agreed to have a giveaway here on Book Brats for a paperback copy and an e-book, so stay tuned)

Dark Parties by Sara Grant (thanks Remarkable Reads!)

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres (thanks Brenna of Ever After Esther!)

Sanctus by Simon Toyne (thanks Goodreads)


Bond Girl by Erin Duffy (thanks William Morrow Books!)


The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot

The Lost Enchantress by Patricia Coughlin

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Is He or Isn't He? by John Hall

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Thanks everyone who brightened up my sad little week! Let's hope next week is 10 times better!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Book Brat's View on Dystopias

A Book Brat’s View On… Dystopias!

Yeah, yeah, I know. I am probably one of the more vocal people tackling the “Is it REALLY a dystopia?” question, and I do it a lot. But let’s look at the not-so-proven facts. Publishers found a genre that sells on name alone so of course they are going to be using the word “dystopia” to promote books. Common sense says they’ll use it on books that aren’t really dystopian. Well, from my personal experience, this has happened a lot more than you might have thought, which begs the question.

What does the word dystopia really mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, a dystopia is “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”, or according to some professor’s reading guide for some book, “Literally "bad place." A community or world (often set in the future) wherein conditions at first glance might appear to be wonderful or ideal, utopian in fact. However, further investigation reveals that it is often repressive in that it severely restricts freedom of thought, speech, or movement. Lois Lowry's novel, The Giver, or the movie, The Stepford Wives, are two examples of dystopias.”

Author Erin Bowman has this amazing flowchart that came about after Maureen Johnson managed to create a twitter discussion around #isitdystopia – and it’s a really good introduction to the differences between a true dystopia and the post-apocalyptic stuff usually considered wrongly to be dystopian. You can check it out here.

With this in mind, I decided to hit the streets… or Twitter and AIM to ask some readers their opinions. Yeah, I was on the student newspaper, I needed sound bites.

Mrs. ReaderPants defines a dystopia as “A group of people ruled by authoritarian government that curbs personal freedoms through force or coercion. Dysfunctional.” For Amber of The Musings of ALMYBNENR, “Utopia is the culmination of the perfect world. Politics, the economy, the way the world works: all of it is stable and people are content…and static. Dystopian worlds can be frightening, but in some ways, I feel like a dystopian world is better. Yes, a dystopian world may be one where our technology has gotten the best of us or one where we have lost all modern comforts, but it is ever changing. They might be populated with a lot of all-powerful bad guys, but dystopias are also testaments of hope and the underdog.”

So what is a dystopia? Does it have to be a world of the future? Does it have to be a world where things are clearly bad? I say no. I have read dystopian books (can’t remember their names right now, oops) that take place in the present. What they do have to have, though, is an overarching theme where everything appears perfect and utopian and safe, but then we slowly begin to discover with the main character that things are not the way they seem. Emotional suppression, thought control, Big Brother – the populace is controlled in some way or else kept from the truth of their situation and environment.

The thing I have discovered about the publishing industry – especially Young Adult publishers - is that anything that looks like it might have an element found usually in dystopian fiction will be immediately labeled with dystopia. Books like Jo Treggiari’s ASHES, ASHES and even Susan Beth Pfeffer’s LIFE AS WE KNEW IT have both been labeled by either the publishers or bloggers as dystopian when neither actually are dystopian. ASHES, ASHES comes close with a villainous organization, but there was nothing utopian about their situation, and in fact they were really trying to do a good thing. But check out my review of that to see more.

Applying the word dystopia to describing post-apocalyptic novels is especially doing the word dystopia a disservice. The word dystopia brings up connotations of great novels like BRAVE NEW WORLD and 1984, novels where there was a clear element of a utopia gone wrong. As readers and bloggers, we should know the difference between a dystopia and a simple post-apocalyptic novel. Yeah, it’s a thin line in many cases, but seeing as how dystopia has become a genre all its own, maybe it’s time we step back and ruminate about what the word really means.

I would love to know your thoughts on the subject! Please feel free to discuss this in the comments because I do want this to become a topic of talk.