Friday, April 27, 2012

I Want to Read... Psychological Thrillers

Do you enjoy a good mystery or suspense story where the emphasis is on the personalities of the characters? Do you like a main character who relies on their own mental resources to outwit an enemy or overcome their own personal demons? Try these authors for your psychological thriller fix!
  • Michael Connelly - A former police beat reporter in Florida and Los Angeles, Connelly brings his knowledge of police procedure to his crime novels, most notably the Harry Bosch series. Check Our Catalog
  • Tana French - Born in the United States and living in Dublin, Ireland, Tana French has been described as "part Raymond Chandler, part Roddy Doyle." Check Our Catalog
  • Jonathan Kellerman - Kellerman has a Ph.D. in psychology and practiced pediatric psychology for many years before becoming a bestselling novelist. His background gives his main character, Alex Delaware, more depth. Check Our Catalog
  • Dennis Lehane - Lehane's nine novels include a series featuring the detective team of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. His works are set in the Boston area, both historical and contemporary. Check Our Catalog
  • James Patterson - Patterson is one of the most prolific writers today, writing both romance and mystery, as well as children's and young adult novels. His Alex Cross and Women's Detective Club books include elements of psychological suspense. Check Our Catalog
  • Ruth Rendell - In addition to police procedurals starring her most iconic creation, Chief Inspector Wexford, Rendell writes psychological crime novels exploring such themes as romantic obsession, misperceived communication, the impact of chance and coincidence, and the humanity of the criminals involved. Check Our Catalog
  • John Sandford - Another former journalist, John Sandford is known for his character Lucas Davenport, a Minneapolis detective who gets into the heads of the murder suspects he investigates. Check Our Catalog
  • S.J. Watson - An audiologist who treats deaf children, this English author made quite an impact with his 2011 debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep. Check Our Catalog
  • Stephen White - The author of the New York Times bestselling Alan Gregory novels, he draws upon over fifteen years of clinical practice as a psychologist to create intriguing plots and complex, believable characters. Check Our Catalog

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hungry for More Books Like The Hunger Games?

Oh, Hunger Games.  How you reeled us in with your drama, violence, love triangle, and dystopic setting.  But now that we've read the books and seen the first movie, we feel empty and alone.  Where is another book that can feed our need for more dystopian drama?

Never fear, Constant Reader, here is a list of books that will help feed your need for teen dystopias.

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies is set in a world in which everyone has an operation when they turn sixteen, making them supermodel beautiful. Big eyes, full lips, no one fat or skinny. You might think this is a good thing, but it’s not. Especially if you’re one of the Smokies, a bunch of radical teens who’ve decided they want to keep their own faces.

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through.  Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.

For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

If you haven't had to read The Giver by Lois Lowry for school, do yourself a favor and read it now.

"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened."

Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

In a future world where internet connections feed directly into the consumer’s brain, thought is supplemented by advertising banners, and language has gone into a steep decline, a little love story unfolds. Titus, an average kid on a weekend trip to the moon, meets Violet, a brainy girl who has decided to try to fight the feed. Assaulted by a hacker who interrupts their connection, they struggle to understand what has happened to them – and to everyone around them.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them. Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano

Wither, the first of a planned trilogy by Lauren DeStefano, is about 16-year-old Rhine, who has only 4 years left to live due to a botched effort to create a perfect race, which has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

Individuality vs. conformity. Identity vs. access. Freedom vs. control.

The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.

But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run . . . for her life.

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

Left on her own when her family is lost in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by her present and her past. Struggling to survive in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. When she destroys her feelings, she also destroys herself, erasing the girl she’d once been as she inks ravens and bats onto her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters with a white dog and a mute boy that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her story.

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project.
As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been singled out by city dwellers, who declare that she is part Scriven. The Scriven, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she’s been told: that she is an orphan.

The Ellie Chronicles trilogy by John Marsden
 For Ellie Linton, being back on the farm with her parents is what makes the terrible things that happened during the war -- the things she, Homer, Lee, Fi, and the others had to do -- all worthwhile. It's where she belongs.

But the war won't let her go. A devastating tragedy has shattered any hope she ever had to reclaim her life, or herself. It's a new kind of fight. And the enemy isn't always from the other side of the border.

Have any more recommendations for dystopian teen fiction?  Let us know in the comments!