Tag Archives: science fiction

Customer Review: Zero Repeat Forever

Zero Repeat ForeverZero Repeat Forever

G. S. Pendergast

Simon and Schuster 

Available August 2017 


Sixteen year old Raven isn’t expecting much from the summer camp that she is forced to go to with her boyfriend Tucker. But then the terrible aliens called Nahx invade . . . and kill Tucker. Raven and the remaining survivors are forced to leave camp to find survivors from the alien attack. 

He has no name, no voice, just a rank: Eighth. He knows only the directives implanted in his mind. Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall. His task is to protect his Offside, let her do the fighting. When a human kills her, he deserts his unit, and meets Raven. The two of them are forced to rely on each other for survival. Zero Repeat Forever is a gripping novel that is a must-read  for any fans of science fiction. 

~ Leah, grade 9



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Customer Review: Invictus


Ryan Graudin 

Little, Brown 

Available September 2017


Farway McCarthy is an anomaly. Some would even call him an aberration. He was born outside of time, on his mother’s spaceship the Ab Aeterno. After failing his time-travel exam, he steals a spaceship and with his friends travels through time looking for valuable items to sell on the black market. Far’s life is simple until one day he meets a girl who seems to know him better than he knows himself. And this girl bears a chilling message: history is being erased, events since the beginning of time are disappearing, and Far is the catalyst. Far and his crew must race through time to stop the destruction of history as they know it. Ryan Graudin has written a thrilling novel with a perfect balance of history and science fiction, and any fans of time travel should definitely add Invictus to their reading list. 


~ Leah, 9th grade


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Staff Review: The Forgetting


ForgettingThe Forgetting

Sharon Cameron



Available September 13, 2016

Every twelve years, the city of Canaan falls into the Forgetting, a day where everyone’s memories vanish. The only way to remember events from before the Forgetting or even clues to who you are as an individual is by keeping detailed entries in your personal book. Your book is your identity, but the truth can easily be twisted or misrepresented and no one truly knows exactly what has happened. Except for Nadia. She has never forgotten. She remembers exactly what has happened. She knows who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. Nadia’s memories allow her to investigate how the city of Canaan came to be. Because she remembers her past, she is less afraid than her neighbors and ventures over the stone wall that is supposedly protecting the city. When Gray catches her coming back over the wall, he threatens to expose her secrets unless she helps him. With the next Forgetting approaching, Nadia and Gray must figure out what is destroying Canaan. Or this time everyone will forget what the truth really is.

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Indies Introduce: Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Salvage

[Note: I was honored to be invited to the Indies Introduce Children’s panel last summer. A group of ten booksellers from all over the country read through middle grade and young adult novels by first-time novelists. We had regular conference calls discussing each book and eventually selected what we considered to be the ten best books by debut authors. Those books are now (woot!) being published and I’m excited to introduce them to the Eight Cousins community. Over the next few days, I’ll discuss each of the books. ]

Today’s featured Indies Introduce titles are Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton and Salvage by Alexandra Duncan.

FC9780763665661Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Leslye Walton

Candlewick Press


Ages 14+

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender sparked a tremendous amount of discussion among our panel about book categories and readers’ ages. Some argued that this particular book was *not* YA (young adult), thus raising questions about what exactly YA is. In Ava Lavender, the main character is a teenager, but she doesn’t appear in the story until about 75 pages in. Ava does narrate the story of her youth, but is in her late 70s when she tells the story. The book, therefore, challenges the assumption that YA books are about teens. As far as content goes, there are frank references to sex — it is a story about three generations of a family after all. Finally, who are the intended readers. Ava Lavender, since it deals occasionally with middle age, married life, and parenting teens?   It is a cross-over book to be sure, but the more I heard people arguing that this particular book was *not* YA, the more convinced I became that it *was* YA. While I’m still struggling a bit to precisely explain why (one of the things I love about books is that they are elusive and defy easy summaries), I would argue that it has to do with the book’s tone. Ava, although a much older narrator, tells the story of her family and her youth in a very youthful way. And by youthful I mean that she doesn’t always get bogged down by the details. She doesn’t explain everything — often letting the reader fill in the gaps — and she doesn’t let emotions become overly burdensome. The story, as the title suggests, contains sorrows, but it is very light and free. Readers will walk away from this book feeling uplifted. The Stories of Ava Lavender is magical realism in the spirit of Isabel Allende (one of my favorite writers when I was a teen). The writing and characters are fantastically unusual. But it’s refusal to be pinned down in one particular category is precisely what makes this book worth reading.


Alexandra Duncan

Greenwillow Books


Ages 13+

Salvage also defies easy categorization. The story takes place in the future. Earth still exists, but communities have moved to vessels and therefore sometimes becoming insulated and completely separated from the outside world. Ava’s community is — well we would describe it as backward. The disparity between the sexes is firmly implemented in her society’s structure. Women are caregivers, food providers, and mostly silent and submissive. Ava’s mathematical and technical knowledge must be carefully guarded, but she firmly subscribes to her inferior role. Her innocence and naiveté lead her to make a social blunder of such magnitude that she is sentenced to death by the the women of her society. Her escape to earth — near-future Mumbai — becomes a catalyst for self-discovery. Along the way she also learns more about her own family and how her ancestors’ decisions influenced her own experiences. Salvage isn’t for anyone who wants a quick book. It requires commitment; Ava’s journey isn’t always straight-forward. Nevertheless, the satisfaction of recognizing how much Ava has grown in the course of this novel is well worth the time.


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Customer Review: The Time Fetch


The Time Fetch

Amy Herrick

Algonquin Books


Available August, 2013

Every book has a certain magic about it, but this one had more; it basically
sizzled around its self like a magnet. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until
every word on all 307 pages had been read.

It started of a little slow, but after a few chapters it was pure fun. Every page
brought more breath-taking adventure and excitement, every page brought more
questions to my mind.

I loved the fact that something as ordinary as a rock was actually something as
abnormal as a “time fetch”, that once moved from it’s hiding place it would eat up
time! Edward’s strange philosophy — everything is just atoms, and nothing
is solid, nothing is worth caring about — confused me but also in intrigued me in a

Something that was also a plus, was that the four kids in the book, Edward, Feenix,
Danton and Brigit get in to some situations in their school time that I am quite
familiar with, which meant I could feel empathy for them as the story brought
the four together.

In the beginning the four hardly even talk, but when they figure out that they
would not be able to save their world from disintegrating without one another’s
help, they hold together even at the toughest times.

There’s something for everyone in The Time Fetch, there is mystery, fantasy,
adventure, and some science. I would recommend it to anyone who likes books at all.

~ Helena, age 11

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