I can't write about Mockingjay quite yet; I'm not sure how to hide any spoilers! But in the meantime, two recent reads, and in one more 2004 transfer, I'll be ready to move on to 2005.
The first: All We Know of Love by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Candlewick)
I had an advanced copy of this that languished and languished on my shelf. The cover on that copy wasn't anything special, and I confess that the particular design of Candlewick's advanced copies doesn't always make me excited to move a book to the top of the pile (even though I think that they're the most clear on what the book is about and when it will be released). So, at last, it was time to put a new book next to the bathtub, and I grabbed this one.
What I found inside this deceptively slim book was a story with a lot of heartache, and yet one that, more than anything I've read in a long time, approaches heartache from a very real teenage perspective. Natalie and Sarah were fast friends, dreaming always of their future loves, and then Natalie's mom leaves. After that, Natalie is wrapped up in Adam, heart and body, and when she thinks she's pregnant, she finally gets on a bus and goes looking for her mother. She's not thinking clearly, but people help her through her travels, and we get glimpses into some of the heartache of the people who reach out to her. In between the everyday perils of travel, there's a solid look at friendship, first love, and family loss.
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden (Scholastic)
A friend of mine in Australia first turned me on to John Marsden by sending a copy of So Much to Tell You, and I think she might have sent me this as well, because I have an Aussie version. It languished, too; not because I didn't want to read it, but because I simply had so many promised reads to work on. On Sunday night, I cheated on my reading list and opened the cover at 11 p.m.--and read all but the last 25 pages or so, and I stopped only because I couldn't keep my eyes open (and, well, work calls in the morning).
Ellie narrates the story of a group of teenagers who gather for a last days of summer camping trip. They explore a wilderness bounded by steep cliffs, rumored to be impassable. There, in a forest, they find a hidden retreat. Just before they're ready to return, squadrons of airplanes zoom overhead--and when they emerge from the mountains, their families are gone and their town is under attack. Now, they have to decide what they're going to do, and what the consequences of action or inaction might be.
And frustration! This is just the first in a massive series that's a movie now, too, which I really, really hope gets a U.S. release. I can't stop watching the trailer:
The trailer emphasizes the war-as-inevitable aspect of this, though, which is something more of a dilemma in the book. And for this blog post, I've tagged it sf to mean science fiction, though I don't like that label so much; I just mean to note that this is a speculation story rather than one that's attempting to reflect what is. Whatever the film or label, I heartily recommend this book for any Hunger Games fans who need another high-stakes story to read.