Tag Archives: dystopia

May Book Horoscopes!

IntroWhy hello there, all you Push To Talk readers! The Greenwood Teen Advisory Board is proud to present you with this month’s issue of the Monthly Book Horoscopes, which are book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!

It’s May, and that means that the end of the school year is finally within reach. We thought we might take a look back and celebrate what school is actually all about (and no, it’s not torture)… learning! Each year we read a lot of great books in school, so this month’s issue consists of books which we were forced to read for school and ended up loving. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did! ❤ 🙂

haroun and the sea of stories

Aries Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

This beautiful story tells the tale of Haroun, a boy who, in telling his own story, discovers what exactly makes stories and storytelling so important. The book is full of adventure and fun magical realism!



great expectations

Taurus Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

We know what you’re thinking. “Seriously? That book sounds soooo boring…” Not so! Great Expectations is fun, and nowhere near as dry as you may expect. It’s a classic… you HAVE to read it! 😉



madame bovary

Gemini Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Originally published in 1856, this groundbreaking novel sent major, scandalous waves crashing through French society. It cleverly satirizes society in a way that is also quite dark, intense, and somewhat sad.




Cancer Night by Elie Wiesel

This book is a tragic and important memoir. Elie Wiesel describes his experience as a Jewish prisoner in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Though it is short, it is well-written and very meaningful.



as i lay dying

Leo As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

This book is told from the perspectives of members of a poor southern family when their mother dies, leaving them questioning the value of their existence and relationships with others while their family begins to fall apart.


joy luck club

Virgo The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

This book tells about the lives of four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco. It tells about the struggles of living as an immigrant in America, and the story is centered on the game of mahjong, which they play together.




Libra 1984 by George Orwell

If you haven’t read 1984 yet, you should, because it is essentially the prerequisite to all those fun YA dystopian books we are seeing so much of today. The thrill and caution of this classic will haunt you for a while. Remember, Big Brother is always watching so he will know if you don’t read it!!


raisin in the sun Scorpio A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

This is a raw and moving play about an African American family living in the 1950s. They not only struggle to prosper in a discriminatory society and to coexist with one another in a difficult environment.



pride and prejudiceSagittarius Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Do not dismiss this novel based purely on its reputation as a “romance novel.” Give it a read and you will be blown away by the hilarity and brilliance of Jane Austen’s wit as she satirizes the society of Regency England.


legendCapricorn Legend by Marie Lu

Legend takes place in the Republic, the dystopian remnants of the western United States. Day is 15 and has failed his Trial, making him the most wanted criminal in the Republic, and June, another 15-year-old, is commissioned to hunt him down and kill him. Nobody expected what happens next…


little princeAquarius The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

While this book is intended for a younger audience, it has a beautiful message that is prevalent to people of all ages. This little prince will remind you to live life with an open imagination and a kind heart.



running in the familyPisces Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

This autobiographical novel explores many different writing styles and methods as Michael Ondaatje retells his own story along with that of his family. This book is full of beautiful imagery and careful examination of the relationships we have with other people.


Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading these Horoscopes so far this year. We hope we’ve taken care of you and that you’ve found something good to read every month. We love you (almost as much as we love books)!! Happy reading!

Greenwood Teen Advisers



Hunger Games – Katniss goes on a legendary journey

hunger gamesTitle/Author: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary:  In a futuristic depiction of North America, the capital Panem keeps control of its 12 districts by making them pick a boy and girl Tribute between 12 and 18 to fight to the death in an arena on national television. The main character Katniss Everdeen is conflicted between the urge to survive and her unexpected love in this stimulating dystopian novel.

Six Word Review: Katniss goes on a legendary journey.

This book reminded me of the book Divergent because of the central dystopian theme and the emphasis on action and fighting.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because of how well the author set up and conceptualized the story and the fact that the book was very compelling and hard to put down.

What I loved about this book is how well-developed the characters were because it made it so that you feel like you know them by the middle of the novel.

If Katniss was stuck on a deserted island she would: build a boat and get away because she is an innovative person.

 I started reading this book because it was given to me by my middle school as a prize …and I kept reading: it because it was such a good story.

–Peter, grade 10, Lake City


Divergent – deeper meanings

divergentTitle: Divergent

Author:  Veronica Roth

Summary: In a futuristic Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice must choose among five factions—each with very different values. Her decision will define her identity for the rest of her life. The decision is made more difficult when she discovers that she does not fit into one particular group, and that the society she lives in is not as perfect as she thought it was.

Gut Reaction: Loved it!!

Why: Divergent is a book that really makes you think. Beatrice constantly struggles with her identity—she doesn’t fit into society like everyone else seems to, but is forced to hide it. She is sure she belongs in one place, but she always seems to discover something that sets her apart. This struggle is very prevalent in teen life today—people feeling like they don’t fit in anywhere. I enjoyed reading this book because of how it connected to the lives of my generation. I also really enjoyed Beatrice’s character, because she is unusual. She is small and plain with a slight build, but the tasks she is presented with help her to discover her strength—both physical and emotional. It was interesting and satisfying to follow such a real character, even in such an unreal setting.  I love how the plot slowly morphs itself, and the ideas made me question what I really think is most important.

Who would like this book: This is great for all the Hunger Games lovers out there. It is similar in some ways, but the plot is completely different so it doesn’t feel like a copy at all. It also has more romance than The Hunger Games.   I would recommend a little more of a mature audience than for The Hunger Games (Grade 8 and up) in order to understand its “deeper meanings”.

–Helen, University, Teen Blogger


December Book Horoscopes!

starbookIt’s December and that means the final month of the year is here! Everyone is returning from the Thanksgiving holiday and hunkering down for the grind as we enter the weeks approaching winter break. Yes, it’s cold outside, and it gets dark way too early, but there are a lot of things we like about winter too! This edition of our Monthly Book Horoscopes (book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!) will give you some suggestions for the best books to read as we dive into winter. As always, free to try out any of the books on this list because they are all SNOW fabulous!

Young ElitesAries The Young Elites by Maire Lu

This great, dark book will put you in the perfect mood for the stormy winter months. Adelina Amouteru, the anti-hero main character, is a rare survivor of the blood fever. Does this make her an abomination, or the master of strange new powers, as the rumors say? This book is full of inner conflict and contains many very different kinds of characters that have banded together to create the Dagger Society. This gorgeous fantasy is fast-paced and gets right to the point. It’s also the first in a series, so the adventure does not stop here!

Winter TownTaurus Winter Town by Stephen Emond

Evan is a senior in high school who likes to draw, but doesn’t feel he can make a career out of it. His best friend, Lucy, comes to visit like she does every winter break, but this time, something’s changed. Evan is glad to see his friend but knows there is something she isn’t telling him – she seems very tense unless they are talking about their plan to make a comic book together. The characters are really relatable and the chapters are interspersed with comics made by Evan.  A perfect winter break read!

Iron KingGemini The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan has never really fit in at home or at school. Her father disappeared when she was six years old and since then, something has been different about her. Who would have thought that she was really the daughter of a faery king and that her life plays an important role in the midst of a giant war? This book has a creative take on traditional mythology and will also make you laugh. Continue reading

Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Stories

Look for something futuristic? Maybe dystopian future?

The first thing I’d have to recommend is the CW show The 100. With the start of the second season in mid-October, the first season was added to Netflix and The Seattle Public Library, and like many teens, I binge-watched it in 3 days. Continue reading

Incarceron: A story of two dystopias

incarceronTitle: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
You must read this book because… in the novel Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher, war and violence in the future have caused a giant prison called Incarceron to be built for all of society’s rejects, and the rest of society to be frozen in time, stuck in the high middle ages.  This book has an extremely gripping plot and no slow parts.  Every chapter seems to have a new plot twist that makes you question whether you really understand this world at all.  This book is really a story of two dystopias – one a world of poison and corruption hidden behind careful manners and protocol, and the other being a world of poverty, violence, and death.  The book switches between chapters, following Finn, inside the Prison, and Claudia, on the Outside.  However, both of these settings and characters are equally intriguing and their stories complement each other well. Thematically, this book is interesting as well.  There are few real villains and many moral ambiguities.  I think this book is about the inability to create a truly controlled society.  As the story progresses, it is clear that no “perfect” system won’t be broken by human nature, that any attempt to engineer the perfect society will inevitably backfire.  This is one of the most interesting books I have ever read, and I would recommend it to almost anyone.

Read this if you like…

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

–Jacob, 16, Ingraham HS, Greenwood Branch


The One: a strong series ender

The-One-by-Kiera-Cass-coverTitle: The One

Author: Kiera Cass

Six Word Review: Girl gets prince, revolution is ended.

Stars: 4 stars out of 4 because it was a vast improvement over the previous books in the series. But it seemed a bit back heavy in the development and the stereotypical ending.

I started reading because I had been recommended the first book and I had hope that the series would improve.

This book reminded me of The Hunger Games because of the political strife and struggles behind the scenes.

What I loved was the action was increased exponentially and an actual plot began to develop.

Websites of Interest: Keira Cass

Animal Farm: The fault in revolutions

PrintTitle: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell

Summary: This well written novel begins with an introduction to a gaggle of commonplace farm animals who have been called to order by an elderly and wizened boar known as Old Major, who has awoken from a stirring dream the previous night in which he and his fellow animal compatriots rise up against a negligent Mr. Jones, who keeps the farm, known as Manor Farm. Old Major’s dream is lived as a reality just before the old boar passes away, leaving in charge the two pigs of most exemplary intelligence: Snowball and Napoleon. However, it is swiftly made clear that an amount of disorder is present among the two pigs, as the construction of a windmill which hoped to bring renewable energy to Manor Farm is brought to an abrupt halt by Napoleon, who has destroyed the windmill in a successful attempt to villainize and erase Snowball from the farm. With Snowball lost in the dark and foreboding forest along Manor Farm, Napoleon’s reign of tyranny dawns upon his fellow animals, who are oblivious to this destruction, as all hopes for words of truth are erased by Squealer, a pig who specializes in censoring news to maintain Napoleon’s rule.
Readers are left with an unresolved crisis when Napoleon is discovered to be fraternizing with businessmen and adapting human traits. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that violent revolts lead to violent regimes.

Gut Reaction: The first feeling which I drew from this book’s plot and the style in which it was written was a feeling of mild peculiarity and intrigue. It was also quite easy to become enveloped in the characters’ personalities, and be left bewildered and even heartbroken when a character is removed from the story.

Why: It is most likely that I felt this way about the novel in part to the fact that Mr. Orwell’s writing style isn’t entirely vernacular to most teenagers (thus the peculiarity), and also due to the fact that this book focuses heavily on symbolism in the form of farm animals with elaborate names(thus the intrigue).

Who would like this book: It is my personal opinion that older teens and adults with a keen interest in humanities and creative writing would be the key demographic for this novel, as this book‘s main theme is the fault in revolution and general civilization. However, if you are a younger teen, like myself, you may be interested in reading this lovely book as well.

–Natalie, 12, West Seattle Teen Blogger


Not-to-miss summer movies!


X-Men: Days of Future Past

Certainly not the only Marvel movie being released this year (namely, The Winter Solider, aka Cap’n America: Bucky Returns; and Spider-Man, No. 5), but by far, the most anticipated, due to its amazing ensemble cast, which includes Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Hugh Jackman (!) Future Past will act as a sequel to 2006’s The Last Stand, as well as 2011’s First Class.


Guardians of the Galaxy*Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug 1st), I salute you, and you deserve your own blog post.



The Fault in Our Stars

The trailer made me cry.

The plot seems simple: Two kids who have cancer fall in love. However, it is the combination of both the characters and storytelling that makes this one stand out against the flood of Realistic contemporary young adult literature.

Time Magazine deemed John Green’s fourth novel “damn near genius,” and though I find the term genius slightly pretentious, I have to agree this is one of those rare genuine and poetically written young love stories that is equal parts sweet romance and, as is evident in the title, existential meditation. I cannot recommend it enough.

Fun fact: The two star-crossed lovers also play siblings in the post-apocalyptic Divergent. As the new YA-film it-girl, Shailene Woodley also stars in The Spectacular Now (2012) — yes, this was also first a book! — opposite a charming, but hedonistic Miles Teller, in a film about The School of Life. Both the novel and film are available in our catalog.  Dig it.

The Giver

The Giver – Aug 15th

Can anyone else say: Finally?!  The original “unfilmable” YA novel, before it was even a genre, will be hitting theaters this August!

Boasting a spectacular cast, including Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep (and maybe you’ll surprise us, Taylor Swift… ), Lois Lowry‘s quintessential dystopian tale is set in a futuristic society with all pain and conflict eradicated and one boy chosen as the community’s Receiver of Memories. Published in 1993 and the first of a loose quartet, which was finally completed nearly two decades later in 2012, The Giver was awarded the Newberry Medal in 1994, and remains to this day among the greatest of young adult literature.

Check it out (again!) or for the first time here.

–Amanda D, Ballard Staffer


While You’re Waiting For… The One, by Kiera Cass

one-kieracass Kiera Cass’s immensely popular series about an average, lower caste girl of the future competing with a dwindling number of contestants for the hand of the prince concludes with The One.  Who will become Maxon’s princess, and eventually his queen?  The answer isn’t revealed until the final pages, and naturally, you must wait for the book to get that far.  So while you’re waiting for The One, try these other teen titles.

Continue reading