Sunday 15 July 2012

Technology, Dystopia and Young Adults III

This list has been updated: a newer, expanded version can be found at
17 February, 2017
In the way in which many of the best ideas are the simplest, I offer a third blog post to list the YA novels I have been reading since I posted the second such list in May. As before, this is a collection of primary texts which are connected by the common thread of incorporating technology within their plots. In the main they have all been published in the last two years, so this is - at present - an remarkably up-to-date list of current YA novels in this genre, although there are a couple of older novels which have been suggested to me and I include them for the sake of completeness. My Amazon account still has some yet-to-be-published novels listed in the current orders so I assume this will not be my final reading list post.

The order of the list is simply the order in which I have read the texts, but there is no significance to the order. I have included a brief descriptions against each title, but each image links to Amazon where fuller descriptions and reviews can be found (along with the obvious ability to do some shopping!)

Fair Coin - E C Myers (2012)
Science fiction in the best sense of the term: alternative worlds, quantum theory, teenagers, and a the flip of a coin. To say anything else would completely give the novel away!
The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E Pearson (US: 2008; UK: 2010)
A seventeen-year-old girl wakes from a coma and is told her name is Jenna Fox. Initially, she has no other memories, but she gradually begins to rediscover her identity and starts to find out what happened to her.
Hex - Rhiannon Lassiter (1998)
Set in 24th century London, the government is hunting down Hexes who are mutant humans whose mutation gives them an ability to interact with computers. The female protagonist, Raven, is a young Hex hunting for her younger sister.
1.4 - Mike Lancaster (2012)
The sequel to 0.4 sees another imminent upgrade to humans, but it is set against the backdrop of the protagonist, Peter Vincent (son of an internationally renowned scientist), uncovering a conspiracy amongst the leaders of the establishment to hide the knowledge of human upgrades from the populace.
Scored - Lauren McLaughlin (2011)
Set in a future in which teenagers are monitored by technology, they are all given a score which determines their ability to succeed. The reluctant heroine's scholarship-winning score is brought down by her best friend's behaviour. She is then faced with the decision between doing what feels morally right and her future.
The Night Room E M Goldman (1995)
A group of seven high school students are chosen to participate in the Argus project which offers them a virtual reality projection of their possible tenth high school reunion. However, one student is not at the VR reunion and the others try to find out why Argus predicts she will be dead.
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (2011)
In a dystopian future, the teenage Wade Watts spends his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a virtual utopia where people can live the lives they want. In his spare time, he is one of millions searching for the solution to a series of riddles concealed within the online world by its creator, in a bid to inherit his massive fortune. Players know that the riddles are based in late C20th culture and when Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle he finds himself competing against many others in a competition which takes on real-world dimensions.
The Maze Runner - James Dashner (2011)
Thomas only remembers his first name and is welcomed to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze - by a group of similar male teenagers. None of them know why or how they came to be there, or what's happened to the world outside: all they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything (even facing the half-machine, half-animal Grievers) to try and find out.
Soul Fire Kate Harrison (2012)
The sequel to 2011's Soul Beach sees its protagonist continuing to talk to her dead sister in the virtual world of Soul Beach as she tries to solve the mystery of its inhabitants' deaths from the real world
Divergent Veronica Roth (2011)
Reaching the age of 16, Beatrice has to decide which of five tribes she will join for the rest of her life. Turning her back on her family she discovers a new and violent life and duly has to make choices about where her loyalties lie.