Neal Shusterman

SCYTHE, by Neal Shusterman

Pretty much a perfect teen adventure novel. In a conflict-free world where humans have conquered death, elected Scythes must cull the human population. Two teens find themselves volunteered as apprentice-Scythes, and discover that of all the things that Scythes can kill, corruption is not one of them.

1. Over the years, I’ve heard many books touted as the successor to Hunger Games, but SCYTHE is the first one that I would really, truly stand behind, as it offers teens a complementary reading experience to that series rather than a duplicate one. Like Hunger Games, SCYTHE invites readers to both turn pages quickly but also furrow their brows over the ethical questions it asks. Tone-wise, I would place it solidly between M. T. Anderson’s FEED and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.

2. Over the years, YA has come to encompass a wide age range — one that I feel tends to skew ever older and sometimes forget the folks who are growing out of middle grade, but slowly. SCYTHE strikes me as a true teen novel, one that I will happily thrust into the hands of even reluctant 12-14 year old readers to show them what awaits them in genre fiction. It asks enough difficult questions to stick in the mind, but it never asks them at the expense of pacing or story. Although it’s a series-starter and the end is tantalizing, it does feel like it satisfyingly stands alone (as is evidenced by its new Printz Honor sticker — the Printz is very rarely awarded to series books as the novel’s merit must be contained entirely within the volume awarded). Moreover, it is very light on the romance, something that younger readers often prefer (and somewhat difficult to find in YA).

3. Over the years, I have grown too lazy to make note of when sequels come out. I’ve made a note on my calendar for this one, though — November 2017. I look forward to another good time.

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“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do but know that you must.”

I saw that on a sign today. I have been afraid to truly speak out openly to my fans for fear of alienating some of them, but in a time of national emergency, it is our patriotic duty to speak up, and stand up for what’s right. I am horrified to watch as the very dystopian futures I’ve written about move closer to reality as the current administration dismantles everything that America stands for. This is not a political issue. Republicans and Democrats alike need to come together to stand against the darkness that is engulfing this nation that we love. 

The word “Nazi” was formed from the first two syllables of the German pronunciation of the word “national.” The rise of the Nazis was heralded by virulent anger and nationalism. Sound familiar? It should. The malignant form of “nationalism” that seems to have infected about 36% of Americans is nothing but Nazism. But of course it wouldn’t be called that, because if it was, most of those good people would have nothing to do with it. So instead it’s being called “making America Great Again.” But make no mistake—it is a modern American version of Nazism, and has already begun leading us down a very dark path.

This article states as clearly as I’ve yet seen—and to all sides of the political spectrum—how dire the situation is, and what we must do. And if you do not think the situation is dire, then you need to take a look at yourself, and really consider what you, as a human being, believe.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”  
 ―Oscar Wilde

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Now he finally knows the answer. Maybe this is what he wanted. Maybe it’s why he stood there and taunted Roland. Because he’d rather be killed with a furious hand, than dismembered with cool indifference.
                                                                                          Unwind by Neal Shusterman.