First, I want to let you know that the #ChosenFourStory bonus material is all updated and completed as far as I am able to do without spoilers. This INCLUDES audio versions of chapters from the first book, along with two character profiles, some more information from the Factbook, a chapter list, a quiz, and an open Q+A session. (Editor's Note: This content is no longer available.)
Second, I'm posting to talk about my very most favorite books! Hopefully, most of you have read these.
The first book I'd like to talk about is The Giver by Lois Lowry. This book is the first of a trilogy, which is also fantastic, but it works great as a standalone too. It's an MG/YA dystopian sci-fi following twelve-year-old Jonah as he gets his adult job as the very unique Receiver of Memory. He will be the only person to have memories of what life was like before the Council removed all difference--the only one to know pain and love and color and music. His journey through the memories shows him terrible truths about his own society. I love The Giver because, first, the sameness that it begins with. The depictions of this society that Lowry writes are incredible. They fascinated me the first time I read it, and they still fascinate me now. The Ceremonies especially are well-written. Second, I love the moral questions The Giver raises, acting as dystopian fiction before dystopias were hot stuff. Jonah is an extremely relatable character as well. (5 stars for the first book, 4.83-star series average so far)
The second book is a very famous series you might know as la Harry Potter. Harry Potter is amazing and should be read by everyone. Don't let anyone tell you different. As an MG/YA epic fantasy story that follows Harry Potter and his friends through dark and light, this is top-notch, relatable, readable fiction. There is no one like J.K. Rowling to create a world. She knows everything about it, which is one of the skills I most lack. She's also great with characterization, and she writes familiar tropes with her own flair--tons of political and moral dialogue and original quests and mysteries. The central theme, about love, is a tearjerker if I ever saw one. (5-star average)
Another great series by a British author, Anthony Horowitz, is The Gatekeepers. Originally intended to be YA horror, the series leans more into fantasy once you get past the first book The Gatekeepers, like Harry Potter, is about combating the epic forces of evil, but it has a much darker tone. It's about five superpowered teens destined to fight and defeat the eldritch evil of the Old Ones. Though it lacks my favorite element, romance, it's well-written and heart-pounding, and the characters are strong. The last book is yet to come out, but I can tell you that the first four are incredible. Horowitz's writing in general is something to aspire to. (4.75-star average, downgraded later to 4.69.)
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins set off a trend towards YA dystopian novels with strong female characters, much the same way Twilight kicked off the YA paranormal romance. Truly, there is nothing like the original. The Hunger Games is pure brilliance. It follows Katniss Everdeen, who has an honest voice, a truly tough spirit, and good morals. In the trilogy, Katniss is part of a love triangle with Gale and Peeta. (I AM IN LOVE WITH PEETA. HE IS THE BEST ROMANTIC LEAD EVER AND MY FOREVER FICTIONAL CRUSH) However, the main focus of the series is the future country of Panem, which sends children each year to fight to the death in a televised arena. Katniss, naturally, blows the whole thing open. The brilliance behind this lies most of all in Suzanne Collins's ability to twist your emotions until you are raw. It's just incredible. (5-star average)
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