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More YA Lit for Doctor Who Fans

Because I have now spent 20 years of my life doing Reader’s Advisory, when I read a book I have a tendency at the end to then think to myself, “Now who would like this book?”  And I have some go to pop culture references in part because they are the things that I love.  So of course one of them is Doctor Who.  I am a fan, in case you didn’t notice.  I mean, it might have escaped your attention. I keep it well hidden.  

Previously, I shared with you 10 YA books that I thought fans of Doctor who might like.  So here are 10 more.  If you are a Doctor Who fan, you should give them a try.

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster

In the episode The Bells of St. John, we are introduced once again to Clara, The Impossible Girl, who is about to be uploaded and upgraded online.  Human.4 is a unique tale that has a very sinister The Twilight Zone feel to, so it is right in the Doctor Who wheelhouse.  In a small town, they are gathering together for a community talent show.  A boy steps on stage and hypnotizes his friends and when they wake up – the world is different.  The question is, how and why?  This is a question for The Doctor, and fans of the show will love the answer.  Be sure to check out the companion novel The Future We Left Behind as well.  This book is totally appropriate for Middle Grade Doctor Who fans as well.

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

In several episodes, The Doctor visits a parallel world.  Parallel worlds are cool.  Or are they?  In 3:59, Josie finds herself losing time twice a day – at 3:59.  Soon she learns that there is a parallel world with a different version of her.  But once she steps into this different life, changing places with a parallel her, can she ever come back?  And does she want to?  For more parallel world fun in YA lit, also check out Through to You by Emily Hainsworth.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

This book will blow your mind with its vision of the future and its discussion of what is real and what is not.  Basically, a boy drowns and wakes up to find himself . . . somewhere.  Heaven? Hell? Or somewhere in between?  The answers are an interesting look at the future.  I can’t describe this book very well because it is indescribable and SPOILERS, Sweetie. Very Matrix-like(ish).

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Lilac and Tarver are on a starship (think Titanic in space, like the Doctor Who episode Voyage of the Damned) that plummets to an unfamiliar planet below.  They try to journey to the site of the wreckage in hopes of rescue against a barren, unfamiliar landscape – but are they truly alone?  Reminiscent of Waters of Mars and very good.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

How many times did The Doctor save the world from an alien invasion? Too many to count.  Four waves of alien attack have already occurred, and only a few unlucky humans remain, scattered and on the run.  The 5th Wave is coming.  Will Cassie survive the 5th wave?  For more alien invasions, check out Icons by Margaret Stohl.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

In the Doctor Who episode Gridlock, Martha Jones is kidnapped by people who need an extra person to get their vehicle into the fast lane.  This is a desperate act by desperate people in a desperate world with vast poverty and environmental ruin.  In Killer of Enemies, Apache hunter Lozen lives in a future where the Earth has been decimated, poverty is rampant, and deadly genetically modified creatures roam the land.  Her family has been taken hostage in an effort to make her serve the 4.  Her task is simple: she is the killer of enemies.  I love the incorporation of Apache knowledge and tradition into this bleak futuristic world full of creatures that could appear in an episode of Doctor Who.

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

Sometimes, magic appears in Doctor Who (sure usually it turn out to be aliens, but you get my drift).  This is an amazing story – a sort of retelling of Pinocchio – that puts an interesting serial killer spin on magic.  It reminds me of episodes like Fear Her or Night Terrors.  Eve can’t remember who she is or where she comes from, but they need her to remember because she may be the only witness in a series of magical murders.  And she must remember, because someone is coming for her.

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton

River Song once indicated that The Doctor and her had an event that occurred on Asgard, which is also home to the one and only Thor and Loki.  The Lost Sun takes place in an alternate world, The United State of Asgard.  Soren worries that he will fall into battle lust, like his father.  Astrid dreams of him, has prophecies.  Soon the two are journeying to find Baldur, the son of Odin, and to escape the legacy of their parents.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The dead rest on shelves like books in a library.  They must not be disturbed, but someone is trying to change their histories.  There is a thin line between past and present, as Doctor Who fans know all too well, and this profound book explores them in truly unique ways.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

There is a patch of darkness that must be crossed, and in that darkness live monsters that feast of flesh.  No, I am not talking about the Vashta Nerada from Silence in the Library, I am talking about the impenetrable darkness from Shadow and Bone.  Alina is a lonely orphan who discovers she has immense power, if she could just figure out how to unlock and control it.  For more fantasy that will remind you of elements of Doctor Who, check out The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas.

Please, please, please – share in the comments other titles that you recommend for Doctor Who fans.  I may find something new to read.

This post is part of TWO marvelous blogging events!

Sci-Fi Month is brought to you by Rinn Reads. Check out the full schedule of Sci-Fi Month posts! There are reviews, discussions, giveaways, and more!

Doctor Who Week is a joint venture between  Maria’s Melange and Teen Librarian Toolbox. We have a full week of fun posts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

A Second Opinion: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (review by Cuyler)

The 1st Wave. Lights Out. Your car. Your cellphone. Your toaster? Toast.

The 2nd Wave. Surf’s Up. Heard of a tsunami? Meet great-grandaddy tsunami. Hope you can hold your breath, because they’re only getting started.

The 3rd Wave. Pestilence. The Red Tsunami. Not to be confused with Wave number two. This is a bit more personal. How does bleeding out of every orifice sound?

The 4th Wave. Silencers. You don’t hear them. You don’t see them. You don’t even know where the heck they’re coming from. All you feel is their bullet blow through your abdomen. Run=die. Hide=die.

The 5th Wave. This only applies to you if by some divine miracle you’ve survived the previous Waves. Kudos to you. Better start praying the 4th was the last. But it won’t be. They’re not done. Wait in your bunker, your tent, your underpass hobo extravaganza, for the 5thWave is coming. You’re about to be evicted from your own planet. 

This is what the world has come to. They came. They destroyed. They are conquering. The Others just backed your King into a corner of the board.

You are no longer offered time to think about anything before you do it. It’s either you or them. They’re either human, or they soaren’t that the only options available to you are how you’re going to kill them. Your life is measured in seconds. What you do and how you react determines if you’re dead or not by the time the next one rolls around the clock. You don’t think before you shoot. You just pick. Life or death. It’s an either/or world now.

And it’s a world Cassie lives in. Breathes, reacts, and kills in. Cassie for Cassiopeia. The survivor amongst billions dead. The tiny little blip on the radar she prays every day she isn’t on. She shoots and asks questions later. Actually, she doesn’t even bother asking. She just does. It’s either her or them. After all, she may very well be the last human alive on Earth. But she knows she isn’t. By a promise that drives her, she fights for something that’s even more important than her own life. The owner of a worn, dirt-covered, teddy bear–that’s seen more bloodshed than any stuffed animal should ever see–Sammy. Her little X-Wing fighter pilot. Her little brother. The one who got on that yellow bus with all the other kids. The one that waved goodbye in the rear window. The one clueless that just after leaving the camp, the same people who supposedly rescued the children, gave them fruit gummies, and promised to come back for their families as soon as they were safe at Camp Haven, slaughtered their parents, brothers, sisters, and anyone else who wasn’t allowed to get on that yellow school bus.

All of them except for Cassie. By the skin of her teeth she escaped the “savior-soldiers,” but not before she made a promise to Sammy.

She’d be right behind him.

In a world where promises are the only human thing that matters anymore, Cassie is determined to follow through. However many bullets. However much blood, sweat, and tears that seep from her body. However many thoughtless kills. She will survive. And if the 5thWave doesn’t kill her first–whatever horrors it may bring–she will find her brother.
If a book could have a billion distinctive feels, this is one of them. I’m not going to say that it was “better than the Hunger Games,” not because one was better than the other, but because it has an all-out, who-needs-sleep awesomeness of its own. It demands to stand out. A post-apocalyptic gem in the apoca-lit treasure chest.

Rick Yancey is one of my all-time favorite authors. Several painful, excited, and engrossing nights were spent delving into the world of Yancey’s The Monstrumologist and The Curse of the Wendigo, to which I devotedly followed Will Henry’s terrifying, blood-drenched journey like a crazy, jittery fanguy, and in this last week reading The 5th Wave, I’ve about exploded with fanguy crazy-jitteriness. Cassie is a hard-edged girl made of action and reaction, blood and sweat, shoot and shoot some more thinking who fiercely survives in a world taken over by a demented, forget-taking-me-to-your-leader-because-we-already-toasted-his-butt alien race. She’s fierce. She’s determined. And with the unscathed drive to find her little brother, she’s friggin’ deadly.

Yancey shows his diverse talents in several ways. Number one, transitioning from a proper-speaking monster hunter’s apprentice, to a present day teen girl who’s just trying to survive the alien apocalypse. Number two, throughout The 5thWave, Yancey tells the story from several points of views, even characters with different genders and goals, and he tells them in such a way that each character has his or her own voice and personality. You don’t get the bland mix of default character feels where every character sounds the same. Not even close. You come to love, hate, and respect the characters as themselves, not as a group. And the bad guys really suck, some more than others.

One thing I absolutely love about Rick Yancey’s writing is he tells it how it is, down to the grossest, harshest, most vivid detail he can squeeze out of his words. And somehow, it’s not overdone, which is an incredible feat. He makes real, relatable characters that aren’t made of steel and are riddled with shatter-points. He makes them human. There were several times when Cassie was in a huge, deadly situation and she was falling all over the place, and there were also times where she tripped just cause. People really do those things. There were even a few places that were girly and gushy, but it fit. That’s what would really happen in that situation. Just because Cassie’s an alien slayer, doesn’t mean she’s lost who she is. She’s still a girl. I also loved how he portrayed Cassie’s thoughts, and even there she made mistakes. She was real. She was human. And yet she pulls through and does the impossible: remains human in a humanless world. If there any guys out there susceptible to fictional character crushes (yes, we have those too) have your heart wrapped and packaged with a nice bow, because Cassie’s gonna to take it.

There are literally a gazillion things I love about this book (like the references to Star Wars, the creepy alien menace, the gritty action scenes), but my favorite thing was the wit. There were so many one-liners I wish I had the memory to quote, so many morbidly hilarious descriptions, all the sarcastic thoughts and banter between characters, this book had it all. Scary, charming, gritty, creepy, mysterious, and hilarious. It’s like all the candy bars in the world mashed up into one AWESOME candy bar.
The plot was simple, but deliciously effective and creepy in all the right places. The characters real and relatable, the dialogue witty and entertaining, and if you all know simple math, all these things=FRIGGIN’ GENIUS.

The 5th Wave is an excellent read for this summer (which would’ve probably been a better time for me to read, since I almost missed eating, sleeping, and studying for tests because of the pure awesomeness that is Yancey’s newest word-baby ), and everyone with a beating heart, eyes, and a working brain will devour it in one sitting. I rate a very well deserved five stars (only ‘cause I can’t count to ‘gazillion’), and advise you clear your schedule, give up sleeping, and eat only if you have another hand to turn a page, because you’re going to want to get your alien-slaying claws into this apocalyptic masterpiece.
What did you think of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey? Tell us in the comments.

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (reviewed by Chris Dahl)

Sometime reviewer Chris Dahl sent me this review with the subject heading: 5th Wave review, here it is if you dare.  I dare.  It was so interesting to watch Chris read this book because 1) he is a huge Rick Yancey fan and 2) he was bothered because he was having such a different reaction to it then others are.  So here is what Chris has to say about The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
I was very excited to receive an advanced copy of the new Rick Yancey book, The 5th Wave.  I think The Monstrumologist series is excellent and I recommend them to anyone interested in books with horror, violence, supernatural beasts, and fantastic writing (and I have a few kids at my school reading them).  One of the many things I liked about the series is his use of language and harkening back to the late 19th century vocabulary and “gentlemanly” dialect and discourse.  I always had a dictionary beside me and learned a bevy of new words.  So I was interested to see how his writing style would change when dealing with a more modern setting and characters.
                To be honest, I had no idea that this book was about aliens and their invasion and eradication of human-kind.  Frankly, aliens scare the #(*& out of me.  Without going into too much detail and to avoid strange looks from co-workers, I will simply say it’s because I can’t completely rule out the possibility of their existence and/or discredit their potential nefarious alien plans for the people of this planet.  We as a species are used to being at the top of the evolutionary ladder and I believe the possibility of being at the mercy of a vastly superior creature is terrifying to just about everyone.  I imagine it’s what the antelope must feel when it knows there is no escaping the lion.  But I’ve seen mostly all of the alien movies and have read a fair number of novels on the subject (Whitley Strieber’s The Grays, being among the creepiest.)  Films like Independence Day and Battle: Los Angeles don’t frighten me… It’s the “Fire in the Sky”, “The Fourth Kind”, “Signs”, “Dark Skies” aliens that keep me up at night.  You know, the big-eyed, thin-armed, little evil geniuses that stand over your bed while you sleep.

With that being said, I found this book very difficult to review, possibly because I found it difficult to get through.  Perhaps the alien invasion theme of the story filled my brain with so many pre-conceptions that when the story didn’t follow those, I felt disappointed and lost interest.  It took me over two weeks to read this novel, which, for me, is an absurd amount of time.  I would read about 10 or 15 pages and then start to wander off into my own thoughts. 
Cassie, our protagonist, is trying to survive in a world that has been utterly decimated by the arrival of “The Others.”  Her mother and father are dead and only she and her little brother are left to fend for themselves.  They have survived the first 4 waves of the alien “invasion” and now must find a way to survive “The 5th Wave,” each “wave” representing another masterfully-planned campaign to rid the Earth of human-kind.
                Starting with the aliens themselves…I will say I appreciate the way Mr. Yancey handled the “invasion” of our planet.  I’ve always found it incredibly unbelievable that a vastly more intelligent race of aliens, with the technology to travel light-years across space, would then simply pit its military against our military, resulting in massive loss of life on both sides.  I mean come on!!!  Is this your first rodeo!?!  Not these aliens.  They know what they’re doing, they wait patiently in their mother ship, releasing viruses and slowly and methodically destroying billions of lives, trying to break our will to resist.  Pretty smart, if you ask me.  But one complaint.  Why are they here?  They sit in their ship and the reader has no idea what their motive is.  Are they here for our delicious resources?  Do they think that human kind is a scourge in the universe?  Do they not like our treatment of the planet?  More than halfway through the book and the reader is still completely in the dark as to any details about the alien invaders.  (Pre-conception #1?)
                Secondly, Cassie is barely surviving in this post-alien invaded world.  Billions of people have been killed, including her own parents.  But the second she meets a handsome, young man she turns into a stereotypical, jealous, teenage high school girl?  The dialogue between the two was agonizing for me to read and she just comes across as a complete snot.  I guess I feel as though her words, actions, and thoughts (snotty, high school girl) don’t match up to her circumstance (POST-APOCOLYPTIC ALIEN DEATH).  Flat out, I don’t like her as the protagonist of this story. 
                Next, and I’ll put a spoiler alert in this one.  Cassie’s little brother is transported to a military base, Camp Haven, where the military is protecting the children in the hopes that they will survive to rebuild the human race.  At this point we are introduced to Ben Parish (Cassie’s high-school crush, pre-arrival) and a drill instructor named Reznik.  I can’t tell you how much Reznik’s character infuriated me.  Not because he is a “cruel, unfeeling, sadistic bastard.”  But, because he is a carbon-copy of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.  Where do you know that name, you may be asking, well… he is the classic marine drill instructor played by the great R. Lee Ermey in the movie “Full Metal Jacket.”  Reznik’s character is such a cliché and so unoriginal that some of the insults he hurls at the recruits of Camp Haven, are word for word verbatim quotes from Ermey’s character (minus the profanity.)
I’ll give you just one example, when Ben Parish stands up to Reznik for picking on Cassie’s little brother, Reznik (not knowing who challenged him) asks, “which one of you scum-sucking maggots just signed his own death warrant?”  When Ben admits it was him, Reznik then promotes Ben to squad leader, for standing up to him and “not being soft.”   Sgt. Hartman has the EXACT same encounter with Private Joker in “Full Metal Jacket.”   At first I thought I was mistaken, that surely I was combining military movies or getting one confused with the other, but sadly no.  I even watched “Full Metal Jacket” again to make sure I wasn’t crazy.  At the very least it’s a terrible cliché, at the worst it’s a blatant rip-off of a classic character.
In addition, I really struggled to keep track of everything that was going on, with the shifts in perspective and the flash-backs; I found myself a page or so into a new chapter before I realized I had no idea from which character’s perspective I was reading.   I also felt there were a number of plot-lines and characters that did not affect or play any significant role in story.  I kept wondering why a seven-year old would have a gun in her hand and be sent off to war, only to never fire a shot or really have anything to do with or add anything to the story.  All in all, I felt confused by a fair number of things in the book.
Doing research on the internet and trolling the blog-o-sphere, this book is poised to be a blockbuster when it’s released.  I can honestly say that by page 250 I was done and wanted it to be over.  I hope it does great and that loads of people enjoy reading it, it just didn’t do anything for me.  The alien invasion was done extremely well, with the efficiency one would expect from a vastly superior race.  But I couldn’t reconcile the good with the fact that I flat out hated Cassie.  I do think this is an interesting case of a male writer using a female protagonist and trying to write from a female perspective.  I felt the male characters (Reznik being the exception) were simply done better.  I know there are tons of people that have loved and will love this book.  It just wasn’t for me.

Please note: Chris is not the only one to make the Full Metal Jacket connection.  Check out these posts on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/show/24639272) where Jaime from Two Chicks on Books says, “Hello “Full Metal Jacket”! Actually pg 214 through 216 were quoted pretty much word from word from that movie!”

So, have you read The 5th Wave? What did you think? What are your favorite alien invasion books?