The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
Like I mentioned in my preview, “The Maze Runner” is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel. Unlike a lot of the YA sci-fi I’ve read lately (looking at you “Divergent,” “Matched,” and “Uglies”) it does not center on a female character who is facing a controlling utopian society and a decision between two boys. Random sidenote: I recently discovered the Twitter handle @DystopianYA. This will alert you to why I think a lot of teen dystopian are the same books with different names. Anyways, the main character is a dude, Thomas. In fact, all the characters are dudes, except one, Theresa.
So these kids are transported to the Glade and they live there, in the center of a giant maze. Things are pretty normal, the evil monster things only come out at night and they are locked in the maze. Unlike “Lord of the Flies,” the boys keep order pretty well. They have jobs and farm and stuff. “The Box” which sends a new boy monthly also brings supplies. They want to leave the maze, but life is still pretty chill.
Thomas arrives, and he’s a curious guy – asking lots of questions, going places he shouldn’t, and people who have gone through the “changing” swear he’s the reason they are in the maze. Then, two days later Theresa arrives. Never got a girl before and only two days after Thomas, not a month. Then, the maze doors stop closing at night. More weird shit happens.
Thomas does a lot of running through the maze. (The title doesn’t give that away at all.) And since he’s the main character, he saves the day. Well sorta, this is part of a four-book series so he only sorta saves the day.
Also, there are some substantial differences between the book and movie. So if you experienced one and not the other, I’d give it a shot.
Overall, I liked “The Maze Runner” more than “Divergent” but its didn’t grab me the way some books do. I had plenty motivation to read it, but not an insatiable urge to do so. My housemate, who read it first, liked it a lot. He’s read all four books, so maybe they get better. I’d give it seven out of ten stars.
Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell
I feel like when I first saw “Eleanor & Park” it was when a bunch of girls were reading it in high school. Now, I’ve been out of high school for some time, but again recently I’ve been hearing a lot of about Rowell’s books. (She also wrote “Fangirl” among others.) I had a girl card for books so I decided to download the kindle version and give it a shot.
I occasionally work a night shift, which I had done the night I started reading this book. So it was like 12:30 a.m. and I just wanted to read for a short bit to unwind. And I started to read. The next thing I knew, I was halfway done the book and it was 3 a.m. (Yes, I can read that fast.) The next day was my day off and in the hour before the rest of the house woke up I got to 70 percent.
Then, that when the oddest thing happened. I felt I needed to stop. I love reading and when I find a book that captivates me I just can’t stop. So now, a little plot from the book.
Park is a teenage boy whose mother is Korean and his father is white. His Korean features make him stand out in the mostly white area of Omaha, Nebraska where he lives. He likes music by The Cure and the Smiths. He likes comic books. His dad won’t let him get his license until he can drive standard.
Eleanor is the new girl, described as overweight with flaming red hair. She has several brothers and sisters. Her father doesn’t have much to do with her and her mother remarried a man who drinks all their money away.
They share a bus seat.
They fall in love.
For a while things are good.
… and that’s when I stopped. I could see what was coming. That all the good things. All their love. It was going to end if I kept reading and I didn’t want that. I didn’t want it to end. So I stopped reading.
It was almost like, if I didn’t read how the book ended, I could keep them in love and happy. But I can’t, because they are real and, even though it made my heart ache, I had to finish the book.
The ending didn’t go as badly as I hoped. No one died or was beat up, which I had half expected. Park and Eleanor parted on pleasant terms with each other.
You never know what Eleanor writes on that last postcard. But, I like to think she finally said “I love you.”
I give it nine out of ten stars.
“Empire Falls” by Richard Russo and “Bellman & Black” by Diane Setterfield