survival – Page 2 – CYAPodcast

Tag: survival

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

“Fifth Wave” by Rick Yancey

The Fifth Wave

Earth is invaded by aliens, but with silence and ingenuity. Humanity s attacked in different waves. EMP waves, coastal destruction, plague, and then sniper attacks. Cassie Sullivan has learned how survive and it hasn’t been easy. She learns to shoot an M-16 and if something shoots at you, you shoot back.

Told from multiple viewpoints with well-developed characters, and strong world building, “The Fifth Wave” is great storytelling. It leaves the reader thinking about their own perceptions of right and wrong, what makes you human and how far would you go to survive?

Small As An Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

“Small As An Elephant” by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Small As An Elephant

A written review by Jenny

Jennifer Richard Jacobson’s Small as an Elephant is eye opening look at mental illness and how it can affect children. Eleven–year- old Jack wakes up the first day of a camping trip with his mom only to find that she has left and taken everything with her. Not the first time this has happened, Jack feels he just needs to find her before someone realizes he is alone.

With nothing but a small plastic elephant to keep him company, Jack must survive on his own, refusing help from anyone who might guess his secret. Jack must come to terms with his mother’s illness and his own part in exacerbating her symptoms and ask for the help he needs.

Jack is inventive and he becomes ever more so during the desperate hunt for his mother.  Jack is fully realized and perhaps acts a bit old for 11, the adults a little-too-hands off, but the story ends in a realistic but satisfying manner.

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink

A written review by Adrienne

So, you know Katniss (Hunger Games) and Katsa (Graceling)? Yeah, they’re wimps. Lily-livered, tea-drinking, wimps. Meet Lynn. All her life she’s only known three things: defend the pond and home, collect and save water and find food. Living with her mother as her only constant companion, Lynn’s life had routine and that was to survive and fight for what was hers. Lynn world changes after a mishap and she is forced outside her comfort zone and learns about friendship and being able to rely on others.

What I liked about this was Lynn character learns and evolves through the story. She’s still tough and able to not only make the hard decisions but carry them out. She’s one tough cookie. Recommended for High School and up.

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith


Orleans by Sherrie L. Smith

A written review by Adrienne

There were five hurricanes after Katrina. Each one with more strength: Isaiah, Lorenzo, Olga, Laura, Paloma. Each hurricane slowly decimated the populations of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. It was Hurricane Jesus in 2019 that was the final straw. After it, barely over 10,000 people were left alive in those southern states. Death came in the form of flying debris, cuts, tetanus, and lack of medicines for most common ailments. Then the fever came; a fever with no cure. Finally, the government decided to save the parts of America it could and walled up those southern states keeping those behind it there.

Her name is Fen de la Guerre, she’s known for her fierceness and she lives in Orleans. Where she comes from, they don’t shake hands. If someone were to get a hold of her with one hand, they could have a knife in the other. What you want to know is her blood type. See, behind the wall, you and Fen couldn’t be sitting together enjoying each other’s company. It’s too dangerous. She’s O Positive and all the other blood types hunt her. Why? ‘Cause their blood not only carriers the fever they will die from it without transfusions; transfusions of O Positive’s like Fen. Now, Fen has this baby girl who hasn’t been touched by the fever, she’s clean, and Fen promised the baby’s mother to get her beyond the wall and to a better life and that’s what she’s going to do.

Smith’s apocalyptic book takes you to a world, similar to ours, but so frightening and despairing. The author does not spare the reader at all. She shows us everything from the dead bodies being kept in the Superdome by the Sister’s to what daily life is like when people are cut off from everything including help. Fen is a strong, quick-witted, survivalist in the order of Katsa from Graceling and stubborn like Quintana from The Lumatere Chronicles.

What I liked was Fen’s single focus on achieving her goal to get her friend’s baby beyond the wall. Fen is resourceful and doesn’t scare easy. I liked that almost nothing surprises her and she adapts to anything that happens just as quickly as the problem arises. Smith writes Fen in a patois or dialect I found it fit Fen’s character perfectly. The tone is grim, resilient and dark. Good things happen, bad things happen. That’s life. Well, that’s life behind the wall.


Scowler by Daniel Kraus


A written review by Adrienne

On a broken-down, overgrown farm we meet Marvin Burke. Marvin is brutal, terrorizing, violent and bullying to all he meets and especially to his family: a wife, teen-age son and young daughter. See, Marvin is a firm believer: everyone is out to get him, scam him or take away what is his. He believes in his own prowess as a caretaker of the farm and the head of the household. He will brook no disobedience from anyone, especially his wife and son. How he punishes his wife is particularly gruesome and horrifying. You want to look away but you can’t. This is a book, not a TV or movie where you can hide your eyes until the scary part passes. You have to keep reading in order to move ahead.

Kraus writes with careful precision. Each word is chosen for how it fits in the narrative and mood. The mood itself is dark and grim. The characters are so fleshed out you’ll find them walking and talking around in your head, replaying entire scenes, especially when you aren’t expecting them. This dark, grim mood seeps into your brain, into your skin until you are just as trapped as Marvin’s family. Marvin’s creepiness comes from his premeditation, his deliberate intent approach to everything he does. Nothing is left to chance. He knows you are going to defy him and he’s already prepared your punishment.

What I liked about the book was Kraus’s writing. He writes sufficiently. There is nothing unnecessary or repetitive or rambling about it. He strips his characters to their essence showing us their most revealing and basic emotions and actions. As I said before, you want to look away, but you can’t.

Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

lumatere chronicles froi quintana

A written review by Adrienne

“Lumatere Chronicles” by Melina Marchetta, including “Finnikin of the Rock”, “Froi of the Exiles”, and “Quintana of Charyn.”

Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
I am reluctant to hang the heavy mantel of Game of Thrones onto any YA book. So, I’ll say this, if you like the political intrigue, and how decisions have a ripple effect in ways nobody could truly comprehend and a world steeped with a deep history entwining magic and religion and strength then this series is for you. You won’t find a Tyrion, or Jamie, but you will find yourself consumed.
These three books comprise of an epic fantasy filled with love, hate, war, revenge, destruction, pain, life changing decisions and in-decisions, extraordinary feats and devastating consequences. You will have a front seat to see the consequences war wrecks onto a country and ultimately to the world: what it does to the people, how it changes them, and what it does to the land.  
“A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed that he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere. This is the story, as told to those not born to see such days, recorded so they will never forget. The story of those trapped inside the kingdom, never to be heard from again, and those who escaped but were forced to walk the land in a diaspora of misery.”
We start with Finnikin who spends his formative years trying to raise an army to open the gates of his country. When he was young a witch cursed Lumatere and Finnikin was outside the walls. There was no getting in or getting out. Those Lumaterans trapped inside were cruelly ruled by a madman bent on destroying anyone he felt threaten him.
Then we have Froi. Once a child slave and saved by Finnkin he is under orders by his queen to go to assassinate his adopted country’s enemy. It is his travels and what happens that will engross you. As a reader there were times I shook the book to try and stop Froi from doing something that scared me. 
Finally, there is Quintana. Everybody believes her to be bat dung crazy, and maybe she is. You’re introduced to her in Froi, but it is in her own book that we see the wheels and the methods of her craziness. This book is filled with pain, dark pain, (I had to hold my daughter’s hand in order to read a particular harrowing event) and devastation and the small flame of hope. 
My advice, should you choose to read this series is to check them out all at once. You will not want to waste time trying to get the next book, especially after you finish Froi. There is a cliffhanger not to be believed and if you don’t have Quintana right next to you, woe is you. 
What I liked is the world building. Marchetta has mastered the art of creating one rich in history, setting and people. Each country has its own unique culture. Marchetta is equally up to the task in creating women who are not dependent upon a man to either save them or complete them. Mindful of the horrible treatment of women by either long held beliefs, religion, or revenge by men, men in power and other women, I liked how strong-willed and resilient whether for right or wrong, the women were depicted by Marchetta, and, they are just as fallible as men. This series is one to read and keep. Recommended for High School and up.



“Safekeeping” by Karen Hesse

All recommendations are on the CYA Podcast Pinterest board
Cathie Sue

Upcoming books:
“Out of the Easy” by Ruta Sepetys

2013 Morris Winner and Finalists

  • “Seraphina” by Rachel Hartman
  • “Love and Other Perishable Items” by Laura Buzo
  • “Wonder Show” by Hannah Barnaby
  • “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” by Emily M. Danforth
  • “After the Snow” by S. D. Crockett



“Ashes” by Ilsa J. Bick

All recommendations are on the CYA Podcast Pinterest board
Cathie Sue

Upcoming books:

6 folktale picture books
“Nabeel’s New Pants” by Fawzia Gilani-Williams
“The Matatu” by Eric Walters
“The Boy From Dragon Palace” by Margaret Read MacDonald
“The Greedy Sparrow” by Lucine Kasbarian
“The Flying Canoe” by Eric Kimmel
“Little Sister and the Month Brothers” by Beatrice Schenk de Reginers

6 or 7 biography picture books
“Chuck Close: Face Book” by Chuck Close
“Barnum’s Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World” by Tracy Fern
“A Boy called Dickens” by Deborah Hopkinson
“Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child” by Susanna Reich
“The Watcher: Jane Goodalls Life with the Chimps” by Jeanette Winter
“Me ….Jane” by Patrick McDonnell
“Noah Webster and His Words” by Jeri Ferris

Fall 2012: 6 Picture Books

“Poopendous” by Artie Bennett, illus by Mike Moran (Thank you to Artie Bennet for sending review copy)
“Oh, Nuts!” by Tammi Sauer (we could not get a copy in time, substituted with “Go, Go, Grapes” by April Pulley Sayre
“Let’s Go, Baby-O!” by Janet and Andrew McLean
“Happy” by Mies Van Hout
“Oh No, George!” by Chris Haughton
“What To Do If An Elephant Stands On Your Foot” by Michelle Robinson, illus by Peter H. Reynolds

All recommendations are on the CYA Podcast Pinterest board
Cathie Sue

Upcoming books:
“Ashes” by Ilsa Bick
“The Hero’s Guide to Saving your Kingdom” by Christopher Healy

Never Fall Down & Bitterblue

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

“Never Fall Down” by Patricia McCormick

NPR interview with McCormick and Arn Chorn-Pond

Epic Reads’ YouTube video with McCormick and Chorn-Pond discussing the book

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

“Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore

All recommendations are on the CYA Podcast Pinterest board
Cathie Sue

Upcoming Reviews:

6PicReview #2–

  • Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham, illus by Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illus by Adam Rex
  • The Wind That Wanted to Rest by Sheldon Oberman, Neil Waldman and Peninnah Schram
  • Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, illus by Dan Yaccarino
  • Yes, Yes Yaul by Jef Czekaj (ch eh k – AY)
  • Let’s Go Baby-O by Janet and Andrew McLean

“The Mighty Miss Malone” by Christopher Paul Curtis