Thursday, September 26, 2013

ARC Book Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Never Fade
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions: 
I seem to recall that, when this cover was released, people were less than enthusiastic.  But I kinda like it.  It isn't all the awesomeness of Darkest Minds, but it is still a solid cover.  I like the colors and the star (compass??) under the ice.  I do wish the imagery linked more closely with the book itself.

The Gist: 
Ruby's time with the Children's League is cut short as she is sent on a secret mission to recover a flashdrive.  The information she is seeking could change the world as she knows it and, naturally, it rests in the hands of Liam Stewart - the boy she thought she left behind for his own good.  Tracking him down means exposing herself, and her terrifying abilities, to those she loves and trusts.  As she crosses the country she encounters danger at the hands of adults and teenagers alike and must decide whether her loyalty lies with her friends, or with her promises to the League.


I am a huge fan of The Darkest Minds.  I have read it twice and I recommend it to all of my students and colleagues.  I loved the way that Bracken managed to fill a young adult novel with cruelty and brutality but still maintain a warmth for her characters and a sense that things could get better.  Though this theme continues in Never Fade, things do tend to seem a little more bleak.  Ruby thought she had seen the worst that humanity had to offer, but she soon finds she has been mistaken.  Nothing with the league is what it seems and her ability to trust has been destroyed time and time again.  I still rooted for Ruby, and I love that she is a wonderfully broken character who continues to grow, but I found it a little difficult in getting to know the new characters.  Perhaps, it is a testiment to how well Bracken wrote the characters in the last book, as I was simply awaiting their arrival.  As such, I wasn't able to develop a love for the new characters while still mourning the old ones.  Once we meet up with Chubs and Liam I almost sighed in relief and was finally able to relax into the story.

I almost wish I had done a re-read of The Darkest Minds before picking up Never Fade.  There are very few reminders in the beginning of the book and I had a little trouble remembering the details of what had taken place already.  I did really enjoy getting to see the inside of the League and the intrigue involved in determining exactly who was in charge.  As the novel continued, it proved to be just as action packed as its predecessor, and just as poignant in its observation of the cruelty, but also the glimmers of kindness, possible by mankind.  The ending did an excellent job of setting up for the next book in the series and leaving the author wishing the time away until the release date of #3.

I am most definitely in this series for the long haul.  Buying a copy of this book for my classroom, recommending it to my student book club and anxiously awaiting my next foray into this world.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Fist Fighting, Gunplay, Knifeplay
Inappropriate Language: Frequent: Jesus, Fuck, Shit, Dick,
Substance Use/Abuse: Smoking


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