Assuming Katie’s 7th grade year is somewhat like Maggie’s, she will have to choose a Science Fiction book to read for Lit. Three requirements Maggie had for her book choice were that
- The science part of the SciFi had to have a real world component.
- It could not be a book they had already read
- Only one child could read each book (I think)
These made it sort of hard for Maggie to find a book she liked. Actually, she did not end up liking the book she read for the assignment at all. She thought of several books that satisfied the 1st and 3rd rule, but they were books she had read, or they were part of a series she had already read some of.
Within the past year, I’ve read two books that I think she would really dig, and wanted to keep a record of them because I know I will forget at least one of the titles. I don’t think either of these are on the standard Middle Schoolers’ nightstand, but I think they
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This is a classic adventure quest set in dystopian 2044. The sci fi part: the physical world is in shambles: infrastructure, energy crisis, environment and economics have all gone to hell, and most people live in an alternate reality plane called The Oasis. School, work, fun—everything happens in virtual reality instead of actual reality. The main character, Parzival has to navigate obstacles in both the real and virtual worlds.
Also, this book was basically a bug hug for my 80’s soul. The quest was designed by an old man who had grown up in the 80s, so it is hard to go 2 paragraphs in Ready, Player One without hitting an 80s reference. From Monty Python to John Hughes to Duran Duran, Space Invaders, Atari and Alex P. Keaton; Ready Player One weaves references like a warm, comfortable blanket. Even though many of the references will go straight over Katie’s head, I think she will still like hearing about some of the things that were cool when her mom was a kid. Also, if she could live in Minecraft, she totally would, so I think this would appeal on that level, too.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson – I suppose this is a coming of age story that deals with the question, What makes us us? This story is set in a post-antibiotic apocalypse future, and deals with a 17 year old girl, Jenna Fox, who knows something is going on with her, but isn’t quite sure what it is. As the story continues, we learn what makes her different, and confronted with questions of why, how and if that matters.
I enjoyed this book because the coming of age story was so universal, contrasted with a unique medical component that felt fresh and compelling. I think Katie would like it because there is something otherworldly & magical in this story, which she gravitates toward. It just so happens that the magic is based in science instead of fantasy, which I think she will think is cool.