Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: The Wave – Morton Rhue

The Wave – Morton Rhue

Laurie isn't sure what to make of 'The Wave.' It had begun as a simple history experiment to liven up their World War II studies and had become a craze that was taking over their lives. Laurie's classmates were changing from normal teenagers into chanting, saluting fanatics. 'The Wave' was sweeping through the school—and it was out of control. Laurie's friends scoff at her warnings but she knows she must make them see what they have become before it's too late. 
Based on a nightmarish true episode in a Californian high school.

Review: Have you ever finished a book and thought, Wait, where’s the rest of it? It can’t be over? I still have so many questions! That was me with this book.

The Wave is a fictionalization of a real-life experiment that took place in a California high school in the 1960s. A history teacher wanted to help his students understand why the Germans went along with Hitler’s plan during WWII. Why didn’t more people resist Hitler? The teacher invented a “game” that he called The Wave. (In real life, it was called The Third Wave.) The game involved students working together to accomplish tasks—such as answering questions or getting to their seats on time—as quickly and precisely as possible. The game became so popular that most of the school started playing. The Wave players had their own chant, solute, and banner. The kids who played the game began bullying the ones who refused to play so viciously that the experiment had to be ended after 5 days. (Or 8 days, if you read the reports about the real-life experiment.)

“Strength through discipline! Strength through community! Strength through action!” – The Wave

For obvious reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about fascism lately. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject. The story hooked me from the first page. I knew a little about the real-life experiment before I started reading, but I didn’t know how crazy things got. This novel is like reading a train wreck (in a good, suspenseful way). For the students, life gets very complicated, very quickly.

The “based on a true story” concept is pretty much the only thing I love about the book. The writing is . . . underwhelming. I never felt connected to the characters because they have very little personality outside of their roles in the experiment. If I had a better understanding of who they were before the experiment started, I might have understood their reactions to the game better.

I want to know more about everything. I was left with so many questions. How did the students react in the days after the experiment ended? Did they regret their participation? Where the majority of them just going along with the crowd, or did they really enjoy the game? I need to know! This book isn’t anywhere near long enough. It doesn’t have any analysis of what happened or why. I guess that’s what Google’s for.

“Overcome with anger, David grabbed her other arm. Why did she have to be so stubborn? Why couldn’t she see how good The Wave could be?” – The Wave

I also wonder how modern students would react if this experiment was repeated. It probably can’t be repeated because it caused stress for the students. It might be considered unethical. Still, I wonder. Would modern kids want to play the game, or would there be more resistance?

The Wave is worth reading because it provides a unique look at fascism, but I wish the book went more in-depth.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Under 200 Pages

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about short books. I love little books. If you love little books, too, then I have some recommendations for you. I tried to pick books I like from a variety of genres. All of these are under 200 pages.

Little Book Love

The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin

For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret—a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone. 
That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

Guts: The True Stories behind Hatchet and the Brian Books – Gary Paulsen

Guess what—Gary Paulsen was being kind to Brian. In Guts, Gary tells the real stories behind the Brian books, the stories of the adventures that inspired him to write Brian Robeson's story: working as an emergency volunteer; the death that inspired the pilot's death in Hatchet; plane crashes he has seen and near-misses of his own. He describes how he made his own bows and arrows, and takes readers on his first hunting trips, showing the wonder and solace of nature along with his hilarious mishaps and mistakes. He shares special memories, such as the night he attracted every mosquito in the county, or how he met the moose with a sense of humor, and the moose who made it personal. There's a handy chapter on "Eating Eyeballs and Guts or Starving: The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition." Recipes included.

The Last Summer of Reason – Tahar Djaout

This elegantly haunting work of fiction features bookstore owner Boualem Yekker, who lives in a country overtaken by a radically conservative party known as the Vigilant Brothers, a group that seeks to control every aspect of life according to the precepts of their rigid moral theology. The belief that no work of beauty created by humans should rival the wonders of their god is slowly consuming society, and the art once treasured is now despised. Boualem resists the new regime with quiet determination, using the shop and his personal history as weapons against puritanical forces. Readers are taken into the lush depths of the bookseller's dreams, the memories of his now empty family life, and his passion for literature, then yanked back into the terror and drudgery of his daily routine by the vandalism, assaults, and death warrants that afflict him.

The Wave – Morton Rhue

The Wave is based on a true incident that occurred in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969. 
The powerful forces of group pressure that pervaded many historic movements such as Nazism are recreated in the classroom when history teacher Burt Ross introduces a "new" system to his students. And before long The Wave, with its rules of "strength through discipline, community, and action," sweeps from the classroom through the entire school. And as most of the students join the movement, Laurie Saunders and David Collins recognize the frightening momentum of The Wave and realize they must stop it before it's too late.

A Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories – Richard Peck

Each summer Joey and his sister, Mary Alice—two city slickers from Chicago—visit Grandma Dowdel's seemingly sleepy Illinois town. Soon enough, they find that it's far from sleepy . . . and Grandma is far from your typical grandmother. From seeing their first corpse (and he isn't resting easy) to helping Grandma trespass, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry—all in one day—Joey and Mary Alice have nine summers they'll never forget!

Witness – Karen Hesse

The year is 1924, and a small town in Vermont is falling under the influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Two girls, Leanora Sutter and Esther Hirch, one black and the other Jewish, are among those who are no longer welcome. As the potential for violence increases, heroes and villains are revealed, and everyone in town is affected. With breathtaking verse, Karen Hesse tells her story in the voices of several characters. Through this chorus of voices, the true spirit of the town emerges.

A Guide to being Born: Stories – Ramona Ausubel

A Guide to Being Born is organized around the stages of life—love, conception, gestation, birth—and the transformations that happen as people experience deeply altering life events, falling in love, becoming parents, looking toward the end of life. In each of these eleven stories Ausubel’s stunning imagination and humor are moving, entertaining, and provocative, leading readers to see the familiar world in a new way.  
In “Atria” a pregnant teenager believes she will give birth to any number of strange animals rather than a human baby; in “Catch and Release” a girl discovers the ghost of a Civil War hero living in the woods behind her house; and in “Tributaries” people grow a new arm each time they fall in love. Funny, surprising, and delightfully strange—all the stories have a strong emotional core; Ausubel’s primary concern is always love, in all its manifestations.

How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff

Fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy is sent to live in the English countryside with cousins she’s never even met. When England is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy, the cousins find themselves on their own. As they grow more isolated, the farm becomes a kind of Eden with no rules. Until the war arrives in their midst. 
Daisy’s is a war story, a survival story, a love story—all told in the voice of a subversive and witty teenager. This book crackles with anxiety and with lust. It’s a stunning and unforgettable novel that captures the essence of the age of terrorism: how we live now.

The Vegetarian – Han Kang

Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman

Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman

In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art. 
The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.

Review: I watched Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech on YouTube soon after he gave it. It’s a pretty good speech, so when I saw the slightly battered book version of it for $1 at a scratch-and-dent sale, I picked it up.

This little book contains the full text of the speech. The text is beautified by a graphic artist who makes it artsy and colorful. Unfortunately, the beautifying of the text is the book’s biggest issue. If you have eye problems (like me), then you’ll know that light blue font on shiny white paper is no fun. Red font on white paper isn’t great, either. The book is only 80 pages long, but I got eyestrain from reading it. The graphics also chop up the speech in odd places. I backtracked a few times because I felt like I missed something.

The speech itself is inspirational. Neil Gaiman talks about how mistakes are inevitable. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything worth doing. Mistakes aren’t always bad. You learn from them, and some amazing things have been discovered because someone screwed up. Go forth and screw up.

I know this is a tiny review, but Make Good Art is a tiny book. I’ll leave you with my favorite quotes:

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” – Make Good Art

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked . . . that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” – Make Good Art

“And when things get tough, this is what you should do. 
Make good art. 
I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.” – Make Good Art

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Sunday Post #89 - Blogging From A To Z

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, and share news. It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date. I get to tell you what I’ve read recently.

Blogging From A To Z

The Blogging from A to Z challenge starts on April 1. My theme is bookish memories. This challenge will probably be the most half-baked and self-indulgent thing I’ve ever done on this blog, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I hope you guys like personal posts because you’re going to get a whole month of them. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’m going to write a short post about how books and book blogging have impacted my life. Brace yourself. Posts are coming.

On The Blog Last Week

On The Blog This Week

  • On Monday I review Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman.
  • On Tuesday I recommend some books under 200 pages.
  • On Wednesday I review The Wave by Morton Rhue.

In My Reading Life

I’m still working through IT by Stephen King. I’ve read about 900 pages. I still have around 200 pages to go. I’m going to slay this book-beast!

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. Yesterday was my birthday. I guess that shouldn’t make me happy because I’m another year closer to death, but I ate a bunch of junk food and didn’t exercise. That always makes me happy. (Even though the junk food and lack of exercise probably brought me even closer to death.) The universe won’t punish me for skipping a workout on my birthday, right?
  2. Burritos and chocolate cake.
  3. My mom got me 5 days of Nutrisystem for my birthday. We’ll see what happens with it.
  4. I’m petsitting my friend’s dog again. I like playing with him because he’s so bouncy! (The dog, I mean, not my friend.)
  5. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction wrote a post about her reading habits that made me laugh. Also, it mentions everybody’s favorite subject: Me! 

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other! See you around the blogosphere!  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Get To Know Me Tag

I’ve seen this tag going around and took the liberty of tagging myself. Mostly, I just wanted an excuse to do a bunch of stupid Internet quizzes. Who doesn’t like those?

Get To Know Me

What is the meaning of your name?

Now you know what the “A” in “Aj” means. Sorry to the eight quadrillion other Ashleys in the world, but I kinda really hate my name. When I was a kid, the town I lived in was so small that we needed to combine classes at school. In my combined 1st and 2nd grade class, there were 12 students. Four of them were named Ashley. Who wants to be part of a domesticated Ashley herd? Not me.

What is your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?

I’ve had to take this test a bunch of times for school/work/doctor reasons. I guess people put a lot of faith in it. Every time I’ve taken the test, I’ve gotten ISTJ. I like to believe I’m more creative and rebellious than the test gives me credit for, but it’s pretty accurate:

Basically, if you’re not a dumbass, we’ll get along swimmingly.

Some famous real-life ISTJs: Angela Merkel, George Washington, Condoleeza Rice, George H.W. Bush.

Some fictional ISTJs: Eddard Stark, Stannis Baratheon, Hermione Granger.

What is your zodiac sign? 

My birthday is two days from now, so according to the first website that came up on Google, I’m a Pisces.

I laughed pretty hard when I saw this. I’m probably the least sentimental person ever.

What Hogwarts house would you be in? 

What are your learning styles? 

The VARK questionnaire says these are my learning styles:

I guess this is expected. Reading and writing are what I do, so it’s not surprising that I learn from books.

Are you more of a left-brain or right-brain person? 

Is this quiz real science? It doesn’t seem like it. The quiz asked me to touch my head, and then it asked which hand I used to touch my head. Obviously, I used the hand that wasn’t clicking the mouse to take the quiz. I don’t have much faith in this one.

What is your blood type?

No idea. There isn’t an Internet quiz for that. Do most people know their blood type? How do you find out? I guess it's not important because if I’m ever bleeding to death, I’ll be too freaked out (or too unconscious) to remember my type.

What career are you meant to be in? 

According to this quiz, I’m supposed to be a writer. Does that mean that professional dog petter isn’t a real career? I’m pretty sure I’m meant to pet dogs. I’ll also pet other animals. I’m versatile like that.

Which Divergent faction do you belong in? 

The factions quiz says I belong in Candor. Here’s my candid opinion on Divergent: I don’t understand the hype.

What does your birth order say about you? 

I’m a middle child. The description on this website is fairly accurate, but I’ve never had many friends. I’ve always been a loner. Also, is this real science?

Do you want to do this tag? Consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be. 
August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon. 
Their city is divided. 
Their city is crumbling. 
Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something. 
But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?

Review: I don’t like urban fantasy. It combines two of my least-favorite things: cities and cliché fantasy creatures. I’ve never been able to get into non-horror books about vampires and werewolves. Monster romances are just . . . yuck. Monsters are supposed to be scary, not sexy!

Then I heard that Victoria Schwab was writing an urban fantasy book without any romance. I like Schwab’s other books, so I thought I’d give it a try. And, it was good. Not perfect, but really good.

This Savage Song takes place in a world where violence breeds literal monsters. August Flynn is one of those monsters, but he doesn’t want to be. He hides his monstrous tendencies and tries to blend in with the humans. Kate Harker is a human who wants to be a monster. She thinks if she can be horrible enough, she’ll win the approval of her violent father. When the city’s monsters rise up and try to seize control, Kate and August are forced to flee. Can they get along well enough to survive?

“But the teacher had been right about one thing: violence breeds. 
Someone pulls a trigger, sets off a bomb, drives a bus full of tourists off a bridge, and what's left in the wake isn't just shell casings, wreckage, bodies. There's something else. Something bad. An aftermath. A recoil. A reaction to all that anger and pain and death.” – This Savage Song

The concept of this book is what drew me to it. Monsters being left behind after violent acts? How intriguing is that? The humans in the story are way more monstrous than the monsters themselves, which makes sense, I guess. The humans are the ones creating the monsters in the first place. It’s all very allegorical.

Victoria Schwab’s writing style always pulls me into her books and makes them hard to put down. It’s descriptive, but it’s not dense. Once the action gets going, the plot moves at breakneck speed. I can get lost in Schwab’s worlds and read hundreds of pages without noticing that hours have passed. This Savage Song is a pretty big book, but I finished most of it in a day.

“I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that.”  - This Savage Song   

The best part of this story? No romance! Kate and August are just frenemies. That might change in the sequel (this is a duology, I think?), but it’s refreshing to read about a boy/girl friendship. Young adult literature needs more of those. Not every deadly situation has to lead to true love.

As interesting as the concept and friendships are, This Savage Song isn’t perfect. The plot takes a long time to get going. I think I was over halfway through the book before the plot really hooked me. At the start, I was just reading for the characters. I also found some obvious typos that made me glare furiously.

Just like with Schwab’s other books, the world-building in this one is murky. I never got a clear picture of the city’s layout or fully understood what monsters can/can’t do. For example, metal is supposed to keep monsters away, but they’re around metal all the time. It doesn’t seem to deter them. Violence is supposed to breed monsters, but does “violence” only mean killing? The characters are constantly slamming each other against walls, and that doesn’t create monsters (I don’t think?). I spent chunks of the book feeling mildly confused about the world.

Finally, the main characters are similar to the main characters in Schwab’s other novels. I probably shouldn’t complain because I like the characters, but I am. The girl is a violent badass; the boy is sweet and sensitive. I’ve seen this before.

Despite my criticisms, I’m eagerly awaiting the next book. I’m confident that my confusion will be cleared up. I have faith that the finale will be epic. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Reading This Spring

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten books I plan to read this spring.

My Spring Reading List

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague – Geraldine Brooks

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."

Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries—memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival – Joe Simpson

Touching the Void is the tale of two mountaineers’ harrowing ordeal in the Peruvian Andes. In the summer of 1985, two young, headstrong mountaineers set off to conquer an unclimbed route. They had triumphantly reached the summit, when a horrific accident mid-descent forced one friend to leave another for dead.

Adam of the Road – Elizabeth Gray Vining

“A road's a kind of holy thing,” said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. “That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle.”  
And Adam, though only eleven, was to remember his father's words when his beloved dog, Nick, was stolen, and Roger had disappeared, and he found himself traveling alone along these same great roads, searching the fairs and market towns for his father and his dog.

Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow – Ted Hughes

Crow was Ted Hughes's fourth book of poems for adults and a pivotal moment in his writing career. In it, he found both a structure and a persona that gave his vision a new power and coherence. A deep engagement with history, mythology and the natural world combine to forge a work of impressive and unsettling force.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War – Steve Sheinkin

From Steve Sheinkin comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed "the greatest story of the century": how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into "the most dangerous man in America," and risked everything to expose the government's deceit. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests.

The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff

It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives. Yet soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.

Black Dove, White Raven – Elizabeth Wein

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes—in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.  
Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

We Are Unprepared – Meg Little Reilly

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools. 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?