If you liked The Giver, then try…..

Thank you for all your suggestions of dystopian literature!  I added many of your suggestions to my wishlist.  Below is the handout I gave my students after we read Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

If you liked The Giver then try…..

The companion novels: Gathering Blue and The Messenger by Lois Lowry

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Candor by Pam Bachorz
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfield
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
  • The Other Side of the Island
  • Life As We Knew It (and the rest of the Moon series) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • House of the Scorpion
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Healing Wars by Janice Hardy
  • Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
  • 1984 or Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Ear, The Eye, and The Arm by Nancy Farmer
  • White Mountains by John Christopher
  • The Maze Runner by James Dasher
  • City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  • The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman

After passing this list out, many of my students started highlighting the books they want to read.  It was wonderful to watch!

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

I first got wind of Janni Lee Simner’s Bones of Faerie at a publisher’s preview last fall.  When the representative described the book as post-apocalyptic fantasy, I was immediately intrigued.  I spotted a copy of Bones of Faerie at Barnes and Noble last week and fell in love with the cover (contrasting black and pale blue).  While I was sick yesterday I was able to finish the book and now I want to make everyone I know read it!

Post-apocalyptic fantasy?  Faeries?  Dystopian?  Can all of these words really describe one book?  And can that book possibly be good with all of that going on?  In Janni Lee Simner’s case, the answer is a resounding yes!  

The War between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides.  Fifteen-year old Liza only knows about Before from warnings and stories told by humans who lived through the War.  There are references to things like TV, airplanes, and plastic- all gone since the War.  Magic is forbidden now, and nothing in Faerie has been seen or heard from since the War.  However, the remnants of the War still remain- plants that are now predators, animals that have developed increased predatory skills toward humans, and crops that fight against being harvested.  

Liza’s town is closed to strangers and they struggle to survive.  If children are born with the markings of magic (pale hair) they are killed.  Liza’s baby sister, Rebecca, was left on a hillside to die when her father saw that she was clearly fay.  Liza’s mother runs away soon after, and Liza follows when she realizes she, too, might be magic.  

She is joined by Matthew, a friend who shares his secret with her- he is magic.  Together, they seek out her mother, making new friends along the way.  Liza begins to realize that not all towns are like hers.  And that maybe magic can be good.  Maybe the Faerie and human worlds can coexist in peace.  Just maybe.

This is a though-provoking page-turner that and I really, really enjoyed it.  The post-apocalyptic magic angle is one I haven’t seen explored before and yet it worked so well.  You will be hooked as soon as you read the first paragraph of this debut YA from Janni Lee Simner.  Simner has crafted a believable, haunting world  and I hope that she writes more about the War!  In fact, I am already dying for a prequel, to learn exactly what happened between Faerie and humanity.  Thankfully, I am at least a bit appeased by Simner’s short story in  Coyote Wild Magazine, “Invasive Species,” set in the world of Bones of Faerie. 

If you love dystopian fiction, this one is for you!