March 22, 2014

Wanderers Blog Tour: Interview + Review

Welcome to my stop on the official blog tour for Wanderers! Today I have some interview questions the authors have answered, along with my review of the book to share with you. To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above!

Wanderers (Wasteland #2)
Authors: Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen


The Emmy Award-nominee and Edgar Award-winning duo bring readers back to the Wasteland in this thrilling sequel.

Karin Slaughter, bestselling author of Criminal, called Wasteland, "A Lord of the Flies for future generations. An irresistible page-turner."

The former citizens of Prin are running out of time. The Source has been destroyed, so food is scarcer than ever. Tensions are rising…and then an earthquake hits.

So Esther and Caleb hit the road, leading a ragtag caravan. Their destination? A mythical city where they hope to find food and shelter - not to mention a way to make it past age nineteen.

On the way, alliances and romances blossom and fracture. Esther must rally to take charge with the help of a blind guide, Aras. He seems unbelievably cruel, but not everything is as it seems in the Wasteland.…

In this sequel to Wasteland, the stakes are even higher for Esther, Caleb, and the rest of their clan. They're pinning all their hopes on the road...but what if it's the most dangerous place of all?
 5. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

LAURENCE: I would like to have written any book by the Italian writer, Italo Calvino, because each one is really clever and affecting. I wouldn’t have wanted to write them in Italian, though.

SUSAN: I’m going to cheat a little and say Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. They’re singular and so very much one author’s vision; and even while being funny, scary, dreamlike, and even a bit mournful, they have this amazingly realistic, affectionate, and respectful portrait of a real girl, Alice Liddell, at the center. I just saw the Miyazaki movie, Spirited Away, again and was struck by how influential the Alice books were in depicting the fantastical adventures of a young girl with such psychological acuity.

6. What is your favorite book and why?

LAURENCE: As an adult, I like all kinds of books. But as a kid, I liked a funny mystery novel called “The Damsel” by Richard Stark, a pseudonym for Donald Westlake. I thought it was the ultimate in wit and suspense. I have no idea what I’d think of it now.

SUSAN: Hmm… that’s a hard question to answer. I’ll say The Easter Parade, by Richard Yates. It’s definitely harsh and one of the most adult things I’ve ever read, but it’s honest, insightful, and beautifully written. (Then again, I gave it to my mother, and she got so depressed reading it, it took her a long time to trust my recommendations again.)

7. What is your favorite quote?

SUSAN: “Life’s too mysterious/Don’t take it serious.” Actually, I have other favorite quotes that are a lot more literary and profound than this, which comes from a popular song in the 1930s, but it’s the one that comes to mind.

LAURENCE: “It’s only life.” I don’t know who said it.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

LAURENCE: See my last answer. I would also tell him not to distrust others so much, to be more honest, to take more chances, and to do more than he doesn’t do.

SUSAN: I would tell her that things will work out okay if she lets them. And that people are actually nicer than they seem to be.

Wanderers is the second book in the Wasteland series - a young adult dystopia that follows a group of teenagers who are struggling to survive in a world that is barren and dangerous. The story continues to follow the main character Esther as she and the other residents of Prin decide that there's nothing left for them there and they need to move on to a better place. There's a place rumored to have all the food and water that anyone could possibly want or need - and that's where Esther, Caleb, and the rest of the group decide to go. Will they be able to make it to this wonderful place before they die of exposure or starvation? Or will the road turn out to be even more dangerous than staying in Prin?

This was a solid second installment in a gripping dystopian series that had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what was going to happen next. There's tons of action in the book, so you never quite know what to expect. I have to admit that there were a couple of places - one major one in particular - that had me so upset and mad that I wanted to stop reading the book. I don't do spoilers, but those of you who have read the book know what I'm talking about. The plot was well done and I understand why the authors put these twists into the story, but that definitely doesn't mean I had to like it. In fact, I hated it. That aside, the world that was created in the book was incredibly detailed and vivid with imagery, so much so that I could easily envision it in my mind. The one thing that always got to me and pulled me out of the thrall of the book was the age of the characters. They all act and seem so much older than they really are - it always shocked me when I was reminded that they were only kids. Again, I understand why the authors wrote the plot this way, it fits with the whole dystopian atmosphere that the story takes place in. I just had a real problem with kids "partnering" at 14 and then having kids by 16. It just seems so wrong to me! I couldn't really wrap my mind around the age of the characters and the way they acted and lived.

The plot was thrilling and full of tense moments and exciting occurrences. Being a dystopian book, not all of these were positive. In fact, the majority of them weren't. The book was well written with a quick pace and definitely had me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Overall, my personal feelings about the storyline aside, this was a great second book in a series that continues to grasp the reader until the very end. I'm interested to see where the next book will lead and what might happen. Definitely recommended for fans of science fiction and dystopias, as well as those who enjoy action and adventure.

Susan Kim has written for more than three dozen children’s TV series. Brain Camp is her second graphic novel. Her first, also written with Mr. Klavan, was First Second’s City of Spies.


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