Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Teen Book Clubs reads Green.

In honor of the “green” theme for Burbank Reads in March, the Teen Book Clubs have each chosen a novel with an ecological bent.

The High School Book Club, which will meet on Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m., is reading The Family Tree, by acclaimed science fiction writer Sheri S. Tepper. Police officer Dora Henry must investigate the bizarre, seemingly unrelated murders of three geneticists. But she has some big distractions from her work that she must address, among them the fact that Nature seems to be taking over the neighborhood! Trees are springing up everywhere, blocking off the streets, kidnapping unwanted babies, and generally acting like they have both a brain and a plan. Meanwhile, from far in the future, an odd band of comrades follows an ancient prophecy into their past (which happens to be Dora’s present) to stop the extinction of their species. The story is hilarious at moments, but also earnest in its warnings about the need to take our ecological future seriously by acting on it today.

The Middle School Book Club, which will meet on Wednesday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m., will read The Secret Under My Skin, by Janet McNaughton. In the year 2368, Blay Raytee is an orphan living in a state-run work camp, spending her days excavating usable items from a garbage dump. The government teaches the orphans that technology users are evil and the world is a dangerous place, and the children are afraid to go outside without protective clothing. Everything changes when Blay is chosen by a “bio-indicator” (a sort of canary in the mine who monitors environmental toxin levels for her community) to help with her studies. Blay discovers that much of what she has learned about science, technology and the world is a lie…including her own identity. The book celebrates the impact that one person can make, while postulating a believable future we would be wise to avoid.

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