Remake, by Todd, Ilima (YA science fiction)
“A World Where Freedom Isn’t a Choice
“Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. the Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.
“But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they’ll be.
“When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?”
The description of the novel Remake surprised me when I read it in the Deseret Book catalogue in the fall of 2014. This book, a dystopia that Deseret Book published under its Shadow Mountain imprint, was quite a bit different from anything I had ever seen the company publish before—in a good way. I like dystopia and was so intrigued by the fact that Deseret Book would publish something like Remake that I downloaded the book and read it on a trip to the beach at the end of 2014. Continue reading
Fireweed, by Terry Montague (LDS historical)
When sixteen-year-old LDS girl Lisel Spann sees her brother off to fight in the coming war against what she and her German compatriots have been told is Polish aggression, she “is hardly prepared for the coming years when the storm erupts in full fury. She fights feeling of hopelessness as she watches the Nazis tear her loved ones from her life. Before her eyes her beautiful city is turned to rubble under the allied bombs.” With the help of her family and neighbors, she struggles to survive and hold on to her faith.
If Feathers and Rings is the LDS novel I keep going back to, Fireweed is the one that has stuck with me the most. For that reason, when I recently saw it on the shelf of used books at my local LDS bookstore, I bought it to re-read. When I opened it up and read in the author’s introduction that she is a descendant of Germans who lived for a century in Russia before immigrating to the United States, I felt an instant connection to her since I, too, am a descendant of the same group of people, although my ancestors settled in Kansas, not Idaho, and I didn’t grow up with a connection to the German community (aside from my mother’s stories) in Topeka the way the author did in Rupert, Idaho. I didn’t, in fact, know enough about my own family history at the time I originally read Fireweed to see the connection, but I’m so delighted to see it now! Continue reading
Cottonwood Summer, by Jean Z. Liebenthal (LDS nostalgia)
“When Nola and Beverly are forbidden to participate in the lake excursion, they can’t guess that their selected alternative will provide the biggest adventure in their young lives. Nothing less than a reform school escapee, in fact!”
Feathers and Rings, by Jean Z. Liebenthal (LDS romance)
“Nola is in love with Kent—but he hardly seems to notice her. Although she manages to have an occasional good time at the Saturday-night dances with her longtime neighbor Norman, Nola fears she may become an ‘old maid.'”
As I embarked on this project to comment on novels that give me a glimpse of Zion, I felt that, despite my love for the classics, this would be an unbalanced presentation if I neglected the fiction written by members of my own religion. I thought I would re-read a few of the books in this category that I actually own. Several years ago I gave quite a few LDS novels away, needing the shelf space and knowing I wouldn’t re-read those particular works. For that reason, the books I own are ones I like a lot and have probably already re-read at least once. Continue reading