Sofia and the Utopia Machine fills an important space in Singapore literature not only as an young adult book but as science fiction. I don’t remember coming across any local YA books when I was in primary and secondary school. In fact, when I was still in secondary school, I wasn’t interested in Singapore literature precisely because it seemed to be geared towards adults. In that regard, it’s heartening that local YA books have gained more visibility in recent years.
If you could live for hundreds of years, if not, forever, would you want to? In Suicide Club, those who deserve it are given immortality. In exchange, they have to take good care of their health — eat well, exercise and all that jazz. What I liked about this premise was that it plays on our contemporary obsession with health and wellness. Food diet movements abound from “clean eating” to keto to paleo, claiming to detox, strengthen the immune system, etc. Rachel Heng pushed these ideal to the extreme in her futuristic science fiction novel set in New York City.
Premise-wise, Everless was one of the most original books I’ve read in a long time. It was very intriguing, to say the least. It presented a world where life and blood are currency. I loved this idea and really enjoyed how it was integrated into the story. It was ruthless. I think the details were very well thought-out, especially when it came to how the rich exploited the poor. I also liked the legends that were incorporated and how they pulsed through the lives of the characters.
No contest, The Hate U Give is the best young adult novel that was published in 2017. It’s filled with heart and soul, takes an honest look at racial discrimination, and doesn’t hold back any punches. It’s so honest and raw that it hurts to read and it’s precisely because of that that everyone and anyone, young or old, needs to read The Hate U Give.