Legend by Marie Lu (2011)

legendA super popular dystopian adventure.

Recommended grade level: 7-11

Pages: 305 (for ISBN 9780399256752)

Genre(s) and keywords: dystopian, science fiction, romance (just a little)

Tone/Style: bleak

Pace: moderate

Topics: military, outlaws, tests, epidemics, poverty, gifted

Themes: resistance, family

Summary: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. (Source)

Who will like this book?: This books has proved to have wide appeal. Fans of dystopian, science fiction, adventure, and romance should all find something to love here. I often suggest it as a readalike for big-name titles like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner.

Who won’t like this book?: The flood of dystopian titles after The Hunger Games left a lot of people, especially voracious readers, burnt out from the genre. Those looking for something heavy in emotion or character development may be disappointed, as this is more of a plot-focused book.

Other comments: There is some romancey stuff, but it’s pretty tame. (I believe there was kissing and some non-sensitive-region touching.)

Sequel(s):  Prodigy (2013), Champion (2013)

Readalikes: Most recent YA dystopian novels will make good readalikes. Try The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Roar by Emma Clayton, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.


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