Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Atom and Eve

About the Book:

Set several years in the future, sixteen-year-old Ricky Romanello, a college freshman, is playing basketball when he collapses and winds up in a coma sirring from a powerful flu that hits the U.S. population causing deaths and a dramatic slowdown in the economy. Research scientist Dr. Mandy Fox has been developing an anti-aging drug that she believes could eradicate the flu. Ricky becomes one of the test subjects. But Ricky and others soon discover that an unintended side effect of the new drug and vaccine has catastrophic consequences for the entire population.

My Review:

This was a fascinating sci-fi novel to read. It was fast paced and kept you engaged the whole time. We used this book as a read aloud for part of our kids home education and I knew it was a hit when they asked if I had other books by Jeff! What more can a mom want then kids who have a desire to keep reading? Jeff does a marvelous job of touching on some great issues that this country has faced and may face in the future as well, such as a female president, gender politics, pandemics, new strains of viruses, and creation of new drugs. I thought the author did a wonderful job of introducing new characters and giving us good detailed background information on them, although at times he did go a little too in depth.

The group discussion guides and teacher guides were a blessing to me. There are so many differnt issues in this book that it was nice to have a guide to start from and expand on as new questions from my kids came up.

My daughter I think liked the book the best simply because the "women rock" and get to do all the things I tell are mainly for boys. I may never hear the end of it now. My sons were a little disgusted at times by how easily everyone seemed to except the gender role change and how God did not design men and women the same and was not to be tampered with. They felt it was simply not realistic and would never be allowed to happen so easily with no uprising.I was not a fan of the rape scenes and how underplayed they were and how there seemed to be do damaging effects to the raped individuals, but they acted nonchalantly about it instead. 

I know some might say the book is sexist, but as a Christian I believe firmly in the gender roles and this book caused issues with me in that regard. God designed each gender uniquely and equipped us with certain duties that I believe we are to follow, not because women are unequipped to do a job a man can or vise versa, but because that is how our Creator designed it. Gender-bending issues I feel are one of the top issues we are facing now. With so many fathers abandoning their children boys are being taught to be men by women who are not equipped and this has left us with a very feminine male population who are confused about their roles in society and the home. Its a tough issue to tackle and this book gave us some great discussions around our house into that issue.

Overall I would recommend this book, but only if you have a solid foundation built into your children of proper, biblical gender roles and you are prepared to answer ALOT of questions regarding sexual abuse. This well-written novel has an intriguing plot as well as memorable characters. Although a Ya novel with a lead character who is 16, there are enough other characters, and underlying themes that are provocative and important for teens and adults to consider, that this novel should appeal to adults as well as teens alike.


Class Discussion Topics or Projects
Class Discussion Topics or Projects (From Classroom Discussion Guide provided by the publisher, Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc. Copyright 2013 by Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint granted.)
1. One of the social and political hypotheticals in the novels is that there is the first female presidential candidate in the United States, Kendra Martin. Looking ahead to the 2016 election, do you see this as a possibility? Why? Why not? Why do you think there has not yet been a female presidential candidate or president in the United States? What other Westernized nations have had or currently have a female president? (Some examples are: Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil since 2011; Park Geeun-hye, President of South Korea since February 2013; and Cristina Fernandez, president of Argentina since 2007.) Do you think their gender was a factor in how they ruled or currently rule their nation? Why? Why not?
2. The lead character in
Atom & Eve is 16-year-old Ricky Romanello. Ricky gets a flu that is a new strain, without a cure, and soon it is proving fatal. Research other flu epidemics and pandemics in history, such as the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Bird Flu of 2004, and even in current events. What aare some of the major pandemics in history? What were the causes? What is the process of testing new drugs to prevent or cure new strains of flu? How is that process that the government follows the similar or different to the way the new drug is tested out in Atom & Eve?

3. The novel is “set in the near future,” which puts it in the category of “sci-fi.” Do you ever think about what will be different in the future? Will there be different about cars or planes or how we get around? What other novels set in the future have you read? Does this novel motivate you to read other novels set in the near or distant future? Why do you think a novelist uses the literary device of setting a novel in the future rather than writing about what’s going on in the present or even the recent past?
4. A key theme in Atom & Eve is how the drug to cure or prevent the pandemic flu starts to have gender-bending consequences as boys and men become more like girls or women and girls become more like boys. Do you think there is the possibility of someone inventing such a drug? What traits do girls have that boys might actually benefit from? And what traits do girls have that boys usually lack that might actually help boys? How much of how the different genders act and look is genetic and how much is environmental or social?
5. Have you ever thought of writing a novel? If you were to write a novel, what genre do you think you’d want to write it in? sci-fi? Romance? Adventure? Mystery? What might you write about? Who is your favorite novelist and why?
6. Who is your favorite character in Atom and Eve? Why?
7. Who is your least favorite character in Atom and Eve? Why?
8. What questions would you like to ask the author of the novel, Jeff Yager?


Discussion Questions
 1. The very first line in Atom and Eve is this quote by the author: “Men and women will never truly understand each other until they switch roles and view life from the other’s perspective.” This is a primary theme and leads us to wonder how we would react to such changes.  Have you ever thought about what it might be like if you were born as the opposite sex to what you are now? 
2. A key theme in Atom and Eve is how the drug to cure or prevent the pandemic flu starts to have gender-bending consequences. Do you think there is the possibility of someone inventing such a drug? What traits do men have that women might actually benefit from? And what traits do women have that men usually lack that might actually help men?
3. The novel is “set in the near future,” which puts it in the category of “sci-fi.” Why do you think a novelist uses the literary device of setting a novel in the future rather than writing about what’s going on in the present or even in the recent past?
4. Who is your favorite character in Atom and Eve? Why?
5. Who is your least favorite character in Atom and Eve? Why?
6. One of the social and political hypotheticals in the novels is that there is a female presidential candidate in the United States, Kendra Martin. Looking ahead to the 2016 election, do you see this as a possibility? Why? Why not? Why do you think there has not yet been a female presidential candidate or president in the United States? Do you see that changing in the near or distant future? Why? Why not?
7. Have you ever thought about how drugs are tested or approved by a government? What did you learn about how that process occurs in the novel that you think mirrors or contradicts what really happens? How long do you think it usually take to get a new drug or vaccine tested and approved by the federal government?
8. If you were the author of Atom and Eve, are there any characters you would have depicted differently, or plot points that you would have changed? Why?
9. If you could ask the author a question about his novel, what would it be?
10. Find the scene and dialogue you like the most in the novel and pair up with someone else in the Reading Group to act out that scene for the group. Let’s discuss those characters, the scene, and the dialogue. Why did you pick that particular scene and dialogue out from the novel?
11. The author uses the device of beginning each chapter with a quote from someone famous. Do you like that device? Why? Why not? What is your favorite quote? What other novels or nonfiction books have you read that use that same literary technique?

Author Photo - 1About the Author:Jeff Yager grew up in Stamford, Connecticut and now resides in Clearwater, Florida. ATOM & EVE is his first novel.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review. The views expressed are my own.
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