Jordan Sonnenblick first impressed me with Notes from the Midnight Driver, which I enjoyed for it's humor, it's emotion, and the way Sonnenblick's characters love music. Like Notes from the Midnight Driver, this book is for teens (unlike some of his other middle grade titles) and features a character with an interest in the arts—this time photography. Actually, Peter is a baseball pitcher who has big plans to play high school baseball with his best friend AJ. However, a major arm injury leaves Peter with no chance of ever pitching again. So he enters high school not quite knowing who he is without baseball as his identity. Fortunately, his grandfather, a professional photographer, has been subtley teaching him the art of photography and turns his equipment over to Peter when he need it most. Unfortunately, Peter sees signs of dementia in his grandfather and doesn't know how to best get help for him. In another fortunate turn of events, Peter meets Angelika in photography class and she becomes more than just his photography partner. This book has no huge surprises or big twists and turns—it's just a year in the life of a kid trying to be himself and do the right thing for his family, friends, and girlfriend. It's alternately funny and sad and a great choice for 8th or 9th graders.
The back cover says this is "a romantic thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world" and that's exactly what it is. It's a fast-paced story of June, a wealthy military prodigy and an excellent strategist, and Day, a defiant young criminal fighting against the evil Republic. As you might guess, the two characters are fighting against each other but end up attracted to each other. It's a good story with lots of action and intrigue and yes, romance. It kept me interested but it did not have the "wow" factor that I thought it might have. I think if it had come out before The Hunger Games (and so many other post-apocalyptic romances) it would have a lot more of an impact on me. I hate to compare every post-apocalyptic book to The Hunger Games--it's kind of like comparing every fantasy to Harry Potter. But the truth is, teens will make these comparisons and they are hungry for books that will blow their minds and rock their worlds. Legend was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to readers of futuristic fiction, but I can't say it is as complex, mind-bending, or as well-written as Suzanne Collins' books.