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Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Stung (edition 2013)

by Bethany Wiggins

Series: Stung (1)

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119None102,651 (3.82)1
Authors:Bethany Wiggins
Info:Walker Childrens (2013), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Stung by Bethany Wiggins




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Imagine what would happen if the extinction of bees really happened. What would our world be like? This book really gets you thinking. With its grit and raw descriptive detail you get thrown into and engulfed in a filthy world that makes you feel like you want to take a bath while reading the book. A nonstop adventure with constant twists and turns make the story such a fast absorbent read. One can almost engulf the entire book in one setting. I really enjoyed getting to know Fiona & Bowen. Fiona wakes from a long sleep to find she is in a different world than she remembers. Struggling to understand her surroundings and survive this new world are almost more than she can handle, but with a little help, she finds her way back home, even if home isn’t exactly what it used to be. She is a modern sleeping beauty who happens upon her prince charming in a most epic way. The two main characters, Fiona and Bowen, are empathetic and compassionate despite what has happened to them. They are not hardened to the harsh realities of their new world, but instead never give up in seeking a cure. From the epilogue, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a sequel coming and looks like there is one…“Cured” by Bethany Wiggins. Great book! ( )
  megemeg | Feb 26, 2014 |
I must be reading too many of this genre because I found myself wondering why every dystopian society degenerates into packs of wild gangs! But having said that, this is a good example of the genre - the story is tight, the scope is small enough to be done well, and the characters are likable. Even the things that seem to coincidental end up being explained which I liked. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Jan 13, 2014 |
See more reviews at The Best Books Ever!

My feelings about this book can be summed up pretty easily in one GIF:

Because at first I was all YES THIS IS AWESOME THIS BOOK IS SO CREEPY AND UNSETTLING AND I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT but by about 60% in I was like NO WAIT STOP GO BACK THIS IS NOT THE BOOK I THOUGHT I WAS READING and then I got to the epilogue and I was like COME ON ARE YOU KIDDING ME. (My word choice might have been less charitable but we like to keep it clean around here.)

I have never been more sad about not liking a book, to be totally honest. The premise is fascinating and at least vaguely grounded in reality -- not the maniacal zombie beasts part, but the parts which are rooted in the very current, real-world problem of honeybees dying at alarming rates. In the first few chapters, we are immediately plunged into a filthy, desperate, terrifying world with Fiona, who has no memory of what possibly went wrong, and it's absolutely thrilling. Like, heart pounding in your chest, chills down your spine. I thought it was masterfully written, and captured the horror of suddenly waking up in this terrible world where there are violent beasts and armed militias and no hope whatsoever. With both the reader and Fiona having no context for what's happening, the opening was so very effective at building mood and tension.

And then the book turned into a completely unadvertised love story.


Now, despite the fact that I spend a lot of time complaining about romances, I am not totally anti-love story. I just want it to be realistic and not icky. Stung gets the realistic part right -- you try being around Hottie McHotterson 24/7, the only person who treats you like you're a real person, and not falling for them -- but fails on the icky factor. Here's why it didn't work for me (I will be vague, so as to avoid big spoilers, especially considering that the love story aspect isn't even promoted in the book summary):

* Fiona wakes up with the body of someone in her late teens, but the last thing she remembers is a time period roughly around her 13th birthday. So she's got the mind of a tween/early teen and the body of a woman. I don't know, if I were Hottie McHotterson, I'd maybe be taken aback by this fact. Fiona hardly even has time to adjust to this horrible new world she's found herself in, let alone her new body and advanced age. The love interest knows this - he knows about the years Fiona is missing - but it doesn't seem to give him much pause.
* In true YA fashion, things progress from mutual dislike of one another to "I don't want to live without you" in no time flat. A backstory is given for the characters to try to give their relationship a little more context and realism, but it didn't work for me, and also helped emphasize how weird my first point there was.
* One character calls Fiona a nickname from their school years: Fotard. It's one of those bullying, pigtail-pulling sorts of names, but all I could think of was that with so much attention and emphasis on trying to eradicate "the r-word" as a slur from people's vocabulary, the author surely could have picked something else. There's got to be another teasing sort of nickname for Fiona which doesn't have the association with calling someone you don't like or someone who is different from you "retarded". Especially considering the fact that the name winds up being used somewhat affectionately by the characters.
* Rape, or threat thereof, as a plot point. I have complained about it before and will continue complaining about it every time I see it. This book basically says that all women need to hide themselves away/dress like boys/be ugly in order to not get raped, and that all men are basically so starved for that sort of contact that they can't control themselves and will force themselves on any woman around. As long as she's hot. It is a stupid, stupid plot point and it's sexist all around and a cop-out and I'm tired of seeing it in media.
* By the end of the book, things start to fall apart. There was a lot of telling-not-showing and a lot of things happened very quickly in ways that didn't always make sense on a first read-through. (As a grown adult who has been reading for longer than some published authors have been alive, I should not have to read passages of a book marketed towards teens several times to understand what happened.) And there's also a case of Completely Unnecessary Epilogue. I understand that authors and publishers want to leave books open for a potential series if they perform well, but Stung had a completely satisfactory ending on its own. The epilogue felt cheap and tacked on, like it was a ploy to please, please let a sequel get green-lit.

Sorry if I sound bitter, but the beginning gave me such hope and the rest of the book didn't live up to it, in my opinion. I give the first few chapters of this book five solid resounding stars for the horror and creep-factor, and then I take off a couple for the way I felt let down by the rest of the story. It's another case of getting something totally different from what I was expecting, I suppose. ( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
This is a really good book! It is an apocalyptic themed book. It has a mix of romance and danger. ( )
  21curlytop | Nov 8, 2013 |
I recently served as the research assistant to a professor at my law school who wrote a comical presentation on zombies and tax law. So I know my zombies. And technically, this isn’t a zombie book. It’s more like 28 Days Later and the rage virus, really. Fast, crazed humans who feast on one another when they have the chance. Creepy stuff, no doubt. But zombie lit? Maybe. If we give it a broad definition.

In Stung, our heroine Fiona Tarsis – known affectionately as Fo – finds herself waking up in her own bed. The problem is that this is not the same house she remembered and she is not the same person. When she last went to sleep everything was normal and she was thirteen years old. Now? The world is a veritable wasteland and filled with deadly, ravenous ‘beasts’ that were once human. And she is several years older with a strange tattoo with ten marks on her hand.

Stung throws the reader into the action immediately as Fiona is forced to race from her home and flee into a drastically changed world. People like her – people with the ‘mark of the beast’ on their hands – are feared and they are all a bit crazy. The more marks the crazier they are… and ten is the most anyone can have. Eventually she is captured by the militia outside a walled city were only certain people are allowed to take refuge. She is reunited with an old neighbor – Bowen – who takes a chance on her and vows to protect her. Not just from the beasts that roam the world now but from others, too. See, in this world, women are a commodity and if he doesn’t protect her she’ll never live to see the safety of the city or the lab that seeks to experiment on her in order to find a cure. And while serving as some crazy scientists’ guinea pig doesn’t sound that doesn’t seem like the greatest future, in this world, it’s really the safest option.

But even that might not be safe.

It’s certainly an interesting angle that Wiggins took with this dystopian future. In Stung, the world has changed drastically and quickly. And it all began with the impending extension of the honey bees and science’s desires to stop it at all costs. Unfortunately the cost turned out to be higher than they ever anticipated. The virus that makes everyone go crazy is spread by the vaccine to a flu that was caused by the sting of genetically engineered honey bees. The plan was for them to survive and thrive to keep on pollinating. Unfortunately the pesticide they then used to kill the bees did just that – plus it killed most of the livestock, birds, and plants. Even some people. Viruses caused by vaccines aren’t new but the bee angle was a nice twist. It adds a little environmentalist flare to it all and gets kids thinking about the repercussions of genetic engineering.

I do question, though, just how everything changed so quickly. The world that Wiggins describes is a far departure from our own. And we know from what Fiona remembers and what she looks like now that not that much time has passed.

Anyway, it’s definitely a book worth reading. And I really like that it actually ended. A lot of YA books these days push really hard to leave things open for a sequel or are commissioned as a series (usually a trilogy). They live it open a bit for a sequel but it’s really just a small bit. The bulk of the story ends and there is a a good resolution. They could make a sequel but… I don’t know. We need more good standalone books these days. ( )
  samaside | Sep 29, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802734189, Hardcover)

Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:41:54 -0400)

When a vaccine to save endangered bees causes their sting to turn children into ferocious killer beasts, the uninfected build a wall to keep the beasts out, but Fiona wakes up on the wrong side of the wall.

(summary from another edition)

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