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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner in the teen sci-fi arena!
The characters in this book are so real and compelling, even if you are not in their age group. I was lingering between four and five stars, but the fact is that I couldn't put this book down, so I think it deserves a "love it". An apocalyptic world is not such an outlandish concept anymore, and this was such an interesting take on our future world that it felt...
Published 9 months ago by MARGERY AFRAM

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WHAT!!!!!
I was asked to read and review “Paradigm” by Helen Stringer. I enjoy dystopians especially when they take place in the USA. I liked Sam’s character. He’s a hero type in search of answers and he never gives up. Alma is also a great kick ass character. I liked her arsenal of weapons, especially the knives in her hair. She’s a character you...
Published 9 months ago by Beccie Weaver


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner in the teen sci-fi arena!, October 3, 2013
By 
MARGERY AFRAM (UNIVERSITY PARK, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paradigm (Paperback)
The characters in this book are so real and compelling, even if you are not in their age group. I was lingering between four and five stars, but the fact is that I couldn't put this book down, so I think it deserves a "love it". An apocalyptic world is not such an outlandish concept anymore, and this was such an interesting take on our future world that it felt very real. Sam was such a fun main character, I could just picture that smile of his! He is a tall dark "man of mystery", but also a compassionate kid. Nice combo! My only regret was that the ending conflict was so brief, bit of a let down after all the great building up of the complexities of Sam's situation. I find that I wanted more excitement and resolution in that scene, but it does leave me wanting more!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart plot, great characters, amazing book, January 20, 2014
By 
Jeri Gloege (Durham, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paradigm (Paperback)
After spending hours in bookstores and online looking for strong female *and* male characters in a well-written book for my 14 year old daughter, I had the privilege of meeting Helen Stringer. Shortly after my daughter read Paradigm and was immediately caught up in the post-environmental apocalyptic world of Sam. To say she could not put the book down until she had read it cover to cover twice is an understatement. Amazon makes it very hard for teens to review so she asked me to review it here for her. In her words, "this is a great book. For me as a teen, I immediately liked the character of Sam. He's bookish, smart, and flawed. He's a guy I would want to be friends with, you know? I loved how he was such a complete character but also a teenager and he made mistakes, trusted the wrong people, and went on this amazing path to learn who he was as a person. And then there's Alma and she's this amazing warrior chick who goes through this emotional journey from being sort of two-dimensional but then you find she loves Sam. It's so great that this was part her internal makeup but it wasn't all about this massive boy-girl emotional thing. The love is part of her individual journey but does not define her. The book made me think - really I started getting more into reading environmental issues because I can see us as people heading down a path towards this Paradigm world so before I gave the book to my mom, I read it again with my laptop open, googling issues like smog, carbon dioxide and ozone effects, global warming and such. It totally opened me up to thinking about the world today and what we're doing to it. I've never written a review before so I am missing so much I know but really all I can say is the book is amazing. It should be part of a literature and Science curriculum because it can make a kid care about the world we live in while entertaining at the same time. Oh yes, and the bad "guy" is a woman and that was completely awesome." - D. Gloege

Now my review... when my daughter finally gave me the book, I read it from cover to cover in about a week. This book can be a quick read but frankly you'll miss something. The plot is complex but not so complex that you cannot follow it. The scientific ideas thrown out there are, frankly, terrifying if you think about them. The concept of Mutha is very Orwellian and has a great plot twist towards the end that makes you go back into earlier chapters to see if you missed a clue here or there. Sam is someone I would want my teenager to date - he's flawed but in such a way that is endearing yet makes you want to shake him a little - you know, he's a believable teenage boy! The other characters are wonderfully written and makes me want to beg Helen for books just about Alma, Nathan and the sinister Carolyn Bast. to learn more about their back stories. It's not that there are gaping holes around who these characters are - you do understand them and the part they play in Sam's story and in the Paradigm world but they are interesting, not just bit players. I did scratch my head about Sam's ability to find gas but realized I so enjoyed the idea of him in that GTO that I let it go - suspension of disbelief is not a bad thing!! I highly recommend parents read this book with their kids, before their kids, or after their kids do simply because it can generate so many great dinner table discussions and is so relatable to current events happening right now. But you don't need a kid in your life to pick up this book. It's a great YA read and a good read for adults as well, kids in their life or not.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great young adult Sci-fi, January 1, 2014
This review is from: Paradigm (Kindle Edition)
This was a really fabulous book with well thought out characters and fun action sequences. It is a great young adult or perhaps late teen story with a young Sam who is thrown into a strange world with powers he doesn't fully understand. As any young man, he just wants a cool car and a normal life, however that's just not in the cards.

The character of Alma is also very intriguing, who doesn't like a strong attractive woman who keeps razor blades in her hair?! I always loved when she showed up.

Nathan is also an interesting character who keeps you wondering. I really liked him at first and then I hated him... in a good way. What I mean by that, without giving away any spoilers, is that he's well written.

Overall I thought the story was clear, exciting, and fantastic. It's a kept me interested and I read it in three days, which for me in a nearly breakneck pace.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, January 10, 2014
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This review is from: Paradigm (Kindle Edition)
Great book, I enjoyed it a lot. This is one of those books that when you finish and just kind of sit there for thirty minutes or so and feel sad. Great plot overall and well drawn out characters. Most of the time when you read a book from third person there is less emotion but this one really captured everything. Off to read a less satisfying book now, thanks for the great read.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WHAT!!!!!, October 21, 2013
This review is from: Paradigm (Paperback)
I was asked to read and review “Paradigm” by Helen Stringer. I enjoy dystopians especially when they take place in the USA. I liked Sam’s character. He’s a hero type in search of answers and he never gives up. Alma is also a great kick ass character. I liked her arsenal of weapons, especially the knives in her hair. She’s a character you would definitely want on your side. The story itself is well written and full of action. It’s not boring in any sense. That being said, the majority of the time I was thinking “WHAT?” or “HUH!”. I may share some SPOILERS here but I have to try and explain why I was so confuddeled. Okay, so at the beginning these monks are guarding a box. My first questions were… why monks and what’s so special about this box? No answer to the monk thing…that I came across. A few chapters later I learn the box is a paradigm device. Okay, what’s a paradigm device? The paradigm device controls MUTHA. What’s MUTHA you ask? I forget the acronym but it’s basically a computer capable of thinking that this whole future society is reliant on…I think!! I’m not quite sure what led to this future only that there were several collapses and big bankers and water wars were mentioned once. I guess readers have to use their imaginations and come up with something. There’s a group of people who worship a toxic lake that they give sacrifices to in order to keep powers…HUH okay. The high and mighty people use the fish of the toxic lake as a drug and when they add tarragon it becomes a mind control drug…again HUH!!! I just went with it, but do you see where my questions came from now. It seemed like the author just threw everything into the story. There’s more but I will leave it for you to discover. I give “Paradigm” 3/5 stars. While I liked the characters and it was full of action, I had way too many questions and head scratching moments.
[...]
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but a few detours, August 13, 2013
This review is from: Paradigm (Paperback)
Parts of this book intrigued me and others left me scratching my head in frustration. It generally kept my interest, but seemed very disjointed along the way.

I liked Sam - he loved his books and his car and seemed pretty loyal. His internal monologue gave me some laughs and he recognized his biggest fault - impetuousness but, to his credit, it was mostly for good reasons. The secrets surrounding Sam seemed to drag on too long and, as a reader, I was very frustrated. I understand not giving things away too early, but this was overkill. It wasn't until deep in the book that questions were answered. There were also contradictions with Sam's character traits - in one paragraph he said his parents raised him to be happy with what he had, but then further down the page, he's ranting about how he'll always want more and sometimes his choices of action seemed to be pretty random.

Alma was a strong character, but the romantic aspects with her and Sam seemed forced and the fact that she kept turning up at crucial moments was a little too convenient. Alma's character was essential to the plot, but I didn't see how their relationship really added anything.

I enjoyed the world-building and the basic plot, but felt like there were a lot of detours along the way before arriving at the real heart of the story. Many of the secondary characters were there for a purpose, but some could have been cut for a tighter, more concise storyline.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early YA Apocalyptic Adventure That Has It All, June 8, 2014
By 
Pop Bop "Pause and Reflect" (Denver, Colorado, United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Paradigm (Kindle Edition)
I like my post-collapse apocalyptic dystopias to be challenging with a touch of threat, but not so grim and depraved that they read like YA snuff films with an extra side helping of sadism. For early YA it seems the point of a post-collapse scenario is to create an unsettled and menacing but manageable environment and to get the reader thinking a bit about how the collapse happened.

I also like the story to be driven by the characters and the writing, rather than by some convoluted and intricate plot or by non-stop peril and action.

If that sounds like what interests you, then have I got a book for you.

Sam Cooper is a smart, decent and adaptable survivor. He and his pal Nathan are cruising a post-collapse America in Sam's almost magical GTO. Forget about how they find gas and so on; this is a road trip book so you need a radical car. (No one ever survived an apocalypse in a Volvo.) They're just grifting along until they run across warrior chick Alma, who keeps turning up to get them out of tight fixes. But then sophisticated bad guys show up and it almost seems like they're looking for Sam. Then there are hints that Sam might be "special". Then the plot takes off. NO SPOILERS.

At least two very good things are happening here. First, we have strong, relatable, engaging characters. I'm not sure how you can have a successful early YA book without that. Second, we have high quality, carefully crafted, but restrained writing. Stringer can create good characters, she does snappy smart dialogue, she can set a scene, and it turns out she can style a taut action/confrontation scene. She can also unfold a plot without lots of exposition and she can pace a suspenseful buildup.

In fact, there's a lot here that is less clunky and more engaging than what you would find in a mainstream "adult" suspense thriller.

It finally dawned on me that this Helen Stringer is also the author responsible for the "Spellbinder" series for middle grade readers. I think that that series is one of the best magical tween heroine series out there, so I shouldn't have been surprised by the success of this step up in targeted reading age.

Anyway, this book is fun, it's clever, it's suspenseful, and it's polished. That works for me.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely charming, March 1, 2014
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This review is from: Paradigm (Kindle Edition)
I am not normally impressed by stories about a dystopian future, because most of such societies are poorly thought through and the story ends up contradicting either itself or basic logic. And characters tend to be unidimensional, people one tends to forget as soon as the book ends. This book was an exception on both counts. It is true that the causes of the downfall were not discussed in great detail, but one could get the idea that things happened in the natural course of events, perhaps encouraged by some scientific discoveries and technological advances. And the characters in the story are wonderfully crafted, people one wants to know more about. The book also comes to a natural end, although there are clear avenues for one or more sequels. I will keep my eyes open for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written dystopia!, February 24, 2014
By 
Eric Johnson (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Paradigm (Kindle Edition)
While I prefer straight Sci-fi, this 'after the fourth collapse' dystopia is very well written. The characters are very well developed and consistent, which provides for a very good story. The particulars of the state of society make the plot work well. There's enough twists to make it interesting and helps you to identify with the protagonist.
I highly recommend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, January 28, 2014
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This review is from: Paradigm (Kindle Edition)
Excellent storytelling about the USA of the future post-holocaust. The author has captured how a fractured society finds it's own way to survive, and the effect of a couple of young men with a vision.
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Paradigm
Paradigm by Helen Stringer
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