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The Polaris Uprising (Polaris, Book 1) Book Cover The Polaris Uprising (Polaris, Book 1)
Jennifer Ibarra
Young Adult Dystopia
Tiwala Books
October 30, 2013
ARC c/o Pinoy Book Tours

No citizen shall be left behind.

Life in Neress is simple. For nearly four decades, people have known exactly what’s expected of them. Obey the rules, follow the path that’s been laid out, and everything will be provided for: food, shelter, education, safety. No need goes unmet.

But the cost is steep: you lose all rights to make your own choices in life.

In seven years, eighteen-year-old Ryla Jensen will come of age and take over for her father as president of this idyllic nation. Groomed since childhood to take on a role she’s not even sure she wants, Ryla’s only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are finally opened to the oppressive regime her father built, she begins to question everything she’s set to inherit—and finds herself at odds with her sister’s blind allegiance to their father.

Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla must decide just how far she’s willing to go to make a stand and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna.


About the Author:

Jennifer Ibarra grew up on a steady diet of books, Star Wars, and other fantastic feats of the imagination. Her debut novel, The Polaris Uprising, is the first book in a trilogy and mixes dystopia with family drama, romance, and political intrigue.

She lives in Silicon Valley, where she does marketing for a tech company and spends her time running, cooking, baking, and keeping up with celebrity gossip.

Author links:

Website: jenniferibarra.com
Facebook: facebook.com/officialjenniferibarra
Twitter: twitter.com/writejenwrite
Tumblr: writejenwrite.tumblr.com
Goodreads: goodreads.com/jenniferibarra


Note from the Author:

​Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another. Those who have read THE POLARIS UPRISING will know that I dedicated it to my dear friend, Brittanie, whom we lost to Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2010. She was only 26 years old. In her memory, I am pledging to donate $1 out of every sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society from now until October 6--the day she was diagnosed with the disease that took her life. Every donation up to $2,000 will be matched by my employer, so your generosity will be doubled! Thank you in advance for helping me in this special cause.

Click the image to see the other reviews written for this tour.


It has been a while since I last read a dystopian novel so I was really excited to read this one. The fact that it was written by a Filipino author, Jennifer Ibarra, made it all the more interesting for me.


I think that this novel is easy to relate to despite the fact that it’s set in a place far more technologically advanced than present times.  Readers can relate to the characters of both sisters, Ryla and Alanna Jensen, who embody a relationship much like any normal pair of sisters. Despite having different personalities, they are very close and obviously love and respect each other very much. So, it’s very interesting to find out how this series will pan out knowing that they will eventually choose rival paths that will no doubt put a lot of strain in their relationship as sisters.


The relationship between the sisters and their dad, President Jensen, the president of the Republic of Neress, is also a lot like a typical father-daughter relationship. There is obviously much love between father and daughters but there’s also conflict because there are differences in what the father wants for his daughters’ future and what they want for themselves. There is a constant struggle to obey and please their father but at the same time, feel as if whatever they do is not enough. I have no doubt that those of you who have this kind of relationship with your parents will find it interesting how these two girls have chosen to deal with their circumstances.


Beyond the family relationships though, a lot of people will also relate to the citizens of Neress as a whole, especially those from countries who have experienced a ruling dictator. The plot is not exactly original. Neress is being run by politicians who abuse their power to protect their own interests and who act as if they really know what’s best for each citizen.


What’s unique about Neress is that it is the government who chooses the career path of each citizen, based solely on the results of some aptitude tests.  I find this very interesting and at the same time I can imagine how frustrated the citizens of Neress must be when they are forced into a path they would not have chosen for themselves. Much of this novel is all about the political struggle between the government and the so-called leftist group, Polaris. It makes me wonder if Ibarra, being Filipino, patterned this somehow with our country’s own experience with dictatorship many years ago.


I found this book a bit long. At first I didn’t know that this was part of a series (haha!). Much of the first half of the novel focused a lot on introducing the characters and the political atmosphere. It was only around the second half that it became really exciting with all the interesting twists and revelations. It was only then that I realized that this is only the first book of a series. So, that’s when it made sense to me  why the first half of the book is the way it is. Ibarra was still laying out the groundwork for the rest of the series and I must say she really did a good job with it.


How this book ended is very much like a season-ender episode of a TV series. It really left me hanging and wanting more. I expect that the next book will be more exciting since all the groundwork has been laid out already in this one. If you’re looking for a new young adult dystopian series to read, this is something I really recommend. I can’t wait for book number 2!



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  1. This is interesting ha. I, too, have never read anything like this written by a Filipino. I have a long list of books I want to read; I will definitely add this one.
    Kim | Mom On Duty recently posted…I Was Offered A Regular Job And I Didn’t Take It – What Was I Thinking?!My Profile

    1. I’ve never really read anything like this by a Filipino too. That’s why I decided to read it. 🙂
      Janice Lim recently posted…Father’s Day For The Man In Our HouseMy Profile

  2. Like Neress, I just don’t know if it is true but someone told me that in Singapore, if you want to be a doctor but you did not pass the standard, you can’t be a doctor. Your course depends on your test result.
    Michi recently posted…Thoughtful and Personal CreationsMy Profile

    1. Wow, really? I didn’t know that about Singapore either. Interesting!
      Janice Lim recently posted…Father’s Day For The Man In Our HouseMy Profile

  3. I haven’t read any book that isn’t a devotional kind in a while! Mukhang interesting ‘to!
    Roxi – Mr. Jacob’s Mom recently posted…My Experience at St. Luke’s Global CityMy Profile

    1. Yeah, it is very interesting. Makes you think about politics. Hehehe. But in a not boring way.
      Janice Lim recently posted…Father’s Day For The Man In Our HouseMy Profile

  4. Interesting! Filipino-authored pa!
    Que Sullano – Gavan recently posted…Good Housekeeping’s Get Hooked on DIY with 3MMy Profile

  5. Super uso ng dystopian novels now, specially among the YA genre no?
    Patty | MrsC recently posted…Quiet Time + What’s Blogging This WeekMy Profile

  6. I can probably relate to this book, or maybe a lot of kids, because parents really want their legacy to be passed on through their kids, sometimes not even considering if they want it.
    Sam recently posted…Capones Island, Camara Island: Sea & Summit Adventure 2My Profile

  7. This is a fabulous giveaway! Thanks for sharing!
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