All Book Reviews

96 Miles
Esplin, J. L.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

John and Stewart’s father is a survivalist. At their home in a remote part of Nevada, they have everything they need to sustain them for six months – water, food, gas, even a generator to keep the refrigerator running. So when the power goes out for half the country, the brothers aren’t too worried, even though their father is away. They’re doing better than a lot of other people who weren’t prepared. But then, a group of men come in pickup trucks and they take everything. They force John and Stewart to kneel on the floor at gunpoint and one man tells John, “I’m sorry, kid, but we need what
you’ve got.”
Now, their only chance for survival is to walk 96 miles in the blazing desert heat to a friend’s ranch. There’s also a time limit. It’s important that they make the trip in three days - no longer than that – and Stewart won’t believe that he’s not going to die.
Then they encounter another set of siblings, Cleverly and her younger brother, Will. Cleverly decides that her best option is to join them, but John is not certain whether having Cleverly and Will tag along will help or hurt his chances to get Stewart to the ranch in time.
Every day is a struggle to find food, drinkable water, and to keep Stewart on his feet. Together, the four of them experience the desperate things that people feel justified to do in times of crisis and the best and worst of human nature, both in themselves and in others they find along the way.

Reviewer's Name: Cynde
How I Became a Spy
Hopkinson, Deborah
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

On his very first assignment as a civil defense messenger in World War II London, Bertie Bradshaw finds the diary of a spy lying in the street. He eagerly reads about the young spy’s training and how she parachuted into France to assume her new covert role. Things soon begin to sound dangerous as one by one her fellow agents are captured by the Nazis. Then the diary suddenly changes into code.

Bertie decides to trust a gutsy American girl, Eleanor, and his best friend David, who is Jewish, with the secrets in the diary. In a race against time, they must try to decode the final messages and then track down not only the spy who wrote them but also the traitor who is leaking information to the Nazis - information so vital that it will affect the success of the invasion of France and the lives of countless allied agents.

I immediately felt affinity for Bertie because he is a believable thirteen-year-old, forgetting his helmet and his training at first but then gaining courage and confidence as the story progresses. Bertie is also struggling with what seem to be panic attacks, stemming from the bombing of his house and the separation of his family, which makes his determination all the more admirable. I also enjoyed Little Roo, Bertie’s trained rescue dog, who has more to do with the success or failure of the venture than you might think.

Reviewer's Name: Cynde
The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is an amazing book about Greek Mythology. Percy Jackson, the main character, learns who he is and sets off on a crazy journey to return something very valuable. He has to fight dangerous monsters along side his two friends and save his mom. Percy learns that there are actually Greek gods and that they probably want to kill him. This book is a great book for all ages and I would definitely recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Lily K.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is an essential piece of literature. It tells a story that highlights the darkness of America's past, through the innocent eyes of a young girl. With this type of narrator, who almost only understands pure truth, joy, and rage, it is possible for readers to feel what she feels, and be brought into her small world (Alabama during the Great Depression) with simple, yet beautiful writing. The story itself is touching, and focuses on themes of family, racism, and solidarity. Aside from its essentiality in explaining America's history, it also can be read as a coming of age story, where the characters begin to see the harsh reality of the world in which they grew up, and in which they created lasting memories and relationships. It will make you laugh, cry, and feel.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
The Pros of Cons
Cherry, Alison & Ribar, Lindsay & Schusterman, Michelle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Pros of Cons is a book about three girls at different conventions become friends. Vanessa Monotoya-O'Callaghan is going to a Fan Fiction convention with her friend Soleil. Pheobe Byrd is going to a Indoor Percussion Association convention with her percussion friends. Callie Buchannan is going to a Taxidermy convention with her dad as his assistant.

Vanessa and Soleil had never met but at the convention. They were online friends and they wrote fan fiction together, but they never met. It all started out great. The one issue is that Vanessa thought that Soleil was her girlfriend. On the first day Soleil read her own story in front of people instead of the one they worked on together. This made Vanessa angry but she kept it to herself. Then a few nights later Vanessa kissed her and that's when they fought. She had already met Callie. Soleil kicked her out of the
hotel room, and she went to stay with Callie. The the three friends decide to make a podcast for Vanessa's Creative Corner entry.

Pheobe runs into Callie while her and her friends where bringing percussion equipment places. They run into each other than Pheobe and Callie accidentally switch bags. In the group ensemble performance she realizes that she does'n't have her mallets. Then her friend Scott takes the mallets she was using for a solo. She ends up have to us scalpels from the solo and cuts up her hands. After the performance she has to put band aids on her hands. She gets in a fight with her best friend, Scott, and her roommate. The ends up in Callie's room.

Callie is with her dad and his turkeys. She is her dads assistant. On the first of the convention Callie meets her dads old assistant Jeremy. Jeremy is one of the judges, and Callie makes fun of her dad in front of him. After Jeremy leaves her dad yells at her for making fun of him in front of a judge. Callie is mad at her dad after this because he yelled at her and doesn't know she is even alive sometimes. Callie decides to sabotage her dads turkey seminar. During the seminar he deals with everything as if it was on purpose. Then Callie and her dad get in to a huge fight, because her mom left and court only gave Callie 4 weeks to live with her mom, but her mom offered full time. Her dad without even talking to Callie told her mom she didn't want to go. Callie was upset, but in the end they made up and are all good now.

I chose this book because of the clever title and how it was written in different point of views. I think the plot is excellent.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Uncaged
Sandford, John & Cook, Michele
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Uncaged is about how an animal rights group breaks in to a high profile animal testing facility. This facility is notorious for abusing, torturing, testing, and genetically modifying animals.The group is lead by Odin and Rachel and they want to expose the animal cruelty going on in the lab. After the break in the animal rights group was able to take videos and pictures as well get their hands on important flash drives, and rescue a monkey from the lab. Many members were killed and several were injured, and the operation was a disaster. Can the group decode the flash drives, rescue the animals, and remain safe from the lab's goons, before its too late? This book was not predictable and it was a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Fallen Architect
Belfoure, Charles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Douglas Layton was a famous architect and a hero until the balcony of London’s Britannia Empire Theater collapsed. The balcony caused many to lose their lives and Douglas Layton served prison time for it. After serving his time in prison Douglas is on a mission to find out who was truly responsible for this tragedy. He gets a job at the same theater and gets a brand new identity to disguise himself. Douglas gathers more evidence that this incident was intentional. He must tread the water carefully and not let anyone figure out who he is. Fallen Architect is a suspenseful mystery book that will grip the reader's interest and will have them craving for more.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Valiant
Livingston, Lesley
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Valiant follows the journey of a Celtic warrior from a princess to a slave to a famed gladiatrix. Throughout the story struggles with family, love, and trust. The warrior Fallon faces fierce rivals and feuds within Rome and even her ludus. Not long after arriving in her ludus she finds someone she thought was dead acting as master of the ludus. Eventually she meets Cesar the mastermind behind the fall of her home and the owner of her ludus.

Reviewer's Name: Sam
The Escape Artist
Meltzer, Brad
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Nola is the army's painter and a solider. She was working on a top secret military mission in Alaska before she died. She got on a military plane and it crashed killing everyone on board. Zig works at an Air Force base and finds out that Nola is miraculously still alive! Nola saved Zig's daughter a long time ago and Zig will do anything to find and be reunited with Nola. Can Zig get to Nola first before her enemies do? This book is a fast paced thriller that will engage the reader.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Today Tonight Tomorrow
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

(4.5 stars)
Today Tonight Tomorrow by Lynn Solomon tells the story of high school senior Rowan and her nemesis, Niel. They’ve been competing since freshman year, from writing contests to student body elections, and now, for the title of valedictorian. But at the end of their last day of high school, the seniors--partaking in the school’s tradition of Howl, a scavenger hunt-like game-- find themselves teaming up and realize that perhaps they’re not the enemies they thought they were. I thought this book was really cute. It made me smile much more than I thought it would. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the characters as the story went on, such as learning their little quirks or about their pasts. I liked the romance, and even though the haters to lovers trope is kinda cliche, it turns out I really, really like it. The author did a great job of executing their relationship. I strongly recommend this book, not just for those who like the YA romance genre. It was so sweet and fun, and even though I’m not yet a senior, I think it covered the topics of nostalgia well and that feeling of leaving what you know behind.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Doyle, Arthur Conan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Hound of the Baskervilles is another outstanding Sherlock Holmes novel. After wealthy landowner Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must investigate the rumors of an otherworldly hound with glowing eyes and jaw. The Hound of the Baskervilles once again showcases Sherlock Holmes brilliant deductive capabilities and the mental chess-match he plays with villains. However, this novel also shows Dr. Watson's wit and all that he has learned throughout his years with Holmes.
This gripping adventure will keep you on your toes and leave you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this book for any fan of classic mystery novels.

Reviewer's Name: John
Rain Reign
Martin, Ann
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Rain Reign is about a girl named Rose who loves homonyms. Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. She purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms. When a storm hits Roses town, Rain goes missing. Rose must find Rain even though it means going out of her comfort zone.
I really liked this book. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes fast reads. Even though it was a great book, there were a couple slow parts that I really had to push through. This book was an amazing fast read. It really sucked me into the plotline.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
Genres:
Inhuman
Falls, Kat
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Lane is a 17 year old girl trying to safely live her life after a deadly virus attacks the east side of the U.S 19 years ago. She is at a party until she is taken away by the infection safety group. At first, Lane thinks she has Ferae, a deadly virus that turns humans into animals, slowly turning them feral over time. Lane learns that she is not infected with Ferae, but that the head of the infection safety group needs something fetched from Chicago...which is now part of the Feral Zone. To save her dad, she must give him a letter telling him what he needs to get from Chicago in five days or else he and Lane will both die. Lane realizes that she must do the fetch when she cannot find her dad. With help from new friends, Lane attempts the fetch, but can she do it before the time limit, or before something far worse happens to her?

This was a good book, and I could not put it down. The author made the chapters like tiny cliff hangers so it was hard to stop reading especially near the end of the book. The character development was really good and I got to see the different characters evolve throughout the book. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers because it does get intense and is mildly inappropriate at some times. There is another book after this and I can't wait to read it also. Over all a very good book.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Awards:
Into the Wild
Krakauer, Jon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, is a novel that tells the true story of Chris McCandless, a restless adventurer whose happy place was in nature. McCandless graduated college and departed shortly after on a series of adventures, his main one being Alaska. Along the way, Chris met people, many of whom were moved by his go getter free spirited personality. Into the Wild is a phenomenally written novel that I'd recommend to anyone who's trying to search for purpose in their life. It's a book that displays a young man searching for his place in the world.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P.
The Catcher in the Rye
Salinger, J. D.
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Catcher In The Rye is about the life of Holden Caulfield and his views on the world as well as life. Holden drops out of a prep school in Pennsylvania to explore New York City. This book captures living in the 1950's and 1960's brilliantly, as well, as the spirit of rebellion that Holden has. I did not like this book because Holden complains way too much and has negative views on the world around him. He also has a bad habit of using profane language in every sentence. The message of the book however is meaningful as it discuses how kids should enjoy being themselves and to stop worrying about growing up and becoming an adult so fast.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Last Flight
Clark, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Last Flight is a thriller filled with many unexpected plot twists and cliff hangers. Claire is married to an affluent man named Rory. Everyone is jealous of Claire as they believe she has everything in life. Little does the world know about Rory's temper and abusive behavior. An unexpected meeting at the airport changes everything for Claire. At the airport, on the way to Puerto Rico, Claire meets another woman Eve who also seems to be in a dire situation. Just before Claire's flight is set to depart the two woman swap tickets and Claire is now headed to Oakland and Eva is on her way to Puerto Rico. As Claire arrives in Oakland she finds out that the flight to Puerto Rico crashed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no survivors. Claire is now stranded in Oakland with no money, and must live the life of a complete stranger who has some dark secrets. This book is a great read and it will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Rowling, J. K.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In this book, Harry Potter learns a lot about Lord Voldemort's past, and Harry Potter prepares for the final battle against his nemesis with the help of Headmaster Dumbledore. But in that time, Voldemort returns to power, and makes a plan to destroy Harry. So, Harry Potter tries to destroy Voldemort first, but for that, Harry must collect all parts of his soul. Voldemort had split his soul into pieces, so that he would never be totally destroyed, and now Harry has to destroy all the pieces, so Harry sets out with Dumbledore to find the Horcruxes.

At a memorable moment, near the beginning, Hermione gets very angry at Harry because he starts doing very good in the potions class. Harry starts doing so well after he finds the “Advanced Potion-Making” book that was filled with quicker ways to make potions. It was personally improved by Professor Snape, and then nicknamed the “Half Blood Prince”.

This novel can definitely petrify you as well, like in one part, Harry and Dumbledore go out to find the 1st Horcrux, where Dumbledore is forced to drink the Drink of Despair, which is a mysterious potion that makes a wizard very vulnerable and weak. So, this potion is meant for protecting something very important.

With Harry constantly chasing after Horcruxes, this book keeps a good pace, so I'm going to go with 3/5 stars for Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman
Genres:
Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Catching Fire is about a girl named Katniss who gets put into the battle royale of the seventy-fifth Hunger Games. This is the second time she has been put in the arena. This time, the tributes are victors. Katniss competes against different and better tributes, in a different arena, with a different motive. She must think quick on her feet and use new skills if she wants to keep herself and the person she loves alive.

I loved this book. It is the second book of the Hunger Games series so make sure you read the first book, The Hunger Games. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books with suspense and adventure. This book had many plot twists and always left me in suspense. It exceeded my expectations one hundred percent.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie H.
Cover of the book The Impossible Climb
Synnott, Mark
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Impossible Climb is about Alex Honnold's journey from being a newbie to the professional climbing community to doing the famous free solo of El Capitan in Yosemite, CA. The author also describes his own adventures on North Face's athlete team. The author is one of Alex's mentors who was there for his famous climb up the Freerider route. I loved this book because of how descriptive Synott was of all of his trips he took to exotic places. It was also excellent because of how the author told his story and Alex Honnold's at the same time.

Reviewer's Name: Abby K.
Cover of the book The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Hugo, Victor
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is about four men who are captivated by a mysterious gypsy dancer. The story begins on a holiday where a play is going on until everyone becomes distracted by the gypsy girl dancing in the square. This is where we meet Esmeralda the gypsy and Gringore the playwright. Many things happen until Esmeralda ends up meeting Pheobus, a soldier, who is very egocentric, when he saves her from the deformed bell ringer - Quasimodo - and a priest named Claude Frollo. Esmeralda is soon accused of witchcraft and is sentenced to be hanged. Fortunately, she is able to find shelter in Notre Dame before that can happen. Many want to kill her, but some want to save her.

I had to read this book for school, and my English teacher recommended it. And the first chapter was not very interesting so I became skeptical, but at the end, I thought the book was really good. There are some parts where the author goes into detail about a location to better help set the scene, and this is where I struggled to focus on the book, but you should push forward because the story line is worth it. The Disney movie did not do this book justice and there is some adult-themed content in the book so I would not recommend this book to middle-schoolers or younger. I do think that sooner or later, everyone should at least give this book a try because it really made me think.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.

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