All Book Reviews

August
Paula, Romina
2 stars = Meh
Review:

A young woman dealing with grief pours out her emotions in a long emotional letter to her friend who commit suicide. I didn't quite like this book due to the long bland feel of the story. We hear her stories through her thoughts, where she rambles on about rather uninteresting things, like mice, a cat, etc. This emotional woman tends to ramble on and on about the slightest details which can make some parts feel long and drawn out. Overall, I didn't like the depressive, bland and boring mood of the story. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
Wild Bird
Van Drannen, Wendelin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wild Bird, by Wendelin Van Draanen, is an amazing, unforgettable book that you won't be able to put down. The theme of Wild Bird is that anyone can transform their lifestyles and become better people. This book's main character is a willful, fourteen year old girl named Wren whose biggest fault is being unable to say no. This has lead her to be involved with the wrong crowd and make very bad decisions, including smoking weed, shoplifting, and even being a drug runner for her "friend" Nico. One day, Wren ends up in the hospital, being both wasted and having drugs in her system. Her parents used to believe she was "sick" but this day in the hospital they realize she's been lying to them. Before she knows it, Wren is sent off to an eight week camp in Utah that supposedly helps change the lives of people her age with similar issues and addictions. Wren is extremely angry at her parents and the doctors and everyone who she thinks may be to blame for sending her here. But there in the desert of Utah, Wren learns to survive and she begins to realize over time that maybe it isn't their fault after all, and that maybe, just maybe, she needs to change her life around. In the desert, Wren has to face her feelings and realizes that there is no escaping her mistakes.

This book is amazing. I love the way the author created the character of Wren. She's willful, which at first was a weakness, but she later uses it as a strength. She's courageous and as the book goes on you just fall in love with her. I recommend this to anyone who may be struggling with an addiction, anyone who knows deep down in their heart that their life needs change, and, of course, to any readers who love books with adventure and drama.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P
All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook
Connor, Leslie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Have you ever felt like you were ever in a situation others thought was terrible, but you felt was normal and were happy with? If so, you should consider reading the book "All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook". Perry is a young boy who grew up in jail, but never committed any crime. Once his mother was placed in prison, she gave birth to Perry while held behind bars.

Perry has grown a family at that facility, and loves his mom and all the workers at the jail. However, Nebraska gets a new district attorney who realizes what is happening to Perry. He believes the situation is terrible, and sends him out to a foster family.

Perry must find a way to get back to his mother, while learning about the new home he has been placed in. Can he ever find a way back to where his life lies? This is an amazing book for anybody who's ever felt their life was stolen from them. I highly recommend you read this book if you have any interest in doing so.

- Reviewer Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Anna C
Everything Everything
Yoon, Nicola
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed this book. Though cheesy, it was full of cute romantic scenes. If you are into romance, you would LOVE this book. The medical element of the story was very interesting and added some meaning to the story. However, the unrealistic relationship in this story can become irritating further through the book. It follows two main characters (Madeline and Olly) on a journey finding love despite Madeline's deadly illness that prohibits her from being outside. Away from the world for almost her whole life, Madeline has gotten used to being alone with her mother and nurse. But Olly changes everything, and soon she doesn't want to be trapped outside anymore.
This book's twist at the end made me rate it 4 stars rather than 3, because its is executed beautifully and smoothly and will make you gasp out loud in surprise. I highly recommend this book for the romantic type, or if you liked the book "The Sun Is Also A Star". Though this book starts out slow, it later picks up pace and becomes more interesting and attaching. If you are willing, give this book a try. You won't regret it!
- Reviewer Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Anna C
Hunger
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant has written another thriller with Hunger. Continuing the story of Gone, everyone is still trapped inside of the FAYZ. However, a new enemy has filled the minds of every person: hunger. As they search for a solution to their hunger, Sam, Astrid, and the others must still resist Caine and the rest of his crew as well as a powerful being known as the Darkness.
Michael Grant keeps you in suspense throughout the entire novel and will leave you hungry for more. I highly recommend this book for any high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B
All Our Broken Pieces
Crichton, L. D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All Our Broken Pieces is the story of Lennon, a teenage girl with OCD and a tragic backstory, and Kyler, a teenage boy with a sad past of his own. When Lennon moves in with her dad in the famous neighborhood of Bel Air, Los Angeles after a tragic accident, she expects to feel wildly out of place. But then, she is assigned to work with Kyler for a school project and that sparks the beginning of a raw and beautiful romance. This gritty honest novel is a work of art, read this book if you want a heart wrenching, realistic teen romance.

Reviewer's Name: Emma R
Gone
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant has renewed a classic for the next generation of readers. Gone has a very similar structure to Lord of the Flies but has enhanced the story in many ways. Gone presents added science fiction elements to the story that will draw in many readers and provides conflict that will force you to keep reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, some readers may find some elements of the story slightly disturbing. Therefore, I recommend this book for high school aged readers and up.

Reviewer's Name: John B
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

To Kill a Mockingbird is truly a masterpiece of American literature.
Along the lines of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Harper Lee presents us with a coming of age story set in 1930s Alabama. Scout and Jem Finch explore their hometown, get into trouble, wonder about the mystery of Boo Radley, and are faced with a great challenge when their father must prove a man to be innocent. Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem's father, is a wholehearted, unprejudiced role model who always stands up for what is right and who anyone can learn a lesson from. Overall, I understand why many schools require their students to read this book as it is wonderful literature for all generations.

Reviewer's Name: John B
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

You are slowly floating down river on a warm summer night. You have no worries as you gaze at the endless stars above you. You had a simple day; catching fish to eat and lazily laying in the sun as you float wherever the river takes you. This is the life of Huckleberry Finn.
I gave this book three out of five stars because it was good however it wasn't good enough for me to consider it one of my favorite books. I appreciated the multiple conflicts, the complexity of having several conflicts at once made the book interesting. The characters were all well developed even side characters had underlying intents, and backgrounds.
Additionally, the relationships between the characters was engaging, I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Huck and Jim. Finally, I really enjoyed the internal conflict of Huck as he traveled with a slave. Huck's moral conflict from a society being raised in a society that supports slavery was striking as a 21st century teenager. Despite the positive elements of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" it is only pretty good because I couldn't relate to the characters and the book lacked an emotional connection that would make it one of my favorite books. Regardless, you should read this book for to develop an understanding of the culture of the past.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W
Citizen Illegal
Olivarez, Jose
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I want to start by saying this book is definitely intended for an older, more mature, audience. This book uses many curse words and makes some drug references. “Citizen Illegal” is a series of poems depicting life as a legal citizen citizen of the United States whose parents are illegal immigrant. I picked up this book primarily because it was on the adult reading list in addition to being interested in a different perspective on illegal immigrants. I have never read a book in verse before so I really enjoyed the way the speaker developed. The book was pretty good and I felt brought me a new perspective on illegal immigrants.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W
Awards:
Genres:
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I originally purchased Fahrenheit 451 because it was an option on a summer reading assignment; the book seemed interesting based on the description but it wasn’t a book I would normally pick up. Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a world where firefighters no longer put on fires but burn books. Guy Montag is one of these firefighters though he has never really considered why he became firefighter or why books are burned. On his usual way home Guy meets Clarisse, a young neighbor, who is curious about why thing are how they are.
Clarisse asks Guy why he became firefighter and if he has read a book. While at first Guy finds Clarisse’s curiosity foolish, he begins to realize he had been a the fool all along. This book has been eye opening, I have never thought about the subtle censoring in books, and the way many things are mindless, pointless, and short. While with many books are so action packed you can’t put them down, this is not the case with Fahrenheit 451. With this book I was able to slow down, imagining everything detail, and just think about the theme. This book is a classic for a reason, the message is meaningful. The events that created the setting of Fahrenheit 451 seemed a little too relatable, and it really got me thinking about censoring in our society. This on the shorter side and it is definitely worth your time.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W
P.S. I Still Love You
Han, Jenny
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the follow up to To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Lara Jean continues to charm and delight us in another unique story of love. Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are together-- for real this time. Lara Jean is trying to figure out how to make a real relationship work when another boy who she sent a love letter to-- John Ambrose McClaren, suddenly re-enters her life. At the same time, Lara Jean begins volunteering at a nursing home, and makes memorable friends who help her navigate her high school life. Lara Jean is just as charming and relatable as in the first book of the series and I immensely enjoy her voice and personality. Readers should know that this book focuses a lot on Lara Jean's middle school years, and explores her friendship with Genevieve more than in the first book. By the time the novel is over, readers will feel as if they have known Lara Jean all of her life. Lara Jean's family is still as much an important part of the plot as her relationships are, and fans will be delighted to know that Kitty is just as sprunky and unique as in the first novel. The reason why I only rated it 4 stars is that the book takes a confusing turn with Lara Jean's feelings for John Ambrose. I personally did not enjoy their connection because it felt like she was forcing Peter out of her life for someone who she thought was better. I also felt that she was overly nostalgic and pained about why her and Gen's friendship ended in the first place. All in all, I enjoyed this installment to the series, but not as much as the first one.

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
Book Review: Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck, John
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The short novel Of Mice and Men by well-regraded author John Steinbeck is heralded as a classic for a reason. The book tells the story of George and Lennie, two migrant workers trying to make a living farming in California during the 1930s Great Depression. George and Lennie are not related; they are friends who travel together to find work. Throughout the novel, they encounter new relationships and people on a new ranch. There is no denying that Steinbeck was an incredibly strong author, capable of painting a rich portrait of life in such a harrowing time of hardships; however, the sad and frankly unnecessary ending of this novel took away from my liking of it, in addition to the frank descriptions of mistreatment of people and animals, combined with the elongated plot contributed to the fact that this wasn’t a book I enjoyed. Readers need to be aware that this is a very difficult book to read, combined with mistreatment of a character with mental illness, women, and animals. Some may enjoy this novel because of the vivid descriptions and powerful characters, however, in my opinion, this book was horribly sad and not something I would not read again.

Reviewer's Name: Allie S
Awards:
Thunderhead
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The exciting sequel to Neil Shusterman's Scythe, Thunderhead, follows Citra and Rowan in a futuristic world ran by an Artificial Intelligence named Thunderhead. In this new Earth, death has been conquered, and there is actually no way to die, unless of course you have been killed by a scythe. Scythes are mysterious people hired by the government to keep the population down by gleaning, which is a polite way to say killing. Everyone fears the scythes. Citra is a newly trained scythe. Her scythe name is Anastasia, because each scythe name is named after someone before death was finished off. Rowan on the other hand is a rouge scythe named Lucifer, who tried out to be a scythe and did not make it. He executes scythes of the new order, people who believe in mass gleanings. Citra and Rowan both are followed in the story, while trying to defeat the new order in the amazing novel: Thunderhead, by Neil Shusterman.

Reviewer's Name: Owen H.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Sanderson, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians is a thrilling book about a teenage orphan called Alcatraz Smedry. He is passed along from home to home because he always breaks what is most important to his foster parents. However on his thirteenth birthday, an old man shows up claiming to be his grandfather. He kept saying that he was late. Because he had a talent, a talent for being late. And he tells Alcatraz that he has a talent, a talent for breaking things.

Alcatraz is sucked into a world of crystal knights, bad romance novel golems, and dark oculators. In each book he learns a little more about his family and his talent. Alcatraz learns about the hushlands and the free kingdoms and the evil librarians that want to take over the world. He finds out about the dark talent the talent that will break the world. And he finds out the magic of putting footnotes in a book.

This is one of my favorites because of the funny dialog and the narrator. it touches on some funny topics and includes evil monsters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves magic and a good story. between evil librarians and reckless smedry's this is one of my favorate series. Alcatraz vs the Evil librarians is a steller book.

Reviewer's Name: Maddox A.
Awards:
Genres:
Thirteen Reasons Why
Asher, Jay
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Hannah Baker, a seventeen year old girl at Liberty High... dead. Clay Jensen
doesn't know what to think when he finds out his crush killed herself. Two
weeks after the night Hannah dies, Clay finds a box on his front porch for
him. Inside the box, he finds tapes. There is no return address so he doesn't
know who it is from, but he listens to the tapes anyway. While listening, he
finds out these tapes are from Hannah Baker, and anyone who got the box of
tapes, were responsible for her death. Clay spends all night listening to
Hannah's story but he wonders if he did anything that might have made Hannah
kill herself. He is unsure if he wants to continue listening to them, but his
friend Tony, who somehow knows about the tapes, helps him listen to them. By
the end of the book, Clay knows what Hannah has been through, and pays
attention to others, to see if they might be going through a tough time like
Hannah did.

I enjoyed reading this novel from Jay Asher for many reasons. One of them was
that this novel helps us understand that there may be more to other people's
lives than we know. It also tells us that anything can have an impact on
someone. Even the smallest things. I have learned to be cautious of what I
say or do in front of others from this book. Thirteen Reasons Why also shows
us the harsh reality of the world. Some schools have bullies, and it is up to
us to stand up to them. This novel from Jay Asher has taught me to stand up
for what is right, and to not listen to rumors. Rumors are rumors. You don't
know if they're true or not.

Reviewer's Name: Prarthana M.
Genres:
Origin
Brown, Dan
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

When it comes to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series of books, I have appreciated his ability to mold art and symbology into a tight and thrilling narrative. His works have not been without controversy, the main perpetrator, of course, being The Da Vinci Code . In Origin, Brown leaves the world of classical art for the modern pieces that are still filled with meaning and symbology, just not in ways that lend themselves to uncovering ancient mysteries. While there is plenty of interesting plot points and twists along the way, Origin seems set to stir the pot of controversy more than tell an interesting story.

It’s been quite some time since the last Robert Langdon book released, so this book needed to advance its technology to be able to keep up with the modern times. If anything, I felt the inclusion of artificial intelligence down-played why Langdon was even involved at all, since he was mostly the “answer man” who knew the information to advance the plot. Sure, Langdon still needed to be there to interact physically with the surroundings, but all he was tasked with finding was a password to a computer, and that was it. Even some of the headier symbology that he’d usually bring to the table was reduced to basic, common knowledge tidbits.

Perhaps the overall story was weak to begin with, because I found the narrative in Origin to be distracted at best. The focus jumped around a lot, which I recognize has happened in previous books in the series, but it was almost like three different stories were being told here, and very rarely did they intersect with each other. Even the eponymous “origin” wasn’t that great of a reveal, merely acting as a McGuffin to drive the conflict.

Hardly one of the best of the Robert Langdon series, I give Origin 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
How to Tell Fate from Destiny: And Other Skillful Word Distinctions
Elster, Charles Harrington
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I’ve written blog posts and recorded vlogs about writers who seem to rely on spell check to make sure they’re using the right word. Most of the time, they probably didn’t have an adequate editor to review their manuscript and thus didn’t check whether or not they were using the right word (even if the wrong word is spelled correctly). With the state of the printed word slipping year after year, a book like How to Tell Fate from Destiny should be a standard reference on any writer’s desk. Although, many of the words covered in this book are slowly changing due to idiomatic circumstances.

It is slightly encouraging to see examples provided in this book from reputable sources (like well-known newspapers and magazines) that still have these common errors in their writing. If anything, these examples prove how difficult it can be to distinguish the correct word usage over the more familiar word usage. Granted, many of the “correct” words don’t sound right to the common ear. However, those who want to show they are professional via their writing need to hold to these steadfast style guides and usage manuals (many of which are referenced throughout).

One of my qualms with this book is the large amount of semi-obscure vocabulary it covers. There were plenty of pages filled with words I had never seen and will likely never use in my writing. Perhaps this book is best used by those who consider themselves “literary” writers and thus end up using words that sound much loftier than they are. If anything, this book proves that professional writing abides by the idiom of “keep it simple, stupid.” Many of the Mark Twain quotes contained in this book say as much.

A useful resource for writers, especially those with a grandiloquent vocabulary, I give How to Tell Fate from Destiny 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

16 year old Katniss Everdeen has had to fend for her mom and sister, Primrose Everdeen ever since her father died in a mining accident when she was 12. She has had to learn to hunt to keep her family alive with the bow and arrows that her father made before he died. It is the Reaping, and Katniss knows she is in danger of being reaped because of her extra names in the Reaping. After her father died she was forced to sign up for more food so that she and her family could live and she will pay the price now. It is Primrose's first reaping now that she is 12, and against all odds she is reaped. But Katniss volunteers so she won't have to go the the Hunger Games were a male and female tribute for each of the 12 districts are forced into an arena to kill each other in tell one lone victor remains. But when it is time for a boy to be reaped, he has a connection to Katniss' life. His name is Peeta Mellark a boy who worked in the bakery in District 12. As they get to know each other and prepare for the games they start working together so maybe one of them can survive the games.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie M.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Part 3, Stardust Crusaders, 01
Araki, Hirohiko
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The continuation of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure brings back old characters with a fresh take and introduces us to new characters that make Jotaro's group feel rounded. It is definitely different, but 100% recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: William W.

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