November 19, 2010

Island of Enormity

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
reviewed by Miranda

If you want to enjoy a good book, read Lord of the Flies. I assure you that it may be the best book you have ever read in your life. It talks mostly about young adults on an forested island who are looking forward to being rescued. I think the story might be most interesting for boys of about 13-15years old to read because it tells just how wicked and dangerous they can be towards their fellow human beings. One the worst things that happens in the story is that innocent people are murdered and injured all because of bad leadership, wickedness and jealousy among the members of the group. Reading this book was inspiring to me because it made me think of how nasty people can be when they don't have enough to eat or a good leader.

Posted by Arlo at 04:54 PM

Tales of Wizardry

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
reviewed by Joie

The fizz of magic on the end of the wand tells you Harry's world is back. The famous key that showed the solution to the greatest secret of the Deathly Hallows, the Bard gave these tales to the wizarding world, but with the peace ushered by the Chosen One, they are now here for the Muggles among you.

Fairy stories held the key to defeating the darkest wizard that ever lived and one tale in particular held a dark secret. These are the famed Tales of Beetle the Bard. You too are now given the chance to fill yourself with the magic of wizardry tales, including the infamous "The Tale of the Three Brothers". Others, including "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot", "The Fountain of Fair Fortune", "The Warlock's Hairy Heart", and (Ron's favorite) "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump", are charming and give insight into the world of Harry Potter. This book includes not only the fairy tales, however, but exclusive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. These show how the wizardi world reacts to witches, like Beatrix Bloxam, author of the throughly terrible re-written versions of the tales, and how the Muggle world affects the wizarding one. Insightful and interesting, these tales will be staying on your nightstand for a while.

The Harry Potter series was long famed for its intricate stories and interesting characters. The tales making an appearance in this book, all the ones currently compiled by Beedle, are also beautiful, well-told stories. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the last Harry Potter book, and are wondering what to read next. Generally light-hearted and interesting, it makes a very good collection of stories.

Posted by Arlo at 04:22 PM

Island of Mystery

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
reviewed by Carmin

I don't usually read mystery books, but one of my favorites by far is And Then There Were None. The story is about ten strangers that are sent on a private island, a mysterious Indian Island, for a weekend "vacation". Strange things start to happen, and one by one, each guest will reach the most terrible fate that is death. As the book progresses, everyone is a suspect, and all of the guests turn on each other in fear. I liked how developed the characters are, even though there are so many. Each person has a distinct personality, and everyone has a back story that is sure to capture your interest. This book is as much a thriller as it is a mystery, with each death portrayed very graphically in great detail, which, for me, adds to the excitement. So if you want to read a book that will keep you guessing until the very end, then go pick up a copy of And Then There Were None.

Note: 8 guests plus 2 staff members = "10 little Indians"
The novel became the play which differs a bit in plot. And the play became the many film and television adaptions. The most famous movie version is probably René Clair's 1945 And Then There Were None.

Here is a more detailed plot summary

Posted by Arlo at 04:09 PM

Thirteen Tapes

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
reviewed by Melanie

I know this book is popular, but after reading it I can't understand why. Thirteen Reasons Why is about a girl, Hannah, who kills herself and sends out 13 tapes to 13 people, explaining how they are all part of the reason she killed herself. Hannah's classmate, Clay, receives the tapes and listens to them, tapes revealing why Hannah blamed him and 12 others.

This book had a great, unique concept that really got me interested. The problem was, I don't think it reached its full potential. The book moved so very slowly, and included so much information unnecessary to the story, it was hard to read through. The characters seemed real, in fact the author explained the characters very well. Still, for the most part, I was pretty bored reading this. I would suggest this book to someone who like books that develop the story slowly. If you like books that get to the point, then you couldn't sit through this.

official web site

Posted by Arlo at 03:17 PM

November 12, 2010

Literary Rollercoaster

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
reviewed by Katya

This novel is an emotional rollercoaster, an eye-opener. I fell in love with the main character and wept at the end.

Charlie Gordon is the protagonist. The books is made up of journal entries by Charlie, who has agreed to undergo an operation that will make him "smarter". You see, for 32 years and 11 months Charlie Gordon has been labeled a "retarded" human. He is an outcast in society, his mother loathes him, and the loneliness that he feels sucks up his life. All he desires is to become like everyone else, just as intelligent. The operation makes him a genius, and he encounters new problems, for example his fear of women.

I highly recommend this novel. Not a single word is dull or listless and the reader discovers what life might be like for other outcasts of least in the 50s. This is a novel for anyone, but I'd recommend it for teens or adults. I read this novel in school, and not a single person disliked it in our class.

Posted by Arlo at 04:09 PM

Foliage Faerie

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
reviewed by Chimey

Written into the world by faerie lover Aprilynne Pike, Laurel Sewell was filled with reluctance as she tentivately approached Del Notre High. Home schooled until now, her first time in high school, Laurel danced to the tune of a different melody—different from everyone else.

While other people preferred hamburgers and fries for lunch, she munched with the dedication of a vegan on fruits and bright green vegetables. She was small and dangerously striking, with light hair, and had been awkwardly placed at the doorstep of her home for her parents to find her.

Being different came naturally to Laurel, whether it was for better or worse. She met new friends and warily adjusted to her school until the time she woke up one day to find pale strips of flower petals growing on her back. It took a week to courageously approach her new-found friend David, and show him the sprouting plants.

Amidst frustration, Laurel took a trip to her old home and family land which her mother was planning to sell to a Jeremiah Barnes for the price of her father's surgery at the hospital. She met a boy with olive-green eyes and matching hair roots, Temani, a boy who is the same creature as she—a faerie.

Incredulous, Laurel left, only to return later with a plea for help in confronting a brutal creature. Jeremiah Barnes had been discovered to be a troll. He planned to take over the faerie land and slip past the entrance to the world of Avalon.

With brilliance, a dab of luck, and a sprinkle of loyalty, David, Laurel and Temani chased Barnes away—yet failed to kill him. The faerie king handed Laurel a diamond to pay for her father's surgery.

Temani possessed a painful secret: Laurel used to be friends, and possibly more, with him. But after having her mind erased because of her responsibilities in the human world, Laurel returned to David and Temani was left in his shattered world of lost friendship.

Wings is a heart-breaking story, carefully crafted.

This is the first in a series of four books.

Posted by Arlo at 03:56 PM

November 01, 2010

Old-Fashioned Mayhem

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
reviewed by Sarah

If you are looking for a gripping yet old-fashioned novel, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry would be a good book for you.

The Willoughbys is about a family of four very old-fashioned children who, along with their adventuresome nanny, plot to rid themselves of their negligent parents. Unfortunately for the children, while they are plotting to get rid of their parents, their parents are plotting to get rid of them. This book is a hilarious spoof of many classic novels, including Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Christmas Carol, Heidi, Mary Poppins, and Little Women. The characters are incredibly funny, and the book is interesting because of its many side plots. I would recommend this book for children and adults aged ten and above. It isn't an especially difficult read, and it is most funny if you have read the classic novels before, because it references those novels many times. This book is interesting, funny, exciting, and another example of a wonderful book by Lois Lowry.

Posted by Arlo at 02:18 PM

Louis and the Trumpet

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
reviewed by Rosie

The title of this book may be an oxymoron, but it is also a wonderful story of a young trumpeter swan who will do anything to trumpet his love to the beautiful she-swan, Serena. This novel may be one of the best books I have ever read. The superb descriptive writing combined with unique plot is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The best thing about the book is that Louis, a defective young swan, overcomes his inability to speak, or, in his case, to ko-hoh, and sees the light. Maybe the worst thing about The Trumpet of the Swan is the idea that getting rich is the best thing that can happen to anybody. Money doesn't ooze happiness, and this book displays this idea very poorly.

E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan is about a trumpeter swan named Louis, who, unlike his four brothers and sisters, can't trumpet his love to Serena, a graceful, female trumpeter swan, who is frankly uninterested in a swan who cannot ko-hoh or burble. Then, Louis's brave father steals a trumpet to help his son communicate. The book shows Louis's valiant efforts to redeem his father, and learn how to 'speak' through music.

This children's novel is great for girls and boys of all ages, especially children interested in animals. But truly, anyone, of any age, will have a blast reading this book, just as I have. I believe this book is a wonderful story about determination, true music, and love.

Posted by Arlo at 01:58 PM

Unforgettable Fantasy

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
reviewed by Dio

This is a spectacular book, probably for ages 10 and up. The story takes place in another world's England; a world quite like this one, but where all the people have daemons. Daemons are creatures that are connected to their humans with invisible lines, and who share the humans' thoughts, feelings, and pain. A child's daemon can change form while an adult's can not.

In this other Oxford, you meet Lyra a young girl, and her daemon Panantalimon as they venture to the far north to save Lyra's uncle and a bunch of other kids captured by the gobblers. On her way she will meet Iorek Byrnison; a huge armored bear, be part of a big betrayal and, discover how to work the alethiometer; a device that can answer any question. Join Lyra and Panantalimon as they embark on the most dangerous adventure of their life.

Posted by Arlo at 01:52 PM


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
reviewed by Melanie

I first read this in the library and loved it so much I bought it myself. Speak is about a girl, Melinda, suffering the aftermath of a terrible, scaring event that happened at a party over the summer. She called the cops at the party and so is now a social outcast in high school.

Speak is touching, sincere, yet is still very funny. The best thing about this book would be how you really get to know Melinda throughout the story. The worst thing about this book is that it seems a bit random with no real plot at first, but don't worry, it all ties together in the end! This book moves at same pace throughout the story. The characters seem very real, especially Melinda. You explore her inner thoughts as she goes through a tough part of her life. I would recommend Speak to any girl out there who just wants her voice to be heard.

Posted by Arlo at 01:43 PM

Two Sisters

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
reviewed by Saleiha

The novel My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult is sure to keep every reader captivated until the end. During the novel, the main character Anna is born as a designer baby to save her older sister Kate who is dying of leukemia. But after countless surgeries to prolong her sister's life, Anna decides that she will not be a donor for her older sister Kate anymore. This decision wrenches her family apart and could even lead to fatal consequences for her sister Kate. Although this is a story filled with heartbreak and despair, all readers will fall in love with each of the characters in the family. This novel is such a wonderful book that the movie does not even do it justice. If you are someone who loves to become part of the story, you would love to read My Sister's Keeper.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
reviewed by Bronte

This book was amazing, the issues Picoult brings up just astounded me. Anna was conceived to keep her sister alive, since before she was born she has gone through countless procedures to help her sister. Now she is expected to donate a kidney. Anna has other ideas, so she sues her parents for emancipation and the right to her own body. This case tears her family apart as they have to choose between their daughters. I cried throughout the book, which is awesome when I am in the mood for crying. My sister's friend gave it to my sister to read and since Allie (who I recently found out doesn't hate reading) isn't a big reader, she gave it to me to read and summarize it for her so she could tell her friend she read it. This turned out to be unnecessary since, though it took four years, my sister ended up reading it anyway. The chapters are told from the point of view of 6 of the 7 main characters. My sister chewed, literally bit the bottom edge of the pages off, I don't know what it says the last few sentences of each page, what is wrong with her? Looking through the book I just realized this sorry, I had to tell someone. Jeez, I just started to cry reading a random page from the book, that is how emotional the story is, it brings up topics people normally brush under the rug like choosing between your children. The best part of the book is how complicated their relationships are and I loved Jesse, his point of view is so interesting and sad. The story moves very fast while you're reading it, you want to find out what is going to happen to the family no matter the outcome of the case, how can they survive all of this? Since it is an emotional book with more adult concepts I would recommend this for 13 and up.

Posted by Arlo at 01:21 PM

No Ordinary Boy

Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
reviewed by Ben

Bobby Pendragon is no ordinary teenager. He is a traveler. On the night before his big basketball game, Bobby is pulled into an adventure by his Uncle Press that will change his life forever. On the snowy peaks of Denduron, Bobby and Uncle Press must combat the evil St. Dane and destroy his plot to topple every world in the galaxy.

The Merchant of Death flows very well. It is full of nonstop action and you are immediately hooked after the first chapter or so (at least I was). There are also some very humorous parts throughout it (after all it is a journal that Bobby keeps).

The characters seem very realistic, after all, they are from earth. The fact that the characters are familiar makes it all the cooler that they travel to a different world. The settings (Earth, Denduron) might be the most interesting aspects of the book. There are snow covered peeks and abandoned subway stations. Bobby does a great job of using descriptive words to give those places life.

After I read The Merchant of Death, I couldn't find anything bad about it. Although some parts may be a little hard to understand, Bobby is very descriptive and picks out every detail. This is the type of book that all ages/gender would enjoy. All you have to have in order to enjoy this book is a good imagination and a little reading time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale!

Posted by Arlo at 01:08 PM


Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
reviewed by Katya

Intense enough to stop your breathing for moments, to rapidly accelerate the pulse until it gallops like a mad horse, and to make you moan with frustration and sorrow in sympathy with Florentina Ariza, the poet, the romantic, the man dressed in a baggy ill-fitting suit, who falls in love with young Fermina Daza and whose sole want and desire in life is to marry her. His miserable life, full of other women who he doesn't love as he does Fermina Daza, and Fermina's life of wealth, happiness, and occasional bitterness with the famous Dr. Urbino, unveil and unfold to the reader and bring out the intensity and the shudder that results from the emotional vividness. But, when Dr. Urbino dies, when Fermina and Florentina are both in their 70s, the romantic's determination renews....what will happen? Unleash the characters of the book and let your eyes read this woe, anguish, pain, and love.

Posted by Arlo at 12:48 PM

The Diary

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
reviewed by Olubusayo

This is one of the best diaries I have read. The book, which is set in Amsterdam, is about a young girl named Anne Frank, and her family and one other family, who find a secret place to hide to save themselves from the Germans overruling their country. The main characters of this book were: Anne Frank, Mr. and Mrs. Frank, Mr. and Mrs. Dussel, Peter Dussel, Miep.

Back then, in the middle of the 20th century, the Germans were taking over other countries like Netherlands. Millions of people were being killed and sent to concentration camps. The Nazis, the ruling Germans, put Jewish people in the camps with little food to eat or water to drink. The family of Anne Frank and the Dussels wanted to survive, so their friend Miep, a Dutch citizen, found them a place to hide inside a corporate building. Everyday Miep would bring them food. They couldn't do anything that would make noise, like flushing the toilet, because beneath them, people working in the company would find out they were living there. The only thing they kept them busy was reading; sometimes they would read the same book over and over because they had a small number of books. The Diary of a Young Girl is quite a good book. What was most interesting to me is living in silence, that they couldn't make any noise or they might be sent off to die. I loved all the characters but the characters I loved the most were Anne Frank and Peter because they were always fighting but they were secretly in love with each other. This book is so interesting, that I'll recommend it to 13 and above.

Posted by Arlo at 12:36 PM
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