July 22, 2011

3 by Lissa

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
reviewed by Lissa
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is a fast paced and intriguing book. In the story the hero, Percy Jackson finds out that all of the ancient Greek myths and gods are real, and he is a son of Poseidon, god of the seas. Zeus’ master bolt has been stolen, and Poseidon is being blamed. Percy has to go on a quest to find the missing bolt and return it to Olympus before the summer solstice to prevent a war between the gods that would "make the Trojan war look like a water balloon fight." This book expands on the original Greek myths, building off them in a logical continuation, unlike so many renditions that try to rewrite the past. The Lightning Thief is one of my favorite books, which balances a smooth running plot with sarcasm and humor. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Greek mythology, or even anyone who enjoys adventure or fantasy books.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
reviewed by Lissa
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an absorbing book, which balances grim dystopian settings with the ideals of hope. This book is the story of a girl, Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the nation of Panem. Panem is an authoritarian nation, where, as punishment for rebellion, every year each of the twelve districts has to send two tributes to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. Katniss volunteers to go to save her little sister from what, in district 12, is most nearly a death sentence. This book starts slow, but captures the attention of the reader as you follow Katniss in her journey to the Capitol and finally to the arena of the Games. There is realism in this book in that the characters don’t just shake off the things that happen to them. They leave both literal and mental scars. I would recommend this book but with the warning that it can be very grim, and not everyone lives happily ever after.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
reviewed by Lissa
What if you had an exceptional talent, one thing you where meant to do? What if it was killing? In Graceling by Kristin Cashore the main character Katsa is a graceling, someone with an exceptional skill. Gracelings can have a talent for anything from panting to swimming, but Katsa’s grace was shown to be for fighting and killing when she was young, and ever since she had worked for her uncle, the king of Middluns, using her grace to intimidate all of his various underlings and minor nobles. However she meets Po, a prince of Leinid, and leaves her home to help him find his kidnapped grandfather. Graceling is an exciting action novel, with overtones of finding your own fate. I would recommend this to people looking for an interesting action book that also has some thinking involved in the plotline. It is an excellent book.

Posted by Arlo at 05:26 PM

July 21, 2011

Letters from Third

Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
reviewed by Tess

Last Days of Summer is probably one of the most touching books I have ever read. Joey Margolis is a young kid tortured by the neighborhood's resident Germans, in the early 1940's. Because Joey's father doesn't partake in Joey's life, Joey feels a gap where a father should be. Joey begins to write to his idol, New York Giant's 3rd Baseman, Charlie Banks. After getting Charlie's attention, the dynamic duo becomes even closer, until Charlie decides to enlist in the Marines. Joey is very upset, but they continue to write back and fourth.

Although this book is not based on a true story, it is so realistic and detailed, it seems almost like the script to a movie. Because almost all of the writing is styled by letters being sent and received, there is no dialog. There isn't a dull moment throughout the entire book. You become attached to the characters through reading about their perils and their triumphs. Last Days of Summer is must-read for anyone between the ages of 12 and 15.

Posted by Arlo at 07:18 PM

3 by Melanie

Before, After, and Somebody in Between by Jeannine Garsee
reviewed by Melanie

I'm so glad I finely found a really good book again. You know, the type of book that you literally can't put down, so you're hiding it under your desk in class and reading it in the car (even though you know you get carsick easily?) Yep, the semi-rare excitement from a really compelling book is back.

Before, After, and Somebody in Between is about a girl, Martha, who lives with her recovering alcoholic mom and goes through a series of unfortunate and dramatic events until her mom hits rock bottom and a rich family takes Martha in. Martha starts to feel at home with this new family, until she learns that somethings are too good to be true.

This book immediately reeled me in. There are no boring parts of this book because something is always going on, which could be in danger of seeming like random, unnecessary drama, but instead, the story flows perfectly and makes sense. The characters where very interesting and seemed real. Every single character seemed to have their own personality and background, no matter how small their role in the story was. The settings are interesting because the story starts off in a rundown, bad neighborhood, then switches to a fancy, high class area. I would suggest this book to a MATURE reader who can handle MATURE topics and the sad parts. So if you're yearning for an intense story that keeps you flipping pages, Before, After, and Somebody in Between is exactly what you're looking for.

Perfect by Natasha Friend
reviewed by Melanie

Who would have guessed that the one thing the queen bee and the worker bee had in common was the ability to binge and purge? Perfect is about how Isabelle, a teenage girl dealing with the death of her father, is forced into an eating disorder and body image group therapy after she was caught throwing up. She is shocked when she finds out that the most popular girl in school, Ashley, is in her group therapy. The first time I read Perfect I loved it so much, I bought my own copy. Though when I reread it, I found it kind of cliched, I still enjoyed it and would suggest it to readers who want a book about a dark topic that's not extremely intense. I like how this book shows you that even the people you could have sworn are flawless do have issues of their own—issues that might be exactly like your own. The fact that nobody in Perfect was perfect made the characters seem real and enriched the overall story. I think a lot of teenage girls can relate to this book even if you haven't dealt with body image issues. Let Perfect be a reminder that while nobody is perfect, nobody is completely alone in their issues either.

Long Story Short by Siobhan Parkinson
reviewed by Melanie

This "Long Story" really shouldn't have been so "Short," because just 160 pages can't fully explain or resolve anything in this crazy book. Long Story Short is about a boy, Jono, who has always been able to cope with his mother's drinking, until she hits his little sister Julie, and he decides it's time for him and his sister to run away. At least that's what it says on the back cover. But my summary of Long Story Short would be more like: "Two siblings, Jono and Julia, run away from their alcoholic mom...and then a bunch of weird, random stuff happens which leaves you wondering what in the world you just read."

Though I feel this book was a collection of events that didn't flow very well, I have to admit, the drama kept me interested. The setting was also interesting, because Jono and Julie stopped by some unique places when they ran away from home. I would suggest this book to someone who doesn't really care if a book is written poorly as long as it's a good story. If you decide to read it, maybe you can inform me of what was going on.

Posted by Arlo at 07:15 PM

4 by Kellyn

Magyk by Angie Sage
reviewed by Kellyn

If you like the Harry Potter series, you will most likely enjoy reading the book Magyk. It is a novel with great descriptions so the reader feels like he or she is involved in the action. There is a Necromancer (an evil Wizard) by the name of Dom Daniel. In the beginning of the story he was the extraordinary Wizard, or the head Wizard. He was forced off the throne by his Apprentice, exclaiming that he would be back with the seventh son of the seventh son. This happened to be Septimus Heap taken away by the midwife who declared Septimus dead. That night, Septimus' father, Silas Heap came across an abandoned baby girl in the snow. He takes her home and the Heaps take care of the baby. What really happened to Septimus? And where did the baby girl come from? Read this amazing story to find out.

The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer
reviewed by Kellyn

If you are feeling like reading, don't read The Time Travelers. It is a waste of paper and your time. The book takes place in London, and there is a boy named Peter Schock, and a girl by the name of Kate Dyer. Kate's father is a scientist, and when the two children were at the lab they accidentally go back in time to eighteenth-century London. Peter and Kate become friends, and also become friends with Gideon Seymour, a former thief. Peter and Kate learn many things about each other while avoiding the evil Tar Man and trying to get back to their own century. This book is amazingly slow-paced. You might be like me and fall asleep. Don't waste your time with this novel.

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
reviewed by Kellyn

If you enjoyed the first novel in The Kane Chronicles, you will definitely enjoy the second. The Throne of Fire is a masterpiece of a novel. In this story, the world is endangered once again, but this time by the most horrible enemy yet, Apophis, the god of chaos, or maybe the snake of chaos ... the Kanes only have five days to save their beloved Earth. To have a chance, the Kanes must revive a senile sun god, Ra. But to do that they must get the Book of Ra (with its pieces scattered across the planet). This feat has never been completed by a magician. With hilarious narrators and new characters, this novel is unforgettable.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
reviewed by Kellyn

This novel is for the reader who enjoys reading about mythology and likes to be humored. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan is a captivating opening to The Kane Chronicles. The novel is about a family that is separated. The daughter lives with her grandparents in London and the son travels the world with his father. Six years after Carter and Sadie Kane's mother's death, Carter comes to London on Christmas Eve. Their father, Julius, takes the children to the British Museum and is banished by a mysterious figure. Soon Carter and Sadie discover they are in a powerful family of magicians and the Ancient Egyptian gods are waking. Set, the god of evil, is planning on destroying the world. The children leave on a magical journey to save the world and save their father. The storytellers are humorous when narrating and make the novel very interesting. The Red Pyramid is a story perfect for readers who enjoy fast-paced action.

Posted by Arlo at 07:13 PM

7 by Dianne

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
reviewed by Dianne

This book is a very interesting book which deals with the idea of book censorship. The best thing about the book is the fact that the author tries to describe the future, but the worst thing about this book is the future isn't so pleasant (firemen burn houses that contain books). In fact, instead putting fires out firemen start fires! The thing that bothered me most about this book is when a woman is burnt in a house full of books. The setting of this book seems real, as it talks about a future filled with so much technology that people start destroying books. Overall, though, the story could be pretty boring at some points because it seems so focused on giving readers a lesson. This book is best by read adults.

The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas
reviewed by Dianne

This is a very interesting and entertaining book. It tells about a young woman who stole peoples' wish pennies at a water fountain, making her a wish stealer. The best thing about this book is it is so entertaining and it has a marvelous ending. The characters of this book don't seem real, nevertheless it’s fun to read about them. With the setting of the book, the author creates fear and excitement at the same time. This book is also interesting because it's all about what happens in our everyday life, meeting new people who can become very special to us. This book is entertaining and worth the time. I would recommend this book to young adults, both boys and girls.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
reviewed by Dianne

This book tells about a childhood in a little town in Alabama and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. The best thing about this book is that it takes its reader back to an era of segregation which was an era of fear and suffering for many African Americans in the United States. Another good thing about the book is it teaches its’ readers a moral lesson about conscience, and the importance of listening to your conscience. Both the characters and setting of this book seem so real because the book is based on the author's childhood experience. This book has a good flow because it involves a variety of topics, such as childhood, segregation and a court scene which creates suspense in the novel. This book is a very interesting book and teens to read.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
reviewed by Dianne

This book is very interesting, and the best thing about the book is that it seems so real. When you’re reading the book, it feels like the things in the book actually happened and that makes the reader anxious to finish the book all in a day. The worst thing about this book is its ending. The book ends in a very odd and confusing way, so the readers doesn’t know if the Giver died or survived. The characters of this book seem real and very interesting. Personally, I found the setting very interesting because I kept imagining how people would live in a colorless community and the different roles they are going to play. The colorless setting of the book creates curiosity within the reader. The story actually flows very well, with one event leading to the other. This book is very interesting, yet it can be slow-paced at times, especially when the authors prolongs the ending. So I would say that only adventurous and patient readers may find it pleasing.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
reviewed by Dianne

This is a very interesting but also annoying play, which is filled with lots of emotion. The best thing about this version of Romeo and Juliet is the way Shakespeare's difficult to understand language is transformed to make it easier for the reader to understand. The worst thing about this book is its ending, which is a tragedy. The characters of this book seem so real because their words are filled with so much life and emotions. The story generally has a good flow but it can also be pretty boring especially when Romeo starts behaving like a baby. Also, Romeo and Juliet's love speeches can sometimes seem awfully long. Overall, though, this book is very interesting and does have a few good love quotes. This play would be interesting to young adults, both boys and girls.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
reviewed by Dianne

This book is about two very close friends (George and Lennie) during the Great Depression and how they worked to survive. One thing I love so much about this book is it brings out the true meaning of friendship (two friends traveling together, bearing each other's faults, but sticking together). One thing I didn't like about the book is when one friend took the life of the other friend. This book is filled with so much suspense, especially when George is faced with a dilemma on whether he should kill his friend. The setting of this book seems so real, which makes the book more interesting. This book is very good for adults and teenagers because it teaches the true meaning of friendship.

Forbidden Sea by Sheila Nielson
reviewed by Dianne

This book talks about a fifteen-year-old girl named Adrianne who has the responsibility of being the head of her family. But she looks down on herself as she doesn't think she's very pretty. One thing I really liked about this book is the fact that it teaches that everybody has a omething special about them. Also, I liked the fact that the book portrays mermaids as very nice and kind creatures. There is nothing bad about this book. The setting of this book could be described as interesting and scary because of the people who live on the island and because it takes place near the sea. This story has an amazing flow and it's so interesting that when you start reading you become so anxious and excited that you can't put it down. This book can be read by teenagers, both boys and girls.

Posted by Arlo at 07:02 PM
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