Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas

The Survival Kit is about Rose, a teenage girl whose mom recently passed away. Rose is stuck in her depression until she finds a survival kit her mom made for her before she died. Her mom was famous for her survival kits for every occasion. Slowly Rose gathers the strength to open the survival kit. Rose also meets Will Doniger, a senior at her school whose father passed away two years back. Soon Will and Rose find love and comfort in each other.

The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas, was a really cute read! The writing was emotional and the characters were lovable and believable. There were many cute moments between Will and Rose, and Rose's strength was inspiring. I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy romance and inspiring stories and would give it an 8 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races is a thrilling novel set on a secluded island that is known for their annual horse races. However, the water horses that are in these races are violent and blood-thirsty. One of the main characters, Sean Kendrick, has a knack for training and befriending these dangerous horses. He himself has competed in the Scorpio Races several times and has won each time he has competed. Unfortunately, people still disrespect him due to his financial status and the fact that he is an orphan. Another character, Kate a.k.a. Puck Connolly lives with her two older brothers in their parent’s house. They have taken care of each other ever since their parents were killed by one of the horses that competes in the Scorpio Races. Puck’s older brother, Gabe, wishes to leave the island in order to have a better life on the mainland. She doesn’t want to see her family break apart so she decides to enter the Scorpio Races so she could win the cash reward to keep her brother on the island. However, Puck only has experience with her beloved land horse, Dove, who cannot compete in the race because she is not a water horse. Due to this, Puck must train with a new horse and decides to ask Sean for help. At first, he is reluctant but soon sees how determined and hard working Puck is and agrees to help her. Throughout the novel, the two face many critics and obstacles along the way. Their combined determination, diligence, care for each other, and hard work pushes the two of them through the race and makes a lasting impression in the eyes of the locals and mainlanders.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater was very interesting and captivating. The novel got off to a great start and introduced the characters very well and described their backstories but as the book went on, I started to lose focus and in my opinion, it got a little boring in the middle. As the story went on, it captivated the reader more and had many twists and turns that kept it interesting. 

I found this novel very interesting because I have always liked horses and the way the author described the horses in her novel was very engaging. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves horses and adventure.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Montrose Library

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Assassination Classroom Volume 2: Time For Grownups, by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom Volume 2, by Yusei Matsui, things seem to be settling in the classroom, and daily assassination attempts are being carried out the usual way they are. But as days pass, the Ministry of Defense are becoming more and more restless. They fear that there isn’t enough time in their hands to be wasting on children who has absolutely no capability of killing a monstrous creature when the entire world can’t! Which is why they bend the rules and hire a very fine looking teacher who actually happens to be one of the most deadliest assassin in the world who never fails to kill. The situation intensifies as the professional killer sets her eyes on the price Koro Sensi’s head. On the other hand, an insight look of the corruption of the school is shown to explain the meaning behind the creation of class 3-E.

As expected, this next volume did not let me down. In fact, it has elevated my adoration towards this story even more. It was terrific how the firing new assassin Ms. Jelavich puts her thrilling murderous plans into action and the comedy that occurs throughout the situation. I am very much enjoying how Matsui is sewing this story with new and extraordinary events and challenges. Also, I like the serious events along the way which shows the deep messages of a character’s struggle or a situation. Overall, I think that the story is falling into the way it should; surprising and making the readers laugh along the way and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Assasination Classroom volume 1, by Yusei Matsui

Assasination Classroom volume 1 we meet the students of class 3-E in Kunugigaoka Junior High School. A dead-end classroom built in the mountains assigned only to the students with poor grades, troublesome behaviors and frankly the unwanted students in average classrooms. None of them has a speck of hope. No skill specialize them either. They repeat the same blunt day over and over with no desired destination to reach. But that colorless atmosphere changes when 3-E’s students are ordered by the Ministry of Defense to assassin their teacher. What is even more horrific is that their teacher is beyond normal, he is a big yellow octopus looking creature with a big smiley face and tentacle like hands. This baffling teacher has already blown up the moon and is now joyfully waiting to blow up Earth into bits. No guns, no pistols nor bombs can destroy him, only a certain type of BB bullets can which are harmless to humans. Those BB bullets aren’t that useful because he moves at Mach 20! Alas the question which hangs through this volume of the book is how can failing students kill a high speed unknown creature when all the war machines and deadly weapons of the world fail?

From the second page of the book the story becomes intriguing. Yusei Matsui, the author, wastes absolutely no time and brushes of the reader’s thoughts away filling up their mind entirely on the synopsis of this book that they hold in their hands. Even the cover of this book is just so cryptic that it becomes hard for an individual to not ponder upon the stretched yellow smile. What I enjoyed the most of the synopsis of this story is that with all the serious tension of the word “kill” being tossed around, the playful and humorous vibe is maintained. I feel like that this kind of mood in the plot of the story really connects the reader. I recommend it to every teen out there. I am very much enjoying this new and fresh storyline with a little touch of fun and am very much looking forward to read the next volume to see how it surprises me.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 11, 2016

Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant

Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant is a very interesting book, to say the least. In this book, Kant attempts to test the limits of pure reason, to see how much we can explain about the world using reason alone. Kant claims that there are two types of knowledge: a posteriori knowledge and a priori knowledge. A posteriori knowledge is knowledge gained from experience, and a priori knowledge is knowledge we have independent of experience. He also thinks that what we consider to be reality is just our mind's perception of our universe.

I thought this book was ok. Philosophy and metaphysics are two things that I am able to read and be absorbed by it very well. It's very interesting just to question the nature of the universe and the things that make up the universe. However, one thing that I did not like about this book is that Kant uses a bunch of complex jargon, which really irritates me whenever someone does that. Einstein said that whenever you explain something, you should explain as simple as it needs to be, and no simpler, and I agree.

Reviewed by A.E., Grade 9
Casa Verdugo Library

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, follows a female protagonist, Jane, through her life journeys as she learns throughout her experiences from a child to a woman. She lives a challenging life as she grows up as a poor orphan girl in a male-dominat and social class restricted society during the Victorian Era. She goes through many troubles and mysteries on her journey. Her main objective is to make a life for herself, find true love, family, and a place where she can call home.

I very much enjoyed the books as I got to see Jane grow up into a woman and see the change in her identity and character from a child to and adult. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested Gothic literature and mysteries. Also this book would be interesting to people who enjoy reading books from the Victorian Era. I would not recommend this to anyone who does not enjoy reading a slow-paced book as it is very long and takes time to unfold.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 4, 2016

If Only It Were True, by Marc Levy

Marc Levy’s novel, If Only It Were True, tells a magical and an exquisite romantic story about a man named Arthur who discovers a stranger (Lauren=apparition) in his closet as she tells him that her body is in a coma across town. Levy creates many comical scenarios and dialogues between Arthur and Lauren arguing about privacy, love, help, etc. Additionally, the author uses some expletives in order to bring the story to reality and make the reader feel what the characters actually felt.

I recommend this book to people who like romantic adventures in addition to funny scenes. Even though Marc Levy uses many dialogue scenes, the story would have been more adventurous if he used more imagery, figurative language and deeper descriptions of the characters. However, it was fun reading the dialogues between the characters because I felt like I was witnessing all the action with them.

Reviewed by Siranush M., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is about two teens who meet unexpectedly one night and spend the night together on an adventure. Nick is heartbroken over his ex Tris, and when he sees her at his band gig one night, he asks Norah, a random girl, to pretend to be his girlfriend for five minutes to make Tris jealous. Nick's friends convince Norah to go on a date with Nick right then, and their adventure begins.

This book was overall pretty cute. I didn't really like that it seemed like a typical teen romance book, and the plot was pretty predictable. It was still tolerable, though, and the more I read, the more interesting it became. The characters were cute and romantic, and there were funny moments. I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy romance and I would give it a 6 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

In the final installment of the Infernal Devices series, Mortmain is closer than ever to assembling a clockwork army to defeat Shadowhunters. With the Consul breathing down Charlotte's back, the Institute is under close scrutiny. Tessa's love triangle intensifies with Jem's proposal and Will's discovery that his curse was never real. The members of the Institute must fight against Mortmain's clockwork army and find Mortmain before it is too late.

I really loved Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare! It was action-packed, funny, romantic, and suspenseful. The characters were as lovable as usual, the suspense left me on the edge of my seat, and the end left me in tears. I would recommend Clockwork Princess to fans of the series and teens who enjoy romance and action. I would rate it a 10 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

The Compound, by S.A. Bodeen

Eli has been living in the compound with his family for the past six years of his life. His father the rich and famous Rex Yanakakis, built the compound in case a nuclear war begins. As far as Eli knows, his twin brother, Eddy, and his grandmother did not make it into the compound and may or may not have survived these nuclear attacks. Even though his is used to the life in the compound, Eli is very unhappy, he begins having seconds on whether this nuclear war did happen and if his brother and grandmother did actually die.

The Compound, by S.A. Bodeenwasn't one of my favorite books but it was still a pretty good read. It took quite a chunk of the book for the action to start and for Eli to realize that he has to work with his mother and sister to be able to get out of the compound and get away from their potentially insane and harmful father. But when the action did start it was fast paced and exciting. It's not one of my favorites but it was a good book overall.

Reviewed by Lusine M., Grade 8
Glendale Central Library

Monday, June 20, 2016

Farewell To Manzanar, by Jeanne Watasuk

Farewell To Manzanar written by Jeanne Watasuki, is about when the Japanese attacked the Pearl Harbor in the year of 1941! The story explains how Jeane and her family went through tough times. Jeanne's father is a successful businessman and loves himself. He is proud and very sure. But one day he receives a call and sees many people with ships turning back to the shore. He learned that the Japanese army attacked the U.S. He was terrified and he himself was a Japanese-American! He didn't no what to do. After the attack, the U.S. Army started searching for anyone who would be able to communicate with the Japanese offshore. The U.S. then sent those people to concentration camps. Jeanne's family was one of them. Her family was accused of something they didn't do and that changed her whole life. Over the course of the story she talks and describes how the camps were. The type of food they had and how they were treated. Her mother would cry and she never knew where her father went.After that Jeanne's life completely changed all I can say at the end was that she had luck and she honestly deserved it.

This book is very touching. I really understand what people sometimes go through. They suffer a lot and sometimes for something they didn't even do like in this case with Jeanne. I felt really bad for her and her family and wish the best. I honestly would recommend this book to anyone even a toddler because they will appreciate life and understand the meaning of it. This a great piece of art to read and all I have to say about the book is great.

Reviewed by NJ, Grade 9
Pacific Park Library

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WTF, by Peter Lerangis

A story that that is an example of the idea that a little fun can go a long way…and not in a good way. Jimmy, who is a geek and just wants some female attention, helps out his good friend Byron, who lost a margin call and needs fast money, who is assisting Cam, an athletic jock who needs to pay back Waits, a dealer under the great ex-convict Ianuzzi, Reina, a smart girl in love with Cam, plays a little hide-and-go-seek with Waits with some serious cargo, and Byron gets blackmailed by MC, a mountain chick who handles a rifle like it’s an extension of her hand. Each one wants something, and they will go to all extremes necessary to get what they desire.

Well, this was a fresh read: the entire book takes place within seven hours. Given this fact, everything is obviously fast-paced. There is no page filled with mindless or unnecessary information: every sentence, every word is carefully and methodically written. Lerangis does an amazing job with introducing the characters and giving them a personality in such a short amount of time; you get an idea of what kind of people each character is in a matter of three chapters. He was also able to intertwine all six major characters together in this huge, interconnected web. Lerangis was able to throw in some humor from time to time, but kept it really fast-paced, thriller/action-movie like most of the time. The author, again, is extremely skilled in his pacing of the story. He keeps you on the edge of your seat and on the tips of your toes, a state where you think your stomach is going to drop if you continue reading (but you continue anyways). Part of this is because just when he makes it seem like everything is going to resolve itself, the entire situation becomes even more labyrinthine. The small epilogue given at the end of the story was clever of the author because it let the readers catch their breaths and glide to a stop after the roller-coaster ride of a story. WTF, by Peter Lerangis, is especially great for those who like to press the gas all the way for the whole ride, cutting corners and flying off the road, and only hitting the brakes until the very end.
Reviewed by Lilit, Grade 12

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hamlet, by Shakespeare

Hamlet is a tragedy by Shakespeare that takes place in Denmark. Hamlet is the son of the last King Hamlet, who has supposedly died after being bitten by a snake in his garden. After his mother quickly remarried to his uncle Claudius. After finding out from the ghost of his father that he was actually murdered by Claudius, Hamlet vows to get revenge on Claudius and spends the rest of the play debating as to whether his revenge and life are worth it.

I was very intimidated to read this play because it seemed so complex and confusing but I loved it! I think Hamlet's philosophies and puns are so intense. The soliloquies are so beautifully written and can be interpreted in several way which I really appreciate. I thought it's really interesting how although Shakespeare left a bunch of questions unanswered that the people have made up several answers and possible theories anyway. I would recommend it to anyway who likes Shakespeare's plays.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days, by Michele Weber Hurwitz

The book I read for my book report is called The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days. The author of the book is Michele Weber Hurwitz, and as she was writing the book she came up with the question: does good really do good? This question was the whole point of the book. The book talks about a thirteen-year old girl named Nina Ross and how she is committed on doing sixty-five good things for neighborhood. The setting of the story is mainly the cul-de-sac (the kind of street she lives on). The story starts of with Nina planning on doing something good for her neighbor. Since the recent passing of her grandmother Nina has been feeling very lost. Also since it’s her summer of freshman year she wants to find something she is good at because all of her friends have hobbies she wants to find one for herself too. This is what made her create her plan to anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood. Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhoods, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets.

My favorite part in the book is when Eli (Nina’s next door neighbor) asks Nina to go to homecoming with him. I like this part because they like each other and after all of these good things Nina has done she deserves to get her something good happen to her. Overall, this is a great book and I do suggest it because it has a great conflict and resolution and it shows how good can really do well. But it does get cheesy during some parts so if you don’t like cheesy books this isn’t for you.

Reviewed by Ani, Grade 8
Grandview Library

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is set in the magical world of Middle Earth, where giants roam, Orcs pillage and terrorize, and many other mythical creatures exist. Bilbo Baggins was visited by his old friend Gandalf, along with 12 dwarves, to Bilbo's surprise. The dwarves tell him of their quest to slay the great Smaug and take back their kingdom under the mountain, and that they need his help. After reluctantly agreeing, they embark on an epic adventure across Middle Earth, encountering all the dangers possible, from giant spiders to hungry giants looking for something to eat.

The Hobbit is one of my favorite books I've read. I love how the author describes the elements of the mythical world around the characters. I also like the mix of action and drama which makes the group’s journey harder. I very strongly recommend reading this book. If you like stories with magic and mythical beings this is the story for you.

Reviewed by Charles B., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Andy Weir’s, The Martian, is a brilliantly written novel set on the barren planet Mars. After a large sandstorm hits their landing site and his crew is forced to leave him behind after he is hit with shrapnel, Mark Watney has to survive the unforgiving planet of Mars. With only limited supplies left after the sandstorm, Mark must make do with what he has to last long enough for the next Ares mission to pick him up. After learning that Mark is still alive, the world comes together for a common purpose; “Bring Him Home”.

In my opinion, this is my favorite book I have ever read. I'm always interested in Science Fiction books. There are many views on what people think the future will be like, and I believe this one is the most realistic. Not only does it show the dangers of space travel, but it shows that many people will come together to help one person. I like how this book takes a survival story, and puts a twist on it. If you're looking for a book with humor, drama, and action, I highly suggest The Martian.

Reviewed by 

Charles B., Grade 9 
Montrose Library

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak

Doctor Zhivago is a novel by Boris Pasternak that follows the life of Yuri Andreevich Zhivago as he lives through World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. As Yuri grows up, he eventually marries his childhood best friend Tonya. But when he gets drafted as a doctor for World War I, he meets Lara Antipova, whom he can't seem to get off his mind, even when he returns from the War in time for the Russian Revolution to his old home, but a new Russia.

I was very intimidated to read this book because not only is it a heavy classic, but it's translated and I feared that it would lose meaning and sense, but I am so happy that I read it. Something I love about the novel is that nearly every single character mentioned, no matter how irrelevant they may seem in the moment they are mentioned, is somehow connected to every other character. All of their lives cross points somehow, by some strange connection of another familiar person. Also I really enjoyed noticing how the political events of Russian in the early 20th century are mimicked in Yuri's relationships with Tonya, Lara, and Marina. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Nobel Prize winning novels or enjoys learning about the effects of the Russian Revolution.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, May 30, 2016

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman

Dan Millman’s, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, is a fictional novel that changes lives of people by slapping the readers’ face and waking them up into reality. The author’s descriptive imagery and diction brought laughter, tears and helped to reflect on the deepest questions of life and realizing life’s larger meaning and purpose. For example, Socrates(teacher of Dan), always says “The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination,” “A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does,” and “Life has three rules: Paradox, Humor, and Change.” As Dan develops throughout the entire book, he learns to be himself, to be the moment, to focus and to live everyday like it was the last day.

All the amazing and life changing lessons that the character gains are what the reader gains and learns throughout the novel. I liked this book because the fiction came to life and taught me relevant life lessons. High School students and adults would highly appreciate this novel because they will not only enjoy the action but also discover new themes that will remain with them throughout their lives.

Reviewed by Siranush  M., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ticket Masters, by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron

Budnick’s and Baron’s documentary, Ticket Masters communicates about the development of the amazing concert industry year by year and how the public got scalped by various fooling companies. The book is extraordinary because of the authors’ serious and strict tone, and their reliable sources from interviews with CEOs of major companies. For example, the phrases “12 million dollar investment in Ticketmaster,” “$2.50 fee for printing at home,” “the ticket price is much higher than its original face value” and “$25 service fees” displays how horrible Ticketmaster is and how it earns most of its money, which is by placing annoying fees for no absolute reason.

The author’s solemn diction forced me to juxtapose ScoreBig (ticketing company that places no fees), where my internship was earned during the summer with Ticketmaster which places at least 3 different types of fees on a single concert ticket. I think that mostly adults would like this book because the book primarily discusses ticketing companies, which might not be in the interest of teens and young adults. I recommend Ticket Masters, by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron, to business owners because they will like the writers' critiques on other companies.

Reviewed by Siranush M. Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens

This book covers the highly controversial topic of religion. The author brings up various arguments that are brought up about the existence of god and proves how they cannot have possibly been true in a highly persuasive and unbiased form. Furthermore, this book also talks about how religion “kills” by explaining that religion has been and is the root cause for mass killings of people all in the name of god. A lot of ancient claims are refuted by the author through scientific explanation. This book defines that religion is just morally wrong and through every chapter a new topic is brought up and challenged through logic and reasoning.

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens, will go down as one of my all time favorites. I really liked the author’s style of writing in this book. He didn’t just flat out say that religion is wrong and god is imaginary. The author provided extensive examples to prove his points and in the end you were left to form your own opinion. I hit the point in my life where I started to question religion and I decided to pick up this book. It drastically helped me find out where I stand in this matter. I not only recommend this book to atheists, but I recommend it to anyone open minded. While reading this book, I came across several ideas that just left me in astonishment. All of a sudden, everything was making sense to me and the questions I had regarding religion were answered. This book will provide you with a new way of thinking and I think that anyone who questions religion should pick this up.

Reviewed by Arthur A., Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sweethearts, by Sara Zarr

Sweethearts , by Sara Zarr, is a phenomenal book that makes want to ponder a bit. This book is based on a past experience of a girl named Jennifer Harris (also known as Jenna Vaughn). The story begins with a flashback when she was in elementary. Elementary was a big moment fro Jennifer because she was bullied for her weight which meant she only had one friend, Cameron Quick. Cameron Quick also lived a terrible life..not with society but with his family..also known as his abusive father. The point is one day he just disappears and Jennifer never sees him again. Jennifer later moves and had great change for her family and society..she becomes Jenna Vaughn. A new identity for her but still deeply maintains Jennifer. Jennifer lives a happily normal life until the unexpected comes on her birthday that will change her perfect life into the reality she is really living.

The book was so great and different from other books. I would totally recommend it to young adults because it is a beautiful story based on true friendship. It is a story we can all relate to. It made me wonder about typical stereotypes in society and why they behave in such a way. I honestly thought it was going to be a cliche..like lost love or something but it was different and unexpected..

Reviewed by Andrea V., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The 10x Rule, by Grant Cardone

The 10x rule is an idea that the author created which means to put ten times more effort in any category of life to receive ten times the results. This book talks about how bad it is to be average. There are average people all around, but their life is never as fulfilling as somebody who abides by the 10x rule. The idea of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is heavily encouraged throughout this book. If you constantly challenge and put yourself in tough situations, then everything will become easier for you because you have experienced the worst. Furthermore, writing down goals is described as a fundamental habit to commit to. Everyone has goals and visions which they want to accomplish and the only way to do that is to write it down on paper and have it in plain sight. This book is highly motivational and will put you in the right mindset to succeed.

The 10x Rule, by Grant Cardone, is like no other book you have read before. It introduces a very interesting concept and mindset to have. It reminds you that you are going to have obstacles on the pathway to success but because you are facing problems, that means you are on the right track. Fear is described as “False Events Appearing Real”. That line alone really motivated me to look past my fears and do things that scare me. I recommend this book to everyone. The ideas expressed can be applied to every aspect of life. After reading this book, my attitude towards everything changed and I am more focused and goal oriented. I enjoyed every chapter of this book and I guarantee you will too. If you find yourself struggling to succeed then pick up this book. It will forever change how you live.

Reviewed by Arthur A, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Things They Carried, by Tom O'Brien

The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, is based on war, but is fiction. The book is based on different stories and perspectives of the narrator Tim. The book is not like any other war story, only because it is not non-fiction. The book begins with the soldiers and what life was at war as well as some of the things they carried. What is interesting is the book later talks about what happened after the war. The book helps people understand what soldiers have gone through and why soldiers do what they do after the war. When you read the book it makes you question if certain events are real or just made up. They say if you question it so much, it can be true. The story takes place in Vietnam ( Vietnam War). It simply talks about memories of what soldiers lived and how they died. It is a very emotional, heoroic and gruesome story.

The book was actually pretty great. I actually believed I was not going to enjoy it because I do not really enjoy books based on war. I have also read All Quiet on the Western Front. In compare to The Things they Carried I would say this book was way better because it was fictional but in a way sounded non-fictional. It definitely taught me something about war. I recommend this book to adults or anyone who likes a great war book. I can not stress how much you should read this book. The book was incredible.

Reviewed by Andrea V., Grade 11
Glendale Central Library 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Way I Am, by Eminem

The Way I Am, by Eminem, is a book written by Eminem all about his life. He starts from the roots and talks about how he became a rapper. We think that people just become rich and famous but that is not always the case. Eminem details how much he worked on his craft to master it and eventually get noticed by big name labels and producers. The book starts off from childbirth, to teens and leads in to adult years. Eminem talks about each and everyone one of his albums and the reactions that he got from them. This book is very personal and everything that Eminem went through and felt is in the inside of this book.

I really loved this book and I wish it was longer. It's very interesting because Eminem tells you stories and details about his rap career that you wouldn't know unless you read this book. I picked this up because I am a hardcore fan and wanted to know more about him. It made me realize that fame and wealth ultimately comes with a price and its not as amazing as people think it is. I recommend this book to fans and people that want to know who Eminem is. You will begin to understand him and why he is the way he is. I feel like if you listen to a certain artist, you should read about how they came to be a success. This book also has a lot of pictures to go with it and I thought they were really cool and added to the overall context of the book.

Reviewed by Arthur A., Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls ,by Laurie Halse Anderson, follows Lia as she suffers from anorexia and has a very distorted view of her body. Her best friend Cassie has just died from bulimia after calling Lia 33 times and she refused to answer. Lia now deals with the guilt from possibly being the cause of death and the pressure of her entire family telling her she is sick when she doesn't see it. Lia can't be helped until she wants to help herself but her time is running out.

I thought Wintergirls was a very realistic in how it captured the mindset and life of someone suffering from distorted body images. I feel like every teenage girl has at one point been very unhappy with their body image and this book does a very good job of warning of the potential dangerous ways some deal with solving that problem. I like how Wintergirls promotes a healthier lifestyle by showing what the unhealthy lifestyle can lead to. I would recommend this to people who enjoyed Anderson's other work such as Speak.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, April 25, 2016

Death Note volume 11, by Tsugumi Ohba

In the book, Death Note volume 11, by Tsugumi OhbaLight has a lot more on his plate now handling Near and Mello, giving Mikami orders, managing both Takada and Misa along with the taskforce members. Now that Light revealed himself as Kira to Takada he must tell her about why and how he is doing all the killings. Misa becomes less and less important to Light and her presence starts to fade away. On the other hand Mikami is putting all his will and strength insanely to bring justice to as many criminals as he can. Near can wait no longer and declares to Light that they should meet face to face very soon.

Hooray! I am so excited but mostly glad that Near has decided to end his little investigations on Light, which made absolutely no progress whatsoever, and finally make plans to end the battle face to face. I like how Near says that he just doesn’t want to prove Light as Kira to arrest him as a crook, but he wants to make it vividly clear that who is more superior and right all along. Of course good old bold Light accepts this challenges to destroy Near and clear his path to build his new world.

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Death Note Vol. 5, by Tsugumi Ohba

Being stuck inside L’s prison Light is irritated and is ready to give up the ownership of the Death Note. Ryuk grants his wish and now Light’s memories of the Death Note have been vanished. Light becomes his innocent self once again and works with L, who has now become his best friend, to hunt down Kira. With Misa and Light both being freed of being involved with Death Note, who is the new Kira in Japan now? All the new victims who are facing deaths have some kind of connection going on in the business world and less involved with bringing justice for a better world.

I enjoyed going through the phase of both Light and Misa acting as their usual self, living a normal life without the evil power of Death Note running through their veins. It is very nice to see how they would live their daily lives with fun and laughter at the task force with Ryuzaki who seems to be enjoying this the most. We see how many worldwide problems can be solved when the two intrepid genius contribute. I adored how much closer as friends Light and Ryuzaki got in Death Note Vol. 5, by Tsugumi Ohba,  of the book. While Misa acts as her old self creating much laughter and happiness at the task force.

Death Note Vol 3, by Tsugumi Ohba

Light is cornered by the 64 hidden cameras and microphones which L has ordered to implant in his room. Light decides to step up his game as he puts his malicious plan to be always a step ahead of L. While L puts his life on the line as he takes one of the biggest risk in his life. Things heat up as more and more people are stirred up in the Kira case. It’s nearly impossible for the people involved to solve this troublesome case and now it’s seems that there is no way out and their old lives will never be given back to them. A harbinger of more problems appears as an anonymous second Kira appears out of the blue with threatening messages.

One of my favorite events occurs in Death Note Vol 3, by Tsugumi Ohba, while the dramatic tennis match takes place. I absolutely loved the psychological thinking went on only during a simply minor tennis match. It signified and symbolized so many things that really make one cogitate deeply. It is a sign of a gloomy foreshadow nearing. Once again the art is just extraordinary making each moment of the story more believable and realistic flowing perfectly with the atmosphere of the story. What I didn’t quite like is the idea of pulling out a second Kira. I feel like now the author is trying to fit in as much conflict as possible to keep the reader’s attention.

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Death Note, Vol 2, by Tsugumi Ohba

Now a storm of difficulties hit Light as he is tested to be qualified for this formidably malicious life as Kira. His magnificent intelligence is questioned whether he can really slip out of the fingers of the police and built his new cleansed world. On the other hand, L works for the very first time with a few detectives for the sake of this monstrous case. L is no less intelligent than Light in fact he is the only detective in the world who is capable to solve labyrinthine problems like this. Shockingly we learn more about luminary detective’s outrageously strange habits. L tests Kira’s limit by monitoring how far he’ll go to protect his crime by sending private FBI spies from America. To make things worse one of the agents has a fiancée whose clever thinking and evidence may lead to Light’s defeat. Light strives to destroy all that is against him but the question still hangs in the air, how far will he go?

Things spice up even more in the book Death Note, Vol 2, by Tsugumi Ohbaas the unique detective L is introduced with his peculiar actions. I am absolutely loving this new character who is on the same intellectual level as Light but the only difference is that Light is head to toe a perfect model while L here is simply a bizarre human with outrageous behaviors! This is where it gets exciting as the cat and mouse chase begins among Kira and L. Also, I am really enjoying how Light takes certain actions which is absolutely shocking for him to committee all for his terrifying dream of creating a new world with the Death Note.

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Death Note - Volume 7, by Tsugumi Ohba

In the book Death Note - Volume 7, by Tsugumi Ohbaas the capture of the newest Kira draws an end the entire taskforce gets a clear view of a monstrous looking Shinigami, Rem. They finally learn the method of how the killing took place. With no one owning the position of Kira, Light’s plan fall perfectly in place and he gains all of his memories. We take a deeper look at what exactly happened before Light decided to turn himself in out of the blue. The malicious Light returns once again with his outrageous plan to create his new world. This time a jaw dropping event takes place making a bold statement that Light Yagami has truly surpassed the best of mankind and even Shinigamis.

This volume of the book is overall mostly a return of Death Note’s psychologically brilliant actions. I am amazed at how Light sewed up his flawless plan which we get to see in the flashback. Aside from all the terrific things that went on in this volume, I am drowned in depression after the heartbreaking tragedy that occurs in this depressing book. Words are not enough to describe the great deal of emotions and tears I shed after finishing the reading. With a tremendous amount of trauma and shock I had to pause my reading of Death Note and really take a moment to ease my sorrow.

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock

Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock, is a, extraordinary well-documented and detailed look at events leading up the power of the world famous dictator Adolf Hitler. Bullock hits a home run with writing the masterpiece of Hitler’s life because he accomplishes to really bring out a lot more of Hitler’s past to fill in the gaps as well as showing how a miserable childhood later affected him and the entire world. Another accomplishment Bullock makes with Hitler’s biography is by remarkably explaining how preciously his later ideas and behavior were prefigured in his early years.

One of the reasons why this book will surely snatch the reader’s attention is because Bullock handles to bring out Hitler’s past with a sense of anticipation and drama. He also proves that what today’s world accepts as "facts" about Adolf Hitler is full of inconsistencies and assumption. Indeed he does prove numerous of our assumptions wrong. Although this is my first book reading about the powerful leader, I still have to say it is by far the best ever written biography about him. In order to make understanding of his formidably horrifying actions, one must look into his past and see him as an individual and his nature as a human being.“He was not cut out to be a painter. But Hitler refused to admit defeat” . It was heartbreaking to read about the poor child getting rejected twice from becoming an artist of his dreams. On top of that, life with his family wasn’t any pleasing with a dominating father in a crowded house. Indeed Hitler was a gifted young man, but his society never realized that.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick, is a story about a girl who has looked out her window to see her neighbors, The Garrets, they are everything she always wanted in her family. They are crazy, fun, and affectionate towards one another. The Garrets aren't really respected in there community and are looked down upon because the many children in the house and the mess that is always left in there front yard. She cant help but look at them every night to see what fun thing they are doing now. One day she meets one of the boys in the family and she ends up being part of the family she always admired from afar. What will happen in the end? Will she take her families side or the garrets side?

This is one of the cutest books I have ever read. The main character is very relatable and you feel for her struggles and are happy when good things happen to her. If they came out with a sequal to this book I would read it. The Garrets were so hectic and loving that I wish I knew them. I wanted to be part of their family and hang out with them. All the family member are very likeable. You will get attached to each one when you read this book. I would recommend this book to someone who just wants a fun read that will make you laugh and love the relationship in this book. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Mia J., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, April 4, 2016

Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth, by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi * NOT IN LIBRARY SYSTEM*

Reading this book was worth investing my time due to how smoothly Gandhi blends us into the exploration of his life. Gandhi’s point of view and his tone of writing to present to us how he felt was absolutely marvelous. The preeminent leader’s bold passionate of love and nonviolence really is spotted when one horrifying incident occurs in a village during a corrupt time. From among his search of truth what I found most fascinating is how he sets the audience free to agree or disagree with his actions and conclusions. All these factors lead up to this incredible book Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth which once again reminds us of how the legacy of the great revolutionary leader Gandhi portrayed a nonviolent and purified life to inspire the future.

Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth, by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhiis truly an inspiration for all ages because of the depth thinking Gandhi shares among all the readers. As a child, we were expected to know about Gandhi, and when I did learn I thought I understood who he was. But after reading this book I came to understanding of how little I knew about him. My most enjoyed the parts was where he mentions how his life outside politics was like with the guiding of Bhagavad Gita. In all, it was splendid in depth view of his struggling life while desperately trying to lead his nation to break free from the English tyranny.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor

The story is about a young boy who has vision problems and is trying to uncover the truth of why exactly he has them. He goes to school at a high end middle school, where he cannot play soccer, his sport, because of his eyesight. So, he transfers over to another poorer high school where he can play soccer. While there, he befriends the soccer team and a person named Luis. Shortly after, he uncovers the horrifying truth about why he has damaged eyes.

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor, was a great read, and I recommend it to anyone who needs a good book to read. The book starts slow, but picks up fast towards the middle and just never stops. The author never lost track of the real reason why we are reading; to find out why the main character is blind. The ending is unpredictable, and the only way he finds out is through an unfortunate event, and a series of flashbacks. This book has a way of getting capturing your interest, and if there is one book you definitely should read, it is this one.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Grandview Library

Friday, March 25, 2016

Death Note volume 10, by Tsugumi Ohba

As Near’s suspicion grows more strongly towards Light, Mello selects a new partner in crime to monitor over the NPD. With both successors closing in, Light needs to cook up some clever plans and immediately. But it is no fun to have only L’s successors in the game; Light needs some successors to shape his ideal too. Light tries very keenly to pick and give the Death Note to a successor of his choice because now Mogi is monitoring Misa 24/7. But can Light trust another stranger with the notebook as he handles the role of L, his fiancé and a new girlfriend?

Light’s new successor is interesting with a unique characteristic just like Light. But I honestly think that Near is wasting time questioning and pestering the taskforce members like Aizawa and Mogi when he could be going a lot more deeper with the case. Though mostly throughout this volume of the series we just read about Near and Mello trying to get closer to the end of this case while making no progress at all. Death Note volume 10, by Tsugumi Ohba, has a lot of intensity only stirs up during the parts involved with Kira’s chosen successor and how he gets another woman to fall for him with his irresistible romantic act. I do dislike how he feels that women are too easy to get and merely has any respect for them while using them only for his needs and trashing them afterwards.

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Death Note - Vol 8, by Tsugumi Ohba



In the book Death Note - Vol 8, by Tsugumi OhbaLight Yagami is back in action! Only this time he’s three times as bad and evil. He holds the identity of Kira, the new member of the NPA and the honorable title of L. Just when Kira extends his fingertips to reach for his ideal world hotheaded Mello kidnaps Sayu. Mello offers a ransom but the deal can only made by traveling across the world in the middle of nowhere. Light’s humanity s tested to see whether he would pause his plans for his ideal world and go after to save his sister from Mello’s mafia or just let her be murdered.

Two new successors of L are involved in the action to become Light’s new adversaries. Both Near and Mello may have unique habits of nonstop eating chocolate and the other playing with toys, but now it’s becoming like a mandatory tradition to have bizarre habits. I feel like the story is being taken way too far and crossing the line mostly after L’s death. Now Mello and Near are just a replacement of L, trying to become like him who is just irreplaceable. Its obnoxious how Near’s traits, especially, tries so hard to copy and become L with his messy overgrown hair, silent personality, weird position of sitting and instead eating food like L he plays with silly toys.




Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library