Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, by Alan Jacobs

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction is written byAlan Jacobs who is a professor of humanities in Baylor University. Jacobs argue that the number of readers and the strength of reading are not dying in America. He believes that reading is well and alive in America. Jacobs then turns his attention to the ex-readers or the forgotten readers in hopes of pulling them back to the reading world once again. Jacobs boldly and fiercely dismisses books and scholars who discourage the weak readers.

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction is a great book for the fallen readers who feel that they are not welcomed in the world of reading anymore. Jacobs has reshaped not only how I should read but also where I should read and why I should even pick up a book at all. Jacobs’ caring tone throughout book serves as a friendly guide to the audience and it also helps us trust his advice and his credibility as an expert in the field of literature.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, December 4, 2017

H2O, by Virginia Bergin




H2O starts off with an asteroid hitting Earth. The worlds only chance was to shoot a rocket at it hoping it will explode. An astronaut pulled the job and saved the world. Unfortunately, there was some sort of bacterium in the asteroid. A few weeks later, there was a disaster in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and it was heading toward the Americas. At this point, the main character Ruby, is at a party at her friend Zak's house, little to know it was seconds away from the crisis. Luckily, Zak's parents knew what was going on and they quickly got everyone in the house. It started to rain, but the reason it was an emergency was that it was fatal, and just one drop will kill you. A few weeks pass and Ruby's friends, family, and neighbors are all dead, and she's stuck with two dogs ( one with a terrible odor), a dork she would never hang out with, and an 8 year old mute on a journey to find her birth father.

I loved everything about H2O, by  Virginia Bergin, its storytelling was amazing. I recommend this book to horror enthusiasts. It was so hard to choose a favorite character because of all the times a main character died. I also loved Ruby who still cared about her appearance in the middle of a crisis. The book made me feel like I was witnessing the true horrors and disasters of the story. I did not want to put the book one bit. It was a great experience reading this book and I really recommend it. I loved everything about this book especially the storytelling.

Reviewed by Anonymous,
Grade 7, Grandview Library

Thursday, November 30, 2017

How Do You Build a Time Machine and Other Puzzles with Science, by Erwin Brecher

How Do You Build a Time Machine and Other Puzzles with Science, by Erwin Brecher, has studied mathematics, physics, psychology and engineering. He finds the book entertaining and fun for those who like science. The book's contents includes an introduction, puzzles and answers for the problems in the book at the very end. In this book, there are 98 pages of problems or puzzles as the book says itself which are suitable for brain training or it can be called as brain exercises. As recommended by the author, each problem is suitable to be spent time on for about a day or two. For an example, the first problem that readers are about to be challenged is about a time machine and everything about time. To find the answer, the reader needs critical thinking and a background knowledge of physics. However, at the very end of the book, readers can find their answers if they were not really able to solve puzzles. Moreover, most of this book includes problems of mathematics and physics. The interesting part of this book is when everything might seem fine and reasonable in a problem, but if reader pays close attention, she or he might find the answer without referring to the answer key. However, as mentioned earlier, most of these problems require a background knowledge of science taught in high school.

To me, I sometimes find mathematics and physics fascinating since science is all about wonder so this book can be so entertaining for me. Unfortunately, I find this book with all of its entertaining problems, somehow annoying since it reminds me of school and homework, but it doesn't mean it is not good. I believe this book would be amazing for those who are passionate about science especially physics and mathematics. There are so many problems that can be so challenging for minds. However, some might not find it really interesting or some may find it annoying solving a bunch of physics problems. So this book is only good for those who are willing to spend their time solving physics problems. It all depends on you if you would like the book or not.

Reviewed by  Orkideh, Grade 12
Downtown Central Library


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Kill Order, by James Dashner, is book about survivors of a disease trying to get a young girl named Deedee. Unlike most, she is immune to the disease. Mark, Alec, Trina, and Lana must take Deedee to an organization that is trying to find a cure by testing immunes.

I think this book is well written and unlike The Fever Code, it is an independent story.  It has its own story line and it has a lot of twists and turns. If you like fiction, action, and survivalist books then I recommend reading this because that is exactly how this book is written. The characters are very likable and its i'll be honest, I was so addicted to reading this, I only put it down no more than 10 times.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Montrose Library


Fever Code, by James Dashner

The novel, The Fever Code, by James Dashner is a story about the way that the maze was built. It is a prequel to "The Maze Runner" also by James Dashner where it explains how the group ended up in the maze. It shows the building of the maze and how the facility worked. The story follows Thomas as he is first introduced to the maze and all of the horrible things that he had to deal with.

I think that this story was very well written and the characters were accurate to their counterparts in the main book. I thoroughly enjoyed every page as the secrets introduced in the first book were slowly unraveled until the ending of it all. I also enjoyed how the characters were very realistic and behave as a twelve year old would behave in such situations. Over all I think that this book is very well worth your time and would be a great read.

Reviewed by Kevin N., Grade 9
Grandview Library

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Champion, by Marie Lu

This book was about two teenagers, named Day and June, who live in the future society of the United States called the Republic. In this future society the United States is split into two different countries, the Republic and the Colonies. The Colonies invade the Republic and threaten to release a deadly virus onto the whole country of the Republic. Day and June are sent to do anything they can to stop the colonies, even if it means sacrificing themselves or the ones they love.

Champion, by Marie Lu, was really good but I hated the ending. I didn't like how the book ended at all and it made me mad and sad. I literally cried when I read the ending. In my opinion people who liked the Hunger Games and the Divergent series would seriously love this book. It is one of the best books that I have ever read. This book made me realize how fast a country can change and how different the future can be. We really don't know what could happen in the future and this book helped me realize that.

Reviewed by Emily, Grade 11
Montrose Library

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book of Lost Souls, by J. Michael Straczynsk

The Book of Lost Souls, by J. Michael Straczynski is a graphic novel which is about the struggles of life for different types of people. There are six issues or as it can be said, chapters that combines the struggles of life with fairy tales. It all starts from a man called Jonathan who travels with a black and white cat to different places. The first issue starts with a woman who has lived with her husband for a long time, but her husband has been abusing her. She sees herself as a princess who everybody loves her except a dragon. The dragon sometimes wakes up and destroys everything. The princess is afraid of it, but she never leaves because the dragon has taken her love so here comes Jonathan to help her with his cat called Mystery. In other words, in real life, the dragon is her husband who has changed for a long time and isn't the one she used to love. However, she still stays with him, doing whatever he wants, only because she has the hope of her true love to be back. When Jonathan comes to help her, he asks her why she doesn't leave everything behind and go away. As he finds out that the princess is not willing to leave, he tells her to stand up and fight the dragon and let all of these to be over. Finally, she listens to Jonathan and fights the dragon, or in other word, her husband who has been abusing her. In conclusion, this book brings all of the issues we have into fairy tales and how all of these can be defeated and be over only if we are willing to. The princess defeating the dragon was only the first issue which has been mentioned here. There are five more issues that Jonathan and his cat go for them to solve.

I really liked the book, both its art and story. The author has brought today's life into fairy tales. In my opinion, the author is trying to show the audience of how we all can solve the problems we have, no matter how tough they might be. I also liked the art of it and how it has been illustrated with so many details. I believe, this book would be good for teenagers and young adults since it's graphic novel. The good part of this book is that it can teach its audience to never give up and how to face difficulties. Also, it pictures the reality of the world and what's going on, beside of that, it brings up fairy tales which can be seen as dreams. I really recommend this book to those who are struggling with life a lot and need a motivation and also those who need to see and face the reality.



Reviewed by Orkideh, Grade 12
Downtown Central Library

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kekkaishi, by Yellow Tanabe

Yoshimori Sumimura comes from a long line of Kekkaishi, or demon hunters that utilize magical barriers. At night Sumimura reluctantly acts as a protector for the living, as his grandfather demands he continue on the family tradition even though his true passion is baking. When out fighting, Sumimura often runs into his neighbor Tokine Yukimura, the heir to the rival Kekkaishi family. The two become friends even though their families hate one another due to a dispute over succession.


Kekkaishi's story is not very original, taking some obvious inspiration from Romeo and Juliet (although Romeo and Juliet didn't involve and demon slaying). The author didn't make any risky leaps so the story isn't terrible, but it's not great either. 

The characters don't have much depth to them but they are very likable. My favorite character being the recently deceased patissier who is never named. The relationship between him and Sumimura was really cute and enjoyable, as he taught Sumimura baking techniques. 

I don't have much to say about Kekkaishi, by Yellow Tanabe, besides that, since over-all Kekkaishi just didn't have much of an impact. It w
as really mediocre.

Reviewed by Matty, Grade 12
Montrose Library

Friday, November 17, 2017

Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, by Ursula K. Le Guin


Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story is a simple and short guide to writing creatively with the instructions of Ursula K. Le Guin. This book is the rewritten version of the same title because Le Guin strictly wants to inform the readers of the specific writing crafts which is relevant to the twenty-first century. Le Guin provides examples of passages from notable writers in each of the chapters’ lessons and also includes her own humorous commentary to enhance the tone of the book.

In Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story the author focuses on creating a thorough guideline for grammar, rhythm, sentence structure, sentence length and etc. I didn’t expect this book to focus so much on the nuts and bolts of basic writing which is why I was disappointed overall. The chosen passages from the notable writers were an effective way to demonstrate what each lesson was meant to teach. Also, this book lacks on providing the inspirations to actually writing a wholehearted story.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fruit Basket, by Natsuki Takaya

Fruit Basket, by Natsuki Takaya, is manga series consisting of 23 volumes in total and centers around a young high school girl named Tohru Honda. Faced by continuous tragedies, Tohru Honda lives her lonely life as an orphan never hinting anything to any of her friends. Then one day she meets the mysterious Sohmas, a family guarded by ancient secrets and magical curses of the zodiac signs. When the generous Sohmas take Tohru in as a part of their family, she gets a glimpse of a breathtaking extraordinary world.


After reading Fruit Basket, I now understand why it has received so much praise for living up to the qualities of a slice-of-life genre. This lighthearted graphic novel is a great way unwind after heavy reading because the effervescent main character sets the mood to be quite relaxing throughout the entire first volume. Even though the artwork lack character and the dimensions are quite poor, considering the time it was published, the manga still leaves a strong impact upon its readers.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London


The book Call of the Wild, by Jack London is about a dog named Buck. The story starts when Buck is stolen from his home in the Southlands and is taken to the North. Buck is sold from one dog owner to another. Throughout his time as a sled dog, Buck learns the Law of Club and Fang. He learns when to obey and when to fight back. He develops his natural and ancestral instincts as he fights countless times for his life. Buck starts to gain a sense of alertness and he adapts to whatever environment he's put into. Buck is constantly drawn to the Wild. It calls to him and he doesn't know whether or not he should follow it. These feelings allow the dog to finally become one with himself as he experiences things that teach him to live the life he didn't know he wanted.

I enjoyed this book very much. The author wrote a book that was descriptive and taught lessons that could be used in life. What I like about this book is that the reader is able to understand what the character is feeling and why the character is feeling it. The story talks about ones natural instincts so it allows the reader to feels these ancestral drives. It made me feel like I was living with the character and learning everything he was learning. I think someone who likes to think of the powers of the natural world and how they bring out the best/worst of a person would like this book. This book is for someone who understands the need and satisfaction of reverting back to ones primordial state.

Reviewed by Talin P., Grade 9
Montrose Library 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chocolat, by Shin JiSang

High-schooler Kum-ji is obsessed with the boy band DDL, and wishes to join her school's fan club so she can be closer to her idols. The only problem is that the fan club is no longer accepting new members. Believing that she will not have a chance to see DDL otherwise, Kum-ji joins the fan club for the newly debued band, Yo-I. Things go as planned until E-Soh, the lead singer of Yo-I, sees through her ruse.


To be honest, I wanted to like Chocolat, by  Shin JiSang, but I just can't say anything good about it.

To start off, there are a lot of surface mistakes. There must have been some issues with translating, because there are quite a few issues with the grammar. None that would make the text unreadable, but it does tarnish the over-all experience. I mean, even the title seems to be misspelled. Other than that, there are some issues with anatomical correctness with the art. The style isn't very refined, and characters tend to look broken when not front-facing.

The real problem one may have with Chocolat is the story. The premiss just doesn't make much sense at all. Kum-Ji joins a rival band's fan club to be closer to DDL? It's sort of understandable since the two bands often perform close to each other, but why does she need to join a club for that? The book makes it seem like being apart of a fan club is essential in attending a concert.

Reviewed by Matty, Grade 12
Montrose Library

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster

How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster, is a guide to understanding the basic day to day literature and classics that we read in schools and universities or simply at home in our own pleasure. A contemporary fiction and drama professor, Foster takes us on a journey of reading and analyzing famous books throughout the centuries. This book contains a number of practical guides and outlines to break down and comprehend stories piece by piece in order to not only successfully understand the gist of the story but to also identify hidden gems.


Although Foster provides a number of helpful outlines to convert old literature into something that a mind of the twenty-first century would understand, his methods and teachings remain quite vague. How to Read Literature Like a Professor definitely does not live up to the hopes that the title promises. Instead it makes the average readers even more confused and it can even possibly send the wrong message to the struggling readers as they might misunderstand that literature really wasn’t meant for them. This book was anything but an enjoyable read, therefore I would not recommend it anyone.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Scorch Trials, by James Dashner



The book, " The Scorch Trials" by James Dashner is a book that follows the maze runner. After the group escaped the maze, they have to finish a trek through a barren wasteland to get to safety. They fight wastelanders, treacherous weather, and each other.

I like this book a lot. It made me think of how different the world could be if one little thing went wrong and how catastrophic things could have been if our history was even slightly altered. I would recommend this book to any teens that enjoy science fiction.

Reviewed by Kevin N., Grade 9
Grandview Library

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Raskolnikov is a poor student that struggles to make it by in Saint Petersburg. Too proud to ask for help, he is drawn to committing a murder fueled by the notion that he is doing the world a favor by getting rid of the old pawnbroker lady he frequently visits to pawn his things for money. The book- appropriately named Crime and Punishment- details the build up to the crime itself and the subsequent punishment and the seeking of redemption.

I have picked up Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, many times, starting from the beginning and then losing interest after the murder where Raskolnikov is stuck in a feverish state of mind that can be confusing and frankly, boring. I definitely recommend this book. However, it is extremely helpful if you have a secondary resource (Sparknotes, Shmoop, et cetera...) to keep track of the characters (similar names are used for many different characters and each character will be addressed in a different name at least once). I definitely recommend to any high schooners who are willing to engage with this book- even re-reading chapters to catch what they missed- it is very rewarding to read and get swept up in the characters and their contribution to the story.

This is not for the quick reader. You will not appreciate it if you're a quick reader or generally not willing to put in some time into understanding the novel. I disliked the novel until I utilized character lists and re read the chapters. Not for the faint of heart and easily distracted.

Reviewed by J.L., Grade 12

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ivy Chronicles ,by Karen Quinn

The Ivy Chronicles, creatively and humorously written by Karen Quinn, details the struggle of Ivy Ames, a New Yorker living the extravagant life - until she gets fired from her well-paying corporate job and finds out that her husband has been cheating on her with a colleague's wife. Ivy scrambles to piece her life back and tries to downscale her luxurious life. Trying to pull her life together - and her kids - she dreams up the business of arranging clients' little kids into exclusive and first choice kindergartens of their liking, with the help of her new neighbors, Philip and Michael, and her best friend, Faith. In this hilarious take on the difficulties of dealing with over-demanding parents and a new perspective on top-tier schools, Ivy is the unnatural but good-natured heroine with possibly more than a few tricks up her sleeve.

At first glance, it may seem as if Ivy is an annoying, stuck-up woman who should take more time to appreciate the world around her and how worse she could be living. Soon, however, you grow to love her antics and quirks as she faces the world with her courage and determination. I admired those two specific qualities of her and made me root for her all the way through. I unquestionably had my moments when I cringed at her behavior and controversial judgment. Nevertheless, it was difficult to not burst out laughing at when she got herself into an unlucky situation. At times, there were a few mature themes that were presented, but it wasn't incorporated often. All in all, I amazed myself by looking up to none other than Ivy Ames, the woman who could single-handedly take care of her kids' lives - and hers too - through all the hardships she was presented with.To conclude, I really enjoyed reading this novel. If you're looking for an entertaining and comical read, this is it. It kept me on my toes, and I'd be lying if I said that the plot didn't surprise me with its twists. There are slightly mature themes throughout Ivy Chronicles ,by Karen Quinn, but it is lighthearted enough that it really didn't bother me. I would wholeheartedly recommend this story to any one of my friends.

Reviewed by Alena, Grade 9
Downtown Central Library


Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Yellow Wall Paper and Other Stories, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


The Yellow Wall Paper and Other Stories published during the 19th century by the author Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The Yellow Wallpaper particularly is one of the most chilling and mystifying short stories of Gilman. Specifically written from a feminist pint of view, the story follows the doings of one typical housewife’s climatic turn to madness. Another story “Turned” is about the sardonic tale of a husband seducing and ending up impregnating a maid. Through this and the stories Gilman tries to prove to the readers of the inferior role of women in society and the neglects that they receive.

The Yellow Wall Paper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is quite an interesting compilation of feminist short stories. The stories are not only out of the ordinary but they also made me very ambivalent about my reaction afterwards. Even though these works of Gilman are highly praised among the feminist realm, I still found it hard to adjust to this odd type of stories which are no doubt depressing. Despite how true they may be it is still hard to actually admire and connect to them.

Reviewed from Anonymous, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One Punch Man, by One

After saving a child from a monster, the then-unemployed Saitama, realized his calling. He wanted to be a hero! After three years of intense training, Saitama became strong enough to defeat any enemy with only one punch as well as lost all his hair. But with such overwhelming power, fighting villains is no longer exciting and he has become emotionally numb. It is only until Saitama met the rash cyborg, Genos, that his life started to become interesting again.

This is probably one of my favorite manga of all time! 

All of the characters are so well created, coming packaged with creative backstories, amazing designs, and a very unique quirkiness. There wasn't a single character that was alike, and that includes all of the hundreds of villains. The monsters that appear are so amusingly silly and interesting, unlike those from more "intense" manga that trade memorability for a darker tone. 

One Punch Man, by One, obviously doesn't take it's self too seriously, which lets it break away from cliché tropes in the genre. It is very different spin on an Shonen manga.

Reviewed by Matty, Grade 12

Montrose Library

Friday, October 6, 2017

Assassination Classroom (Volume 1), by Yusei Matsui *BOOK NOT IN SYSTEM*

Assassination Classroom, by Yusei Matsui, is a manga that tells a unique story of students in Kunugigaoka Junior High school. These are no ordinary students and they certainly have no ordinary teachers. The story centers around the class 3-E (E as in End) meaning that these students are the outcast of the school either because of their failing grades or their brazen behaviors. On top of being inflicted with dragging problems, class 3-E receives an offer from the Ministry of Defense which consists of 10 billion yen if they succeed in killing their new teacher. Their new teacher, Koro sensi, is anything but ordinary, he flies at the speed of mach 20 and is an extraterrestrial yellow octopus who has threatened to destroy the earth after class 3-E graduates in March.

Once again I have to admit that the publications of Shonen Jump ceaselessly amaze me every time because I am just absolutely enthralled by this fantastic manga. The very plot of Assassination Classroom captures the reader’s attention from the start, and the comical yet unique characters keep the readers interest kindled. The artwork of the manga is stunning and it is impossible to not get attached to the hilarious but mysterious Koro sensi. I am looking forward to moving on to the next volume and I would definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone.


Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels is a satirical novel published in 1726 by the author Jonathan Swift. The story is illustrated through the detailed travel diary of Lemuel Gulliver who is shipwrecked in different islands where he is introduced to peculiar inhabitants. Gullible Gulliver meets absurd Lilliputs, crude Brobdingnag, intelligent Houyhnhnms, and selfish Yahoos. Swift’s brilliantly savage satire unveils the boorish nature of human behavior through these strange creatures. This book magnifies our flawed characteristics and makes us pause to reflect over our vacuous behaviors.


After reading Gulliver’s travels, I must admit that the snarky satire of Jonathan Swift has made me recognize him as one of the cleverest author. Swift does a marvelous job in exposing the flaws of our society which sadly is just as relevant as it was during the 18th century as today. His parodies and satires are not only scholarly germane but it also is terrifically humorous. The fictional worlds in this series of adventures of Gulliver is fantastically well crafted and it really stands out from majority of the other books which is why I would highly recommend everyone to give this book a read.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller, who is a sixth grade teacher in Texas with a great passion in “awakening the inner reader in every child.” Miller’s book focuses on tactics to inspire students to read a lot more than they themselves ever imagined. She wrote this book to not only inspire other struggling instructors but also to help her own class thrive in reading. This book is rich with practical classroom activities and advises that will surely help teacher in all grades.

The Book Whisperer is a great book to rekindle the passion to once again fill our lives with books just like a child. The story of Miller’s great enthusiasm for books since she was only a child is inspiring and captivating. Miller successfully persuades the audience to enhance their relationship with books. I enjoyed reading this lighthearted book because of Miller’s caring assurance that it is still not too late to go back to reading. I would recommend this relaxing book to all audience but especially to teachers.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 12

Glendale Central Library

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

King Gaius now rules the three kingdoms, naming it Mytica as it was called before split into three kingdoms. But, now he aims for another great goal. More power. Actually immortality. He has forced poor people of Paelsia to build an Imperial Road. No one really knows why the king wants this road to be build and what for except King Gaius and the immortal watcher called Melenia who has been visiting him plenty of times in his dreams. According to Melenia, the road leads to the Kindred and the four of them can be located by the princess of Limeros, Lucia. Ruling all of Mytica was never enough for him anymore, all he wants now is immortality. Meanwhile, after capturing Auranos, killing the king of Auranos, the father of Cleo, he forces his son, Magnus to marry the princess only for showing the people of Auranos that he's treating their princess fair and she's safe. Cleor still hates Magnus for the tragedy happened in the past. He was the one who killed her beloved one, her only true love right in front of her eyes meanwhile she couldn't save him, she couldn't do anything for Theon. Cleo is sure that she'll get her revenge from all of them. She promised her father to take back her kingdom. All she needed was patience and perfect time, also power. Meanwhile, Jonas has been trying to save his people from the cruelty of King of Blood. He and his friend start leading a rebellion with a girl who they meet later while searching for more rebels to join them. Lysandra was her name and she was a good warrior. She hasn't seen her brother since he has been taken away for the construction of the road. That was why she decided to join Jonas and Brion, Jonas's friend. However, for the most of the time they keep failing and losing more and more of their men each time. Furthermore, at the castle, Lucia has been in a coma since she used her magic for the war. However, Queen Althea, the mother of Magnus and the wife of King Gaius, has kept her in coma for a longer time by using a potion, keeping her asleep without anyone knowing about it. While Lucia is in come, a handsome watcher who's older than her visits her in her dreams many times. His name is Alexius. Unfortunately, he is forced by Melenia to make Lucia fall in love with him so she can use her magic for her own aim.

As you can see, Rebel Spring is the second book of Falling Kingdoms series. The first book caused me to continue the story so I decided reading its second book. I believe more interesting moments happen in this book. I was more shocked, and surprised. I lived with the characters deeper than I did for the first book. I could feel more hatred, love, passion for the power, and fear. I liked this book for how the author arranged the chapters, and the storyline. What I really didn't like about this book was that King Gaius having the power and poor Cleo had to deal with it. However, this story is more like a reality than a happy endings fairy tales and that is why it has made it more interesting. This books is mostly great for teenagers and young adults. This book is awesome for those who love warriors, wars, archery, and kingdoms. After I finished this book, I was left in shocked and surprised, I couldn't wait anymore to borrow the third book from the library. I really recommend this book since it's full of adventures, willing for more power, hatred, love, passion, and fear. The Falling Kingdoms series has been one of my favorite nonfiction books I've ever read.

Reviewed by Orkideh Grade 12

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Attack on Titan, by Hajime Isayama


After the appearance of Titans, Humanity was left to hide behind the walls of the last human stronghold where they would know peace for 100 years. But Titans, the enormous humanoids that live only to kill and eat humans, have finally broken into the city and threatened humanity's existence once again.

Attack on Titan, by  Hajime Isayamais a very intriguing read, never really giving the reader a full explanation, but enough to understand what is happening. From the beginning, we are thrown into the action with no lengthy introduction. Mysteries are presented to us left and right, making us really read between the lines. This method of story-telling leaves the reader engrossed in revealing all the secrets there are to not only the story presented, but to the world and its lore. Not all of the characters are believable or relatable, but the twists this series presents to us more than makes up for it.

Reviewed by Matty, Grade 12
Montrose LIbrary

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Treasure Concealed, by Tracie Peterson

In the book A Treasure Concealed, by Tracie Perterson, among an 1890 Montana backdrop, protagonist Emily Carver is introduced as a kind-hearted yet willful pioneer daughter who solely yearns for settling. She'd much prefer a home where she can establish herself rather than tagging along her overly-ambitious, gold-mining father. His only goal in life is to strike it rich, although this never seems to happen. Growing up was never easy in the mining camps, yet it proves to be increasingly tasking as she develops a feminine form in the midst of many single, old men. She conceals herself with many unflattering layers of clothing when in public. Hopping from one camp to another, she dreams of a different sort of affection her sickly mother and her father are not able to provide. It seems as if Emily will never be able to fulfill her mother's final wish for her to marry. This is the case until a well-to-do visitor comes to her minuscule town. The man is strikingly rich and strikingly handsome. Emily guards herself fearing the worse yet the attraction is unavoidable as the man proves to be both humble, helpful, and benevolent. However, she comes to the realization that falling for the newcomer of the camp will prove harder to fight than she ever imagined, in fear that she will end up with a broken heart. 

A second voice, Caeden Thibault, is a young geologist under the mandate of the government to catalog the minerals native to Montana. The brooding young man runs into Mr. Carver by chance as the two characters' lives cross paths. Both men are courteous to each other from the beginning to the end, which rewards the both of them. Throughout his stay, he avoids listening to his heart, in an attempt to escape the pain of his past. He's afraid that creating any bonds will prove to have the same end as his late, abusive, alcoholic father. Yet, something unexpected about Emily Carver has rendered him unable to silence his heart. So, Caeden finds himself doing anything to try to understand why. He lends a hand to the needy and seems to be unable to peel himself away from the small town. Two external conflicts play out as the Carver family have a need to strike it rich and Caeden needs to get the pestering past from back home off his shoulders. Will a fiance and some debt back home cause rifts in a budding relationship...?
If you are in search of a quick, sappy, and historical read, this book is for you. If you are, however, more inclined towards a deeper and more meaningful piece of literature, I would not recommend this novel. This simplistic story could quite simply be trying to mimic the ordinary lifestyle of the pioneering America we are immersed in throughout this read. Clichés galore, the language implemented in this book is far from substantial, I daresay elementary. Nevertheless, if you are interested in something light-hearted this may be your cup of tea. Do beware that the majority of all of the climactic events in the story will occur quite rapidly. This is the case so much so that you tend to have to re-read certain passages just to understand what happened in that one paragraph. In contrast, the rest of the book is filled with lengthy, detailed explanations, descriptions, and internal monologue. I have to say, the imagery in this book painted a complete picture for the reader to envision. Your imagination is able to soar to the dusty, Montana landscape the author wants you to find yourself in as well us feel the smothering heat, perspiration, layers of clothes, whatnot... Character development is pleasantly consistent as the good guys remain the good guys that they are and the bad guys remain the slimeballs that they are. In turn, the two main characters are dynamic enough from beginning to end for the story to be interesting. It is important to note that the characters in this novel cope by means of giving each other religious advice and speaking of God and the gospel. Hence, this is a book primarily geared towards a Christian audience. If you fit into that category, it is quite pleasant to stumble upon a faith oriented story. The resolution was incredibly hasty to be believable, but that is what is to be predicted. Problems that were quite large, under the circumstances, were resolved in a hurried fashion. I know that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but, in the edition I checked out, the woman whose picture is featured on the cover looks absolutely nothing like the description of the main character. I'd prefer continuity rather than being misled. The plot was simple and executed in an okay manner with guarded characters eventually opening up to each other. In that regard, I'd say it is pretty deserving of three stars.
Reviewed by Alexis, K., Grade 11
Montrose Library

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry is no where near enthused by the summer that lay ahead of her. Little did she know it would be one of the most memorable summers of her life. Her mother decided it would be helpful to move across the country from California to Connecticut. She gives the responsibility of driving their car cross-country to Amy. However, there is one problem: due to her father's death caused by a car accident, she is not at the psychological capability to drive. That is when Mrs. Curry ensues the help of her friend's son, the strikingly handsome Roger, who Amy can't seem to remember from her childhood. The road forces both Amy and Roger, who has a problematic past of his own, to venture into both figurative and literal uncharted territory.

This has to be, by far, the best road trip book I've ever read. It's a good thing I read it right before going on a road trip of my own because it got me incredibly excited to be in an eight hour car road. But eight hours are only a fraction of the adventure Amy and Roger's trip takes you on. The reader truly experiences the road trip and the growing relationship across America as they flip the pages of this book. The scrapbook style elements incorporated among st the pages gives you the feeling that you are alongside the duo on their trip complete with receipts, brochures, menus, song lists, etc. This medium-length novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson, is pretty close to a five star summer read. I recommend this to all YA readers. Its dynamic and lovable characters will capture your heart.

Reviewed by Alexis K., Grade 11

Montrose Library

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith

Due to a solely four minute delay, it truly seems to Hadley Sullivan as if it is one of the worst day in her seventeen years of life. These four minutes render her stuck at the JFK airport, because she has missed her flight,and utterly late to her father's second wedding in London to another woman, who she has never met. Hadley has not seen her father in two years, and still has not forgiven him for falling in love while being a temporary professor at Oxford, leaving her mom stranded with a daughter and drastically changing their lives. This consumes her mind, that is, until she meets a young gentleman who offers to be of help during her annoying time at the cramped waiting area. His British accent catches her off guard, let alone his handsome looks, as they eat at an airport restaurant and acquaint themselves to each other. It is then that they find out they are sitting in the same row. Yet, it takes her a while to find out his name is, in fact, Oliver. He is charming in a way that almost completely diverts Hadley's attention from her dread about the upcoming marriage and those involved in it. Not to mention, he distracts her from her sudden claustrophobia that many a time overtakes her when she is in a closed space. Oliver takes his seat adjacent to her on the flight across the Atlantic Ocean and showers her with his accent and witty quips. It is no wonder Hadley finds herself wishing the plane ride would never end. After they land, the two separate at customs in a whirlwind. Hadley is then forced back to reality once again when she must think about what the day's celebrations mean for her relationship with her father. However, a part of her mind is still stuck on the Oliver that eased her apprehension as he talked and the undoubtable romantic tension that ensued on the plane ride. Yet, the hope that they would see each other again is diminished by the fact that they had not even exchanged any contact information. Meeting her new stepmother, seeing her father for the first time in over a year, and trying to take in all the new people in her father's life that are about to be a part of her life as well, her thoughts drift over to Oliver. She asks the question: was the plane ride an isolated even or could it possibly be the start of something great?

This time-oriented, romantic novel can best be explained as cinematic. Throughout the book  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith, ones thoughts transcend to a motion picture in their head. It's a good thing this book is actually in the development for a screen play. Set over a time period of twenty-four hours, this quirky tale has is filled with first love, apologies, and family. Hadley and Oliver's story will persuade you that love at first sight exists in the most unlikely of places when you expect it the least. This novel displays two incredibly likable and relatable characters. Young girls could definitely connect to Hadley's character and undoubtedly fall in love with Oliver alongside her. This book does a wonderful job of portraying the feelings of a teen who is not sure how to deal with the deluge of sudden changes in her family. We get flashbacks explain to us about her former life. They are like a cup of hot chocolate by the fireside compared to cold, present life of Hadley the author does a good job of describing. Although a simple plot, the storyline progresses with pleasantly skillful descriptions. I think it would serve the book justice for it to have a different title. For a volume filled with such clever banter, a quirkier title would have been more appropriate. Additionally, it would not repel all the love-at-first-sight haters. The two characters take a while to open up. Don't think that this story is cheesy in the least. It is a feel-good, heart-warming tale of love at first twenty-four hours. It might seem a little unrealistic for Hadley to find her way around London by herself without getting lost when she is determined to encounter Oliver once again. It is, nevertheless, fiction. Although we can go into criticizing what is and is not possible when we put ourselves in that situation, the realistic factors of realistic fiction can only be taken into consideration to some extent. The author is entitled to using their creative license.

In essence, this is the ultimate story of fate, reunion, and forgiveness. It is a family geared story. It is the superb, slim novel to pick up if you're looking for a quick yet enveloping read. I'd recommend taking this book on an airplane ride of your own. It is too bad this probably will not happen to us in real life. I'd rate this book four and a half stars.

Reviewed by Alexis K., Grade 11

Montrose Library

Monday, August 14, 2017

Your Lie in April, by Naoshi Narakawa

Your Lie in April, by Naoshi Narakawa, is a book about a young boy named Arima Kousei, a piano prodigy who can't play the piano anymore. In this volume of the series, Arima meets Kaori Miyazono, a happy-go-lucky girl who turned his world upside down. Kaori tries to persuade Kousei into playing the piano again and this time, as her accompaniment in competitions. It was not only Kaori that tried to persuade Kousei, but his two other friends, Watari and Tsubaki, forced Kousei into playing the piano again, not to make him famous again, but to give him a closure with his painful past.

This book has a plot that I have not seen before. The author did a really good job capturing the feeling of being alone and seeing the world in a monochrome tone. I think that people who like music and romance would like this book. This book made me connect to my life of how I see the world in a monochrome manner. This is a story that most introverts can relate to because the main character, Kousei Arima, acts like an introvert himself. Not only is this book about romance and music, it also teaches you a lot about life and how to live it without regrets. It teaches you things like, if you are trying to run away from something, you will always find a reason not to see it, or do it and another thing that this book teaches you is to face your problems head on, because if you do not, you might end up regretting it. Overall, if you are a fan of anime and manga, this is definitely a series that you must read.

Reviewed by R.P., Grade 9
Casa Verdugo Library

Fear Street: The New Girl, by R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine's Fear Street:The New Girl is about Cory Brooks a teenage boy in Shadyside High School. One day he was in the cafeteria standing on his head with a tray of spaghetti balanced upright in his right hand. He was dared to do this by his best friend David. Then his eyes focused on a blonde girl in an old fashioned Blue dress on the other side of the cafeteria. Her name is Anna Corwin. From the first moment he saw her he immediately fell in love. He was obsessed with her. He couldn't sleep for a few nights in a row. He managed to get her phone number and then he called her one night. Her brother picked up the phone, Brad. Cory said if it was the Corwins house and he said yes. Then Cory asked if Anna was there and then suddenly Brad was screaming and saying "Anna is DEAD!", then he hung up. Cory tried again a few nights later, still he said the same thing. Then the same night he decides to go there just to see if Anna is alright. She lives on Fear Street and on Fear Street there is said to be many unsolved cases of murder and strange creatures that lurk during the night. Cory is afraid of the street, but still he came. She jumped in his car, and out of nowhere kissed him very hard and for a long time. Then when Cory asked if she was alright, Anna looked out all the windows then ran out of the car. Days passed by and he told David all about it. One day Cory’s close friend Lisa found a dead cat in her Locker. She thinks that it was Anna but Cory can’t see Anna doing something so wrong. Lisa thinks that Anna did it because she is jealous that they are friends (Cory and Lisa). Homecoming dance was near and Cory went with Lisa. She has been friends with him ever since. During the dance Lisa went to go use the restroom then fell down the stairs and known saw who pushed her down. Cory found out that it was Brad. The next day he found Anna at school and held her tight and said that they need to talk. Anna told Cory about how Brad is crazy and killed their sister, Willa. A few nights later Cory goes down to Anna’s house to free Anna and confront Brad…

I would definitely recommend this to some of my friends. This is one of R.L. Stine's books that I actually enjoyed reading. Some of my friends are avid readers, so I would recommend this book to them. In the book I liked the way Stine announced the characters to the scene. I didn't really like it when in almost every other page one of the characters were ether laughing or annoyed at someone else, but I think that it helped the story flow better. I guess that it was a really good book because when I read the book it was over the weekend and I didn't even stop to play video games. I liked the book so much that I was reading over one hundred pages a day. By the time I knew it I was done with the book and then wondering what else to do. When I came to the part where Anna was explaining about how brad is "Crazy", I wanted Cory to ask some questions to Anna about who she really was. I also would have changed Cory’s personality in general because he just completely ignores Lisa’s ideas and opinions. Whenever she talks he just complete ignores her questions, and changes the subject and talks about someone else. Whenever Cory talked about Anna around Lisa, Lisa always got jealous. So in return when he talked about her, she pushed Cory away. If I wrote the book I would change those parts so she would just change the subject back instead of pushing her friend. R.L. Stine just made it so obvious that Lisa was ignored by Cory. Also when Cory and Lisa found the dead cat in her locker I would have liked it if Cory went to go talk to her and say if it was her or not. Even if he likes her or not still it would have been better if he did that. Just before they found the cat Anna, Cory and Lisa were all talking together in the middle of Lisa’s locker. I liked that parts when Cory sneaked out and went to Fear Street, because of the streets nature. Apparently the street is supposed to be haunted. Every time he went in his car to go to Fear Street and ultimately see Anna, he had the since to turn back and try to call again, but there was something telling him to go and talk to her, that’s what I personally liked from the book.

Reviewed by Aren, Grade 9

Pacific Park Library

Echo, by Kate Morgenroth

The book ECHO, by Kate Morgenroth, follows the story of a young boy named Justin who has to deal with a voice in his head after his brother Mark's death. Before his brother’s death, Justin was a popular guy among his classmates and dated Megan, one of the prettiest girls in school. After the accident involving his younger brother’s passing, everyone began to look at Justin as a monster. The voice in his head makes Justin relive the day that he got in a fight with his former best friend, which lead to a horrible accident.

I personally enjoyed reading this book because of the mystery behind it. It was interesting to find out what the voice in Justin’s head was. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes mysterious and suspisious stories. The characters in the story have very interesting personalities, which helps keep the story going. This book made me think about the consequences and aftermath of a tragedy that follows people in their daily lives.

Reviewed by G.Z.
Grade 10, Glendale Central Library

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Clary wants to go to Idris to find a cure for her mother. When Jace and the others leave without Clary, she creates a Portal. After Jace tells her to leave, she befriends Sebastion. When she finds out Simon is imprisoned, she must rescue him.
I loved this book so much! There were so many plot twists, the end being the biggest of them all. I was so not expecting what happened in this book to happen. It was all just so amazing.

Review by Anisa A. Grade 8
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, October 17, 2016

GIrl Online, by Zoe Sugg

Girl Online, by Zoe Sugg, is a novel based on romance, drama and fame. This book was written by British Youtube blogger named Zoe aka Zoella. The book starts of with a girl named Penny Parker and she lives in England with her best friend Elliot who is also her neighbor. Penny is the type of person who is fun, quirky, clumsy; she is basically that type of girl who makes a fool of herself because she is never herself. The only thing she can keep truthful and real is her passion for photography. With her amazing skills she is assigned to take photos of the actors and actress' in her school play. During her time there drama is created between an old friend Megan and a boy she has been crushing on since forever aka Ollie. Through out the story so much drama and embarrassment is created so her parents decide to take her to New York, along with Elliot (since Penny's mom is a wedding planner and she has a wedding to plan there). Towards the end she fall for a boy named Noah aka Brooklyn Boy. Did I forget to mention Penny has an anonymous blog where she calls her self "Girl Online"! Well things begin to go down hill thanks to secrets and drama. 

I loved Girl Online. I thought it would be a memoir as many youtubers do but Zoella ended up writing a novel as she included her actual life. I noticed how she talked about her anxiety and certain things such as her writing a secret blog. I feel like I can see Zoella doing that at some point. I recommend this book who love a romance and drama but as well to people who adore Zoella. I also recommend her second book "GirlOnline:Tour ". I will soon be starting that book because I absolutely loved her first novel. At the end of the day I feel like Zoella wrote the book to her style so that was great.


Reviewed by Andrea V., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library




Monday, September 5, 2016

Someone Like You, by Sarah Dessen

Image result for someone like you sarah dessen
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen describes the normal life of a teenager that has suddenly become not so normal anymore. Halley Cooke is your average fifteen year old with a controlling therapist mother, quiet father who avoids confrontations, and one and only best friend, whom she can always count on, Scarlett. Everything is normal until Scarlett’s boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, dies, Scarlett learns she’s pregnant with his baby, and Halley gets involved with bad boy Macon Faulkner, and this is when the new definition of normal has to be made.


First and foremost, Dessen has written a book that captures the real and raw emotions of teenagers. She does not overdo it, making her characters have a tantrum on every other page, nor does she leave them bland, showing no significant emotions. She is able to bring out that rawness and energy that is experienced with the emotions. The author is very good in her pacing of the story, and keeps reminding the reader of the time going by with the mention of holidays and months. Her exposition is not slow and she jumps right into it, and it does not slow down during the book. She also weaves a very sweet and enviable friendship between Halley and Scarlett, but I would have appreciated a little bit more history of their friendship rather than only the start of it. Macon’s and Halley’s relationship throughout the story is also admirable in its actuality. The author didn’t create a relationship that sprung out of nowhere and leave the reader to question if the characters were together or not. The reader is also pulled in by the conflict between Halley and her mother, which is experienced by many teenagers everywhere, and so is very relatable. Her characters, especially Halley, are realistic and totally relatable with their thoughts and actions and win the sympathy of the readers (at least for me). Dessen creates a small town setting with comfy little characters that have to make big, uncomfortable, and life-changing decisions that make the book all too real.

Lilit, Grade 12
Central Library