Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Michael Vey: Hunt for Jade Dragon, by Richard Paul Evans

The book "Michael Vey, Hunt for Jade Dragon " by Richard Paul Evans is about a teenage boy with unusual electric superpowers. In this book, the Electroclan are sent to Taiwan to to save Jade Dragon, a child. While they are there, the team got to try new food that some, but not all, enjoyed. Things however take an unexpected turn. I think its overall a good book and id suggest it to almost anyone.

I think "Michael Vey: Hunt for Jade Dragon, by Richard Paul Evans was a good book.  I'd suggest it to anyone who likes science fiction. The story was well written and conflicts are well presented. It is easy to understand and is a good book to sit back and enjoy after a long day. The characters are relatable and the book doesn't get boring even after an hour of reading it. I think its overall a good book and id suggest it to almost anyone.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Michael Vey: Battle Of the Ampere, by Richard Paul Evans

The book Michael Vey, Battle Of the Ampere, by Richard Paul Evans, is about a teenage boy with unusual electric superpowers. After the events of the previous book, the Elgen are furious with the loss of one of their power plants. The Elecrtoclan's new allies inform them that the Ampere, Elgen's base of operations, will be stopping at a port which will be the perfect time to destroy it and possibly end the Elgen and their threat to the world. Things however take an unexpected turn.

The book was very good. I'd suggest it to anyone who likes science fiction. The story was well written and conflicts are well presented. It is easy to understand and is a good book to sit back and enjoy after a long day. The characters are relatable and the book doesn't get boring even after an hour of reading it. I think its overall a good book and id suggest it to almost anyone.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library 

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner is a story about a video game. A group of friends play a virtual video game where you are able to do anything you could ever want without consequences. In the game there is a terrorist of sorts that threatens to ruin life in the game. These three friends are set on a quest that leads them to the darkest corners of the game to find and defeat this player and save the game that they love so much. As they traverse through the various environments and settings they slowly come to find themselves in more and more dangerous situations until near the end where they have to make the ultimate choice.

In my opinion I think that this book is a very good and creative story with many amazing plots and twists. To be fully honest the book does start off a little slow and does not explain the details of the world very well. Other than that the story is perfectly written and the plot really draws you in if you make it past the first twenty pages. I was left in shock after the end of the book because the ending holds a twist that you would never think of. Over all I can highly recommend this book to who ever enjoys science fiction and thrilling plot twists.

Reviewed by Kevin N., Grade 9
Grandview Library 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen, by Richard Paul Evans

The book Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen, by Richard Paul Evans is about a teenage boy with unusual electric superpowers. Him and his friends go up against a criminal organisation that want to give cheep power and make the world a better place. We are also introduced to the electricity generating rats in this book that eat people and make electricity. In the end all is well and we cant wait for the next book.

The book was really good. I'd suggest it to anyone who likes science fiction. The story was well written and conflicts are well presented. It is easy to understand and is a good book to sit back and enjoy after a long day. The characters are relatable and the book doesn't get boring even after an hour of reading it. I think its overall a good book and id suggest it to almost anyone.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans

The book Michael Vey The Prisoner of Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans is about a teenage boy with unusual electric superpowers. He and his only friend, Ostin go on an adventure with his school bully Jack and his friend, Wade to save his girlfriend, Taylor. Upon arriving to the place where the bad guys of this book kept Taylor, Michael discovered that he is not the only electric child and the real adventure begins.

The book was good. I'd suggest it to anyone who likes science fiction. The story was well written and conflicts are well presented. It is easy to understand and is a good book to sit back and enjoy after a long day. The characters are relatable and the book doesn't get boring even after an hour of reading it. I think its overall a good book and id suggest it to almost anyone.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld

The book Goliath by Scott Westerfeld is about a young Austrian prince aboard the airship knows as the Leviathan. The Leviathan, and Alec with it are sent to Russia to rescue an inventor from giant fighting bears. As it turns out the inventor made a machine capable of destroying whole cities with just one blast. The weapon however is all the way in America and before they get to it, Alec and the inventor have to let everyone know about it in hopes of scaring Germany out of the war which would make the war itself end. However things go wrong and that's what this book is about.

 I enjoyed reading Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes history, is a fan of steampunk, or simply enjoys good and long fiction books. I really liked how the characters and other things were presented. Throughout the book there were many conflicts the solutions to which were not always clear but in the end were quite creative. I also liked the illustrations as they helped visualize the setting in the eyes of the author.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Friday, January 26, 2018

Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator, by Jennifer Allison

In the book, Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator, by  Jennifer Allison, the main character, Gilda, goes on an investigation, to see who killed her Aunt Melanie. She had gone to San Fransisco to stay at her uncle's house when see meets her cousin, Juliet Splinter. They find newspapers in her uncle's mansion saying her Aunt Melanie had died mysteriously. They both had to know what her cause of death was. This experience made them very good friends when at the beginning they despised each other. As they had tried to find out what the cause of death was, Gilda had written all of her foundings on her "Magic Typewriter". She had believed that everything she had written on it would be read by her dead father.

I really enjoyed this book. I had read this book last year, and I still find remember the plot by heart. This book was very interesting. It involved action pact scenes and very unique and entertaining characters. The author wrote it in a very simple way, which made everything very easy to understand. I really enjoyed how fast past this story went, which prevents it from being boring to read. One thing that I did not like about the book, is that it did not teach the reader a lesson that could be used in life, which is something a good story needs. If you like an action pact, murder mystery book, you will enjoy this book.

Reviewed by E.B., Grade 8
Grandview Library

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is a book about a young Austrian prince who wakes up to the unfortunate news of his parents being dead. What at first seemed like kidnapping to Alec turned out to be a plan thought of by his father to, with the help of Count Volger, get him out of Austria and to a safe fortress where they will await the end of the war until Alec can claim the throne of Austria. Things however take an unexpected turn when the Leviathan crashes near their fortress and Alec just cant resist the urge to help the crew of the air ship.

I enjoyed reading Leviathan, by  Scott Westerfeld. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes history, is a fan of steampunk, or simply enjoys good and long fiction books. I really liked how the characters and other things were presented. Throughout the book there were many conflicts the solutions to which were not always clear but in the end were quite creative. I also liked the illustrations as they helped visualize the setting in the eyes of the author.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel, by A.B. Sina

The very beginning of Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel, by  A.B. Sinabegins with a princess who's in love with dancing finds out that she cannot have anymore dance lessons because her instructor has to leave of what is happening all around. Therefore, she decides to make herself look like a guy by changing her voice, cutting her hair and changing the clothes so she could go out to find out what her instructor meant. As she stays outside of the castle, with the society, life gets tough for her so she decides to leave the city. On the way to the desert, she meets some people traveling in groups, they force her to bring water for them, but on the way, she sees someone in water and that makes her so afraid. However, when they were gone, she decides to go and check if what she had seen was real or just an illusion, but unfortunately, she drowns. This was when the forgotten Prince saves her, he was the one she saw in the water. The main part of this book starts from their love to when they face many difficulties and how they try to defeat the enemy.

Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel, by  A.B. Sina is about 190 pages, but that does not mean it is boring. This one is so interesting instead. Each event has been illustrated with details. However, it might get confusing sometimes if you don't really pay attention to what's happening. The story itself, is such a unique one and is really different from other stories we've ever known. New culture, names and places are what you have to expect from it. However, it doesn't mean that it would be confusing for you to understand because how everything is arranged would make sense to you, as the reader. For me, I liked everything about this graphic novel, but sometimes when I wasn't really paying attention, it got confusing and I was really lost. But, that didn't stop me from reading the rest of it because the story gets you to read more and more without getting bored or exhausted. I believe this would be amazing for young adults and teenagers who are in love with old times stories, it is one of the bests to read if you are looking for something different. At the very end, I felt really good by finishing this book. I really recommend you to read this graphic novel and don't miss it!

Reviewed by Orkideh, Grade 12
Downtown Central Library

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Deadman Wonderland Vol. 1, by Kazuma Kondou

Ten years after a massive earthquake destroyed most of Tokyo, a class is planning a field trip to the amusement park Deadman Wonderland. Deadman Wonderland isn't a normal amusement park though as it doubles as a prison in which the prisoners must work to finish their sentence early. A student in the class, Ganta Irigashi, is planning his trip when a mysterious being comes through the window and destroys the classroom, killing everyone except Ganta. As he is the only survivor he ends up guilty for murder. Now he's on death row in Deadman Wonderland, but he isn't ready to give up yet.

 I really enjoyed  Deadman Wonderland Vol. 1, by Kazuma Kondou. I love the characters and concept. The fight scenes are incredible and the art is astounding. There are thirteen volumes total in this series, and they all fit together perfectly. It made me think abut our crime system and the large amount of innocent people thrown in jail due to lack of evidence. I would recommend this book to a more mature audience, and to anyone who likes anime/manga.

Reviewed by Jackson, Grade 9
Grandview Library

Monday, January 8, 2018

The 100, by Kass Morgan

During the nuclear war that made Earth uninhabitable, There was a colony that decided to live in space. Many years later, the same colony decides to send one hundred juvenile delinquents down to Earth as an experiment to see if they can live there. Among them are Clarke, Wells, and Bellamy. Each arrested for different reasons, they must find a way to survive on this strange foreign planet. And Glass, an inmate who escaped, must learn to live as a fugitive aboard the colony.

Kass Morgan's, The 100, is a very entertaining book. The way it's written makes it seem as if the events can happen in real life. It's suspenseful and mysterious as well as warm and funny. What the characters do is very realistic if one were to be put in that situation. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in science fiction or post apocalyptic books.

Reviewed by Parvaneh, Grade 9
Downtown Central Library

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld

The second book in the "Leviathan" trilogy is "Behemoth". At the start, Alec the Austrian prince, his men, and the crew of the Leviathan along with Dr. Barlow continued their mission in the Ottoman Empire where they discovered it littered with Germans. The Germans have convinced the sultan to block Russian supply ships that were there to deliver food to the Russian fighting bears. As Alec escapes the captivity in the Leviathan, he finds that it's his duty as a young prince to try help end the war.

I enjoyed reading Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes history, is a fan of steampunk, or simply enjoys good and long fiction books.  I really liked how the characters and other things were presented.  Throughout the book there were many conflicts the solutions to which were not always clear but in the end were quite creative. I also liked the illustrations as they helped visualize the setting in the eyes of the author.

Reviewed by Anton V., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Monday, January 1, 2018

Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This classic book introduces the disliked character of Mary Lennox, a gaunt and spoiled little girl. Mary lived in India with her parents and maids who took care of her, dressing her and feeding her themselves. One day, everyone in the house died from a contagious illness and Mary was left alone. Thus, she was sent to live with her uncle in England. Mary stayed there for quite some time, hating everything about the situation she was in until she started to befriend various people at her uncle's immense home; these people being a gardener named Ben Weatherstaff, a maid named Martha, a sickly boy named Colin, and a nature-loving boy named Dickon. Through the relationships of Ben, Martha, Colin, and Dickon, Mary grows into a polite, pretty and truly likeable girl. Her outer appearance grew normal and her personality was cleansed as well.

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is one of my favorite book that I have ever read so far; the plot, the description of the scenery, and characters had me absolutely captivated. It was so much fun to follow through the adventures of a little girl and how she changed from one thing to another; the way the author worded every sentence blended perfectly with the story. However, as amazing as a book this is, I wouldn't recommend it for just anyone; to feel personally connected with it, this book needs to be read by true lovers of nature and life, who have a thirst for adventure and curiosity. I don't think that just anyone would feel the same way as I do about it. That being said, if you are a person who enjoys a good story, I would definitely recommend it. But, as a personal lover of classic books, I've felt a deep connection with his book and it will remain one of the best books to me until I read another one almost as good as this.

Reviewed by Anna A., Grade 9
Downtown Central Library

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Buddha: An Enlightened Life, by Kieron Moore

Buddha: An Enlightened Life, by  Kieron Moore, is a graphic novel from the very beginning of Buddha's life to the end of his life. Buddha first was a prince, but he was different from others. Even before he was born, the prophecies said that he would not accept to become a king, instead, he will choose a path to be a Buddha and reach Nirvana, helping and inviting others to the religion. His father, as a king, tries to keep him away from the society so he wouldn't find out what really is going on, therefore he would never leave the kingdom. Also, Buddha's wife as promised to the king, tries hard to keep him away from exploring the life out of castle. However, when she gives birth to his son, he decides to leave and see what is really out there. As the story goes on, he tries many ways to reach Nirvana by many teachers, but none of them were successful. Until, he decided to find his path himself and be his own teacher. After trying so hard and teaching himself, finally he finds the way to Nirvana, therefore, he goes back to those who have tried teaching him, but failed, he offers them to be their teacher and guide. Some of them refused it and some didn't. By the time passes, he finds many people following his path, but also he finds enemies too.

The graphic novel is really amazing. Beside of the details of what happened in Buddha's life, the art and the illustration of it give readers a feeling of being in the story. I really liked how the book was arranged and how the story was written.This graphic novel is only 147 pages and it's pretty short. It only takes a day to finish it. I believe this graphic novel would be interesting to those who would like to know more about Buddha's personal life from the very beginning in a short period of time. Also, it is suitable for those who are interested in graphic novels and find them interesting. Moreover, it is more suitable for teens and young adults. I believe that this book is interesting and entertaining.

Reviewed by Orkideh, Grade 12
Downtown Central Library

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback, by Mitchell Krugel

 The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback, by  Mitchell Krugel, is about the greatest basketball player named Michael Jordan. He's mother taught him to play basketball. He was born in February 17,1963, he went and play basketball at Universal of North Carolina for 3 years he won NCAA championship in 1982. He struggle back in high school year view games that he played. He then got drafted in 1984 selected by the Chicago bulls. He played 19 years in NBA and retired. He had so many award every single session. He average about 30 point per game, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. He is now the owner of Charlotte Hornets basketball team. The company for Nike made shoes for Michael Jordan which is popular to many people who loves basketball.

I like this book because it talks about unknown person to known as person. I think adolescents would actually like this book, its interesting in my opinion.He is a person who always wanted to succeed in NBA which he did! and I recommending that my friends should read the book.

Reviewed by Maximillian, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Ghostfaces, by John Flanagan

The six book in the “Brotherband Chronicles” follows the Herons on a journey to a whole new land. Hal, Stig, Thorn, and the rest of the herons get swept far away from Scandia and into the Endless Ocean by a freak storm while on a routine trip. Tossed around the rolling waves, a leak in one of the two water barrels makes a bad situation worse. The brotherband reaches land, but it’s nation or land that they know of. After saving two native children from a fearsome bear, Hal and his crew make friends with the tribe whose children they had protected. They then learn of the Ghostfaces, a fearsome tribe of raiders who haven’t been seen for years, are on the move again, and the Herons’ friends are a target. The clock is ticking, and group prepares to defend their new friends.

I think that The Ghostfaces, by John Flanagan, is a solid read, and a great addition to the series. There are a lot of twists and turns, with danger always around the corner. One aspect of the book is the emotional roller coaster that is Stig’s personal adventure with a young native woman who captures his heart. This is a view that hasn’t really been fleshed out in a Brotherband book, and it brings a lot of depth to the characters. The Ghostfaces is one of my favorite novels in the Brotherband saga to date, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed any of the other of John Flanagan’s books.

Reviewed by Eric L, Grade 8
Montrose Library

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Scythe, by Neal Shusterman

Scythe, by Neal Shusterman, starts off with two normal teenagers when a scythe comes knocking on their doors. A scythes job is to control the population since dying is a lot less common. So if someone is chosen by a scythe to be killed, he cannot be revived. This scythe that approached both of them took them on as apprentices. But, only one can be chosen to be a scythe, the other would have to be killed by the winner.

This book was gory, had a lot of action, and was overall amazing! The only thing I did not like was a lack of exciting content, most of it was just kind of boring but it peaks up at the end. I did like the storytelling too. It made me feel like I was the main character.  I think this book will best appeal action enthusiasts mostly because of all it's fight scenes and gore. I would give this book a 9\10 and I would definitely recommend it.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 7
Grandview Library

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing, by Fran Rees

He didn’t invent printing. Nor did he invent the typewriter. Yet what he invented changed the lives of the Europeans and eventually the rest of the world. Johannes Gutenberg, one of the most honorable inventors in the history of mankind, invented the printing press which sprouted the telling of tales and bloomed literacy rate like never before. In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the technique of printing with movable letters in the German city Mainz. Gutenberg’s printing press propagated literature to the multitudes for the first time and this became a dominant advantage during the glorious Renaissance age.

Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing, by Fran Rees, is an excellent biography about the infamous Johannes Gutenberg. I had a great time reading this biography because not only did I learn about the life of Johannes Gutenberg but I also got a glimpse of the history of a shift in the print media and how it affected the masses. This biography helped me understand a crucial part of European history since the invention of the printing press changed our world and the effect of the renaissance era.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

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

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

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