Monday, August 3, 2020

The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague by Albert Camus is a philosophical novel set in Oran, French Algeria. It is a story about an epidemic in North Africa that starts when thousands of rats come into the city and die, creating mass hysteria. The plague is deadly and is essentially an allegory of the French's suffering under the Nazis. The main character, Dr. Bernard Rieux, is the man who treats the first victim and he is the man that tries to pacify the hysteria and epidemic.

This story is very relevant to current times, seeing as the epidemic in the story is extremely similar to the pandemic we are undergoing right now. The story has to do with an epidemic and deals heavily with philosophical questions about the human condition, destiny, and the totality of being a human being. Camus does an excellent job with weaving the struggles of being human with his fictitious stories. I highly recommend this book for fans of philosophical and reasoned novels! If you want a book that makes you think far after you finish it, this truly is the book for you and if you end up enjoying it, definitely check out the rest of Camus' works.

Reviewed by M.S., Grade 11
Montrose Library

Friday, July 31, 2020

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Has love changed? Has finding a soulmate gotten harder? Is online-dating safe? Does social media change the way we find love? In Modern Romance by actor and comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg, all those questions and even more are answered. Conducting multiple surveys all around the globe, from Paris to Tokyo to the United States, the two writers wanted to investigate if the Internet has affected romantic relationships as we know it. Many esteemed academics also participated by adding their own research, thus making it even more rock-solid. It is honestly such an interesting and any questions you may have will be answered.

I have been in love with Aziz Ansari's work since he appeared on Parks and Recreation. Ever since, I have followed all of his comedic endeavors and 2015's Modern Romance is not an exception. Pairing up with Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist and professor at New York University, Aziz Ansari is able to write a hilarious but poignant portrait on modern romance and what love really means in this contemporary day and age. I highly recommend this to sociology, philosophy, and comedy lovers! It is an incredible book that delivers an important message whilst adopting a humorous tone.

Reviewed by Melody Seraydarian, Grade 11
Montrose Library

Monday, July 27, 2020

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a suspense novel that follows the life of the Sinclair family, who from outside, were the archetypal, perfect family. More specifically though, it centers around Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the eldest grandchild of the wealthy Harris Sinclair, her mother's father. Every summer, Cadence spends her summer on Beechwood Island, an island owned by Harris Sinclair. The Sinclairs are wealthy, affluent family with a lot of secrets. Summer Fifteen was an interesting one. Read to find out what happens behind closed doors.

As someone who enjoys suspense novels, I can confidently say that this was one of the best young adult thrillers I've ever read. Lockhart has crafted a psychological mystery about the downfalls of wealth, privilege, and affluence. It was done in truly such a cunning way! You almost don't even expect the twists and turns Lockhart throws your way when you're reading it. If you're a fan of thrillers or a book that you won't put down until you finally finish it, We Were Liars is the perfect book for you!

Reviewed Melody Seraydarian, Grade 11
Montrose Library

Friday, July 24, 2020

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

David and Julia are two best friends with a list - a list of things they swore not to do when they first entered high school. But now they're in senior year, and they decide that they have to break every single rule on that list. One rule on the list is the most important - to never date each other. However, Dave and Julia both have a secret - they've been in love with each other for as long as they can remember, both too scared to admit their feelings. Breaking out of their comfort zones, Dave and Julia must find out what they really mean to each other - and if they're too late to act on those feelings.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It was different from what I usually read, and kind of refreshing. The characters were well written, although some (insignificant) things seemed unrealistic. Many of the characters, from Dave and Julia to their family and friends, were believable and all seemed like they could be real people. The adventures and antics that the characters became involved in were fun to read about, and the love story/drama was very well written. I think Alsaid did a pretty good job at portraying school/life as a teenager. It reminds me of John Green's writing, which is also really good. I think people who enjoy love and teen romance novels would like this book. Overall, I would recommend this book, even if it isn't a genre you normally read.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, July 20, 2020

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Llewelyn Moss is hunting in Texas, close to the US-Mexican border, when he stumbles upon a convoy of wrecked, shot up vehicles. When he comes closer to investigate, he finds a bag filled with money - and although he knows better than to take it, he goes and does just that. He believes ( and rightly so) that the wreck is a result of a feud between two drug cartels. Soon, he is hunted by a psychopathic hitman, and not even the police can protect him or his family.

I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were believable, and like other McCarthy books, the atmosphere was gritty and realistic. The story was intense and suspenseful. Along with superb tension and action, the story also showed how greed could lead to horrible things. I think that people who like action novels and books with a hunt/chase being one of the main storylines would enjoy reading this book. However, it was not just action - there were plenty of deeper, sadder themes going on in the novel. Overall, I thought that this book was terrific, and I highly recommend it to others.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan

This is the fourth book of the series Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan. Apollo has restored the first three oracles with the help of Meg McCaffery, a demigod ally, and must now restore another in his quest to become a god again, but without his powers, he is just another human being named Lester. Apollo must now head to Camp Jupiter, where the Roman demigods will be preparing for a final stand against the evil trio of Roman emperors, Apollo’s old friends will need his help in order to survive. But right now all odds are against them as they will have to first journey to a forgotten tomb that belonged to an emperor more powerful than he has ever faced.

The thing that makes this book so interesting is that Apollo and Meg must go somewhere unknown and forgotten, and this builds suspense. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes thrill and suspense, making you want to keep reading. This book uses a lot of imagery (creating pictures in your head) to hook the reader into it. Apollo is a dynamic character, meaning he develops through each story. But he wasn't always like that. He used to have a lot of confidence in himself; he used to think that just because he is a god, he can do anything he wants, that he is better. But once Zeus punishes him, he begins to seek help and becomes friends with Meg. What makes it interesting is that Apollo is this amazing god and has all his powers, but in this series, he learns to survive without them and it gives him a different point of view. This makes the book very interesting.

Reviewed by Aryan S., Grade 8

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

This is the third book in the series The Trials of Apollo. Apollo, or Lester, has survived his first two trials, one of which was at Camp Halfblood and the other at Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words that she said while she was seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil trio of Roman emperors plan to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo, a Greek demigod ally, flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles, somewhere in the American Southwest. There is still one spark of hope in the sorrowful prophecy. Can Lester and Meg restore the third Oracle?

The thing about this series that will hook the reader into it is the plot and the character development. Riordan uses a lot of different techniques to make the stories interesting and gets a lot of people hooked into the book. I would recommend this book to almost anyone because of how the plot is built and the genre does not even matter, anyone can read this book. This book would make you feel as if you are one of the characters because of the effective use of imagery which plays an important role in the development of the story. I believe that once you read one of the books you will be wanting to know what happens in the next.

Reviewed by Aryan S., Grade 8

Friday, July 10, 2020

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

After the events of Gemini, our protagonists (Kady, Ezra, Hanna, Nik, and Ella) are trapped on the ship Mao and are running out of resources. With the jumpgate destroyed, there is no way back to the Core System- their only option is to return to Kerenza and its hostile Bei-Tech occupation. As they suppress mutinies and reluctantly accept the help of a dysfunctional battle AI, the team must find a way to defeat the overwhelming amount of enemy troops and ships at Kerenza.
Meanwhile, on Kerenza itself, the colonists are hard at work under the harsh Bei-Tech occupation- mining the hermium necessary for Bei-Tech to fire up their jumpgate and escape. Faced with the horrors of the situation at hand, Rhys Lindstrom, a Bei-Tech trooper, is disgusted. When he is contacted by Asha Grant, one of the colonists and his girlfriend from before he enlisted in military service, he decides to help the insurgency against the occupation. They must delay hermium production until the Mao can come and rescue them all.

I really liked this novel, just like I enjoyed the previous books in this series. All of the ragtag bunch of characters were written extremely well. The unorthodox combination of files, video transcripts, and message logs the authors used to convey the story was very interesting to read and portrayed a feeling of authenticity to the book. There was a perfect combination of suspense and action, keeping the reader at the edge of their seat. In fact, I think the suspense in the book is done extremely well- it starts to build and build and finally it crescendos into action. Readers of the previous books and books with a story told in unorthodox ways (Like World War Z) would probably enjoy this. Additionally, people who like sci-fi, space-traveling action novels would also love this book.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Hazel and Ben live in an unusual town, Fairfold, where magic is common and the Folk roam around. Inside that forest, a boy with horns lies in a glass coffin, in a deep, deep sleep. One day, this boy awakens, and the people of the town are eager to find him. Due to his awakened presence, a monster named Sorrow, who obeys the Alderking, terrorizes the citizens in order to find this boy. Both Hazel and Ben were both once in love with this horned boy, later known as Severin, but Hazel has another secret, one that may tear the siblings apart. Hazel risks everything and travels to land of the Folk with a Faerie, Jack, whom she falls in love with, too, to uncover answers. She also learns dark things about herself that she didn't know before. However, Hazel knows that it is up to her to save the town.

I really enjoyed this book because it was the first fantasy fiction book that I've read and enjoyed in a while. Well, I've read plenty, but they all usually have the same plots or conflicts about fighting a corrupt government, or falling in love with princes or princesses, but this one was different. There were many "oh my gosh" or "I wasn't predicting that" moments. The Darkest Part of The Forest is also a book that I can connect to, of course we don't live in a Faerie world, but the way the book talks about "being normal" is not always great and it's okay to be different, inspires the readers. I believe that anyone who enjoys reading something new would love reading this book. I hoped this book would be a part of a series, so that I can continue reading on with it, but it's not. If I were to rate this book out of 10, 10 being super amazing and 1 being absolutely horrible, I would definitely rate this book a 10.

Reviewed by Raeesah, Grade 8
Casa Verdugo Library

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

An unnamed disaster has ravaged the land, bringing the apocalypse. A man and his son travel a desolate road, desperate to get to the coast, where they hope to survive. As they face death and violence, the boy is faced with questions that the man cannot answer. A story of hopelessness and grief, the boy must learn to grow in a world of uncertainty- one where death is imminent and violence is around every corner.

I really enjoyed The Road, even though the writing style took a while to get used to. Written in a simple prose, it shows a strangely riveting description of a hopeless, dark world. I think people who enjoy post apocalypse novels and books about survival would like reading this. However, I also think people who want to try a new kind of book would also like this- it is a very unique, riveting book. I would definitely recommend this to other people.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

This is the second book in the arrangement Trials of Apollo. Apollo has reestablished the main prophet, however, there is a lot more to come. Apollo is currently at Camp Halfblood as a human named Lester. Apollo has confronted a few risky and embarrassing trials at Camp. His next target is to go right to the American Midwest into a cavern that conceivably holds answers for him. This isn't as simple as it appears. Apollo should now leave the security of Camp Halfblood and set out on a hair-raising excursion. An evil Roman emperor remains in his way. Apollo will require quality, fearlessness, and backing from certain partners in Camp Halfblood. Apollo has existed for around 4 thousand years and this will be his greatest test yet.

This novel is very similar to the previous one. Apollo sets out on an exciting journey and faces near-death situations. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in fiction, adventure, and thrill. This book has a vocabulary that might be a little difficult to understand at first, but after you get the plot and purpose of it, it is pretty straightforward. I really liked how the author conveys the characters and helps the reader connect to them by using imagery and literary devices. Apollo is a dynamic character meaning he learns from his experiences and it is nice to see how he develops throughout the story. This book is made for teens and adults but children can also read it as long as they can understand the book. Apollo's journey really grasps the reader into the book which makes it so interesting.

Reviewed by Aryan S., Grade 8

Friday, June 26, 2020

Revived by Cat Patrick

At a young age, Daisy fell victim to a bus accident, in which she was then given a second opportunity to live. A drug referred to as ‘Revive’ had saved her and several others. However, this wasn’t ordinary to the real world and the drug had not yet been disclosed to the public. Ever since the accident, she has been revived four more times. Daisy, along with the others revived, has been a crucial variable throughout the research of the drug. Moreover, after every revival, families must move and alter their names. Unlike most teenagers, this did not have an acute effect on Daisy at all. This was mainly because she had never been part of a true friendship at school whom she had an emotional connection with. That is until she arrived at Omaha. There she met two siblings Audrey and Matt, who soon became her best friend and boyfriend. After this, she finds herself in a complex situation in which she must find a solution.

I strongly recommend any reader who has experienced numerous twists while reading. Revived is nothing like you could predict, the twists are out of the ordinary and open your eyes to a new and far more interesting view on life and your surroundings. Author Cat Patrick beautifully emphasizes the meaning of friendship along with the risks you choose to take despite all the hardships. Ultimately, Revived is truly an amazing book that deserves more recognition from the public.

Reviewed by anonymous, Grade 8
Glendale Central Library

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Leaving by Tara Alterbrando

Eleven years ago, six children went missing from a school during a shooting. Five of them are back- and they seem fine, despite not remembering the last decade of their lives. What happened to them is a mystery- the only clues they have are their subconscious minds and the habits they have. Jumping from the perspective of a survivor of the Leaving, and the sister of the child who did not return, the hunt is on to find who took the children and why.

I thought the book was okay. The idea was intriguing and the mystery was interesting, but the execution was lackluster. The solution to the mystery was vague and didn't seem like it flowed/ continued well in my opinion. However, the novel did a good job at showing feelings of loss and sorrow for the characters and the emotional aspect of the book was well written. I think readers of sad stories would enjoy this, but I can't say I loved reading it.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Wild Lands by Paul Greci

When a raging fire razed Alaska and it was disconnected from the rest of the United States, Travis's father chose to stay. However, food is now running low and the land is unusable. The few people that they meet are hostile. His father, finally realizing staying means death, gets the family ready to leave. The trip will be brutal. When tragedy happens and Travis and his little sister need to set off on their own to get to the lower 48 states, they must somehow survive the terrible weather, dangerous people, and maybe even form strong alliances with others.

I liked reading this survival-adventure novel. The idea of living in a destroyed, isolated place and struggling to survive the aftermath of the apocalypse was an interesting premise that I enjoyed reading about. The characters seemed realistic and their motives and actions were also very well written. The mindset of some of the characters was also fun to read about- such as the ideas of the hardcore survivalists. However, I felt as if the novel did not have a satisfying ending, something I hope the author will remedy with another book. People who like reading about post apocalyptic scenarios and survivalism would love this book and its intense action. Overall, I would recommend this novel as a great read for anyone.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

Marguerite Caine is the main target of a powerful alliance, called Triad, spanning three realms of the multiverse. As the daughter of the geniuses who made it possible to travel between worlds, she has been to these other worlds- exploring herself and her relationship with others in radically different worlds, and thinking of the ideas of fate and destiny. When she learns that the goal of Triad is to destroy the other worlds to bring her sister back to life, she must go on a mission- righting Triad's wrongs and stopping their sabotage. Along the way, she has to deal with death, destruction, and the idea that she might be fighting something that might be too big to stop.

I enjoyed reading this book very much. I think it was a fitting ending to the series and a great, suspenseful read overall. The descriptions of the different worlds and the idea of fate was very interesting to read about. I also liked the story, and it made me think about the multiverse theory and its implications. People who have read the previous books and other books by Claudia Gray would enjoy this book, but it wouldn't make much sense without reading the previous books in the series. Overall, I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy science fiction and are interested in the idea of different universes and realities.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, June 12, 2020

Jade City by Fonda Lee

On the island nation of Kekon, jade is the most important, valuable substance that everyone wants. And not for an unimportant reason either- jade from Kekon enhances the abilities of people and gives them magical powers. However, this jade is not available to anyone. One must have the genetics and training that let them withstand jade cravings. When tension between two clans of jade warriors rises, the Kauls of the No Peak clan must unite and do all they can so they do not lose some of their own. The new No Peak leaders are young and inexperienced and the odds are against them, but they must do their best to protect their blood and jade.

I really enjoyed this novel. I've read and loved novels written by Fonda Lee before, and I was not let down by this book. It had a great backstory of the island of Kekon, and the characters were realistic and developed throughout the novel really nicely. The action and description of jade magic was very interesting and exciting to read about. Readers of the author's other books and people who enjoy action-adventure novels with complicated characters would love Jade city. I would definitely recommend this novel to others, as it is a great, suspenseful read.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, June 8, 2020

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

After the events of Illuminae, the files incriminating Bei-tech's mass murder of civilians now change to the point of view from workers on the jump station Heimdall. The ship Alexandar, filled with civilians all knowing what Bei-tech has done, must be eradicated. Nik is a drug dealer living on Heimdall. When he is blackmailed into accepting a package that lets a Bei-tech kill squad infiltrate the Heimdall, he must team up with Hanna, the spoiled daughter of the ship's commander, to successfully defeat Bei-tech and get the truth out.

I really enjoyed this novel. The unusual way it was written in- like a file or report- was very interesting to read, but the story still flowed really well. Its stories of futuristic warfare, space travel, and love were all very well-written and tied in well with each other. There were also some very, very good twists in this suspense-filled novel. I think that people who like reading books with plenty of action and suspense would love this book. Don't be turned off by the way the book is written- I thought it was refreshingly different. I definitely recommend this book, but only read it after reading Illuminae.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, June 5, 2020

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

A Question of Holmes is the last novel of Cavallaro's Holmes series. Jamie and Charlotte finally have the business of the Moriartys firmly behind them, and are excited to go to college together at Oxford. When Charlotte hears of a cold case resulting in the disappearance of a girl at Oxford, Jaime has no choice but to follow along as she sets off on a hunt to solve the case. Even more worryingly, the perpetrator seems to be back in action, and no one can be trusted in this final case for Holmes and Watson.

I really, really enjoyed this book and the whole Charlotte Holmes series. It has very witty commentary, is amusing to read, and is a mystery with plenty of action. I enjoyed basically everything about it, besides the (intentionally) vague mystery. It was very thrilling to read, whether about action or even the relationship between Jaime and Charlotte. Although it had a bittersweet ending, I still loved the way it was put together. Readers of Sherlock Holmes or mystery novels would love this novel. Readers of teen novels would also love to read this, as they would like the way the book was written. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, but only after they have read the previous three books.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Alex and Conner Bailey are twins, but they could not be more different. Alex focuses on her schoolwork and is always the first one to raise her hand to answer in class. Conner is lazy and sleeps in the back of the class instead of paying attention, but the teachers don’t say anything about it since the tragic death of the twins’ father. At home, things are not easy as their mother struggles with money and they have to sell their old house. It’s almost their birthday and the mom has to go to work, so she calls their grandma. The kids love the grandma since she’s such an interesting person and she travels everywhere. Their grandmother brings them dozens of presents with it a fairy tale book. To them it’s a plain fairytale book filled with stories like the ones their father used to tell, but one day it proves to be much more. Alex hears a noise coming from it and discovers it to be a portal she goes through it and Conner jumps in after her. Together they must find a way back home and live through many fairytales.

I read this book growing up, years ago, and it is such an interesting story, especially to kids and early teens. People get to read fairy tales all over again, but each story is written with an original twist to it that makes it different from the fairy tales we’ve heard as kids. I recommend this book to people who like to read books filled with adventure and fantasy. I also like this book for showing the development of brother and sister, Alex and Conner, throughout their adventures in the Land of Stories, a relationship which makes the story overall better.

Reviewed by AK, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Friday, May 29, 2020

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz

Kamran Smith, an Iranian-American, has everything. He is a star football player, dates a popular girl, and is excited to follow in his brother Darius's footsteps and attend West Point and join the Army. But then, everything changes. Darius is accused of being a terrorist, seemingly joining al Qaeda and attacking a U.S. Embassy. Videos of him get released in which he makes threats against the U.S. and speaking of a major, upcoming attack. Because of this, everyone turns against Kamran because they believe he is a terrorist too. Then, he and his family are taken into custody by the U.S. government. Kamran refuses to believe that Darius is a terrorist and that he would never betray his country. Now, Kamran must set out to prove Darius's innocence and to stop this terrorist threat, as well as uncover the terrorists' next plot. With the help of a ragtag team, Kamran will go on a crazy adventure to find his brother and discover the truth behind what happened.

I think this became my new favorite book. I love it. Alan Gratz did an amazing job with this masterpiece. The various incidents Kamran encountered while on the search for his brother were incredible. This book kept me in great suspense the whole time I was reading the book, and I wondered if Darius really had joined al Qaeda. The background stories of Kamran's team members were really interesting. This book also accurately depicted racism and stereotypes. The racial insults in the book are what many people call Muslims in real life. It also depicts what Muslims experienced in terms of racism and hate after 9/11, and explains the stereotype of all Muslims being terrorists. Overall, this book's outstanding use of real life historical events combined with fictional characters make for an awesome read.

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

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

The Storm Crow is about the princess of Rhodaire, Princess Anthia. Thia lived in a world where crows where magical, it was their countries way of life and Thia had always wanted to be a crow rider. However, all her dreams were crushed when one day, a neighboring kingdom attacked, wiping out all the magical crows from Rhodaire and murdering Anthia's and her sister, Caliza's, mother, the queen. When Caliza becomes queen, Thia is forced to marry Ericen, the prince from the country who doomed Rhodaire. But, Thia has a plan. If she can save the last storm crow egg that she found, just before leaving Rhodaire, she could end their engagement, and save her country. Along her way, she meets a friend, Caylus, who would help her try to hatch this egg. Meanwhile, Ericin was slowly starting to fall in love with Thia, though Thia didn't share the same affections. While trying to accomplish her goals, Anthia discovers a horrifying secret. She now is more dedicated to saving her country.

I really loved this book and I cannot wait for the next book to come out! I enjoy reading teen fiction and fantasy books, and this is one of them. I love how this book creates an aura of suspense and encourages the reader to want to keep reading. I can never find myself to close the book once I start reading! Like most characters, Anthia is strong and dedicated, which is what I love most about her. She cares and embraces her country's culture and memories, and doesn't allow anyone to dare criticize it. I 100% recommend people to read this book and give it a try. If I were to rate this book, one being the absolute worst and ten being one of the best books I've ever read, then I would rate The Storm Crow a ten.

Reviewed by Raeesah, Grade 8
Casa Verdugo Library

Friday, May 22, 2020

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Four Dead Queens is about a girl named Keralie who works for a criminal and spends her life following his orders. She also had personal affections to Mackiel, her criminal boss. One day, she was assigned to steal a comm case for a boy named Varin. Little did she know, that stealing this would change her life. Meanwhile, all of the Quadara's queens were being murdered, the anonymous murderer killing each one gruesomely. Keralie and Varin join forces once they both find out the message inside the comm case would affect life on Quadara forever.

I really enjoyed reading this book because I personally love fantasy and teen fiction books. This book went into depth with all its details and plot twists, it was like experiencing a dream or being in another world when reading Four Dead Queens. I loved how this book continued to change perspectives, sometimes in the view of the main character or sometimes in the view of a minor character. This really helps readers understand what is happening more clearly. If I were to rate this book from a one to ten, one being terrible and ten being one of the best books I've ever read, then I would rate it a nine.

Reviewed by Raeesah, Grade 8
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler

After an accident caused Jo to give up her dreams of being a pilot, she feels lost. But when she arrives on the planet of Tau Ceti E, she is excited for a fresh start on a seemingly perfect new planet. However, everyone seems to be hiding something- a secret about the planet itself. When a ship crashes and Jo is forced to make First Contact with two sentient alien species she wasn't told about, disaster strikes. Humanity is caught up in a war between aliens, and Jo must make it back to base camp to make sure they don't make it worse.

I enjoyed reading this novel. Many of the ideas and the story of interstellar travel and sentience were very interesting to read about. The story was also very captivating- there was a lot of suspense and action, along with betrayal and chaos. However, I felt as if the story finished off as a cliffhanger- which might be remedied by a second book. Also, some parts of the novel felt too shallow or unrealistic, but it was still a fun read. People who like space travel, aliens, and futuristic action would probably like this book. Overall, I would recommend this book to people who want a great, action-packed read.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

When James goes to visit Charlotte's family for winter break, he thinks that they will finally be able to relax after the harrowing action at school. However, when Charlotte's uncle Leander goes missing and an underground fake-art ring surfaces, they must go on a trip to Berlin to track him down and hopefully save him. They are embroiled in danger- mainly from the powerful Moriarty family. James and Charlotte must have the wits to figure this out and save themselves and Leander from the influence of the Moriarty's.

I enjoyed this book very much, but not as much as the previous novel. The characters and plot were all very well written, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. However, I felt that the ending was very confusing, and not much was explained. I think that people who like crime mystery novels and action would like to read this, as would readers of the first book and Sherlock Holmes. There was also plenty of teen romance/drama, which was also very well written. I would definitely recommend this book to others, but the first book should be read for it to make more sense.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, May 11, 2020

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

When James Watson is sent to a boarding school in America, he is excited to meet Charlotte Holmes, a descendant of the detective Sherlock Holmes himself. She is elusive and generally unwelcoming, and seems to have inherited Sherlock's genius and tendency to take opiates. Disaster strikes when multiple murders happen and they are pinned on James and Charlotte. They must clear their names and catch the murderer before the trail goes cold or they are killed themselves.

I really enjoyed A Study in Charlotte. As a fan of Conan Doyle's original stories, I was captivated by this book as well- it had a great plot and even better characters. The characters were well fleshed out and had well-written development, and overall I just enjoyed the mystery and suspense of the plot. I think that readers of mystery fiction would like this book, as the main story revolves around a framed murder. People who liked Sherlock Holmes would also love this book. All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting an enthralling book to read.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, May 8, 2020

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Lea is a Clipper, a paid wealthy assassin. She is also a Saldana, the highest family in the ranks of clippers and the rival family of the Da Via's, the neighboring clipper family. Only she is secretly seeing Valentino Da Via, the son of the Da Via's. Then she wakes one night to find her house on fire and her family murdered. Teeming with rage and grief, she heads to Yvain, a neighboring city where her banished uncle Marcello lives. But Yvain is across the dead plains where ghosts lie and wait for people to haunt. She races over the dead plains at night narrowly making it out alive. She then finds her uncle, who is less than happy to see her and his kind, but clumsy clipper apprentice. In exchange for his help, Lea agrees to train his apprentice. The two form an unlikely bond and together they plot to bring down the Da Via's.

I thought this book was very original. The plot of assassins is old, but the spectacular world-building in the novel and the intricate details of the plot blew my mind. The assassins are decided based on the families they are born into. Even the religious aspect of it, the assassins acting as disciples of a goddess named Safraela who says death is a gift was very well thought out. The romance was good as well, built on safety, familiarity, and compatibility. I also liked the motive of the protagonist because it wasn't selfless or kind- it was vengeful. Also, there was casual gay representation!! The world building was excellent but setting changes were just a little clunky. I think any YA reader would love this story, not just those who love fantasy. An excellent plot with relatable, broken, messy characters.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Montrose Library 

Monday, May 4, 2020

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

CJ Katsuyama is an underachiever. Her grades are so-so, she isn't involved with anything, and she doesn't have a Vision for her life and a Grand Plan to get there. In her uber driven mom's eyes, she isn't working hard enough, but when her family's flower shop, run by her hopeless romantic aunt starts losing money, she volunteers to work there. In Heart's Desire, CJ finds her passion, but when her mom wants to sell the flower shop to a company that sent millions of Japanese Americans to internment camps, CJ has had enough. She and her friends begin a protest to change the high school from the name of an oppressor to the name of a proud Japanese American landowner. And by the way, her mom works for the company that she is trying to sell Heart's Desire too. To add to the mix, CJ's longtime crush finally seems interested in her, her best friend Emily is starting to like the girl who broke her heart a long time ago, and a cute new boy, Owen, has started working at Heart's Desire. Over the course of the novel, CJ will find the courage to demand what she wants and stand up to those who stand in her way.

Misa Sugiura is Awesome!!!! Her first book, it's not like it's a secret was amazing and this second book was no exception. This book handles so many important issues, like a white savior complex, racism, sexism, and homophobia, and teen pregnancy very well. The main character, who is Japanese American takes a stand against a company who shares the name of her high school, a company will a long history of racism towards Japanese Americans and confronts a white girl about her role in becoming a white savior (she took the protest and centered herself claiming how she couldn't just stand by and do nothing). She also becomes pregnant, but this is not the forefront of her story, and when she decides to have an abortion, there is no moralistic angst and guilt accompanying it. Also, Casual. Lesbian. Representation! Her best friend is gay and CJ is very protective towards her especially when she seems to go back to the girl who broke her heart. All in all, I think that many readers would enjoy this book, particularly because of its unique story line and lovable characters.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Friday, May 1, 2020

The 6th Extinction by James Rollins

When a secret US military lab studying new types of nucleic acids malfunctions, rescuers arrive only to find that everything within fifty square miles is dead. Sigma Force's Commander Gray Pierce and his team are called in to research the "blight" and find out how to stop it- using clues from the past and current technology. Traveling across the world, Gray's team must find out more about this experimental nucleic acid. From ancient caverns under Antarctica harboring unknown life to Columbia's tepuis, where animals have lived undisturbed for thousands of years, they race to stop the sixth extinction- the annihilation of mankind.

I enjoyed reading this book for its nonstop action and suspense. Many of the ideas mentioned, such as gene editing and human influence on nature, were very interesting to read about. The book kept me on the edge of my seat. Although I don't really like Rollins' writing style, the book was still enthralling. I think people who have read Rollins' books in the past, especially his Sigma Force novels, would like reading this novel. More generally, people who enjoy action and adventure novels, or a novel with historical evidence, would like this book as well. I recommend this book if you want to read a good thriller.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, April 27, 2020

There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Sweetie Nair is fat. Her conservative Indian mom hates it, worrying for Sweetie's health, but Sweetie, who is the fastast track runner on her school team and kicks butt during running knows that she is perfect just the way she is. Still, negative messages from guys, her mom, and society continue to affect Sweetie so she starts the Sassy Sweetie Project. She is going to secretly date Ashish Patel, a boy who her parents were going to set her up with, but then refused because she is fat, a hot jock recently mourning a lost relationship to prove to herself how amazing she is and that she is worthy of love, regardless of whether she is fat or not.
Ashish Patel is sad. He just broke up with his college girlfriend because she was cheating on him. And he still can't get over her after three months. Then he meets Sweetie and falls hopelessly in love with her gregarious personality and beautiful confidence. He knows he is meant to be with Sweetie and he definitely knows that there is nothing he wouldn't do not to hurt her, but Celia keeps texting him and the breakup hurt so much. Even his friends seem to be falling apart.

Together the two will have a romance so beautiful, it will triumph over any hurdles, from parents to ex-lovers to broken-hearted friends, Sweetie and Ashish were meant to be.

This book was exactly the type of feel good rom com that I needed!. Sweetie is a feisty, confident, kind protagonist that will get everyone to fall in love with her! Ashish was just as good. He was in awe of sweetie and genuinely liked her for who she was and her gregarious personality. He even liked her so much that he go awkward around her, which I really think we need to see more of in guys. It's adorable. Their relationship (Ashish's and Sweeties) did not feel forced- they complimented each other, adored each other, and grew positively from the relationship. I think that anyone who has ever struggled with body confidence issues should read this book. Sweetie's refusal to be ashamed of her fatness is so liberating for anyone- I, as a thin girl, even felt an enormous sense of empowerment after reading this book. Between the food, the adorable, messy, supportive, protective friends, and the stunning romance that unfolds, any reader who picks up this book will be lucky to have it on their shelf.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins

A strange subterranean cave in Croatia is discovered full of ancient hominin artifacts- ones that seem way too advanced for the time. However, before archaeologists can examine the site, they are attacked by Chinese operatives who seem to want to destroy the area. On the other side of the world, a primate research center is massacred and its main subject, a gorilla hybrid called Baako, is kidnapped. Sigma Force commander Gray Pierce is called in, and the chase is on to find out the true meaning around this attack- a chase that leads him around the world, learning secrets about Atlantis, human intelligence, and the ingenuity of our ancestors.

I enjoyed reading The Bone Labyrinth, as it talked about many interesting ideas and addressed some current issues in the world right now. Its discussion on eugenics, animal testing, and God was interesting to read. However, it seemed pretty lackluster- which isn't surprising, as James Rollins and other authors like him (Clive Cussler and Dan Brown) have cool ideas, but terrible writing. To be fair, it still drew me in and it was a great adventure story to read. Fans of Clive Cussler/Dan Brown's writing style would probably enjoy this. People who want a book that will entertain them but not challenge them in any way would like this book as well. I would recommend reading this if you enjoy action and conspiracy and want to pass the time. 

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, April 20, 2020

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Director of the nuclear research facility, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), Maximillian Kohler finds physicist Leonardo Vetra, who was also an ordained preist, murdered in his own living quarters with an anagram of the word Illuminati stamped on his chest. He calls for Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon, who arrives after a flight from Massachusetts and confirms that the seal is real. Vetra’s daughter, Vittoria, arrives soon after, and Kohler tells her of her father’s death. She finds her father’s eye missing, and Kohler informs them that the murderer has stolen a canister of antimatter from the research facility, desecrating Dr. Vetra’s body in the process to gain biometric access to the underground laboratory where the antimatter was stored. The canister had been placed somewhere in the Vatican, where the pope has recently died. It has a 24-hour battery that keeps the antimatter suspended in a vacuum. When the battery runs out of charge and the antimatter comes into contact with any matter it will create an explosion that will destroy the Vatican. Langdon and Vittoria make their way to the Vatican, where they hope to find the canister before the 24-hour timer runs out. However, they find that the four preferiti, the Cardinals that are the prime candidates to be the next pope, are missing. Langdon, Vittoria, Carlo Ventresca, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Empire, Commander Olivetti of the Swiss Guard, and the Swiss Guard itself embark on a search for the four cardinals, in the hopes that it will lead them to find the antimatter and save the Vatican.

I enjoyed reading this novel very much. It was very interesting how the author, Dan Brown, mixed science with all the symbolism that is present as well. The mixing of these two was flawless in comparison to other novels I have read, that have not bridged as well and favored one aspect more than the other. Brown also kept a grand sense of realism for a story that involves such scenarios that seem less plausible than not. It was so well executed that throughout most of the novel, it seemed like all these scenarios were real. The novel did not seem so much as a novel, but more as a memoir or someone’s retelling of an adventure. All of this combined to create a book that always kept me entertained and wanting to read more.

Reviewed by Markus Leonardo, Grade 9
Chevy Chase Library

Monday, April 13, 2020

Social Intercourse by Greg Howard

High schoolers Beckett Gaines and Jaxon Brock couldn't be more different. Beckett is one of the only out and proud gay kids in their conservative town of Florence, South Carolina. He is sassy, charismatic and has a spunky best friend, Shelby, a girl who was bullied for being plus size and never hesitates to defend anyone. Jaxon is the head quarterback of the high school football team, he is the most popular boy in school and has an equally popular evil cheerleader girlfriend named Tiffany. He has two mom's and lets everyone know that he won't tolerate trash talking about them, but he also has a secret. He doesn't like just girls. When Jaxon's mom and Beckett's dad start dating, the two boys come up with an elaborate plan to break them up- Beckett because he doesn't like Jaxon's mom and Jaxon because he wants his moms to get back together. Through saucy gay clubs, notoriousely homophobic church protests, and failed Grindr dates, the two boys realize very important things about each other, who they want to be, and what they are to each other.

Let me start of by saying that this box is not false adverting. This book is gay. It isn't a cliche perverted experimental affair about a forbiddan daliance. And it has a happy ending. What could be better than that? Unfortunately, the book was not as perfect as it sounds. Beckett, one of the protagonists has some major discriminatory remarks towards woman and people of color- just because he is a gay male, doesn't mean he isn't capable of discrimination. The church is also very negatively represented as well. This one isn't that large of a critcism actually, just an observation. The church has been very detrimental to the well being and safety of gay people for a long time and I know this from personal experience as a gay female, that the church is not always supportive of people like me. Fear not, gay people of faith, the church does make a positive appearence as well, supporting the PFLAG prom at the end. The gay representation though is on point- it acurately captures the feelings and wants of gay people without oversexualizing anything or going way over the top like some straight writers who have no idea what they are doing. The main characters, but not the side charecters have personalites that are obvious and their entire character is not just about their sexuality. Another warning, this book contains lots of graphic descriptions of guy on guy action- not a complaint, but if that isn't your cup of tea, stay away from this book. Shelby, the best friend is a tad cliche. She is plus size and sassy, an old and tired out stereotype and readers don't get a real feel for her personality. Last point- this book does handle some very important issues in a very good way like bullying and loyalty/ soliderity against discrimination and how important it is to stand up for people when they need it. All in all, a good book, well capturing a gay pov with only a few criticisms.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Friday, April 10, 2020

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

In the kingdom of Ikhara, a demon king rules. Each year, he takes eight young concubines from the lowest caste- the Papers, or the humans. However, when Lei, the main character, catches the eye of a military commander and is brought to the king as a present, she becomes the ninth. However, unlike most of the other girls, Lei doesn't want to be a concubine. When she falls in love with another consort, she decides that she can't be the king's concubine, and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to end his terrible reign over the people.

I actually enjoyed reading this book, even though magic/fantasy is not normally my preferred subject. It was filled with action and suspense- there were many scenes of Lei barely avoiding the king. It also talked a lot about sexual violence and the characters' responses to it. The caste system of the demons and humans was also very interesting to read about, and the magic and the pantheon of gods were also intriguing. The book was a roller coaster- its atmosphere ranged from very happy to depressing in the next paragraph. However, I still really enjoyed it and would recommend it to other readers who enjoy fantasy, magic, and action.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Small Steps by Louis Sachar

The book “Small Steps” is actually a spin-off from the book “Holes.” The book follows Theodore Johnson, also called Armpit’s life after getting released from Camp Green Lake. Theodore tries so hard to return back to his regular life, but that cannot be changed easily because of his records. Still, Armpit’s neighbor Ginny, who’s younger than Armpit, becomes friends with him. One day, Armpit and Ginny goes to the Kaira Deleon’s concert, who’s a huge teen pop star. That’s where Armpit meets Kaira and they start to form a relationship. However, that relationship completely changes Armpit’s life.

I absolutely liked this book. I liked it because of how the book faced real word problems, such as racism and lookism. I believe this book will be liked by high school students. This book made me feel that everything in this world cannot be easy or joyful. It also made me think of how a person’s life can change so easily because of one incident or accident. I do recommend this book, but not for younger kids. This book should be read by, like I said before, high school students.

Reviewed by Jonah, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, April 6, 2020

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

You Killed Wesley Payne, by Sean Beaudoin is about a 17 year old detective named Dalton Rev, who transfers to a tough and dangerous school filled with gangs and cliques. Dalton is on a case where he must solve a students death here at Salt River High, whose body was found hanging down on a goal post at the school football field. Dalton interrogates all the cliques and goes through a lot of difficulty and frustration finding out who was responsible for the murder of Wesley Payne.

In my opinion, this book was overall just decent. It's a good book and I think that you will like it if you are into murder and mystery, but I personally didn't have too much fun reading it. The context and whole plot of the book seemed confusing and weird. The beginning of the book was pretty fun, but as I progressed through the book, it just wasn't that interesting. It's up to you whether you want to read it or not! Be my guest.

Reviewed by RC, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Friday, April 3, 2020

Wreaths with How-to-Tutorials by Laura Dowling

The book "Wreaths With How-To Tutorials" by Laura Dowling is about using natural ingredients to make decorations for your house. It showed how to make garlands and foliages out of fruits, vegetables, leaves, and flowers. It had many different examples and visuals of decorating without plastic and being self-conscious of the environment. It indicated how even when you use natural ingredients how beautiful the decorations will turn out to be.

The book "Wreaths With How-To Tutorials" by Laura Dowling is a great book for people who like doing DIY projects and also want to reduce their plastic use. This was great for me because Christmas is not so far away and using like flowers and leaves to decorate your house would be great because during Christmas people use a lot of plastic to decorate their homes. It also opened my eyes to how beautiful could the products that nature provides us with.
Reviewed by GH, Grade 8
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

2018 Christmas with Southern Living

The book "Christmas 2018" by Southern Living is a great book for new Christmas decorations and recipes. It showed many modern ways of switching up your old recipes and decorations. It had many tips and tricks of how to Diy your Christmas decorations, for example making decorations out of appliances that you already have in your home. Many different ways of making old recipes into new for example making a using different seasoning to roast your chicken. Great book for wanting a change in your Chrismas decorations and recipes.

The book "Christmas 2018" by Southern Living was one of the best cookbooks I've ever read. I love Christmas. This was very helpful for having new dishes at your Christmas dinner to share with friends and family. One of the best recipes in the book was the brown butter-roasted branzino because my family doesn't eat red meat. It also gave me some decorations ideas like how to decorate your Christmas table, how to fold the napkins and have a theme for the table decorations.

Reviewed by GH, Grade 8
Glendale Central Library

Monday, March 30, 2020

Affordable Interior Design by Betsy Helmuth

The book "Affordable Interior Design High-End Tips For Any Budget" by Besty Helmuth is about showing how you can design a house under a budget. It shows many beautiful designs of houses which don't need a lot of money to achieve. It is a great book for people who are moving out but don't have a lot of money to personalize their new home. Also great for people who are beginners and are looking forward to making their free time activity their career.

The book "Affordable Interior Design High-End Tips For Any Budget" by Betsy Helmuth was a wonderful book for me because my family and I are currently thinking about buying a house and it was a great inspiration for how I should design my bedroom by not spending too much money. It gave many tips and tricks, for example how to renew old furniture. It showed many great examples of making a boring place look great by personalization.

Reviewed by GH, Grade 8
Glendale Central Library

Friday, March 27, 2020

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

The book follows Liza Winthrop, a straight-A student at Foster Academy, a conservative private school in 1980's New York City. When Liza goes to the Metropolitan Musuem of Art to study architecture, she runs into Annie Kenyon, a charismatic fun-loving girl from the other side of the city. The two immidietely connect and begin spending lots of time together. However, the two begin developing feelings for each other and struggle to come to terms with what the outside world sees about them and how they feel about each other. When a vicious homophobic assault is launched against the girls after they are caught in intimacy, they struggle to stay connected with each other and their families. However, they gain the assistance of two lesbian teachers who fight to help them live their lives freely and safely. Together, they learn that love will conquer all fear and that allies can be found in the most unexpected places.

I was soooooo happy when I found Annie on my Mind at the library. It's the most iconic piece of lesbian fiction written to date and I was eager to read it. I was also terrified- It's a book writen about lesbians in the 80's, would it be another sad ending? The answer, thank god is no! There is a good portion of angst and a hell of a lot of homophobia, but the ending. It's happy, they are still in love, and all is right with the world. This book tackles issues like identification, rule following, and societal pressure very well. It's an older book, so the setting isnt very modern. I'm happy to report that these charecters have personalites that click while also contrasting. Even though this is a romance novel, the girls have their own personalities and interests and exist without each other in a healthy way. Annie is outgoing and pushes Liza to have fun while Liza is the levelheaded protector of the two. All in all, a very good read. I would definately recommend this book to others, especially gay women who just want a happy ending.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

Sera belongs to the Cerulean, a mystical group of women that reside in the City Above the Sky,a floating island that is tethered to each planet it chooses to connect too. The Cerulean have magical blood, blue hair, and silver skin. Their society is entirely matriarchal without any males existing on the island and their island is controlled by a deity- Mother Sun, who is said to be the protector of all Cerulean. When Sera is chosen to sacrifice herself to the tether so that the Cerulean may move to another planet, she throws herself off the island. But the sacrifice goes wrong and she survives, falling to the planet below her and being captured by one of the richest families in Kaolin, a deeply patriarchal soceity for a mystical creatures show. With the help of mystical creatures and the children of her captor, she escapes and seeks her way back to the tether in order to help the Cerulean move. Meanwhile, back in the city, one of Sera's mothers and her best friend seek to uncover the truth about her death and realize that the government of the Cerulean is hiding some dark secrets.

I first picked up this book because I recognized the author, Amy Ewing, who wrote one of my favorite series, The Jewel (10/10 would recommend-but to a mature audiance for depictions of violence and sexuality). I had high hopes for this book, but I was rather dissapointed.
1. The casual lesbian representation was on point!! Women got married in threes to have children and there were lots of general descriptions of lesbianism on the island. Even one of the main charecters down on the planet was a lesbian. This made me super happy. However, the main charecter comes to the realization that she likes boys when she falls to earth and sees a boy for the first time. I have nothing against boyxgirl romance, but THERE WAS NO CHEMISTRY. There was nothing in common between the two, no interests, conversations, moments, NOTHING, aside from some vague sexual desire which could have only been curiousity about males in general. Meanwhile, she was very emotionally intimate with her best friend Leena, and they have a history and inside jokes and a connection and. . . you get my point.
2. The world-building down on the planet was not very good. I had a hard time knowing where the charecters were at any given moment and the societal descriptions of Pelago were basically non existant. There was no explanation on the great fued between Kaolin and Pelago. The general soceital structure of Kaolin was only briefely introduced and not clearly explained.
All in all, a meh book- good fantasy, but the boyxgirl romance was very badly done.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

In a futuristic New York City, where the Tower, a vast building housing millions of people and the highest technology known to mankind dominates the NYC skyline, five teenagers with dirty secrets do everything to keep them hidden. This book follows Avery Fuller, a girl who is genetically perfect, but in love with someone she can never be with, Eris Dodd-Ranson, a girl who used to be at the very top but was sent straight to the bottom after a crumbling betreyal and a new discovery, Leda Cole, a girl obsessed with her sister;s best friend and struggling with her addiction to a drug that helped her fit in, Rylin Myers, a girl who will do anything to survive including get trapped in the web of lies that are the residents of the Tower's top floors, and finally Watt Bakradi, a hacker who has a secret weapon that if anyone knew about it, he would definatley get sent to jail. These teens don't realize how close they are to the ground before they start to fall.

Anyone who loves upper class gossip and futuristic technology-governed worlds should read this book. A very good read, I never felt for a second that I was bored and the worldbuilding was superb- everything on why the world functioned the way it did made sense and I never felt any confusion over the futuristic aspect. This book handles important issues very well like addiction, adultury, and social pressure. Two main quibles.
1. At the end, the book played on a major lesbian stereotype which was very dissapointing, considering the casual representation started out very well- a girl moved, met another girl, and fell in love without all of the tragic homophobic backstory angst that is a very popular trope.
2. Setting changes from the tower to the outside world were a bit clunky since so much of what readers see in the novel is in the tower including "outdoor things" so where the charecters are in the outside world can get a bit confusing.
Definatley a book for more mature readers because of the content but a good read and an excellent addition to any YA lovers shelf.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library