Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, is about an orphan. He stays nine years in a nasty orphanage. He is apprenticed to a person who takes care of dead bodies. Oliver decides to run away to London, where he finds Jack Dawkins and other orphans hired by Fargin as pickpockets. Fargin is kind however. Oliver is caught when he tries to pickpocket Mr. Brownlow who has a painting that looks very like Oliver. So Mr. Brownlow takes Oliver to his home and takes care of him. Oliver is happy there but Fargin is forced by a Mr. Monks to recapture Oliver. Oliver is brought back to Fargin and is sent to rob a house and is again caught and again taken care of the family. Mr. Monks wants Oliver recaptured again because he knows that Oliver has been left money from his father. Oliver finds out and also finds out he has some relatives alive. After Mr. Monks fails again to recapture Oliver, he goes to the United States, and Oliver lives happily, being adopted by the family. This is a very good novel. It is a classic and also was very interesting. It shows how London was during the industrialization period and also shows realities about human character. It is emotion provoking as well as a page-turner. I really recommend it to anyone looking for something to read. -Reviewed by M. Hovanesian

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, Kyo Shirodaira and Eita Mizuno

Spiral: Bonds of Reasoning by Kyo Shirodaira and Eita Mizuno is a mystery manga series that follows the young high school prodigy detective, Ayumu Narumi. His brother, Kiyotaka Narumi, another prodigy disappeared after pursuing the case of "The Blade Children" and leaving Ayumu and Madoka (Ayumu's sister-in-law, Kiyotaka's wife) with only one phone call. Madoka, who is a Lieutenant in the police, is faced with many cases that relate to the mysterious "Blade children" and Ayumu, being the prodigy that he is, gets involved and solves the cases. Also helping out with the crimes and murders is Hiyono Yuizaki, a resource of information who knows everything and anything, even top secret police records. All of these investigations are about the murder of people who are related to the "blade children" and they all end up involving the Narumi family in some way. In solving these cases, more questions arise and the "Blade Children" and Ayumu's brother's whereabouts become more bizarre and hard to figure out. This manga is a quest to find Kiyotaka and solve the mystery of the "Blade Children" before everyone Ayumu knows and loves dies.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy deep thinking and twisted plot lines. There is also a substantial amount of graphic pictures with book and weaponry so these who cannot handle even cartoon blood, should not pick up this manga. This book is quite serious, however there is also a comedic element integrated to the story. There are more words in this manga than other mangas, on average so reading was enjoyable because there was actually a lot to read. I would definitely recommend the book Spiral: Bonds of Reasoning to anybody who likes manga or even anybody who just wants to read a good suspense and mystery story.

-Reviewed by M.K., grade 9.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

.Hack//Legend of the Twilight (vol. 1), by Tatsuya Hamasaki and Rei Izumi

.Hack//Legend of the Twilight, by Tatsuya Hamasaki and Rei Izumi is a spin off and a kind of sequel to the original. The main characters are Shuugo and Rena, twins, who won a contest to receive miniature avatars of the original legendary hackers, Kite and Blackrose, for the online game "The World." They log onto "The World," the most advanced online game in existence with their new characters, but soon realize something is wrong. A strange girl appears in front of Shuugo and gives him a legendary bracelet that used to belong to Kite that will grant him immeasurable powers. The true adventure starts when they set off to solve the mystery of "Twilight" along with their friends. Shuugo, Rena, and their new found friends, face several challenges with the administrators and monsters dealing with the bracelet and the mysteries of "Twilight." Shuugo and Rena must save the world, both real and virtual, by solving the mystery of "Twilight."
This is an incredible, heartwarming, action packed, comedy manga that I really loved reading. Many could pick up the basic story line of the previous parts of the story pretty well but I would recommend reading the other books first, before reading this series. All in all, this is a great book that anyone could enjoy. I would recommend this to all of my friends. The pictures are beautiful, cute, and intense when need be. .Hack//Legend of the Twilight is a fantastic book and I would advise anyone to read it.
-Reviewed by M.K., grade 9.

Monday, December 20, 2010

M or F, by Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tebbett

In this story, M or F by Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tebbett, Frannie Falconner is a sweet girl who is determined to make Jeffery Osborne hers. Frannie and her gay best friend, Marcus, set up a plan to bring Jeffery to her. As Jeffery and Frannie get along well through an online chat room, they have some trouble connecting in person. Later, Marcus takes this situation into his own hands and starts chatting with Jeffery without Frannie's permission. Soon, Marcus starts to fall for Jeffery. Frannie does not find out until later. Feeling betrayed, Frannie and Marcus have a fight. However, Frannie and Jeffery's dates become more awkward but Marcus was not aware of this. As more time goes by, Frannie and Marcus's friendship fall apart. Finally, Marcus cannot take it anymore and decides to tell Jeffery the truth about his feelings for him. As Marcus is overjoyed, and when he meets up with Jeffery, the truth comes out. Jeffery is shocked because his best friend was the one chatting online. In the end, Frannie finds a new, more suitable boy, Jeffery takes interest in a new girl. and Marcus and Jeffery's best friend get together. Lastly, Marcus and Frannie make up because that is what best friends are for.
In my opinion, M or F is a really fascinating book. It is very exciting but may get confusing at times. It can be confusing because you don't know what's going to happen to their relationships but in the end, everything works out well. This book opens your eyes to homosexuality. Papademetriou and Tebbett did a great job with expressing how a gay person may act or feel. It is also just a complicated love story involving homosexuals for a twist. i would recommend M or F to anyone who is interested in some light and fun reading.
-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling

In the seventh and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, of the fictional Harry Potter series, Harry leaves wizarding school along with his friends, Ron and Hermione, to track down the horcruxes. Only when all seven horcruxes are destroyed can Harry come face to face in a fight to the death with Voldemort himself. His task becomes increasingly difficult, however, as the world around him falls into his enemy' hands, and he struggles to discover secrets that his deceased headmaster, Dumbledore might have kept from him.

I am a Harry Potter fan, so I liked this book and had a hard time putting it down. It builds suspense, then wraps everything up nicely at the end, but it may be a little confusing if the reader is not familiar with the story up until this point. I would recommend it for kids, teens, adults, and enyone who wants an epic, exciting story.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

In the cartoon novel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Greg Heffley is starting middle school as a scrawny and nerdy kid who has been given a diary to write on. He records his amusing takes on school, bullies, family, and his less than popular friend, Rowley. Things don't always go as planned for Greg, but as he says in the story, "I'll be famous one day, but for now, I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons."
Even though it was an easy read for me, I liked this book and bought the next three in the series as well. Each page has one or more funny cartoons on it that actually depict middle school life accurately, and comically. It's one of the funniest books I've read this year and I would recommend it to kids and teens. (I don't think my mom appreciated some of the parts that made fun of parents).
-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Battle of Skandia, by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan, introduces a Fourth book in its series. Book four: The Battle of Skandia. Halt and Horace make it to Skandia, but find out an attack planned on the Skandians by a huge force of men. Halt and Horace warn the Skandians, and Halt creates a plan to win the war coming on. Will trains the slaves to become archers so they can help in the war. The attacking warriors charged the Skandians, but many died by a rain of arrows sent from Will's forces. Will the Skandians be able to overcome these outside attackers?

Book four was full with adventure and that's what I look for in a book. The war was really detailed, and with every line, something new happened. Will is now a real ranger, and has matured. His adventures will get even more exciting. With each book, I learn many things that I can relate to life. From this book, I learned that no matter the odds, as long as you have a good plan, you will succeed. This book, as well as the series, Ranger's Apprentice, will always be one of my favorites, and I recommend this book to anyone.

-Reviewed by Krassi, grade 9.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Little Bit Wicked, by Kristin Chenoweth

A Little Bit Wicked is an autobiography written by Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth herself. Starting from birth, this book details every event on her way to stardom, from her adoption, being raised in a small Oklahoma town, and always placing second runner-up in beauty pageants, to sharing apartments in New York and finally originating the rola of Glinda in the broadway musical, "Wicked."
I enjoyed this book, and I think that any musical theater/Wicked/Kristin Chenoweth fan should read it. It was really interesting for me to hear what happened before she was Glinda the Good Witch, and it includes both the highs and the lows. This book is well written, and several times I actually laughed out loud while reading it. It is very entertaining and I would recommend it for teens and older.
-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, by Amy Sutherland

In this nonfiction book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, by Amy Sutherland, the writer recounts her experiences of spending a year tracking students at Moorpark College's teaching zoo, where your daily activities consist of walking a camel, playing with big cats and having monkey poop thrown at you. When these students enrolled in the program given somewhat appropriate name EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management), they had no idea that it would be one of the most intensely emotional and physically exhausting periods of their lives. However, this is THE place to be for anyone interested in a career with furry, feathered, or scaled creatures. Being an animal enthusiast myself, I loved hearing every story of interactions between the student trainers and their trainees at the teaching zoo. The author does a great job of describing the events of EATM realistically but also comically at times, and it increased by interest in the animal training profession. I would recommend it to anyone from mature teens and older, for anyone who is consideting working alongside, or who simply loves, animals. -Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shark Life, by Peter Benchley

Shark life is a nonfiction book by the author of Jaws, Peter Benchley, that addresses some misconceptions about sharks and other creatures and is filled with exciting stories of Peter Benchley's own experiences with the animals of the ocean. He recounts some dangerous situations he has been in and how to avoid them as well. His encounters with marine life include being charged by a killer whale, rammed by a dolphin, caught underwater with a great white shark, and getting a free ride through the water on the back of a manta ray! All this is mixed with a strong environmental message indicating the need to preserve the world's oceans.
This book was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be, since I'm not really a shark person in the first place. I enjoyed hearing the many true stories included in Shark Life about Peter Benchley 's adventures with the animals, and it made me realize how complex and unpredictable the ocean can be. I would recommend it for anyone who is into the marine life.
-Reviewed by anonymous, grade 9.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a novel written by Sherman Alexie. The protagonist of the book is a part-time Indian named Arnold "Junior" Spirit. He is a feeble cartoonist who lives in the Spokane Indian reservation. Arnold faces several problems everyday because of his misfortunate luck and his parents' poverty. Arnold sometimes can't go to school because his parents run out of money to buy gasoline, so he hitchhikes or walks for a long time. His problems deepen when he throws his geometry book unintentionally at his own geometry teacher's face, Mr. P. His geometry teacher doesn't get angry at Arnold, but persuades him to not stay in the same school anymore and move to another school. I appreciated and enjoyed reading this book. My opinions are that this book was written by a very heavily influenced author and this book's fantastic story makes a great fictional diary. This book was also a National Book Award winner, which makes sense because the book was incredible. Sherman Alexie has made chronicles of a teenager who faces difficulties as a part time Indian that lives in America. -Reviewed by Elliott, grade 9.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan, introduces a third book in its series. Book three: The Icebound Land. Will and Evanlyn have been captured and taken to a new land ruled by Barbarians called Skandians. They are big and cruel, and all prisoners taken there work as slaves. Will ends up being drugged and all his senses are getting lost. The story follows both Will's trip to Skandia, and Halt's trip. Halt and Horace race through the kingdom to save Will, Horace shows his skills as many knights challenge the ranger and his companion. Will Halt save Will in time?

Book three has met my expectations. I enjoyed it a lot. The book has a lot of different adventures since it is following two different people through different challenges. This book is setting the scene for the next book which is filled with a lot of adventures, including a huge war. With each book, I learn many things that I relate to life. From this book, I learned that you should help friends and loved ones no matter what. This book as well as the series, Ranger's Apprentice, will always be one of my favorites, and I recommend this book to anyone.
-Reviewed by Krassi, grade 9.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Burning Bridge, by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan, introduces a second book in its series. Book two: The Burning Bridge. The story continues to follow Will and his friend Horace through adventure. Will and Horace are on a mission to a neighboring town where they realize the citizens have been killed or captured. Will and Horace find out that an evil lord named Morgarath has returned and he is plotting to invade the Kingdom. It is in the hands of Will and Horace to warn the King, but they encounter trouble along the way. The Kingdom is in Danger, and Will and Horace are the only ones who can save them.

Book two satisfies me as I had expected. The book has even more adventure since Will has matured and is nearly a master being a Ranger. This book definitely deserves five starts for its ability to keep me reading. With each book, I learn many things that I can relate to life. From this book, I learned to be more courageous. This book as well as the series, Ranger's Apprentice, will always be one of my favorites, and I recommend this book to anyone.
-Reviewed by Krassi, grade 9.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Plantation, by Dorothea Benton Frank

"Plantation," by Dorothea Benton Frank, is about a woman named Caroline that falls in love with one of her professors at her University, a Psychology teacher named Richard, at first sight. They get married and have a child. As time goes on they find out that their son Eric, wasn't exactly like all the other children, like in writing. Despite some minor differences, Eric a very smart boy. Caroline's husband Richard was married once before, and has another son one or two years older than Eric. He favored him more, and this upset Caroline and Eric greatly. Soon, Caroline catches Richard cheating on her with his ex-wife, Lois. After all the things he had put her through, Caroline had finally had enough. She gets a divorce and, with Eric, moves back to South Carolina, and in Tall Pines, to live with her vivacious mother, the "Queen of Tall Pines." Caroline had thought she had hated her mother after her father died, but as time goes on, she realizes how much she really loves her. I absolutely LOVE this book. Its hilarious, and full of sarcasm that you can't get enough of. I recommend this book to everybody, more so to those who like humor, romance, and drama. You won't be able to put the book down. -Reviewed by M.P., Grade 9.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lord Edgware Dies, by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie, a world renowned mystery writer, had captured my interest from the first time I read her in Lord Edgware Dies. A suspicious death, a soild alibi, and complex characters are all pieces to this puzzle-like story. Jane Wilkinson, a past actress had come to Hercule Poirot (the main character, and famous detective) about her miserable marriage when her husband had died the day before. Hercule Poirot must use his best of skills to crack open this case.
This was the first book I had ever read by Agathie Christie after being a steady fan of Sherlock Holmes. Once I started, I needed to know the truth. This urgency to find the murderer came over me every time I would pick up the book and when I put it back down. The Queen of Crime has an unique of talent of descibing each character in such detail that they become alive, but yet you always began to doubt who they actually were. Each person throughout this book was surrounded by an aura of suspicion. It drove me crazy because I could never be confident in my guesses who the real crime-committer was. Yet, the clues were so subtle and well-hidden that even if I read so slowly, it took more than an hour to read a chapter. I could never catch a clue. When Hercule Poirot explains, he makes it sound so clear and obvious. There were some traits about this book that I, however, disliked. I seemed disorganized and the dialogues were confusing. It took you to one scene to another, and Christie did not explain why we had suddenly switched settings or do so in a vague way. It was hard to follow the sequence of the plot. The conversations between Poirot and the other characters were also difficult to understand. The way it was formatted and the slangs used added to the confusion. I may have been my limited in my knowledge of past manner of speaking in old England, but I could never grasp what the character was saying because it was mostly made up of slang.
If I had to give this book a rating, it would be four out of five stars. This is not a book that once finished it just becomes part of the shelf. Throughout the story and once it ended, questions interrupt your train of thought and analyzation of every clue must take place. This is a book that I can never forget. I recommend Lord Edgware Dies for fans of mystery and those who are seeking a dark, suspenseful book that they can lose themselves into.
-Reviewed by Sophia, grade 9.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Pretty One, by Cheryl Klam

Everyone wants to be beautiful, gorgeous, someone that people will admire. Megan Fletcher had that wish. In The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam, Megan is an overweight, plain girl who had been overshdowed by her talented and beautiful sister, Lucy, for most of her life. When she gets involved in a car accident, a cosmetic surgery had made her become the "pretty one" and the center of attention. When the two sisters both fall for the same guy, let the drama begin.

To be honest, the story bored me. The writing was bland and the characters were confusing, almost like they were split in two. Lucy is the older sister and in some parts of the book she was aggressive and willing to fight her younger sister. Then in a matter of a few paragraphs, she was sweet and regretful. Was she a good character or the antagonist? Not only her, but Drew, the supposedly good-looking, mysterious, talented guy that Megan and Lucy both fell over, sounded like the most boring person to fall in love with. I could never see the connection between Megan and Drew and why she liked him in the first place. Cheryl Klam's writing had no tone. I felt like the words would come in one ear and leave in the other. I cannot even remember one sentence from that book. With the writing being so monotone, I could not tell which was the central conflict and when it was happening. The plot seemed uneventful. I believe this book could have been improved and I will probably never read this story again. There was an interesting point to this book, though. I did enjoy her message of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and "personality counts more than looks," which she presented in an original story. It was a fresh new taste of the idea of perception of beauty. Many girls, in this time period, can relate to Megan's thoughts and worries because in this century, media has put more pressure on outer appearance. There are many women who are going through plastic surgery or girls trying to lose weight in unhealthy ways. Women today are stuck in this society rush to become the "pretty one." I would recommend this book to some people who enjoy too-cheesy stories and others who need something to read to pass their time.

-Reviewed by Sophia, grade 9.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare is the most famous love story of all time and fully captivating. William Shakespeare's most famous play is one that many don't understand because of its dialog. But in truth it is one of the most extraordinary works in English literature. At the beginning, young Romeo is devastated by the heart break of not being able to win Rosaline's hand. Juliet is preparing for the ball that will change her life forever. The pair has a milestone in the way. They are from the two oldest feudal families in Verona. They soon form a forbidden bond which causes them to marry in secret. With the communion of their marriage the goodly friar hopes to bring peace between the two families. When they are both confused and troubled, they go to him and receive the deadliest advice of their short lives. Romeo drinks a potion from the apothecary and dies. When Juliet awakes from her long slumber only to find that her beloved Romeo is dead. To her grief and disbelief, she acts on a moments notice and has her love's dagger take "its sheath in {her} body." When their funerals come around, the families bury both their children and their feud. Never was there a story more woe than that of Juliet and her Romeo. Having previously read this story on my own I thought I would dislike it when we read it in my English class. On the contrary, I understood the story better and it is now one of my favorite stories. Romeo and Juliet are considered the Edward and Bella of their day. They love each other enough to kill to be. Even though the story takes place in five days, it is incredible. -Reviewed by T.A., grade 10.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tunnels of Blood, by Darren Shan

Tunnels of Blood is the third book from the series of Cirque Du Freak. In this novel, Darren Shan, the vampire's assistant is in training with Mr. Crepsley to have more knowledge as a vampire and how to survive. Darren has joined the Cirque, or the freak show that is roaming around the world with Mr. Crepsley. After a while, the two left their home to go to a city for a research with evra, the snake boy from the Cirque. As they get used to the new city, Darren falls in love with a human girl, and then they get into a big trouble. An evil vempire named Murlough kidnapped Evra to make Darren and Mr. Crepsley to rescue Evra, while he sets up a trap.

Honestly, I had imagined the vivid details as I read the whole book. It is just fantastic how it gives so much description and details. It's just absolutely crazy how I can be glued to the seat and finish the book. It is so hard to stop reading in the middle of the book because the story is so interesting. Darren Shan, the author, is amazing yet creative when it comes to writing.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 10.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, previously introduced in the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is a rebellious and independent boy. Readers find out that Tom and Huck received $6,000 apiece from the previous book. Then, Widow Douglas adopts Huck to "civilize" him. Huckleberry is required to go to school and even pray before meals despite his prior laid-back life on the streets. Huck is also forced to have spelling lessons with Widow Douglas' sister, Miss Watson. That evening, while everyone is asleep, Huck hears a "me-yow! me-yow!" Huck climbs out of his window into the ground and sees Tom Sawyer. While tiptoeing along a path, Huck trips over a root and Miss Watson's slave, Jim, hears them. Eventually, Tom and Huck make a quiet get away and meet some boys to form a gang, "Tom Sawyer's Gang." As Tom is adjusting to his new life-style, he sees footprints in the snow. He identifies that the footprints belong to his father. Huck sells his six thousands dollars to Judge Thatcher for a dollar. Pap, Huck's drunken father, and Huck meet up and go to Jackson Island. To escape Pap, Huck sets up a murder scene so everyone thinks he is dead. While roaming Jackson Island for a few days, Huck runs into Jim, Miss Watson's slave. they plan to run away together. What will become of Jim and Huck?
I really enjoyed this novel because I was able to get more familiar with the character Huckleberry Finn despite his brief introduction in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I was impressed how Huck tried to go with his new life style regardless of his image in the past. This book is bery exciting and full of adventure.
-Reviewed by Michelle, grade 9.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer

Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer is the first book of the series of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. Vladimir Tod is not just an ordinary kid that lives in the city of Bathory. He is a vampire, but just a young one. Vlad's parents perished in fire when he was about ten, so he didn't completely get over it. This story starts out at Vlad's house, on a Halloween. He received a blood bag from his Aunt Nelly, and left together with Henry, his friend, for a party. As they got to the party, they had some horrible time, so they came back. As Vlad continued on with his ordinary life, it was found that Mr. Craig, Vlad and Henry's teacher was missing. So a substitute, named Mr. Otis, replaced him. Vlad though he was suspicious because he kept giving him signs about vampires, such as giving him reports to do on them, or even coming over to his house to have a dinner and giving him hints. When Mr. Otis came to his house one day, he explained to him that he was his uncle, protecting him from Elysia, the vampire world. Nelly was captured by the leader of the Elysian society, D'Ablo. Vlad showed up to him with Oris, and they had a fight. Vlad used a weapon that was left by his father and ended up injuring D'Ablo very badly.

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is an excellent choice of book if you enjoy detailed events and some problems that all teens face, such as love. This book is usually bloody, such as when there is a fight between vampires, or even a vampire and humans. I find this book very enjoyable, yet worthy of spending time at the same time. I recommend this fantastic book to everyone that has interest in vampires, or just even actions.

-Reviewed by J.P., grade 9

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Pact, by Jodi Picoult

I started reading this book, The Pact, by Jodi Picoult, thinking that it would be a typical teenage romance but soon realized that the pact itself was much more than love. There is a boy, Chris, and a girl, Emily, who have grown up together ever since they were born. Their families live next each other and they do everything together until one solemn night rips them apart. Emily is found dead and Chris at the scene of the crime. He is hospitalized and then sent to jail for a long period of time. Charged for murdering his lover, detectives and lawyers work together to find evidence for and against him. The trial is built on an suicide pact but the truch comes out in the end.
The book is written so that one chapter is the present and the one after is a part of their lives growing up; the timeline of their lives is cut up perfectly leading up to the shot. I found Chris' and Emily's relationship touching. The trial taught me more about how court works. I would recommend this to anyone who has the patience to read through and not jump ahead to find out how it ends. 4/5
-Reviewed by L.G., grade 11.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

In the novel, Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers, tells a sad story. Seventeen year old Richie Perry has just graduated from high school. He wants to go to college but can't afford it, and the streets are too tough. So he decides to sign up for the military and gets drafted into Vietnam. He meets Peewee, Lobel, Johnson, and Brunner. They are there for different reasons but share only one goal in common, getting out alive.

I would recommend this book. It tells a good story of life and death. I am fascinated by the military theme. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy action and history novels. I would give this novel a four out of five stars.

-Reviewed by "Dr." Sora, grade 10.

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, is about a wise professor, Morrie, who teaches philosophy at a college. When diagnosed with AIS, his optimism overcomes his fear to die. One of his fellows students visit him every Tuesday. They talk about morals and ethies in daily life. Morris touches the heart of his ex-students also to cheer everybody else with his great attitude. But when Morrie dies, we all know his spirit never died.

In Tuesdays with Morrie, I learned a lot of ways of perceiving the world. It taught me how to be a better person. I learned a lot from this book. If you get this book too, you will also enjoy it. I guarantee you. It gave me an extra sense of optimism in life. So what I am saying, it's a great story and I highly recommend that you read it. It is appropriate for all ages. If you aren't surprised by it's great moral, I'll be shocked. But give it a try it is a great book.

-Reviewed by Nate, grade 9.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, is about Robinson Crusoe himself that escapes the formal life to become a merchant. Through becoming a merchant, Robinson becomes very succesful. On a voyage, Cursoe is shipwrecked. There he survives on the island for many years. One day, he encounters cannibals and saves their victim who soon becomes his slave/assistant. Through the two of them, the fight the cannibals and Robinson finds a way home to Europe. There he establishes a family and shares his knowledge of the island.
The book Robinson Crusoe is in my opinion a very good book. It is very descriptive of his adventures in life. There is lots of adventure and action, an always keeps me on my toes. Also, the author keeps the intensity of the story realistic. Robinson Crusoe is a very good book, I recommend it.
-Reviewed by Nate, grade 9.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a book where the word utopia is defined like never before. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen lives in the world after its end. The twelve Districts are controlled by the Capitol, their government. When Katniss volunteers herself in the games instead of her sister, she has no idea what to expect. With the help of her partner, Peeta, Katniss will first-hand experience the hard truth. The Games are specifically designed to show the residences in the multiple Districts how the Capitol controls them. The golden country they live in has deep dark secrets that they don't want anyone to know...but Katniss can only do so much while mentally and physically preparing herself for the games. The girl from District twelve will prove to everyone {even herself} that she can do much more than expected. But what happens when a simple berries act can be called rebellious?

This story is an unforgettable journey to the end of the world. If you think that living in a perfect utopia is perfect, think again. Katniss proves that even in perfeciton, poverty and dictatorship are possible. To all those who enjoyed the book Pretties, by Scott Westerfield, this book is for you. Young readers everywhere are seeing that utopia is not always good. Or is it?

-Reviewed by T.A., grade 10.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shadowmancer, by G.P. Taylor

Shadowmancer, by G.P. Taylor, is about someone named Vicar Obadiah Demurral that doesn't just want to rule a village; he has his mind on taking over the entire world. Demurral needs to obtain a weapon in order to successfully take over the world that no one including God himselt could stop. Even without this weapon Demurral is still a shadowmancer-a sorcerer who speaks to the dead that will take down anyone that interferes with his plan. Despite this, Raphah wants to reclaim the weapon that once belonged to his people until Demurral soon snatched it away. However, Raphah cannot fight, decide to help raphah. This decision is bold for such young people because now the fate of the world lies in their hands.

This book not only captures the vivid details of the struggles between good and evil; it also shows the power of sorcery or black magic and the power of determination and inner strength. If you enjoy all this magic as well as an adventure story, then I recommend this book to you.

-Reviewed by anonymous, grade 10.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tempted, by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

In Tempted by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast Zoey is worried that her friendship with Stevie Rae will not last. Zoey knows that something is up with her and Stevie Rae will not tell her. While all of this is happening Zoey struggles with A-ya, the Cherokee maiden who was able to trap Kalona. Is Zoey being being pulled by the part of A-ya in her that calls to him? Meanwhile Stevie Rae is confused of how to tell Zoey or if she should even tell her about it? Will they be able to confide in each other or will they break apart? I really enjoyed this book because it has all the drama a teenage girl may sometimes love. It is full of boy craziness, friendships at steak, and personal problems. I love the different kind of fantasy brought into this book. I would recommend this book to anyone around my age. -Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton

In The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton, Earth is covered by uni-celled organisms that can survive, thrive, in different locations that no man could ever dream of. What about space? Can bacteria live in such extreme environment and what would happen if it landed in our home planet? Well, in a small town in Arizona called Piedmont, they found their answer: fifty-seven deaths and only two survivors, a baby and ancient old man. When a satellite carrying a new form of bacteria from space falls nearby Piedmont, almost everyone dies from a complete form of clood clotting or by insanity. The Wildfire Team is sent into motion, researching, experimenting, observing, and theorizing to try to stop this deadly organism.
I personally have never cared for the science-fiction genre (Star Wars and Star Trek seemed identical to me) but this was one story that had made me rethink my opinion. I often heard my friends talking about Michael Crichton's books and the horror if the books were to actually come true. I was intrigued and decided to read the first book I saw by Michael Crichton. It was The Andromeda Strain. I came to throughly enjoy this book and finished reading it in two days. Most of the chapter were filled with science and medical terms, and would always leave me confused and having to guess what whe characters were doing. Also, some of Crihton's cliff hangers seemed to be incorrect. For example, he would often say in an ominous tone that one of the scientists would make a foolish mistake, but in the next chapter it did not appear to be so. It added to my confusion. This book was packed of information about biology and I had learned more about bacteria here than I ever did in my fourteen years of life. At the end of the book, I wanted to learn more about biology because Crichton provides the knowledge in a way that will never leave the reader bored. I also believed that the format was interesting in that he had included files in their original forms adding to the whole secret-mission type of mood. The Andromeda Strain was a book far out of my usual style but it left me desiring more and more. I plan to read more of his books and just sit there and imagine what would happen to Earth if Michael Crichton 's stories were to all come true. I recommend this book to lovers of science-fiction and to people who are interested in science.
-Reviewed by Sophia, grade 9.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini

Brisingr is the third book of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. In order to understand this book, you have to read the two books. The story begins with Eragon, Roran, and Saphira at the base of Helgrind, waiting for morning to attack the Ra'zac's lair, and find and rescue Katrina, Roran's fiancee. In the morning, the assault is on! Their group finds the secret entrance to the dwelling, and immediately they are attacked by the Ra'zac and their parents, Lethrblaka. Saphira takes on the two Lethrblaka, while Eragon and Roran attack the two Ra'zac. In the end, Eragon and Saphira prove to outmatch the Ra'zac and their parents, and kill them. Eragon fids Katrina's cell and leaves Roran to break it down. Meanwhile, Eragon searches other cells and finds Sloan, the traitor of Carbahall. He is blind. Eragon decides not to kill him, and puts him to sleep. Then Katrina and Roran go back to Saphira with Eragon following them. After securing both people to Saphira, Eragon backs away and tells them he has to take care of something. Saphira leaves after much persuasion and aggravation. Then Eragon returns to Sloan and carries him out of Helgrind. Then he sets a spell on Sloan that will make him walk toward Ellesmera without being harmed. Then Eragon set off back to Surda and the Varden. After Saphir returned to the Varden, Arya set out to find Eragon and bring him back to the Varden. They return safely, but had to take care of a group of soldiers in order to return. By then, twelve elf spell caster had arrived to protect, aid, and defend Eragon as well as the Varden. A couple weeks later, Roran and Katrina decide to get married. Unfortunately, their wedding day was interrupted by Empire soldiers, Murtagh and Thorn. The Varden rushed to gather their weapons and armor. Eragon and Saphira flew up to confront Murtagh and Thorn. They fought and Eragon and Saphira were able to best them due to the help of the twelve elf spell castors. However, the Varden suffered heavy casualties from the three hundred soldiers. Galbatorix had laid spells on his soldiers so that they could not feel pain; so they could only die from a head blow, neck hit, or heart blow. Roran and Katrina still got married that day to help cheer the Varden up. The next week, Nasuada gave Eragon the assignment to go to Twonjheim in her place to make sure Orik was made the next dwarf king (hrothgar was killed by Murtagh in Eldest). He made the journey with Garxhvog, the Kull leader of the Urgals that joined the Varden. Nasuada also assigned Roran to a regiment under Martland. His group's mission was to find enemy supply wagons and destroy them and kill any soldiers in their way. Martland's soldiers went on two missions like this. On the second mission, they faced the soldiers that didn't feel pain, but they still succeeded on their mission. However, Martland's hand got cut off during the attack. So Nasuada transferred Roran to another commander, Edric. Roran was given a small command over soldiers. Edric's regiment was supposed to find a small, evacuated village, and attack the oncoming soldiers. Edric told Roran to charge into the soldiers no matter what, but when Roran saw that the soldiers had crossbows, he halted his men. Then he put archers on the roof and rescued Edric and his remaining men. Edric took some men and went to aid Sand, the second in command, and told Roran to engage the soldiers with crossbows. Again, Roran disagreed and had the archers take them out. Then they charged. Roran took on and killed 193 soldiers by himself, using a spear and his hammer. But because he disobeyed orders again, Edric demoted him. When he got back to the Varden, Roran was whipped fifty lashes for disobeying a direct command from a superior, but he kept his rank. Meanwhile, Eragon made it to Tronjheim safely and the dwarves were still debating who should be king. After a long meeting of the clan leaders (only clan leaders can be chosen as king. Orik became the leader of the Durgrimst Ingeitum clan), Eragon went walking down the tunnels under Tronjheim to escape from the debate environment. On the way back, he sensed that he and his guards were being followed. And indeed they were, fortunately Eragon and his guards managed to defend themselves and slay their attackers. Eragon and Orik found out that the attackers were from the clan Az Sweldn rak Anhuin. They called a meeting and Orik accused the clan chief Vermund for the attack. The Az Sweldn rak Anhuin clan was banned from existence until clan chief Vermund was replaced or died. Then the meeting decided to choose a king. Orik was elected. Then, Saphira flew to Tronjheim for the coronation, and made the Star Rose whole again, much to the pleasure of the dwarves. From Tronjheim, Eragon and Saphira flew to Ellesmera, where Eragon learned many new secrets. Find them out. Personally, I liked this book. I think I was amazing. I couldn't stop reading it when I first got it. This book had a lot of surprises and twists. This book is for teens or people who like reading fiction or fantasy. -Reviewed by K.C., grade 9.

The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan, starts its series off with book one: The Ruins of Gorlan. At the beginning of this book, orphans in a castle have to schoose their occupation, depending on their skill. Two of the Orphans, Will and Horace, both wanted to be warriors. However, Horace was big and muscular and Will was small. Horace became a warrior and Will was asked to become a ranger. A decision that will change Will's life forever. As Will is being trained in the ways of a ranger, a war brakes out and Will will play a major role in winning the war.

This is one of the best books I have read, and every time a new Ranger's Apprentice comes out, I find myself buying the book as fast as possible and finishing it even faster. At the same time I read this book, I had a big interest in these things: rangers, warriors, wizards, and I enjoyed reading this book. Each page was filled with adventure, and the further into the book I got, the harder it was to put the book down. With each book, I learn many things that I can relate to life. From this book I learned to be more sneaky. This book as well as the series, Ranger's Apprentice, will always be one of my favorites, and I recommend this book to anyone.

-Reviewed by Krassi, grade 9.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Magical Sunday (But Winning Isn't Everything), by Phil Mickelson with Donald T. Phillips

One Magical Sunday, by Phil Mickelson with Donald T. Phillips, describes how Phil won the major tournament victory. Phil was destined to play golf at a very young age. He had a talent that would help him work his way through to become a champion golfer. With a supportive family, great coaches, and determination, Phil won the 2004 masters. Aside from his golf career, he is also a parent of three kids. He finds time to spend with his family and take a break away from golf.
The book titled, One Magical Sunday, is definitely a book for golfers and golf fans. It is a book with lots of good tips and information to help one's golf dream come true. The comments from Phil's family members and coaches help understand Phil's strong desire to become a professional golfer. I recommend this book to all golf players. For non golfers this can give you a head start when playing golf for fun.
-Reviewed by Rebecca, grade 9.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, features a futuristic world where reading is illegal. Guy Montag is employed as a "fireman." Ironically, his job is to burn books. On his way home, he meets his new 17 year-old neighbor, Clarisse McClellan. They have an awkward talk and then Guy leaves. The next day, he goes to work and tries to pet the Mechanical Hound. It growls at him and threatens him. After a while, the alarm rings. They go to burn an old lady's house because of an illegal possession of books. When they push the lady aside, a book falls into Guy's hands. Thoughtlessly, he hides it under his shirt. The firemen had no choice but to burn the house with her in it. Guy feels guilt and shame. Later, he decides to make copies of the book also known as the Bible with the help of his professor, Fabor. After changing his mind, he goes to work and gives the book to the captain of the fire department. Then, once again the alarm rings. The destination was Guy Montag's own house. What will happen to Guy's house? What will happen to Guy Montag?
Fahrenheit 451 was a very exhilarating novel. I was very impressed of how brave Guy was for taking the book. I found it ridiculous that books were illegal. This book kept me wondering, "What will our future look like?"
-Reviewed by Michelle, grade 9.

Vampire Mountain, by Darren Shan

Vampire Mountain, by Darren Shan, is the fourth book from the Cirque Du Freak series. Darren Shan, the vampire's assistant is leaving for the Vampire Mountain with his master, Mr. Crepsley. It is hard to get to the Vampire Mountain without having tough times, which means that it will be a cruel journey. As they have tough times going up to the mountain, Gavner Purl, Mr. Crepsley's friend and a vampire general met up with them along the way. Darren confronted many things, such as meeting the wolves and an insane bear. After few weeks, they reached the Vampire Mountain with exhaustion. As they rested in the rooms, the vampire council had a meeting. Mr. Crepsley presented Darren, and he was compelled to make a decision, which was to go on the Trials of Initiation, or to put Mr. Crepsley in shame.

The Cirque Du Freak series has once more amazed me. The detailed descriptions has fascinated me again. The first time I read this book, I was excited to get the next book right away. I recommend this book to all the horror fans out there. I'm positive that you will fall for the vivid imaginaton of the book.

-Reviewed by J.P., grade 9.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

City of Ashes,by Cassandra Clare

In the second book of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare, Clary is lost and confused and wishing she could have her old life back. But now she knows she was a Shadowhunteer who has just found her amazing long-lost brother who will possible do anything to help their father, Valentine, who is crazy, evil. The battle for love and power is on in this completely different world that she grew up in. Now everything has changed for her mostly because now she can see all the Downworlders like the werewolves, vampires, and faeries and her mother is in a magical coma. Clary's best friend who she needs for support wants to be more that friends? And Valentine is running lose in New York City causing major chaos for everyone especially herself nd Jace, her brother. Can she help her mother, Jace, and still stop Valentine?
I really enjoyed this book because of all the drama and the magical amazement with uniqueness. I think anyone who enjoys reading about magical mysterious romances will extremely like this series. This book will make you feel like if you wish you were part of the book. I would give it five stars out of five. It can blow your mind away and get you caught up in all the dangerous fantasy.
-Reviewed by anonymous, grade 9.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen

In Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen, Ruby lives in a complicated world where her mother is missing and the sister she has not seen in ten years has to take care of her. All of a sudden she has to move to a different school with different people and a possible different future than the one she had in mind. The only person who talks and listens to her is the popular boy, Nate, who is now her next door neighbor. He seems to get her even in the middle of all the madness in her life could it be that it is because he has something to runway from to?

This book can really be enjoyed by many people it will win your heart over and make you stop and appreciate things. I enjoyed it because like many other books it is a boy meets girl but with other things in the middle. I recommend it to girls like me in middle school ot high school. It will be fun to read and keep you guessing.

-Reviewed by anonymous, grade 9.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In the Hand of the Goddess, by Tamora Pierce

In the Hand of the Goddess, by Tamora Pierce, is about fourteen year old Alanna of Tredbond is entering her second year in her knighthood process: being a squire. Her squirehood is not going to be easy because she is the squire of the second most important man in the kingdom: Prince Jonathan, the heir to the throne. Her life is not getting any easier but she is learning tricks on how to keep her identity a secret. Some things are good and others bad. One good thing is that no one knows her true identity. Unfortunately, she is falling in love with the prince. With her ordeal soon approaching Alanna wants to spend the majority of her time practicing, not loving. But with the mysterious Duke Roger lurking in the shadows at court all Alanna will think about is destroying him and proving to everyone girls can be knights too. But is it worth it?
Any one who has a love of the medieval knighthood process should read this book. It is one of my all time favorite books. The free spirited Alanna has plan that is bigger than the whole kingdom. Her free will and true friends are just a small factor in the quest to prove her. The sequel to Alanna: the first adventure is one that should be read over an over again.
-reviewed by T.A., grade grade 10.