Monday, February 8, 2010

Paranoid Park, by Blake Nelson

Paranoid Park, by Blake Nelson, is the story of a young, middle class high school skater who lives in Portland. One day, while skating at an illegal skate park (Paranoid Park), he ends up trying to hop a train, and when discovered by a security guard, the skater accidentally kills him. The book then follows the skater, who is unnamed, as he deals with deciding if he should tell anyone of the incident while at the same time dealing with divorcing parents, girls, sex, and life in high school. Paranoid Park is written in a first person perspective, and a majority of the book is his narrative of the life of the progatanist as he deals with the weight of killing someone, while dealing with high school. It realistically shows the world through pre-teen to teen eyes, and the progatanist's narrative stunningly shows the inner emotional feelings of an adolescent going through hard times, and his attempts to hid his feelings, and the accident, while his world crashes down around him. A great narrative of teenage life, at its worst.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud is about a young magician in training named Nathaniel. Nathaniel lives in London where the government is completely controlled by magicians. What's worse is that all these magicians are backstabbers who would slit each others throat the first chance they got. Nathaniel, after being humiliated by a very powerful magician named Simon Lovelace, summons the djinn Bartimaeus to steal Lovelace's most prized possessions: the amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel unovers more than just an amulet, including a cult that could destroy reality as we know it. That's not all, Bartimaeus isn't about to just follow Nathaniel's orders. I liked this book because there are a lot of twists and turns and I love the 20th century rendition of London in which so many classics take place. What's interesting is that the story is told in two different perspectives: Nathaniel's and Bartimaeus'. Although Nathaniel's perspective can be rather droll Bartimaeus' perspective comes alive. He is hilarious and he always has witty to say to or about someone. Throughout his parts of the story you will find countless citations of quick things to note about the magician world or even funny anecdotes of his life with his previous masters. Another thing about the book that I liked so much was the psychological warfare that went on between the magicians. Magicians could be described as a cross between politicians and mafia bosses because they are deceitful and lie and they have the power to take out anyone who knows their secret or anyone they just don't like with the power of spirits. When you think about this, and the fact that these baddies are the ones the main character is after, you will probably think there's no way he can pull it off, but Nathaniel is also smart and has his own power.

-Reviewed by H.S., grade 9.

Galilee, by Clive Barker

Galilee, by Clive Barker, is an intense story of two different, but equally powerful families, whose fates have been intertwined ever since the beginning of each dynasty. The Geary and Barbarossa families are both powerful and influential families, beyond an average human's understanding. The Barbarossa family is not only powerful, but also divine. A simple girl from Daskey Ohio, Rachel, marries into one of the families, the Geary family. Little does she know that behind all the flashing lights, there are generations of scandal and dirty secrets. She meets a man from the Barbarossa household, Galilee Barbarossa. She is immediately blown over by his beauty, and amazing build. She finds herself madly in love with him. He has fallen for her as well. Will Rachel and Galilee end up together?

Galilee is a book that is definitely worth reading. It has mystery, suspense, romance, and scandal as well. While it may be for adult audiences, it has a very interesting plot. The story has many different layers that unfold with every chapter. The book lets your imagination run wild as you try to guess what will happen next. Galilee will keep you guessing until the last page, and leave you asking for more. It is up to your imagination to come up with the rest.

-Reviewed by MH, grade 9.