Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shadow Kissed, by Richelle Mead

Will she have to choose between them? Who will she chose? What will be the outcome? Shadow Kissed, by Richelle Mead, is about Rosemary Hathaway, a vampire in training, and her best friend Vasilissa Dragomir impatiently waiting for graduation. They can't wait for their lives outside the academy's iron gates to begin. While Rose is also mentally preparating herself after Mason, she is paired with her last person in her mind Christian Ozera. From focusing on her trials to completing her field training the last thing on Roses mind is the thought of having to lose Dimitri. And her dreams may come true when a band of Strigoi attack the school leaving many dead and others...

The third installment in the Vampire Academy six pieces chronicles makes us ask all the questions. What will happen with Rose and Dimitri? Will Adrian and Lissa find what Rose is up to? I personally think that this one is the beat book in the whole series. This story is one that will get to you. The other two books act just as starting clocks they introduced the characters and gave you a theory behind their existence. This story is for anyone who wants to read about vampire romances.

-reviewed by T.A., grade 10.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, is a story about a man whose life is saved by two wise women. Antonio is a good and generous Venetian who promises to pay Shylock the money borrowed by Bassanio or else allow Shylock to cut off a pound of his flesh. Unfortunately, Bassanio is unable to pay his debt. Antonio goes on trial and Shylock demands Antonio's flesh. Luckily, Portia and Nerissa dress up as lawyer and a clerk. Portia orders Shylock to cut off exactly one pound without a single drop of blood from Antonio. Shylock realizes that he is unable to get what he wants. Portia and Nerissa end up saving Antonio's life.

In addition to the main story, there are other little events. One of them is when Bassanio tries to marry Portia. To marry Portia, one has to pass a test. This test is designed by Portia's father in order to pick up the right husband for Portia. Bassanio must make a choice between three caskets: a gold one, a silver one, and a lead one. Who chooses the gold casket "shell get what many men desire." Who chooses the silver casket "Shall get as much as he deserves." Who chooses the lead casket "must give and hazard all he hath." Bassanio chooses the lead casket which is the right one and marries Portia.

I recommend this book to teens who want a challenge. This book is written in sixteenth century English, so it might be a bid hard.

Reviewed by SC.

The Beast, by Walter Dean Meyers

The Beast, by Dean Meyers, was a life changing story. This book was about a young man lost and confused looking for romance. This sad story takes place in the streets of Harlem, New York also known as the ghetto. He found the girl of his dreams Gabriela. They fell in love with each other but Anthony had to go off to college. Little did he know that when he returned he found the sweet Gabi turned into a hideous drug addict. Gabi had fallen to "the beast." He was lost and asked her to explain why she was doing drugs. She had too many problems and was suffering from depression; she had lost her mother too. Anthony helped her out of the drug hole; he gave her love and attention. He took her to rehabilitation programs and advised her. His famous line was "doing drugs won't lead you out of your problems, but I will." This is a romantic yet real life situation. Millions of people are suggering from drug addiction but sadly they don't have any support. I think I can't relate to this story because I've never been in a situation like this. Drugs are a dream eating habit, and I will never fall into "the beast"

-Reviewed by M.P., grade 9.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, is about four Chinese mothers and their daughters. Each mother tells a story about their childhood and about coming to the US. All of the daughters talk about growing up as a Chinese-American and learning the Chinese culture as they grow up. These four moms start up "The Joy Luck Club" in which they play Mahjong. The stories about these women revolve around playing this game and learning about each other and themselves.

I recommend this book to mothers and daughters because you learn a lot about mother and daughter relationships when reading this book. This book would be a good read for girls who are the first generations born in the US.

Reviewed by NN.

Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

This book, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, is narrated by first-person progress reports written by 32 year, old mentally challenged Charlie Gordon. He is the first subject for a risky procedure that raises his IQ to that of a intellectual superhuman. He starts to remember painful things from his past about his family and friends; he begins to realize things that he simply could not understand when he was mentally disabled. This book broke my heart and made me think about how fragile and elaborate relationships prove to be. I recommend it to anyone wants a real heart-aching story.

-Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9.

Monday, June 14, 2010

An Unlikely Friendship : A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, by Ann Rinaldi

An Unlikely Friendship, by Ann Rinaldi, tells the story of Mary Todd, President Lincoln’s wife, and Lizzy, a mulato child that learns through hardship how to live as a slave. Mary Todd has a privilege, but controlled upbringing in Kentucky with an array of siblings, attentive mother name Sally, an affectionate but a look father, and a proud, devoted grandmother help her to cope with a critical and harsh grandmother. In contrast, Lizzy is a slave that buys her freedoms and has established herself as a renowned dressmaker. Lizzy and Mary become very good friends until the end.

This book was awesome. It even made me cry of how harsh Lizzy was treated. I also love the story of a born friendship between two women whose backgrounds were totally different. I recommend this book to everyone who like drama, women especially.

-Anonymous, grade 9.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This book, The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, is a "Catcher in the Rye" inspired story. It is written in first-person by a high school freshman named Charlie. The book consists of letters written to an anonymous person. When the story begins Charlie keeps to himself more and not many people know him. Charlie is a "wallflower" who, with the help of his newly found friends Samantha and Patrick, learns to interact with the world. At some moments, this book put me in a place of euphoria. It is amazingly written and I recommend it to absolutely everyone.

-Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, is different than any other book that I have read because it is about a girl named Susie Salmon. She is the main character, but unlike most books where the character is alive, she is in her own heaven watching the world go on without her living anymore. She talks about her family and her killer, she tries to give hints to her family about who her killer is. She watches and wishes she could see everyone again, she discovers the impact she had on her friends and family.

I really wanted to know more about what happened in the book. My predictions were wrong, but that is what made the book very interesting. I recommend this book to any teenager, especially those who have younger siblings, they will realize how much they look up to older siblings. I read the book twice already and will probably read more of Alice's books, since I bought her book "Lucky".

-YC, grade 10.

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

This book, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, is a story about 16 people who have been chosen to live in an apartment called the Sunset Tower which is on the shore of Lake Michigan. They all gather to hear the will of Sam Westing; self-made millionare. The will is in a puzzle form which divides the 16 heirs into 8 pairs. Each pair has a different set of clues to solve the mystery of who killed Sam Westing. Whoever solves the mystery inherits Sam Westing's 200 million dollar fortune. This is a great mystery novel and it's an exciting story. Anyone who likes adventure and is a page-turner will enjoy this book.

-Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Freedom Writers Diary, by Erin Gruwell and her freedom writers

The Freedom Writers Diary by Freedom Writers, is a written journal by each and every one of Erin Gruwell's students. Erin Gruwell is a new teacher at Wilson High School in Long Beach, Ca. She was a very perky and happy teacher who didn't know that she was up to teach a bunch of rebellious, gang members. These kids pretty much lived on the streets and were in and out of jail. Ms. Gruwell was their savior; she bought them each a journal. Every each student wrote something. Eventually Ms. G put together their through by teaching them things they were interested in. This journal is entries of each person's life situation. Some of them were abused, harassed, imprisoned, shot, or just poor. These kids were fighting over gang territory and sadly some of them were killed. I loved this journal because it made me realize that so many kids go through a lot of bad luck in life. I can't relate to any of their stories. It was emotional at times and it made me cry. I recommend this story to anyone who likes true story books.

-Reviewed by M.P., grade 9.