Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card

"Ender's Shadow," by Orson Scott Card, is one of my all time favorite books. As a war is about to break out in outer space against an alien race a child living on the mean streets of Rotterdam with fights his own war with ruthless gangs of starving kids that wouldn't hesitate to kill. Bean, the main character, has learned to survive not with his fists, but with his brains. Bean, only a year old when put on the streets and still only four years old, is close to deaths door and much too small for his age to everpower anyone for food. He persuades Poke, a crew leader, to give him food and let him join by giving her a strategy that will get them all more food. The plan was that they'll all work together to overpower a slightly older bully and force him to become their muscleman. It all goes terribly wrong when Poke, thinking he would be an easier target because of his gimp leg,, pick Achilles, to beat down. He later kills Poke, which devastates Bean, thinking he could have stopped it. He'll do anything to get away from Achilles, so when Sister Carlotta, a nun working for the I.F., comes looking for a new student to send to battle school, Bean takes his chance. Bean is the smartest person to ever enter battle school, and also the youngest. Throughout the story, Bean continues to prove himself, and is always a few steps ahead of everyone else. As the battle against the Buggers gets closer, only the best would be taken to fight. What will Bean's roll be in this historic event? This story is Bean's perspective of "Ender's Game," and is wonderfully written.

-Reviewed by M.P., grade 9.

In Silence, by Erica Spindler

"In Silence," by Erica Spindler, is a scary, suspenseful book that I love very much. Its about a young journalist named Avery Chauvin, who returns to her home in Cypress Springs, Louisiana, after twelve long years away. Despite the large amount of time shes been away, nothing has changed. Except for her. Her mother died a year ago, and now her father has commit suicide. Or did he? She believes that her father, a physician who dedicated himself to preserving life, would never commit suicide. As Avery cleans out her Cypress Springs is a post card perfect town, where everyone thinks they's safe. Why would her father keep these clippings? As Avery continues to search for clues on what might have really happened to her father, a woman is found brutally murdered. People go missing,, and it becomes harder for Avery to trust even her closest of friends. What's happening in Cypress Springs? Is anyone safe anymore? I really enjoyed reading this book, and anyone that loves mystery, suspense, or horror will love it also.

-Reviewed by M.P., Grade 9.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monster, by Walter Dean Myers

Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, gives deep insight into a sixteen year old boy, Steve, convicted of murder. The victim was Mr. Nesbitt, who was the owner of the store that had been robbed. Steve is now on trial and writes his experiences into a movie and as a journal.

I have never wondered what happened in jail. All I really knew was the bad guy would get caught and spend his life in a cell room. Reading this book opened my eyes to what really happens behind the bars and how it can affect someone. It was crueler than I had ever thought it to be and at some points I had wanted to stop reading because the concepts of sexual abuse and violence were too abnormal for me to comprehend. Having Steve, the main character, write it in movie format made it for me even more enjoyable to read. At first it was complicated, having new terms to memorize and the format completely different. However, once it became familiar, the story actually turned into a movie in my mind. The characters were real, and the dialogue was just as it was written. Steve also caught my attention. I pitied him; he sounded as if he was only five years old, especially in the flashbacks. In the whole book, I believe the real question was: Who am I? Monster gave me a whole new outlook on the ordeal of prison life and trial. It kept me in suspense until the very end, right until his verdict which was...

I recommend this book to almost all teens, except for those extremely sensitive. I really makes a person rethink about themselves and may change for the better. I had grown up, a bit spiritually, when I read this book and I know that I will remember it for years to come.

-Reviewed by Sophia, grade 9.

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

"Ender's Game," by Orson Scott Card, is about a boy named Ender Wiggin, a Third, that's sent to battle school in space, to prepare for a war in space against a race of aliens trying to destroy Earth. In battle school, Ender is put under an immense amount of pressure, since everyone expects him to defeat the Buggers. As time goes on and enemies are made, Ender snaps at one point and actually kills one of his bullies, the leader of Salamander Army, Bonzo Mardrid. As the battle with the Buggers gets even closer, Ender goes into a depression. When the time comes, will Ender be able to pull himself together to lead everyone to victory? I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to everyone, especially to those who like science fiction.

-Reviewed by M.P., grade 9.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fallen, by Lauren Kate

Hauntingly fascinating, Fallen written by Lauren Kate not only gives me the chills, but is full of mystery, hearthbreaking love, a war between those its best not to get between, and not knowing who you can or can't trust. Those who loved Hush, Hush, will thirst for this book just how a man who's had nothing but salt thirst for water. Luce Price is sent to Sword & Cross boarding school for those who are a danger to themselves and others. Being watched by cameras 24/7, never allowed to move beyond their classrooms and their bedrooms, and teachers teaching subjects that Luce finds is too strange to be a coincidence, Sword & Cross has more to it than it seems. Luce befriends one of the outcasts who knows the layout of the school inside and out and the two find the rest of the students' files because Luce is bewildered by them. She finds she is drawn to Daniel Grigori, but unlike other teen novels, he has no interest in her whatsoever. Nevertheless, she can't fight the feeling that they have a connection, but so does she and Cam, the one other boy who seems to be a little less than insane. Luce can't decide is she's going crzy or if the shadows she's seeing and dreams she's experiencing are real. Lost and trying to find help, Luce battles her demons...both figuratively and literally. Her questions: what if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours, and what exactly are all the kids at Swork & Cross hiding from her? I thought the Lauren Kate did an amazing job with this book. The book was fast paced and extremely easy to connect to on a personal level. I felt the author really mixed real life thoughts and feelings into a world of fantasy. Overall, the book was so out of the blue and different from all the other teen novels that it made me love it instantly. And perhaps, you will too!

-Reviewed by Nikki, grade 8.

Hush Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick is just one of those teenager novels that make you want to absorb all the pages as fast as you can, stay up way past your bedtime, sigh over the romance that all girls out there with they could one day have, and going to school the next day with baggy eyes but gushing to your friends what an amazing book it was! Starting from the very first page, the mystery begins making you think, "What's going on!!??!!" Becca Fitzpatrick used an extremely luring topic - fallen angels along with many different conflicts, strange characters, and events that will make you squeal with anticipation. In this novel, the lead character is Nora Grey who has a best friend named Vee, is paranoid because of her father's murder, and is partnered with the new boy in class, Patch, who seems to know her better than her best friend. Though she can tell he's definitely dangerous, she still feels drawn to his despite having strong suspicions that he's the one who's been following her, attacked her in her car, and has been watching her house. But there's more that she can't understand. The strange visions that she's getting and the new counselor who asks way too many question about her and Patch. Nora and Vee meet two new boys who come from school surrounding an unsolved murder of a girl. After Vee's attack from Nora's stalker, Nora confronts Patch. When she does, she accidentally brushes against his scars and enters into one of his memories to find that he is a fallen angel, his counselor was Patch's ex-girlfriend who was trying to get him back to Heaven, and Patch's job was to get rid of Nora. Nora doesn't know who to trust when Vee gets kidnapped by the new kids and her counselor wants to kill her. Not to mention, she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have fallen and Nora's choice on shoosing sides may cost her her life. I thought the book was full of action and humor mixed with so much mystery. I could not believe how the book ended, but you'll have to find out for yourself! I'd recommend this book to all those who love mystery, romance, and teenager books.

-Reviewed by Nikki, grade 8.

The Devlin Diary, by Christi Phillips

The Devlin Diary, by Christi Phillips is a book where Dr. Claire Donavon is just getting used to her PhD. Her new job at one of the world's most renowned collages is a gift from her colleague, Andrew Kent. From becoming a fellow to writing her paper on 16th century codes, Claire seems to have her plate full. In 1667, Hannah Devlin is practicing her love of medicine when she is mysteriously taken to the court of Charles the second. Hannah is used to being lookend down on for being a girl practicing Physics without a license. But at court things are much more ambitious. Men see her as an easy prize to win. Back in England Claire's colleague is murdered. Claire must search up and down for the murderer. All evidence points to a diary kept by Hannah Devlin. Written in code, the code seems to be the perfect key. Hannah is determined to ffind her father's killer. With the help of a newly made doctor she will find the clues needed for solving the mystery.

This is the second story by Renowned author Christi Phillips. The Devlin Diary is a story that can be read over and over. Its plot is the same but it still has a certain gem to it you can't resist. It is one of my favorite books by far and it only makes me want to share it with everyone who loves to read. Read this book and enjoy it. This book should be savored like fine wine.

-Reviewed by T.A., grade 10.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is about, Jem and Scout, two children growing up in the South during the 1930's. They are scared from a local crazy, called Boo Rudley. Also their father protects and an African American in court. Even through the real rapist of the case is another person, the African American is accused from the crime. Chosen guilty, the guilty man is free from persecution. After the case, Jem and Scout are attacked and Boo Radley protects and saves them from harm.

The classic story, To Kill a Mockingbird teaches you many morales and is a great story. It teaches the way racism is terrible and how it was part of the Southern Economy. I deeply recommend that you read this book.

-Reviewd by Nate, grade 9.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown will be loved as much as it did by fans of Angles and Demons, Deception Point, The Lost Symbol, and countless others written by Dan Brown. Personally, I think Brown's detailed fictional novel is unpredictable in a pleasing way and includes so much history and conspiracies that you'll find yourself getting caught up in the action, mystery, puzzles and codes, and drama involved. I would recommend this book to those who love thrillers and action mixed with plenty of interesting facts and history. The genius of the book is difficult to comprehend in some parts and has challenging vocabulary but that contributes to the overall, fast paced writing style. Through I had no idea what many things the characters talked about, Dan Brown did an amazing job at breaking it down for a wide variety of ages to read. The main character, Professor Robert Langdon, is caught up in another hot spot. Giving a lecture in Paris, he receives a late night phone call informing him of the death of the curator of the Louvre Museum with a cipher found near the body. Proceeding to the crime scene, Langdon is questioned to see if he can decipher the code when he meets Sophie Neveu, the curator's granddaughter and one of team working on the code. Little does Langdon know that he's the major suspect on the case and Sophie helps him escape his name that was written near the body was to help them and not the name of the criminal. The two set off together and try to find the mysteries of Sophie's grandfather and his connection with a secret society who once included Da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, and many others. Now only being chased by the police, Langdon and Sophie try to find the curators real killer who seems to be looking for them as well in order to get a key he believes Sophie has. Full of artistic conspiracies and finding out more about the secret society, this book is amazing starting off with a murder and ending with a ending that'll blow your mind.

-Reviewed by Nikki, grade 8.

Last Known Victim, by Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler's "Last Known Victim" is one of my favorites. After hurricane Katrina savaged New Orleans, Captain Patti O'shay, a by the book cop that lost her husband, is assigned the "Handyman" case, a case that had gone newhere and been closed. The "Handyman" was a serial killer that went after females, and always took their right hand. After Katrina, Patti, still grieving for her husband, gets a call from homicide. The unknown victim-a female-is missing her right hand. What shocked Patti even more, was that, found beside the victims bones, was her husbands police badge. Will Patti be strong enough to solve the case? Or will she be the killers last known victim? I loved every moment of this book, and recommend it to everyone that loves suspense and mystery.

-Reviewed by M.P., grade 9.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Queen's Governess, by Karen Harper

The Queen's Governess, by Karen Harper, is about, conceivably, one of the greatest Queens in History, Queen Elizabeth I has a story that shows countless sides of her. For the reason that her popularity went all over Europe, many stories were also told about the people closest to her. One story strangely left incomplete was that of Katherine Ashley, her close friend and confidant as well as childhood governess. Kat is the daughter of a young country squire who one day prematurely she meets Sir. Thomas Cromwell. With the help of Cromwell and her distant relatives Kat is transformed from farm girl to lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn. Kat is with the Queen until her regrettable end in 1536. After that Kat is assigned to be the governess of the Lady Elizabeth. Their friendship forms into life long love and devotion. Kat stays with Elizabeth until her death. Katherine Ashley is one of the few people who survived the tower twice and the wrath of three of the Tudor monarchs.

This story is one of my favorites. It shows both the wrath of all the Tudor monarchs and the boundaries people will reach for friendship. I can read this story over and over again. Readers of books that revolve around history will truly adore this book as if it is their best friend. I truly enjoyed reading this book that was a twist on history. This book should be passed down from generation to generation.

-Reviewed by T.A., grade 10.

Friday, July 16, 2010

To Be a Slave, by Julius Lester

To Be a Slave, by Julius Lester, was one of the most moving books I have ever read provided with many detailed, first hand accounts of slaves captured in Africa by the English and Europeans and then taken to the new colonies in America. Full of greed, anger, frustration, sadness, horror, and pain, this book will set even the toughest heart aching for those slaves who went through so much sorrow. What I thought really made this book so amazing that I would recommend anyone to read, was the author gathered so many first hand accounts of slaves, songs that were made and sung by them, detailed drawn pictures, and a perfect accound of how EVERYTHING was in that time. Lester gives us detailed and vivid descrtiptions of the exact food a slave would eat, what they wore, how the celebrated Christmas, went to a white man's church on Sunday telling them how God places the white men above the blacks and they were to serve them, what the family did when separated at the auction block so soon after a new child was born and sold, and how slaves escaped slavery with many being recaptured. To Be A Slave is not a novel, rather it's a concoction of many the slaves lives and how they lived through coming from Africa, moving to working on plantations, and going through the Emancipation. I do want to forewarn you of gruesome events taking place because this book focus' on ALL of slavery, especially the stories that are not wanted to be heard. Though almost all slaves hated slavery and the whites for containing them, some felt slavery was life-helping and they lived their lives trying to please them rather than go against them. For me, three stories stick out the most in this book: Going to work in the plantations, mothers who had babies were to put them in a trough (similar to those where water was placed for horses) far from the plantations so the mothers could not hear their babies cries and go comfort them. One day, it began to heavily rain and the mothers were not allowed to reach their children until after their work was done. Running to the troughs, the mothers found all of their babies drowned and the slave owner didn't even pay them a penny for their loss. Another story is when, at the auction block, slaves were lined up like cattle and though starved for many days, the slave sellers would rub meat on the slaves teeth to make it appear they were eating healthy as well as dressing up fancy to make a good presentation while being observed and later bought. Families were torn apart at the auction block. A husband and wife were separated and their child too bought by a different slave owner. The mother ran to the slave owner and begged to buy her as well. All the slave owner did was smile and kicked her, laughing as he did so and walked away with his new slave boy. Lastly, a slave owner trying to move his slaves to a neighboring state so as to keep them from being set free, rode upon his horse chewing on some food while over 30 of his slaves, the women tried together with rope and the men latched like oxen in metal cuffs around their necks and arms, strode behid him. A mother with her calves distorted and body heavily weakened, knelt in the road as she could go no farther. The man didn't hesitate and immediately shot her in front of the road and continued his progression. Sadly, this book is so very real you'll feel the pain and hurt within the first page but it's so informative and written in a way that captivates the reader. So pick up the book and begin the story of the slaves.

-Reviewed by Nikki, grade 8.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells, is a wonderful book to read if you enjoy suspense and action. This book is about a chemist named Jack Griffin who comes to a small village to work on an experiment. He finds a way to create a formula to make himself invisible and this town is perfect because nobody knows him. The only one thing on his mind is to become invisible and terrorize and rule the world. He starts stealing money and scaring people in town and everybody is terrified of him. He becomes crazy when his secret is out and his notes are stolen. Get ready for an adventure when reading this book. It is a real page turner. I definitely recommend this book to teens.

-Reviewed by H.P., grade 9.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, was overall a captivating book. The unique style of the author's writing is complex and so mysterious. You must pay attention to many small details in order to understand future references. Readers have to have a good sense of foreshadowing and like to jump around in the novel. Before I Fall is about a completely average girl thrust into a not so average situation. Samantha Kingston, struggling to juggle her friends, boyfriend, and staying at the top of the pyramid of popularity, lives day to day as any normal teenager. Only, teenagers don't experience the same horror Samantha does. Coming out of a party with friends,Samantha gets into a car crash and dies. Everything was so vivid -- the screams, metal colliding, and bodies thrashing around. When Samantha died, she woke only to find the start of a new day...or was it? She remembered exactly what happened but no one else did. She is given a chance to redo her last day, seven chances in fact, until she changes her life to the way it was supposed to end. Trying to find what caused her death, how to change what has or will again happen, and learning to better herself and those around her, Samantha goes through the same day in the chapters. Personally, the book was amazingly well written for teens to fully put themselves in Samantha's place and to keep them laughing, crying, and burning through the pages. The only fault I could find was the book started to get too repetitive. Because Samantha lived one day over and over again, the author repeated Samantha's words and actions much to often that I found myself skimming ahead to the new parts in the day. The conflicts and situations were very well thought out as each new day would only solve a portion of the mystery which kept me reading. In the end, she made so many rights choices for herself and the book will definitely give teens a positive view of life and how to cherish it, but will seem like a teen wrote the book instead of an adult with the humor and feelings so many of us struggle with today. I would recommend this book to all teens because of the overwhelming amount of feelings the characters go through, that the readers will feel an instant connection with. However, those who get easily confused may find themselves having to go back to pages and consult other chapters to understand what is happening.

-Reviewed by Nikki, grade 8.

Troy, by Adele Geras

This book, Troy by Adele Geras, retells the story of the Battle of Troy, with a new perspective. It demonstrates the fictional stories in the heart of the city. The story begins 10 years into the war. This book is an exceptional read for someone who enjoys romance and history; particularly Greek mythology. It's adventurous and riveting.

-Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spider-Man: The Ultimate Guide, by Tom Defalco

Spiderman the Ultimate Guide, by Tom Defalco, guides you through from all the classic to modern day super-heroes connected to Spider-Man. Like Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Punisher, Venom, and etc. It will give you chills and thrills as Spider-Man's background and life throughout all of the events that occur with his friends and enemies. I totally recommend this book to teenage boys who are hooked on comic books and super-heroes. Very fun to read!

-Reviewed by H.P., grade 9.

A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord

A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord, is a book about a vessel that set sail called the Titanic in 1912. It protrays views of different people's lives and backgrounds on the Titanic and is being expressed during the whole incident. You will read about the final hours before the ship sinks. The people interviewed talk about their experience and what they remember. This book discribes in detail the interior and exterior of the Titanic including information on the passengers and crew. You will find this book very educational and interesting if you like history.

-Reviewed by H.P., grade 9.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Revenge of the Wannabes, by Lisi Harrison

Revenage of the Wannabes, the third novel of The Clique series by Lisi Harrison, tensions rise and drama fills the air at Octavian Country bay school. Alicia is getting closer with LBR’s (loser beyond repair) from her dance class. Massie starts getting jealous and annoyed with Alicia and as girls do, they fight. Alicia Rivera has started her own clique. All the while, Claire has finally made it to the pretty committee, and has a briarwood boy crushing on her. And when all is good, the battle between Alicia and Massie, hit Dylan, Kirsten, and Claire hard. Who will they choose?

This Clique book is full of cat fights and drama, and happens to be my favorite. It teaches you the importance of friendship and that is an important lesson for us all. I recommend this to people who enjoy stories with a core lesson, but also enjoy dramatic cat fights and battles of friends.
-Anonymous, grade 9.