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

Ranger's Apprentice: 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.