Monday, January 24, 2011

Cut, by Patricia McCormick

In this book, Cut by Patricia McCormick, fifteen-year old Callie is so withdrawn that she refuses to speak to anyone including her therapist at the residential treatment facility where her parents and doctor sent her after revealing that she cuts herself. The story unfolds as we learn about Callie's problems. Her brother Sam has a serious illness that is potentially fatal. Because of Sam's illness, Callie's mother has become so worried that she rarely leaves the house. Her father responds by disappearing into his work or drinking. Callie's efforts to understand her true self and family contribute to her recovery with hope. In the end of the story, Callie recovers and returns to life, ending her battle with life or death but starting a new life filled with hope.

In my opinion, Cut by Patricia McCormick was a truly inspirational book. Everyday, millions of girls cut themselves to make themselves feel better. Callie sets a perfect example of hope and a chance to change. She encourages me that there is hope for everyone, but its all you. Callie is an inspiration and true hero towards girls all around us struggling with this problem, which is clearly getting more and more common. This book was inspirational and it was emotional. It make you smile, shed tears, and gives you hope.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice: The Sorcerer of the North, by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan, introduces a fifth book in its series. Book five: The Sorcerer of the North. Will is now on his own. He has his own fief to protect in the North. He hears rumors about a sorcerer hiding in the forest. He goes to check it out and what normally would scare any man, doesn't scare will. Will and his friend realize it is an illusion. They go deeper into the forest and realize the "sorcerer" is actually a healer who was chased out of town by the villagers. Will's friend is jailed, and Will has to think of a plan to save her. Will he be able to get to her before anything bad happens?

Book five was very exciting since will is now on his own and has to make decisions carefully. The book was very descriptive, and I now know where Will's new home is. With each book, I learn many things that I can relate to life. From this book, I learned not to let illusions full me. 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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Boy Who Couldn't Die, by William Sleator

The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator is your classic zombie tale. After sixteen-year-old Ken experiences the death of his best friend, he swears he will never go through that. He sees a woman who tells him she can protect him from everything; from pain and from death. After being scratched and prodded, Ken wants to test out his new abilities. He plans a vacation for his family where there have been reported shark attacks and knows this is the ultimate test. While on vacation, he meets a local resident to the island, Sabine, who he grows to love. As time goes on, he begins to have these dreams of digging up bodies and even killing them. Sabine realizes that the woman who did this to him made him into a zombie. She has his soul and can therefore control it. Together, Ken and Sabine work to hunt her down and free all of the souls, but it isn't as easy as they would have expected.

This is a great book for people who love horror and action. It is very cliche, but good, nonetheless. William Sleator does a wonderful job painting pictures and creating vivid images in your head.

-Reviewed by Ceina, grade 9.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell, by John Crawford

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by John Crawford follows the story of John Crawford's accidental account as a soldier in the war in Iraq. John Crawford was a newlywed attending college. He enlisted in the Florida National Guard to pay for his education. He ended up staying and patrolling the streets of Baghdad, a hostile city. He stayed way longer than his promised three months. His time in Iraq is filled with crazy, dangerous adventures. The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell is a perfect book for adults. When You read about what's going on, you feel like you're in John's shoes experiencing what he experienced. It doesn't take long to finish this two hundred twenty page book only because you will want to keep reading it. This book isn't recommended for teens because of the amount of swear words it has.

-Reviewed by B.K., grade 9.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Pursuit of Happyness, by Chris Garden

The Pursuit of Happiness by Chris Gardner serves as a memoir of his life. Chris Gardner was a committed father trying to make ends meet. His wife leaves him to get a job in New York. Chris and his son (also named Chris) are left homeless in the streets of San Francisco. He got lucky when opportunity struck. Chris got a chance to join a program. At the end of the program, one of them would get a chance to become a stock broker. Despite having no experience nor a college degree, he kept trying and never gave up. The Pursuit of Happiness is a wonderful book for adults and teens. The book is a perfect example of overcoming your troubles to be successful. Chris Gardner's story gives you hope that you can make something out of nothing. This book is great because it makes you laugh, smile, frown, and cry all withing its pages.

-Reviewed by B.K., grade 9.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Skip Beat!, by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat!, by Yoshiki Nakamura, is a manga about Kyoko Mogami and the showbix. Kyoko Mogami is a high school girl who gave up everything: school, vanity, her home, for her prince charming, Sho Fuwa. Sho Fuwa is an idol singer that all the girls in Japan love and he can't take care of himself; so he brought Kyoko to Tokyo with him to be his maid. Kyoko was completely happy because she thought Sho took her to Tokyo was to be with him as a girlfriend. Later, after a series of arguments about Sho's revival, Ren Tsuruga, Kyoko finds out about Sho's true intentions and her dark side comes out, seeking vengeance. In order to get revenge, Kyoko realizes that she must join the world of elites and become a superstar. She goes to a talent agency to audition and there she meets Ren Tsuruga, her worst enemy of the past and then after a short encounter, her worst enemy of the present. With amazing persistence, Kyoko gets into the audition but her broken heart, from the ordeal with her lifelong love, Sho, proves to be a large disadvantage. Kyoko pursues her dreams and revenge alongside Ren and a few others in the showbiz, while relearning what it means to love.

This is a great story and it still continues on in other volumes. This story is more for those who like romance and woman empowerment. This also teaches some great life lessons so readers can learn a little, too. I would definitely recommend this to all those who like shojou mangas of all types. The drawings are also very nice, as they are one of Yoshiki Nakamura's best works. Manga lovers and romance readers, read this and you'll be sure to love what you see.

-Reviewed by M.K., grade 9.