Friday, April 22, 2011

The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink

The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink, is a dark, logistical novel about a man's guilt as he tries to find answers by digging through his past. Written in flashback and told in the strong narrative of Michel Berg, the author raises profound questions and follows them with insightful answers, not denying us the truth. During Michel's brief affair with an older woman, he is taught the possession of love and the trials of a difficult life. Thus, Michel treasures his more preciously and decides to go to law school. As a student, he is allowed to sit in on a trial of six women guards in a Nazi concentration camp, where he meets up again with his lover. As she is tried for war crimes, only he knows the secret that could save her innocence.

I usually praise every book I read, but this book I hold in high regards. It is artistically written and resounding in its honesty. the author has an original voice, one perfect to tell the story of those affected by the Holocaust. This book takes you by the hand and leads you on an intellectual journey to a sensitive conclusion. I recommend this book to anyone who loves history or who is looking for a change of pace from all of those romance vampire stories. A good winter read to snuggle up by the fire and sip from a hot cup of tea. One could also read this book before taking long afternoon walks, perfect to ponder over the moral questions the author raises. I understand that the book was made into a movie in 2009 starring Kate Winslet (and actually won an Oscar) and this is the one occasion where I recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. Because the books is not exactly written in story form, those visual learners might understand the plot better while watching the movie.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 12.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frostbite, by Richelle Mead

Frostbite, by Richelle Mead, is the second book in the Vampire Academy series. Rose Hathaway is a guardian-in-training unlike any other. Her best friend (and Moroi princess) Vasalissa Dragomir is going in and coming out of a psychotic state. Her mentor/lover/kick-ass guardian, Dimitri Belikov, has refused to love her since their lust-filled night under the secret spell.

In her head nothing could be worse than her mother coming for a visit, which, to Rose's dislike, actually happens! Jeanie Hathaway is one of the Moroi world's best guardians and has a reputation to protect and is more unlikely to spend hours with her daughter crying over teenage girl things. Most of the time they spend together ends up in mixed feelings and hatred. Rose is positive that her mother hates her, but that is all put on hold when Christian Ozeras' Aunt Tasha comes for the holidays. Dimitri seems to be head-over-heels in love with her. And much to Rose's dismay, Tasha needs a guardian and picks Dimitri. Mason is thirsty to hunt Strigoi, but Rose won't have it. Will she have to suffer the murder of her best friend at the hands of the most evil being out there?

In this second book in the series, many questions are brought up and others solved. Although this was not one of my favorites, it sure had its own meaning. Rose is hassled with many immoral things that we teenagers think impossible. The author really keeps us on our heels through the whole book and in the end we can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

-Reviewed by T.A., grade 10.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Airhead, by Meg Cabot

Airhead, by Meg Cabot, is a book about a girl named Emerson Watts (Em for short). She was never one of the popular kids and was always teased by them. She had an annoying little sister and was in love with her best friend. She was just the average girl. That was, until something terrible happened. One day she woke up in the hospital not feeling like herself. I mean REALLY not feeling like herself. She was literally in someone else's body. But not just anybody's body, she was in Nikki Howard's body. Nikki Howard, the teenaged supermodel, the "face" of the multimillion dollar company, Stark Industries. Not able to speak about who she really is or even talk to her family or best friend in public made life even more complicated in addition to modeling, interviews, paparazzi, and dealing with Nikki Howard's crazy best friend, boyfriend, and many secret lovers. Many mysteries and secrets are hidden in the mysterious world of Nikki Howard and now Em has to deal with all of that. Being in Nikki Howard's body makes Em realize that being famous isn't all it's cut out to be.

This book is all about secrets of the mysterious world of entertainment and modeling that all girls want to be a part of someday. I highly recommend this book to girls of all ages. This book also includes a little bit of science fiction, which makes it even more interesting. It's a wonderful romance and mystery!

-Reviewed by Natasha, grade 10.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Into the Gauntlet, by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Into the Gauntlet, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is the final book in the 39 Clues series. All the teams come to Cahill Island, the Madrigal hideout. Isabel Kabra captures them and forces each of them to say their clues by threatening to kill their loved ones. Amy saves them by smashing the serum over her head and knocking Isabel out cold. Amy and Dan are left with a list of everyone's clues in their hands. It is revealed that there is another family like the Cahills called the Vespers. Other things happen but I don't want to spoil the ending!

This is a wonderful ending to the series. I recommend this to anyone who read the books before this book and wants to see the final showdown of the Cahills.

-Reviewed by Daniel S., grade 9.