Thursday, August 16, 2012

House of Reckoning, by John Saul

House of Reckoning by John Saul is about a fourteen-year-old girl named Sarah Crane. After the death of her mother, Sarah is left alone with her father, who is an alcoholic. Their life together is shattered when her father is jailed for killing another man in a bar room brawl and injuring Sarah in a drunken car crash. She is left in the cold care of a loveless foster family, who only keeps her because they receive money from the county. Sarah meets a boy named Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient still bothered by voices and visions. They both later find out about a mansion which was once a prison. Sarah finds out many disturbing things that happened in the mansion. Sarah and Nick reveal many hidden stories from the mansion, which was known as the "Shutters".

I really enjoyed reading this book because it kept me excited for each new chapter. It is written by a New York Times bestselling author. I recommend this book to those who like to read thriller novels and like to stay excited for each chapter. I would give this book a 10 out of 10.

Reviewed by Alen, grade 12

Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson

The book Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson is about a girl who survived the yellow fever in Philadelphia. In the beginning of the story, Matilda Cook, the main character, was just an ordinary girl who lived with her mom and grandfather who owned a coffeehouse. She was living a peaceful life until yellow fever broke out and many people started to die off. Matilda and her grandfather left the city to countryside in a wagon to flee from the disease but were left in the middle of nowhere because of the grandfather's bad health. To make things worse, Matilda got the fever and was moved to a hospital. In conclusion, this book is the story of a girl who went through the yellow fever of 1793.

I personally like this book very much because this was the first novel I've ever read in English, and it was easy to understand with fairly easy vocabularies. When I was reading the book, I was totally drawn to the characters and the setting of the book, which is Philadelphia of 1793. I could mentally picture every single scene in my head because of the author's excellent writing skills. The story is well-made, with sad and heart-touching scenes in between. This story of the young girl who helped others encouraged me to be bold and fearless with all the hard and difficult situations. I strong recommend this book to others, especially to people who don't really like to read a long and difficult book.

-Reviewed by Sunyoung, grade 9.

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis

The book Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze written by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis is about a boy named Young Fu who just moved into a city from a small countryside. In the beginning, he was extremely amazed at the sight of the busy city people and buildings. Then as he started his life in the city, he made several mistakes and adventures. He was 13 years old, and was very dependent to his mother. However, as he worked as an apprentice of a famous artisan Tang, he slowly became independent and learned how to be responsible and take care of himself. When he first became an apprentice, other workers mocked him and called him a countryman. Even Tang himself didn't really care about him. After many incidents and journeys to other places, however, made Young Fu grow as a man from a boy, and everyone started to respect him as a man. This book is a story of a young boy who came to the new world and his experiences in the city.

I liked this book because through this book, I could totally picture the beginning of modern China which is the setting of the book. It has a nice story with good characters such as Fu Be Be, Young Fu's mother, and Tang. I could connect to him when he wanted to be recognized by Tang. My favorite part of the book was when Young Fu needed money desperately to pay a debt so he sold 'snow', which people believed it was 'the dragon's breath' and it brings good luck. I thought he was very creative, and it shows how many people back then didn't have knowledge and believed many silly things. This book really inspired me to work harder and be independent. It also taught me not to make foolish mistakes that will put me in trouble.

-Reviewed by Sunyoung, grade 9.

Dracula, by Bram Stoker

Before the Twilight series, there was Dracula by Bram Stoker. This novel essentially started pop culture's obsession with the mysterious, sultry creatures known as vampires. Count Dracula, the infamous vampire, is responsible for many deaths all over Europe, and usually uses his power through money to keep himself away from trouble. However, when a group of young English men and women, led by Professor Abraham van Helsing, catch on to what Dracula is doing, his efforts are suddenly threatened. Read the novel to find out how the battle between humans and vampires ends up and if Dracula does indeed get away with his horrendous crimes!

I enjoyed reading Dracula by Bram Stoker, but to be honest, the book was a little hard to get through at times. Written in 1897, the wording of the novel is a bit more challenging than modern-day reads, and Bram Stoker does take quite a while to get to the point. Regardless, it is really an interesting book, and a great read for anyone looking for a timeless classic with a bit of horror, adventure, and thrill.

-Reviewed by P.P., grade 11.