Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm Not Her, by Janet Gurtler

i'm not her, by Janet Gurtler, is an amazing, unbelievably touching debut novel. Tess and her sister, Kristina, don't have much in common. Kristina is beautiful, sporty, and popular. Tess is smart, has one friend, and is very shy. And they are all okay with that, until Kristina gets cancer. Out of nowhere, Tess is popular, everyone knows her name and they are dying to know about Kristina. But she has bigger things to worry about. Her family is splitting, her sister might be dying, and her parents live in denial. She has to be strong, though, if she isn't, then who will be?

To be honest, this wasn't a book I was expecting to be as fantastic as it was. It was a "cool name, cool cover" choice. But I am really glad I did choose it because i'm not her is an absolute must read! I was touched several times in the story and found myself tearing up. Not only was it a fantastic, not to mention realistic, book, it was very relatable. I would 100% recommend this book to ALL teenage girls because they will love this book and possibly relate very well.

-Reviewed by Kristine, grade 9.

The Name of This Book is Secret, by Pseudonymous Bosch

In the book, The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch, two ordinary children, Cass and Max-Earnest, embark on a not so ordinary adventure. It all starts when Cass finds the Symphony of Smells, a box filled with different smells in different vials. Later, the Symphony of Smells leads Cass and Max-Earnest into a web of mysteries involving a dead magician and his notebook.

As to every other good book in the world, there is some sort of "bad guy", some "villain" that ignites the flame of a book, adding action and adventure. In this book, Cass and Max-Earnest not only have to get past their parents, or other over protective adults, but they have to go through evil as well.

Join Cass and Max-Earnest as they unravel the codes to the secrets. I really enjoyed this book and am sure many others will too. I recommend this book to kids 10 years of age and older, because of the challenging vocabulary.

-Reviewed by Nellie, grade 9.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Leaving Paradise, by Simone Elkeles

In Simone Elkeles' Leaving Paradise, Caleb Becker is back home from juvie and no one knows how to act around him- especially not Maggie Armstrong, who's techincally the reason he spent the past year there. After Caleb got drunk at a party and decided to drive home, Maggie's life was never the same. She spent her junior year in rehad and all sorts of hospitals, got her scholarship to study abroad and leave Paradise revoked, and will now have to forever walk with a limp because of the accident. However, there's a lot Maggie and everyone else in the city of Paradise don't know about what really happened that night and as Maggie and Caleb get closer, she discovers that Caleb's got a lot to hide. Is it possible to forgive the person who ruined your life when they re-enter it and are suddenly the only person you could actually trust?

This novel is a mystery of sorts, starting from "what really happened that night" to the confusing feelings Caleb and Maggie start to develop for each other and I recommend teens everywhere to read it.

-Reviewed by Rita, grade 12.

All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque emphasizes that war is not all about nationalism and patriotism. In the novel Paul Baumer, a young German soldier, narrates all the events taking place in Germany's western front during World War I. He and his friends have all volunteered to join the army after hearing all the "wonderful" stories their schoolteachers have told them. Although, their enthusiasm and excitement for fighting is cut short after seeing fellow soldiers dying left and right. Anxiety, rage, hunger, and paranoia are just a few of the many things creeping in to each soldier. After Paul's close friend, Kemmerich, dies he recognizes that in order to survive one must separate himself from his feelings; be numb. Throughout the novel, Paul talks about trying to continue fighting the enemy until the end comes. But when he kills a French soldier, a question pops in his mind, "Who is the real enemy?" The only thing that is even more daunting than the "enemy" on the opposite side of the front is the silence of the night.

All Quiet on the Western Front is probaby one of my favorite novels. Erich Remarque did a brilliant job with highlighting the key events that occurred. I absolutely love his use of symbolism with the boots and butterflies. It is a novel where a reader has to read between the lines to really understand what is happening. I would recommend it to anyone. Simply an astonishing story of a young soldier's journey in war.

-Reviewed by Rocen, grade 11.