Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, is a book about the events that occurred during the Civil War in the United States. They are shown through the life story of Scarlett O'Hara, a spoiled girl from the rich southern family that owned cotton plantations and slaves. The life of her prosperous family and southern society was ruined by the war that broke out between northern and southern states. Scarlett had to leave her home and move to Atlanta. After that, the reader can follow the series of tragic events in her life that are caused by the violent and long war. Scarlett has to learn how to make important and life-changing decisions by herself, be responsible for peoples' lives, and get over the losses that seem to be impossible to go through.

This book has been my favorite novel for many years. Ever since I've read it, I think it is a true masterpiece. It combines the life story full of love and tragedy and the actual history of the real events. It shows a different point of view in the Civil War - the point of view of a southern people. This book makes us understand how hard it is for southerners to change their entire lifestyle, accept new values and get used to new rules in the society. But at the same time, the book tells an amazing life story of a girl that makes the book different from just a simple boring history book. Scarlett is an incredible and reliable character that captures the readers' interest and doesn't let go until the very last page of the book. Her relationships with people, her love, her tragedies and losses make "Gone with the Wind" and incredible novel that you will never forget once you read it. This book has made me cry, laugh, and go through all the emotions possible like no other story that I've ever read. I would recommend this book to a person of any age because this book is real masterpiece.

Reviewed by Ellie, grade 12

Perfect, by Sara Shepard

Perfect, by Sara Shepard, is the third book in the ruthless Pretty Little Liar Series. When will the Liars' troubles end? Hanna is losing everything but weight. Popularity, sanity, and her best friend. Spencer learns something about herself that can change everything she thought happened the night Ali disappeared...Emily might be sent away if she can't change, well everything. What about Aria? Her family won't talk to her and she's been kicked out. And that forbidden ex may just ruin the ine relationship she had left. What lenghts will A go to protect their identity? Might involve a death...

I. Am. Shocked. Who thought a person could be so ruthless and violent? And an author so spectacular and skilled? I definitely wasn't expecting to have the third book be the best out of them, who would? Surprises are good though, most of the time. I, yet again, favor this style of writing because of the flow of information that never ceases to increase. I would recommend this book to teenage girls who like mystery and the television series. You won't be disappointed!

Reviewied by Kristine K., grade 9.

Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is about a young black man from South Africa who does not fully understand racism in the world. Full of hope, he goes to college, but gets expelled for showing one of the professors the real and seamy side of black existence. After being expelled, he moves to Harlem and becomes an orator for the Communist Party, which is know as the "Brotherhood." He is both accused and praised, swept up in a world he does not fully understand. As he works for the organization, he encounters many people and situations that slowly force him to face the truth about racism. As racial tensions in Harlem continue to build, he gets caught in a riot that drives him to a manhole. In the darkness of the manhole, he slowly starts to understand himself, his invisibility and his identity. He begins to write a story, and when he is finished, he vows to enter the world again, knowing who he really is.

This is one of the best novels I read, it has everything a reader could ask for. I would recommend this book to those who like to read true life stories about the past. I would give this book a 10 out of 10.

-Reviewed by Alen, grade 12.

Teen Idol, by Meg Cabot

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot is a great book about Jen Greenley's high school life and how teen heartthrob Luke Striker comes to her school. Everyone at Clayton High School likes Jen because she's great at solving problems and is also secretly the columnist for Ask Annie in her school paper. Ask Annie is where students ask for help about their personal problems, and Jen is really good at answering them. When Luke Striker comes to Jen's school, she's in charge of showing him around. Luke is there to research for his next movie, and he knows nothing of what it's like to be in a real high school. Luke also sees that Jen is great at solving problems in the paper, so he tells her to try doing that in real life. Will it work?

I enjoyed reading this book, but it wasn't a very original plot. I think that all teenage girls would like reading this book because it talks about everyday life struggles and being able to solve them. Overall, the story is a very positive one.

Reviewed by A.S., Grade 9

This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen is the story of an eighteen-year-old girl named Remy Starr, who has never believed in true love. This is mostly because her mother is about to get married for the fifth time. In addition, Remy's father, a popular musician, died before Remy was even born and only left a song called This Lullaby for her. One day, though, Remy meets a boy named Dexter, a rock musician, and ends up falling in love with him. The two are quite different in some ways, but surprisingly get along and grow to understand each other. Remy's entire perspective on true love greatly changes upon meeting Dexter as she tries to get through and take in their genuine relationship.

The theme of true love is very well-executed and presented in this story. Overall, the story becomes entertaining and enjoyable through continuous reading and understanding of the characters and their experiences. I give this book a 10/10 rating and would recommend it to young adults in particular, who can endlessly find themselves relating and connecting to the story.

Reviewed by Emily K., Grade 12

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, by Ally Carter

The novel Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter is a story about a young girl named Cameron Morgan and her friends Macey, Bex, and Liz. The story is set in modern times, and it takes place at the Gallagher Academy, and on the campaign trail. Cameron and her friends try to protect Macey, but will they succeed? The reason they want to protect her is because of a mysterious attack over summer break. They sneak away from school and they go on the campaign trail but they have to make sure no one recognizes them because they don't exactly have permission to be doing this.

I would recommend this book to teenagers because it's got mystery and adventure and the suspense of not knowing what comes next. This book is a thriller if you like books about spies, mystery, and suspense.

-Reviewed by Aleksandra, grade 9.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a novel that follows the series of events in the life of Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five daughters in the Bennet family. The story is set in the early 19th century in a small town in England. Elizabeth has four sisters, and the main goal of her mother is to have all the girls married because she and her husband are not able to pay for the girls' living any longer. Their lives completely change when two very rich, unmarried men move into their town, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. After meeting Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth has to deal with issues of different views on morality, manners, education, and many other things that she does not agree on with Mr. Darcy due to a big pride and prejudice in both of them.

This novel is considered to be one of the best love stories in British and world literature. It also touches a lot of issues that describe the society of the 19th century in England and gives a clear view on people's thoughts and lifestyles of those times. This book has been my favorite for many years now. In my opinion, the love story between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is the most touching and exciting thing in all of literature. I am fascinated by the character of Elizabeth that Jane Austen created. Elizabeth is a very complex person with a unique point of view on society, marriage, morality, and relationships. It was interesting for me to read about each of her thoughts, actions, and emotions. I can surely say that Elizabeth is my favorite character in the entire world of literature. I think this book is just priceless because once you start reading it, you can't stop because you become absolutely amazed and intrigued by the story. After reading it, one can learn how difficult relationships between people can be. This novel shows the problems of understanding each other when people from two different worlds meet. This book charms the reader with Austen's great sarcasm and sense of humor. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants to have a great time reading an amazing novel full of humor and passionate love stories.

Reviewed by Ellie, Grade 12

Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The first of the four books in the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Creatures is a novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl that centers on the life of Ethan Wate, a 17-year old boy who has lived in the small town of Gatlin all his life. Feeling as though nothing ever changes in the remote town, all Ethan wanted was to leave. That was until he started having dreams about a girl he's never met before, and he's even more surprised when he sees her in school. Meeting Lena Duchannes was unlike anything Ethan experienced, but inexplicably, the two are drawn to each other. But things get complicated as Ethan soon realizes that there's more to Lena and her family than what meets the eye. In this exquisite southern gothic novel, the past haunts the present, dark and light battle, and love is put to the test. Will Ethan and Lena's love conquer all, even as he discovers the secret about her that changes everything?

This book may be hard to read at first, but after a few pages, I discovered a plot so thick and strong it just devours you. The mystery surrounding the book is definitely one of the reasons why you can't put it down--you just have to find out what happens next. Another reason why I loved it is because it's told from a guy's point of view, something you don't see a lot on teen novels, and Ethan's take on things prove to be interesting on a lot of levels. The main characters are thoroughly developed throughout the book and the emotions, of course, are gripping. The book was wonderfully and intricately written with accurate descriptive details. It's filled with humor, romance, drama and depth and overall, was truly a great read.

- Reviewed by MLVE, grade 12.
Central Library

My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult

In the book My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, a girl named Anna has a sister, Kate, who has been diagnosed with leukemia from a young age. Anna is not sick, but she is in the hospital almost as often as her sister Kate. Anna is a perfect donor for Kate, and her whole life she has always been happy to help. But now she is sick of it, the procedures and everything else that comes along with them. She tells her parents she won't do it anymore. She wants to be in charge of what happens to her own body. Her choice is tearing her family apart.

I really liked this book because it really appealed to your emotions and made you think about what you would do if you were in their situation. I think all readers would like this book; it draws you in from the first sentence! I was addicted! At times it was really sad and almost brought me to tears. Some parts were also really easy to relate too, which helped me connect with the book and understand it better. It makes readers think about what would be the "right thing to do?" It's the type of book that will really make you think, and you won't be able to put down until you're finished!

-Reviewed by Melody N., grade 9
Central Library

Demon Thief, by Darren Shan

Demon Thief, by Darren Shan, is about a young boy named Cornelius Fleck. For as long as he can remember he has been seeing these patches of light which vary from shape and color and one night when he was feeling lonely these patches began to pulse and came to together to form a window. He had stepped through and returned back to his family several days later with his brother Art. Fearing for his life his parents took the kids and they moved to a small village named Paskinston. One day at school a window had opened and a demon along with 4 humans had stepped through. The demon had taken Art and retreated to the window. Cornelius had chased him through along with the four humans which he later discovered are Disciples and contain magical abilities. The four agreed to aid Cornelius and so the group embarked on the journey to find his missing brother. They faced many challenges and in the end discovered the truth that no one could have foreseen.

This novel which is the second in the series of 10 books is amazing. Once I opened the book and began to read time flew by and before I knew it i was on page 150. This story is filled with action and gruesome battles and settings and keeps the reader hooked until the very end. The author did a great job of making me feel like I was there because I believed I was one of the Disciples battling demons along side Beranabus and the ending was mind blowing! I am recommending that everyone who is interested in a book filled with action reads this series!

- Reviewed by dp, grade 9
Pacific Park Library

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter is a legend, in the wizarding world that is. In the “muggle world”, he is just an orphan who lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, in which he knows nothing of being a wizard. But that all changes when a letter arrives, marked with his name, delivered by an owl. The letter contains an invitation from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the wizarding world, Harry learns about his famous past and makes new friend. He finally feels at home and has several adventures awaiting for him.

This book was the beginning of my obsession with the Harry Potter series. I love the authors writing style, like how she manages to describe everything so perfectly. I love the whole plot of the story, it's uniqueness and how it brings history of real life events into the book. And the twists that come along with it, it has the perfectly creative. After reading this book, you will automatically long to have powers and to be able to go to the wizarding world, but mostly you would wish you went to Hogwarts. This book helps stimulate imagination, creativity, and shows the value of friendship.

-Reviewed by Nayri T., grade 9.

The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han, is a great read. Belly's life revolves around her summers, winter and other seasons mean counting down until the next summer. Every summer Belly and her family go and stay at a beach house with Susannah, her mother's friend, and Jeremiah and Conrad, her sons. Belly had known them since her first summer and they've been her brotherly figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, everything is different. Looks change, feelings change, and most importantly, health changes. Will they all return to the beach house next year? Becky's world is about to be turned around.

I personally don't enjoy novels that aren't in a series, but I must say I was quite pleased with this book. This was my first time reading a book by Jenny Hans and I am looking forward to devouring more of her books. There were a few unrealistic factors but you do overlook it when you are as into the story as I was. I also love how true the theme was. It proves that looks make a very big difference in the way people see you and treat you. Overall, it was a great read, and I recommend it to teen girls who enjoy being able to relate to the characters, and are looking for a calm read without a sequel.

-Reviewed by Kristine K, grade 9
Casa Verdugo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Fire Eternal, by Chris D'Lacey

The novel The Fire Eternal by Chris D'Lacey is a story about an author, his daughter, their family, polar bears in the Arctic, the dragons, and the goddess of the earth, Gaia. The story takes place five years after David Rain, the author, disappeared in the Arctic. The ice caps in the Arctic are melting and the polar bears' homes are disappearing. The setting of this novel takes place in the Arctic. Everyone looks to David's daughter Alexa because she is the only one that can stop the earth goddess Gaia from destroying the Earth because of all the destructive changes she sees. They do this by changing their ways so that when Gaia looks down on earth she will see that they have changed.

I would mostly recommend this book to kids and teenagers. This book is filled with adventure and it shows just how destructive the forces of mankind can be. It is a fantasy book filled with talking dragons and polar bears and magic. It's a wonderful book that's captivating and will be enjoyed by kids and teens everywhere.

-Reviewed by Aleksandra, grade 9.

The Recruit, by Robert Muchamore

In The Recruit by Robert Muchamore, James is a kind of regular boy but gets into fights a lot. After fighting with a girl he left school. The next day his mom died from drinking alcohol with medication. Now James is an orphan his new roommate played a bad joke on him at school. While in the orphanage a guy takes James to a dojo to take a test to be a cherub agent. A cherub agent is some one seventeen or younger to spy on terrorist or drug dealers. After barley passing the test and training he has to go on a dangerous mission to go in a weapon dealer's home. Will James survive this mission or fail? To find out read the book The Recruit.

I liked this book because it had action and it wants you to keep reading the book. I recommend this book to people who like action or spy things. Also I recommend this book to people who like fiction books.

-Reviewed by Andrew, grade 9.

The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks

In Nicholas Sparks' The Last Song, Veronica (Ronnie) Miller and her younger brother are sent to spend the summer with their father in his hometown, North Carolina. Ronnie has many objections to this seeing as she hasn't spoken to her father in over three years, since he left to tour for his music abandoning his marriage- and in Ronnie's mind- his family as well. She's changed dramatically from the musical, daddy's girl she once was to a rebellious 17 year-old who's recently had a run-in with the law. She meets Will, a rich beach volleyball player, who's determined to get to know her as she tries alienating herself from him, her father, and almost everyone else she comes across. However, Ronnie discovers that she might not have all the answers as she assumed she did and finds herself letting her father back into her life, along with Will. As the summer progresses, she learns not just about love and family, but herself as well.

I recommend this emotional novel to anyone of all ages as it's told in the different points of view of each character and the plot line is portrayed beautifully.

-Reviewed by Rita, grade 12.

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

In the novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens we meet a boy named Pip. When young he encountered a convict and later discovered he wished to be a gentleman. We go through Pip's life as he ages into a young man. Chasing his dreams, Pip luckily gets financed to become a gentleman and from there we see an enormous change from simple marsh boy to extravagant rich boy. Pip soon discovers that his benefactor was all along this greatly feared convict. The convict finds Pip and the two become like father and son. When Pip was young he showed kindness to this man and being his benefactor payed Pip back. Because of his crimes however, the convict is put to death and Pip is crushed. Yet in the end he realizes his true love, Estella, and goes off with her.

This book was very intimidating because of its massive size and very difficult language. Turns out it was a challenge and I did not enjoy this book. I feel Dickens lengthens his explanations so long that it is easy to forget the importance of what is being described. It felt like a small gift in a very large box for the story felt basic because it was not eventful and dragged.

-Reviewed by Christina, grade 10.