Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith

http://catalog.glendalepubliclibrary.org/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=140365L0Y2P87.30834&profile=gcent&uri=link=3100007~!544237~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=browse_search_page&menu=search&ri=1&source=~!horizon&term=I+capture+the+castle+%2F&index=PALLTI#focusI Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith, takes place in a worn down English castle, occupied by the Mortmains. The main character, Cassandra Mortmain, has a diary, and she chronicles her experiences there. Her father is a known writer, but their family is poor and has to sell the furniture to stay well. Later on, though, a wealthier family, the Cottons, becomes the landlord to the castle, and the daughters of the Mortmains and the sons of the Cottons fall in love with each other. from there, we hear the story of how Cassandra manages all of the relationships.

This book was ok. I did not find anything special about it, but it was a good read. There were humorous moments, and I smiled there. The most interesting part of the book was seeing how Cassandra matured. Earlier in the story, she acted like a teenager, but towards the end of the story, she was more mature and behaved more carefully. The relationship network between the sons and daughters was amusing to observe as well.
Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library


The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Evie, the main character of the novel, has a secret power. Unlike most secret powers, this one brings her into a lot of trouble, and she has had to leave her Ohio town to go to New York City and live with her uncle because of a scandal. Her uncle might discover her powers. A girl is found murdered however, and a symbol is found on the corpse. Evie must use her powers to solve the murder and finally do something good.

The plot in The Diviners, by Libba Bray, was fairly unoriginal, but the storytelling was superb. I felt suspense whenever I needed to feel suspense, horror when I needed to feel horror, and excitement when I needed to feel excitement. The setting was boring as well, but there were elements to it that made the setting feel interesting and unique. Overall, the book was ok. The plot and base setting were unoriginal, but the storytelling made up for it pretty well.
Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library


Monday, October 27, 2014

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

Dragons and humans dominate the world. For many years, they have been at war. A peace treaty was eventually signed, though, and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the treaty is approaching. Just when it is coming, one of the royal family is murdered. The humans immediately suspect the dragons, who can change into human form. The main character, Seraphina, who is a gifted musician, is caught up in the investigation of the murder. The mystery must be solved, or else there will be war again.

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman, was a pleasant surprise. The author managed to build up a lot of background around the story and built a really nice world. This really works to draw you into the book, and the characters are interesting as well. They were not super good, but I liked them. The dragons in the book are unlike the dragons you usually read about. These ones are emotionless and rational. They can transform into human form. This separates them from other regular dragons. I would recommend this book to friend definitely.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8

Grandview Library

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Steve Jobs - The Man Who Thought Different, by Karen Blumenthal

http://catalog.glendalepubliclibrary.org/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=140365433NP88.30746&profile=gcent&uri=link=3100007~!1188904~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=browse_search_page&menu=search&ri=1&source=~!horizon&term=Steve+Jobs+%3A+the+man+who+thought+different+%3A+a+biography+%2F&index=PALLTI#focusSteve Jobs - The Man Who Thought Different, by Karen Blumenthal, is a biography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., one of the largest companies in existence today. This biography explains the course of Steve Jobs, his colleagues, and Apple as a whole, from when Jobs was running his company out of his garage to when Apple became what it is today. It is truly an extraordinary story, and Blumenthal explains every aspect of it perfectly.

I personally loved reading this book. I liked it because it was so inspiring to read about a man who started from such humble beginnings and went on to create one of the largest companies around. I think anybody who wants to begin a company in the future will definitely like to read this book. This book made me think about the fact that anybody can become successful if they truly put their time and effort to it.
Reviewed by Alec S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green

Colin Singleton, a brilliant prodigy, just graduated high school, and instead of being happy and carefree, feels depressed. This is because his girlfriend, Katherine, or K-19, dumps him. Colin has dated 19 girls named Katherine and believes every single one dumped him. His best friend Hassan takes him on a road trip to get his mind off things, and they end up in the town of Gutshot, where Colin meets Lindsey. Will Colin's tradition of dating Katherines end?

I really loved An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green! John Green is an amazing writer, so the writing was flawless and filled with beautiful, deep quotes. It was funny and never boring, the characters were so lovable, and it was just overall really cute. I would recommend this book to fans of John Green and teenagers in general. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

I Am The Messanger, by Markus Zusak

A young taxi driver, Ed Kennedy, accidentally stops a bank robbery, and he is considered to be a hero by many. Right after the incident, he receives a note in the mail telling him to go to three addresses. He goes there, and does good deeds there. He keeps on receiving addresses, and performing tasks. until the last note's address in his own house. Shortly after, he realizes that he is not a loser, because he has done things that he could not have done a while ago.

I liked I Am The Messanger, by Markus Zusak, but it does not rank among my top books. I found the idea interesting, but there were some problems with the book. For example, besides Ed, the characters are not really developed very well. The people he helped only appeared once in the book, basically. I would have liked to know how life worked out for them after Ed changed their lives. The ending was also disappointing and left me wanting more details. It did not feel complete.
Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8


Grandview Library

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Proxy, by Alex London

People in the future are operating under a social system where everyone is divided into 2 categories: rich and poor. The rich people, obviously, are rich, and so they have numerous advantages, such as living in a better part of the city. The poor live in the really bad part of the city, and they are kept poor by ever-increasing debt. There is also a strange system, where the rich are not punished for their crimes. Instead, they have a special person, called a proxy, that takes the punishment for them. The rich have to watch the proxy get beaten and punished. It's a psychological kind of punishment. The book starts off with 2 characters: Knox and Syd. Knox, the rich person, accidentally kills someone, and Syd is sentenced to death. Since Syd does not want to die, and Knox does not want to watch him die, the two boys escape, and go on a long adventure.

Proxy, by Alex London, is a very well written book. The two main characters in the book, Syd and Knox, are very realistic and believable, unlike some books, where the characters are perfect humans who never make mistakes. Knox and Syd all of flaws, and they each have their own personality. They have a lot more depth than other characters, and this shows Mr.London's skills at character building. It was also interesting to see the world from both points of view, and this helped me understand both sides of the story. The growing relationship between Syd and Knox was also an interesting thing to observe.


Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library

Monday, October 13, 2014

War of Worlds, by Herbert George "H. G." Wells


Aliens from Mars have come to invade Earth, and they are succeeding. the humans have tried to fight, but they are being killed off quickly, and there is very little hope for survival. Eventually, all attempts to fight back by the humans have stopped, and the narrator as well as other people are scavenging for food and fighting for survival. Martian plants are growing all over the Earth, and multiple war machines have landed. Is there any hope left for Earth?

War of Worlds, by Herbert George "H. G." Wells, is very, very good. When I first read it, I thought that it just had to be one of the classics, and sure enough, it is a major book in the science fiction community. This is a must read for anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of science fiction. This book was very thought provoking and the ending was unexpected and obvious at the same time. I would recommend this book to my friends for sure.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library


Dune, by Frank Herbert





The world is governed by various houses, that are in a struggle amongst themselves. One of these houses, House Atreides, is given control of the planet Arrakis,which contains a spice that is a very powerful substance. The emperor fears that House Atreides will be too powerful, and he pits the rivals of House Atreides, House Harkonnen, in a war with them. Soon, only Paul, the heir of House Atreides and his mother are left. They join the Fremens, a civilization, and Paul finds out that he is a prophet. It is now up to him to make things right again.


Dune, by Frank Herbert, was very enjoyable, and I can see why it is one of the best selling science fiction books ever. The political and social situation was complex and it served as a really good setting. There were many moments in the book that were full of suspense, making me wait to see what would happen in the end. The mixed ending was very nice, and it was the perfect finish for this book. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, tells the funny and romantic story of both royalty and the common people as they pursue their individual desires. A noblewoman, Lady Olivia, falls hopelessly in love with another woman dressed as a member of the opposite gender, who is in turn mistaken for her brother. A strict prude named Malvolio falls victim to a ridiculous trick. Even the fool in this story is not what he acts to be. Read this story to become entangled in one of the classic works of William Shakespeare.

I truly liked this story a great deal. I enjoyed the sudden and constant plot twists, which baffled the characters and led to numerous hilarious situations. I think anybody who enjoys Elizabethan comedy, or comedic works in general, should definitely read this story. In particular, this story made me think about life at Shakespeare's time, and how it was so vastly different in several aspects from modern life.

Reviewed by Alec S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library


Monday, October 6, 2014

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Rodrick Rules, by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney is the sequel in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. This story begins with Greg talking about his summer experiences. One day, Greg's mom and dad told him and Rodrick that they were going to leave for the night. Rodrick pretended to have a flu and invited all his friends over for a party. The next day, Greg helps Rodrick clean up the house before their parents come home. However, their parents find about the party and punishes both of them. During the talent show, Rodrick lost his opportunity to sign a record label when his mom talked over the taping over the band's performance. Greg makes it up to him by helping Rodrick with his science project.

In my opinion, I was very surprised by the story's plot. I didn't expect to see Rodrick and Greg work together. Based on the first book, I thought they would always argue or fight about something. Once again, I was humored by the book. I recommend this book to everyone. I think that the first book of this series had a better story than this one. It was sad to see that Rodrick's band didn't get to sign with any record label companies. Overall, this is a good story to read in your free time.

Reviewed by Bernard M., grade 9
Pacific Park Library

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

The main character, Jerry, goes to Catholic school where there is a secret body of students who perform mean pranks. When the headmaster of the school is ill, the vice principal is called up, and he forms an alliance with the secret group. Jerry is told to sell chocolates, but he refuses. Initially, others join him, but then he is beaten up and made an outcast by the entire school. Everyone has turned against him.

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, is definitely going to be one of my favorite books. The plot was very well done and I wanted to follow Jerry for the whole story, and see what becomes of him. The ending was very satisfying, although sad. The high school is very bleak and ruled by a corrupt body of students, which is a very interesting setting. The progression of the story was great, as at first, Jerry was made a hero and followed by the whole school, but then towards the end, he is now a villain, who is violently beaten and bullied for his actions.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library