Monday, February 29, 2016

Song of the Sparrow, by Lisa Ann Sandell

Set in Britain's Dark Ages 490 AD, teenager Elaine of Ascolat is surrounded by knights and supporting men of Sir Arthur of the Round Table. Feisty and attractive, she is the sole girl in Arthur's military encampment, living with her father and knight brothers. Mender of clothing and healer of wounds, she yearns for the attention and love of Lancelot, Arthur's right hand man. Befriending the temporary woman figure of the camp, Morgan sister of Arthur, Tristan, and Arthur himself is only a matter of trust. However, upon the arrival of the alluring Gwynivere, Elaine finds herself in a situation of utter jealousy as this new rival is also in love with Lancelot. Yet, in situations of grave danger, survival, and the birthing of an empire, love and rivalry cannot come in the way.

Song of the Sparrow, by Lisa Ann Sandell, is an engaging plot line written in verse easy enough for teen readers to decipher. Its playful poetry draws in the audience to the tale of a young girl battling with young love, omens telling her that her loved ones might perish in war, and the loss of a mother at a young age. I liked the title of this book as it refers to Elaine's gut instinct and conscience. The readers knew something was unusual when the sparrow flitted inside of Elaine. When the sparrow flew off, it indicated Elaine's freedom. This book definitely leans towards the feminine audience as it is filled with the battle of a girl or woman's place in a man's world. It is also a very interesting read to those who love history, especially the middle ages, and the tales of King Arthur, Lancelot, and Gwynivere.

Reviewed by Alexis K., Grade 10
Montrose Library

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Uncommon Criminals, by Ally Carter

Kat has been known as being part of one of he best criminal families but in the past 2 months is known for being the girl who stole a painting from the world famous Henley. This is why it is no surprise that someone came to her and asked her to steal the Cleopatra Emerald but there is a couple problems. The famous emerald hasn't been seen in public in thirty years, anyone who finds the emerald doesn't keep it for long, and it is well known to be very cursed. She may be way over head but she is not doing it alone. The gorgeous hale and the rest of her crew will have her back and make sure she succeeds no matter what. What will go wrong?

Uncommon Criminals, by Ally Carter, is definitely no disappointment. It keeps me on edge the entire time and makes me want them to succeed. This is a really fun read and I cant wait to read other books from this author. This story makes you nervous for Kat and her team and you get nervous for them a couple of the times in the book. I love the feeling I had when I read this book and I would consider this one of my favorite adventure books. The type of person who would enjoy this book would be someone who loves the adventurous books. I highly recommend this read.

Reviewed by Mia J., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, February 22, 2016

Glass, by Ellen Hopkins

Glass, by Ellen Hopkins, is about a girl named Kristina who goes by the name Bree but only when she is chasing her addiction which is crystal meth. "Bree" has a son named Hunter who is soon taken away from her by her mother. Bree soon leaves with her new boyfriend Trey who is also an addict. They soon run into trouble with the police and from there its a new rollercoaster with her new boyfriend Trey when she finds out she is pregnant with his baby.

I liked that she is this girl who was never the way she is now. She builds her life for her son and then in the matter of seconds it comes crashing down the second she tries a new drug. I believe a lot of young adults would considering they can go down this road if they made a choice to do so but with this book they can stop a wrong decision from happening if they saw it from another persons views. To me, this book is inspiring because it does show you the consequences of your own choices.

Reviewed by Felicia-Maria B., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire is the final installment in The Mortal Instruments series. Sebastian, Clary's evil brother, is finally ready to wage his war against Shadowhunters and Downworlders and take over with his army of demons and Shadowhunters turned evil. Institutions around the world are attacked and Shadowhunters are kidnapped or killed. Clary and Jace, along with their friends, must take initiative and fight back against the orders of the Clave and save humanity.

I really loved this book and this series! I was not expecting to fall in love with these books but it's definitely one of my favorites. The romance between Jace and Clary left me breathless and the action was suspenseful and exhilarating. I'm so sad the series has come to an end. I would recommend City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare, to fans of the series and I would rate it a 10 out of 10!

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, by John Boyne

The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, by John Boyne, is about a young boy who was taken to a concentration camp and held captive with none of his family members there. This little boy was only 8 years of age. He meets another young boy however this young boy us outside of the camp and is son of the general who owns and keeps the prisoners captive at this camp but his son being young doesn't know any better. Soon they become friends after meeting every day and the son sneaks food to the young man behind the fence in the camp. The son makes one mistake trying to help the young boy trapped.

I thought it was a really beautiful book. To me it shows people from two different worlds can connect and care for each other. I didn't like how the son had to pay the price for his fathers actions. I think a variety of people would like the book because of the emotional roller coaster as well as the importance of people connecting with one another.

Reviewed by Felicia-Maria, Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, is a play based on Blanche DuBois, a woman who attempts to appear pure, but is flawed in many ways. After losing the family home and with no where else to go, she turns to her sister Stella and moves to New Orleans to live with her. Stella welcomes Blanche while Stella's husband, Stanley Kowalski, is indifferent and rather rude to Blanche. After Blanche meets Mitch, one of Stanley's friends, she starts to fall in love with him. Blanche has to overcome her past demons and face her new ones in the struggle of living with her sister and her abusive husband which fighting alcoholism.

When I first started reading the play I thought it was terribly boring. The first few pages were rough to get through and I felt like it was never ending. But as soon as you get through it you finish it without realizing how fast it's going. Throughout the entire play I couldn't help but sympathize with Blanche. The end had me jaw- dropped and in complete and utter shock. I would recommend this play to anyone who tends to like the authors from The Lost Generation of Writers.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 11
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus is about 7 demigods who are trying to put a stop to the awakening of the Goddess, Gaea, who if she awakens fully will destroy the world. Together they fight Giants, Venti, and many other monsters who have decided to work with Gaea. The Great Prophecy, which was first introduced in The Last Olympian, stated that Gaea would fall to either fire or storm. That would mean only Jason or Leo could defeat Gaea once and for all. The 7 demigods get some help from some of the other demigods. The two demigod camps, Greek and Roman, are enemies and if they are to defeat Gaea they must work together.

The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan, will keep you hooked with its action-adventure and suspense. The writer includes a good amount of battling monsters. In his series, The Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan developed each character very well. Each of the characters play their own specific role in defeating Gaea and her army of monsters. This is a book you would enjoy reading if you enjoy reading action-adventure and mythology. This is the kind of book you won't want to put down. You can read this book in approx. 3 1/2 hours if you read without stopping and there are no interruptions. I recommend this book to kids in 5th through 8th grade.

Reviewed by Ridge, Grade 9
Casa Verdugo Library

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Macbeth, by William Shakesepeare

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, is the story of a man corrupted by power who ultimately becomes evil. Macbeth is a noble, and he hears a prophecy from three witches that he will become king. The only way to become king would be to kill the current king, Duncan, so Lady Macbeth, his wife, convinces him to commit the crime. This murder sparks a flame in Macbeth and throughout the play, Macbeth continues to unravel until he reaches madness.

Macbeth was an okay read for me. It is written by Shakespeare, so naturally, it was pretty hard to understand. I read Macbeth for school, and it definitely was not as bad as other works we read. It was interesting to see the character development in Macbeth and his wife. I would recommend Macbeth to students who enjoy classics and Shakespeare's works.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, February 1, 2016

In Real Life: My Journey To A Pixelated World, by Joey Graceffa

The book is about a YouTube star named Joey Graceffa talking about how he became famous on YouTube and the struggles of growing up. He talks about high school for most of the book and how he had so much trouble with school because he never really felt like himself around most people. But when he did try to be him self around people they would make fun of him and tell his he is gay. The book revolves around the idea that the bullying from these kids did not let him grow in to himself and he was very feminine but he was so scared to admit he was gay because his whole life people made fun of him for being gay. It also talks about how he felt like the parent his whole life because he had to deal with his mom who was a alcoholic and dad who left when he was young. The book talks a lot about the struggles he had growing up and how it got him to Los Angeles to become a actor/YouTube personality.

When I first read In Real Life: My Journey To A Pixelated World, by Joey Graceffa, I did not even own it my cousin left it at my house and I just decided to read it. I had no idea who Joey Graceffa was or what he did. But I still really enjoyed this book it was like talking a journey with him and gave me a lot of motivation to strive to do what I want in my life. It is very relatable with the things he says about high school how popularity and the "normal thing to do" can push you away from the things you want to do because you think it might be considered weird. But in reality if you like it do it there is no reason you should stay away from something because it is the unpopular thing to do. I recommend this book to anyone around my age or even older people, but I feel like a younger age can relate to it a lot more.

Reviewed by J., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library