Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is about two teens who meet unexpectedly one night and spend the night together on an adventure. Nick is heartbroken over his ex Tris, and when he sees her at his band gig one night, he asks Norah, a random girl, to pretend to be his girlfriend for five minutes to make Tris jealous. Nick's friends convince Norah to go on a date with Nick right then, and their adventure begins.

This book was overall pretty cute. I didn't really like that it seemed like a typical teen romance book, and the plot was pretty predictable. It was still tolerable, though, and the more I read, the more interesting it became. The characters were cute and romantic, and there were funny moments. I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy romance and I would give it a 6 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

In the final installment of the Infernal Devices series, Mortmain is closer than ever to assembling a clockwork army to defeat Shadowhunters. With the Consul breathing down Charlotte's back, the Institute is under close scrutiny. Tessa's love triangle intensifies with Jem's proposal and Will's discovery that his curse was never real. The members of the Institute must fight against Mortmain's clockwork army and find Mortmain before it is too late.

I really loved Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare! It was action-packed, funny, romantic, and suspenseful. The characters were as lovable as usual, the suspense left me on the edge of my seat, and the end left me in tears. I would recommend Clockwork Princess to fans of the series and teens who enjoy romance and action. I would rate it a 10 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

The Compound, by S.A. Bodeen

Eli has been living in the compound with his family for the past six years of his life. His father the rich and famous Rex Yanakakis, built the compound in case a nuclear war begins. As far as Eli knows, his twin brother, Eddy, and his grandmother did not make it into the compound and may or may not have survived these nuclear attacks. Even though his is used to the life in the compound, Eli is very unhappy, he begins having seconds on whether this nuclear war did happen and if his brother and grandmother did actually die.

The Compound, by S.A. Bodeenwasn't one of my favorite books but it was still a pretty good read. It took quite a chunk of the book for the action to start and for Eli to realize that he has to work with his mother and sister to be able to get out of the compound and get away from their potentially insane and harmful father. But when the action did start it was fast paced and exciting. It's not one of my favorites but it was a good book overall.

Reviewed by Lusine M., Grade 8
Glendale Central Library

Monday, June 20, 2016

Farewell To Manzanar, by Jeanne Watasuk

Farewell To Manzanar written by Jeanne Watasuki, is about when the Japanese attacked the Pearl Harbor in the year of 1941! The story explains how Jeane and her family went through tough times. Jeanne's father is a successful businessman and loves himself. He is proud and very sure. But one day he receives a call and sees many people with ships turning back to the shore. He learned that the Japanese army attacked the U.S. He was terrified and he himself was a Japanese-American! He didn't no what to do. After the attack, the U.S. Army started searching for anyone who would be able to communicate with the Japanese offshore. The U.S. then sent those people to concentration camps. Jeanne's family was one of them. Her family was accused of something they didn't do and that changed her whole life. Over the course of the story she talks and describes how the camps were. The type of food they had and how they were treated. Her mother would cry and she never knew where her father went.After that Jeanne's life completely changed all I can say at the end was that she had luck and she honestly deserved it.

This book is very touching. I really understand what people sometimes go through. They suffer a lot and sometimes for something they didn't even do like in this case with Jeanne. I felt really bad for her and her family and wish the best. I honestly would recommend this book to anyone even a toddler because they will appreciate life and understand the meaning of it. This a great piece of art to read and all I have to say about the book is great.

Reviewed by NJ, Grade 9
Pacific Park Library

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WTF, by Peter Lerangis

A story that that is an example of the idea that a little fun can go a long way…and not in a good way. Jimmy, who is a geek and just wants some female attention, helps out his good friend Byron, who lost a margin call and needs fast money, who is assisting Cam, an athletic jock who needs to pay back Waits, a dealer under the great ex-convict Ianuzzi, Reina, a smart girl in love with Cam, plays a little hide-and-go-seek with Waits with some serious cargo, and Byron gets blackmailed by MC, a mountain chick who handles a rifle like it’s an extension of her hand. Each one wants something, and they will go to all extremes necessary to get what they desire.

Well, this was a fresh read: the entire book takes place within seven hours. Given this fact, everything is obviously fast-paced. There is no page filled with mindless or unnecessary information: every sentence, every word is carefully and methodically written. Lerangis does an amazing job with introducing the characters and giving them a personality in such a short amount of time; you get an idea of what kind of people each character is in a matter of three chapters. He was also able to intertwine all six major characters together in this huge, interconnected web. Lerangis was able to throw in some humor from time to time, but kept it really fast-paced, thriller/action-movie like most of the time. The author, again, is extremely skilled in his pacing of the story. He keeps you on the edge of your seat and on the tips of your toes, a state where you think your stomach is going to drop if you continue reading (but you continue anyways). Part of this is because just when he makes it seem like everything is going to resolve itself, the entire situation becomes even more labyrinthine. The small epilogue given at the end of the story was clever of the author because it let the readers catch their breaths and glide to a stop after the roller-coaster ride of a story. WTF, by Peter Lerangis, is especially great for those who like to press the gas all the way for the whole ride, cutting corners and flying off the road, and only hitting the brakes until the very end.
Reviewed by Lilit, Grade 12

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hamlet, by Shakespeare

Hamlet is a tragedy by Shakespeare that takes place in Denmark. Hamlet is the son of the last King Hamlet, who has supposedly died after being bitten by a snake in his garden. After his mother quickly remarried to his uncle Claudius. After finding out from the ghost of his father that he was actually murdered by Claudius, Hamlet vows to get revenge on Claudius and spends the rest of the play debating as to whether his revenge and life are worth it.

I was very intimidated to read this play because it seemed so complex and confusing but I loved it! I think Hamlet's philosophies and puns are so intense. The soliloquies are so beautifully written and can be interpreted in several way which I really appreciate. I thought it's really interesting how although Shakespeare left a bunch of questions unanswered that the people have made up several answers and possible theories anyway. I would recommend it to anyway who likes Shakespeare's plays.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days, by Michele Weber Hurwitz

The book I read for my book report is called The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days. The author of the book is Michele Weber Hurwitz, and as she was writing the book she came up with the question: does good really do good? This question was the whole point of the book. The book talks about a thirteen-year old girl named Nina Ross and how she is committed on doing sixty-five good things for neighborhood. The setting of the story is mainly the cul-de-sac (the kind of street she lives on). The story starts of with Nina planning on doing something good for her neighbor. Since the recent passing of her grandmother Nina has been feeling very lost. Also since it’s her summer of freshman year she wants to find something she is good at because all of her friends have hobbies she wants to find one for herself too. This is what made her create her plan to anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood. Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhoods, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets.

My favorite part in the book is when Eli (Nina’s next door neighbor) asks Nina to go to homecoming with him. I like this part because they like each other and after all of these good things Nina has done she deserves to get her something good happen to her. Overall, this is a great book and I do suggest it because it has a great conflict and resolution and it shows how good can really do well. But it does get cheesy during some parts so if you don’t like cheesy books this isn’t for you.

Reviewed by Ani, Grade 8
Grandview Library

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is set in the magical world of Middle Earth, where giants roam, Orcs pillage and terrorize, and many other mythical creatures exist. Bilbo Baggins was visited by his old friend Gandalf, along with 12 dwarves, to Bilbo's surprise. The dwarves tell him of their quest to slay the great Smaug and take back their kingdom under the mountain, and that they need his help. After reluctantly agreeing, they embark on an epic adventure across Middle Earth, encountering all the dangers possible, from giant spiders to hungry giants looking for something to eat.

The Hobbit is one of my favorite books I've read. I love how the author describes the elements of the mythical world around the characters. I also like the mix of action and drama which makes the group’s journey harder. I very strongly recommend reading this book. If you like stories with magic and mythical beings this is the story for you.

Reviewed by Charles B., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Andy Weir’s, The Martian, is a brilliantly written novel set on the barren planet Mars. After a large sandstorm hits their landing site and his crew is forced to leave him behind after he is hit with shrapnel, Mark Watney has to survive the unforgiving planet of Mars. With only limited supplies left after the sandstorm, Mark must make do with what he has to last long enough for the next Ares mission to pick him up. After learning that Mark is still alive, the world comes together for a common purpose; “Bring Him Home”.

In my opinion, this is my favorite book I have ever read. I'm always interested in Science Fiction books. There are many views on what people think the future will be like, and I believe this one is the most realistic. Not only does it show the dangers of space travel, but it shows that many people will come together to help one person. I like how this book takes a survival story, and puts a twist on it. If you're looking for a book with humor, drama, and action, I highly suggest The Martian.

Reviewed by 

Charles B., Grade 9 
Montrose Library

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak

Doctor Zhivago is a novel by Boris Pasternak that follows the life of Yuri Andreevich Zhivago as he lives through World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. As Yuri grows up, he eventually marries his childhood best friend Tonya. But when he gets drafted as a doctor for World War I, he meets Lara Antipova, whom he can't seem to get off his mind, even when he returns from the War in time for the Russian Revolution to his old home, but a new Russia.

I was very intimidated to read this book because not only is it a heavy classic, but it's translated and I feared that it would lose meaning and sense, but I am so happy that I read it. Something I love about the novel is that nearly every single character mentioned, no matter how irrelevant they may seem in the moment they are mentioned, is somehow connected to every other character. All of their lives cross points somehow, by some strange connection of another familiar person. Also I really enjoyed noticing how the political events of Russian in the early 20th century are mimicked in Yuri's relationships with Tonya, Lara, and Marina. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Nobel Prize winning novels or enjoys learning about the effects of the Russian Revolution.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library