Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What if I'm an Atheist?, by David Seidman

The book "What if I'm an Atheist?" is a Non-fiction book containing general information about Atheism and Atheist. It includes the different types of Atheist and what they mean (i.e Humanitarians), what being an Atheist means, what being an anti-Atheist doesn't mean, peoples experiences, points of view from theists and Atheistwell as ways to live out your life as an Atheist with other people's experiences to look on. It even includes information about famous Atheist and how they bring their input into our world, people like Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins etc.. It is a book filled with statistics, quotes, graphs and other sources. It does give some advice but just as I mentioned before, it is mostly just general information for anyone who is curious about the topic of Atheism.

"What if I'm an Atheist?" is over all, a pretty interesting read. It delves into a lot of information and gives a lot of studied facts to back up what David Seidman is saying. Most of the information you can trust because of that. This book is great because of how it handles the information; Before moving on to a new topic or giving his own opinion, he takes everyone's point of view into account first. He will usually give a few quotes or passages from people who see differently from each other. When talking about something like Atheism, it is good to take in every point of view and the author does it very well. This book shows how both Atheist and theists should behave toward each other, while also giving a few tips Atheists could use when faced common questions or arguments. This book does have one fault that does bother me, and that is it's organization. There just seems to be not too much thought into how the book should've been laid out as far as formatting. The author also doesn't seem to give enough of his own input, it is mostly quotes and statistics. While this isn't too much of a bad thing, it wasn't what I was expecting and does drag the book down when I see a quote from somebody every sentence or two. Although, despite this it still is a great read and relatively quick too. It can be enjoyed by just about anything, already atheists or even those of religion. It is, in a way, an entry level book to atheism. I'd recommend just about any young atheist to take a read.

Reviewed by Logan W., Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 25, 2016

Death Note volume 9, by Tsugumi Ohba

In the book Death Note volume 9, by Tsugumi Ohba, the world is eloped in a great ruckus after the news of the president’s death. No one is safe, not even the innocent ones who have never committed any kind of crime. Even Kira doesn’t feel safe with L’s two successor chasing after him in full speed. Light puts on a new mask playing dumb with Near and remaining “faithful” to all members of the taskforce. A violent mafia involvement takes place and some extreme things occur which leaves the mighty Kira in a great deal of pain and sorrow. Now Light’s blood boils more with anger as not one but two of L’s successors leap two steps ahead of him.

The formidably dramatic violence that goes on with the mafia is an apparition for a manga like Death Note, but I did like the touch of action. The striking art is just the perfect element to signify the powerful mood of these scenes. I guess things are becoming a little more interesting with Mello and Near substitution L’s part. But it’s only a globule of excitement compared to the thrill brought when L’s presence was in the atmosphere of the story. But I’m not favoring Light’s act right now as plays dumb with near. Unfortunately it seems that Light’s intellectual thinking and moves have washed away along with L’s life from the face of the Earth.

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas

The Survival Kit is about Rose, a teenage girl whose mom recently passed away. Rose is stuck in her depression until she finds a survival kit her mom made for her before she died. Her mom was famous for her survival kits for every occasion. Slowly Rose gathers the strength to open the survival kit. Rose also meets Will Doniger, a senior at her school whose father passed away two years back. Soon Will and Rose find love and comfort in each other.

The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas, was a really cute read! The writing was emotional and the characters were lovable and believable. There were many cute moments between Will and Rose, and Rose's strength was inspiring. I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy romance and inspiring stories and would give it an 8 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races is a thrilling novel set on a secluded island that is known for their annual horse races. However, the water horses that are in these races are violent and blood-thirsty. One of the main characters, Sean Kendrick, has a knack for training and befriending these dangerous horses. He himself has competed in the Scorpio Races several times and has won each time he has competed. Unfortunately, people still disrespect him due to his financial status and the fact that he is an orphan. Another character, Kate a.k.a. Puck Connolly lives with her two older brothers in their parent’s house. They have taken care of each other ever since their parents were killed by one of the horses that competes in the Scorpio Races. Puck’s older brother, Gabe, wishes to leave the island in order to have a better life on the mainland. She doesn’t want to see her family break apart so she decides to enter the Scorpio Races so she could win the cash reward to keep her brother on the island. However, Puck only has experience with her beloved land horse, Dove, who cannot compete in the race because she is not a water horse. Due to this, Puck must train with a new horse and decides to ask Sean for help. At first, he is reluctant but soon sees how determined and hard working Puck is and agrees to help her. Throughout the novel, the two face many critics and obstacles along the way. Their combined determination, diligence, care for each other, and hard work pushes the two of them through the race and makes a lasting impression in the eyes of the locals and mainlanders.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater was very interesting and captivating. The novel got off to a great start and introduced the characters very well and described their backstories but as the book went on, I started to lose focus and in my opinion, it got a little boring in the middle. As the story went on, it captivated the reader more and had many twists and turns that kept it interesting. 

I found this novel very interesting because I have always liked horses and the way the author described the horses in her novel was very engaging. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves horses and adventure.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Montrose Library

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Assassination Classroom Volume 2: Time For Grownups, by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom Volume 2, by Yusei Matsui, things seem to be settling in the classroom, and daily assassination attempts are being carried out the usual way they are. But as days pass, the Ministry of Defense are becoming more and more restless. They fear that there isn’t enough time in their hands to be wasting on children who has absolutely no capability of killing a monstrous creature when the entire world can’t! Which is why they bend the rules and hire a very fine looking teacher who actually happens to be one of the most deadliest assassin in the world who never fails to kill. The situation intensifies as the professional killer sets her eyes on the price Koro Sensi’s head. On the other hand, an insight look of the corruption of the school is shown to explain the meaning behind the creation of class 3-E.

As expected, this next volume did not let me down. In fact, it has elevated my adoration towards this story even more. It was terrific how the firing new assassin Ms. Jelavich puts her thrilling murderous plans into action and the comedy that occurs throughout the situation. I am very much enjoying how Matsui is sewing this story with new and extraordinary events and challenges. Also, I like the serious events along the way which shows the deep messages of a character’s struggle or a situation. Overall, I think that the story is falling into the way it should; surprising and making the readers laugh along the way and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Assasination Classroom volume 1, by Yusei Matsui

Assasination Classroom volume 1 we meet the students of class 3-E in Kunugigaoka Junior High School. A dead-end classroom built in the mountains assigned only to the students with poor grades, troublesome behaviors and frankly the unwanted students in average classrooms. None of them has a speck of hope. No skill specialize them either. They repeat the same blunt day over and over with no desired destination to reach. But that colorless atmosphere changes when 3-E’s students are ordered by the Ministry of Defense to assassin their teacher. What is even more horrific is that their teacher is beyond normal, he is a big yellow octopus looking creature with a big smiley face and tentacle like hands. This baffling teacher has already blown up the moon and is now joyfully waiting to blow up Earth into bits. No guns, no pistols nor bombs can destroy him, only a certain type of BB bullets can which are harmless to humans. Those BB bullets aren’t that useful because he moves at Mach 20! Alas the question which hangs through this volume of the book is how can failing students kill a high speed unknown creature when all the war machines and deadly weapons of the world fail?

From the second page of the book the story becomes intriguing. Yusei Matsui, the author, wastes absolutely no time and brushes of the reader’s thoughts away filling up their mind entirely on the synopsis of this book that they hold in their hands. Even the cover of this book is just so cryptic that it becomes hard for an individual to not ponder upon the stretched yellow smile. What I enjoyed the most of the synopsis of this story is that with all the serious tension of the word “kill” being tossed around, the playful and humorous vibe is maintained. I feel like that this kind of mood in the plot of the story really connects the reader. I recommend it to every teen out there. I am very much enjoying this new and fresh storyline with a little touch of fun and am very much looking forward to read the next volume to see how it surprises me.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 11, 2016

Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant

Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant is a very interesting book, to say the least. In this book, Kant attempts to test the limits of pure reason, to see how much we can explain about the world using reason alone. Kant claims that there are two types of knowledge: a posteriori knowledge and a priori knowledge. A posteriori knowledge is knowledge gained from experience, and a priori knowledge is knowledge we have independent of experience. He also thinks that what we consider to be reality is just our mind's perception of our universe.

I thought this book was ok. Philosophy and metaphysics are two things that I am able to read and be absorbed by it very well. It's very interesting just to question the nature of the universe and the things that make up the universe. However, one thing that I did not like about this book is that Kant uses a bunch of complex jargon, which really irritates me whenever someone does that. Einstein said that whenever you explain something, you should explain as simple as it needs to be, and no simpler, and I agree.

Reviewed by A.E., Grade 9
Casa Verdugo Library

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, follows a female protagonist, Jane, through her life journeys as she learns throughout her experiences from a child to a woman. She lives a challenging life as she grows up as a poor orphan girl in a male-dominat and social class restricted society during the Victorian Era. She goes through many troubles and mysteries on her journey. Her main objective is to make a life for herself, find true love, family, and a place where she can call home.

I very much enjoyed the books as I got to see Jane grow up into a woman and see the change in her identity and character from a child to and adult. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested Gothic literature and mysteries. Also this book would be interesting to people who enjoy reading books from the Victorian Era. I would not recommend this to anyone who does not enjoy reading a slow-paced book as it is very long and takes time to unfold.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 4, 2016

If Only It Were True, by Marc Levy

Marc Levy’s novel, If Only It Were True, tells a magical and an exquisite romantic story about a man named Arthur who discovers a stranger (Lauren=apparition) in his closet as she tells him that her body is in a coma across town. Levy creates many comical scenarios and dialogues between Arthur and Lauren arguing about privacy, love, help, etc. Additionally, the author uses some expletives in order to bring the story to reality and make the reader feel what the characters actually felt.

I recommend this book to people who like romantic adventures in addition to funny scenes. Even though Marc Levy uses many dialogue scenes, the story would have been more adventurous if he used more imagery, figurative language and deeper descriptions of the characters. However, it was fun reading the dialogues between the characters because I felt like I was witnessing all the action with them.

Reviewed by Siranush M., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library