Monday, December 30, 2019

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is the sequel of the previous book, Shadow and Bone. Alina Starkov has escaped with Mal across the True Sea, hunted by the Darkling. The Darkling has emerged from the Fold with another horrifying power- the ability to create life itself, a forbidden magic. When Alina and Mal are finally caught by the Darkling and his hired help, a notorious pirate of Ravka, they manage to escape. Alina decides to gather the rest of the amplifiers, three magical charms that would boost her power enough to face the Darkling and win. But as her power grows, she finds herself drawn deeper into the dark magic of the Darkling- and begins to understand his greed. With Ravka's fate in her hands, Alina must choose the right path and not give into her greed.

I enjoyed Siege and Storm and thought it was a great continuation of the series. It was filled with action and betrayal, and was hard to put down. I especially liked the struggles that each of the characters had in their minds- such as Alina's conflict between choosing a life with Mal and unsatisfied power or joining the Darkling and having all the power she wants. I enjoyed the realism of the characters and the detail that was put into the novel. The settings were described very well. I think that readers of fantasy and magic novels would love this book, and readers of Bardugo's previous novels would like it too. However, I would recommend that you read the previous novel first. I liked reading this novel and I hope others enjoy it too.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, December 27, 2019

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin follows the journey of a pious and righteous man named Tom into the deep South and the escape of the Harris family to Canada. The novel begins when Tom's benevolent master, Mr. Shelby, reluctantly sells Tom and Harry Harris to a slave trader due to debt. Eliza's mother, Harry, cannot bear to have her son taken from her so she decides to flee to Canada, following Harry's father. Tom is carted away by the slave catcher, but holds on to his master's son's promise to buy him back as soon as possible. His loving and godly heart makes him friends and enemies alike during his journey.
I wanted to read this book after learning how important it is in my United States History class. So my experience reading this novel was similar to how I analyzed historical documents in class. Stowe's abolitionist views really shined throughout, which helped me gain a better understanding of the movement's strategies and causes. I wish I read this during the school year because it would have helped me a lot.

But also just looking at the plot, this novel is very entertaining. I grew really attached to some characters and there were some I hated like Mrs. St. Clare and Legree. The plot events were exciting and the writing was animated. This book made me really sad but also inspired me at the same time. Characters like Eva, Tom and George Shelby made me want to become a better person. Although this book's main intention is to rally people against slavery, it also teaches the reader about forgiveness, love, and equality.

I really liked this book. I wish we read this in school instead of other books in high school because this is at the same reading level but more entertaining, impactful, and historically relevant. I honestly think that anyone would like this book but it is probably too dark and sad for younger readers.

Reviewed by S.V., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Alina Starkov and Mal have been friends for almost as long as they can remember. Both orphans, they were raised in an orphanage and tested for Grisha power- a type of magic that is desired by the government of Ravka. Both tested negative. However, when Alina and Mal are taken across the Fold, an unnatural desert bleached of color and inhabited by monsters, their convoy is attacked and Alina manifests a Grisha power- and not just any ordinary power. Alina seems to be a Sun Summoner- a Grisha with control over light, and never seen in modern times. Separated from Mal, she is taken to the royal court and the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha of Ravka. He believes that with Alina's power, the Fold could be destroyed. However, he is not what she thinks he is. Without Mal, Alina must learn to control her power and her feelings- before she is manipulated by others around her.

I thought that Shadow and Bone was a very good book. I enjoyed the story that Bardugo wrote very much, and the world-building was very detailed and even plausible. The characters themselves were diverse and their appearances and actions were very descriptive as well. I can't think of anything I found wrong about this novel- it was a good, action-packed novel in my opinion. I think that readers of Fantasy fiction or fans of Bardugo's other fantasy series would enjoy the novel. However, readers of romance or even science fiction would like this book too. The book is a part of a trilogy, and it made me feel excited to read the sequel. I really enjoyed this novel and I definitely recommend it to others.

Reviewed by NK., Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Ruinous Sweep by Tim Wynne-Jones

Donovan Turner is kicked out of a car at nighttime. He can't remember anything that has happened to him over the past day, and he is desperate to escape the dark road. He steps out to hitch hike when a driver, surprised by him, flips his car and crashes. Donovan makes his way to the car and finds a briefcase full of cash. Not understanding anything, Donovan takes the case and runs.
Bee's boyfriend Donovan has been in a near fatal car crash. A hit-and-run, no one seems to know who killed Donovan or what their motive was. However, the police are almost sure of one thing- Donovan killed his father with a bat. Bee, knows that Donovan would never do that, but the police don't believe her. When she visits him at the hospital, Donovan is in a coma and no one is sure if he will survive. Bee vows to find Donovan's would be murderer.

I enjoyed Tim Wynne-Jones' The Ruinous Sweep very much. Although some parts of the book (especially the ones told from Donovan's perspective) are very confusing, I think that added to the appeal and overall atmosphere to the novel. I feel as if the book is supposed to be mysterious and is supposed to keep the reader in the dark. Although it was confusing, the book was written very well, and it was hard to put down. The novel was eerie and sad, and I really started to feel these emotions when I got near the end of the novel. I think that readers who enjoy mystery novels would enjoy this book. I would recommend this novel, but be aware that some parts of it are confusing.

Reviewed by N K., Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, December 20, 2019

Road Tripped by Pete Hautman

Steven, known as Stiggy at school, finds everything wrong with other people. When his girlfriend ghosts him and he decides that he's had enough with his life in Minnesota, he takes his recently deceased father's Mustang and goes on a road trip, not knowing where he might end up. During his trip, Stiggy has flashbacks of everything wrong with Minnesota- from his father who shot himself to his friends, who don't seem to understand him. He also meets new people along the way, friendly drifters to drug addicts- and begins to rethink his life.

I thought Road Tripped by Pete Hautman was a good book. However, it was a darker story than I normally read. I thought the way the author utilized flashbacks to show Stiggy's problems in Minnesota was very interesting. Each of the characters, both new and old, seemed very realistic to me. The story made me think about the issues of mental health and how your actions can affect the way that other people view you. I didn't particularly like how the book ended- it didn't have a definitely conclusion. I thought that the book addressed a lot of serious problems in society, and I definitely recommend it to others.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The God Apollo is now a mortal on Earth. He is blamed for the war between the Romans and Greeks by the other Gods, as his son was tricked into starting it. He must find his way among the mortals, and learn humility, as well as persistence in order to survive among men. He is discovered by a demi-god named Meg, who lives on the streets of New York, where she scrounges and trains to fight. Percy Jackson brings them to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that campers have disappeared, and the oracle tampered with. Will Apollo be able to be a hero and save the oracle and the campers? Or will his world burn down in flames?

I really enjoyed this book, as I do with most of Rick Riordan's books. I liked the way the author showed the disparity between the powers of Gods in their true form, and mortals (even those who were previously Gods). I like the knowledge of what goes on inside the head of a God in the Percy Jackson universe, and I think that this book shows the thought process of Apollo very well. From when he starts out acting like his near- omnipotent self, to later in the book, where he realizes that he needs humility, and understanding of others, and that he is not the only one with an opinion.

Reviewed by Julio B.
Central Library

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Fall of Crazy House by James Patterson

Becca and Cassie, two twin sisters, are soldiers in a resistance against the powerful United Regime. Becca is sent on a mission to the capital city of Chicago- but she doesn't know that her mission is suicide for anyone who carries it out. Meanwhile, Cassie is tasked with sifting through old newspapers and artifacts to see what led to United taking over the country when she finds the truth- United massacred almost the entire nation with a supervirus. When disaster strikes and the encampment is attacked by the same supervirus, Cassie must go on a dangerous trip across the country to go and save her sister.

I thought The Fall of Crazy House was an okay book. I enjoyed the story, but a lot of parts did not seem realistic and the characters seemed shallow. A lot of the events in the book were left unexplained, but the action and suspense was conveyed well. I think that fans of action novels and dystopian novels would enjoy this book very much. Honestly, I didn't feel or think much from this book- it was basically just a thriller that you read but you don't gain anything from. I would recommend this book to other people if you like those kinds of books, but otherwise, I wouldn't read the book.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, December 13, 2019

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

In Kaz Brekker's world, magic exists. Special people called Grisha can control the elements- and sometimes even the actions of other people.
Kaz, an infamous conman known by his street name "Dirtyhands," is offered a deal. If he breaks a scientist known for creating a drug that enhances Grisha power by thousandfold out of a government facility, he would receive more money that he could ever have a use for. Kaz puts together a team, one he believes will actually succeed where no one else has before. Surrounded by danger, betrayal, and deception, Kaz and his crew must be careful- or be as ruthless as their opponents.

I enjoyed Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo very much. The story was riveting and urgent, and had tons of plot twists that made it even more exciting. The way the novel changed its point of view from character to character was also interesting, and each of the characters seemed realistic. Their backstories and how they ended up as gangsters was explained very well. I enjoyed almost every part of the book. I can see people who like magic and fantasy novels loving Six of Crows. I would definitely recommend this great book to others.

Reviewed by NK., Grade 10
Montrose Library

This novel takes place in a mystical land called Ketterdam. Six criminals, with Kaz Brekker being the lead of this gang need to pull off an extrordianry heist. During this huge adventure every single gang member goes through a phase of their own struggles they have to overcome in order to impress Kaz and save their own lives.

I have read this book twice and honestly I can read it over and over. A year ago I wanted to start reading like I used to so I asked one book worm if she had any recomendations. She told me to read this one and I won't regret it. I was a little hesistant because I usually don't read these types of stories but I'm so glad I did. Diving in head first, and determined to get through this meaty book, I read every word instantly trying to get to the next part. So, yes, I really do reccomend this book to any other teens wanting to put down their cell phone and just read a good book you get hooked into. Like the dregs say, "No mourners, no funerals".

Reviewed by Lillian Khojayan, Grade 9
Montrose Library 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare

Magnus Bane, a famous warlock, and Alec Lightwood, a Shadowhunter, are on a romantic vacation in Europe when they begin to hear rumors of a demon-worshipping cult, the Crimson Hand, said to have been created by Magnus himself. However, Magnus has no memory of creating the cult. Even more problematic, the cult seems to be worshipping Asmodeus- one of Hell's most powerful demon princes and Magnus's father. When Magnus and Alec are attacked by multiple lesser demons that seem to have been summoned by the Crimson Hand, they put aside their vacation and hopes to get to know each other better and go on a hunt to find the leader of the cult, guided by a former member who wants revenge. Surrounded by murder and betrayal, Magnus and Alec must trust each other more they have ever had before in order to make it out alive.

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare is a fantasy/paranormal fiction novel that I liked reading. I liked the action and plot twists that were utilized in the book. However, I didn't get totally drawn into the novel- for some reason, I didn't enjoy it as much as some of Clare's other books. The scenery was detailed, and the characters seemed realistic. Readers of fantasy fiction would probably enjoy this book.
Honestly, I thought this novel was alright, but I would have rather read something else.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, December 9, 2019

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare

This novel by Cassandra Clare follows the story of Brother Zachariah- a Silent Brother who used to be Jem Carstairs- a Shadowhunter who lived and laughed and loved like everyone else. Jem had a friend- William Herondale- and a lover- the warlock Tessa Gray. However, Jem was addicted to yin fen, a demonic drug that would have killed him if he hadn't been turned into a Silent Brother. An immortal sworn protector of the secrets of the Nephilim- a line of people with the blood of the angel Raziel- Jem is magically distanced from feeling emotions or love like a normal person. Jem visits the Shadow Market, a gathering place for all sorts of supernatural creatures, in search of a supposed missing line of Herondales. As Jem follows the clues he is given, he is surrounded by grave peril. Along the way, he struggles to hold on to his humanity and love for Tessa- in the hope that he might be cured of the yin fen.

I liked reading this book very much. I enjoyed the action, mystery, and Jem's desperate hope to have his old life back and to be with Tessa. However, I didn't really understand why some stories in this collection didn't seem to have anything to do with the main plot. I think that people who read and loved Clare's Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, and Dark Artifices series would enjoy this novel. Readers who like fantasy novels about magic and angels or demons would also probably think this book is interesting. However, people considering reading this book should probably read the previous series first, as some characters and their actions would not make sense otherwise. This novel made me feel on edge when action happened and thrilled when Jem eventually got a happy ending. I thought this book was good and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, December 6, 2019

Divine Justice by David Baldacci

A former government assassin, John Carr, tries to leave his old life behind after making two more kills. One man is a senator, and the other is the director of the CIA. They are the same men that ordered a hit on his own family after he tried to leave his job as a government sanctioned murderer. However, his old boss, Macklin Hayes, sends men after him. John, after changing his name to Oliver Stone, decides to settle down in the small, rural, coal-mining town of Divine, Virginia. John quickly becomes popular and loved in the town, and starts to relax. However, the town is not what it seems- something strange is going on, creating the same violence that John was trying to get away from. His friends catch word of the manhunt after him- and try their hardest to deter Joe Knox, the leader of the hunt. However, Knox is starting to believe that Carr is a good man- and Macklin Hayes is hiding something big.

I enjoyed reading Divine Justice by David Baldacci. It is an action-packed, interesting book that is filled with excitement and suspense. I liked the storyline and the different, realistic characters that Baldacci used in the book. The way he described the action was superb, and very detailed. However, some parts of the novel didn't seem realistic, and the ending seemed too ideal. I think that people who like reading spy novels or mystery novels would really enjoy this, as well as anyone who likes action novels. This book made me think of the illicit things that our government probably does, and made me feel sorrow for Carr's family. I would definitely recommend this book to others, as it is a action-packed thriller of a novel.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda is a science fiction thriller that takes place in space. The main characters, Tuck and Laura, are totally different. Tuck lives on the spaceship Muir, where he woke up from stasis- four hundred years in the future. The ship is deteriorated, and many of the others who woke up from stasis are mutated and monstrous, pollutants from Earth having changed their genetic makeup. Along with the other normal people, they make a strange civilization on the Muir- one where they must avoid the creatures at all costs. Laura Cruz is the daughter of a famous shipraiding family- they are searching for the Muir, which might contain samples of bacteria necessary to replenish the soil back on dying Earth. Laura has a problem too- a rival shipraiding family, the Smithsons, has their eyes set on stealing the Cruz fame and glory. When a terrorist takes over the ship and collides it into the USS John Muir, Laura meets Tuck and quickly becomes friends with him. They must battle their way to safety, find the bacteria samples, and expose the Smithsons, and maybe even save the world.

In my opinion, Pitch Dark was a great novel. It was filled with action, betrayal, and it was set in space. Who doesn't like a novel set in space? I really enjoyed the sci-fi aspects to the novel , and the story and dialogue were great. The world building (of the massive, eerie Muir) and the political strife between the shipraiders and the terrorist group was also very interesting to read. Honestly, I don't think I disliked any part of the book. The book made me think of how much we're destroying the Earth even now, and made me feel intrigued at the mentions of deep space exploring. People who enjoy science fiction novels and action novels would probably love to read the novel. The navigation of the Muir's passageway almost read like The Maze Runner (James Dashner) and the description of the way the monsters hunted and attacked was very Quiet Place-esque. All in all, I think that lots of people would enjoy this book and I recommend it if you want a suspenseful read.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, December 2, 2019

Garfield chews the fat by Jim Davis

A few sequels back, Jon got Garfield to go on a diet because he wanted his owner to stop making fun of how big his tummy is. It didn't last very long so in this sequel, Jon tries to get Garfield back up again but clearly his cat is stubborn nowadays. All Garfield would want to do is to splat his face down on his cat food, showing that he doesn't want to eat it. He would also pick on Odie as usual such as leaving him on a tree branch while he is begging for help or he would kick him and let him fly in the air, hoping he is experiencing misery in a negative way. One day, Jon notices Garfield is not losing any weight that he decides to take him to the vet and see Liz. Now what will happen next from all these weird misfortunes?

I liked how the author put some more unique graphics this time in this sequel since in the old books, it was usually basic ones that are usually repeated. The images are bold which is a good thing because it helps attract the reader to reading these visuals more and he or she can see what the author/illustrator is trying to express. I just don't like how the author put a little too much writing in the word bubbles because this is a comic book and I think comic books are sources you can read by mostly looking at images and less words. While reading the beginning of the book, I felt like this is going to be interesting but while reaching for the end, it started to bore me because it felt like there was never going to be an ending. The book just seemed pretty long to me. I would recommend this book to all ages, especially this is a source everyone can read and it looks innocent for a little one to read as well.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel, Grade 10
Downtown Central Library

Friday, November 29, 2019

Garfield food for thought by Jim Davis

For all these past few weeks (or months), Garfield finally agrees with Jon about going on a diet. They started off this new lifestyle by eating less cat food and lasagna and eating more healthy such as savory truffles. Garfield gladly endures this pain he considers and hopefully he will get used to it. He only agrees to this new lifestyle only because Jon can stop making fun of Garfield's tummy and that way he can make it smaller. For now, we know this is going very well and successful since Garfield currently tends to pick the healthier choices when it came to food and just leave the unhealthy ones behind but will this be able to last a long time? A long time where he will be able to lose some of that body weight and be considered fit?

I think this sequel just became one of my favorite books in the Garfield series because of the graphics. They seem to pop up more than in the other sequels and there are more unique images this time. The book cover also seems to look more modern even though this sequel was written and illustrated around the late 1980s. One downside I could say about this is there is more writing on the word bubbles. I think this feature isn't that bad but this is a comic book and comic books are more about looking at visuals rather than more writing. While reading this, it made me feel the author did really try to make a change in his writing and illustrations. I would specifically recommend this book to little children and preteens because of how whimsical the images can be and this is a child-friendly book too as well. Basically, everyone of all ages can read the Garfield comics.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel, Grade 10
Downtown Central Library

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Enne Salta, a well-mannered young lady from Bellamy, travels to New Reynes, the so called "City of Sin," in search of her missing mother. A letter from her mother guides her to the most famous con man in the city- a street lord known as Levi Glaiyser. Levi has his own problems- if he doesn't play back a debt in ten days, then he will be invited to the shadow game- a legendary game where the invitee always dies. Enne is taken on a adventure around the city where she finds out that her mother was not what she seemed to be- and finds a secret about her heritage that, if publicly known, would cause her immediate assassination. When things go wrong for Levi because of his huge debt, Enne must step in to try and help him out before he is killed by the shadow game.

I really enjoyed this novel by Amanda Foody. The way the city of New Reynes was described was fantastic, and the character development of both Enne and Levi made sense and was interesting to read. I liked how detailed everything was- you could almost see the city and the gangs described. I think that fans of action, adventure, and a little bit of magic would like reading this novel. This book was suspenseful and exciting in many places, but it was also sorrowful and morose in others. All in all, I think that Ace of Shades is a great book and I recommend that everyone tries reading it.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, November 25, 2019

Garfield Loses His Feet by Jim Davis

Jon observes Garfield from time to time when it came to his hobbies. Garfield wouldn't want to do anything at home except the excessive consumption of unhealthy food such as lasagna or think of him constantly sleeping in his bed, hiding under his blanket, and not waking up to a good day which is usually during around noon. Jon decides to take Garfield somewhere he could describe exotic for a cat's wellbeing. So they both take a flight together to an area where it has lots of beaches, assuming Garfield will be on his best behavior whenever they are out in public involving an area that is not their local town. This means Jon is going to need to find ways he will keep Garfield behaved whether it is during their stay or in any flight.

I think this is one of my favorite books that is a part of the Garfield comic book series. The plot had got me somehow interested when I began to flip over the pages during the beginning of the story. Again, I thought the graphics started to look basic whenever I'd go to a new page and they looked the same to me or at least repeated based on what I saw in the last four sequels I've read. I would suggest the author tries to make the images look different. I would recommend this book to everyone of all ages because this is a child-friendly book.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel, Grade 10
Downtown Central

Friday, November 22, 2019

Wildcard by Marie Lu

Wildcard is the sequel to Warcross in Marie Lu's Warcross series. The entire world had been affected by the program Hideo Tanaka, the creator of the Neurolink (a virtual/augmented reality system) had released to almost all the users of the Neurolink. This program essentially compelled people who have broken the law to either turn themselves in or commit suicide. It also gave Tanaka total control over them.
A hacker group, only known as the Blackcoats, contact Emika Chen, the main character, and recruit her into helping them shut down this program. Emika has to try and somehow gain control and shut this program down, using her previous friendship with Hideo to get close to him. However, she realizes that the Blackcoats are not what they seem, and is quickly swallowed in a web of hacking and subterfuge.

I enjoyed this book, but as I read the first book a while ago, I couldn't fully appreciate its story. I liked emotions and the sudden twists that the author excellently wrote into the novel's plot. However, I didn't like how predictable the story got in the end. I think that people who have read Marie Lu books and enjoyed them would like this book. I also think that people who are interested in hacking and artificial intelligence would also enjoy this book. This book made me curious about its proposed idea of downloading someone's mind and detaching it from a physical body. I enjoyed this book despite not remembering parts of the first book and I highly recommend it to others.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Garfield Sits Around the House by Jim Davis

The seventh book of this comic series is all about Garfield having a hard time trying to find other hobbies he could do at home instead of the same old usual things such as eating and sleeping constantly. Although, one hobby he finds is picking on Odie in a very weird and somehow insulting way by letting him fall off of a tree. Garfield also tries falling off buildings as he would with a tree and sometimes he would do it on the top of his house roof. Now, which one of these hobbies would Garfield do the most during his daily life?

I don't have a strong opinion on this book because there are times I like it but at the same time, I don't. For example, the graphics always look the same that sometimes the same images are being used constantly from the other books in the series. It's pretty hard to write a review on this in my personal opinion since I can't say much about how I felt about it. Although I liked the fact of how they didn't make the book so long to read and it is a child-friendly book even though when I checked out the book itself, it was in the teen category. I think everyone of all ages can read this book because I know anyone would enjoy the Garfield series.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel., Grade 10
Downtown Central Library

Monday, November 18, 2019

Garfield eats his heart out: His Sixth Book by Jim Davis

Everyone knows that Garfield is a cat who tends to eat a lot in an unhealthy way. Jon decides to take Garfield to the veterinarian so he can know what's wrong with his cat and he would go there every week during his checkups for him to try getting Liz to go out with him on a date. Sadly, Garfield is diagnosed with a sugar withdrawal so he is going to need to reduce his sugar and starch consumption by going on a healthy diet and changing his lifestyle. Jon struggles while doing this but at times he would make it work.

This had a great story, to begin with. Some of the graphics looked humorous but there were some I didn't like as much as certain ones because I thought they looked a bit basic. For example, there was one part where Garfield would hide under his bed all the time and the graphics always looked the same except it had word bubbles in them. Even though these comics were written in the 70s, I wish there was some color on the images like the ones at the back of the book cover. From the beginning to the middle of the book, I felt like I enjoyed reading this but when I began to get closer to the end of the strip, I started to feel a little bored. And I think everyone of all ages can read these comics.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel, Grade 10
Downtown Central Library

Friday, November 15, 2019

Garfield bigger than life: His Third Book by Jim Davis

The third comic book of the Garfield series is all about your all time favorite orange chubby cat Garfield teaching you how to always embrace yourself no matter who you are. Whether you are very small or a little bit big, this cat will help to motivate you that you should be yourself because life has a really big obstacles coming your way in so many interactions and other ways. This typical comic strip would show you examples of ways how Garfield may not enjoy his life at home sometimes because of his peers such as Lyman and his dog Odie living with him and Jon.

In my opinion, I thought that while looking over this comic strip didn't really make much of a difference between this sequel and the first one. I mean it is true that they can be both humorous but I just think they all seem the same. On the bright side, I kind of thought these comics are enjoyable at some point. I find some of them a bit too long though but that' s okay. I don't like the fact some of the graphics drawn are kind of repetitive. Maybe if the illustrator could have more of a variety in their imagery, the reader would probably not get too bored from reading future comics. And also, anyone of all ages can read Garfield comics since they are considered family friendly about most of the time.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel, Grade 10
Downtown Central

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Garfield at Large: His First Book by Jim Davis

This 1970s Garfield comic book classic shows the typical life of Garfield the cat himself. His main hobbies are eating and sleeping on a regular basis. Living with his owner Jon Arbuckle and Lyman, who is Odie's owner since they both now live together in the same house because Lyman's house got burned down. This would also show what are Garfield's clever and wild moments such as him eating a mailman or destroying a very expensive scratching post. Sometimes, Jon would wonder why did he ever adopt this poor giant orange cat and if he ever regretted doing this.

I haven't read comics for a long time now but when it came to me getting back on my feet into reading them again, I think that this is one of the best comic books I have ever read. I used to read them a lot when I was a little kid but now I got to understand them more in a funnier way. I really enjoy the humor and the imagery in these strips for a first book of the Garfield series. It's also not too long or too short but it can sometimes feel a book may never end in general. I can't say I didn't like the book but although I thought the way the book physically looks, it should be facing a vertical direction rather than a horizontal one based on the copy I got because sometimes it wouldn't fit in my bag but otherwise, it's a really fun book to read. Whether big or small, I would recommend this book to everyone who can read because comics are mostly less words and more graphics.

Reviewed by Hannah Rachel, Grade 10
Downtown Central

Monday, November 11, 2019

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green follows Aza Holmes, a high school student that suffers with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. The story begins when Daisy, Aza's good friend, finds out that Russell Picket, a billionaire and Davis Pickett's father, Aza's old friend, has suddenly gone missing. The timing is quite ironic because he was being investigated for fraud at the time. Because the award to find Pickett is 100,000 dollars, Daisy and Aza go on a hunt to find him. Chaos ensues.

I believe that this book is very important because it helps remove the stigma that surrounds people who have a mental illness, specifically obsessive compulsive disorder. Despite all the awful things that come Ava's way, it's inspiring to see how she always gets back up on her feet. The book is definitely one of John Green's better ones so if you've read any of his books prior and you weren't impressed, I highly recommend you give this one a shot. I thought it was extremely well-written and perfectly paced. I enjoyed how he combined a high school drama with an insane mystery, the daily struggles of someone with mental illness, and romance. Green is a master of portraying teenagers less as whiny drama queens and more as intelligent and mature people. This book was truly amazing! Do yourself a favor and make some time to read it.

Reviewed by Melody Seraydarian, Grade 11
Montrose Library

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase, a homeless teen living on the streets of Boston has few friends other than Blitz and Hearth, two homeless guys that always seem to be hanging around and protecting him. Magnus' mom is dead, killed by a pack of wolves that attacked his apartment a while back. Magnus is a demigod, the son of an ancient Norse god, who came to Earth and decided to have a kid. Because of his connection to the Gods, he is killed... but is then sent to Valhalla, Odin's hall of fallen heroes, where he decides to escape, and go on a quest to find his father's lost sword, The Sword of Summer.

I really liked this book, it has the same feeling as one of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books, but with different characters, and a bit of something else that I just can't put my finger on. One thing that I really enjoy about this book is that I learn a lot about the mythology, and the culture of the Norse. This is similar to how I learned about the Greeks with Percy Jackson books, and the Egyptians with the Kane Chronicles series. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read stories by Rick Riordan, or people who just like fantasy or mythology.

Reviewed by Julio B., Grade 10
Downtown Central

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer is an interesting reimagining of Twilight. The main character, Beau Swan, moves from where he lived with his mother in Phoenix, Arizona to the small town of Forks, Oregon to live with his father. He is enrolled into the local high school, where he sees the Cullen family- all of them are extremely beautiful and seem to keep to themselves. He is enthralled by Edythe Cullen, the youngest in the family. He becomes friends with Edythe, and she somehow saves him from a car accident and a mugging, showing unnatural abilities. Beau, knowing that Edythe is something more than human, finds out that the Cullens are actually a family of vampires- however, they restrain themselves to only hunting animals. Trouble strikes when another vampire coven moves through the area. One of these vampires, named Joss, decides to hunt Beau. The Cullens try to hide Beau in Phoenix- however, Joss tricks Beau into thinking that she has his mother as hostage. Beau agrees to meet Joss, and realizes that Joss never had his mother. The Cullens find him and kill Joss, but not before she bites Beau, causing his inevitable transformation into a vampire.

I really enjoyed Life and Death. In my opinion, the story was good- having plenty of romance, action, and tension. I enjoyed how some parts of the book were drastically changed from Twilight, especially the twist ending where Beau becomes a vampire. However, I didn't like how some parts of the novel were literally just copy and pasted from Twilight. I think that people who liked Twilight and people who like action/romance novels would enjoy this book, but I would suggest reading the Twilight series first- this book is more like an add on. The book tackled an interesting point- a universe where Edward was Edythe and Bella was Beau. Overall, I really liked this book and I would definitely recommend it.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, November 4, 2019

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead is the second book in the Scythe series. It follows the same characters from the previous book, Rowan, and Citra. Rowan has gone rogue, and now hunts down corrupt scythes, and ends them for good. Meanwhile, Citra is a influential new member among the scythe community. She openly opposes the new order, and is considered to be a supporter of the old guard ideals. The newest character that we see is a young adult named Greyson Tolliver. Greyson is a ward of the state, who was abandoned by his parents and taken in by the Thunderhead. His hope of becoming a Nimbus agent is cut short when he is told to interfere in the world of the scythes.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It is a good, fun read, and gives a new element to what you would think the world of scythes is like after reading Scythe. Like the previous book, Thunderhead is set in a Utopian future, where there is no pain or disease. To anyone who likes fiction, futuristic novels, or whoever just wants a nice, engaging read, I do indeed recommend this book. Neal Shusterman is an author who just knows how to craft a good story in a new reality, and how to grab a reader's attention. I am really anticipating the release of his next Scythe novel, and after reading the Thunderhead, you will be too.

Reviewed by Julio B., Grade 10
Casa Verdugo Library

Friday, November 1, 2019

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion by Goro Taniguichi and Ichiro Okouchi

After the Holy Britannian Empire had taken over Japan using giant robots labeled Knightmare Frames, Japan is taken away from all rights and renamed Area 11 and its citizens Elevens. But a 17 year old Britannian has hopes of breaking up the very structure he is a part of. He has been bestowed the power of geass, also known as the power of the king, is a supernatural ability which manifests differently in each being related to their inner desires and personality, by a strange green-haired girl. Using his alternate persona “Zero”, Lelouch uses everything in his power the shut Britannia down once and for all.

I find code geass to be a thrilling book to read. The world of Code Geass is very interesting to explore. You have the depressing world of the Japanese facing racism against high and wealthy world of the Britannians.The mix of politics is nice blend to the action and fantasy. I find the anti-hero protagonist, Lelouch Lamperouge, to be a nice opposition to the secondary protagonist, Suzaku Kururugi. Both have similar goals in mind but different ways of executing them. This makes the rivalry and bonding between the two characters exciting. I would suggest this book to anyone who the manga “ Death Note” and “Guilty Crown”.

Reviewed by Sahaar, Grade 8
Downtown Central Library

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

When Chinese-American Rachel Chu approves of the idea of spending the summer in Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s “run-of-the-mill” family and attend his best friend’s wedding, she envisions the visit to be simple, comforting, and a little boring. Little does she know that this “normal” Chinese family are nothing but. The cousin who spends millions on the latest couture, the mother who keeps control and check of everything ( even her son’s love life ), and the grandmother who are friends with royalty. Nick’s over expecting mother, his ex, and drama in the Young/Leong clan. Rachel needs to overcome these obstacles in order to stay by the love of her life’s side.

I thought of the book to be really inventive. I felt that the book really captured the brilliance of Singapore. Each and every single one of the characters have been given their own personality and traits which makes all of them stand out from one another. You have the beautiful Astrid, even though it is likely that she spends the most in the family, she is the kindest and one of the most successful. Overall, I really liked this book and I can find people who are into comedy, drama, and a bit of romance favor this adventurous book.

Reviewed by Sahaar, Grade 8
Downtown Central Library

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Stand by Stephen King

Stephen Kings's The Stand is a post- apocalyptic novel with a very complicated, intricate story line. After a devastating plague, illicitly engineered by the government in a secure facility, escapes and kills almost everyone, the survivors begin having dreams about two figures- "the black man" and a kindly old woman known as "Mother Abagail." The main characters of the stories are drawn to these figures- the woman seems to be a prophet of God, and the black man seems to be a demon. Each figure begins to draw a following, making small towns of survivors. The story follows these characters as they plan to infiltrate the black man's following and hopefully destroy him before they are killed by him.

I really enjoyed this novel by Stephen King. It had a very interesting premise- the idea of otherworldly forces in a post-apocalyptic setting. I think that fans of Stephen King or even fans of just apocalyptic/ post-apocalyptic books would enjoy this book very much. The entire book was suspenseful and scary, and some descriptions of the black man created an atmosphere where it seemed as if anything could happen. I was intrigued by the theological side to the book- the black man was some sort of demon or god, and the story was essentially about a conflict between good and evil. I also liked the extensive detailing that was utilized throughout the story. This book should be high on the reading list of everyone.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, October 25, 2019

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, is a science fiction story about determination. The main character, Kady Grant, is a high school girl living on the planet of Kerenza, where her parents work for a highly illegal mining company. A rival corporation, Bei-Tech, finds out about this illegal mining city, and instead of reporting them, decides to bomb them with biological weapons- they want these resources for themselves. Many of the civilians make it off-planet in launch ships and send mayday signals, and a governmental ship, the Alexander, shows up. The ensuing battle between the Bei-tech ships and the Alexander leaves the Alexander extremely damaged- its AI is haywire and dangerous, and it cannot open a wormhole gate to leave the area. Against all odds, Kady has to help the insane AI defend the civilians.

I thought that Illuminae was an interesting, well written novel. Instead of being written through third person, it is an amalgamation of text message logs, commentary on security camera clips, and audio files that is initially strange, but unique and still easily understandable. I think that people who enjoy science fiction novels would very much enjoy this novel- it has space travel, engineered diseases, and a crazy artificial intelligence. This novel was very tense and suspenseful, which I think made it hard to put down. I would definitely recommend this book.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, October 21, 2019

Revival by Stephen King

Revival by Stephen King is a horror novel, revolving around the ideas of death and addiction. The story starts off with the main character, Jaime Morton, meeting the new pastor in town, Charles Jacobs. The entire small town comes to love Jacobs, but that all changes when his wife and son are killed in a car accident and he renounces the idea of a good, benevolent god. During the course of his life, he experiments with what he calls "secret electricity"- an energy that seems to be able to heal many injuries- even including paralysis. Jaime, now grown up, becomes a heroin addict and is cured of his addiction by Jacobs. However, upon further research, Jaime finds that everyone who has been healed by Jacobs has strange side effects and oftentimes commit suicide later on in life. Jaime sets out to stop Jacobs from "healing" others and finds out that Jacobs wants to do one ultimate act- bring a woman back from the dead and see what fate had befallen his wife and son.

I enjoyed this novel. The way King set up the whole story, from the start of Jaime's life to his old age, was well executed, and the dark, almost evil tones of the novel drew me in. I thought that the ideas in the book were rather grim and depressive, but that was to be expected from King. The characters in this novel were also very well fleshed out, and their motives were very intriguing (think of Jacobs studying his "secret electricity" in order to see what had happened to his wife and son). I think that young adults or adults interested in Lovecraftian fiction would especially enjoy this book. I think that this novel was an interesting read and I would definitely recommend it to others.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, by Stephenie Meyer, is a short novel set in the Twilight Series that follows the story of a newborn vampire, Bree Tanner. She's been created (i.e. changed into a vampire) by a mysterious woman only referred to as "she," and is part of an almost orderless coven led by an inexperienced leader, Riley. Bree befriends another vampire called Diego, and they decide to leave the coven. However, Riley manipulates the vampires into believing that they have to fight another clan, the Cullens, in order to protect their territory and prey. Bree is unwillingly caught up in this fight and surrenders to the forgiving Cullens, only to meet a quick demise to the Volturi, a rival clan to the Cullens.

I enjoyed this book very much, as it was just an interesting spin-off of the original Twilight series. Unlike the books in the Twilight Saga, this book follows the story of a newborn vampire who doesn't give much thought to the murder of humans, which made for a unique perspective. In my opinion, there wasn't much not to like about this book, as it was entertaining from start to finish. I think that readers or fans of the original Twilight series would like this book very much. I would definitely recommend this novel to a friend, but only a friend who has read the original series before- then everything in this novel would make much more sense. I think that many people would enjoy this enthralling novel, even if they have never read Twilight.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

Friday, October 11, 2019

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book follows the story of 14 year old Matilda cook or "Mattie". Our story takes place during the hot summer of Philadelphia. Mattie is a typical teenager: she has her head in the clouds and is always daydreaming. She often runs into arguments with her mother Lucille, she has urges to run away or rebel, and she is quite witty and sarcastic. Mattie soon finds herself in a whirlwind of illness all around her, and has to figure out how to survive all on her own. She meets new faces, and sees some familiar ones on her dangerous adventure. She learns more about herself, and how to survive.

In my opinion, this book displays characters and events that I found really interesting to learn more about. I feel that this book is very historically accurate and easy to follow, while not being boring or slow. While the story does take a minute to pick up in the beginning, it gets very entertaining and suspenseful. This remains one of my favorite (if not my favorite) book I've read. The book does get quite graphic with the description of illness so maybe it's not for the faint of heart.

Reviewed by Angelina R., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The book, Five People You Meet In Heaven, was published in 2003. It was written by Mitch Albom. This book is set in both a fictional heaven and in Earth. The main character is the head maintenance man from Ruby Pier named Eddie. Eddie dies in a tragic accident at the pier while trying to save a little girl. After his death, Eddie journeys through heaven meeting five people that have impacted his life. Each person, having had a different role in Eddie's life, teach him new things by reliving moments in the past.

The book, Five People You Meet in Heaven, was a very enjoyable book to read. I learned a lot about life and many other things through reading this book. I learned to always listen to what other people are trying to teach you and to always be a good person because one day you will regret it all. This book showed me that those who love you, will not always show it, but they do. I would highly recommend this book to any teenage readers because it teaches very important life lessons to the reader.

Reviewed by Alexander B., Grade 9
Downtown Central Library

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

Vika Andreyeva and Nikolai Karimov are two young enchanters living in Russia. Vika has lived on remote, sheltered Ovchinin Island her whole life, raised by her loving father and mentor, Sergei. Nikolai is an orphan from the steppe who was found at a young age by his mentor, Sergei's brother Galina, and brought to St. Petersburg to train with her. The two enchanters have led completely separate lives until an unexpected event is initiated- the Crown's Game. In this ancient duel, Vika and Nikolai must perform feats of magic, each trying to outdo the other, or even better, kill each other, to impress the tsar. The winner will become the Imperial Enchanter, the tsar's most powerful advisor. The loser will die. But as Vika and Nikolai compete, creating magical fountains, dream benches, and even a new island, they realize that they can't kill each other- they have fallen in love. To make things even more complicated, Pasha, the tsar's son, falls for Vika. He vows to help defeat the other enchanter, unknowingly pitting himself against Nikolai, his best friend. Over the course of the Crown's Game, secrets about Vika and Nikolai's parents are revealed, friendships are created and lost, and deadly sacrifices are made. But in the end, who will win?

I really enjoyed the excitement, suspense, drama, and romance in The Crown's Game. I think there was a little too much of the romance, though. I also wish there was more humor- while there were some funny moments, I think a bit more could have lightened the book from all the drama about love, death, betrayal, etc. However, it was still very fun to read, and I kept wanting to know what happened next. (I am planning on reading the sequel, The Crown's Fate, too.) Fans of Legend, by Marie Lu, will especially like this book because they both feature unexpected lovers who are from different places and have different backgrounds, yet are somehow brought together. Also, the main characters in both books are orphans and are being forced to use their talents and resourcefulness to fend for themselves. Finally, The Crown's Game has a pretty low reading level (5th-6th grade), so any teen can enjoy this excellent book.

Reviewed by Isabelle W., Grade 9.
Montrose Library

Monday, September 30, 2019

Who Are You, Really? by Brian Little

This psychology book will leave you psychoanalyzing everyone you meet. Brain R. Little provides an incredible look into the development of personality. Though explainitions and metaphors, the reader comes to understand what makes everyone themselves and how this happens. Once you know who you are and more importantly why you're this way, choices and decisions come easier. Even if you don't read this looking for insight, understanding people really comes in handy.

This is by far my favorite psychology book that I have read. The information it contains is extremely important when you're trying to understand what made you the way you are. It provides a great platform for self exploration and personal revelations. Its not just very helpful, but also interesting if you're only looking for a light read. It beautifully written and will really leave you thinking.

Reviewed by Isabella Robles, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Ugly American by William Lederer and Eugene Burdick

"The Ugly American" features a candid look into to America's international politics during the 1950s. It follows the story of multiple men abroad in Asia, showing the reader what life really looked like in the midst of international affairs. While all characters were created by the authors, they truly come to represent the real people and events of the time, and trust me when I say it really was ugly. From racist regards to painfully ignorant remarks, most of the American men did anything but make a good impression. This book was widely recognized to be controversial for it's time because of how openly it addressed it's topic and content.

While the actions of some characters may be extremely frustrating, this story paints a historically accurate picture of what these events really looked like. The writing is great, but accompanied by the creative way the story follows each person, you get a really amazing book. The reader is constantly made to question the values of American culture. This book is eye opening and overall very entertaining. I would absolutely recommend this book to any historical fiction fan or even someone with an interest in politics. Especially in the political climate of today, I would call this book a must read!

Reviewed by Isabella Robles, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Monday, September 23, 2019

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The Montagues and the Capulets are two rival families because they hate each other from dark pasts they have. We have Romeo, who is a Montague with a golden heart, and we have Juliet as a Capulet. These two people used to have their own love lives for other people. Romeo used to want Rosaline and Juliet desired Paris, but here's the trick: while looking for their own people at a party hosted by the Capulet family, they apparently didn't succeed, so instead Romeo and Juliet end up running into each other during a dance and love blossomed between the two. They both kissed secretly and during the aftermath, they realized what they had done is a sin because both of their families hate each other. So despite that, they decide to get married in secret with the help of Friar. Let's hope that the Montagues and the Capulets do not find out about this marriage.

I thought this classic was pretty okay. I couldn't understand much of it first but from hearing the basic points of it many times from other people, I'm glad I at least got a better idea on what was happening here. The ending was a bit sad though. And the worst part was is since there are a bunch of movie adaptations to this, it looked even scarier. (I watched the 1968 adaptation of the movie by the way.) What I didn't like about this was the character Tybalt who is Juliet's cousin. He made me feel mad in some way whether it was me watching the movie or reading the play itself. I mean yeah true he is just a fictional character in the story but I still didn't like him but it doesn't necessarily matter because this is how the author really wanted the play to look before getting it published way back years ago. I really didn't like the English slang although. It made my life even more confusing but the beneficial part to this was there are some definitions next to the term that way I can understand it better. Pretty convenient. I really suggest watching the movie and reading the play to anyone. Well, I should probably say anyone with a passion for reading anything but agewise, I'd most likely say anyone who is like 14 or 15 years old because individuals around that age should pretty much get the basic ideas of this play because if starting at a very young age, they may not get the idea or gist this is trying to let out. I hope you guys enjoy reading this play because everyone in general loves reading Romeo and Juliet and besides, who doesn't love Shakespeare?

Reviewed by Hannah R., Grade 10
Downtown Central Library

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Odyssey by Homer

A brave and strong warrior named Odysseus leaves his beloved hometown Ithaca in order to go off to the real world and fight these different, somehow cruel people and odd monsters that decide to go against him in any way when it comes to battle terms. Think of the Cyclops and Eurymachus as examples who come in Odysseus's way. But of course, there will be a time that Odysseus will come back to his hometown for his family and for the fellow citizens living there. He does this after twenty years, and there are some things he needs to do after his arrival such as saving his wife Penelope from a bunch of suitors who desire her to remarry or reconnecting with his son Telemachus. Basically, this epic poem explains the life of Odysseus and what it is like.

I really couldn't understand the whole plot of this epic poem. It took me a while to realize that an epic poem are long poems with many stanzas and lines that tell a story and the thing was there was a lot of them explaining different topics and conflicts in them. At least the ending sounded nice, well from what I've seen in the text's connotation and tone but I still didn't get the whole thing though. But during around the middle of the epic poem, such as the falling action or the climax, it got me somehow interested and appealed into reading it more. I realized that when it came to reading any type of poem, you would have to read it several times in order to fully understand it clearly. Reading all of this in about three weeks to a month, those were the most boring days of my life. I'd rather waste my time reading another piece of material than this again because I just honestly disliked it. If you are a person who loves reading any type of poetry or you want to enhance your knowledge more on literature, then take a look at this and read this kind of content.

Reviewed by Hannah R., Grade 10
Downtown Central

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bi-Normal by M. G. Higgins

Legendary football jock Brett Miller is one of the most popular students at Elkhead High and is dating a girl from the softball team. During this intimate relationship, he meets and somehow falls in love with another guy named Zach. As a result, Brett learns the term "bi" and he is now trying to find another solution to this problem. While walking in the school halls on a very regular school day, he sees another guy his age getting bullied because he is a homosexual which adds more fuel to the fire to Brett's internal conflict of his own since these two boys are going through the same problem mentally and emotionally. How will Brett be able to help this poor man overcome bullying from something he has that certain people wouldn't approve of? Will Brett break up with his girlfriend for another man or just stick with what he has?

From first hearing this book (or I should say reading it), I thought this was going to be a very good one but sadly no. It just sounds so basic. I think anyone would be able to write something better than that which is one of the reasons why the book in general gets a three-star rating from most rating sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Goodreads. I wish the author could've given a bit more effort in writing this, especially since the books she writes and the author herself isn't even a well-known author yet. Reading this book made me feel kind of mad and disappointed at the same time because of how bad I thought this book was. I honestly think anyone can read this book and maybe hopefully there will be some people who will enjoy reading this even though a lot of people find it bad reading material. I think if this author decides to give it her all and be more creative, she can be a very successful author and have many more stories published.

Reviewed by Hannah R., Grade 10
Downtown Central

Friday, September 13, 2019

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Half Jewish and Bisexual, Tanner Scott lives in one of the most accepting places in the US, Palo Alto, California. When his parents announce they are moving to Provo, Utah, the epicenter of the Later Day Saints, a conservative Mormon group that condemns homosexuality, Tanner's uber accepting parents warn him not to come out to anybody, for fear of his safety. Tanner, at the urging of his best friend Autumn, joins the Seminar at his high school, a writing program where students must write a novel in 4 months. What Tanner does not count on is Sebastian Brother, the epitome of a good Mormon boy, involved in his church, a famous writer as a result of the Seminar, and gorgeous looking too boot. As Tanner's connection with Sebastian grows, Sebastian struggles with his feelings for Tanner, and the expectations of his church, community, and family.

Autoboyography is a must read for any devout queer teen. Christina Lauren does a beautiful job of portraying the struggles of coming to terms with yourself when everyone else has such strong expectations of who you should be. The conflict of this book was Superb! There is lots of angst, so readers looking for a light, fluffy book, steer clear. This book made me realize, as a queer teen, how lucky I am to live in a community that supports me for who I am, and made me think about the struggles of teens who love their religion that maybe doesn't love them back. The angst, and longing, and heartbreak that Tanner experiences along with the inner turmoil of Sebastian tugged at my heartstrings and will be sure to enthrall any reader lucky enough to meet these two.

Reviewed by Claire., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Monday, September 9, 2019

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Pierce

The book takes place in the time of The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The main character, Cassie, lives with her family, The Logan family, who are a sharecropping family. They also live with Big Ma, Cassie’s grandma, and Mr. Morrison, who worked with Mr. Logan. Also Uncle Hammer, Cassie’s uncle comes from up north to celebrate the holidays with them. The family has deal with a lot of problems in the community, like the Klu Klux Klan, getting Lynched, burned, and treated like garbage. The family does get into some of the trouble in the community, but finds a way out of it. All they want is to be treated equally like anyone else.

The book is a very historically accurate book. It teaches people of all races what African Americans had to deal with during that time period. I think all kinds of people, especially African Americans, would like this book. It made me think about why did African Americans have to go through this hatred, because of the color of their skin. People need to know about all this stuff African Americans had to go through, so it will never happen again. We don’t want this to ever happen to African Americans or an other race ever again.

Reviewed by Peter D., Grade 9
Montrose Library

This story features an African American family living the deep south, set in the 1930s. The experiences are mainly those of the four Logan children; Stacey, Little Man, Christopher John, and Cassie. Cassie takes the place of the narrator, giving the reader a detailed yet innocent perspective throughout the story. The kids find themselves in some very unfair situations, always based on their race. Cassie fights this over the course of the story, refusing to fall victim to the ignorance of others.

Not only do I love the book, I love what it does. In a very entertaining way, this book brings light to a history that Americans commonly ignore. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were often ignored in the 1930s South. The oppressive social, economic, and political structure created a new set of hardships for post-slavery African Americans. The story creates both characters you'll love and those you'll hate. I would recommend this book to any teen, but especially those that want to learn about the struggles of people before us.

Reviewed by Isabella Robles, Grade 9
Montrose Library

This book follows an African American family (aka the Logans) in 1930's Mississippi. Our main character is a nine year old girl named Cassie. Cassie and her three brothers plus their friend TJ, go on all sorts of adventures, all while battling the harsh reality of racism at the time. The children are faced with lots of racial injustice, but they make do. The families go through both social financial struggles, but keep their heads up for the most part. There are a lot of changes when tension in the neighborhood grows much larger.

This is by far one of the most socially profound books I have ever read. It is way ahead of its time. The issues dealt with in this book are not to be taken lightly, but the author prefaced them in such a well written and creative way that something that is so complicated, becomes almost simple and easy to understand. I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this book, it was engaging and hard to turn away from. The social issues are highlighted so well, and I don't think enough people have read this book. I absolutely recommend! 

Reviewed by Angelina R., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Cassie Logan lives in Mississippi with her Mama, Papa, Grandmother, and 3 brothers. It is 1932, and her family is African American, but Cassie is only 9 years old and does not yet fully understand segregation and racism. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is about Cassie's maturation in the face of racial injustice and how she, her family, and the black community survive through horrible things at the hands of whites. Cassie's school is poor and old, while the white school has sports fields, separate classrooms, and a sports field. The white school bus torments the Logan children, who do not even get a school bus. The Ku Klux Klan endangers the lives of the Logans and other African American characters throughout the novel. The Logans own their own land but struggle to make enough money to support and protect their large and loving family.

This historical fiction novel is a great read for all ages. Not only is it historically accurate, it also informs the reader of the hardships African Americans were forced to face in the past and still struggle with today. This is an important book for children because it teaches an important part of American history that cannot and should not be ignored. Also, the author, Mildred D. Taylor, is a wordsmith. She paints the scenes in the novel with such beauty and symbolism that sets the stage for the plot, which is entertaining but a hard truth to face. This was the only school book that I enjoyed reading, and I recommend it for anyone, especially people that are interested in US post- Civil War history or Civil Rights. The novel is filled with lovable characters and a good storyline that stays with readers even after they are done reading.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Montrose Library 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Schooled by Gordon Korman

Once there was a teenage boy named Capricorn Anderson. Everybody called him “Cap” for short. He was living with his hippie grandmother, Rain, in the farm community of Garland. One day, the police arrested Cap for driving their pickup truck without a license. When they asked him where he was going, he told them he was taking his grandmother to the hospital because she fell out of a plum tree. Soon after, they unlocked his handcuffs and he was free to go. The ambulance took Rain to the hospital because she had broken her hip while falling out of the tree. When they took his grandmother to the hospital, Cap was forced to live live with his social worker named Mrs. Donnelly.
Soon after, Cap began his new school at Claverage Middle School. Zach Powers was the school bully who had removed the letter “l” from the word “Claverage” and now the school sign read as “C average Middle School.” Cap was a hippie boy who wore tie-dyed shirts and corn husk sandals.
Zach thought that Cap was the perfect person for him and his friends to pick on and make fun of at school. At school, there was an eighth-grade tradition of voting the weakest student as president of the student body. Zach thought that Cap would be the best person to be chosen as president of C average Middle School.
After a few days, the students voted for Cap as President of C Average Middle School. Many of the student body at school felt excited for Cap, especially Hugh Winkleman. Hugh knew that he would have been chosen President if it hadn’t been for Cap because he was a nerd and geek at school.
Soon after, all the students began to really like Cap for who he really was and he showed everyone about the importance of sympathy, caring, and respect towards others.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it talks about the importance of being kind, caring, and sympathetic to others. Even though Cap was different - he really cared. He started learning everybody's names, and tried his best to listen and take recommendations from everyone. Just as everyone started warming up to him, there was an accident - and then Cap disappeared leaving everyone to wonder where he went. What happened to the 8th grade president of Claverage Middle School? This is a great book about adapting to a new environment at middle school. I would recommend this book to everyone regarding the issues of being bullied at school and how to overcome difficult obstacles that may come up unplanned at school. It's a must read for all young teens!

Reviewed by Eric G., Grade 9
Downtown Central Library