Friday, May 29, 2020

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz

Kamran Smith, an Iranian-American, has everything. He is a star football player, dates a popular girl, and is excited to follow in his brother Darius's footsteps and attend West Point and join the Army. But then, everything changes. Darius is accused of being a terrorist, seemingly joining al Qaeda and attacking a U.S. Embassy. Videos of him get released in which he makes threats against the U.S. and speaking of a major, upcoming attack. Because of this, everyone turns against Kamran because they believe he is a terrorist too. Then, he and his family are taken into custody by the U.S. government. Kamran refuses to believe that Darius is a terrorist and that he would never betray his country. Now, Kamran must set out to prove Darius's innocence and to stop this terrorist threat, as well as uncover the terrorists' next plot. With the help of a ragtag team, Kamran will go on a crazy adventure to find his brother and discover the truth behind what happened.

I think this became my new favorite book. I love it. Alan Gratz did an amazing job with this masterpiece. The various incidents Kamran encountered while on the search for his brother were incredible. This book kept me in great suspense the whole time I was reading the book, and I wondered if Darius really had joined al Qaeda. The background stories of Kamran's team members were really interesting. This book also accurately depicted racism and stereotypes. The racial insults in the book are what many people call Muslims in real life. It also depicts what Muslims experienced in terms of racism and hate after 9/11, and explains the stereotype of all Muslims being terrorists. Overall, this book's outstanding use of real life historical events combined with fictional characters make for an awesome read.

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

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

The Storm Crow is about the princess of Rhodaire, Princess Anthia. Thia lived in a world where crows where magical, it was their countries way of life and Thia had always wanted to be a crow rider. However, all her dreams were crushed when one day, a neighboring kingdom attacked, wiping out all the magical crows from Rhodaire and murdering Anthia's and her sister, Caliza's, mother, the queen. When Caliza becomes queen, Thia is forced to marry Ericen, the prince from the country who doomed Rhodaire. But, Thia has a plan. If she can save the last storm crow egg that she found, just before leaving Rhodaire, she could end their engagement, and save her country. Along her way, she meets a friend, Caylus, who would help her try to hatch this egg. Meanwhile, Ericin was slowly starting to fall in love with Thia, though Thia didn't share the same affections. While trying to accomplish her goals, Anthia discovers a horrifying secret. She now is more dedicated to saving her country.

I really loved this book and I cannot wait for the next book to come out! I enjoy reading teen fiction and fantasy books, and this is one of them. I love how this book creates an aura of suspense and encourages the reader to want to keep reading. I can never find myself to close the book once I start reading! Like most characters, Anthia is strong and dedicated, which is what I love most about her. She cares and embraces her country's culture and memories, and doesn't allow anyone to dare criticize it. I 100% recommend people to read this book and give it a try. If I were to rate this book, one being the absolute worst and ten being one of the best books I've ever read, then I would rate The Storm Crow a ten.

Reviewed by Raeesah, Grade 8
Casa Verdugo Library