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All Book Reviews

The 5th Wave
Yancey, Rick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about an alien apocalypse that comes in 5 waves. Except the aliens – called the “others” – aren’t the traditional kind that most people picture. The book starts off after four of the five waves hit. The main protagonist, Cassie, is in a tent all alone in the forest. The thing that I liked the most about this book was the fast-paced writing, which made it entertaining and enjoyable. However, a few characters weren't as interesting in my opinion and sometimes appeared generic or like the standard character in YA/dystopian series. Also, to be overly critical, I thought there wasn't any logic to a few things in the story. Overall, though, this book was very entertaining and I read through it quickly.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Camille A.
What's Left of Me
Zhang, Kat
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book is about a society where children are born with two souls. As they get older, the recessive soul of the two disappears, while the dominant one becomes the only one controlling the body. However, in some people, the recessive soul doesn't completely disappear, making them a hybrid. The society in this book doesn't accept hybrids, which our main characters – Addie and Eva – happen to be. I thought this book was okay for the most part. It was interesting to see the different characters’ personalities and how they interacted with each other, especially when sharing a body. However, I thought the pacing was just too slow. It took forever for something important to happen. There are maybe two or three pages that actually feel fast-paced, at least in my opinion. Also, the whole point of the story isn't too clear, such as why the hybrids are viewed as a threat and not accepted in society.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Camille A.
Code Name Verity
Wein, Elizabeth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is about Verity, a spy imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII who agrees to write everything she knows down for them, just to buy time. I found the format very interesting in this book. Although it was slow and seemingly pointless at the beginning, the little details all come together in the end to complete the story. Even though the ending may appear predictable, it is pulled off in a surprising way. I liked the characters in this book; most of their personalities were well developed and there were some plot twists about them revealed later in the book.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Camille A.
Genres:
Fairest
Meyer, Marissa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book focuses on the main antagonist of The Lunar Chronicles series: Levana, before she became the queen of Luna. This book explains many things that were mentioned in The Lunar Chronicles, and shows Levana’s journey from an unfortunate youth into the powerful queen. It was interesting to see the world through the younger Levana’s eyes, and understanding her past. This book also describes drastic steps she took in order to become the ruler of Luna. The setting for the story, the moon, was described and built from a unique perspective, which made it interesting to see Earth from the moon’s.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Camille A.
Surrender
Hartnett, Sonya
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is a dark horror and mystery book told by Gabriel; a 20 year old recounting his humiliation-filled life on his deathbed. All of Gabriel’s recollections add up to the present situation that he and his town are in. This book has a lot of imagery, which gives readers a good picture of the horrific things that play out. It also has a lot of complexly-worded phrases, and some rhyming. The characters were fascinating, especially Finnigan, and develop a lot towards the very end. I found the story interesting enough to read through quickly, but the ending was a little too dark and confusing in my opinion.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Camille A.
Genres:
Lord of the Flies
Golding, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, I found it to be based upon the ideas of good vs evil. A group of British boys are traveling on a plane when unexpectedly their plane crashes on an unknown island. Many examples of symbolism can be found throughout this book which play a big role on finding the true meaning of it overall. Good vs evil can also be found throughout the boys and what they go through when trying to survive and keep stable. This book makes you want to keep reading so you can learn what happens next, which I believe can be some of the best books to read. Keep an eye out for the meaning of the title and how it plays along with the things that are affecting the boys and their survival.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Genres:
Clockwork Angel
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, is a pretty interesting novel. There are a lot of different scenarios taking place for the main character named Tessa, who is also trying to find out who she really is along with finding her brother, Nate. A majority of the book is taking place at the institute, which is a place where not so normal people are taken to. This book has many different fantasy-like aspects from demons, shadow hunters, downworlders, vampires, etc. I thought it was a pretty good book and super fun to read, though it's somewhat long for some.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Awards:
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, it depicts many aspects relating to actual things in today's society. Many concepts such as love, hate, beauty, selfishness, and more help to do this. In this book Dorian also goes through a series of emotions and battles with his own thoughts. Throughout, many people have had a great or little effect on how the book plays out overall. This book was very interesting and kept me engaged the whole time while reading it. If you love reading novels that are a bit crazy but really puts others lives in perspective this is a great book to read.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Genres:
Book Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Paterson, Katherine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Very good, as all Katherine Paterson novels are. A quick read, and like her other novels, it shows rather than tells. My only problem with the book was the ending was too abrupt for my taste. I would have liked for it to be longer and show her life with her grandmother and the effects of Courtney's visit.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Bellweather Rhapsody
Racculia, Kate
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Brimming with snappy dialogue, mistaken identity, and lots of musical references, "Bellweather Rhapsody" is a raucous read. The book takes place at a high school music festival so its full of hilarious yet relatable high school drama and hijinks. When a high school flute prodigy goes missing and the festival participants get snowed in at the Bellweather Hotel, the festival gets even more chaotic. The book does have some dark elements - there's a fair amount of murder. For fans of dark comedies like "Big Little Lies".

Reviewer's Name: Corrie
Awards:
Genres:
Morning Star
Brown, Pierce
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Action-packed and heartbreaking, Red Rising has no doubt become one of my favorite series of all time. Morning Star is a powerful conclusion to a thrilling series that left me satisfied with how the story concluded. There are many points where I just want to stop and write down all the quotes I love in the book. Pierce Brown writes beautifully and he did every justice to Morning Star. Since it's a sequel and the final book to a trilogy, I won't say much about what happen in case someone new to the series happens to stumble on this review. If you are new, what you need to know about Red Rising is that it's a sci-fi fantasy that borrows elements from mythologies. Red Rising is a phenomenal series and I hope that more people would pick up and give this book a try.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Vy D.
Golden Son
Brown, Pierce
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book left me speechless so many times, shocked by the brutality that brought upon hopes and dreams for a race of the oppressed. War is ugly, yet Pierce Brown paints art and beauty to every word written in this book. There wasn't a moment that bore me. My heart broke many times for the characters in the book, for Darrow, for the young innocent boy he once was and the death stained Reaper he has become. We witnessed the rise of the Reaper in Red Rising and his fall in Golden Son. This is one of the best book I've read so far this year, possibly one of my all-time favorite book. I definitely highly recommend anyone who has already read Red Rising to continue with this book. For anyone who have not read or heard of the series: please pick it up. It is very much worth your time.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Vy D.
Vicious
Schwab, Victoria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

If you love anti-hero, this book is for you. Vicious follows the stories of Victor and Eli, a pair of brilliant, arrogant yet lonely college roommates who share ambition and interest in EO, ExtraOrdinary human being with unnatural superbeing abilities. Vicious blurred the line between heroism and villainy, a moral gray area we often find ourselves standing in. From roommates to enemies, Victor and Eli engaged in a game of cat and mouse that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. It was a very thrilling and exciting read and I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Vy D.
Awards:
Book Review: American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
Kyle, Chris
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Anyone who knows me may realize that this is not my normal topic of interest. However, I do enjoying reading about different perspectives and life experiences from mine. That said, Chris Kyle and I have almost nothing in common as far as beliefs and interests go, but we do have love for country and loyalty to friends and family in common. Of course, he's about as tough as they come. Way tougher than me. I'm sure I would not have been able to do what he did even if I had wanted to. However, I found as I was reading this book that Kyle had a lot of interesting observations about the Iraq War from a front lines perspective. The stories were intense and engaging. I didn't get into the weapons geekery at all, but I'm guessing his target (har!) audience did. Really, a very good book about the front lines experience of a Navy SEAL.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Lock and Key
Dessen, Sarah
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I'm not a teen, so I'm obviously not the target audience. The first half of this book was very good and even made me cry. The fact that Ruby's sister was so brave and protected her in her quiet way was very powerful. I loved how her experience protecting Ruby shaped her career and life's purpose. However, once the book got beyond that point it devolved into the naval gazing so common in teen fiction. Too much introspection and obvious symbolism explained by the narrator made for a tedious second half. If the author could have kept up the power of the first half, this would be a 5 star review.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Genres:
Book Review: Being Mortal
Gawande, Atul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was a very hard read for me. Not because of the writing, but because of the subject matter. I had just placed my father and his wife into a continuing care community when my book club chose this book. The stories of lost independence and the price of safety on quality of life hit me hard. After they moved in my dad went straight to Memory Care. His freedom is gone and he feels it keenly. It's true that he's safe, but I feel like I had a hand in ending his freedom. Of course in my head I know this isn't true, the circumstances were - and still are - way beyond my control, but still.

The takeaway from this book is to communicate clearly with your loved ones what you want as an end-of-life plan. Also, it's important to take an active role in choosing help and help communities. Finally, hospice is a far more humane way to treat the end-of-life experience than heroic measures and ICU. Quality of life is the most important thing and this is defined on a individual basis.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Hurston, Zora Neale
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

When I first saw the cover and title of this book, I was intrigued. The title of this novel does not reveal much about what the plot was all "about". The main character of the book, Janie, is a woman of mixed race who is trying to find her happiness, which she believes is love. Hurston writes this novel in a way that the readers too, can feel what Janie is feeling, and see what Janie is seeing. Even though this book was written in the 1930's, the topics that pop up are still relevant today, including Feminism. This book may have been predictable at certain times, it was surprising as well. I have never read a novel like this one before. I encourage others to read this book, so they too can experience the journey of Janie's coming of age.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Jessica J.
The Tempest
Shakespeare, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When assigned this novel for school, I did not expect much to be completely honest. In fact, the story of The Tempest was actually a pleasant surprise. The story is about Prospero, a man looking for revenge against the one person who took his Dukedom away from him, his brother Antonio. At the beginning, the story moves a bit slow and can be a bit boring. Although, it does not take too long for Shakespeare to interest the reader with the plot of the novel. I did not find the story to be predictable, which is what made it so interesting! A theme that the story revolves around was Compassion VS Cruelty, making The Tempest very interesting and intriguing. The language of Shakespeare may be difficult to understand, but is not too difficult. Although, it would be useful to choose a version of The Tempest that has annotations/footnotes as there are various terms and mythological references that some people may not understand or know.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Jessica J.
Genres:
The Sound of Waves
Mishima, Yukio
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The reason why I picked this novel was because of the cover I had. It was unique and in my opinion, very pretty. Also, if you skim through the book, each chapter has a simple illustration which is quite interesting. However, I found the book to be mediocre. This book takes place on a made up island nearby the city of Tokyo. The main character Shinji, is a hardworking boy who partakes in the fishing business on this small island. He soon meets a girl by the name of Hatsue, and their story begins...This book did not surprise me at all, but it was cute. Mishima touches base on the idea of coming of age and love, and wrote it all beautifully. Mishima's style is full of imagery and is what really makes this novel different.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Jessica J.
Genres:
Fathers and Children
Turgenev, Ivan Sergeevich
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

To be completely honest, Fathers and Children by Ivan Turgenev did not appeal to me when I first saw. However, that changed when I began to read it. This book takes place in Russia around the mid 1800's. For a translated work, this novel was quite intriguing. The book not only speaks of the generation gap between parents and children, but also talks about the coming of age. In Fathers and Children, the reader gets the chance to see various characters find their way through love, social revolution, and coming of age. Despite how old this story is, several of the topics [coming of age] that it discusses still applies to teenagers today. This novel surprised me in the way, as the one person who you may expect to be the antagonist of the story, is actually the protagonist...If you are looking for a bit more of a challenging read, this is the book for you.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Jessica J.
Genres:

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