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All Book Reviews

Next of Kin
Fouts, Roger
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is one of the best books I have ever read. In an account of Fouts’ experiences teaching chimpanzees to communicate through sign language, he exposes many heartbreaking injustices of animal research that escapes public attention. Even more importantly, to me, he reveals the striking intelligence and “humanity” of great apes and their tremendous capacity to feel emotions and think critically. It is important to note that the book is written through the bias of a man who has befriended chimpanzees for life; however, much of what he describes is backed up by convincing evidence, leading me to truly believe this book. The accounts of chimpanzees, their ability to withstand horrifying situations, and to remember with gratitude those who once helped them, is truly touching. I also enjoyed the scientific discussions interspersed within the narrative elements of the book. For anyone looking to reaffirm their convictions of animals’ feelings or for anyone looking to challenge their current opinion, I would highly recommend this book.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Selena Z.
Paper Towns
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This mystery novel centers on the life of a high school senior, Quentin, and his complicated relationship with his neighbor, Margo. After years of not even speaking to each other, Margo appears at Quentin’s window, and they spend a wild night playing pranks and getting revenge on their friends and enemies. However, the next day, Margo disappears. I picked the book because I have read other novels by John Green, who often incorporates both deep and philosophical themes and hilarious humor in great novels. Paper Towns in particular is incredibly thought-provoking and the character development of Margo as both mysterious yet relatable is superb. This book did surprise me given the typical mystery set-up, and was definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Selena Z.
Great Expectations
Dickens, Charles
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Although it was first published in 1861, this classic novel is still fresh and relevant in the 21st century. It is the story of a poor, rural, uneducated boy named Pip who meets and falls in love with a rich, beautiful, and cruel girl named Estella. Through the generosities of a mysterious benefactor, Pip is able to move to London and become a wealthy, eligible, gentleman. It seems that he may at last be worthy of Estella's love.
If only it were so simple.

Filled some of the most famous characters in English literature, including several murderous convicts, a bizarre and sadistic woman who dresses only in a moldy wedding gown, a law clerk with a double life, and an exceptionally loyal best friend, this book is unforgettable. A commentary on the nature of social mobility as well as a coming-of-age novel, this story is equal parts mystery, romance, and legal drama, with enough plot twists to keep any reader turning pages (trust me -- I read it during finals week).

Most importantly, this book is a good choice for teenagers because it is relatable. It deals with finding yourself, searching for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world, coping with unrequited love, being financially responsible, finding good friends, spending your time and money on the right things, being appreciative and kind towards people who you may believe to be below your station, giving second chances, and the importance of staying close to your family even if you think that they are embarrassing, ignorant, or are not good enough for you.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. Even if you think that classics are boring or that historical fiction just isn't your thing, try Great Expectations. You won't regret it.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Book Review: Little Bee
Cleave, Chris
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was so much better than I thought it was going to be. I had to read it for a school assignment and I can honestly say, I wasn't really looking forward to reading it. Within the first chapter though, I was hooked.

The strong introduction of all the characters and the switch of narration between chapters is very well carried out. The very strong character development is something I look for in a good book and this book definitely had that!

Reviewer's Name: Cayci Jean
Genres:
Book Review: The Best of Enemies
Lancaster, Jen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I didn't like any of the characters in the beginning and almost put the book down and walked away. I am so glad I didn't! I ended up truly enjoying this book and the way the history of Jack and Kitty was revealed kind of slowly so you understood WHY they were the way they were. And it had a great ending!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: Honolulu
Brennert, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A young girl desperate to escape her stifling existence in Korea in the early 1900s decides to become a "picture-bride" to a man starting life in Hawaii. This story was beautifully written, we follow Jin throughout her life, marriage, struggles and triumphs in Hawaii. Absolutely loved it. If you liked this - make sure to read Alan Brennert's other book, Moloka'i!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: The Notorious Pagan Jones
Berry, Nina
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Pagan Jones was a 1960s teen movie superstar until a terrible accident happened landing her in juvenile detention. A mysterious stranger
arranges her release, only if she will star in a movie being shot in Berlin.
This story is a fascinating race through the city at a time when the Berlin Wall is just being built. While the story has very fun moments (you get a great taste of 60s culture and clothing), there are also real characters and events sprinkled throughout that make it very interesting!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Wilbanks, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

What would you do if you found a door in your backyard that led to the past? Annie and Elsbeth are going to find out! This book has a little something in it for everyone - magic, time travel, history, heartwarming characters, a mystery, and a wonderfully grouchy old lady who I wish I could have tea with. I absolutely loved it!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: George
Gino, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

George is a well-written book about the confusion of a boy who knows that deep down that she is really a girl. Writing from George's point of view, the author expresses George's frustration as a transgender child who unfortunately experiences bullying from the other kids. Luckily, George does have a best friend who understands and supports her. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Book Review: The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a very good book. It's a teen fiction book, but I didn't notice that like I normally do. The main character found himself in a bizarre situation with very little memory of his past and who he was. This book was really about a group of kids overcoming insurmountable odds to beat a game, the success or failure of which determined their lives. There was a lot of mystery about what was going on behind the scenes. Small pieces became known as the book progressed, just enough to pique my curiosity, but not enough to ruin the suspense. I'd like to read the others in this series. Really VERY well done.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Planet Tad
Carvell, Tim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is an absolutely hilarious book told in the form of an online blog based on the MAD magazine feature of the same name. If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Origami Yoda books, or like MAD, you will love this book. It tells a story in journal/ blog form about a 13 year old boy named Tad who is trying to survive middle school along with doing other things such as growing a mustache, doing a kickflip on his skateboard, and finally getting girls to notice him (which all end up in disasters.). He also makes funny observations on just about everything, from Hansel and Gretel to Peeps. It is laughing-so-hard-you-can't breathe type funny and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the books above.

Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob U.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Similar to the old tale, Cinderella, Cinder follows a cyborg with a mysterious past. Living with a horrible family, much like Cinderella, in the midst of the blue fever, she works as a mechanic and considers herself as useless as her family accuses her of being. That is, until she meets Prince Kai and the Lunar people. What follows is a love story of unbelievable proportions, with action and climax, and every chapter a cliff hanger. A must read for the lovers of the old Cinderella and anyone who wants to experience the story coming back to life in a way that is wholly unexpected.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alyxandra S.
Airborn
Oppel, Kenneth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 3.5

There will always be those stories that manage to completely transport our existence into their pages, and “Airborn” by acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel is one of those page leaping stories. Jump onboard the luxury passenger airship Aurora with young cabin boy Matt Cruse and experience an adventure unlike any other with the most surprising encounters. Experience the freedom that comes with the speeding wind and the mystery of the strange creatures that fly on them.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Summer W.
Awards:
Thérèse Raquin
Zola, Émile
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

“Therese Raquin” by Emile Zola is a book that defied the literature of its time and had the people of the late 19th century in an uproar over its shocking content. Content that involved murder, wrongly placed passion, adultery, and a voice that refused to glorify the ever flawed human race. Meet Therese: a quiet woman who is niece to elderly shopkeeper Madame Raquin and wife to the Madame’s son Camille. She finds that sin somehow manages to bring her back to life, but with chilling consequences. Will deceit finally bring her the joy she has so longed for, or result in her doom? Defy the time with this twisted, blood-chilling read.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Summer W.
Storm Front
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 3.75

Are you looking for a series that will get you back into the sport of reading, and will help tackle that stack of books by your bed with a story more thrilling than the last? How about cheeky, ruggedly handsome modern day wizards? The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are exciting, quick reads that will entice you into a world of unexpected turns, mythical creatures, and the occasional vengeful mob boss in the city of Chicago. Dragged into the chaos of these rarities is wizard/private detective Harry Dresden, who only wants enough money to pay for his next meal. Lose yourself in these pages that will have you coming back to your local library to snatch the next book off its shelf.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Summer W.
Genres:
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The giver, is a story about a tyrannical society in which a system called "Sameness" is used. That system irradiates all color, terrain, and climate from its community as well as all the memories from its population. Following Jonas, the Memory Receiver, or the person who stores all memories of a time before Sameness, this book takes rapid turns and can get a bit confusing at times but is all in all a wonderful story of a unlikable situation.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alyxandra S.
The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A man who had been in love for years, who had accumulated wealth and power by numerous, secretive ways, Jay Gatsby. A woman who had married another out of need and stayed out of being accustomed to that lifestyle, Daisy Buchanan. And a man who became stuck in the middle, Nick Carraway. The scene is set in the roaring '20's where everyone is wild, young, and free. All except Gatsby as he was stuck in the wild embrace of Daisy's love. This beautifully written book of love, loss, revenge, and dark honesty comes to life as the desperate Gatsby tries to win Daisy back from her oppressive husband. A book with so many twists and turns that its impossible to put it down, The Great Gatsby is an underrated novel that will be read for years to come.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alyxandra S.
Looking for Alaska
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After years of having no friends and being ignored by so many, Pudge, or Miles Halter switches to a new boarding school. There he meets a woman that will sweep through his life, like a hurricane, Alaska. Another best seller by Mr. Green, Looking for Alaska is an unmistakably amazing novel, with every prank pulled my the mischievous Alaska, and every new experience she puts Miles through, the reader feels just what Miles does, love. Love for the characters the mishap, and the very words that were written down on paper. Unable to put the book down, every reader will once again, fall for the writings of John Green.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alyxandra S.
Awards:
Genres:
The Fault in Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After an intense battle with cancer, Hazel had finally started to get her life back to normal, or as normal as it can be for a girl who hasn't been in proper school for years, and who's best friend is an author she had never met. But then, her life turned upside down when she met Augustus. What follows is a whirlwind romance that leaves the reader grasping for more and wishing for time. John Green brings his characters to life in this novel, and with every turn it is impossible not to fall in love. This wonderful book has a way of bringing the reader in and bringing them back for more and more. A must read, and a book that makes it seem impossible to put down.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alyxandra S.
Book Review: Far Far Away
McNeal, Tom
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is and isn't your typical fairy tale. It is haunting, but not because Jacob Grim is the narrator ghost that only Jeremy can hear. Jeremy's mother may or may not be dead, a child may or may not be missing, the sheriff may or may not be evil, the baker may or may not be jolly, the girl may or may not be gotten and it may or may not have a happy ending. But read it and see if you can predict what happens in Far Far Away...

Reviewer's Name: Renee

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