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All Book Reviews

Code Name Verity
Wein, Elizabeth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual rating is 3.5 stars

This book has an intriguing premise. A British young woman, apparently a spy (code name "Verity") being held captive in occupied France, tells the story of her espionage career and subsequent capture. In an attempt to avoid further torture and prolong death at the hands of her captors, she promises to reveal secret codes that are related to British intelligence. The first half of the book is written in first person as a journal of sorts addressing her captors. The style itself works fairly well, but the narrative voice is annoying -- I found the main character to be insufferably conceited, rather than brazen and confident (as she was probably intended to be). She was not likable, and thus I didn't care much about her fate. Until...

...the second half.

A new narrator takes over -- Verity's friend and pilot Maddie. She was the one flying the plane that brought Verity to France. She is less uppity, less conceited, and altogether more relatable and likable. She tells the other side of the girls' story -- her training as a pilot, her friendship with Verity, and what happens to her when Verity is captured. I found myself rooting for her all the way. She also managed to make Verity more likable, and as more is revealed, I discovered that I enjoyed them both. By the end of the book, I saw both of them as exceptionally brave characters to be respected and admired.

Although this book is fiction, there are many references to real-life WWII intelligence operations, and plenty of mechanical details concerning planes that are also interesting. The book improves significantly as it progresses -- if you don't like the first half, wait for the second. Anyone who is interested in history or espionage will probably like this. Additionally, it develops into a beautiful story of the power of friendship and sacrifice, but is never sappy. I probably wouldn't read it again, at least not for a while, but it is definitely worth trying.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Genres:
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Green, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book follows two boys who are both named Will Grayson. One night, fate brings the two of them together. As their worlds collide, they find their lives going in new and unexpected directions.

This book was okay. I really disliked the ending; it was just there and didn't really feel like an ending. I wish that it was tied up a bit more.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Genres:
An Abundance of Katherines
Green, John
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Collin, like a lot of guys, has a type; he likes girls named Katherine. So far, he's dated and been dumped by 19 Katherines. After graduating from high school, his friend convinces him to go on a road trip with him. He says that it'll help to take Collin's mind off of his most recent breakup. Collin agrees, hoping to prove his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. He expects that it'll predict the future of any relationship and help him finally find true love.

This book wasn't my cup of tea. While it wasn't bad, it wasn't very interesting to me. The ending especially didn't satisfy me. Between it and the plot, I didn't like the book a lot.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Genres:
The Fault in Our Stars
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When Hazel attends a cancer patient support group, she expects to be bored out of her mind. She doesn't need this support group; the only reason she even bothers to go is to please her mother. But when she meets a boy named Augustus Waters, her entire life changes. She learns what it is to fall in love and what it means to be alive.

This book was alright. It didn't end the way it made people believe that it would, which was cool. Life is a precious thing and people don't cherish it enough. Also, people always view people with cancer as "sick" and sometimes forget that they are human and have lives and hopes and dreams just like the rest of us. Overall, I liked it.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

District 13 has finally stepped out of the shadows and joined the rebellion. Unknowingly, Katniss has been a central part of their revolution for a while. Now, she must decide whether or not she'll collaborate with them. The success of the rebellion and the future of Panem depends on it.

This was my least favorite book of the series. I felt as if it dragged a lot because not much happened for a while. The end felt really rushed and thrown together, which I found disappointing. It's an okay book, but I didn't find it very satisfying.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After Katniss and Peeta win The Hunger Games, the Capital is upset. Katniss' defiance that allowed the both of them to win has inspired the Districts to rebel. The Capital, desperate to stay in control, must find a way to stop the rebellion before it actually becomes a force to be reckoned with. To do this, they must destroy the rebellion's figurehead in the right way. Just when Katniss finally thinks that she's safe, her world is turned upside down and she finds herself in more danger than ever before.

This book was good. While I enjoyed it more than the first one, it's a bit repetitive. Part of the plot was the same as the first book, just with different circumstances. Otherwise, I loved it.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The nation of Panem resides in a place that was once known as North America. It is a Capital surrounded by 12 districts. Once, the districts rebelled against the Capital and were defeated. Thus, The Hunger Games were born. Every year, each district must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to fight to the death in The Hunger Games, which is broadcasted across national television. When Katniss' sister is chosen, she volunteers to go in her place, knowing that to go means certain death.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be very interesting. It's scary to think that anybody would allow an event such as The Hunger Games to occur. Power in the wrong hands can lead to terrible things.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Breaking Dawn
Meyer, Stephenie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After Bella marries the love of her life, Edward, she's happier than she's ever been before. She can't wait to one day become a vampire and spend the rest of eternity with him. During their honeymoon, everything changes. Bella finds herself pregnant with a half-vampire, half-human child, but her pregnancy doesn't go without complications. The fetus develops at an alarming speed and keeping it may very well end Bella's life.

I liked this book. I thought that it was a good place to end the series; everything was tied up nicely, from the threat of the Volturi in New Moon to the future of Bella and Edward's child.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Awards:
Eclipse
Meyer, Stephenie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Once again, Bella has found herself in the center of a dangerous battle between vampires. James' mate, Victoria, is on a murderous rampage; she's determined to get her revenge on Edward for killing her love.

Meanwhile, Bella is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob. Vampires and Werewolves are natural enemies, but can they ever get over their differences? Bella's life may depend on it.

This book was alright. There was a lot of tension due to the love triangle, but it wasn't too bad. I liked it overall.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
New Moon
Meyer, Stephenie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Bella's love for Edward is stronger than ever. As she turns 18, she panics, realizing that she's older than Edward ever will be. She never wants to lose him, but each day is a step closer to them being torn apart due to her own mortality. When she goes to a birthday celebration thrown for her by the Cullens, her world turns upside down. It turns out that mortality never was the problem; she has much less time with Edward than she ever dared to expect.

I wasn't huge on this book. I found it to be quite boring. A lot of it was spent on Bella being sad and trying to figure out how to get through life without Edward. While it has it's moments, the dullness of the rest of the book overshadows them. Overall, I think it's an okay book, just not my favorite.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Animal Farm a group of animals are faced with some problems with the owner of their farm. Through these problems the animals form an alliance in order to try and get rid of their owner. It's full of action and controversy making it more fun to want to read. There are also some sad parts which also add a spark of emotions to the book. I believe this can also relate to actual human things that go on in the world, which makes it able to be relatable to the reader.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Frankenstein
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book definitely isn't like the movies, but it is still really interesting to read. The main character, Victor Frankenstein, goes through a lot of crazy times. He creates a so called monster by many and everything that comes after keeps you wanting to read more. There is a lot of melancholy feelings and struggles that many go throughout the book. It uses a lot of diction and has foreshadowing throughout giving you hints here and there of what might come. I highly recommend this book because it's a very cool story.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
The Night Circus
Morgenstern, Erin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This novel is unique. It is a historical fantasy that is almost impressionistic in style and dreamlike in tone. It tells the story of two enchanters who occupy themselves by forcing their respective students into decades-long, painfully drawn-out, life-engulfing…duels? Competitions? Contests? Endurance tests? The rules are vague and the structure of the contest difficult to illustrate, describe, or understand, but the author is so skilled that the reader is drawn in completely, despite the lack of concrete concepts. The mysterious Night Circus of the title is merely the venue for the contest, but it is so compellingly depicted that it pulses with life – almost as if it is a character itself. The real stars are the competitors, however. Celia and Marco – two impossibly gorgeous, talented, and intelligent magicians whose magic is so beautiful and illusory in itself that the reader wishes that it were real, if only to experience the dream which the circus patrons are privileged to witness. The magicians are trapped in a constant battle for something they don’t understand, despite their being drawn to one another and entirely fascinated by the other’s whole being. They strive to win, and, eventually, strive to lose.

The plot is nonlinear, going back and forth in time with almost every chapter, but this is rarely a problem since the chapter headings give precise dates and the chapters focus almost exclusively on one set of characters at a time. The plot is filled to the brim with other fascinating side characters with enchanting plot lines of their own – some are likable, some despicable, all mysterious. The story is woven together intricately. No thread is complete until the final moment, and even then, some enigmatic strings are left hanging, just to give the reader something to think about.

The author does a wonderful job of simply describing – everything. While occasionally the detail is overwhelming and the plot only loosely defined, it makes for pleasurable reading nonetheless. The brief portions written in 2nd-person are spellbinding. Suspension of disbelief is required in enormous quantities, but if you have a good imagination, that should be no problem. Additionally, I found Celia and Marco to be rather boring and unrealistically perfect compared to other characters (the unlikely hero is much more compelling), but that’s part of the charm – the author merely portrays the facts, and the conclusions are left to the reader. If you can briefly relinquish your hold on reality, this book is absolutely magical.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Awards:
Twilight
Meyer, Stephenie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When Bella moves to Forks, she figures she'll be miserable. She expects it, even. But when she meets a mysterious boy, she finds herself intrigued. She knows that there's something unusual about him and she's determined to find out what it is. Too bad his secret is dangerous and may cost her her life.

I liked this book. There wasn't a lot of action until the end, but it wasn't boring. The time that it took for them to become close didn't feel too rushed or too dragged out. It was just right.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
City of Heavenly Fire
Clare, Cassandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Sebastian's army of Endarkened Shadowhunters is growing day by day. After five institutes around the world are attacked, the Clave holds an emergency meeting to discuss the problem. Whatever they do, they have to act fast. An attack is imminent, and if the war draws out much longer, they may not even have a chance at winning.

I really liked this book. I found Sebastian to be an unnerving character. It was clear that he didn't have any remorse. He was so far gone and determined to get what he wanted that he'd do anything. It was kind of scary to witness. Also, I enjoyed the end. The last chapters were so sad, but the epilogue managed to tie the story up nicely.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Genres:
City of Lost Souls
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After Jace and Sebastian disappear, Clary is worried about Jace's well being. After constant searching with no success, the Clave decides that finding them is not a priority. When this happens, Clary decides that it's time to take matters into her own hands. No matter what anybody else says, she's determined to rescue him; but what if he doesn't want to be saved?

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't as dull as the previous one, but it still was more of a buildup to the finale. It wasn't bad, though.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Genres:
Book Review: Justin Morgan Had a Horse
Henry, Marguerite
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I liked this book because it was very catchy. For instance, at the end of a chapter, it left you at a cliffhanger. For example, Little Bub, later called Justin Morgan, was about to run in the biggest race in his life, and then the chapter ended. Also, it was a great book for kids because it didn’t have too much detail about the Morgan breed, but it still gave you the feel of the great horse.

My favorite character is either Little Bub or Joel, the main character. I liked Little Bub because he was such a good runner and puller and because of his funny little neigh. Joel and Little Bub became fast friends partly because of that neigh, and as the author describes it, “like the sound of a bugle.” His ability to run so fast helped the schoolmaster (Justin Morgan) to pay off his debts. I liked Joel because of his determination, like when he served for his state in the militia, to help care for the horses. He worked odd jobs in peoples houses to get much-needed supplies, such as water
pails and blankets. Also, I admire Joel in his hopefulness and patience.
For example, he had expected a letter from the schoolmaster and he waited for months. He stayed hopeful, and finally the letter came! Another example was that when the stranger bought little Bub, he didn’t give up looking for him, and he finally found him!

Right now, if I was the author, I would change three things. One, I would change the schoolmaster dying. Two, I would change the author not revealing who the anonymous buyer was for Little Bub. Three, I would change the scene where the small puppy ran out onto the racetrack. I thought Joel shouldn’t of interfered with the schoolmaster’s life.

Reviewer's Name: Kyle
Book Review: Justin Morgan had a Horse
Tytle, Harry
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

My favorite character in the book was Little Bub because of his personality.
He was a very hard worker and he was brave. He stepped into a boat without hesitation. He worked all day pulling down trees. He was in pulling matches at night.

I liked this book because it had really good descriptions. The author wrote great descriptions like “You are as skinny as a fiddle string!” I also
liked the suspense. When we read about the races we didn’t want to stop.
My least favorite part was that the schoolmaster died. It made me sad because he was really nice. He was like a grandpa to Joel. He was loving because he took Joel on a trip.

Reviewer's Name: Seth
City of Fallen Angels
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

With Valentine defeated and Clary's mother finally awake, things seem to be finally working out. Sadly, nothing's ever as it seems. Jace has been having nightmares where he hurts Clary, and it's put a strain on their relationship. Meanwhile, somebody is out to get Simon, but his mark protects him. Sinister forces are lurking, and it's only a matter of time before the world comes crashing down around them again.

This book was okay. I didn't find myself as drawn to it as I was to the first three. Honestly, it felt like a filler book that was just there to get the series moving along. While it was necessary, it was also boring. It took a while for the action to actually kick off.

Reviewer Grade:12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
City of Glass
Clare, Cassandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

To revive her mother, Clary must travel to the City of Glass to find the warlock who brewed the potion that put her mother to sleep. When she misses the portal there, she decides to find a way there herself, even though that means breaking the law, which is punishable by death.

Things are finally coming to an end as Valentine uses all of his power to destroy the shadowhunters. Fighting alongside the downworlders may be the only way to save them all, but can the shadowhunters let go of their prejudice against them enough to accept their help? The fate of the world depends on it.

This series has not disappointed me. It was fun to watch as Clary grew as a character and learned to handle herself. While love can be powerful, it can also be dangerous, and this book just goes to prove it.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.

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