All Book Reviews
In this book, a box of cassette tapes appear on Clay Jenkins' doorstep. Curious, he starts to listen to the first one, only to find out that they're from his crush and former classmate, Hannah, who recently committed suicide. He spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.
I really liked this book. It was sad, but it was also very insightful. You never know what's going on in someone's life or how your actions might affect them.
Reviewer Grade: 12
In this book, a girl by the name of Annabel suddenly finds herself unpopular. After a lonely summer, she goes back to school and becomes friends with a boy named Owen, whose honesty and passion for music help her to face what happened at the end of year party that changed her life.
This book was okay. I found it a bit confusing in the beginning because it'd skip around between past and present a lot. It wasn't a bad book overall, though.
Reviewer Grade: 12
Little House on the Prairie is a mediocre novel about a little girl named Laura, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and her Ma and Pa traveling across a prairie then settling down and building a house. Almost the entirety of the first 18 chapters are mind-numbingly boring (the most exciting thing that happens in the first 240 pages is Ma dropping a log on her foot). The last few chapters were pretty good, but it didn't outweigh the annoyingly long descriptions of prairie grass and dull accounts of cooking supper that dominated most of the story. I do not recommend it to people who like action or adventure stories, however, I would recommend it to anyone who read and enjoyed Little Britches by Ralph Moody or anyone who is a fan of the late 1800's settlement genre.
Reviewer Grade: 7
When she discovers that her mother actually is sick back in Cleveland, Mim steals a thousand dollar emergency cash fund from her stepmother and hops a Greyhound bus headed north. The details of Mim’s personal story are revealed through the reflections she writes in her journal. Her musings are frequently funny, super snarky and make the motley crew she meets along the way more memorable.
She says of her bus driver:
“I’ve only known two other Carls in my lifetime—an insurgent moonshiner and a record store owner—both of whom taught me important... life lessons.
In my book, Carls are a top-notch species”.
On the bus, the thousand-mile journey takes a few turns that Mim could never see coming. Then she must define what it means to be a Mim.
I could really relate to Willowdean who does not have a skinny body yet decides to enter the local teen pageant. It takes a lot of guts for her to enter and it challenges her relationship with her mom who runs the pageant. Willowdean also works with Bo who likes her a lot, but she has a hard time believing it since she is her own worst critic of her weight. I love books with unique and complex characters and Willowdean is definitely that! Highly recommended.
This book made me cry. I read it in one sitting. It took me about 3 hours. I just kept turning the pages as fast as possible. It was beautifully written. I just felt for George and wanted to protect her from all her pain. I'm not transgendered and I don't know how it feels to be so, but I imagine that this is exactly right. Wonderful.
This isn’t your typical book about vampires, werewolves, and warlocks, although they’re definitely present! Set in modern New York City, the novel—the first of a six-book series—is a thrilling story about a 15-year-old girl discovering her true identity, new, complex individuals, and a completely different world coexisting with the one she knew. The novel picks up a little slowly, and the introduction of a the new world is a little jarring. However, because the series was recommended to me by multiple friends, I kept reading, and I was really satisfied with the ending. I enjoyed the character development most, and the protagonist, Clary, is very relatable. I would definitely recommend this book and the series!
This is a fascinating and controversial tale of one woman’s experience in Australia traveling with an Aboriginal tribe. She leaves the hotel one morning to attend a meeting with the tribe and ends up on a three-month trek through the outback. Whether the account is 100% true or not, the message can be relevant and provocative: that our society is pulling us away from our true nature and our innate connection with the environment. I really enjoyed the different lessons from the Aboriginal tribe and how perceiving our society in a totally different light can be very beneficial. This is one of the books I have read that stays with me long after I have read it and that I continually ponder, so I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a thought-provoking read.
Reviewer Grade: 12
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
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
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
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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