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All Book Reviews

The False Prince
Nielsen, Jennifer
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sage, a quick-witted orphan, is to compete with three other children to become the impersonator of a prince, or die. This plan, devised by a nobleman, is made to prevent a civil war that is bound to tear the country apart.
This novel isn't amazing, but it's worth a read.
Most of the novel happened while Sage was training to become an adequate impersonator, which I expected, but it was a little boring at times.
The strongest quality of it was the main character, Sage. He had a lot of
personality- snarky and stubborn, but clever and heroic too. I enjoyed seeing him react to the different trials he had to face as well as the shrewd comebacks he would make.
The ending of the book was the best part. It was when an unexpected (but not
unwelcome) plot twist occurred and everything was tied together. Although I said it was the best part, it felt kind of rushed because so many things happened in such a short time.
I didn't really feel very strongly for this book. To me, it was a tiny bit bland until the last part. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but I definitely think it is worth a try.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The City of Ember
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Ember, the only sources of light are lampposts. The whole city depends heavily on electricity, and it just so happens to be running out of it. The city is dying, and everyone knows it. When Linda finds a letter, she's sure it's the secret to saving Ember. Unfortunately, it had been chewed up by her baby sister before she saw it. Linda and her friend, Doon, are determined to find out what the letter means.
In the beginning, the novel doesn't say what, exactly, Ember is, except that it's a city, artificial light is the only light there is, and the only food to eat is canned. Because of that, the readers don't really know what the setting is, and that really makes the book mysterious as well as interesting.
There wasn't really anything special about the characters, but finding out what was really going on was fun. It really felt like I was there with the characters, trying to solve the mystery together; Something about the novel made me very emotionally invested in it.
Reading about the environment so familiar to the characters but so foreign to me was fascinating and enjoyable.
The City of Ember, to me, was one of a kind. The sense of adventure I felt when reading it, even though most of the story was in the same setting, was enchanting. I hope this review compels you to read it because it really is a great book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Jonas lives in a perfect world, but when he becomes the Receiver and is transferred memories from the past, he soon realizes that there are some serious issues with the way his "perfect world" is being run.
It was cool to see Jonas, the main character, grow and develop as a person.
In the beginning, he was as ignorant and naive as the rest of his peers, but he eventually matures and becomes aware of the problems around him.
The way Lois Lowry described surroundings were very clever. For example, (this is a bit of a spoiler) Jonas's world was in only black and white and I didn't realize it for a very long time because the author didn't outright say it; that made me feel Jonas's confusion when he first sees color.
It was really interesting reading about how Jonas's city functioned and what its rules were- it was very different from ours.
The novel gave me a lot to think about; it made me wonder how much bad things we can eradicate until the eradication itself becomes a bad thing. The line between good and evil becomes more and more blurry the closer you get.
The Giver is a nice book to read and I recommend it!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
Roller Girl
Jamieson, Victoria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This isn't your typical comic book. It doesn't have fantasy super heroes or talking animals. This novel is about your everyday girl in a real-life situation that falls in love with roller derby. I wasn't expecting to like this book because I'm not much of a comic book person but it surprised me and I loved the message. The only thing I would change is the age of the main character because some of the events in the story were questionable because she is seems young. If you are looking for a really quick read with a good message then this is the book for you.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Allegiant
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Allegiant, the third and final addition of the Divergent series, Tris lives in a city of five factions, groups of people who believe in upholding and supporting one personality trait. Dauntless are brave, Amity are kind, Candor are honest, Abnegation, selfless, and Erudite intelligent. In the previous book, a video was sent out to Tris's city asking for people to come from the city out into the world and help the poor, suffering people. Tris and her friends want to go and see what the real world is like, but the factionless (people who failed to be accepted into a faction) took them as prisoners. They escaped and go out beyond the limits of the city. Tris discovers the truth behind her city and what the outsiders plan to do to it.
Will she succeed in saving her friends from a horrible fate, or will she fail and have no friends to go back to? Find out by reading Allegiant. Allegiant perfectly explains the backstory of the city in the books. However, it is very different from the other two books in the Divergent series because it reveals the unexpected truth about the city. Overall, it is a very good book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
When You Reach Me
Stead, Rebecca
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Sixth grader Miranda Sinclair started receiving strange letters that somehow predict the future. After she got more and more letters, Miranda was determined to solve the mystery behind them.
The novel really conveys the feeling of normalcy; it seems like the every-day life of an ordinary middle schooler, but when the future-predictions letters are added into the mix, it feels surreal- almost dream-like.
It got a little confusing in the middle for me because I couldn't understand why the characters were doing what they were doing, but it all gets brilliantly explained at the end. The way it all tied up was wonderful and worth all of the confusion; the ending really was the best part.
The characters were all like ordinary people I'd see everyday, which gave me the feeling that I was reading realistic fiction rather than science-fiction.
Their personalities weren't typical and they weren't just generic personalities (e.g., a a mean popular girl or a nerdy unpopular kid).
Reading When You Reach Me was a roller-coaster (especially the last part!) and I really recommend it to everyone.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X
The Help
Stockett, Kathryn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Another amazing book! This #1 New York Bestselling novel is truly a piece of art; with a captivating plot and many lovable characters. Taken place back in 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi, The Help, focuses on the story of a white southern woman named Skeeter whose life-long goal was to become a profound writer for the New York Times, however odds kept stacking against her. The first obstacle for Skeeter was that all of her pish-posh friends since childhood greatly looked down upon her ambitions and discouraged poor Skeeter for not wanting to marry and raise kids. The second obstacle was that the book she wished to complete, which would give her the opportunity to write for the New York Times, focused on the terrible conditions of the Help, a group of black women who worked as maids for the privileged white families of the Deep South. And the final obstacle, which was the biggest obstacle for Skeeter, was that segregation and racism was at an all-time-high in Jackson.
This would have an incredibly negative impact on her eagerness to aid in exposing the terrors inflicted on the black women by the white, meaning extreme courage, caution, and determination. Now all she needs is maids to tell her their stories. A stunning piece of work, an eye-opener, a book about
truth: The Help.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Logan H.
Genres:
iDrakula
Black, Bekka
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

iDrakula by Bekka Black is an interesting book for me because I found it to be both creative and unimaginative at the same time. I found it unimaginative because of the fact that it is the same plot line as Bram Stoker's classic Dracula. On the other hand, it is a creative retelling in the fact that it is set in modern times and is almost entirely made up of texts and emails, sort of like a written version of those movies that are POV and created by giving the actors the camera so it looks like an amateur did it. So I found the content to be a copy but the way it was presented to be highly entertaining and imaginative. I would say that this is very much for teens who find Bram Stoker's Dracula too hard a read. If you can, read the original over this. However this is a good alternative if you cannot.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Andrew T.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
Krakauer, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

John Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air, brings his literary non-fiction style to addressing the topic of rape and sexual assault at the University of Montana, which is located in the titular city, Missoula. Krakauer examines the assaults of five young women with ties to this university during the period of 2008-2012. These case studies examine the culture of sexual assault and how these cases are dealt with by the criminal justice system and the university. Readers should be warned that this book does have some graphic content due to the nature of this topic.

Readers of Krakauer who enjoyed Under the Banner of Heaven will find a similar style of reporting found in this work. Krakauer champions the stories of the five women whose assaults he details as he works to debunk many of the myths surrounding the topic. Most interesting to this reviewer is the research that he presents that not many men commit sexual assault, but those that do tend to be repeat offenders. And many of these perpetrators fail to even realize that their actions are criminal.

Krakauer thoroughly takes to task members of the criminal justice system who oversee the charging and prosecution of these crimes. Other reviewers have found his treatment of those officials to be harsh and one-sided, claiming this to be a departure from Krakauer’s normally unbiased reporting style. This reviewer found that the critical lens Krakauer uses when discussing the many missteps of the criminal justice system to be warranted. He also is critical of the football culture of the area that strives to protect its athletes even if they have harmed others. We see how university officials try to navigate bringing offenders to justice in this type of culture. This book is really more about the culture of sexual assault than it is about Missoula. While it is an emotionally challenging read, it is a worthwhile read and it will hopefully bring more attention to sexual assault and ways that we as a society can prevent these crimes.

Reviewer's Name: Deb
Awards:
Grunt
Roach, Mary
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Mary Roach covers military science in a way that seemingly only she can: by covering the weird, little known aspects like genitalia injuries, shark repellent, military fashion, and, of course, diarrhea. The result is an interesting, engaging and very accessible non-fiction read.

I listened to this book, and I think that was probably a mistake. Mary Roach tends to jump around from topic to topic even within a larger topic (in a chapter about shark repellent you may jump from sharks to polar bears pretty abruptly), which can be fun to read, but was hard to listen to. Zone out for a minute, and you'll find yourself completely lost. My listening enjoyment was also hampered by the insane amount of acronyms used by the military. I had a lot of "wait, what does that stand for again?" moments, and in an audiobook, there's not really a way to go back and check, and its not like I'm going to google whilst driving. Oh yeah, and the narrator was not to my taste. Her voice just didn't do it for me.

But overall, it managed to be both informative and funny which is not an oft found combination. I really enjoyed it, and I'll be booktalking this one in the fall.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Awards:
My Life with the Walter Boys
Novak, Ali
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

There were two versions of the books, one on Wattpad before it was published, and the published version. The published version was different from the one on Wattpad. Jackie, the main character, is bland and I felt like she could've had more development to her character. The thing I liked was that the plot was intriguing. Jackie's family died in a car crash and she is forced to move in with the Walter Boys, 12 of them too be exact. I liked the boys Jackie was forced to move in with. They're funny and pull off pranks and turn Jackie into less of a boring person. I wish the book was a little more well-written because the plot is amazing, but the lack of vocabulary and character development is disappointing. Be prepared for a love triangle! If romances aren't your thing, then this book is not for you.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
The Bourbon Thief
Reisz, Tiffany
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The main characters in the story are Paris Christie, Cooper McQueen, Tamara Maddox (the Maddox family is the family who owns the Red Thread Bourbon company), and Levi Shelby. The Bourbon Thief is a must read! It's simply captivating and different from many other thrillers I have read. The story focuses on the past and ties it with the present. The author did a spectacular job in making sure we were blown away in everything she wrote. It felt original and the plot was mysterious and romantic. It was mysterious because the Maddox families bourbon company shut down suddenly and no one knows why. Paris wants the bourbon, but why? What does Paris want to hide? I love the third person narrative because I saw each characters view points and the fact that I could read that was already amazing to me.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
Genres:
Rash
Hautman, Pete
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Rash is a book about a so called “perfect” society, where anything moderately dangerous is outlawed. After Bo has had a run in with the law for the third time he is sent to a work camp to serve time for his crimes. His old A.I from when he was in school promises him freedom. Can he do it? Meanwhile Bo runs into many dangerous things on his time in prison.

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
Awards:
Twilight
Meyer, Stephenie
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

Twilight has an interesting story idea. The love story between the two lead characters, Bella and Edward with the rivaling Jacob Black is a good basic plot, however the way the story was written made me want to burn the book, and some things were just strange. Like the main male, Edward is a vampire and when Bella finds out she has no emotions about it whatsoever. The book is kind of disturbing. I do not recommend it to anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
Insurgent
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Insurgent, Divergent's sequel, takes place in Chicago, in the distant future.
In Chicago, there are five factions that each believe upholding and strengthening a certain aspect of people's personalities. People either devote their lives to one of the factions, or live factionless, empty. There is Abnegation, which is selfless, Candor, which is honest, Dauntless, brave, Amity, peaceful, and Erudite, intelligent. Tris, Insurgent's main character, is Divergent, which means she resists serums and can't be forced to think a certain way. Her boyfriend, Tobias, is also divergent. The Erudite want to kill all the Divergent, so they must hide their secret. Tris must fight the Divergent hating Erudite. After watching both of her parents die, she starts to go into depression and self doubt, not to mention the hard task of getting her best friend Christina to forgive her for doing a terrible thing. To destroy the Erudite, she must make sacrifices, even if it means she has to betray the one she loves the most to do what is right. This was an amazing book. While not quite as good as Divergent, the book was still great! I would definitely recommend reading it.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
The 5th Wave
Yancey, Rick
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I saw the trailer for this book and I wanted to read it before I watched the movie. I was slightly disappointed when I read this. I was hoping for a cool, unique, different aspect of an alien book but I was wrong. The book was extremely confusing to read, I found myself reading over a page 5 times to understand where I was at in the book. The plot jumps around in different time periods so many times without warning. The annoyance I suffered from the book might be different from your perspective of the book. There was also a love story that was going to emerge but failed miserably. The only thing I enjoyed, which is why I gave this 3 stars, was the action portions. Even though the writing STYLE was confusing, the writing itself is quite intriguing, kind of like a poem. Once you understood where you are at, the action scenes pull you in but then it goes back to round one, which is boring, confusing, and annoying.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I was underwhelmed by the entire concept of the book. I felt as if it was poorly written and extremely sappy. The whole "find your personal legend" to me was a reach to be creative but went downhill. I admit, some parts of the book pulled me in but the plot never seemed to satisfy me 100%.The message in the story is to follow your own legacy but it also has a supernatural element that helps Santiago through his journey and it seems that if an individual wants to find his own worth and legacy, you need some supernatural, god-like force to help you along the way and not a lot of people like the idea of that. The book was reviewed as amazing and one of a kind but I think otherwise. The way the author tried to make the story deep, failed and it seems like a silly fable at the end of the day.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
Looking for Alaska
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Looking for Alaska is a fantastic book for readers who want to be absorbed in feelings. The book revolves around Miles Halter, a skinny and shy teenager that moves to Alabama to go to a boarding school called Culver Creek Life comes at him fast when he meets his new room mate The Colonel, a Japanese kid with a Southern accent named Takumi, and a beautiful girl named Alaska Young. This group of kids enjoy smoking and drinking by the lake and pulling pranks while trying not to get caught by The Eagle, the schools headmaster. A love story appears and as the story progresses, the plot thickens and it is a rollercoaster of emotions that will keep anyone at the edge of their seats.
The book is a cliché love story but with a twist and not everyone can relate. It made me emotional but I wish there was more to the book. I felt like the book could've had more surprising elements to it but there was one part of the book that was definitely a shocker. Even though that one part of the book shocked me, I wanted to feel that way the entire time. Some parts were boring to me but overall it had a creative back story and layout.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
Genres:
Scat
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Scat, by Carl Hiaasen, was about a mean science teacher who disappears on a school field trip. Two students go on a journey to find their teacher. There are many plot twists and the book also goes in depth about all the characters. Over all this book was amazing and highly suggested for anyone who wants an easy read.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mollie A.
Awards:
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Lin, Grace
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon introduces a little girl named Minli, who lives in a town that goes through difficult times, with people each working from dusk till dawn. Minli though, seems to think that with the stories that her father tells her, there is some hope left. So, Minli sets on a difficult journey to meet the Man in the Moon (told in one of her father's stories) that will give her a fortune to help her family and the town that she lives in. When I started this book I couldn't put it down, the author of this book made this story seem like many stories, which is why I continued to read and finish this book. If I were you I would definitely read this book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.

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