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All Book Reviews

Book Review: My Brother Sam is Dead
Collier, James Lincoln
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When I started this book I could not understand why it had been banned. It seemed so innocuous. I only read it because it was in the free pile where I work. I looked it up and it was for violence, language, and an unpatriotic view of the Revolutionary War. Fair enough. It is violent and unpatriotic for sure, which is why I liked it. It's also a very good story and is about as accurate an account of the Revolutionary War era as can be reasonably expected from a work of fiction for young people.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Art of Practicing
Bruser, Madeline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I skimmed the parts of this book that didn't apply to me. But stretching and relaxing before practice and performances, thorough memorizing as a tool to help you quickly recover when you make a mistake, finding something to love in each tune (even those you don't love - I'm looking at you, Loch Carron), and recognizing the bravery of performance and competitions resonated with me. A good read.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Bizenghast volume 2
LeGrow, M. Alice
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

For my Review I read the second book in the Benzenghast by Alice LeGrow. This book was just as good as the first one, maybe even better. In this on Dinah and Vincent are still trying to free all the ghosts with the help of Edaniel the tower god. During this time Vincent falls ill. What I liked most about this book was that it shows you what it is like when someone keeps blaming themselves for something that is not their fault.

Reviewer Grade:8

Reviewer's Name: Paige C.
The Writing on the Wall
Lichtman, Wendy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

For my review I read Writing on the Wall byWendy Lichtman. It is about a young girl and how she uses math in life. There is a little mystery though. There was a fire in one of the class rooms and someone thinks it was Arson. Instead of telling anyone they write it in an obvious place in code. I really liked how creative the author got with this book.

Reviewer Grade:8

Reviewer's Name: Paige C.
The Way of the Samurai
Stilton, Geronimo
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed reading this book that is part of the popular series. The pace is fast, which I like. I traveled to Japan in August of last year, so I remember some of the places the book talks about. The Samurai culture is very interesting to me and readers will enjoy it. This story has it all, history, geography, international travel and an interesting ending.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Genres:
Dragonbreath
Vernon, Ursula
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This enjoyable story about Danny Dragonbreath is a good read. Danny has to deal with bullying, but he makes it through. His trusty friend Wendell is a classic. You will enjoy the pirate ship, the amphibians and the deep sea creatures. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Awards:
Hatchet
Paulsen, Gary
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was very fun to read, it left you on the edge of your seat. It is a fairly short book. The story line has a fast pace. I would recommend this book to a more advanced reader. It is a riveting survival story centered in the Canadian wilderness.This book is now one of my favorites.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1)
Kinney, Jeff
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a kid friendly and amazing book. I personally loved the series. I read this series a lot it is about a kid trying to survive middle school named Greg there are ten books in the series so far and I have read all of them. This book is great and I would recommend this book for younger readers.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Awards:
Genres:
The Ugly Truth (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #5)
Kinney, Jeff
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I really like this book. This is one of my favorites because I can relate to Gregg Heffley. Since I just started 7th grade, much of this book matches what I’m going through now. The reader will enjoy the illustrations throughout the book. You will need to read the book to find out if Gregg and Rowley are able to get their friendship back on track.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Genres:
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Atwater, Richard
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This absurd book was a fun read. I enjoyed the humor and outrageous premise of the book. Mr. Popper makes many sacrifices for his family of penguins, but the sacrifice is worth it. This book has won many awards and is a classic at my school. I especially enjoyed the unique ending to the satisfying story.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Genres:
Stormbreaker
Horowitz, Anthony
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was suspenseful and amazing, it had several unexpected twists like when the main character finds out about his uncle’s job. This book is about a teenager whose uncle died unexpectedly. This book is a must read but it is a longer series. I recommend this book for a more experienced reader. Those readers will find it action packed and reading it is a worthy use of their time.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
The Willoughbys
Lowry, Lois
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This humorous page turner was fun to read. I would recommend this book, it is a shorter read but it is very entertaining. This is a children’s book. This book was surprisingly humorous. I enjoyed the pace of the story. It is not a hard book to read and it is geared to the young reader. This book will definitely make you laugh.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Thomas C.
Awards:
Genres:
Peeps
Westerfeld, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Peeps is an amazing book that takes a interesting, scientific approach to vampirism. It is centered around Cal Thompson a carrier of a unique parasite that causes aversion to light, heightened senses, and cannibalistic impulses. Because Cal is only a carrier he shows none of the extreme symptoms of the parasite. At the beginning of the book, Cal has had the parasite for a year. With the help of the Night Watch, a shadowy organization that hunts down parasite positives, or 'peeps', and a girl named Lace, he is tasked with capturing all of the girls he gave the disease to in that year. Filled with information on real parasites, this book is definitely not for squeamish people. Peeps also has a little content that some people might not be comfortable with. That being said, this is a great book and an interesting take on the idea of vampirism. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys science fiction, or any of Scott Westerfeld's other books.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Uglies
Westerfeld, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All Tally Youngblood ever wanted was to be a pretty. Now Tally is almost sixteen years old, and in just a few weeks, she will get the surgery that will make her beautiful. When she meets Shay, a girl with many new ideas, Tally is told about a reclusive group called the Smokies that keep their own faces. Shay, a few days before their birthday, runs away and joins them, leaving Tally to explain to everyone where her friend is. Because of Shay, Tally is forced into a world that she wanted no part of. To become pretty, Tally must betray Shay and all of her new friends. As she realizes the truth behind the operation, Tally starts to enjoy her new life. Uglies, the first book in the series, is a great dystopian book. With an amazing plot, and complex characters, I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoyed Divergent or any of Scott Westerfeld's other books.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Queen of Shadows
Maas, Sarah
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Queen of Shadows is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series. It begins soon after Aelin Galathynius, the rightful Queen of Terrasen returns to Rifthold planning to kill the King of Adarlan. To do this and reclaim her birthright Aelin must go up against of an evil that is not of her world. As the plot thickens, there are more complications than Aelin can count.
Meanwhile, one of Aelin's closest friends must battle his own enemy; an enemy that lives inside him and controls him. This book is a great addition to the series, carrying on its legacy of great characters and fast-moving plot.
Queen of Shadows keeps many of the incredible characters from the previous books, and introduces many new ones. I thought that the internal struggles of these characters made this book even better. (If this was a movie, I would probably rate it PG-13 for some violence and a little romance.)
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Genres:
The Crown of Midnight
Maas, Sarah
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The second book in the Throne of Glass series, The Crown of Midnight is a fantastic addition to the series. This book continues a few months after the Throne of Glass leaves off. Celaena Sardothien has been working for the King for a few months without any word from Elena. Although her job requires the King's trust, Celaena is far from loyal. She is always secretly plotting, planning. As a romance that Celaena never imagined starts to blossom, she realizes that there is more going on in Adarland than meets the eyes. Because Celaena is trying to not only protect those she loves, but also hide her own deadly secret, it is hard for her to do anything for the suffering people around her. This book is a great addition to the series, introducing the true conflict and clarifying many things from the last book. Celaena is still a great character, funny, proud, and clever, and truly unpredictable. I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone that enjoyed the first installment in the series. The Crown of Midnight has a perfect balance of romance, action, and political intrigue. Full of new insights to Celaena's character, this book will pull you in and keep you reading long into the night. I would like to note that this is definitely a young adult book, and has some content that maybe not everyone is comfortable with. That being said this book is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys reading fantasy.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Awards:
Genres:
The Monuments Men: Allied Heros, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Edsel, Robert M.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This read provides an interesting and fast-paced approach to learning the history of World War II’s MFAA, while it is also entertaining as a historical story in itself. It reminds us that valor does not only belong to those who fight the physical wars, but also to those who protect the traditions and values upon which we built and sustain our culture. It awakens pride in us as Americans, as well as respect for the universal value of culture in all nations. The Monuments Men ties together the art of war, the value of culture, the unity of a nation, and the interest of history.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q.
Genres:
Hold Me Like a Breath
Schmidt, Tiffany
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt tells the story of Penelope who is untouchable because her body destroys her platelets which causes her to bruise easily. Penelope's Family is in the black market for organ transplant, this makes Penelope's life more dangerous than it already is. All Penelope ever wanted was to be treated like everyone else, but when a brutal act thrusts her into New York alone and scared she finds there are bigger threats than bruises. This book tugged on my emotions, and made me feel what loss is like. I picked this book because a good friend of mine recommended it to me and I would recommend this book to people who like suspense and romance.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Genres:
Impyrium
Neff, Henry
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

3000 years ago (aka present day), the earth suffered from "the Cataclysm" - an apocalyptic event that changed the literal shape of the earth (because earthquakes) as well as all of its political structures. In this future version of earth, technology has been all but outlawed, and magical folks are treated in a vastly superior way to those without magic. Hob Smythe is a non-magical miner living in the Dusk (outside of present-day Vancouver) who is recruited by a secret society called The Fellowship that wants non-magic folks to have the same rights as magic folks. He is quickly whisked away to the capital (Impyrium) where he is to spy on Hazel Faeregrine - the princess third in line to the throne that the Fellowship suspects is massively powerful. Meanwhile, Hazel is trying to learn how to wield her great magical power, while maneuvering and investigating interesting goings on in the palace.

As you can probably tell from that description, there is a lot of world-building that happens in this book. As a result, the beginning is a little slow, but after a few chapters, I found myself engrossed. Neff creates a dynamic world full of magic, demons, and dragons. The characters themselves are intelligent, likable (if a little gullible), and independent. If you like your heroes with pluck, you'll love Hazel and Hob. The story, once it gets going, is fairly complex, but in a really great way. There's a lot of plotting and conspiracies and it's really fun to try to figure out what is happening along with Hazel and Hob. A lot of little threads are introduced, and many plot points are tied up in the end while still paving the way for the next installment in the story. Additionally, there is fun social commentary in terms of non-magic vs. magic folks and their respective treatments.

I liked this enough that I immediately put the author's companion series, which is called The Tapestry and tells about the events of the Cataclysm, on hold. This is probably my favorite non-sequel middle grade read of the year. Recommended for fantasy readers of all ages. 4 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Genres:
 Superman, Volume 1: Before Truth
Yang, Gene Luen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In this Superman comic written by Gene Yang, Superman is being blackmailed by a mysterious agency (or person) called HORDR. He's also got a new ability (solar flare) that destroys everything in his immediate vicinity, but that leaves him human/vulnerable for the 24 hours immediately following the flare's use.

Even though this is labeled "Volume I", the issues in it are marked as 40-46. As such, the first issue was super confusing. It took me a hot minute to figure out what was happening, but basically, the Justice League was testing Superman's new power: solar flares. Honestly, you could skip it and be fine.

Anyway, so after that bizarre first issue, we enter the main story. I think it's my fav Supes story (I mean, it's the first one I've read, but I've seen *some* of the movies), just because in my opinion, Superman is usually a little over powered (OP), which makes him a lot less interesting as a character. It was nice to see him being a human, and we get a few cute moments as a result (hangover!). The story has a nice, easy to follow progression, the characters (for the most part) act in ways that make sense, and the last issue leaves the door WIDE open for future issues. If you have no knowledge of Superman, it would be really hard to follow. Movie watchers will be fine, but if you are totally new to Superman, start elsewhere.

This might be really stupid, but I hated Superman's costume update. The jeans just looked silly. Like, go full tights/ridiculous superhero costume, man, or just do nothing at all. Also, like, shave or don't shave, don't walk around with that spiky stubble all the time, it's distracting.

Somehow worse costume aside, I liked this Superman story, and I'll likely check out the next volume. 3 stars - it was pretty good.

Reviewer's Name: Britt

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