Blue Spruce Award Winner

Book Review: It

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Despite the high page count, I've been looking to reread It by Stephen King for some time. It was a great book; it just took some time to get through. Seven friends all team up to fight an other-worldly murderous clown after several people turn up dead in the small town of Derry. This clown feasts on your worst thoughts and fears, and destroys your mind as well as your body. The switch between the seven friends as kids versus adults was entertaining, because they handled emergency situations differently as well as having different motives because of how the clown affected their childhoods. The chapters could get tedious at times and have a lot of fluff (in a horror book? YES!). I would even call the last hundred or so pages strange as the final battle became sort of biblical and unlike the direction of the rest of the book. Still, if you're a fast reader and would like to get a horror book under your belt, try it out!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie
Genres

Book Review: Scythe

Author
Shusterman, Neal
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

In a perfect world where overpopulation is the only problem, an elite group of unbiased assassins called Scyths are expected to “glean” the population to keep it at a manageable level. This is by far one of the best young adult sci-fi books that I've ever read. With its fast-paced plot, Scythe is a captivating story of two teenagers faced with enormous responsibility and life-or-death consequences. I have a soft spot for skillful world-building, action, and fleeting romance; this book was a masterful concoction of all three! Also, on a personal note, I have read far too many books with idiotic plot twists. I am pleased to say that this was not one of them. Get ready for an addicting read, as this book isn't easy to set down.

Reviewer's Name
Kate

Book Review: Six of Crows

Author
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Six of Crows is the first book in Leigh Bardugo's duology following her Shadow and Bone trilogy. This novel is the story of Kaz Brekker and his attempt to put together a crew to pull off an impossible heist - sneak into the impenetrable Ice Court of Fjerda. Kaz Brekker, also known as "Dirtyhands" in the Barrel (the slums of Ketterdam) is a part of the Dregs (a gang built out of those "scraped from the bottom of the Barrel"). Then we have Inej, or "the Wraith" who has an impeccable talent for sneaking around and has a liking to knives. There's Jesper (a personal favorite), a sharpshooter who never misses, but has a serious gambling problem. Wylan, a intelligent bomb master, who's also the insurance in case the plan fails. Finally, we have Nina (also a favorite of mine), a Grisha heartrender, and Matthias, the outsider who has insider knowledge. For 30 million kruge (or 323,848,425 USD), the six teenagers decide that a mission that will probably get them killed, will still be worth it, because together, they are more dangerous than all of the soldiers inside of the Fjerdan Ice Court. Teenage drama, messy romance, plot-twists that can change everyone's opinion of one another. This book was probably my favorite out of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series. There isn't anything I would change, and would definitely consider re-reading.
Reviewers Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name
Nataleigh
Genres

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Author
Collins, Suzanne
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an incredible book full of suspense, surprise, and action! It was one of the best books I have read this year and I would strongly recommend it to dystopian lovers.
In a post-nuclear war world, there are twelve districts and the capital that are safe enough for people to live in, and every year the government holds a competition between 12-18 year-olds. A fight to the death, and the winner gets to live a peaceful, worry-free life away from the stress and labor of the districts. Everyone of age is entered into the drawing and when Katniss Everdeen's younger sister is chosen to take part in the Hunger Games she takes her place. Now Katniss faces stronger, faster, and better opponents, and the capital's clever propaganda. She must do all she can to survive.
I liked this book because the author did well at portraying the emotions of the characters and they were all so relatable. Hunger Games is a great read that kept me up all night. I decided on this book because of amazing recommendations and because I love dystopian books, Be warned... it measures up to its greatness! I would recommend 12+ for this book because it gets a little violent and the idea of kids being put in a competition to kill each other is a little dark. Overall this book is brilliant and worthy of recognition! Hunger Games was very surprising and I enjoyed the storyline very much. I would certainly suggest this book to you!
Reviewer Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name
Ella

Book Review: Divergent

Author
Roth, Veronica
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of the best books I've read this year. It is action-packed and entertaining throughout the whole book.
Split into 5 different factions, or branches, based on your personality and character traits, Beatrice (Tris) Prior is a danger to all of society. She is what's known as Divergent, someone who doesn't fit into one of the preset sections in the civilization. Forced to hide it or face certain death, Tris decides to become a Dauntless, the faction favoring the brave. She faces a dangerous initiation there, in which she must face her fears and become a true Dauntless or live factionless forever. Soon the world becomes more dangerous for the Divergent and she must do everything possible to survive.
I liked this book because it's very attention-grabbing, it was a book I could escape into. It had very cool fighting and training scenes and was so detailed and relatable that I knew how Tris felt half of the time. The book had me hooked and up all night reading it. I think the author did an excellent job with all of the characters and plots that went into the book. I picked this book because I wanted a good dystopian book and I was not disappointed! Divergent is extremely well written, suspenseful, and quick... You will never want to put it down. This book comes with a great storyline and just the right amount of romance to add to the overall brilliance of it all. By the end, you will adore all the characters and it will leave you longing for more. (It's a 4-book series with 3 movies :) If you love a good young adult, dystopian, romance this book is for you!

Reviewer Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name
Ella

Book Reviews: Six of Crows

Author
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is an incredible book that turns the bad guys into the good guys. It will entertain you until the end and you will never want to stop reading it! In the international trade center of Ketterdam, the melting pot of the world, Kaz Brekker, mastermind criminal and gang leader builds a team of six criminals and misfits to pull off an impossible heist that- if they succeed- could make them all richer than they could ever imagine. Together, a convict from across the sea, a horrible gambler but a remarkable sharpshooter, a runaway merchants son, the Wraith a spy able to go anywhere unheard and unseen, a woman with magic powerful enough to stop the heart, and Kaz, the most dangerous thief in the whole of Ketterdam join forces to try their hand at inconceivable riches.
This book is filled with clever schemes and plans and is action-packed, always keeping you on your toes for what might happen next. It has you constantly trying to untangle the endless personalities and strategies of the characters and it leaves you hungry for more. Six of Crows truly brings the world of fantasy to life and honors the word with how astonishingly brilliant the tale is. It is constantly surprising and always going to shock you. If you are longing for a book you just can't put down, this is the one for you.
I thought this book was amazing because it is filled with countless twists and turns. I love trying to figure out all of the hints and puzzles that the author plants in this book! I think this book was extremely well written and the characters were very in-depth and engaging, they were complex like real people and made the story feel very authentic. It was exactly what I was looking for in a fantasy book, a little out of this world with just the right touch of the alluring unruly side in which these characters reside. I read a lot of fantasy books and I have to say that this was undoubtedly one of the best I have read. I would recommend it for most ages but it is one of the best for teens who love fantasy. (I would suggest readers 12+ because it can be a bit violent at times). Overall, Six of Crows is an enveloping book that I would certainly put forward to anyone looking for a great read!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Ella

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Author
Rowling, J. K.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I have never really been good at reading long books, but my sister kept talking about the Harry Potter books and so I read the sorcerer's stone, and it was so good. I have a hard time actually picturing what's going on in the books, but the way that JK Rowling writes made it easy. The book is all about a fantasy world full of magic and wizards and spells and witchcraft. I literally wish I went to Hogwarts. If I did I would be a ravenclaw. I am really good at riddles.
Reviewer's Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name
Sophia

Book Review: The Lost Hero

Author
Riordan, Rick
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

“The Lost Hero” is the first book in the “Heroes of Olympus” series, which takes place after the “Percy Jackson and the Oympians” series so it is recommended that the Percy Jackson series is read before reading this book. The book is about three demi-gods, Leo, Jason, and Piper that find their way to Camp Half-Blood. The three half-bloods end up going on a quest together. Leo Valdez during this book learns new and weird things about his past, he also loves machines and flirting. In my opinion he was the most relatable character in this book of the three main characters and was very lovable. Jason wakes up on a bus and has no idea who he is but all he knows is that something is not right. In this book Jason is not very relatable because of his absence of memory, so we don’t learn many not quest related things about him but he was still an enjoyable character. Piper has secrets and her life is turned upside down during this book. She is relatable at times but Leo is still by far the most relatable character in this book. So the three demi-gods go on a quest together to stop the start of the end of the world and learn a lot of things along the way.

“The Lost Hero” was a good book. While reading I did have to look at my political map of the U.S.A. to make sure I understood where they were going. The plot and quest were overall pretty easy to follow but the book feels a little slow at times. The mythology was very well integrated into the story. The writing style was descriptive and I enjoyed the book being in third person rather than first person, like in Percy Jackson and the Olypians. The book felt really well thought out and it fits really well with the rest of the books in its world. The book had fun small plot twists that I didn’t see coming. You will get attached to the main characters, especially Leo Valdez. I liked how it ended, it wrapped up the story with more to come nicely. The small bit of French in it was easy to understand even if you don’t speak french. Overall, it was a good book and a good start to a series and a wonderful addition to the Percy Jackson world.

Reviewer's Name
Jordan

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author
Rowling, J.K.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

(Warning do not proceed unless you have read the previous 4 books. SPOILERS AHEAD.)
The wizarding world is exploding with news of Voldemort's return. Muggle news is filled with mysterious murders and strange disappearances. Or, at least, that is what 15-year-old Harry Potter thinks should be happening. Ever since he saw Voldemort return at the end of the Triwizard Tournament he had to hide under flower bushes just to listen to the muggle news to get any hint of what might be happening and, of course, avoiding his Wizard hating Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. While doing this very thing, he hears a big crack that sounded like someone apparating or disapparating he jumps up because it was some sign of the world he knew...and he hits his head on the windowsill. His bumbling uncle pulls him in with his thick purple fingers and with a quick quarrel, Harry shows some cheek and leaves the house heading towards the park. He sighs bitterly thinking about how abandoned he felt. The stupid Daily Prophet failed to acknowledge the fact that the most dangerous wizard of all time had returned, he hadn't even heard anything from Dumbledore, and his friends sent practically useless letters, but from what was in them, he could tell they were at the same place. It angered him to think of Ron and Hermoine having fun at the Burrow without him. The only way to deal with his angers was to take them out on his piggy cousin Dudley who was every bit as foul as the parents who brought him up. Harry is "threatening" Dudley with his wand while they walk back to the house together trading insults, when the sky goes dark, and the air becomes a bone chilling cold. Dementors, Harry knew. He was forced to use magic, which caused, when he brought a pale, sweating Dudley home, to receive a letter announcing his expulsion from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry while listening to a furiously purple Uncle Vernon. He gets another letter telling him that his is not expelled yet but will have a hearing that will decide the issue at the Ministry of Magic. Because of this fiasco, he is transported by a guard to not the Burrow, but to the Headquarters of the Order of the Pheonix.

I really enjoyed this book because, well, the story is great, and because it is my favorite one in the series. I liked every single chapter in the book and there wasn't a single part that I didn't enjoy. I had picked this book because my mom, who had got me interested in the series in the first place had read me the first 4 books which gave way to me reading the 5th book on my own. I assure you that I have read it many, many times and if you appreciate truly good fiction, so will you. The Order of the Pheonix is not only one of the best books that I have read this year, but probably one of my favorite books ever.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Cooper
Genres

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Author
Green, John
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

“The Fault in Our Stars” is about Hazel Grace, Augustus Waters, and many other things. We follow Hazel and Gus through their lives which seem to involve a lot of cancer. Hazel's lungs are not good lungs, they fill up with water with causes problems due to cancer. Augustus has one leg due to cancer but is doing fine. Gus and Hazel develop a relationship over reading Hazel's favorite book, An Imperial Affliction. The book leaves behind a lot of questions when it ends. In the novel we watch Hazel and Augustus navigate through their lives and become close to each other. We watch Hazel and Gus live their lives and watch life happen to them.

“The Fault in Our Stars” is a book that will break your heart, be prepared for it. Both Augustus and Hazel will make you fall in love with them. Their dynamic is adorable and so adorable and so enjoyable. Isaac was such a wonderful character. He was a friend of Augustus and personally he is one of my favorite characters. The medical accuracy is probably meh but it made sense to me, who is not a medical person. This book is part realistic, romantic, and bittersweet. The writing style describes the emotions so well. The figurative elements are used in such fun and creative ways. This book is beautiful, the characters are beautiful, the plot was beautiful, and the writing style was beautiful. The book shows the characters getting screwed over by life and it was great at showing that life isn’t perfect and that sometimes life seems to bite you in the butt. This book progresses at the perfect speed, makes you love the characters, and then breaks your heart. This book is perfect for anyone searching for an emotional book that just is realistic and beautiful.

Reviewer's Name
Jordan