Bram Stoker Award

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
Author: 
Sebold, Alice
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Susie Salmon is a 14-year old girl who is killed by her neighbor Mr. Harvey after school on her way home. Mr. Harvey disposes Susie's body and throws her charm bracelet into a pond. Susie's spirit flees from her body and runs towards her personal heaven where she watches as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she also tries to come to terms with her death.

My favorite part about this book is the theme of accepting death. Susie's family struggled with closure, and as a result, Susie's soul was restless and she wasn't able to enter into 'Heaven'. Even though she's only 14, Susie explored themes such as love, friendship, the after-life, and forgiveness. Personally, I don't think Mr. Harvey's ending was enough, but I was happy that Susie and her family found closure. The book felt very personal; like I was with Susie the whole time, and I felt very connected to her and attached throughout her whole emotional growth. Ironically, Susie does the most growing when she's dead, because that's when she does the most soul searching. I also thought this book pointed out how flawed adults are, and that they aren't the perfect put-together image young teens have about them. I watched the film adaption after, and if you prefer films, the movie is just as awesome!

Reviewer's Name: 
Nneoma

Book Review: Misery

Misery
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Stephen King is my favorite author, so of course I wanted to read this book! I remember seeing the movie and also really liking it. Misery is about an author who gets rescued from a car crash by his Number One Fan. Things quickly go south when his rescuer, Annie Wilkes, holds him captive in her house. This book is really suspenseful and you never know what is going to happen next. I would highly recommend this book, in my opinion it’s one of his best!

Reviewer's Name: 
Emani

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book trails Harry Potter, who is visited by a group of wizards and then goes to Sirius Black’s house, which is the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. The Order of the Phoenix is a group of wizards, led by Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore himself. This group is dedicated to making sure that Voldemort never rises to power ever again. But the Order has to operate in secrecy under the radar of the Ministry of Magic.

This novel is quite capable of giving you the chills, like in one part Harry is forced to write with the Black Quill, an invention of the gruesome Dolores Umbridge. The Black Quill is a torture device, because it does not require ink, it writes with the blood of the person who’s using it. This quill will scar the back of your hand, and if you continuously keep using it, the back of your hand will have a permanent scar.

But this book has its share of adventure too, like in one part, Harry Potter has to race to the Ministry of Magic headquarters, but Harry doesn't take a car, he takes a Thestrals which is just a flying horse. Harry Potter also uses the power of teleportation by teleporting around, fireplace to fireplace.

With a bunch of cliffhangers, this book is definitely a good read. So I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for Harry Potter & The Order Of the Phoenix.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman

Book Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
Author: 
Stiefvater, Maggie
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater tells the story of Blue, a teenage girl in a family of psychics. Blue doesn’t have the family gift, but on St. Mark’s Eve she sees a phantom boy--Gansey, one of the boys who attends Aglionby Academy. As a non-psychic, there are only two reasons Blue would see someone: she either kills or falls in love with him sometime in the course of the next year. One other little problem: Blue has been told her whole life that she’ll kill her true love with a kiss. Despite this, Blue still finds herself drawn in by Gansey and his world of the Raven Boys at Aglionby Academy. It only took me a day to finish The Raven Boys, proof it’s a good page turner. The plot pulled me in and left me wanting to read the second book in the series. I’ve read better books this year, but it’s by no means bad or even close to the worst book I’ve picked up in 2020. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this book, so if you’re considering reading it, just go for it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cora G.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: 
Rowling, J. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is about Harry’s 3rd year at Hogwarts. Along with friends Ron and Hermione, Harry investigates the case of Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, the wizard prison. Sirius Black is believed to be one of Voldemort's allies, and he is the only wizard ever to escape Azkaban, so he is definitely powerful. Harry Potter then overhears that Sirius Black wants to kill him.

This book is full of creeps and chills, like in one part, the train to Hogwarts is stopped because of terrible flying things that can suck out your soul. Because of these soul-suckers, Harry almost dies, but in the end, Harry learns a lot about himself, his parents, and friends (both of his, and his parents’).

But this book is still full of interest. In a memorable moment, Harry Potter flies on a Hippogriff, which is a hybrid between a horse and eagle. In another part, The Prisoner of Azkaban goes from fantasy to sci-fi, because of time travel, where Harry goes back in time to save himself.

With the adventurous and scary parts in perfect balance, this book is a good read, and personally, it is my favorite book in the whole series.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman S.

Book Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls
Author: 
Ness, Patrick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book follows a young boy who watches his mother struggle against cancer. He is visited by a monster who transforms from a tree into a walking, talking being, and he begins to take advice from the monster. He lets the monster be what he feels and thinks about the situation his mother is in; if he is angry, the monster prompts the boy to punch another boy. The monster is a representation of his anxieties and inability to cope with reality.
However, the monster is also a companion and an outlet for the boy. The monster is a way for the boy to express all of his emotions and to talk out the struggles he is facing. At times, he appreciates the monster, and other times, he hates the points the monster bring up.

This book is very complex in its analysis of suffering and coping mechanisms, and is a truly wonderful read. While sad, the message of the book and the realizations the reader has make the point a phenomenal representation of human nature, and the monster a representation of all that people keep bottled up inside. Ultimately inspiring, I would recommend this book for anyone interesting in a deeper understanding of the human reaction to grief, loss, or conflict. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Reviews: American Gods

American Gods
Author: 
Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book follows ex-convict Shadow, once he is released from prison and enters into a new job as the assistant to Mr. Wednesday (more commonly known as Odin). Shadow doesn’t believe the fact that he is surrounded by gods, until Mr. Wednesday introduces him to god and god and shows him undeniable evidence. Mr. Wednesday is using Shadow as a mean of amassing the older, more forgotten gods into an army ready to retaliate against the new gods of the modern era. Technology, for example, is depicted as a god, but a socially removed and young god. This has been one of my absolute favorite books to read because of how it explores the change in worshiping from ancient gods and folklore into technology, media, and trends. The book is so complicated because it brings together ancient gods of cultures from around the world.

Each have different origins and purposes, and the role Shadow plays as the representation of humanity only intensifies the surreal feeling of the book.
I liked how I was able to relate to Shadow, as bring subject to the controlling factors of society, whether they be demanding gods or media outlets. I appreciated how well-researched the cultures written about were, and how there isn't a page in the book that doesn’t bring about another point to think about, something like morality or control. The book is also very entertaining and a fascinating storyline, and I would highly recommend it to any reader. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Review: Bird Box

Bird Box
Author: 
Malerman, Josh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Imagine, you are a mom who has had to raise her two kids in a world where going outside was a major undertaking. No! This world is not filled with the usual “monstrous suspects” you come to expect in horror novels, vampires, werewolves etc.. this evil is unseen and unknown. It can’t be known, for you see, the moment any person glimpses it, this “evil” drives them to unspeakable violence and shortly after, their own death. The world didn’t used to be like this, it used to be normal but since “the evil” infested our world, things have never been the same. This evil leaves no survivors, and no one can stop it because no one can see it. It simply is unbeatable.

Malorie and her two children live in this world where evil can ravage anyone if you were just to step outside. To protect her and her children she raises them and teaches herself, to live life almost completely blind with a blindfold on most of the time. They do the best they can, holed up in their home trying to survive. One day through their meager means of communication Mallorie hears of this place 20 miles downriver where her and her family might be safe. But only if they can get there. Malorie and her kids, soon after, set out on a harrowing and terrifying journey downriver, all while wearing blindfolds, that will test them in ways they couldn’t have imagine.

Mallerman creates a horrifying and terrifying experience for readers that will leave them continually guessing. The strength of this story is also what makes it the best kind of horror. It’s unknowable and theirs a mystery around every corner. It could be something that could turn out to be a monster or something that could help the hero’s on their journey. The tense and creepy atmosphere Mallerman creates from the character’s surroundings also adds to the overall terrifying and mysterious aura of the story. Add to this that the evil so talked about throughout the book, is never actually revealed. Mallerman does a brilliant job of revealing some things but not everything leaving the readers imagination to make up the rest. And that is the strength of this book really, it turns the readers mind against them. Highly original and so creepy this book is a solid five stars. Pick up this intense terrifying psychological horror story today. And check out the movie coming to Netflix this December. I promise you, you won’t regret it!

Reviewer's Name: 
Tawnie

Book Review: The Green Mile

The Green Mile
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

While most people might not realize Stephen King wrote The Green Mile, I was completely unaware that the original version of this book was released serially—much like Charles Dickens used to do with his books. The novelty of experimenting with this format is somewhat lost now that the volumes are collected together to create a whole narrative. Even so, King is still the master of his craft, even if there’s minimal “horror” contained within the walls of this prison. At least, it’s an expected horror through the system of capital punishment, and not tied to the terror of the unknown.

Even though I enjoyed this story for its characters and plot, one element stuck out like a sore thumb: the framing via the retirement home. Sure, there’s a neat twist involved near the end, but so often the narrative would pull away from the time period in the prison to show some parallels to retirement living in a distracting way. I don’t think this added much to the story and it seemed to be more of a diversion than a benefit to the plot as a whole. Either way, these moments are few and far between, which helps move the action along.

Overall, King’s descriptive writing brought much of the book to vivid life. His imaginative ideas and foreshadowing give the reader just enough information to figure out the real culprit of the crimes mere pages before the characters themselves were able to. Each of the characters is unique and has their own qualities that causes you to either love or hate them—depending on who they are. Even if you’re not a fan of Stephen King’s other works, I highly suggest you read The Green Mile, regardless.

A fantastic non-horror Stephen King novel, I give The Green Mile 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. Weilert
Genres: 

Book Review: I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers
Author: 
Lyga, Barry
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is the son of the world's most notorious serial killer. After his father was captured, Jazz has just been trying to live like a usual 17 year old. But when a new killer appears who seems to be trying to mimic his father, Jazz knows that it's only a matter of time before people start to believe he's the new killer. So he decides to join the police in tracking down the murderer, not only to convince the town he isn't like his father, but himself. I Hunt Killers has a good mystery, with plenty of twists, and is difficult to predict. However, it isn't the mystery that makes the story addicting; it's Jazz. While some of the minor characters suffer from a lack of proper development, Jazz's interesting (and disturbed) mind makes this book difficult to put down. He is a morally gray character, incredibly messed up, but sympathetic. His fears of being a sociopath are not without reason. In the hands of a different writer, his struggles could be seen as heavy handed or melodramatic. But here, he is written as completely believable. The mystery is a good one, but it's the protagonist (the likes of which you rarely see in a young adult story) that makes this book really good.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kate D.

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