Carnegie Medal

Book Review: Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea
Author: 
Sepetys, Ruta
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Salt to the Sea is about 4 people who are running from their past in the midst of WWII. Joana is a nurse fleeing from the dangers of Lithuania, with the hope that a ship will take her out of Europe. Florian is on the run from a mistake he made back in Germany also looking for the chance to escape without anyone finding him and taking him back to Germany. Emilia has finally decided to flee from the family that was taking care of her after the woman and her daughters betray her trust. Alfred is escaping reality by joining the German fleet to escape the mistake he made that cost him his girlfriend and his sanity. As the book continues all the character's paths join and they meet on the Wilhem Gustoff- a bigger tragedy than the sinking of the Titanic. The ship that promises safety, ends in tragedy. This is my favorite author, and out of all her books, this one is my absolute favorite. The character's stories blend together to make all the little plots into one overarching plot which I think is really cool. The chapters switch off narrators so you get to see the story in different perspectives. I like how the author shows a different side of the war than other WWII books where Germany is portrayed as the enemy and not as a country also in war. In this book, many of the people also fear Russia more than Germany because Russia was the one attacking and not helping and Germany was the one evacuating people. This makes the book different and I think more interesting. This is a really good book and it is worth a try.

Reviewer's Name: 
Emma

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book follows 17-year-old Harry Potter, who is trying to defeat Voldemort while he still has the chance because Voldemort is planning to take over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Then, he plans on creating trouble in the non-wizardry world which is a normal world with humans like us.

So, Harry, Ron and Hermione start a mission to go find and destroy partsof Voldemort's soul, the Horcruxes. This group of three must rely on each other because they can no longer trust anyone else, but Ron gets frustrated at their slow progress of destroying the Horcruxes, and then he surprisingly leaves the group.

This book is full of memorable parts, like in one, Harry learns that he has to die in order to defeat Voldemort, so he walks CALMLY into the forest, where Voldemort patiently waits to kill Harry Potter.

With the ultimate finale better than expected, this book is a must read. So I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman

Book Review: Wonder

Cover of the book Wonder
Author: 
Palacio, R. J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wonder is about a boy with Treacher Collin Syndrome (TCS) who goes through the adventures of a sixth grader. To everyone else, this may be just the first day of school. But to Auggie Pullman, this is the first day in a public school. Before sixth grade, he was homeschooled. Through the ups and downs in of middle school, Auggie Pullman manages to get through it, make new friends, and shows he doesn't care what they think or say. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotion pulling book or just a good and fast read. I loved this book. There was never a dull moment. I couldn't put this book down for a second. Whenever someone asked me for a good recommendation, this was first on the list. This book was one of the best books I have ever read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Mackenzie H.

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: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Book Cover
Author: 
Rowling, J. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

For people who want to enjoy an intriguing, fast paced novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the perfect book to read. It keeps you involved throughout the book as most chapters have cliffhangers at the end. This novel is the first of the seven famous Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

The book is about 11 year old Harry Potter, who receives a letter saying that he is invited to attend Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry. He then learns that a powerful wizard and his minions are after the sorcerer’s stone that will make this evil wizard immortal and undefeatable. Harry decides to go after the sorcerer’s stone before the wizard reaches it, but his loyal friends, Hermione and Ron don’t let Harry face this danger alone.

This book is full of fantasies and imagination like at one point, Harry Potter is asked to catch a flying golden ball while flying on his broomstick. Eventually Harry Potter stands on his broomstick and tries to reach for the ball, but he falls off the broomstick in a very tense moment. He unexpectedly throws up the golden ball winning the game for his team.

Harry Potter and a sorcerer stone is a good book to spark joy and imagination for anyone, regardless of age. But I would say it is most enjoyable for elementary school students, who can very well relate to the fantasy world. So I would say that it is a must read for younger audiences, but it’s a good read in general.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman G.

Book Review: Homegoing

Homegoing
Author: 
Gyasi, Yaa
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi follows two bloodlines, from half sisters in Ghana. Each chapter is about one descendant, switching between families somthat two chapters in a row are one generation. The book is well written and includes details that tie well into real life history or beliefs, and each chapter is in fact written in correlation with a major historical event. Through these tie-ins, the book is able to remain exciting, and each chapter could be read as a standalone short story. Each character has an important story, and is revisited in following chapters from their bloodline, either from memory or real life interactions between their children or grandchildren. In addition to the basic storytelling and history included in the book, there is also an aspect of mysticism, and values/traditions that are native to African culture, making it a solid read for increasing knowledge or understanding of Ghanan culture. For me, there are moments in the book that seem unnecessary to the general plot and sometimes vulgar, but they end up being essential in the consistency of the way the story is told. Readers are able to attach themselves to each character, story arc, anddetail, then follow them throughout the series of stories.

Reviewer's Name: 
Malachi

Book Review: Wonder

Wonder Book Cover
Author: 
Palacio, R. J.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Wonder is a book that I would 100% recommend. The story is based off of a boy who struggles with a disease, altering his appearance. This book contains the point of view of his peers, as well as his struggles, friendships, pain, and
overcoming of Auggie. The book also tells the story of his family going through their own struggles or going through Auggie’s struggles with him. Out of the many books that I have read, this has to be one of the best and most emotional books that I have read, and would definitely be on my list of books I recommend.

Reviewer's Name: 
Shieana H.

Book Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Author: 
Thomas, Angie
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Hate U Give is about a 16 year old black girl raised in a fictional poor community of garden height who goes to a private school on the other side of town. The main problem in this book is when Starr the main character’s best friend Khalid, who gets pulled over from leaving a party and sadly gets shot by a white police officer. The book contains some sensitive topic about black oppression and police brutality. Although it does talk about cop brutality it isn’t a police- bashing book. The book's intention is to spread awareness on the deep conflict with in poor black communities in our nation. I highly recommend this book 10 out of 10.

Reviewer's Name: 
Miguel

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last book of the series that follows the adventures of Harry Potter. As Harry and his crew have evidently aged to a more mature level of both wisdom and wizardry, they have no choice but to face Voldemort. Harry, alongside his two best friends, Ron and Hermione begin to destroy Voldemort's army piece by piece. As Voldemort takes control of the Wizardry world, Harry prepares for the ultimate showdown.

The Deathly Hallows is an extremely enticing story that brings an end to the Harry Potter series. Renowned for its fantasy and lore, the Deathly Hallows collectively groups it all into one story for an action-pact and romantic story.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking book jacket
Author: 
Cain, Susan
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

While it’s taken me a long time to finally get around to reading this book, most of what Quiet presented was what I had already known by living my life as an introvert. I will applaud this book’s ability to help society realize how ubiquitous the introverts that comprise the population are. Quiet also helps show what our needs are in this world that prizes the traits of extroversion over anything else. Even if there are many times where I have to put on my “extrovert suit,” it helps to know that there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert.

Perhaps my only qualm with this book is how anecdotal the evidence is. Whether it’s stories about famous introverts (which can be inspiring) or younger introverts who are being brought up by parents who don’t quite understand the strengths of the introvert type, Quiet uses a lot of case studies to show how out of place introverts are, especially in the United States. I understand it can be challenging to study a personality type that’s so broad, but a few more references to scientific studies would have been helpful.

What struck me in Quiet was the background it provided on why society evolved to value the extroverts and deem the introverts as “problems.” I still see the effects of this emphasis today. Sure, I put up with being an introvert in an extrovert’s world, and I have made adaptations in my life to survive and thrive in it. I can empathize with the introverts who cannot cope, though, and hopefully, this book can continue to help introverts claim this personality type and own it as I have over the years. Even if we’re different from the perceived norm, we still provide value to a world that insists that louder is better.

A great anthem for those introverts who feel out of place in a gregarious society, I give Quiet 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.
Genres: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Carnegie Medal