Carnegie Medal

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase

Author
Stroud, Jonathan
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The Screaming Staircase takes place in London, where suddenly, ghosts have been popping up all around the country. For some reason, only kids can see and hear the ghosts. I decided to read this book because it was a part of a school project. I really enjoyed this book because it was full of suspense and mystery. I thought the characters were very well written and they all felt genuine. This book is in a series, so I have recently started the second book. The only thing I didn't like very much was that there were lots of different terms that the author used to name the ghosts, so sometimes I got a little confused. I give this book an 8;10 because it was one of the most interesting books I have read this year!

Reviewer's Name
Lotus

Book Review: Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox

Author
Colfer, Eoin
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

Just like Godwin’s law asserts that internet conversations eventually lead to comparisons of Hitler, the longer a book series progresses, the more likely it is to include a time travel story. For the Artemis Fowl series, I was glad that it took six books to get here. Unfortunately, this plotline completely stalled the forward momentum the series had developed from the last entry, The Lost Colony (especially with introducing a potential love triangle). Sure, The Time Paradox does set up a revival for bringing back one of the series’ best antagonists, but mostly it is used to highlight the growth of the titular character.

Of course, in comparing the old Artemis Fowl with the new one, there seemed to be a regression of the one I had come to enjoy at the end of The Lost Colony. It was almost like he saw how he used to act and thought, “You know, I should try and be that way again.” Granted, he’s still basically a teenager, and he doesn’t necessarily use logic when it comes to emotional decisions—especially emotional decisions about his family. But perhaps the weakness of this story was that he had to regain all the allies he had built through the last five volumes, thus wasting time in a nearly-solo adventure.

In the end, the fact that the Artemis Fowl series finally reached its “time travel” book signals to me that there might not be many ideas left to explore. The time travel trope is so played out that most of this book was entirely predictable. Nothing drastic ever really changes in these storylines since you know that everything will return to normal by the end in a “deus ex machina” moment. Considering only two more books are left in this series, I believe my suspicion may be correct.

A standard time travel plot every book series must have, I give The Time Paradox 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Golden Compass

Author
Pullman, Philip
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The Golden Compass is elegantly crafted with beautiful word choice, and I would definitely recommend it. The plot was gripping with many exciting twists and revelations along the way as protagonist Lyra Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon, who's basically an animal manifestation of her soul, embark on a journey across their world to the North. There, Lyra intends to both rescue her friend and find her uncle. Lyra is such a fun character to read about, being clever and witty and ultimately someone the reader will root for and invest themself in through the whole book. The world-building, too, is really well done. Pullman paints a picture of a world parallel to ours, yet different in so many ways, and things like daemons, gyptians, armored bears, and dust are all incredibly creative. The one thing I would warn against is some somewhat anti-religious commentary (not so much in this book, but it grows more prominent in the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass) that may make some readers uncomfortable.

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name
Elanor
Genres

Book Review: The Emperor of All Maladies

Author
Mukherjee, Siddhartha
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Emperor of all Maladies is an informative and gripping history of cancer. Starting with the first recorded cases in ancient times and the remedies used by ancient doctors and progressing to the medical breakthroughs of chemotherapy and radiation, the book provides a wealth of information in a riveting tale. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee tells the stories of cancer’s most prominent adversaries like Dr. Sidney Farber as they work to develop life-saving treatments and procedures. The book is quite lengthy but kept me engaged throughout while teaching me about cancer history and treatment in a form that feels more like a novel than a textbook. If you want to learn more about one of the most prolific diseases in human history while viewing history through the lens of cancer researchers, The Emperor of all Maladies is perfect for you!

Reviewer's Name
Harrison

Book Review: Wonder

Author
Palacio, R.J.
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Wonder is a great book. It shows that not everyone is the same, but everyone should be treated equally. In the book, there is this one character, Auggie Pullman, who was born with facial differences. Auggie decides to go to public school, but it's very scary for him not having any friends to start off the school year. Auggie gets settled into school and starts to make friends with a boy named Jack and a girl named Summer. A rumor gets spread around the school that Auggie can pass the plague, so everyone stays away from him. I enjoyed this book because it teaches a lesson that not everyone looks the same and that we all have our differences.

Reviewer's Name
Kiana M.

Book Review: 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

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

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

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
Genres

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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.