Carnegie Medal

Book Reviews: If I Stay

If I Stay book cover
Author: 
Forman, Gayle
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

A tragic story, reflecting the struggle of a girl who clings to life. This novel brought many tears to my eyes as I read it. The main character Mia and her family had just been in life threatening car crash; when in the hospital Mia wakes up but outside of her body. She is faced with a heartbreaking
decision: to stay and live, or to die and leave. Mia while in this conscious drift apart from her physical body re-lives all the life changing moments of her past and witnesses all of her relatives and friends as they come to the hospital to potentially say goodbye. Mia is then faced with the decision of whether she should stay. Sadness, memories, romance, heartbreak, the novel If I Stay has it all.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Madison S

Book Review: Wonder

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

Have you ever felt out of place? Like all you want is to fit in with the crowd, but it seems impossible? If so, you'd get along well with August Pullman. Ten-year-old August (Auggie) Pulllman is about to go into fifth grade at Beecher Prep, ready to face the world with his Padawan braid and astronaut helmet. But there are two things that get in the way: 1. He's been home-schooled all his life. 2. Auggie has Treacher Collins Syndrome, (TCS) a rare condition that occurs in one in fifty-thousand births. Because of his TCS, Auggie has downward-slanting eyes, a small jaw and chin, and the development of his facial bones and tissues are altered, causing him to have had twenty-seven surgeries -- and also causing some kids in his school to be scarred with night terrors. Everyday, Auggie is constantly challenged with overcoming whispers, side-glances, and even public humiliation from his peers that could get him killed one day. Auggie's world isn't all that bad though: he has two loving parents, a dog named Daisy, his older sister Olivia (Via), Via's friends Miranda and Justin, and his two new best friends, Summer and Jack, all of which are willing to do anything for Auggie, embarking on every incredible adventure he has so he doesn't have to face life alone.
Wonder is a magnificent book, filled with the challenges that every child and adult alike have to go through, whether or not they have a facial deformity. It is incredibly touching, and finds ways to connect with the reader and captivate its audience so much so that you won't be able to put the book down once you pick it up! Although many people would be disturbed by the imagery used to describe characters like Auggie Pullman, R.J. Palacio is able to create such a lovable and relate-able character that you just can't help but throw appearances aside and route for Auggie throughout the novel. You'll really wish that you could give him a hug the more you read the book, especially with the multiple POVs R.J. Palacio writes with, allowing you to observe Auggie's wonder of a story from every possible angle.

Reviewer's Name: 
Aimee W.

Book Review: Matched

Matched
Author: 
Condie, Allyson
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is truly amazing! It leaves you wondering what will happen next, to where you cannot put the book down! This is the first book of a trilogy by Ally Condie, all of which are fantastic. I usually don't like reading but I checked this out, and could not put it down! I read it in a week or so because it was so enthralling. I would recommend this book to anyone! It's futuristic, comical, dramatic, and romantic all at the same time.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ashlynn B.

Book Review: Wonder

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

In the beginning of the book August has a facial deformity called Treacher Collins syndrome where his ear is lower than the ears are supposed to be. He has not gone to a regular school ever so in fifth grade his mom has decided that she does not want to

Reviewer's Name: 
Hannah

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray
Author: 
Sepetys, Ruta
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Taking place during WWII... Lina, a fifteen-year-old girl, lives a peaceful and normal life drawing and going to school but when the NKVD, better known as Soviet officers, force them to leave, adventure and chaos abduct Lina's normal lifestyle. Lina, her brother Jonas, and her mom Elena have to travel by train living with the bare minimum to survive off of. From Soviet officers forcing them to work to stealing food to survive, Lina has to find a way to outlast WWII and the capture of her family. Her main goal through all this; to find her dad. This dramatic adventure written by Ruta Sepetys will pull you off your seat.
Reviewer's Age: 15

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

Book Review: Unbroken

Unbroken
Author: 
Hillenbrand, Laura
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Unbroken, is a book of suffering, friendship, strength, and journey's throughout life. The story takes place in the Pacific War of WW2, following the struggle of Louie Zamperini. Louie's life starts out "untameable" drinking, stealing, and running from the cops at the early age of 10, he cause quite the mischief in his home town of Torrance, California. Later on in high school Louie is going down the wrong path, until his brother turns him around and sets him on the path of becoming an Olympic runner. Louie runs in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and places 8th. Next thing you know World War Two breaks out, Louie joins the Army Air Corp and becomes a bombardier of a b-24 plane.

Next in the story, whilst on a rescue mission the "Green Hornet" a faulty B-24 crashes into the pacific ocean, taking Louie and his flight crew with it. Mac, Phil, and Louie survive the initial plane crash and face many challenges at sea. Mac dies along the way, but Louie and Phil survive 47 days at sea before being captured by the Japanese. Phil and Louie are quickly put into a Japanese p.o.w camp, where they are abused, tortured, overworked, and starved.

To avoid spoilers, I won't go further into the story, and if Louie and Phil survive or not. I HIGHLY recommend this book, it's a great eye opener for PTSD, and the Pacific side of WWII, along with intense suspense, struggle, and development of the main characters. Laura Hillenbrand does a great job or portraying this hero and survivor's story.

Reviewer's Name: 
Payton

Book Review: Ruby Holler

Ruby Holler
Author: 
Creech, Sharon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

If you like fast-paced adventures and witty characters... this book is for you. With Dallas, the brother, and his sister, Florida, they have been known as the "trouble twins." Raised as orphans and never suitable for any home, they have just been sent to live with an old couple. Having doubts and questions, Florida and Dallas are scared and nervous about their new home.
Their past homes have put them in dark basements, creepy holes, and not so comfortable beds. Will Florida and Dallas soon come around or will they have to head back to their dreaded orphanage? This fast paced adventure will leave you wanting more and suitable for all ages.
Reviewer Grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

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 Review: Doll Bones

Doll Bones
Author: 
Black, Holly
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

"Doll Bones" by Holly Black is about three friends who go on a journey to return a haunted doll to her grave after taking it out of one of their mom's china cabinets. Zach, Poppy, and Alice play a role-play game in which the doll is "the queen'. The doll is made from a young girl's bones and her wishes are to be returned with her family at the grave site so all three of them go on an extensive journey to do so. In the process Zach, Poppy, and Alice meet strange people which leads them to almost give up.

I would recommend this book. "Doll Bones" was really fun to re-read and was just as exciting as the first. Originally, I read the book for Battle of the Books in third grade but I read it again because I liked it. I couldn't relate to the characters however I think other people could. "Doll Bones" is not predictable and was not the best book I have read this year despite it still being a good book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O.

Book Review: Wonder

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

Wonder by R. J Palacio tells the story of a young boy, Auggie, that was born differently from others. Born with different facial features than others, he has not been able to be a mainstream and average student. After a series of captivating events, he becomes the most popular and inspiring of heroes once he becomes a fifth grader.

Wonder was an extremely unique story that took the point of view from a young boy different from others. The story was original and interesting to the reader based upon the course of events that took place. After Auggie is faced with demeaning names and suggesting he is mentally deficient, goodness becomes the better of this situation. The story becomes uplifting and inspiring. Taking place in many different viewpoints, the dialogue is well written and is able to describe each character with a unique tone of writing/speaking. In addition to the story itself, the book demonstrated morals that each reader could decipher for themselves. However, most prominently, the moral that I found when reading the book was the inner character of everybody is the determination of their personality.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

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