Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: If I Stay

If I Stay
Author: 
Forman, Gayle
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I've watched the movie of this book, so I decided to read the book too. Mia was a 17 year old girl who went through a treacherous car crash and lost everything. She was deciding whether she wanted to go to Julliard or spend the years with her boyfriend before this happened but because of this accident, all her dreams shattered. It's a really emotional story, as she loses her entire family because of the accident, and has to restart her dreams from square one. I think that teenagers would love reading this book because it's a bit of every genre and it has a mix of happy and sad emotions.

Reviewer's Name: 
Trisha

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: 
Han, Jenny
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is absolutely amazing compared to the hit film on Netlfix; TonAll The Boys I've Loved Before. The movie covers the basic climax diagram andnonly runs through shallow waters. In the meantime, the book adventures moreninto Lara Jean's life and world. The places described and the moments thatnoccur make the reader feel as if they are a friendly neighbor walking by.nEven though this book has been made into a film, I was shocked about how thenbook set the scene in various ways and made each moment special.

Reviewer's Name: 
Savanah

Book Review: Losing Hope

Losing Hope
Author: 
Hoover, Colleen
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Losing Hope is about a guy named Dead Holder meeting a troubled girl named Sky. This book continues from Hopeless, a book in Sky's perspective. Losing Hope is in Dean's perspective, as it reveals the truth about Dean. We find out that Holder had been stressed about the girl because he couldn't save her from grave danger. Because of this, his life has been filled with guilt and anger over himself. This book was very interesting when I started to read, but when I kept going, I realized that it might be for an older and more mature age level, as there might be some things I don't completely understand. Also, it could be slightly disturbing to younger readers because of how Dean is addicted to stalking and searching for her, which is odd. I will probably continue reading the book when I'm older, so I could get the complete context of it. Overall, it's a very interesting book and good book for older readers.
Reviewer's age- 14

Reviewer's Name: 
Trisha

Book Review: The Book of Lost Friends

The Book of Lost Friends
Author: 
Wingate, Lisa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book was not necessarily easy to read but it was so well done:it juxtaposes the two time lines and the main characters with aplomb and great sustained suspense. 1888 vs 1988 racism and the differences and the shameful similarities. Fascinating characters, great plotting and page turning suspense. Thought provoking and a really good read. Really glad I read this.

Reviewer's Name: 
Susan I.

Book Review: Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
Author: 
Snyder, Scott
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls, writer Scott Snyder crafts an interesting mystery for Batman to solve. And while Snyder's storytelling is great, so is Greg Capullo's artwork. I really enjoyed this comic, and I liked the mystery of the the Court of Owls. In the comic, Batman discovers that a mysterious organization has been ruling Gotham City from the shadows for years, and he has to take them down. This excellent Batman story introduces new characters, such as The Talon and Harper Row. One of favorite parts of this comic was that instead of just fighting criminals, Batman has to solve a mystery. The Snyder and Capullo Batman series is one of my favorites, and in my opinion, Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls is one of my favorite comics I have ever read. I think that this volume is a great start to Snyder and Capullo's run on Batman.

Reviewer's Name: 
Camden

Book Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

SPOILERS FOR THE HUNGER GAMES!

Catching Fire by Suzane Collins is recommended for 11 and above. This book involves the Hunger Games, in which people have to kill each other until one person is left who will be the victor. The main characters in this book are Katniss Everdeen, Gale, and Peeta. Katniss and Peeta are both friends because they were chosen as the two tributes from District 12. They both made a team and won the 74th Hunger Games. Peeta and Katniss were living together happily until the Quater Quell, (75th Hunger Games). This year tributes will be chosen from the group of victors from previous years. I personally liked this book. Although this book involves a lot of blood and fighting, it is intense and fun to read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Pranav

Book Review: Hounded

Hounded
Author: 
Hearne, Kevin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Hounded is the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. The series follows Atticus O'Sullivan, the last druid on earth living in Tempe Arizona. Atticus draws his power from the earth and has many encounters with gods, deities, and monsters. The series is in 1st person, and Kevin Hearne's writing style shines through Atticus's wit and intelligence. The story is incredibly gripping, imaginative, and fresh. Every book maintains such a strong story and writing I never found difficulty imagining the scenes with great detail.

Reviewer's Name: 
Judah

Book Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish
Author: 
Holm, Jennifer L.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Fourteenth Goldfish is about a girl whos grandfather finds a way to be young again. When Ellie's grandfather shows up at her doorstep as a teenager, her life gets crazy. Her grandfather found a cure to aging, but can't get into his lab due to the fact that he is unrecognizable. Ellie, her grandfather, and a couple of friends must get the T. Melvinus from the lab, before it is relocated to Malaysia.
This book was awesome. While it isn't a middle school level book, it is a great quick read. It is entertaining and was easy to read. Everyone should read this book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Mackenzie

Book Review: Red Rising

Red Rising
Author: 
Brown, Pierce
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

4 stars(Good, but not enough conflict)
Red rising is a sci-fi book set in the far future, where caste systems are a given and the lowest caste, red, is forced to mine Mars to make way for other, higher castes. The book follows the perspective of a red, Darrow, who lives a completely familiar yet grueling life as a helldiver. As he toils in the mines and in the life of an unfortunate red, his entire life is picked up and tossed in the garbage as his wife first dies, then he is inducted into a mysterious society known as the Sons of Ares, where the truth of his former life is revealed to him. I didn't like this book because there's little to no challenge to him in the overall story, but I also find this book strangely calming. I suggest this book to anyone looking for a story of growth, strategy, friendship, and betrayal.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone
Author: 
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is an amazing venture into a wonderful magical universe. I don't read a lot of fantasy, and Shadow and Bone was the perfect re-introduction to the genre. The world building is some of the most beautiful and detailed I've ever read. In this universe, magical people known as Grisha have the power to manipulate matter. Etherialki summoners can manipulate air, water, or fire. Materialki Fabrikators can manipulate materials and chemicals, and Corporalki are divided into healers and heartrenders, which have the capability to slow or speed heart rates, and are essentially the most feared Grisha.

Ravka, a country inspired by tsarist Russia, is divided in two by a swath of darkness known as the Shadow Fold, which is populated by frightening creatures known as volcra that prey on humans. The Shadow Fold and volcra have made crossing from landlocked East Ravka to the ocean ports and trade routes of West Ravka nearly impossible. The only hope to destroy the centuries-old Shadow Fold is a myth of the Sun Summoner, a Grisha with the ability to summon sunlight and destroy the darkness and the monsters.

Alina Starkov is an orphan and a mapmaker in the non-Grisha army. At the beginning of the story, she and her best friend, Mal, a tracker, are chosen for a voyage across the Shadow Fold. During the crossing, Mal is attacked by volcra and Alina reveals the ability to summon sunlight. She is the Sun Summoner, and suddenly everything in her life changes.

Alina is brought to the capital of Ravka to train as a Grisha, making the acquaintance of the Darkling, the only Grisha with the ability to summon shadow and darkness; a descendent of the one who created the Shadow Fold. The Darkling believes he and Alina have the ability together to destroy the Shadow Fold, and reunite Ravka. What follows is a wild ride full of twists and turns and beautiful magic.

This book is so addictive and page-turning that I read the last 30% in one sitting. This book is the first in Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse collection, and it does feel like a first novel. There are simple sentences and some classic YA tropes, such as a love triangle and a 'chosen one' narrative. However, despite the inclusion of YA plot staples, I have read all of those tropes boiled down to a very simple level in other books, and here I believe that Bardugo elevated them to something more. All of the characters were delightfully fascinating. There was not black-and-white, good-and-evil characters, all had some elements of good and bad in them that made them fascinating to ponder over. Alina's spunk and sarcasm added to her character wonderfully, and the Darkling's true motives and character will keep readers on their toes until the last page. In addition to Alina and the Darkling, a wonderful cast of side characters is introduced when Alina begins training with other Grisha, most notably Genya, Alina's closest Grisha friend, who is a unique Tailor who can manipulate appearances. Genya, for all her beauty she created for herself, has her own dark backstory that adds great depth to her character and the story. The logistics of Grisha power are a bit hard to understand, but as seen through Alina, who also does not really understand them either, it makes the mystery and lore around the magic system even more fascinating. Once the orders and powers of Grisha become clear in your mind, the story really takes off.

This book gets under your skin and stays with you. I found myself constantly thinking about the plot and the wonderful characters and setting that became familiar and comfortable. The best feeling when reading a series is wishing that the world of the book is the one you lived in, and I experienced a lot of that feeling while reading Shadow and Bone. I am a very analytical reader, but I did not care about the writing simplicity because this was such a good story. This book has it all-- romance, magic, a touch of a dystopian world, friendship, and fantasy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys any of those genres and someone looking for a gentle introduction into the fantasy genre-- a genre filled with so many universes and powers and creatures that it is easy to get overwhelmed finding what is really worth reading.

Shadow and Bone is a highly enjoyable book filled with great, layered characters and a delightful magical world. I look forward to reading more of Leigh Bardugo's books.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Allie

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