Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: The Magician's Land

Author
Grossman, Lev
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The final book of The Magicians trilogy follows Quentin back on Earth ready to take on a mission to steal a mysterious suit case along side other magically adept individuals, one being Plum, someone whom he knows from initial months after his expulsion from Fillory. Meanwhile, Eliot and Janet, along with new Fillorian royalty Josh and Poppy, work to save their world from destruction.
I really enjoyed this conclusion to this trilogy. The characters are given more depth (Janet makes her reappearance as an important character), storylines/loose ends from the previous books are solved or explained, and there are more perspectives rather than just Quentin. Seeing the story play out on both Earth and Fillory as they slowly come together near the end was a fun experience that wasn't shown in the other books due to their limited perspective.
The plot following Quentin and Plum was definitely a journey! Seeing the initial set up of the mission, the planning, and the execution and follow-up was deeply engaging. Not only were new things introduced, but it did a great job of creating its own story while connecting to previous storylines and the current plot with Fillory.
The events in Fillory were also fun, though they weren't as much of the story as Earth and didn't involve as much Josh and Poppy as I personally would have wanted. Regardless, this side of the story was also fun.
There were a few surprises that came up that were unexpected, but I'll leave them to you to see if you liked them or not.
Reader's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan
Genres

Book Review: We Were Liars

Author
Lockhart, E.
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The average reviews for this book are lower than usual, but it really surprised me. The story felt like a true story and dystopian and fiction all at once, not to mention the plot twist. The setting of an isolated vacation island set the background for a unique storyline between a few families with dark secrets. I enjoyed the main characters' personalities too, though there were some comments they made about homophobia and racism that were kind of weird and sounded like the author didn't do much research about the LGBTQ+ and POC communities. It was very entertaining still, and I would recommend it if you need a suspenseful story to read quickly.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: This Is Where It Ends

Author
Nijkamp, Marieke
Rating
1 star = Yuck!
Review

This Is Where It Ends follows four students who recount their perspectives going through a school shooting at Opportunity High. Initially, I was intrigued to read this book since it covers a very sensitive topic and is a topic that I was interested in learning more about. However, the novel completely missed all my expectations. Instead of a thoughtful, heavily researched, realistic story, I got a novel that seemed to be an insult to any school shooting victim. The novel was way too action-packed, in such a way that every single plot point in the book seemed wildly exaggerated. Making it worse, the school shooter in the novel was way too villainized. With cheesy lines and no real reasoning behind his actions, the author made it seem like the shooter was some kind of superhero comic villain, with no other drive for his actions besides to incite fear in others. There was no psychological deep dive into why the shooter, a previous student in the school, ended up in the way he did, and why he thought his only solution to his problems was to murder his classmates. It was a shame to read such a novel meant to address a major problem in America, but was instead contorted and desensitized in a way to appeal to the entertainment industry, and failed to have any educational value at all. To put it shortly, This Is Where It Ends seems more of an action-thriller novel, not one that is meant to be taken seriously at all.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Michelle

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This book had me completely hooked! It almost follows the plot of Beauty and the Beast but in its own world with its own complex characters. Feyre's determination and strength was incredible to see in a female character. Not only is she the main character and heroin but she carries real and deep emotions. In addition to this, I love Tamlin and his court. Sarah J Mass's descriptions are in depth and I felt like I was really in the room experiencing everything as it happened. The end had my head spinning and I could not wait for the next book.

Reviewer's Name
Samantha

Book Review: When You Reach Me

Author
Stead, Rebecca
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

When You Reach Me is one of my favorite books of all time. It is such a compelling mystery from the perspective of a sixth-grader who is wise for her age. Miranda contemplates theories of time travel and the effect of the past on the future in a light-hearted manner that makes this story impossible to put down. I love every character and reading their dialogue always gets me to think about the importance of kindness and our relationships as humans during such a short time on Earth. If you love a philosophical mystery or are just looking to get out of a reading slump, give this book a try!

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

Author
Macadam, Heather Dune
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I wavered between a 4 and 5 star review here, but my reviews are based on storytelling ability, not necessarily how little I enjoyed hearing about the details of Auschwitz. This author did a fantastic job of telling the stories of nearly 1,000 women while letting some of their personal accounts lead the pace and tone. Though the characters were hard to keep track of at some points, there was constant clarification of individuals to develop empathy for the girls in the Holocaust. There was also some groundbreaking information on the sexist disparities between records of the female experience in Auschwitz- as soon as you think life couldn't have been worse for these prisoners, it is revealed that women were treated the absolute worst. Definitely worth the read if you can stomach the tragedy.

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: The Ex Talk

Author
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This is a delightful book with great diversity and a unique topic of life on the radio. I loved how Shay and Dominic's personalities complimented each other throughout the story, especially as Shay experienced misogyny and the two worked to combat it. The romance was light-hearted and side conflicts like grief were refreshing to hear about. One thing I disliked, though, was Shay's reaction to an age gap of five years between her and Dominic. She constantly threw in "old jokes" and generational-gap comments despite them both pretty much being millennials. It made the age gap more of an issue than it would have been without such dialogue and even contradicted the author's message against unfair gender norms. Would an age gap like this have been discussed if Dominic was the older one? Other than that, this book got me back into NPR and podcasts so I recommend this any day!
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: One of Us Is Next

Author
McManus, Karen
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This book is the sequal to One of us is lying. In this book, there is a person who would like to continue Simon's legacy. A boy who framed 4 teenagers in detention on his death. But, it's a game of Truth or Dare. You do a crazy dare, like kiss someone or get one of your deepest secrets exposed. It turns out, this is just based on a revenge plan from 2 people, looking to ruin someone's life based off of past incidents.
This book is AMAZING. It was just a good as the first book, if not better. It has a great story line and plot and truly does keep you intrigued the whole time. I loved this book and would rate it a 10/10.

Reviewer's Name
Mackenzie

Book Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe

Author
Graham, Lauren
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Lauren Graham, the charismatic actress, writes an endearing and entertaining story about the struggles of show business in her novel Someday, Someday, Maybe. Franny Banks is a frazzled young woman with big dreams of making it in New York City, but she finds herself stuck in an unfortunate cycle of disappointment, only booking the occasional commercial acting job. When she finally gets an agent, Franny thinks things are looking up, but instead she becomes consumed by a toxic acting culture and loses sight of herself. Graham tells Franny's story with wit and relatability, conveying hard truths through sarcastic, sometimes hyperbolic observations, complete with Franny's amusing inner commentary and scribbly, sketch-filled planner pages. This novel could be a rude awakening to those who wish to pursue the acting industry or show business, but the truths it tells about life are important. Sometimes we forget what's best for ourselves when trying to please others. Sometimes failure can lead to the unexpected. And sometimes things don't work out like we hoped they would.

Reviewer's Name
Alexa

Book Review: One of Us Is Lying

Author
McManus, Karen
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This book is about 4 highschool students who are in the classroom when another student dies. Since they are the only ones in the room, they are the ones who have to fight to prove that they are innocent and try to get their normal lives back. Throughout the book, each person gets framed at least once, with new evidence. You get a point of view of each person and others on who did it, and why.
This book was AMAZING! It kept me engaged the whole entire time and had me gasping at every plot twist. I know that alot of people have been posting about this book, but it is definitely worth the read. There is also a sequal, called One of us is next. I would rate this book a 10/10.

Reviewer's Name
Mackenzie