Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: Frankly in Love

Frankly in Love
Author: 
Yoon, David
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Frankly in Love by David Yoon tells the story of a Korean-American high school senior named Frank Li. Frank’s parents only have one rule when it comes to dating--date a Korean girl. But Frank finds himself in love with a white girl, and in a crazy attempt to hide their relationship from his parents, he teams up with his friend Joy Song to orchestrate a wild fake dating scheme. However, along the way, Frank finds himself wondering if he really knows what love is after all. I enjoyed reading this book. It was deeper than just a teenage love story. It held both the expectations of Korean parents for their kids and Frank trying to find his place, feeling neither Korean or American enough. Some of the character’s choices weren’t really the best and sometimes they can be extremely awkward, but overall it was still an enjoyable read. I recommend it not only for the romance but everything else it touches.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cora

Book Review: Thunderhead

Thunderhead
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Citra and Rowan have diverged into lawful and lawlessness. Since Citra was selected to become a scythe she began to glean with Scythe Curie meanwhile Rowan went off the grid. Though there had been rumors of a Scythe gleaning other Scythes, who became known as Scythe Lucifer. Fighting the corruption of the Scythedom in their own ways, Citra and Rowan continue to learn what the mortal age world was like.

This book is better than the first book, “Scythe” because the Thunderhead excerpts between chapters add more complexity and depth to the story. Also inmthe first book the perspective switches were a lot less climatic, both main characters were in relatively similar situations. In this book the different perspective adds more suspense to the book, and perspective. The side characters were not static in this book, a lot more about them is reveled in this book. “Thunderhead” also had good foreshadowing that was sometimes a bit too obvious. The main thing this book lacked like the first book of the series was detailed descriptions. It almost makes the book seem more like a movie because it’s all action. Overall though I would recommend it to those who read “Scythe” and want to continue the series since this book is better.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenzie

Book Review: Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees
Author: 
Eagar, Lindsay
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Hour of the Bees is about a girl, Carol, who has to spend the summer helping her grandpa, Serge, whom she's never met. Her grandpa suffers from Dementia, and wants "Carol-een-a" to learn about her roots. While Carol's older sister, Alta, is complaining, and her parents are trying to sell the farm house, she bonds with her grandfather over fairy-tales centered around a life-giving tree.

The storyline does progress a little slowly, and the supporting characters don't change or have a major impact on the plot, but despite the small imperfections, I did not regret reading this book! I liked how the ending was very unexpected and captivating, and how easy it was to bond with the main characters. I recommend this book to people of all ages. Thank you for reading :)!!

Reviewer's Name: 
Aztin

Book Review: The Reversal

The Reversal
Author: 
Connelly, Michael
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Are you looking for an escape route out of these tough times that the world is facing right now? Then try reading this crime fiction thriller " The Reversal". Mickey Haller is a prominent defense lawyer who surprisingly decides to be part of the prosecution team for one of the most brutal crimes ever committed. Jason Jessup is convicted of a heinous crime that was committed nearly 20 years ago but the evidence was inconclusive to put him behind bars in the first trial. Can Mickey Haller and the Los Angles Police Department gather some crucial clues and evidence to find out whether Jason Jessup is the mastermind behind this crime or not? Mickey Haller must find out before it too late.The Reversal is a legal thriller that has an excellent plot and forces the reader to pay close attention to every single detail. I would highly recommend this book and it's a great read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ananth

Book Review: Scythe

Scythe
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In a world where AI, artificial intelligence, known as the Thunderhead controls the world and has gifted humanity immortality, it gave humans the responsibility of death. Immortality is possible with the nanites embodied in cells to help cells replenish forever. Scythes are the only people that kill or nicely put glean. Citra and Rowan are selected by a scythe to apprentice and the discover the reality of human nature and the burden of death.

I think this is a good book, conceptually it’s definitely a step up from your typical dystopian book but it isn’t my favorite book for other reasons. There is a guy and a girl main character and they have to defy the expectations of society, creating romantic tensions which is pretty typical. The book lacked detailed descriptions which would have enhanced the action by creating more suspense. The biggest reason it is not my favorite is smalldetails that are don’t logically make sense. With the all knowingThunderhead it would make sense that technology would allow teleportation and other advancements. All these little details ultimately make the book only 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenzie

Book Review: The Toll

The Toll
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Great Resonance has occurred and everyone has become unsavory, meaning they can’t communicate with the Thunderhead. That is except for one person, the Toll. Since no one can speak to the Thunderhead no one knows why they have become unsavory leaving the world in confusion. What most people don’t know is Endura the Scythe ring of islands sank when all the systems failed, or were instructed to fail. The leaders of the Scythedom drowned and Citra and Rowan are nowhere to be found.

The other books in the Scythe series had somewhat obvious endings while in “The Toll” I really didn’t know how the series would end which created a nice suspense in the book. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse or the characters Citra and Rowan things get worse. The excerpts from the Thunderhead and the founding Scythes created a lot of foreshadowing and had each founding Scythe had a unique voice and quirks which was a nice detail. This book still lacks detail of the setting, clothing, and appearance of the characters like the other two books in the series but in this book it especially lacked detailed emotion. There was a Romeo and Juliet like relationship between Citra and Rowan, they were each other’s weakness, and would save the other even it meant sacrificing themselves. However the emotion and reasoning on why they are so in love is unclear. Other than training as apprentices together and kissing once in the first book the author doesn’t really describe why or how they fell in love. This book had
a lot going on at once it was hard to understand how much time had passed or what was happening when. Overall the theme of this series is advancements don’t make humans lose their humanity, no matter how perfect a world there will be those who chose corruption and power, and those who chose to live a simple quiet life.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenzie

Book Review: Educated

Educated
Author: 
Westover, Tara
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Growing up on the prairie in the past meant you were mostly isolated from the rest of society for better or worse. In the 1990s growing up in isolation in the U.S was very rare. Most people lived in cities, or suburbs, or small farming communities. Tara Westover was part of this abnormality. She grew up in rural Idaho and was homeschooled and rarely spent much time without her family. Which causes her to believe almost everything her parents and,siblings believed but when she began college she learned a lot more about the world than what she ever knew before.

I don’t typically pick up a memoir but this one was very highly recommended so I decided to give it a read. I thought the beginning was a bit slow but once you get through some of the background it becomes important in later portions of the book. I thought the book had a really good message and very unique perspective. It made me think a lot about how the school system could be improved and how outdated some of the typical school experiences are. I would recommend this book to teachers, school administrators, parents and students since they are so involved in education. I think it would be a good book to read at school and discuss as well.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenzie

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: 
Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

It’s nice to know that Neil Gaiman can write engaging, modern fairy tales that are longer than the short story format. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a delight to read, and I can see some parallels to other famous middle-grade fantasies (the Narnia series came to mind here and was mentioned in the book). Everything about this story made sense, and the character and the world-building were top notch—which I’ve just come to expect from Gaiman’s work. Truly, he continues to be the modern fairy tale maestro. One of the unique aspects of this story was how it seamlessly integrated the magical and the mundane. So often, these types of fairy tales transition to a world of magic and leave the boring, ordinary world behind. Not so in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. If anything, using the supernatural to explain some of the challenges of our childhoods helps sell the storytelling here. Sure, there are moments in magical places, but the majority of the book has cleverly-hidden magic present in the real world. It’s easy to have everything in a realm be magic; it’s much more challenging to mix the two.

I will warn those who would want to read this to their children that perhaps the children should be a little older, or you should be prepared to explain some of the content in it. Nothing is graphic, per se, it’s just better to know how to answer any questions when adult situations are described through the lens of a young boy’s experience. Of course, anyone who’s read any amount of Gaiman would know that his fairy tales are more on the “adult” side of things. However, if you haven’t dipped your toes into Gaiman’s writing before, this is an excellent place to start.

A wonderful fairy tale mixing of fantasy and reality, I give The Ocean at the End of the Lane 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Book Cover
Author: 
Grabenstein, Chris
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Twelve year old Kyle Keeley loves games, and his favorites are created by Mr. Lemoncello, owner of the famous Imagination Factory. When Kyle finds out there will be a lock in at the brand new library, and Mr. Lemoncello is involved, he is determined to be there. The only thing standing in his way is an essay contest. All he has to do is write a prizewinning essay. No problem - or is it? Because the essay is due this very morning, and he hasn't got one.

I loved this book because it was full of puzzles that the reader can solve along with the characters. The characters themselves were all likeable, and my favorite was Sierra. I love how she is always reading a book! I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves libraries, puzzles, or games. It was fantastic!

Reviewer's Name: 
Madeline A.

Book Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Author: 
Mafe, Tahereh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is an amazing book. The novel isma coming of age/romance story, based around a 16 year old, muslim girl named Shirin. Shirin experiences horrible acts of Islamaphobia at her new high school and in public because of her hijab. Things get even worse when Ocean, a popular white boy at the school befriends her. The interracial aspect of their relationship makes not only Shirin vulnerable towards acts of hate, but Ocean as well.

Once I started reading this book, I could not stop! I am very thankful my teacher recommended it to me. The story was engaging and fast paced! I loved how beautifully the story was written, and the powerful message behind the words. It is important that teens learn about serious topics like racism and religious discrimination to help prevent hate in the future. There are a few parts in the book with mature language and topics, but I still recommend that teens and adults read this novel!

Reviewer's Name: 
Aztin

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