Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

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

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: 

It’s a really good book about a shy girl who has a hard time expressing her feelings. Lara Jean, main character, writes love letters to boys that she’s had a crush on but keeps them afraid of their reaction. Eventually the letters got out and one of the recipients of one of the letters goes to her school. At first there relationship started of fake but the more they fake it the more their feeling become real. It’s a really good book highly recommend!

Reviewer's Name: 
Miguel

Book Review: The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door
Author: 
Lapeña, Shari
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is so good full of suspense and mystery every chapter having me on my toes. The book starts off with a small get together at the neighbors house with two couples one with a baby. But then a crime was committed at Anne and Marco house but have been blamed for the crime. The book has so many twist and turns containing so many secrets. Just such a really good book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Miguel

Book Review: Everything Everything

Everything Everything
Author: 
Yoon, Nicola
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Everything Everything is about a girl named Madeline Whittier. Madeline is sick, she has been sick for a long time. Her brother and dad died when she was very young and it was only her and her mother. She was so sick that she couldn't leave her house and was practically allergic to the world. Then all of a sudden a new neighbor moved in and that changed her life. The neighbor, a boy named Ollie, moved in and they became fast friends through emailing. After awhile, Carla, Madeline's nurse, let her see Ollie as
long as he got decontaminated beforehand. Madeline was so happy till she went outside and her mom found out and she got grounded and she couldn't see or email Ollie anymore to the point where she made some decisions that questioned her health. Throughout the year she was eighteen, she found out that she was lied to and became a new person.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaitlyn

Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl
Author: 
Rowell, Rainbow
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is about a fan girls life. The protagonist started college and is very anxious. She spends her 1st semester in her dorm room. In the second semester her life changes she has a few friends. The girl is obsessed with a book series that makes her life worth living. In the end the book ends in the best possible way.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jaime

Book Review: Homegoing

Homegoing
Author: 
Gyasi, Yaa
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi follows two bloodlines, from half sisters in Ghana. Each chapter is about one descendant, switching between families somthat two chapters in a row are one generation. The book is well written and includes details that tie well into real life history or beliefs, and each chapter is in fact written in correlation with a major historical event. Through these tie-ins, the book is able to remain exciting, and each chapter could be read as a standalone short story. Each character has an important story, and is revisited in following chapters from their bloodline, either from memory or real life interactions between their children or grandchildren. In addition to the basic storytelling and history included in the book, there is also an aspect of mysticism, and values/traditions that are native to African culture, making it a solid read for increasing knowledge or understanding of Ghanan culture. For me, there are moments in the book that seem unnecessary to the general plot and sometimes vulgar, but they end up being essential in the consistency of the way the story is told. Readers are able to attach themselves to each character, story arc, anddetail, then follow them throughout the series of stories.

Reviewer's Name: 
Malachi

Book Review: The Dark Talent

The Dark Talent
Author: 
Sanderson, Brandon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

There’s foreshadowing; then there are five books of foreshadowing. In The Dark Talent, Brandon Sanderson starts wrapping up this amusing middle-grade series by finally reaching the part of the story that was alluded to so many books ago. While this could easily be the final book in the series, I believe there’s enough left unconcluded that another volume should be written to wrap these remaining subplots up into satisfying conclusions. By this point in the series, the Alcatraz formula has been thoroughly explored, and it almost seems to be running on autopilot*. Granted, this was after four books of character and plot development, but there’s still an amount of “been there seen that” here.

I am always in awe of Brandon Sanderson’s world-building, and the Alcatraz series is no exception. Breaking into the Library of Congress was such a natural extension of the “Librarian” motif that I’m a little surprised it took this long to get here. The magic system with lenses and glass is also well thought out and makes sense with each ridiculous use of its numerous lenses (embarrassment = explosions? Why not!).

Once again, I have to remind myself that books like The Dark Talent are geared toward younger minds. Sure, the plot twist/reveal helped drive the story forward, but it was so telegraphed that I had it all figured out as soon as this individual character was introduced. Still, for younger readers, this revelation may come as a surprise. And while the main character’s writing style is constantly on the caricature side of the spectrum, we do get to see some brief moments of vulnerability in the main players. Even if the main character can get a little grating at times, the first person narrative device works well for this middle-grade fantasy.

A fulfillment of four books of foreshadowing, I give The Dark Talent 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Reviews: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes
Author: 
Corey, James S. A.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

For years, my co-worker has been suggesting that I read the Expanse series of books. Before I finally got around to the audiobook for Leviathan Wakes, I took a slight shortcut and watched the television series on Amazon. This came in handy because I was able to pick up this book and immediately be able to visualize what was happening and who the characters were. Sure, the actors cast in the show are slightly different from their literary counterparts. Still, overall there was a lot in this book that I had already experienced with the television show.

I will applaud this book for being a hard science fiction story, but not shoving the calculations in the reader’s face. Sure, The Martian did an excellent job of explaining all the scientific challenges of interplanetary travel. However, Leviathan Wakes took this a step further and created a universe that’s still controlled by the same physical laws we encounter in the real world. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you’d never realize that the little ways to make life livable in outer space would manifest in the forms presented in this series. Basically—to quote the title of a Heinlein book—Gravity is a Harsh Mistress.

And while the television show had lots of different plotlines to follow through its four seasons, I do like how Leviathan Wakes focused on just two main characters and the discovery of the Protomolecule. Although—even though both characters came from different backgrounds—I would have expected their reactions to situations would have been more drastically different than they were. Still, even if both Miller and Holden felt like very similar characters, they were both written well enough that it was an entertaining ride, nonetheless.

A perfect blending of story and hard sci-fi, I give Leviathan Wakes 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Ayesha at Last

Ayesha at Last
Author: 
Jalaluddin, Uzma
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Definitely an amazing book. It puts such a difficult topic into beautiful words that pull at the strings of the readers heart. The way the main characters conflicting situation throughout the story unfolds is very surprising. The author places the reader in the main characters shoes and makes it feel as if it is the reader who is going through it. I wish there was a second book that really grasps the life after.
Reviewer Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: 
Anna

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