Other Award(s)

Book Review: The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds
Author: 
McMann, Lisa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the town of Quil, there is an odd tradition. On kids’ thirteenth birthdays, they participate in the purge, where the government judges kids by their creativity and separates them into three groups. The Wanteds get to stay in Quil to train to be warriors. The Necessaries also stay, but only to do farm work. The last group is the Unwanteds--the group of kids who have shown too much creativity. They are sentenced to death.

When Alex Stowe's thirteenth birthday comes up, he isn't excited. He already knows that he will be an Unwanted because of all his infractions. When the purge comes and he is sentenced to death, he thinks it is his death date. But, when he gets to the lake of boiling oil, the place where the Unwanteds are sent to be killed, a strange man comes and offers them a second chance.

Instead of punishing the Unwanteds, he wants to bring them into the magical world of Artime, harness their creativity, and use it to give them magic. But if Artime is discovered by Quil, it might ruin Artime forever. Can Alex help save Artime or will it be discovered and destroyed?

I originally got this book from finishing the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Challenge. I don't usually read or enjoy fantasy books, but I loved this one. I really enjoyed the concept of the story and loved all of the creative characters. It was also cool how they not only got to learn magic but also got to create new spells. This is the first book in a series of seven. I can't wait to read the rest of them.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ben C

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska
Author: 
Green, John
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Looking for Alaska follows the ordinary story of a boy by the name of Miles "Pudge" Halters. In his chaotic first year at Culver Creek Boarding School, he meets many people who guide him in his search for himself, including Chip Martin and Alaska Young. Love, friendship, and innocence are tested in this rapid novel as John Green marvelously weaves unpredictability and relatability in between the lines of this gripping book. I liked this book because of its intricate simplicity; the telling of the story made it feel like it was specific to Pudge, but within the awkward relationships and persistent daydreams I saw a bit of myself reflected back at me. I picked this book up in an effort to empty my bookshelf, and as it cleared my shelf it filled my heart with raw emotions that I was not expecting. My favorite part was the contrast of the before and after of the pivotal point in the story. The only thing I didn't particularly enjoy was the undeveloped relationships between characters that were evident in some chapters. Overall, Looking for Alaska was worth my time and told a unique story that twisted the basic "new kid" story into an unpredictable plot.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Anya G

Book Review: Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton
Author: 
Curtis, Christopher
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The book "Elijah of Buxton" is incredible. While it's meant for younger readers, the book had several thought-provoking moments, which can captivate older readers. The protagonist, Elijah, is well-developed and his journey is full of fulfilling comedy, adventure, and surprises. The book is written in a light-hearted manner, which keeps it from being too depressing. There are some gruesome moments, but they all contribute to the story. It also relates to slavery from a unique perspective, although it does a great job addressing other values. The only thing I found wrong with the book was that it did have a somewhat weak plot. Other than that, I would recommend this book to almost anyone, as its messages can relate to anyone.

Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L

Book Review: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Author: 
Lore, Pittacus
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I am Number Four is one of the best books I have ever read. An alien race, known as the Loriens, send nine children along with their guardians to Earth to save their kind. The Loriens have been invaded by the evil Magadorians and their only hope are these nine children. The Loriens have special powers and magic associated with them, yet look like humans. I am Number Four follows the journey of the fourth Lorien child sent to Earth and his thrilling quest to stay hidden and alive. This novel blends science fiction, action, and romance in a fantastic roller coaster that will have you on the edge of your seat and will pull at your heartstrings. While it contains violence, I recommend this book to anyone, but especially middle and high schoolers.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte
Author: 
Cavallaro, Brittany
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

A new take on Holmes and Watson, two teens in an American boarding school bond over their family's shared history. Both of them are descended from the infamous Sherlock Holmes and his infamous partner Watson, and they find a way to live up to their history. They become detectives of their own stories when they are framed for murder. Thrilling and exciting, the story of Charlotte and Jamie kept me captivated with every turn of the page. I am sure readers who enjoy mystery and romance alike will enjoy it. Recommended for ages 15+
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Settare R

Book Review: The Rough Patch

The Rough Patch
Author: 
Lies, Brian
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Evan and his dog did everything together. They shared many adventures and created a beautiful garden, but when the dog passes away Evan is devastated. The Rough Patch, by author/illustrator Brian Lies, would be a wonderful place to begin a discussion about death and grief with young children. Children and adults will identify with Evan and how he works through his sorrow. This beautifully written and illustrated picture book for ages 3 - 10 is a 2018 Caldecott Honor winner.

Reviewer's Name: 
Barbara

Book Review: The Patchwork Bike

The Patchwork Bike
Author: 
Clarke, Maxine
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Mom is fed up with her rambunctious kids but somehow she silently supports their active play as they build a bike out of junk and proceed to ride it up and down, all around and even through the house. Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Than Rudd is a vivacious celebration of childhood play. The illustrations are created with paint on a cardboard box and the texture and motion they create is the perfect complement to the sparse but active text. Take a look at the end papers to see how a stroke of paint can create vibrant motion. This is a fun read for kids 3 – 7.

Reviewer's Name: 
Barbara

Book Review: Meet Yasmin!

Meet Yasmin!
Author: 
Faruqi, Saadia
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi and Hatem Aly, is an innovative pick for readers age 5 - 8. It is chock-full of colorful illustrations that support the simple but intriguing text. This early chapter book tells the tale of spunky, creative Yasmin and her family as they move through everyday situations. The familiar settings will help young readers decipher new or difficult words as they read. The back matter of the book contains a page of discussion questions, a glossary of Urdu words, information on Pakistan, crafts to explore and a recipe for a yummy drink.

Reviewer's Name: 
Barbara

Book Review: Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon

Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon
Author: 
Slade, Suzanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In the book, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Suzanne Slade and Thomas Gonzalez have created a gorgeous non-fiction book about Project Apollo and all the people who made the moon landing possible. Lush illustrations combine with informative free verse in this book for children age 10 - 14. There are photos, a selected bibliography, and website list in the back of the book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Barbara

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: 
Larsson, Stieg
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

For many years, I was hesitant to read this book, mostly due to a few intense sequences that I saw in the David Fincher film adaptation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be subjected to them in book form any more than I had been already. Fortunately, these scenes were quite a bit more tolerable in the book, mostly because the descriptions weren’t nearly as visceral as watching them on the big screen. I’m only now kicking myself for waiting this long to read such a fantastic book. While the book and the movie diverge in a few spots, I can see the reasoning behind the differences.

When it comes right down to it, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a showcase for its titular character. Lisbeth Salander is tough, smart, and an overall entertaining individual to follow. While it takes quite a while for her to become involved in the main plot, at least the Mikael Blomkvist sections are still interesting enough to carry themselves until that point where the two characters join forces. I did find the distinction between these two characters’ plotlines a little hard to follow early on, but that’s likely an artifact of listening to the audiobook version.

I did find it a little odd that the book essentially starts with the introduction of Mikael’s investigation, only to take almost half the book to start it. Granted, this allowed plenty of room for both Mikael and Lisbeth to be developed as characters, but it felt a little like a sudden realization that the primary focus of the plot wasn’t addressed up until that point. Additionally, I did like the framing of the book around Mikael’s Millennium problems, especially with the much more thorough ending that tied everything up with a nice little bow.

A great book with fantastic characters, I give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Other Award(s)