Other Award(s)

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Author: 
Rowling, J. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is about Harry’s 3rd year at Hogwarts. Along with friends Ron and Hermione, Harry investigates the case of Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, the wizard prison. Sirius Black is believed to be one of Voldemort's allies, and he is the only wizard ever to escape Azkaban, so he is definitely powerful. Harry Potter then overhears that Sirius Black wants to kill him.

This book is full of creeps and chills, like in one part, the train to Hogwarts is stopped because of terrible flying things that can suck out your soul. Because of these soul-suckers, Harry almost dies, but in the end, Harry learns a lot about himself, his parents, and friends (both of his, and his parents’).

But this book is still full of interest. In a memorable moment, Harry Potter flies on a Hippogriff, which is a hybrid between a horse and eagle. In another part, The Prisoner of Azkaban goes from fantasy to sci-fi, because of time travel, where Harry goes back in time to save himself.

With the adventurous and scary parts in perfect balance, this book is a good read, and personally, it is my favorite book in the whole series.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman S.

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: Cry, the Beloved Country

Cry, the Beloved Country
Author: 
Paton, Alan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Cry, the Beloved Country is a very good novel. It depicts the lives of Reverend Stephen Kumalo and white landowner, James Jarvis, during a time of turbulence in their lives. All of the characters in the novel are extremely well written and the character development is superb. The conflict in the novel feels very realistic and thrills the reader. The moral decisions and emotions faced by the two protagonists feel very weighty and captivate the reader. Overall, the book is a great novel that I would recommend to anyone.

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven

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: All Fall Down

All Fall Down
Author: 
Carter, Ally
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

All Fall Down is a unique read that will grip the readers throughout the story. Grace lives in a US embassy in a foreign country because her grandfather works there. Grace's mom was killed in an accident and her dad left the family when she was only a baby. She has a hunch that her mother was killed and has a notion that the killer is lurking around close by . Grace wants to find out who her mother's killer was and wants them to pay for it. She makes lifelong friendships with other kids living in other embassies, but Grace also faces animosity along the way. All Fall Down is a great read and hooks the reader until the end.

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: 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: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Book Cover
Author: 
Rowling, J. K.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets is a continuation of Harry’s journey in the wizardry school of Hogwarts. The book basically starts when messages appear on the wall. These messages say that the "Chamber of Secrets" has been opened and that the "heir of Slytherin" will kill all students who are muggles. These threats are found after attacks on some students that leave everyone in the school scared. Harry starts his own little investigation with his friends, Hermione and Ron.

The book is full of mystery, but it has its share of funny too, like a new professor, Gilroy Lockhart, thinks that he is the best at everything, as he shows off to his students including Harry, Hermione and Ron. Eventually, Professor Lockhart, ends up humiliating himself many many times in front of his pupils.

In another part, Harry and Ron decide to use an enchanted flying car to get to Hogwarts from summer break. Just as they arrive at Hogwarts, the car begins to break down and they end up crashing into a tree that swings its branches wildly. Harry and Ron somehow survive, but eventually get detention.

So, overall, it is a good read, but personally, it is my least favorite book in the series.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman G.

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