YALSA Award

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: 
Chbosky, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age story of Charlie through his letters to someone he seeks guidance from, although we do not know the name or identity of the person who receives his letters. It is Charlie’s first year of high school and he writes to find comfort in simply telling his story to someone else. This was a beautiful book about the actuality of the dark corners of life and the necessity of good friendships. I picked this book up out of interest in watching the movie afterward, and it was a good decision to read it because I learned so much about true love and life through Charlie’s search for who he wants to be. This story is specific to Charlie’s life but is relatable to anyone who is struggling through the questions of their own personality and relationships. Overall, I highly recommend this book to people who just need to feel love and to learn that even in loss they will be okay.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Anya G

Book Review: Prodigy

Prodigy
Author: 
Lu, Marie
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

In the second book in the Legend trilogy, the story begins in a world shattered by an extreme rise in sea level. The protagonists, Day and June have escaped the Republic’s forces and are heading towards Vegas. When they arrive, the dictator of the Republic, the Elector Primo, dies and his heir takes his place. Presented with a mission from a rebel group known as the Patriots, the duo is tasked with assassinating this new leader. June, seeing this new ruler is different, is conflicted by both the world she left behind as a member of the Republic and the world she now knows from her experiences with Day. In this action packed book, Marie Lu explores many concepts that are both relevant to the reader and thought invoking, through the conflicting perspectives presented by her two protagonists. The world put out before this book’s audience gives its characters breath as well as gives the reader a stunning view into a different world. One of my favorite aspects of this book is the dynamic protagonists and the direct look into their development throughout the story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in a dystopian science fiction story placed in the not so distant future.

Reviewer's Name: 
Liam G

Book Review: Epic

Epic
Author: 
Kostick, Conor
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book presents a colony world far from Earth, in which power in a virtual reality based game means everything. The protagonist, Erik, lives in a less privileged community suppressed by the policies of the ruling administration. In an attempt to get even at the unfair treatment of his parents and their community, Erik attempts to best them in an in game arena with a team of his friends. The team they are against doesn’t necessarily play fair and Erik loses. Angry with this loss, Erik creates a new character completely on a whim, focusing on other attributes people typically don’t use. Having gone against the status quo Erik has some mysterious encounters that lead him on a quest to rediscover this virtual world. In this work of science fiction, Conor Kostick introduces his protagonist and the many other characters into a living breathing world. The openness of the world and the protagonist’s dual nature were some of the main aspects I enjoyed about this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction, particularly one that revolves around virtual reality.

Reviewer's Name: 
Liam G

Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Author: 
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Throne of Glass is the first of many in the series by Sarah J. Maas. The story follows Celaena Sardothien, a young woman assassin who was imprisoned for a year by the King of Adarlan. The King’s son, having heard of who she is, requests her to become the King’s champion, but first she must compete with all the other assassins and thieves to get the title officially. If she wins, after she serves for 4 years, she will be granted freedom. But there is something more going on when as the competition goes on, bodies start piling up.

The reason I enjoyed this book is it has a very well done mystery aspect to the book along with an immersive fantasy setting with a land of magic, fantastic creatures, and being unpredictable with what’s going to happen next. What I enjoyed the most about the book is the mystery involved because it was the perfect addition to a story that already had my attention. My reasoning for picking the book is the same for why I enjoyed it. I wanted a fantasy book with a story that’d keep me reading and that’s exactly what I got, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best book I’ve read this year, but it did introduce me into the series that keeps getting better as you read it.

While the book itself felt as if it hadn’t been written well in the beginning, the story was entertaining and intriguing enough, that kept me reading through the full book and onto the next in the series.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Gregory B

Book Review: Keeping Corner

Keeping Corner
Author: 
Sheth, Kashmira
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

"Keeping Corner" by Kashmira Sheth is about a young Indian girl named Leela who struggles with the unfair traditions of her culture. She is about to get married and everything seems to be going well until her fiance is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies forcing Leela to become a widow. Since she is a widow she must keep corner which is an Indian tradition for female widows where women and young girls must stay inside for a year, shave their head, remove their jewelry, etc. While she is forced to keep corner she sees how unfair things really are and that she must use her voice to make a difference.

I would recommend this book. "Keeping Corner" really made me realize the unjust things women have to go through in other countries. I read this book for a geography project, but I ended up liking it. I couldn't relate to Leela but I could relate to her brother because when he tried to introduce modern ideas no one listened to him or valued what he was trying to say. The book was not predictable. "Keeping Corner" is the best book I have read so far this year.

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O.

Book Review: Good Omens

Good Omens
Author: 
Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Good Omens is humorous take on Armageddon and the final battle between Heaven and Hell. Complete with an angel and a demon, who get along better with each other than with their immortal counterparts, two witch-finders, Satanic Nuns of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, aliens, and an eleven year old Antichrist, Good Omens takes a completely different take on the Apocalypse. All predicted by a witch that lived 300 years ago, Good Omens is full of sarcasm, humor, fun, and adventure along with a moral that tells us to look for the good in everyone, even demons. I highly recommend this book for any high schooler or adult looking for a little bit of humor in life.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: Epic

Epic
Author: 
Kostick, Conor
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The world of New Earth is one where the game Epic decides all. Wealth, social standing, even access to resources and medical care. Erik Haraldson has become tired after dying one last time to the red dragon, a kill that would earn him and his family money beyond their wildest dreams. Erik decides to go against the normal conventions of Epic and decides to create a female swashbuckler with all points in beauty, a trait unheard of due to its uselessness in battle. But when the game itself starts talking to Erik, he soon discovers that there is a lot more at play in Epic then just grinding and wasting away.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ryan

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: 
Chbosky, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Charlie is likely my favorite character ever written, and certainly will be for a long time. Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower shows usthe thoughts of Charlie through letters sent to an anonymous person who “didn’t sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.” We see how Charlie grows when he meets Sam and her stepbrother Patrick, who he befriends quickly. Charlie tells us how he begins to
experiment with drugs and sex and we see how beautiful he and his world really is.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ryan

Book Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the sequel to "The Hunger Games," "Catching Fire" begins with a reeling Katniss Everdeen, having just survived the 74th Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Their survival greatly upset the Capitol, the ruling city of the country of Panem, and now they must deal with the consequences of their rule-bending victory. On their mandatory Victory Tour around the country, Katniss discovers that her actions have sparked the idea of revolution throughout the nation -- a revolution she never intended to start. And everything is about to change with the Quarter Quell -- the 75th Hunger Games -- looming over their heads....

This book was amazing! Having finished the first book (which was also fantastic), I didn't think the sequel could ever surpass the first. But, "Catching Fire" was equal parts surprising and intriguing. I love how the plot has thickened since the end of the first Hunger Games -- and how Katniss and Peeta deal with the consequences of their actions. We get to know more about some of the characters from the first (such as Haymitch and his backstory) and the growing relationship between Katniss and Peeta. The plot twists caught me completely off guard -- and almost every chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger that makes you want to read even more! The only negative thing I can say about this book is that the beginning is just a little slow -- I think this is for the purpose of showing how Katniss's life has gotten slower (and more painful) since the end of the Games. But, this really shouldn't deter anyone from reading this amazing sequel. The writing is fantastic, the characters are incredibly well-developed, and the plot is epic. Another absolutely phenomenal book from Suzanne Collins!
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Six of Crows

Six of Crows
Author: 
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In a town of thieves and murderers, one man is feared as the most brutal, the most wicked, and the most intelligent: Kaz Brekker. Willing to kill as much as he needs to, and able to pick any lock, Kaz is the perfect man for the greatest heist ever: Stealing a hostage from the high security Ice Palace. He gathers a crew to help take on the toughest challenge he’s ever faced. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows follows the viewpoints of a vicious leader, a spider-like assassin, a gunslinger, a disgraced soldier, a heartrending mage, and a runaway rich boy to create a wonderful story where death is around every corner and only the strong survive.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ryan

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