YALSA Award

Book Review: American Street

Cover of the book American Street
Author: 
Zoboi, Ibi
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

American Street is about a girl named Fabiola who moves from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to Detroit to see her aunt and cousins. When Fabiola and her mom get to New York to go on there connecting flight to Detroit her mom got held back
in New York while Fabiola goes on to Detroit. Once she gets to Detroit and gets to her cousins house she finds out that her mom wasn't coming to Detroit because of immigration laws. So she stays with her cousins Chantal, Donna, and Pri and her aunt Jo till she can figure out how to get her mother to come to Detroit. Fabiola enrolls in school and struggles to adjust to America. She grows close to her cousins who were known as the "Three Bees," Pri is the brawn of the group, Chantal is the brains, and Donna is the beauty and together they made a good team. Fabiola becomes friends with a classmate to get help with homework and stuff. They slowly become fast friends. Slowly she falls in love with a boy named Kasim who was best friends with Donna's drug dealer boyfriend, Dray. Finally, she figures out that Kasim went to a party to sell drugs for Dray and something bad happened that left Fabiola and her cousins heartbroken. In the end Fabiola, Pri, Donna, Chantal, and Aunt Jo moved away from Detroit for good and left for New Jersey.

Something that I liked about this book is that it was moving and heartbreaking but still a beautiful piece of literature. Something that I didn't like about the book was that Dray and Kasim were friends because they were so different and Dray wasn't a good guy but Kasim was a good guy. I usually don't like books like this but this one was so passionate and moving that I had trouble putting the book down. Another good thing about this book was that the plot didn't take awhile to develop and Fabiola changed a lot with her visit to America.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaitlyn B.

Book Review: Code Talker

Code Talker
Author: 
Bruchac, Joseph
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Code Talker is about a Navajo (Native American) who uses his language to help win the war. It is World War Two and the United States of America is fighting against Japan. Every code the Americans have used to send secret information has been cracked by the Japanese. The Navajo language is one of the hardest languages to learn. The Americans, knowing that, chose Navajos to make a secret code to use at war. Ned Begay (the Navajo) and his friends risk their lives, going into war, making their own secret code, and saving millions of American lives.

I really liked this book. There were some slow parts of the book where I got a bit bored. There were other parts where I couldn't put the book down. I would recommend this book to people who like war books. This book has juicy details and is based off of a true story.

Reviewer's Name: 
Mackenzie H.

Book Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
Author: 
Stiefvater, Maggie
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater tells the story of Blue, a teenage girl in a family of psychics. Blue doesn’t have the family gift, but on St. Mark’s Eve she sees a phantom boy--Gansey, one of the boys who attends Aglionby Academy. As a non-psychic, there are only two reasons Blue would see someone: she either kills or falls in love with him sometime in the course of the next year. One other little problem: Blue has been told her whole life that she’ll kill her true love with a kiss. Despite this, Blue still finds herself drawn in by Gansey and his world of the Raven Boys at Aglionby Academy. It only took me a day to finish The Raven Boys, proof it’s a good page turner. The plot pulled me in and left me wanting to read the second book in the series. I’ve read better books this year, but it’s by no means bad or even close to the worst book I’ve picked up in 2020. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this book, so if you’re considering reading it, just go for it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cora G.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Book Review: The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss who becomes a tribute in the hunger games. The hunger games is a battle royale. A battle royale is a game where two tributes from twelve districts fight for their lives to be the last person standing. The Hunger Games is a punishment because there was a rebellion. While being dragged off to prepare for battle, Katniss must process the thought of life or death.

This was one of the best books I have ever read. There was never a dull moment and it kept me intrigued the whole time. This book is full of adventure and definitely brought out some of my emotions such as, sadness, happiness, and anger. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great and fast book to read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Mackenzie H.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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: 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.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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

For people who want to enjoy an intriguing, fast paced novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the perfect book to read. It keeps you involved throughout the book as most chapters have cliffhangers at the end. This novel is the first of the seven famous Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

The book is about 11 year old Harry Potter, who receives a letter saying that he is invited to attend Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry. He then learns that a powerful wizard and his minions are after the sorcerer’s stone that will make this evil wizard immortal and undefeatable. Harry decides to go after the sorcerer’s stone before the wizard reaches it, but his loyal friends, Hermione and Ron don’t let Harry face this danger alone.

This book is full of fantasies and imagination like at one point, Harry Potter is asked to catch a flying golden ball while flying on his broomstick. Eventually Harry Potter stands on his broomstick and tries to reach for the ball, but he falls off the broomstick in a very tense moment. He unexpectedly throws up the golden ball winning the game for his team.

Harry Potter and a sorcerer stone is a good book to spark joy and imagination for anyone, regardless of age. But I would say it is most enjoyable for elementary school students, who can very well relate to the fantasy world. So I would say that it is a must read for younger audiences, but it’s a good read in general.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman G.

Book Review: The Book Thief

Book Cover
Author: 
Zusak, Markus
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is my favorite book of all time. The story follows a young girl named Liesel Meminger growing up in Nazi Germany. Her love of books progresses throughout the plot, and the cast of characters she meets along the way help make the story the loveable masterpiece I know it as (personally, my favorite characters include Max Vandenburg, Rudy Steiner, and Hans Hubermann). This book is historical fiction, but I recommend it for most (if not all) readers. I typically read fantasy books, but I adore The Book Thief. The plot isn’t fast paced like adventure stories, and the events are on the ordinary side, but in my opinion the author does a brilliant job with descriptions and human connections within the book. Another reason I love this book is the use of the narrator--the way colors are described and the story is told is unique and wonderful to read. It’s a story about WWII told in a different perspective than other books we typically read at school, such as Night by Elie Wiesel or The Diary of Anne Frank. Even if you don’t particularly like the historical fiction genre, I would recommend giving this book a try. I first read it in 6th grade, but it is definitely not a story for just children. It is good for any age, and common sense media rates it for kids 13+.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cora G.

Book Review: Into the Wild

Book Cover
Author: 
Krakauer, Jon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I read ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer in my sophomore year for extra credit in my English class. The book is about a young man that did live a privileged life but saw the world as that you don’t need money or materialistic things to live. I believed that his view on the world was ignorant and innocent because how he was brought up in life with money and never having to worry about anything, there was no struggle. For me what he ended up doing just seem very disrespectful to his parents, up and leaving them without saying anything. Into the Wild is just an amazing book with a very sad and devastating ending. Although it most of it did make me a little upset, I would read it again.

Reviewer's Name: 
Miguel

Book Review: The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
Author: 
Preston, Richard
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

You might know Richard Preston from his nonfiction thriller The Hot Zone or Micro, a techno-thriller Michael Crichton started before his untimely death in 2008. Although the subject matter of The Wild Trees is very different from these works, it continues Preston’s trend of combining scientific detail with narrative finesse. Specifically, this book focuses on the California redwoods, but readers will learn as much about the redwoods themselves as they will about the men and women who study them. Steve Sillett, for instance, started climbing redwoods freehand without any equipment to break his fall. Considering some redwoods are nearly 400 feet tall, this feat is as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying.

This book also provides fascinating detail on redwood canopies, which house salamanders, copepods (a type of crustacean), and even other trees! Thanks to Preston’s meticulous research and eye-popping descriptions, readers will feel like they’re exploring the redwoods alongside him.

The Wild Trees is a must-read for anyone who loves the redwoods or nature in general.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lisa

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