YALSA Award

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Percy Jackson series is one of my favorite series’ because it combines two topics that I really like, Greek mythology and action/adventure. Greek gods and legends are typically very epic and exaggerated so combining that with a very relatable boy creates an amazing result that I think only Rick Riordan could have come up with and developed.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians; The Lightning Thief, a fictional novel by Rick Riordan, follows the journey of a boy and his relationships and encounters with Greek legends and myths. Percy Jackson is at first what some might call a “loser” and often gets picked on at school and has trouble concentrating on academics. Percy’s whole life changes when he discovers that his dad, which he hadn’t known before, was the all-powerful Poseidon making him a demigod. After Percy finds out who his dad id he is sent to Camp-Half Blood, a cleverly named camp for demigods, because his home is no longer safe for him. In Camp Half-Blood Percy makes himself at home I makes new friends by impressing people with his powers which he didn’t even know he had. The fun and games is quickly over when learns that someone has stolen the lightning rod from Zeus, the king of the gods, and the top suspect is none other than Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon. On Percy’s journey to prove to Zeus that he is not the thief he is accompanied by his two best friends Annabeth and Grover.

I personally think that it was quite a genius idea to have the main character be just an average boy that gets bullied and picked on at school because it makes him relatable. I think that in one way or another everyone has been bullied before and it makes Percy a very relatable character and I also think it kind of acts as inspiration for us.

Reviewer's Name: 
Seth

Book Review: The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood
Author: 
Albert, Melissa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Hazel Wood is an interesting mix of modern perspective and fairy tale magic. This book took a Grimm's fairy tale turn in it's dark and twisting paths. The main character has always been followed by bad luck and when she goes back to her dead grandmother's estate, she finds out why. I really enjoyed this book as a fan of fairy tales and darker ideas. I would recommend this book for fairy tale lovers and people who have a love for the darker side of the world.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.

Book Review: Ace of Shades

Ace of Shades
Author: 
Foody, Amanda
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Ace of Shades a spectacular read. This book is set in a town ruled by gangs and gambling. The main character is trying to find her mother and get through the city without it ruining her, but she finds that she is made more of this city than she thought. I really enjoyed learning all about the city and the workings of the gangs within it. Ace of Shades has a special magic for drawing the reader in and keeping you wanting more. I would suggest this book for people who enjoy mystery, fantasy, and a little bit of Las Vegas.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.
Awards: 

Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl
Author: 
Rowell, Rainbow
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This book follows two twin girls heading off to college, and they differ in social skills, interests, and beliefs. They share common ground over their mutual love for a book series revolving around Simon Snow. He is similar to Harry Potter. Cather, though, is much more obsessed with the series and writes fanfiction in her free time. With no interest in attending college away from her dad, unlike her sister Wren, she hides out in her dorm and avoids people until her roomate and her friend Levi drag her out. She slowly overcomes her hatred of university and gets closer with Levi, but struggles between writing what is an original idea of hers and what she takes from the Simon Snow books. I really enjoyed this book because it is easy to relate to in today’s world. With ever-present media and popular shows and books bring in the spotlight, it is hard to be feel genuine in your ideas or opinions.
The book explores different ideas or love and originality and provides a view of family and of university that is atypical. It was very interesting to read about the social dynamics of an introverted university student, but the cute romance aspect of the book also adds to the entertainment. I would recommend it for a young adult read. I would give it three and a half stars out of five.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Review: The Giver

The Giver
Author: 
Lowry, Lois
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Giver is a dystopian novel that illustrates the story of a young boy named Jonas. Jonas lives in a futuristic society that has eliminated the concepts fear, pain, and diversity. He is the only different person within his society, to which he has unique capabilities and characteristics than that of other individuals. He is put through many challenges and barriers that he must overcome. This leads to his absolute desire to explore the outskirts and find the ultimate truth of his fate.

The Giver is a dystopian novel, where it brought a unique setting and plot-line for the reader. It was interesting and did not follow a dull story-line that was expected. The whole story concludes to be a 4 star rating, as many parts of the story were surprising and unexpected which maintained the attraction and interest into the story. However, the story lacks a consistency with its line of events, which leads to certain parts being extremely intriguing, and other parts of the story being slow and boring. This loses the reader at some point.

Personally, the book was well written and was very captivating for me. It was surprising with its plot-line of action, and I enjoyed most about the futuristic society and the uniqueness of it. I highly recommend this book.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying

One Of Us Is Lying
Author: 
McManus, Karen M.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Five students walk into detention one day, but only four make it out alive.

One of Us is Lying follows the gripping story of Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper as suspects in the murder of Simon Kelleher. Each of the high school students have secrets that they would do anything to protect, so how far would they go to make sure they’re kept out of the spotlight?

I liked this book because it delved into the personalities and thoughts of each individual suspect to keep the reader guessing who did it until the very end. Overall, One of Us is Lying is a surprising and engaging book that was hard to put down. I especially liked how each perspective of the characters was described in depth so that the audience was not left out of the storytelling. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves murder mysteries and young adult fiction.

One of Us is Lying is a teenage-take on themes as dark as murder and depression, and although other writers are unsuccessful in developing such deep plots for a younger audience, Karen M. McManus writes with an enjoyable voice that establishes her story very effectively that, additionally, is targeted well toward a young adult audience. So, if you’re wanting to sit down and unravel a complex and grounded mystery, you should check out One of Us is Lying.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Anya G

Book Review: Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But The Truth
Author: 
Avi
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

"Nothing But the Truth," an documentary novel by Avi, depicts a small student-teacher quarrel that became a national headline. The book starts with one's average teenage boy named Philip Malloy. He runs track and is a fairly good student. His arch nemesis and least favorited teacher, Miss Narwin, thinks poorly of Philip, especially after he is switched to her homeroom. The day is always begun with the playing of the national anthem, but when Phil starts to "sing" along, Miss Narwin starts to lose it. After suspensions, interviews with newspapers, and nation wide fame, Philip must not only figure out how to deal with his newly renowned fame, but also how to deal with being honest about what is really going on. This book was a great, quick read. The way the book was composed made for easy reading and enjoyability. "Nothing But the Truth" was written in 1992, but the topic is still relevant decades later. With the kneeling during the national anthem in the NFL to other highly debated political topics, "Nothing But the Truth" is a great book for a quick but thoughtful read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ella S

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

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