Alan Gratz, bestselling author of Projekt 1065 and Refugee, returns with another thrilling novel about the human side of war. The novel follows two protagonists, the young Japanese conscript Hideki and the teenage American Marine Ray. As World War II rages on, the pair are brought closer and closer together without either being aware, until suddenly their paths cross in one ultimate twist of fate.
Grenade is a gateway for middle school readers to understand the complexity and horrors of war without being pushed towards a more adult story like Saving Private Ryan. The story shows that despite the Japanese and Americans fighting each other at war, the soldiers battling are just people underneath the uniforms (or lack thereof). Gratz weaves mature themes with easily comprehensible language in a way that I find increasingly rare for young adult authors, and it serves his purpose well. As an older reader, I find myself coming back to Grenade for its gripping storytelling and the nuanced characters it conveys. I believe Grenade is a must-read for those interested in history and a perspective not often seen in the United States.
The story of two conflicting ideologies and the events bringing them together, Grenade is a masterfully crafted story of the horrors of war and the importance of understanding others' perspectives.
The Good Earth follows a man named Wang Lung accompanied by his wife, O-Lan. This story is told surrounding China in the early 20th century told in a classic rags to riches tale. Important themes are told through this story to express what China in the 20th was going through and challenges the people had to face. Some of these themes include the oppression of women and man’s relationship with the earth.
I have to admit, the first time I read this book I didn’t really like it. After talking to someone about the book, I decided to read it again and recognized its importance. Not only is the book informative, but it’s also an all around good book. There are many different plot points and character development pieces that go into this story. While reading it, it made me think… is this what people had to endure in China in the 20th century? Knowing this, it pulled at my heart strings a little bit. I absolutely love this book and would recommend.
Reviewer Grade: 8
Killing Lincoln, written by Bill O'Reilly, is a historical fiction novel detailing the account of the Civil War and the events that led up to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The narrator takes the reader along a tale of battle, and a timeline of Booth growing more and more anti-Lincoln until he finally decides to buy a gun and shoot Lincoln. I enjoyed the book because there is so much information, it's almost as if the narrator were there, writing everything down in the present. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes history, as well as anyone who is possibly enrolled in a history class.
This is a clever, evocative YA reimagining for Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," told from the perspective of Elizabeth Lavenza. I listened to the audiobook adaptation after a friend recommended the book to me, and it was truly difficult to turn it off/put it down. There are rattling, emotional moments and interesting characterization details throughout, particularly in regard to Victor and Elizabeth's complicated, consuming relationship. Elizabeth's narration is strong, I'd say, and the audiobook narrator (Katharine Lee McEwan) performed different character's voices very well/in a way that helped build the atmosphere rather than detract from it. A lovely book!!
A tragic circumstance brings together the town of Azure Springs and Sheriff Reynolds as they seek to find the individuals who badly injured a young woman. Em, orphaned at a young age, and having spent seven difficult years with a guardian, comes to know the caring people of Azure Springs as it becomes apparent that her life is still in danger. A real page-turner that pulls you deep into Em's life and Sheriff Reynolds who will stop at nothing to secure justice for her.
It was a pretty good book because he gets trapped in an elevator with strangers and had to escape before the twin towers collapses.
Kids ages 9-12 who are looking for a little mystery, intrigue and lots of ghosts will find just what they need in Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland. Ophie discovers she can see ghosts the night her father was killed by a mob of townsfolk when they found out he voted. She and her mother go to live with her aunt in Pittsburgh and there her aunt helps Ophie understand the depth and seriousness of her new found gift.
Mythology, written about Edith Hamilton, creates a timeline and family tree of the Greek gods and demigods. The book is based in small sections, so it is essentially a collection of assorted stories. For example, there is a section called "The Great Heroes before the Trojan War", and in that section there are specific synopsizes on Perseus, Theseus, Hercules, and Atlanta. I enjoyed the book because you can read it 5 minutes at a time because it does not take long to read a section. I recommend the book to mythology and history lovers alike.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, written by Harriet Jacobs, is a memoir of the oppression of slavery that Harriet faced as a slave. The book starts off talking about the pleasantries of childhood, but when her owner dies, ownership of her is shipped over to Dr. Flint, who ends up being a predator and wants to procreate with Harriet. Harriet refuses, but Dr. Flint becomes so demanding that Harriet turns fugitive. Ironically, Harriet hides for seven years at her grandmother's house, just across the street from Dr. Flint's plantation. Eventually, an opportunity arises for her to escape North, and after doubts, she does and is successful. In the North, she works hard to bring her family out of slavery, and one of the ladies that she works for purchases her and sets her free. The tale is brathtaking story of relentless perseverance, grit, and tenacity.
I had heard a lot of wonderful reviews about this book and the book definitely met every one. The book focuses on the scandalous life of the mysterious and legendary actress Evelyn Hugo as she retells the story to unknown journalist Monique Grant. During her retelling, the story unfolds that connects everything, leaving the readers still wanting more. I was happily surprised reading and would love to get the chance to be able to experience the story for the first time again. I enjoyed the old timeliness of Hollywood and the resemblance to Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe. If you want to be engrossed by a book with twists and turns till the end, then this book is for you!
Reviewer Grade 12
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque can solely be described as an ingenious masterpiece. The book, a historical fiction novel, was written in 1928 about German soldiers' experiences during World War I; Remarque used his experiences as a german soldier to accurately portray the terror of war. The main characters, Paul Bäumer, Albert Kropp, Franz Müller, and Ludwig Behm, are remarkably realistic and, throughout the book, go through changes caused by the nature of war, essentially turned into humans run by animal instincts. Throughout the book, Remarque ripes away any possible notion of romantic ideas relating to war and perfectly encapsulates the true terror of war. Overall, I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should read this masterpiece.
Critically acclaimed author Madline Miller takes on Greek mythology in a way never done before. In her novel Circe, a lonely child, born from the sun god Helios and a nymph mother, tries to find her way within a world where she does not quite fit. Her father is too powerful to relate to, and her mother wishes Circe had not been born. Not to mention, Circe’s siblings dislike her greatly, and make her life insufferable. It is only when her father, Helios, sends her away to a secluded island where she cannot leave, that she finds the missing piece she has been looking for all her life. Filled with secret romances, magic, sea monsters, mysterious sailors, and man-pigs, Circe is a novel that will wreck your heart and leave you angry for justice. Her isolation is familiar to us all, and reminds us of the importance of loving ourselves. This is a must read!
Reviewer - Grade 12
Cathedral Of The Sea closely follows true events in Catalonia during the 1300s under King Pedro’s reign. It is about the cruelty of the Holi persons and the king of that time. As the men of God, they take best food and live luxurious life. On the other side, people are dying from hunger, different kind of diseases and they have nothing to feed their children especially the Jews. Jews are killed by Christians just because of their religion even they think Jews do not have the right to live. In this novel, religion is broadly used to terrify the people and to maintain rule over them. Sometimes, these kind of holy persons get their soul poisoned because of their greedy nature. Everyone should have the right to follow his/ her religion freely.
The Song of Achilles was written in 2011 by American writer Madeline Miller. It is an adoption of Homer's Iliad and is a retelling of the great Greek warrior Achilles. The tale is told from the perspective of Patroclus. The novel follows the romantic relationship between Patroclus and Achilles as it is written in the novel.
*"He is half of my soul, as the poets say."*
*Madeline Miller, by using their relationship, is trying to show the role of men in ancient Greek society and how homosexuality was viewed in that era. The most pleasing thing about this novel is Miller's poetic writing and how beautifully she has painted the vivid picture of the emotions of all the characters, and it has taken me into another world while I was reading.
There are some debates that have been going on for centuries until today. For example, the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles has been debated for centuries, and still there is no clear evidence of whether they were lovers or close comrades. The second one is that Helen was the cause of the Trojan War, and destroying thousands of ships and men just for a woman is foolishness. As Dr. Faustus says:
*"Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"*
Mean by there, is she that much beautiful that kings are willing to destroy anything?
The novel also contains many themes. The first one is *"honour and pride".* Achilles fights for his honour because he wants his name to be remembered, in the same way Agamemnon and Menelaus fight for their pride, which they lost when Helen was kidnapped by the king of Troy. For Greeks, honour and pride is everything, and they prefer to sacrifice their lives over honour and glory. They believe that sometimes violence is needed to prove one's pride. As it is set down in the text:
" *The sons of Troy are known for their skill in battle, and their deaths will lift your name to the stars."*
The second major theme is *impulse to show power*. Achilles, Agamemnon, and Menelaus fight for power and want to have control over their lives; one of the biggest reasons for participating in battle is to showcase their power. Besides this,the powerlessness of women like Helen, Briseis, and Deidmeia can be seen in the novel. Agamemnon treats Briseis badly as a wench or a war prize, and also, Helen is forced to choose a husband even though she doesn't want a husband.
*To conclude* , the novel is a wonderful piece of literature and deserves to be read because the way Medellin Miller has described all the events and feelings of all the characters makes you feel the same.
Despite its lack of general theme, Dumas' The Three Musketeers is a beloved classic. The story follows a young man D'Artagnan as he serves under M. de Treville, the head of the French king's musketeers (Athos, Porthos, and Aramis). As he spends more time with the musketeers, D'Artagnan is caught up in the convoluted politics of the king and jealous cardinal. Somehow, however, in the epic tale of adventure, companionship, romance, and betrayal, Dumas' message is lost to the fast-paced plot. His use of dialogue is masterful in creating realistic suspense between characters; not in all 600+ pages is there a dull moment. Overall, however, The Three Musketeers is best read for an interesting story and nothing else. The main cast is well-developed and serve as contrasts to each other. Although the plot itself is well-constructed, the events lack any greater relationship to each other beyond causation. When I picked this book up, I expected the adventure to follow some sort of formula to parallel D'Artagnan's personality; his personality, however, has little impact on the general plot. Dumas' talent in diction and ability to tell a story is evident, and The Three Musketeers was an enjoyable read, as long as you know what to expect.
Hysteria, spreading throughout Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th century. Teenage girls, being accused of witchcraft for dancing in the woods. A puppet with a needle that can cost someone’s life. Agreeing on execution in order to protect the good name for your family. Mass trials on people being suspected of doing magic. Sounds crazy? Welcome to the world of The Crucible.
The play by Arthur Miller takes us to Salem in a period of witch trials. Everything starts pretty prosaic: a girl named Abigail wants to get love from a local farmer, John Proctor. As it often happens, she finds a love potion the easiest way to reach the desirable goal, however, she, her friends and the family slave Tituba get caught on doing this ritual late at night.
Nobody wants to be punished. Nobody will believe a slave over his own daughter or niece. Considering these two statements, Abigail decides to avoid a punishment by accusing Tituba and the entire list of other women in a town of being witches.
And here is when things start to go heels overhead. Like a huge snowball that captures everything that is on its way, panic enhances more and more people around. Men and women are being executed for no true reason. Even an expert in demonology is invited to take part in the case. And in all this chaos Abigail makes another attempt to get a chance for a future together with John Proctor.
The action develops dynamically in the play, and the characters add more tension to the plot with their bright personalities. You can’t stay indifferent. You either love or, more likely, hate them. A lot of situation are ironic and absurd, however, the play tastes bitter, when you realize how many people had to struggle because of someone’s stupid wish and lack of responsibility.
The book refers a lot to the time of McCarthyism, which had impacted the author’s life in particular. It makes a strong impact on the audience, especially, in the end, and leaves the readers with a lot of questions: Do people change? Is reputation worth sacrificing your life? Whom to believe and what to deny?
Reviewer Grade: 11
The Book Thief starts in January 1939, in Nazi Germany. The main character, Liesel, was traveling on a train with her mother and brother when her brother suddenly dies. Liesel was only nine at the time, and the wound that was inflicted then, she would bear forever. At her brother's burial site, she stole a book for the first time, earning her the name "The Book Thief". Her story is told from the perspective of Death, who is depicted as an immortal being with feelings and a heart.
Liesel then traveled to Himmel Street, where she lived with her foster parents for the remainder of the book. Liesel made new friends, finds a family, and overcomes the grief caused by her brother's passing there. But most importantly, she discovered the power and impact of words there. The power of words is the central theme or message of The Book Thief.
Throughout the book, Liesel steals more books and becomes braver and more mature. Initially, she was a child who didn't know about all the beauty and ugliness in the world. But as the plot developed, she experienced more of the brutality of WW2 and found her role in her community. After she learned to read, she started to spread the love that was caused by words to her neighbors, by reading out loud during air raids. She also learned to love and understand people better.
The author, Markus Zusak, used the symbolism of colors to illustrate a picture of the world that Liesel lived in. For example, when Death described a scene, the sky was always a different color or texture. When describing a bloody battlefield, the sky was described as plasticky, to show the stillness and emptiness that was caused by the death of soldiers.
I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a thought-provoking and intense book. Liesel's and the other characters' lives were presented in a very relatable way, which will make readers question their own attitudes on life and the world.
If you are a fan of locked room mysteries, you will enjoy Miss Aldridge Regrets! It is a historical mystery set in 1936 London. Lena Aldrige is a mixed race nightclub singer in a Soho nightclub. The club's owner is murdered and Lena isn't sure what she is going to do when a chance of lifetime drops in her lap. She is approached by a man who said his boss knew her father and wants to offer her a job starring in a Broadway show and will pay passage for her first-class on the Queen Mary. Lena takes the offer and is looking forward to her new life in New York. But as her trip unwinds, people on the ship start to be murdered and she looks like the prime suspect. There are a few other surprised for Lena as well. This was a wonderful mystery and a great start to the Canary Club Mystery Series.
When I first heard about The Star that Always Stays, I was intrigued by the beautiful cover and reviews that compared it to Anne of Green Gables. I was so intrigued that I did something I don't usually do and I bought the book before it had even been released. It arrived yesterday afternoon and I picked it up last night, intending to read a couple of chapters before bed.
I ended up finishing the book in the middle of the night!
This story was absolutely unputdownable, but its suspense had a sweetness reminiscent of wondering if Anne will find a home at Green Gables or if Aunt Polly will ever really find the joy that Pollyanna has. Norvia's story about dealing with a new school and new people is relatable for middle-schoolers but also has depth on issues like identity, divorce, and heritage that adults will appreciate.
All in all, I am so glad I purchased this book, and I will definitely be reading it over and over!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a historical fiction novel that is set in World War II. This book focuses on two characters Marie-Laure Leblanc and Werner Pfennig. Marie-Laure is a blind girl in France that relies on her father to help her live her life. Werner is a genius German who gets drafted by the Nazi’s to build and find the enemy with radios. These two conflicting worlds will soon crash into each other in the most heart wrenching way possible. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history or suspense.