All Book Reviews by Genre: Reluctant Readers

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

In "The Hunger Games", sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her young sister's place in the cruel Hunger Games, an annual televised competition where children fight to the death until one remains. Although I'd watched all the movie adaptations before reading this book, I was still completely hooked. Everything about this book is absolutely fantastic -- the characters, the plot, the writing. The characters are complex and complicated, blurring the line between good and evil -- Katniss, in many ways, makes a phenomenal anti-hero. The plot moves quickly -- every chapter leaves on a cliffhanger, making it impossible to put the book down. The writing is succinct and gripping. The only criticism I could think of is that the beginning is a little slow, but it picks up very quickly from there. Everyone should read this book -- it's possibly one of the greatest books I've ever read. "The Hunger Games" is simply amazing.

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Wintergirls
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

My friend recommended this book to me and I was a little weary after hearing her description. Once I actually managed to pick the book up and read it, I instantly fell in love with this book. The subject matter is super heavy as the main character, Lia, struggles with an eating disorder and self harm but this book still managed to have me laugh once or twice. The story follows Lia after she finds out the news that her former best friend had died from her own eating disorder. I think this book is truly an amazing read because not only is it a good source of entertainment, it manages to help people who haven't gone through what Lia has get a better understanding of eating disorders and self harm. The way that Lia's calorie intake is marked in the book and her hidden thoughts helped to make the book stand out and be unique from other novels I read. While I can fully admit this isn't a book that everyone can stomach, it's a book that managed to make its way to my top ten favorite books of all time. I'm glad my friend recommended it to me and I would gladly recommend it to someone else.
Reviewer Grade:12

Reviewer's Name: Brenna C.
Skink No Surrender
Hiaasen, Carl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Richard's cousin, Malley, has always been rebellious. However, this time Richard is really worried about her. Malley ran off with some guy that she met online and the cops can't find her. Richard knows that he can find her so he embarkes on an adventure along with Skink, a moderately sane one-eyed wandering vigilante. Skink No Surrender is awesome. Complete with daunting storms, poisonous snakes, giant gators, flying bullets, and a supposedly extinct woodpecker. Skink No Surrender is full of twists and turns that makes it impossible to put down. I read this book in under two days and I highly recommend it for any middle schooler or high schooler that is looking for a great adventure story.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Code of Honor
Gratz, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kamran and Darius Smith made a code of honor when they were kids; be
the bravest of, the brave strongest of the strong ,help the helpless, kill
all monsters. But when Darius graduates at west point, and then joins the
army, he is captured by the Al Qaeda and forced to make public broadcasts
about threats from the terrorist group. After that happened Kamran is taken
to a government facility and decides to prove that Darius is innocent. He
gets the help he needs from Ex-special forces officer Dane Redmond, Aaliya
sayid, Jimmy Doran ,and Mickey Hagan. Together they help Kamran rescue
Darius, but wait, one of someone might be a traitor to the team.

Reviewer's Name: Brendan M.
Awards:
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Hunger Games has a futuristic setting were there are 12 districts in Panem, the only civilization left in the world. The Hunger Games was a punishment for the districts who rebelled against the Capital, in the Hunger Games people 12-18 are chosen to fight to the death is a arena literally big enough for a whole natural habitat. Our main character Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl who lives in district 12. Her sister was chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, but Katniss took her place as a tribute. How will she survive against other people chosen to partake in the Hunger Games, an a few mutants every hear and there.

Reviewer's Name: Brendan M.
Th1rteen R3asons Why
Asher, Jay
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I read this book because I had heard a lot about the show, but I wanted to read the book rather than watch it. I was a little disappointed. It was a quick read, but it seemed to lack strong characterization. I especially did not like the narrator, Clay Jensen, just because he does not have much depth of character. The writing style is intriguing and mysterious, but it did not make up for the two-dimensional characters. This book was not bad, and it presented many meaningful issues, but the way it was written made it drab and even repetitive. However, I would still recommend this book to those who are interested in the show.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Divergent is part of a 3-book series. It's about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior who lives in a Dystopian society. There are five factions, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, each of which represent and practice one virtue that the government believes to be the causes of war when they are lacking. When each child in the society reaches the age of 16, they must choose one faction to dedicate their lives to. An aptitude test displays to them which faction they would most belong in, however, Beatrice comes out as Divergent, someone who contains the attributes of more than just one faction. Being Divergent is a threat toward the society and the government, and if they find out you're Divergent, you will be killed.

Divergent is a moving story based on the character Beatrice Prior who goes through a series of events that help her to determine who she is and where she belongs. We watch her struggle with insecurity and doubting herself, a common struggle throughout all teenagers, and we see her overcome them. She becomes confident in herself and her decisions, just like we must all learn to do.

This book is honestly one of my favorites. It's packed with action and suspense, while at the same time it inspires and teaches. It's unique and different from other action stories and definitely keeps the reader intrigued. However, I'd recommend it ages 12+. There's a decent amount of violence, some of which might be hard to read for some kids, and a few other scenes and questionable content that might not be age appropriate for children under the age of 12. Overall however, I loved this book and strongly recommend it for teens.

Reviewer's Name: Ella S.
Maybe a Fox
Appelt, Kathi
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was a great book, it was beautiful! It was also a B.O.B book for seventh grade from what I know. I loved the characters because they are so relate-able. It all starts when Sylvie, one of the two main characters, goes missing one morning on her daily run to get in shape for track. There is only one explanation for her disappearance, the Slip, which is a mysterious body of water. Jules the other main character is crushed, Sylvie is her only sister, and after Sylvie drowns all she has left is her father. The family of two is torn apart by the loss of their mother and now, oldest daughter. Life goes on, and when the time comes for Jules to go back to school, she sees a sign of luck, but even that is not enough. While all this takes place, deep in the woods, three fox kits are born, two males and one female, who happens to be a kennen. After many adventures Senna, the kennen fox and Jules meet, drawn together by a force of nature. Then something terrible happens. It leaves Jules is in shock, but she makes a discovery of a lifetime. With all the switching from points of view, the book can be a little bit confusing, but it still is great is the reader can understand. I highly suggest this book to anyone looking for a fairly quick read, I was able to read it in about a week. This book was very enjoyable and the reader could feel like they are a part of the book. Highly suggested!
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Ella S.
Awards:
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Partly due to the success of The Hunger Games , the Young Adult genre swerved into the survival/sci-fi/dystopian genres that also allowed The Maze Runner to have a ready and willing audience. With this being the case, I’d almost say The Maze Runner has more utopian sensibilities since the narrative encourages teamwork for survival, instead of a “winner take all” emphasis presented in The Hunger Games that valued selfish ambitions over communistic altruism. Plus, if you put 50 teenage boys in a box with no adult supervision, I think the logical conclusion would be more along the lines of Lord of the Flies instead of solving a deadly maze.

While the premise was interesting and allowed for a constant and steady pacing of inciting events, I felt there was not enough explanation in this first part of the trilogy, with very few questions being answered by the end and a lot of hand-waving to push the characters forward to a conclusion. In fact, having seen the movie adaptation, I was hoping the book was better suited to explain the ending, but it was equally as confusing. That being said, there were key elements in the book (like the telepathy) that didn’t make it into the movie.

Overall, the few main characters in The Maze Runner were interesting and unique, even if it took some of them two years to even figure out the simplest parts of the maze. Still, fear can be a huge hindrance toward progress, so I guess I understand their predicament. Additionally, despite using a euphemistic system of swears as part of the characters’ unique jargon, I couldn’t help but think that this book would have been a lot more inappropriate for a young adult audience if the actual swear words were used instead.

An interesting premise with engaging characters, I give The Maze Runner 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
Flush
Hiaasen, Carl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Flush, written by Carl Hiaasen was about a boy, named Noah. Noah has a father who is in jail for sinking a boat called the Coral Queen. His father has been put in jail before, and never regrets what he has done because he believes that he is responsible for his actions, and it is worth it for what he has done. Noah is used to his father doing crazy stuff like this, because when Noah's father sees something that upsets him, he will do whatever he can to stop it, especially with people hurting and damaging wildlife. The reason he got recently put in jail is because he claimed that he saw the boat putting all of their sewage into the ocean water. Even though his dad does lots of crazy and unpredictable things, Noah thinks his dad would never lie to him about what he saw. He starts to investigate and tries to prove that the Coral Queen did in fact put sewage into the ocean. This book did surprise me in some ways, and the book got more and more interesting as it went on.

Reviewer grade:

Reviewer's Name: Riley C.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter is an exciting twist of magic and book that no matter what you can not put down.

Reviewer's Name: Karson
The Quest for the Diamond Sword : A Minecraft Gamer's Adventure
Morgan, Winter
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

It was almost perfect!

Reviewer's Name: Colorado Girl
everlost by neal shusterman
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Over the past year or so, Neal Shusterman has quickly become one of my favorite authors, which can probably be attributed to this fantastic novel.

Everlost is the first of three novels, which follows the story of two teenage characters, Nick and Allie, who have just awoken in a ghostly parallel to the real world after drying in a car crash. They are somewhat like ghosts, and retain the exact appearance they had when they died. The book follows these characters as they traverse through this ghostly world, and try to find their purpose among the other dead children, known as the "afterlights". Along the way, these two characters encounter many lifelike characters, and Neal Shusterman is able to effectively depict each event with imagery and descriptive language. I found myself actually excited to read the next chapter, which is coming from someone who is not typically an enthusiastic reader. Therefore, I would recommend this book to anyone who has spare time and is willing to delve themselves into a truly great book.

Reviewer is in grade 11.

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Awards:
Scars
Rainfield, Cheryl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In Scars by Cheryl Rainfield, Kendra, a young teenager, struggles with self-harm, depression, and having the constant fear of her rapist following and threatening her. All throughout the book she struggles with many things, and Rainfield describes her journey with passion and accurately describes what depression can and does feel like. I really liked that this book brought attention to in-home neglect, as her mother does not pay much attention to what is happening with her daughter more as how her daughter is being portrayed. I didn't like how fast paced everything is, although it does positively affect the book in some aspects it is a bit overwhelming in certain chapters. I picked this book because of the title and the cover, I have struggled with self-harm and it seemed like I relate to it, which I could in so many ways. This book was very surprising and it made me gasp out loud when the big truth was revealed. I could definitely relate to Kendra, as I said before I struggled with self-harm and have plenty of scars I need to heal. But not only in that way, she and I both have homophobic mothers who at first did not accept the "choices" we made. This book was really, really, great and it truly is one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gemini K.
Holes
Sachar, Louis
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Holes by Louis Sachar is an astonishing book that braids together three different stories that eventually will come together because of the main character known as Stanley Yelnats. Stanley Yelnats, a boy who has bad luck because of a curse put on his "no good dirty rotten pig stealin' great-great-grandfather", is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, for a crime he did not commit. Stanley and the other boys at the camp are forced to dig large holes in the dirt every day that are 5 feet wide and 5 feet deep in the blistering heat, but they aren't digging holes to build character like Mr. Sir says.

Louis Sachar was born in East Meadow on March 20th 1954 and lived there until 4th grade and it wasn't until high school that he really started to love reading. Louis Sachar is an award-winning author of twenty-five books for children and young adults. The book Holes has won around 16 awards and recognitions. He didn’t really just sit down and start writing the story, he built the story around the setting at camp green lake. In a Q&A he said that he "started writing about Camp Greenlake and it developed from there. I suppose the initial inspiration for writing about the camp came from the heat of summers in Texas." And "Anybody who has ever tried to do yard work in Texas in July can easily imagine Hell to be a place where you are required to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet across day after day under the brutal Texas sun." That was where he started the book and his inspiration. Louis basically just started with writing about camp green lake and the fact that its just a desert instead of basing the book on any characters, which I found was interesting.

I think that Holes is an amazing book that it all ties together in the end. I just love this book because of how complex it is with putting three stories together to create one detailed and vivid story that you will want to read more than once.

Reviewer's Name: Sydney P.
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Unwind, a novel written by Neal Shusterman, is a fiction book that is about the adventures of three teenagers that have been chosen to be unwound by their parents. Unwinding is basically the process of cutting apart an individual in order to have each parts of their body to be used to save others. In the book, it is something that parents may decide to do to their child. When a child is no longer such, and becomes an early teen or a teen, the parents may decide to have their children go through this process.
Overall, this book provides a great amount of entertainment, as it is full of thrills and excitement. While reading this novel, one gets to feel like they are going through the struggles and adventures with the main characters.
Despite the book being very adventurous and entertaining, it would not be a good novel for someone younger than middle school to read, as it has very graphic details and contains some gruesome scenes. Overall, this novel is one that I would highly recommend for someone looking to have a fun and fairly short read.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Allegiant
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I was hesitant to read this book because of previous reviews I had read about it and I didn't think it was as bad as everyone said it was. It is a great book and very well written, but if you do plan on reading it then don't read the last 50 pages (They contribute next to nothing with the overall story and just cause lots of tears). The story itself is very, very good. Tris and Tobias have to escape the city and go past the fence. Only once they are out there they find that their whole city was just an experiment to try and fix a mistake made hundreds of years ago by people who didn't know any better.
Tris, and the group she came with, have to save the outside world before they can save their previous home. There is a lot of fighting and struggles because the world beyond the fence is vicious and cruel. Tobias is at odds with himself as he finds out secrets in his DNA, secrets he wasn't entirely ready to know.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
Insurgent
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about Tris and Tobias trying to stop Erudite. There's a lot of tension between friends and family as the dauntless splits in half. Traitors side with Erudite and the rest take refuge at Candor headquarters. Jeanine Mathews results to murder as she starts to kill dauntless every two days that go by without a divergent turning themselves in. There is definitely a lot of internal struggles with Tris as she tries to overcome her grief with the death of her parents and Will. Her and Tobias have some conflict too as they try to come to an agreement with how to handle the Erudite situation.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this book! It is way better than the movie. It is about Beatrice Prior, a 16 year old girl. In her world there are 5 factions in which most everyone belongs. She is apart of abnegation, the selfless faction, but doesn't feel that she is selfless enough so she decides to switch to dauntless, the brave faction. The book is about how she has to over come her inner cowardice and pass initiation. If she does not pass then she becomes factionless and will spend the rest of her life homeless and begging for food. The only thing that is holding her back is that Tris is divergent and if your divergent in this society then you are basically as good as dead. She has to keep her secret a secret while also managing to remain in a safe place in initiation. It also has some romance as her instructor, Four, tries to help her become better at fighting. The book has a lot of action and keeps you on the edge of your seat through the whole thing.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
Planet Tad
Carvell, Tim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is an absolutely hilarious book told in the form of an online blog based on the MAD magazine feature of the same name. If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Origami Yoda books, or like MAD, you will love this book. It tells a story in journal/ blog form about a 13 year old boy named Tad who is trying to survive middle school along with doing other things such as growing a mustache, doing a kickflip on his skateboard, and finally getting girls to notice him (which all end up in disasters.). He also makes funny observations on just about everything, from Hansel and Gretel to Peeps. It is laughing-so-hard-you-can't breathe type funny and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the books above.

Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob U.

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