Award Book Reviews

Since You've Been Gone
Matson, Morgan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Emily is an introverted teenage girl who is best friends with Sloane who is a huge extrovert. They have been best friends for a long time and they can't be separated. When it came time for summer break though, Sloane disappeared. There was no sign of her anywhere and every time Emily went to her house to check to see where she was; Sloane was nowhere to be found. Emily was confused and hurt that her best friend didn't tell her where she was, but then a letter showed up. It was in Sloane's handwriting and it was a summer checklist. They were things that Sloane knew Emily would have to get out of her comfort zone to do. Emily debated on whether or not she should even do the list, because why would Sloane give it to her with no context? But the thought that it might bring her to her best friend made Emily determined to check everything off the list. With the help of some unexpected new friends, and love interests, Emily started the list and the search for her best friend.
I loved this book because it was so interesting to read. There was something different in every chapter with unexpected events as well as flashbacks for the needed backstory and to develop Sloane as a character. The plot and development of the story is surprising and a fun representation of a teenage girls' life. It is also a pretty easy read and easy to follow, I would definitely recommend!

Reviewer's Name: Courtney C.
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Six of Crows is a book about six individuals who have teamed together to complete a supposedly impossible and deadly heist, each with their own driving motivations and goals, but all aware of what's at stake: their lives. While the book is divided among six main characters, Bardugo does an excellent job at giving each a distinct story and voice. The book, along with its sequel, take place in a fictional world where some people, called Grisha, are born with powers. While the Grisha are not an obvious main topic of the book, the world building, fantastical powers, and underlying societal beliefs about them are all still there. Six of Crows has a perfect blend of fantasy and action with just enough suspense and romance to keep you on your toes and interested.

The six main characters are tasked with going to a land, foreign to most of them, to retrieve a doctor who knew the recipe for a drug that could amplify Grisha powers and control them. Unfortunately, the doctor is burried deep within a fortress of ice with more than one group after him. I would highly recommend this book, if not just for the plot, then for Bardugo's knowledge and craft of language and her ability to excellently build immersible worlds.

Reviewer's Name: Kathleen H.
The Night Circus
Morgenstern, Erin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Night Circus is the enthralling tale of a magical circus called Le Cirque does Rêves, which appears mysteriously and is open only at night. But there’s much more to the Circus of Dreams than meets the eye. The apprentices of two powerful magicians, bound to each other by fate and a deal made when they were children, must prove themselves. Soon the lives of everyone involved with the circus hang in the balance as the young magicians fight for victory—and love. Le Cirque de Rêves is a beautiful, enchanting, and intricate setting, each detail magically realistic. Morgenstern has
created an enthralling plot, with twists and turns and surprises waiting around each corner. This novel is perfect for anyone who enjoys a good fantasy or romance.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.
The Obelisk Gate
Jemisin, N. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I’ll admit that reading The Fifth Season had a bit of a learning curve for
the Broken Earth series. Not only did I have to learn about the vastly
powerful magic system based on rocks (and other rock forms), but I had to get
used to a second-person point of view (POV). Jumping between timelines with
similar characters who had different names was a bit confusing, but I was
able to figure it out by the end. Fast forward to the sequel, The Obelisk
Gate, and most of my qualms with the first book were smoothed over or solved
outright.

One of the things I enjoyed about The Obelisk Gate was the increase in the
scale of the magic system. Including the moon in these calculations makes
perfect sense considering the nature of the orogeny magic. I also appreciated
how the story seemed to focus on a single POV, which made for a more intimate
experience as we followed only one or two individuals instead of four. Now
that I was used to the second-person writing style and the character it
described, it didn’t bother me as much as when I read The Fifth Season.

While The Fifth Season set up the world-building for this trilogy, The
Obelisk Gate’s only weakness is that it finally set up the climactic plot
for the third book. Sure, there was plenty of character development and
intriguing twists in the plot in The Obelisk Gate, but they all seemed to be
hinting at something much more significant that wouldn’t take place in this
book. I do appreciate an excellent three-act structure, so this slight
weakness can be seen as merely an artifact of the second book in a trilogy.
In fact, because it was more focused, I liked this book more than its
predecessor. After all, it’s a strong concept with solid execution.

A focusing and foreshadowing of the Broken Earth series, I give The Obelisk
Gate 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
The Obelisk Gate
Jemisin, N. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I’ll admit that reading The Fifth Season had a bit of a learning curve for
the Broken Earth series. Not only did I have to learn about the vastly
powerful magic system based on rocks (and other rock forms), but I had to get
used to a second-person point of view (POV). Jumping between timelines with
similar characters who had different names was a bit confusing, but I was
able to figure it out by the end. Fast forward to the sequel, The Obelisk
Gate, and most of my qualms with the first book were smoothed over or solved
outright.

One of the things I enjoyed about The Obelisk Gate was the increase in the
scale of the magic system. Including the moon in these calculations makes
perfect sense considering the nature of the orogeny magic. I also appreciated
how the story seemed to focus on a single POV, which made for a more intimate
experience as we followed only one or two individuals instead of four. Now
that I was used to the second-person writing style and the character it
described, it didn’t bother me as much as when I read The Fifth Season.

While The Fifth Season set up the world-building for this trilogy, The
Obelisk Gate’s only weakness is that it finally set up the climactic plot
for the third book. Sure, there was plenty of character development and
intriguing twists in the plot in The Obelisk Gate, but they all seemed to be
hinting at something much more significant that wouldn’t take place in this
book. I do appreciate an excellent three-act structure, so this slight
weakness can be seen as merely an artifact of the second book in a trilogy.
In fact, because it was more focused, I liked this book more than its
predecessor. After all, it’s a strong concept with solid execution.

A focusing and foreshadowing of the Broken Earth series, I give The Obelisk
Gate 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Lost
Bolton, S. J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Wonderful mystery thriller with a lot of twists. The author gives this book a English/Brittish flair.

Reviewer's Name: Debra
Awards:
Book Review: Guts
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Book Review: Guts
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Book Review: Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian society. His job as a fireman is to locate all books around the city and burn them. Books are banned from any individual and is considered to be an inferior type of entertainment in comparison television, which are more supported by the public. As Montag continues to burn more books throughout his job over time, he deals with a variety of external factors that changes his brainwashed and disillusioned perspective to considering books and their significance to society. Being a firemen in this dystopian society, Montag must deal with a plethora of barriers that are blocking his way before he can truly understand the importance of books and to keep them.

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing book that takes a different approach in a dystopian society. Instead of implementing a militaristic and governmental style, Bradbury uses firemen which encapsulates a unique and captivating plot line. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates a story that everyone can enjoy, especially for those who enjoy reading dystopian novels. Bradbury effectively relates character development of Montag to the series of events that occurs. This coherent relationship that virtually happens side-by-side further produces a sense of immersion for the reader.

Personally, I enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 novel. It is considered to be one of his best, and most iconic books that he has written to date. I highly recommend any average reader to consider reading Fahrenheit 451. The book is not too long, but it will still produce an immense amount of quality and satisfaction in the end.

Reviewer's Name: Nam T.
Awards:
Book Review: Alice in Zombieland
Showalter, Gena
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Alice Bell thought her father was crazy, at least until she saw the monsters herself. On her way home from her little sisters dance recital her life is turned upside down when she awakes on the side of the road barely conscious. They were in a car accident, and before she blacks out she vaguely sees a monster eating her father. "There is no way, zombies don’t exist" Alice thinks, but then she remembers the stories her dad used to tell her about them. She wakes up in the hospital with her grandparents standing next to her with sad looks on their face. She knew before they told her, her parents and sister were gone. She starts to see visions or images of zombies she can’t get them out of her head, so when she meets a bad boy named Cole at her new school she can’t help but think he knows more than he lets on about the monsters she sees. When it comes time to fight Alice and Cole must trust each other, but this fight is for Alice it's time to avenge her family. This was a book I couldn’t put down, I had to immediately pick up the next book in the series.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Awards:
Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maximum Ride is probably one of the most interesting and exciting books I have ever read. The novel starts with a group of children living in a house on their own, the one who watches out for the younger children is sixteen year old, Maximum Ride (Max). The children are not like other normal kids though; they can all fly. When the kids were younger they were all kidnapped by scientists and were experimented on. While they were experimented on they were given genetically attached wings. The children all escaped with the strength they all had together but now the scientists want them back. They can fly and they are stronger than most humans and they each have
individual powers unique to only them and they are not easy to find. The scientist also created what Max and the other children call “Erasers”, which are genetically mutated humans half wolf, half human with the sole purpose of finding the missing flying children. The novel follows Max and the children on their journey to freedom. I honestly think that there is something for everyone to enjoy in this book: romance, science fiction, action and adventure. I love this book and would highly recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maximum Ride is probably one of the most interesting and exciting books I have ever read. The novel starts with a group of children living in a house on their own, the one who watches out for the younger children is sixteen year old, Maximum Ride (Max). The children are not like other normal kids though; they can all fly. When the kids were younger they were all kidnapped by scientists and were experimented on. While they were experimented on they were given genetically attached wings. The children all escaped with the strength they all had together but now the scientists want them back. They can fly and they are stronger than most humans and they each have
individual powers unique to only them and they are not easy to find. The scientist also created what Max and the other children call “Erasers”, which are genetically mutated humans half wolf, half human with the sole purpose of finding the missing flying children. The novel follows Max and the children on their journey to freedom. I honestly think that there is something for everyone to enjoy in this book: romance, science fiction, action and adventure. I love this book and would highly recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Book Review: The Dark Between Stars
Atticus
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

“The Dark Between Stars” is a hearthrobing book of poetry filled with the contrasting stories of the hope and despair that come with the human experience. The author Atticus, transports his readers back to their own memories, feelings, and emotions with his very relatable and beautifully written poetry. On each page I could see a different image or feel a different emotion which I think is the remarkable thing about the book. My favorite poem from the book was “The problem with falling in love is that everything else in life becomes boring by comparison”. I would highly recommend this book to any poetry lover, I have never before been so transported into my own thoughts and feelings while reading before.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
Genres:
Book Review: Starry Eyes
Bennett, Jenn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Zorie, a young girl who lives with her mother and father who are happily married; or so she thought they were happy. Zorie is suddenly struck with life altering information when her neighbor/ ex-best friend, Lennon hands her a manila envelope that had accidentally been delivered to the wrong house. Zorie is mortified when she opens it only to see photos of her dad with another woman, and is even more mortified that there was a possibility Lennon and his family had seen the photos too. Struggling to figure out what to do with the photos while juggling work and drama with friends, Zorie is all too happy to say yes when her best friend Reagan asks her to come on a camp trip. However, Zorie forgot about a previous commitment she made to go to the astronomy clubs stargazing party just one peak over from where Reagan's camp trip was. Wanting so badly to leave home for as long as possible and put her worries behind her Zorie decides she can do both, she will go on the camp trip and from there take a bus to Condor Peak for the star party. Zorie’s plans are turned a little upside down when Reagan picks her up for camping and Lennon is with her and some other familiar faces from school sitting in the back seat. Once they reach the campsite things take a turn for the worst when a fight between Reagan and Zorie ends up with Reagan and her other friends abandoning Zorie and Lennon in the middle of the night. Zorie and Lennon are then forced to talk about the past and all of the miscommunications that led them to hate each other as they hike their way to Condor Peak. This novel had a very intriguing plot, I loved the unpredictability of every page turn.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Lewycka, Marina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A short history of tractors in Ukrainian is a very entertaining tale of the vastly different experiences and perspectives of Ukrainian immigrants post-WWII to post-Cold War in Great Britain. It's a story that also explores the challenges of caring for aging family members. Well worth the read - it'll completely broaden your horizons. Also, it's very funny.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Lewycka, Marina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A short history of tractors in Ukrainian is a very entertaining tale of the vastly different experiences and perspectives of Ukrainian immigrants post-WWII to post-Cold War in Great Britain. It's a story that also explores the challenges of caring for aging family members. Well worth the read - it'll completely broaden your horizons. Also, it's very funny.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Double Identity
Haddix, Margaret Peterson
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

this book is a really good read. i would not recommend this book for readers under 10. it is not really scary but does include the FBI.

Reviewer's Name: anonymous
Awards:
Book Cover
Pratchett, Terry & Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book contains a captivating world in which angels and demons exist, and there are two in particular we follow who roam the Earth. Their goal: to stop the apocalypse. Their respective sides endeavor for the apocalypse to occur, but the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have grown very fond of Earth.
The story follows several humans as well, including the Witchfinder Newton Pulsifer, the witch Anathema Device, and the Them. It also follows the story of the Antichrist, and the four horsemen. It is an absolutely spellbinding read.

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
Book Cover
Pratchett, Terry & Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book contains a captivating world in which angels and demons exist, and there are two in particular we follow who roam the Earth. Their goal: to stop the apocalypse. Their respective sides endeavor for the apocalypse to occur, but the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have grown very fond of Earth.
The story follows several humans as well, including the Witchfinder Newton Pulsifer, the witch Anathema Device, and the Them. It also follows the story of the Antichrist, and the four horsemen. It is an absolutely spellbinding read.

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
Book Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Semple, Maria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Written creatively through letters, emails, and memos to and from characters, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is the story of a woman struggling with her past. Bernadette Fox is a former architect whose claim to fame was also her downfall. Now vanished from the architecture world, she lives in Seattle with her successful husband and tenacious daughter, Bee, and does all she can to avoid social interaction. While Bernadette is preparing for the family trip to Antarctica that Bee has been anxiously awaiting, a confrontation with another parent sends her spiraling out of control, resulting in Bernadette’s sudden disappearance. This book explores the difficulties of mental illness and how our actions affect one another, told through many different perspectives. Bernadette’s opinionated personality will have readers laughing, and her insights are truly relatable. A rollercoaster ride of emotions, this novel is beautifully and creatively written to portray a woman’s imperfections and a daughter’s determination to find her mother. Teen and adult readers alike will connect with Semple’s characters and appreciate her sense of humor in Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa H.

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