Award Books by Genre: ALA Notable Children's Book Award

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I suggest the book to people, who want to enjoy an intriguing, fast paced novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone is the perfect book for those people.
This novel is the first of the seven famous Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. This book is about 11 year old Harry Potter, who receives a letter from Hogwarts, which is a school of witchcraft and wizardry.
This book is full of imagination like at one point, Harry Potter is asked to catch the golden ball, while he is flying on the broomstick. Then he stands up on the broomstick and tries to catch the golden ball unexpectedly he falls off from the broomstick and throws up the golden ball to winning the game for his team.
This book keeps you involved throughout the book.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a good book to spark joy and imagination for anyone, regardless of age.

Reviewer's Name: Teja S.
Harry Potter
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
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, a 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: Igra
The Graveyard Book book jacket
Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Graveyard Book, written by Neil Gaiman, is a mystical, interesting book. In the book, a young boy is taken in and cared for by ghosts of a graveyard. The boy is kept in secret, and is named Bod, short for Nobody. The book follows Bod's adventures in growing up and continuing his life, in and out of the graveyard. I thought this was a great book, packed full of magic special characters. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, but mostly a more mature audience, because there are some parts that I feel are harder to understand if you are younger, and at some parts the book is a little slow. But overall I think this was one of the best books I've read this year!

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Ella
The Giver book jacket
Lowry, Lois
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This story follows the main perspective of Jonas. Jonas lives in an alleged utopian society. They feel no pain, see no colors, feel no love, and hear no music. At the age of 12 every child is given an assignment based on their abilities and what they excel in. Jonas was living a perfect life until his cycle was broken. When Jonas turned 12 he was decided to be the receiver of memory, the highest role in the community. Now everything that Jonas once thought was true and right all come crashing down leaving him with a reality of the community that he can no longer stand for.

The giver is an amazing book full of surprising twists and just a spectacular over all plot. Lois Lowry did an excellent job of not only creating a completely fascinating story, but also leaving you wondering once you finish the read. A main theme of the giver could be the significance of memories to all life. The giver is a dystopian novel as the citizens are living in an extremely censored version of life. I did not particularly enjoy some of the more disturbing memories of death and war that Jonas receives but it is important that they are present so that Jonas will make the final decision. The giver is an amazing book that all would enjoy!

Reviewer's Name: Sienna
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this series! As a big sister, I was hooked the moment Katniss said "I volunteer!" It is a great read about hardship and rebellion. How one person can make a big difference even without intent. I have read it with my oldest and will read it with my youngest at some point. But this is the book that got me reading again and I love to read it over and over.

Reviewer's Name: Carla
 Mañanaland
Muñoz Ryan, Pam
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Max’s grandfather regularly tells him fantastic tales about the ancient tower near their home and a journey to another, magical place. The stories become all too real when Max needs to help a young refugee flee from dangerous pursuers. Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan is a great read for kids ages 9 – 12 who love a good story.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
Genres:
Holes
Sachar, Louis
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Stanley Yelnats was walking home from his last day of school, on an ordinary evening when out of the blue, a pair of baseball shoes fell from what seemed like the sky. Once recovered from the sudden shock, Stanley began to recognize this pair of shoes as the famous baseball player Clyde Livingston’s famous cleats. He was in such revelation at that moment that he hardly heard the police car pull up behind him. The officer stepped out, grasped the shoes from Stanley, and in return, placed handcuffs on his wrongly accused wrists. Stanley then travels to Camp Green Lake where he and many others are forced to dig holes exactly five feet deep, and five feet wide by the dreaded warden, the repulsive Mr. Sir, and finally the kind but still quite annoying Mr. Pendanski. It had only been a few days ago when he was unjustly convicted of a crime and sent to supposedly build character in what looked and felt like the most hottest and driest place on the planet. He and the others were forced to live in devastating conditions which included the worst of the worst living conditions. Days and days pass as Stanley meets new friends and foes but also as a newly found mysteries arise. Is the warden actually having the campers dig for character or perhaps something else? Is Stanley here because of the supposed curse on his family? And what other treasures could lie in this vast desert.

This book was an overall spectacular read. I had chosen to read this Louis Sachar novel because many of my friends had requested it to me along with many of my past and present teachers. I thought it would be a fun read and a possible new experience. Some of the many things that I really liked in this book was the exciting and suspenseful story along with the explicit details listed throughout the story. This book was amazing and barely had any flaws but if I had to think of one, I could have liked the organization and structure of the novel to have been a little better. Each chapter was very short and I would have liked them to be at least a little longer, but as mentioned before, there were close to none, if not any, very big dislikes in this wonderfully written novel. Readers who love a little mystery, some suspense, and a great story line would love this book.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Hunger Games follows the gripping story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old that is the main provider for her younger sister and her mother after her father's passing. However, Katniss lives in Panem, built on the ruins of North America. In Panem, every year there is a deadly brawl in which 24 teens, 1 male and 1 female, from each of the 12 districts in Panem, face off in a fight to the death. Only 1 victor emerges alive. When Katniss's younger sister, Prim, is chosen to compete for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers herself to take Prim's place. What will happen in the arena? Will Katniss make it out alive?

Collins' creation will have you gripping the edges of your seat in suspense, shrieking with fear, and experience huge floods of relief! The Hunger Games truly grips the reader with all the emotions Katniss experiences and will leave you impatient to read the next books in the series.

Reviewer's Name: August L.
The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I have always loved Greek mythology, so when I found this book I knew I would love it. I was right I loved it, it was amazing. The Lightning Thief centers around a pre-teen named Percy Jackson, who lives in New York and has trouble in school. He has been in and out of many schools, almost a different one each year. At twelve years old Percy always felt like an outcast, like he fit in somewhere just not anywhere. He struggled with dyslexia and ADHD. Every year at school he has had some strange occurrence that ends up getting him kicked out. He has a best friend, Grover, and an amazing mother, Sally. He also has a stepfather that is abusive and he has pushed his mother to leave him but she won’t. There is a reason though for all of what Percy has gone through in his life. After encounters with many horrible and terrifying events and things in which most try to kill him, he and Grover end up at Camp Half-Blood. At camp he learns many new things, his best friend isn’t human but a centaur, his father is the God of the sea, Poseidon, and there is a prophecy that he is destined for great things. At camp Percy meets Annabeth, a girl that is a child of Athena the goddess of wisdom and warcraft, she is crazy smart and very resourceful, yet also seems to be an amazing friend and person altogether. As the three of them go on a quest to find Zeus's missing lightning bolt and return it to him. Percy, Grover, and Annabeth set out across the country for a quest of a lifetime, all at the age of 12/13. Percy and his friends face monsters and things they never could have imagined.
This book was honestly one of the best books I have read ever, and I have read a LOT of books. Although it is for a bit younger age group it is still an amazing read for anyone who is looking for a lighthearted and funny fantasy and adventure book, combined with Greek mythology and overall great writing and plot structure.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Margaret
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an incredible book full of suspense, surprise, and action! It was one of the best books I have read this year and I would strongly recommend it to dystopian lovers.
In a post-nuclear war world, there are twelve districts and the capital that are safe enough for people to live in, and every year the government holds a competition between 12-18 year-olds. A fight to the death, and the winner gets to live a peaceful, worry-free life away from the stress and labor of the districts. Everyone of age is entered into the drawing and when Katniss Everdeen's younger sister is chosen to take part in the Hunger Games she takes her place. Now Katniss faces stronger, faster, and better opponents, and the capital's clever propaganda. She must do all she can to survive.
I liked this book because the author did well at portraying the emotions of the characters and they were all so relatable. Hunger Games is a great read that kept me up all night. I decided on this book because of amazing recommendations and because I love dystopian books, Be warned... it measures up to its greatness! I would recommend 12+ for this book because it gets a little violent and the idea of kids being put in a competition to kill each other is a little dark. Overall this book is brilliant and worthy of recognition! Hunger Games was very surprising and I enjoyed the storyline very much. I would certainly suggest this book to you!
Reviewer Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Roller Girl book jacket
Jamieson, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I liked this book a ton! This book is an easy read considering it’s a graphic novel. The story in this book is very inspiring for “shooting for the stars” or doing what you love. In other words, commitment. I can relate with the main character, Astrid, by getting through something tough with something you love. For Astrid, the love is all about roller derby.
I picked this book because I love graphic novels. The storyline to this book was extremely interesting, I could barely put the book down! I was honestly surprised by how good the book was. This book is by far my favorite graphic novel. I have read this book many times since my first.
Astrid was a teenager in junior high. The only thing getting her through the rough days of school was roller derby. Astrid loved roller derby and was committed to putting in her best work. Astrid’s character develops over time in the novel, and it’s interesting to read about her change.

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
The Giver book jacket
Lowry, Lois
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I picked The Giver by Lois Lowry because it is on the Skyview Middle School Battle of the Books list. All books from this list have been amazing, and this particular one has a main character with the same name as my brother: Jonas. I enjoyed hearing about their way of life, the simplicity yet complexity of it. I also liked how everyone knew when to apologize, and everything about their life and job. Each job in the Community is given to a person who seems they would enjoy it. However, as the book goes on, you see the compassion of the community, or lack thereof. This book was very surprising to me at first. But it was easy to guess what was going to happen in Chapter 20 after the events of Chapter 19. I do find it a not very relatable book, but it does remind me of history. Seemingly perfect, wealthy, kind countries with dark, gaping holes underneath the pretty exterior. The ending of this book, I feel, is incomplete. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

(Grade: 7)

Reviewer's Name: Ruby
The House of the Scorpion book jacket
Farmer, Nancy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The House of Scorpion is a book set in the future in a place called Opium with a boy named Mateo who is a clone of a huge drug lord who goes by "El Patron". This book has always been a favorite of mine since I read in 6th grade for the first time, it stuck out to me because the creativity, plot, setting, it is such a fun book to read and the book also has a sequel, so its great that the book continues. There wasn't really a time I disliked the book, it always had my attention, and I think that truly matters when reading a book. I choose this book not only because its a childhood fave but I feel like others might love to read this book as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name: Makaia
Goodbye Stranger book jacket
Stead, Rebecca
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Goodbye Stranger is a love letter to the changing points, the shaky areas of childhood that help us figure out who we are in a world that constantly wants us to change. Bridge survived a being hit by a car, currently wears cat ears, and wonders why she's still alive. Sherm writes letters to his grandfather and refuses to answer his calls. Emily and Tabitha made a pact with Bridge to never argue, but are being pulled inextricably apart by text messages and social justice clubs. An unnamed wanderer navigates a world where everything is made of lava, and best friends are replaced by horrid outsiders. As their stories collide and come apart, they'll need to figure out what to do when those they know best become strangers.
I read Rebecca Stead's "When You Reach Me" when I was in middle school, and it blew me away. I read her "Goodbye Stranger", now in high school, and found that the change in years didn't change the impact. The thing that astounded me was, despite me being well outside the age range of her characters, I found the book entrancing for all ages. The characters problems and personalities don't seem juvenile or trite. They seem human, a little heartbreaking, and highly relatable. I think the thing that makes this book are the characters. They're each as unique as a fingerprint, but they maintain their ability to sound strangely like the people you go to school with, or work with, or live with. Each of their motivations are perfectly obvious, each of their flaws on stunning display, fleshing out characters that feel like you'd see them wandering around your school on any given day. The book has a lot of heavy topics and sorrow packed into barely 300 pages, but still feels light enough that you aren't miserable the whole time. There's a lot of heart, a lot of happiness, and a lot of good changes alongside the tragedies of middle-school, or just regular, life. The book has a floating quality that makes it feel strangely detached. I can't tell you if this is a good or bad thing, but its definitely intentional, and it definitely messed with my ahead enough to make me want to keep reading. The only concrete things I can really say about this book is that the prose was excellent, the writing was accessible, the characters were interesting, the topics were thoughtful, and the ending was satisfying.
All in all, this book is really hard to describe. It's happy and sad and very realistic and very detached from reality and simplistic and strangely complex. I don't know what to call this book except a good read for those that like small stories, cat ears, friendships, broken friendships, and the infinite potential of strangers.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Eve
The Hunger Games book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Hunger Games is a thrilling novel that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I read it. It is a dystopian fiction novel with lots of action aspects as well. I chose this book because I heard many great things about it, and I absolutely loved it!
In the setting of The Hunger Games, there are 12 Districts that the people live in. Many years before the story takes place, there were 13 Districts. However, there was a rebellion against the government, and the Districts lost and the 13th District perished. The government holds annual Hunger Games to remind the citizens what happened during the rebellion. The Hunger Games takes two kids from each District and force them to compete in a fight to the death match in an arena. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute when her little sister’s name is drawn during the Choosing Ceremony. During the Hunger Games, she makes friends and enemies, and learns some of the schemes behind the government.

This novel was so entertaining and I was hoping that it would never end. I think people who like action and dystopian novels would like this book, and if they don’t mind some violence.

Reviewer Grade: 8.

Reviewer's Name: Beatriz
Echo book jacket
Ryan, Pam Muñoz
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Echo" is a fun fantasy book that follows the journey a harmonica takes. It is about the musical people that interact with the harmonica and their journeys, showing how powerful music can be. We meet so many fun people that are going through hard times. We meet Friedrich, a young German boy living in Germany at the beginning of Hitler's career, Mike an orphan who would do anything for his brother, and Ivy, a girl confused by why social concepts are the way they are. The only thing that connects them is the harmonica. The story of the harmonica starts at the very beginning of the book and ends at the very end, making it an underlying second plot/ backstory.

"Echo" is a very fun fantasy/historical fiction book. The beginning intrigued me and was very good at capturing readers. When it gets to the middle parts when we are following different characters it does sort of feel like it is dragging on, but this is made up for with the ending. The ending was beautiful and made me so happy. Pam Muñzo Ryans writing is always so descriptive and it was great at describing music and how it feels in this book. You get to see major historical events' effects on some of the people that it would affect the most. It is a book that makes you think not only about what has happened in the past but also about the small things in life. I liked the backstory about the harmonica, it made the journey that much more special. There were some moments when we were left in the dark, aka cliffhangers and they were full of suspense. The ending as said before was beautiful, it brought everything together and resolved the suspense from the cliffhanger. Overall, this book is great. It has fantastical parts, historical parts, and musical parts, all with great writing.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan
Howl's Moving Castle book jacket
Jones, Diana Wynne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Howl's Moving Castle is a fantasy novel about the infamous wizard Howl, and a cursed hatmaker named Sophie.
Sophie Hatter is a pretty average girl whose been left to maintain her family's hat shop. However, she gets cursed one day by the Witch of the Waste and is turned into an old woman. Sophie, seeking out an end to her curse, finds her way into Howl's mechanical moving castle, and in it, she meets Calcifer, a snarky fire demon, Michael, Howl's kind apprentice, and of course, Howl. Howl, rumored to be an evil wizard who eats the hearts of young women turns out not to be so harmless after all. Sophie quickly decides to appoint herself as Howl's castle cleaner, and we follow Sophie and Howl through their escapades, rooting for Sophie's curse to be broken.
Howl's Moving Castle is truly a very lovely story, and as I read the story, I found that it was very easy and light to read. I enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of the fairytale-like novel, and each of the characters all held a special place in my heart. I enjoyed how eccentric Howl was, and it was very entertaining to read through his and Sophie's bickering. I've also seen the Studio Ghibli film version of the story, and I think that both the film and book versions were equally as charming. All in all, I highly recommend this novel if you're looking for a light, magical read.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Hunger Games book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Catniss Everdeen is the young girl in District 12 who comes from poverty and hunting. When the Annual Hunger Games start their draft picks, Catniss volunteers as tribute to spare her sister. She has always had talent with a bow and arrow for hunting for food to provide dinner for her family. Catniss uses her skill to win the Hunger Games and eventually eliminate President Snow, the background of the merciless games. I loved the intelligence put into the book of the making of the games. Because of the fighting, there is some violence and gore, but it’s still family-friendly and can be read comfortably. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves quick thinking and thought-out mystery. Hunger Games is intriguing, well-planned, and is an all-time favorite for my family.

Reviewer's Name: Rachel L.
The Wild Robot book jacket
Brown, Peter
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

THis was a breath taking peice of art. I loved this so much that I had to buy myself a copy. I've read it at least 15 times.. no joke..

Reviewer's Name: Abrielle K.
Out of the Dust book jacket
Hesse, Karen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a historical fiction novel set in Oklahoma's Dust Bowl and during the Great Depression. It follows Billie Jo, a young girl as she struggles through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. During the book, Billie must endure heart-wrenching experiences that no one should have to go through. The author does a bewildering job of illustrating the struggles of the Dust Bowl and gives you a new perspective on this historical event. The Dust Bowl is no longer a page in a history textbook but a story that will break your heart. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book with 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia