(Warning do not proceed unless you have read the previous 4 books. SPOILERS AHEAD.)
The wizarding world is exploding with news of Voldemort's return. Muggle news is filled with mysterious murders and strange disappearances. Or, at least, that is what 15-year-old Harry Potter thinks should be happening. Ever since he saw Voldemort return at the end of the Triwizard Tournament he had to hide under flower bushes just to listen to the muggle news to get any hint of what might be happening and, of course, avoiding his Wizard hating Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. While doing this very thing, he hears a big crack that sounded like someone apparating or disapparating he jumps up because it was some sign of the world he knew...and he hits his head on the windowsill. His bumbling uncle pulls him in with his thick purple fingers and with a quick quarrel, Harry shows some cheek and leaves the house heading towards the park. He sighs bitterly thinking about how abandoned he felt. The stupid Daily Prophet failed to acknowledge the fact that the most dangerous wizard of all time had returned, he hadn't even heard anything from Dumbledore, and his friends sent practically useless letters, but from what was in them, he could tell they were at the same place. It angered him to think of Ron and Hermoine having fun at the Burrow without him. The only way to deal with his angers was to take them out on his piggy cousin Dudley who was every bit as foul as the parents who brought him up. Harry is "threatening" Dudley with his wand while they walk back to the house together trading insults, when the sky goes dark, and the air becomes a bone chilling cold. Dementors, Harry knew. He was forced to use magic, which caused, when he brought a pale, sweating Dudley home, to receive a letter announcing his expulsion from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry while listening to a furiously purple Uncle Vernon. He gets another letter telling him that his is not expelled yet but will have a hearing that will decide the issue at the Ministry of Magic. Because of this fiasco, he is transported by a guard to not the Burrow, but to the Headquarters of the Order of the Pheonix.
I really enjoyed this book because, well, the story is great, and because it is my favorite one in the series. I liked every single chapter in the book and there wasn't a single part that I didn't enjoy. I had picked this book because my mom, who had got me interested in the series in the first place had read me the first 4 books which gave way to me reading the 5th book on my own. I assure you that I have read it many, many times and if you appreciate truly good fiction, so will you. The Order of the Pheonix is not only one of the best books that I have read this year, but probably one of my favorite books ever.
Reviewer Grade: 8
Harry Potter is an unusual boy who lives with his uncle, Vernon Dursley, his aunt, Petunia Dursley, and his over pampered cousin, Dudley Dursley. He has constantly faced neglect and cruelty at their hands ever since he got left on their doorstep 10 years ago. Since then, strange things that he couldn't explain seemed to happen around him, especially because of the fact that they detest the "ugly" lightning bolt scar on his forehead. He was punished for this even though he didn't understand why any of these things happened to him. Little did he know that he would receive a mysterious letter, that his uncle confiscated immediately, that would reveal to him that he wasn't just a normal kid, but a wizard who is old enough to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When the letters continue to come, his uncle takes his whole family to hide out for a few days. His uncle soon learns that hiding from wizards isn't so easy and Hagrid, the groundkeeper at the school, finds him and takes him to help him navigate this new world. Not only this but Harry also founds out that his parents weren't killed in a car crash like he was told, but were actually murdered by an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort. He tried to murder Harry too, but when he tried to his power broke and all that Harry was left with was his scar. Most reckon that he died, but Hagrid doesn't believe that, that is true. This synopsis sums up the perfect prompt for the story of Harry Potter. As the book goes on he meets many other amazing characters including his best friends Ron and Hermione and the eccentric headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. I would recommend this book to anyone even if they don't like fantasy because it feels so relatable.
I liked this book for a multitude of reasons. It wasn't predictable, it had amazing characters, and a set-up for an amazing series where each following book complements the impressiveness of the last. I was not the one who decided to read this book. The first person who read it to me was my mother and I am so glad she did. This is not only one of the best books that I have read all year, but probably all of my life.
Reviewer Grade: 8
If I Stay is about Mia, a 17 year old girl who used to have everything: a family that she loved, a boyfriend that cared about her, and a future with music. After, a tragic accident everything she loved is taken away from her. She has a choice to live or die, which will she choose?
I loved this book so much that I read it in under three hours. This is definitely a book to get lost in, you will forget that you are reading. I could relate so much to Mia and the thoughts that she was having when she making her choice to live or die. This book was also made into a movie, which is really good. It follows the book almost perfectly. This book is one of my favorites and it gets readers thinking about life, and what it means to live.
Reviewer Grade: 10
Unbroken (teen version) is a well crafted biography written by Laura Hillenbrand. Unbroken tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympian and bombardier of World War II. Louie was mischievous and trouble-making as a young boy until his older brother, Pete, introduced him to running. As Pete urged Louie into the sport of running, Louie began to desert his old ways and commit himself to running. Louie soon was at the top of his school in running, setting new records and winning numerous races. Louie’s skill carried him all the way to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Reaching the strongest point of his life, Louie hoped to travel to Tokyo for the following Olympic games. Unfortunately, terror came and his dreams were to be put on hold. World War II struck, causing Louie to enter into the Army Air Forces as a bombardier. Louie and his team of airmen faced many near death experiences. Although these were blood-curdling situations, none would compare to what Louie was soon to face. On a rescue mission in May of 1943, Louie’s plane crashed. The crash led to a terrifying and unfathomable journey on which Louie survived life on a raft and the wrath of Japanese guards of the POW camp he resided at. Louie went through incomprehensible pain from being beaten by his captors, having to perform forced labor, going through starvation, and constantly battling a sickness. He was also robbed of his self-esteem and was treated like he was worthless. Consequently, Louie’s story is breathtaking and intriguing. Unbroken provides insight on the torturous lives of POW during WWII and the determination and perseverance of many during WWII.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a WWII buff, history lover, or is in search of a thrilling and breathtaking story. I enjoyed it because I am interested in learning about World War II and I found the book to be moving. Unbroken is fascinating and is not dull or boring. The book will leave you wanting more and you will find it hard to put it down. However, I found the beginning part to be a bit uninteresting and tedious, as it told about the planes and equipment for World War II. Once that part is over, though, the book is quite exhilarating. I would caution that younger children should not read the book, as there are some graphic and gruesome scenes of how the POWs were treated. I would suggest the book for teens between the ages of 13-16, since there is an adult version of the book for those older than these ages.
Unbroken is one of my favorite books, and anyone who is interested in history or is seeking an electrifying story should read it.
The Screaming Staircase takes place in London, where suddenly, ghosts have been popping up all around the country. For some reason, only kids can see and hear the ghosts. I decided to read this book because it was a part of a school project. I really enjoyed this book because it was full of suspense and mystery. I thought the characters were very well written and they all felt genuine. This book is in a series, so I have recently started the second book. The only thing I didn't like very much was that there were lots of different terms that the author used to name the ghosts, so sometimes I got a little confused. I give this book an 8;10 because it was one of the most interesting books I have read this year!
Just like Godwin’s law asserts that internet conversations eventually lead to comparisons of Hitler, the longer a book series progresses, the more likely it is to include a time travel story. For the Artemis Fowl series, I was glad that it took six books to get here. Unfortunately, this plotline completely stalled the forward momentum the series had developed from the last entry, The Lost Colony (especially with introducing a potential love triangle). Sure, The Time Paradox does set up a revival for bringing back one of the series’ best antagonists, but mostly it is used to highlight the growth of the titular character.
Of course, in comparing the old Artemis Fowl with the new one, there seemed to be a regression of the one I had come to enjoy at the end of The Lost Colony. It was almost like he saw how he used to act and thought, “You know, I should try and be that way again.” Granted, he’s still basically a teenager, and he doesn’t necessarily use logic when it comes to emotional decisions—especially emotional decisions about his family. But perhaps the weakness of this story was that he had to regain all the allies he had built through the last five volumes, thus wasting time in a nearly-solo adventure.
In the end, the fact that the Artemis Fowl series finally reached its “time travel” book signals to me that there might not be many ideas left to explore. The time travel trope is so played out that most of this book was entirely predictable. Nothing drastic ever really changes in these storylines since you know that everything will return to normal by the end in a “deus ex machina” moment. Considering only two more books are left in this series, I believe my suspicion may be correct.
A standard time travel plot every book series must have, I give The Time Paradox 3.0 stars out of 5.
The Golden Compass is elegantly crafted with beautiful word choice, and I would definitely recommend it. The plot was gripping with many exciting twists and revelations along the way as protagonist Lyra Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon, who's basically an animal manifestation of her soul, embark on a journey across their world to the North. There, Lyra intends to both rescue her friend and find her uncle. Lyra is such a fun character to read about, being clever and witty and ultimately someone the reader will root for and invest themself in through the whole book. The world-building, too, is really well done. Pullman paints a picture of a world parallel to ours, yet different in so many ways, and things like daemons, gyptians, armored bears, and dust are all incredibly creative. The one thing I would warn against is some somewhat anti-religious commentary (not so much in this book, but it grows more prominent in the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass) that may make some readers uncomfortable.
Reviewer grade: 10
The Emperor of all Maladies is an informative and gripping history of cancer. Starting with the first recorded cases in ancient times and the remedies used by ancient doctors and progressing to the medical breakthroughs of chemotherapy and radiation, the book provides a wealth of information in a riveting tale. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee tells the stories of cancer’s most prominent adversaries like Dr. Sidney Farber as they work to develop life-saving treatments and procedures. The book is quite lengthy but kept me engaged throughout while teaching me about cancer history and treatment in a form that feels more like a novel than a textbook. If you want to learn more about one of the most prolific diseases in human history while viewing history through the lens of cancer researchers, The Emperor of all Maladies is perfect for you!
Wonder is a great book. It shows that not everyone is the same, but everyone should be treated equally. In the book, there is this one character, Auggie Pullman, who was born with facial differences. Auggie decides to go to public school, but it's very scary for him not having any friends to start off the school year. Auggie gets settled into school and starts to make friends with a boy named Jack and a girl named Summer. A rumor gets spread around the school that Auggie can pass the plague, so everyone stays away from him. I enjoyed this book because it teaches a lesson that not everyone looks the same and that we all have our differences.
Salt to the Sea is about 4 people who are running from their past in the midst of WWII. Joana is a nurse fleeing from the dangers of Lithuania, with the hope that a ship will take her out of Europe. Florian is on the run from a mistake he made back in Germany also looking for the chance to escape without anyone finding him and taking him back to Germany. Emilia has finally decided to flee from the family that was taking care of her after the woman and her daughters betray her trust. Alfred is escaping reality by joining the German fleet to escape the mistake he made that cost him his girlfriend and his sanity. As the book continues all the character's paths join and they meet on the Wilhem Gustoff- a bigger tragedy than the sinking of the Titanic. The ship that promises safety, ends in tragedy. This is my favorite author, and out of all her books, this one is my absolute favorite. The character's stories blend together to make all the little plots into one overarching plot which I think is really cool. The chapters switch off narrators so you get to see the story in different perspectives. I like how the author shows a different side of the war than other WWII books where Germany is portrayed as the enemy and not as a country also in war. In this book, many of the people also fear Russia more than Germany because Russia was the one attacking and not helping and Germany was the one evacuating people. This makes the book different and I think more interesting. This is a really good book and it is worth a try.
This book follows 17-year-old Harry Potter, who is trying to defeat Voldemort while he still has the chance because Voldemort is planning to take over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Then, he plans on creating trouble in the non-wizardry world which is a normal world with humans like us.
So, Harry, Ron and Hermione start a mission to go find and destroy partsof Voldemort's soul, the Horcruxes. This group of three must rely on each other because they can no longer trust anyone else, but Ron gets frustrated at their slow progress of destroying the Horcruxes, and then he surprisingly leaves the group.
This book is full of memorable parts, like in one, Harry learns that he has to die in order to defeat Voldemort, so he walks CALMLY into the forest, where Voldemort patiently waits to kill Harry Potter.
With the ultimate finale better than expected, this book is a must read. So I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.
Wonder is about a boy with Treacher Collin Syndrome (TCS) who goes through the adventures of a sixth grader. To everyone else, this may be just the first day of school. But to Auggie Pullman, this is the first day in a public school. Before sixth grade, he was homeschooled. Through the ups and downs in of middle school, Auggie Pullman manages to get through it, make new friends, and shows he doesn't care what they think or say. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotion pulling book or just a good and fast read. I loved this book. There was never a dull moment. I couldn't put this book down for a second. Whenever someone asked me for a good recommendation, this was first on the list. This book was one of the best books I have ever read.
This book trails Harry Potter, who is visited by a group of wizards and then goes to Sirius Black’s house, which is the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. The Order of the Phoenix is a group of wizards, led by Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore himself. This group is dedicated to making sure that Voldemort never rises to power ever again. But the Order has to operate in secrecy under the radar of the Ministry of Magic.
This novel is quite capable of giving you the chills, like in one part Harry is forced to write with the Black Quill, an invention of the gruesome Dolores Umbridge. The Black Quill is a torture device, because it does not require ink, it writes with the blood of the person who’s using it. This quill will scar the back of your hand, and if you continuously keep using it, the back of your hand will have a permanent scar.
But this book has its share of adventure too, like in one part, Harry Potter has to race to the Ministry of Magic headquarters, but Harry doesn't take a car, he takes a Thestrals which is just a flying horse. Harry Potter also uses the power of teleportation by teleporting around, fireplace to fireplace.
With a bunch of cliffhangers, this book is definitely a good read. So I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for Harry Potter & The Order Of the Phoenix.
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, 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.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi follows two bloodlines, from half sisters in Ghana. Each chapter is about one descendant, switching between families somthat two chapters in a row are one generation. The book is well written and includes details that tie well into real life history or beliefs, and each chapter is in fact written in correlation with a major historical event. Through these tie-ins, the book is able to remain exciting, and each chapter could be read as a standalone short story. Each character has an important story, and is revisited in following chapters from their bloodline, either from memory or real life interactions between their children or grandchildren. In addition to the basic storytelling and history included in the book, there is also an aspect of mysticism, and values/traditions that are native to African culture, making it a solid read for increasing knowledge or understanding of Ghanan culture. For me, there are moments in the book that seem unnecessary to the general plot and sometimes vulgar, but they end up being essential in the consistency of the way the story is told. Readers are able to attach themselves to each character, story arc, anddetail, then follow them throughout the series of stories.
Wonder is a book that I would 100% recommend. The story is based off of a boy who struggles with a disease, altering his appearance. This book contains the point of view of his peers, as well as his struggles, friendships, pain, and
overcoming of Auggie. The book also tells the story of his family going through their own struggles or going through Auggie’s struggles with him. Out of the many books that I have read, this has to be one of the best and most emotional books that I have read, and would definitely be on my list of books I recommend.
The Hate U Give is about a 16 year old black girl raised in a fictional poor community of garden height who goes to a private school on the other side of town. The main problem in this book is when Starr the main character’s best friend Khalid, who gets pulled over from leaving a party and sadly gets shot by a white police officer. The book contains some sensitive topic about black oppression and police brutality. Although it does talk about cop brutality it isn’t a police- bashing book. The book's intention is to spread awareness on the deep conflict with in poor black communities in our nation. I highly recommend this book 10 out of 10.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last book of the series that follows the adventures of Harry Potter. As Harry and his crew have evidently aged to a more mature level of both wisdom and wizardry, they have no choice but to face Voldemort. Harry, alongside his two best friends, Ron and Hermione begin to destroy Voldemort's army piece by piece. As Voldemort takes control of the Wizardry world, Harry prepares for the ultimate showdown.
The Deathly Hallows is an extremely enticing story that brings an end to the Harry Potter series. Renowned for its fantasy and lore, the Deathly Hallows collectively groups it all into one story for an action-pact and romantic story.
Reviewer Grade: 11
While it’s taken me a long time to finally get around to reading this book, most of what Quiet presented was what I had already known by living my life as an introvert. I will applaud this book’s ability to help society realize how ubiquitous the introverts that comprise the population are. Quiet also helps show what our needs are in this world that prizes the traits of extroversion over anything else. Even if there are many times where I have to put on my “extrovert suit,” it helps to know that there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert.
Perhaps my only qualm with this book is how anecdotal the evidence is. Whether it’s stories about famous introverts (which can be inspiring) or younger introverts who are being brought up by parents who don’t quite understand the strengths of the introvert type, Quiet uses a lot of case studies to show how out of place introverts are, especially in the United States. I understand it can be challenging to study a personality type that’s so broad, but a few more references to scientific studies would have been helpful.
What struck me in Quiet was the background it provided on why society evolved to value the extroverts and deem the introverts as “problems.” I still see the effects of this emphasis today. Sure, I put up with being an introvert in an extrovert’s world, and I have made adaptations in my life to survive and thrive in it. I can empathize with the introverts who cannot cope, though, and hopefully, this book can continue to help introverts claim this personality type and own it as I have over the years. Even if we’re different from the perceived norm, we still provide value to a world that insists that louder is better.
A great anthem for those introverts who feel out of place in a gregarious society, I give Quiet 4.0 stars out of 5.
A tragic story, reflecting the struggle of a girl who clings to life. This novel brought many tears to my eyes as I read it. The main character Mia and her family had just been in life threatening car crash; when in the hospital Mia wakes up but outside of her body. She is faced with a heartbreaking
decision: to stay and live, or to die and leave. Mia while in this conscious drift apart from her physical body re-lives all the life changing moments of her past and witnesses all of her relatives and friends as they come to the hospital to potentially say goodbye. Mia is then faced with the decision of whether she should stay. Sadness, memories, romance, heartbreak, the novel If I Stay has it all.
Reviewer Grade: 12