All Book Reviews

The Book Thief
Zusak, Markus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Book Thief is a very well known book/movie and for good reason.
This story follows a young girl living in Nazi Germany who deals with her family hiding a Jewish man, the book burning's, and her own insatiable love for reading. The Book Thief gives an interesting perspective of World War II that we don't often see in historical novels with a story about a blind follower of the Nazi Regime but who also sympathizes with Jewish people. I really enjoyed this book as someone who loves WWII history and personal stories. I highly suggest this book to any reader, I think it is a very important story to read.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Genres:
The Sandcastle Empire
Olson, Kayla
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Sandcastle Empire is a future dystopian novel dealing with the effects of global warming and the impact of classicism. This book follows a high school age girl named Eden and her escape from a work camp, discovery of an invisible island, and fight to survive in a world that has turned to the wolves. I loved this book because it focuses on what could happen in the future with global warming, the flooding of the continents, and the lack of clean water. I really enjoyed the mystery of this book and the aspect of survival in the worst situation. The author also included interesting organic technology ideas that would be interesting to actually explore in the real world. Overall, this was a phenomenal book and I would highly recommend this book for dystopian novel lovers.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Foolish Hearts
Mills, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Foolish Hearts is your typical YA high school drama. With a mean girl, break ups, friendships, and broken friendships, this book is not a new story. I thought the storytelling and the characters were interesting and it is a well executed book but I've read this story before. Another critique that you can't get away from when writing high school fiction is that the characters are not very believable. I know that if the characters aren't dramatic and larger than life then it wouldn't be an interesting story, but as a high school student the situations are just so unbelievable and dramatized. I did enjoy the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and it just being a casual thing but this book is not one I would read again.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Awards:
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Cinder" is the first novel in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. "Cinder" tells the story of Cinderella- with a twist. Cinder is a cyborg who lives in the future with her robot friend Iko. The story holds true to the classics fundamentals- a prince, wicked stepmother, (though only one wicked stepsister), and a royal ball- while keeping the reader on their toes with fun twists. The series is known as The Lunar Chronicles because of some vital characters. In this future, rather than populate Mars, humanity settled for a closer goal- the moon. A separate society known as Luna emerged, as well as extraordinary abilities. The main antagonist herself hails from Luna. Queen Levana is bent on a marriage alliance with The Eastern Commonwealth (modern day Asia), and Prince Kaito is doing everything he can to hold her off, while also trying to earn Cinder's affection. The Lunar Chronicles is filled to the brim with memorable characters, fun, and plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. I would highly recommend "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer.

Reviewer's Name: Adia R.
Heartless
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Heartless" by Marissa Meyer is near the top of my favorite books list. The book tells the story of Catherine, future Queen of Hearts in Wonderland BEFORE she was queen. Normally romance isn't my cup of tea, but the suspense from the very beginning kept me hooked. Marissa Meyer does a fantastic job of weaving her story with the original; including some of the old cast (The Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, for instance) while giving us fresh characters who will steal your heart (Catherine, Jest, and The Sisters). I found this book through my love of other Marissa Meyer novels like the Lunar Chronicles. I would definitely suggest it to any teenager looking for a fun twist on a classic story.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is an examination of racial tensions and living as someone who defies the social norms to do greater good. It follows a small family that consists of a father and his two children. The father, a lawyer, becomes the first white man in his time and area to defend a black man in court, alienating himself and his family from the rest of their society (because he did what was practically unspeakable in the town's eyes). A fascinating series of events ensue, in which the children grow up learning what it feels like to feel prejudice and can thus empathize with the struggle that colored people around them face. The father must sacrifice his social standing and endure hatred and threats because he chooses to defend the truth, rather than the race. All in all, I would recommend this book not only for its complex and very interesting plot, but also for its analysis of racism and human nature in regards to the greater good and a sense of humanity. Themes of empathy and sacrifice then escalate the plot to its famous and unexpected finale. It is worth the read even only for the father's speech in court towards the end of the book, where he makes his case in favor of a colored man. I would give this book five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
A Monster Calls
Ness, Patrick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book follows a young boy who watches his mother struggle against cancer. He is visited by a monster who transforms from a tree into a walking, talking being, and he begins to take advice from the monster. He lets the monster be what he feels and thinks about the situation his mother is in; if he is angry, the monster prompts the boy to punch another boy. The monster is a representation of his anxieties and inability to cope with reality.
However, the monster is also a companion and an outlet for the boy. The monster is a way for the boy to express all of his emotions and to talk out the struggles he is facing. At times, he appreciates the monster, and other times, he hates the points the monster bring up.

This book is very complex in its analysis of suffering and coping mechanisms, and is a truly wonderful read. While sad, the message of the book and the realizations the reader has make the point a phenomenal representation of human nature, and the monster a representation of all that people keep bottled up inside. Ultimately inspiring, I would recommend this book for anyone interesting in a deeper understanding of the human reaction to grief, loss, or conflict. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
Genres:
The Book Thief
Zusak, Markus
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book follows a young girl living in Nazi Germany, whose family harbors a Jew hiding out from the secret police. Facing prison time, shame, or even loss of life, the girl and her family must be immensely careful to remain neutral and non-proactive. Any anti-Nazi actions, which were quite subjective and meaningless actions, sometimes, could be used against people.

Not to mention, people were being oppressed based on physical appearance and mannerisms, alone. The Jewish man, though, educates the young girl and becomes her best friend. When he chooses to leave their family, due to not wanting to put them in danger and also being in increasing danger himself, the girl faces loss she has never known before. The plot escalates until Germany is liberated by the Allied powers, and the girl grows up to tell warning tales of Nazi-like power regimes and social inequality. This book is fantastic, especially because it has recurring themes of morality, power struggles, humanity, and love or sacrifice. The plot is fascinating with many historical attributes and the characters are so well depicted that the book reads like an old story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a deep thought kind of books but also something with an entrancing story and an amazing writing style. I only give it four out of five stars because I personally struggle with conflict areas of war in books and more intense or dark themes. Otherwise, fantastic read!

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
Genres:
Doll Bones
Black, Holly
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Doll Bones" by Holly Black is about three friends who go on a journey to return a haunted doll to her grave after taking it out of one of their mom's china cabinets. Zach, Poppy, and Alice play a role-play game in which the doll is "the queen'. The doll is made from a young girl's bones and her wishes are to be returned with her family at the grave site so all three of them go on an extensive journey to do so. In the process Zach, Poppy, and Alice meet strange people which leads them to almost give up.

I would recommend this book. "Doll Bones" was really fun to re-read and was just as exciting as the first. Originally, I read the book for Battle of the Books in third grade but I read it again because I liked it. I couldn't relate to the characters however I think other people could. "Doll Bones" is not predictable and was not the best book I have read this year despite it still being a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O.
Legend
Lu, Marie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Legend by Marie Lu is a dystopian novel that illustrates the story of two characters, each with a major difference that sets them apart. Born in different districts of wealth, 15 year old June is a prodigy that is on the path to becoming a military officer of the Republic. On the opposite end is the 15 year old Day, who is born within the poor districts of the Republic and is the country's most wanted criminal. When June's brother, Metias is murdered, Day is the main suspect of the murder, leading to June to seek upon to avenge her brother's death. Once June meets Day, they both begin to realize and uncover dark secrets of the Republic.

Legend is consistently full of action and suspense. With a twist of romance included, it provides a rich story with a variety of thrills and tense moments in the story. The likable characters and a well structured plot, it moves at a perfect pace that keeps the adventure enjoyable and interesting.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
The Rise of Elgen
Evans, Richard Paul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The second book of the Michael Vey series is not a disappointing sequel. In the book Rise of the Elgen, Michael Vey, the Protagonist is still looking for his mother. In the first book his mother had been captured by the Elgen. The Elgen are a group of people who want to take over the world. I found this book to be very unpredictable most of the time. However, there were a few times where it was not difficult to figure out what was going to happen. One of my favorite characters in this book is Ostin (pronounced like Austin).
Ostin, who is extremely intelligent, is relatable as he is gets picked on because he is a little different. Yet, Ostin is very strong minded and one of the smartest characters in the whole book. What I like most about this series is it has very original and unique characters. This book is one of the top 10 books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
The Prisoner of Cell 25
Evans, Richard Paul
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the book The Prisoner of Cell 25, Michael Vey, the protagonist, who has the power of electricity discovers that their are others like him. He decides to find the others but Michael’s mother gets kidnapped and he must rescue her. It turns out that his mother is held at the same place as the other kids that share his powers. I picked this book because my English teacher read it to the class and I liked it so I went ahead in the book. This book was slightly predictable at points. Ostin Michael’s friend Who is very smart is relatable as he is anti social but intelligent. This book is by far the best first book in a series I have ever read.

Grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Awards:
The Hunters
Flanagan, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the book, The Hunters, Hal, the protagonist finds himself still going after the Andomal like in the previous book, The Invaders. This Andomal is a sacred artifact and treasured by his people in his country, so Hal must retrieve it. The thief of this treasure, Zavac, whom Hal has been pursuing for awhile now has fled into a pirate haven. Hal has no idea how to get the Andomal if Zavac is in this haven.

This book was full of surprises and rarely predictable. I enjoyed this book because Hal finds a very creative way to try and win the Andomal back. Again, Hal uses his intelligence rather than his strength to overcome his difficulties. That is what I like most about Hal, how he uses brains, not brawn. So far, I feel this is the best book of this series, The Brotherband. I would recommend this book series to anyone who has read the Ranger’s Apprentice. The author, John Flanagan is one of my favorite authors and I have read almost all of his books because I find them exciting and they keep the reader wanting to read more.

Reviewer: Grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Awards:
Everything Everything
Yoon, Nicola
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book "Everything Everything" by Nicola Yoon is about a girl named Maddy. All she wants is to go outside and see the world, but sadly, the only 'outside world' she will ever be apart of is her colorful sun room. Madeline has Bubble Baby Syndrome, a condition where anything could cause her allergies to go crazy. However, when she notices a new neighbor named Olly, she can’t wait to talk to him…. through iMessage. However, texting isn’t enough, she needs to see him in person and be next to him. As the story unfolds, Madeline will find out a secret that will change her world forever.

"Everything Everything" was such a good book and I would love to read it again. Each and every character has their own unique personality, which make them more relatable to different people. I am so thrilled to be able to read more of Nicola Yoon's books and hope that they are just as good as "Everything Everything"

Reviewer's Name: Kaylei F
The Red Pyramid
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book "The Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan is an excellent read for pretty much any age group. The main characters, Carter and Sadie Kane, embark on their first adventure in this book. When their dad accidentally summons an Egyptian god and is entombed in the Underworld, these twins must risk everything to find him. With the help of their mysterious uncle, Carter and Sadie must practice using their hidden magic to defeat anything in the way of them and their father. "The Red Pyramid" is an amazing story with lovable, relatable characters and the ending will want you craving more!!

I enjoyed this book and when I finished it in 7th grade, I was glad to find out that there were two more books in the Kane Chronicles. "The Red Pyramid" is suspenseful and you will not be able to put it down. I loved all the characters in this book and have already read it three times. The main reason I chose this book was because one of my friends recommended it, and I am so happy I decided to read it!! The whole book was exciting and I would be happy to read it a fourth time. I am excited to read more books by Rick Riordan and hope they are just as great as this one.

Reviewer Grade- 8th grade

Reviewer's Name: Kaylei F
Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After reading through the last two books in Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz series, I was hesitant to continue with the fourth book, Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens. What I found innovative and hilarious in the first book had become a bit more annoying by books two and three. Book four, however, was a refreshing addition to the series. It helped that the jokes were funny enough that I actually laughed out loud. Moreover, the lore and overall arching plot of the series seemed to coalesce into something that made sense and was actually driving toward a satisfying conclusion.

While I can’t completely disregard the previous two books in the series, I felt that there was probably enough backstory explanation in Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens that these other books could be potentially be skipped over altogether. After all, we learn a lot about Alcatraz, his family roots, and the Smedry talents in this book, and I almost wonder if some of these plot points couldn’t have been spread out into previous volumes. It also helped that this book had a clear goal and objective to drive the story toward its various conclusions.

In previous books in this series, Alcatraz has announced that he is awesome or a liar. Here, he admits to being “stoopid,” which adds some humility to the character that had perhaps been missing earlier in the series. There were plenty of other things I liked about this book, including the chapter numbers, the “Shakespearian chapter,” and Alcatraz’s cousin who is really bad at math. The twist near the end also added some realism to both the protagonists and antagonists that I’m now invested and want to see how the series finishes out in the next (and I assume final) volume.

A hilarious return-to-form and vital link for the Alcatraz series, I give Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Awards:
Genres:
 Artemis Fowl. The Arctic Incident
Colfer, Eoin
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sequels can be tough. There seems to be a need to incorporate what made the original successful, while also trying out new ideas at the same time. Additionally, the characters need to grow and show that they can handle any new problems thrown their way. In The Arctic Incident, the sequel to Artemis Fowl , I found more of the same military sci-fi fantasy elements present, but with changes to the characters that took away a lot of what I liked about them in the first book. And by characters, I specifically mean Artemis Fowl.

While the first book in this series contained a confident, coy, and conniving teenage super-genius, The Arctic Incident took Artemis Fowl and expanded those brief moments of emotional vulnerability into an entire character. Perhaps this was due to Artemis joining forces with the same magical creatures that he swindled out of their gold in the first book, or maybe it was due to Artemis finally being able to reunite his family. Either way, this main character didn’t seem nearly as interesting to me in this book as he did in Artemis Fowl.

Furthermore, despite containing slightly different enemies and goals, The Arctic Incident pulled out the same tricks utilized in the first book. I did learn a little more about the magical realm contained in this series, but not nearly enough to justify a full book here. I guess when it comes right down to it, I’m not a fan of the Mulch Diggums character since he generally seems like an addition to the series that’s only there for fart jokes. Granted, I know this series is for children, but I also know how quickly this type of humor falls flat for me, especially when it’s practically repeated verbatim from the first book.

A “meh” sequel that lost a lot of what made the first book good; I give The Arctic Incident 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
Out of My Mind
Draper, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In this amazing story of young Melody, who was born with with Cerebral Palsey (CP), must face the hardships of mean girls and people who underestimate her abilities. You will always be found caught in Melody’s mind. Defiantly a must read.

Reviewer's Name: PigPerson
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Saenz, Benjamin Alire
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about a complicated relationship between two boys, in which one finds it difficult to accept himself and his family, which translates into him bring unable to understand or accept love from the other boy. It develops the ideas of self-criticism and self-acceptance, as well as the multiple forms that love can take on. Aristotle and Dante are the two main characters, who begin as friends and slowly fall in love. Aristotle, Ari for short, deals with a father with PTSD and a delinquent brother who is the black sheep of the family. Dante has a peaceful and accepting family, which causes tension between the boys; while Ari has learned to speak with his fists or remain silent, dante has learned to be diplomatic and express himself at all times.
The fact that they are total opposites is very interesting, because the plot then revolves around a complicated process of trying to understand each other. It is a good read if you are looking for something that is about mental health, love, and how relationships require compromise. It is also written in a nice style, in a sort of blocky, thought-like manner. I would give it four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
The Odyssey
Homer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This epic poem is one of the most fascinating pieces of literature I have ever read. Following the story of Odysseus, it is an epic journey where gods and mythical monsters try and impede his journey home. There is mythology intertwined with adventurous storytelling, and the style of writing, while obviously more difficult than modern writing, is not too challenging that it makes the poem hard to read. I would recommend reading it for both its historical significance and because of how interesting the story itself is. While it will take some time to get through, the story, I believe, is worth the time. The monsters that Odysseus encounters barter with him and tell him stories that deepen the plot; his interactions and relationships reveal mysteries and provide new motivations or points of interest.

Everything is complexly interconnected and it does take a bit of historical context or background knowledge to understand all parts of the story, so it is an undertaking. However, the fantastic and timeless story is entirely unique. I would give it five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
Awards:

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