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All Book Reviews

Book Review: Deep Blue
Donnelly, Jennifer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I picked this book because of the title, genre, cover, and reviews. I enjoyed this book because there are several points of view and the plot. Serafina seems to be the main one, a princess of blood, first in line to the throne, and engaged to a prince of foreign waters. Although most girls do not face those situations, Serafina is also a sixteen year old teen trying to pass school, make her mother proud, and avoid people spreading rumors and gossip about her.
Then war breaks out after her parents are assassinated and she is forced to go on a journey along with five other young mermaids she must lead. Along the journey they discover they have to work together to gain the power they need in the upcoming battle. They must destroy a monster, win a war, and stay alive while they all face their own personal problems.
This book is one out of four in a series. Each book after the first only seems to only grow in excitement with twists, turns, and surprises for which there's no warning. If you like this first one, I recommend reading them all.

Reviewer's Name: Amber H.
Awards:
Genres:
Book Review: Into the Deep
Fleming, Missy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I picked this book because of the cover and title. There are so little people who know about the ocean, so who's to say what the possibilities are. I enjoyed that author's thoughts to include some real life situations in the world which should be addressed. In a lot of ways this book raises awareness to the treatment of the oceans.
There were several surprises normal teen girls would not expect to be normal in their daily lives, but you can still relate to the feelings the main character Zoey feels. After all she is still a girl worried about passing high school.
Zoey's wish is to be normal, but it is not a possibility after she lost her leg in a freak shark attack when she was little. Then things only become stranger when she is drenched by a rogue wave on the night of her sixteenth birthday. Zoey's fear of the water tries to keep her away, but she can't help the pull to the ocean she feels while she is away. She decides to venture out to the world of merpeople after she meets her long lost grandmother. After a few short days she realizes life under the sea has dangers, and she may be the only one who can stop the end of the world.
This is the only book for the story, although I am hopeful it will continue into an amazing series.

Reviewer's Name: Amber H.
Genres:
Book Review: The Goddess Test
Carter, Aimee
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
When I was searching for a book, this one caught my eye because of the title and cover. I have an interest in Greek mythology and this book was an amazing refresher. Even if you don't know much about the myths to begin with this book covers the need to know basics, especially with the story of Persephone. I enjoyed the modern twist to the original stories I grew up with as a child. This book held surprises and turns to the plot I would never have expected. I recommend this book for the teen girls. I could really relate to all the emotions and thoughts which seem to fly through Kate's mind.
There is romance, challenges, and life threatening situations the main character Kate Winters must face to save the lives of her dying mother, and a mysterious dark handsome stranger who seems to believe he's a god. All the while she tries to save the lives of the people around her, someone wants her dead and that someone has succeeded in killing eleven girls before her. She must become immortal or die trying.
This book is one of three in a series, with other connecting books on the side I highly recommend. Once I started reading I could not put it down until I finished the entire series.

Reviewer's Name: Amber H.
Book Review: Time Riders Day of the Predator
Scarrow, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Day of the Predator, by Alex Scarrow takes place in 2001 in an archway in New York. The main characters are Time Riders, people who watch over time and make sure it doesn’t become corrupt. The story start when someone who would write a report in 2026 that would eventually begin time travel is assassinated in 2015. The Time Riders head to 2015 to try to stop the assassination before it can happen. The setting is in Texas where they land in a laboratory that is testing zero-point energy. The entire class the writer was in and the Time Riders are caught in an explosion caused by tachyons, particles that move faster than light. Instead of killing them, the explosion sends them 65 million years ago, 250,000 years before the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs happened. There a super intelligent undocumented species of reptiles (not dinosaurs) discovers them and silently begins to hunt them. They don’t make their appearance until later in the book. This species is intelligent enough to think and successfully manages to kill off the humans, except the Time Riders and the two humans that they could save who managed to warp back to 2001 in time. But when they get there, there is another problem. Actions packed and interesting, Alex Scarrow makes his book seem like a possible future for humans in another reality.

Reviewer's Name: Nathanael G.
Book Review: Mitosis
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The novella “Mitosis” by Brandon Sanderson is not about mitosis, but is about an Epic who can create multiple copies of himself. The more he makes the less individual intelligences they have. When there is a lot of them they all speak with one voice and work as one intelligence. This novella is technically book 1.5 in the Steelheart Series. It has about 57 pages and happens shortly after Book 1. An Epic is a normal human who has been given powers and turns into a tyrant. Epics feel darkness in their powers and often succumb to it and start killing innocent people and other Epics. There are different levels of Epics from normal one to High epics. Normal Epics can be killed by conventional means, in ways that normal people can die. High Epics can’t be killed by conventional means and often the only way to kill one of them is to use their weakness against them. Some Epics can fight the darkness and these Epics tend to be Gifters, Epics who are able to give some of their power to other people. They aren’t using their power for themselves and that gives them some relief. Steelheart was one of the most powerful High Epic who was invincible. He could could fire powerful bursts of energy from his hands and he could also fly. He was the ruler of Newcago and could only be killed by someone who wasn’t afraid of him. He had a habit of killing people with their own weapon. The only reason he died was because the main character, David, put a detonator inside the gun Steelheart was going to fire at him and the bomb blew up. If David had detonated the bomb it would not have hurt Steelheart at all. Since Steelheart detonated the bomb and he wasn’t afraid of himself, the bomb killed him. Shortly after Steelheart’s, David and the Reckoners, a group who have dedicated themselves to fighting the Epics before he joined them, are left to watch over Newcago while their leader and founder Jonathan Phaedrus, or Prof, is away. Mitosis sneaks into the city looking for “Steel Slayer”, as David is called by the city. He threatens to kill one person every five minutes until he shows up. When he does, Mitosis tries to kill him and the Reckoners have to fight him.

Reviewer's Name: Nathanael G.
Book Review:Maze Runner
Dashner, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a fascinating book. It places the reader in a semi- dystopian world. The time for this story takes place in the late 2200s (Maybe. Dates tend to come in this format 231.5.4 or May 4, 231.). As a disease ravages the world outside turning people into savages, the main character, a 16 year old boy named Thomas wakes up in a swinging box having no recollection of his life before that point. He remembers nothing except his name. Half an hour later, the box opens and Thomas meets the Gladers (as they call themselves because they live on a glade). All of them are male. They are all surrounded by towering walls and giant gates that shut whenever it gets dark. The giant gates lead to a seemingly impossible maze with moving walls and creatures that threaten to hurt them. These creatures are called Grievers and they are hideous bulbous creatures with concealed blades and needles. Whenever someone gets caught by one of the Grievers, they are Stung, which has a lot more meaning than getting stung. When someone is stung, they experience horrible pain and occasionally go mad. The Gladers have people they call Runners who go into the Maze every day to find new passageways. They receive food and water and antidote for Stung victims at the same times every day. Someone new arrives once a month and they are always male. All that changes when someone new arrives two days after Thomas and she is female. Then supplies and antidotes stop arriving.

Reviewer's Name: Nathanael G.
Book Review: How Few Remain
Turtledove, Harry
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

How Few Remain is a alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. In his book, it depicts an alternate universe where the south wins the American Civil War, and the Confederate States of America is now its own independent country. What I enjoyed about this novel is the many different characters and how they view the other country. In every page you can just see the tension that will eventually snap between the two powers. People from the North and the South always spewing insults at each other. Each character that comes into play are very interesting and all seem like they have their own backstory. My favorite character in the story would be Abraham Lincoln. Just because you get to see what his life is like and how the country views the man who lost the civil war. The book is also just the first part of a series which goes through the period of World War I and World War II and how the North and South react to that. I believe there are two things that make this book standout, its characters, and its lore. For those two reasons alone I will have to recommend this book. Or the entire series, what ever is your cup of tea.

Reviewer's Name: Christopher K.
Book Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Midsummer's Night Dream is one of Shakespeare's many plays that he wrote. Unlike many of his works, this one does not have a sad and tragic ending, and is a drama more than anything. The story is about four lovers Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius. There is a whole love triangle where Hermia loves Lysander, but is forced to marry Demetrius, who Helena loves. For Hermia to escape getting married to someone she doesn't love, she and Lysander run off into a forest where they are outside the law. Already in the forest, there is drama going on between two faeries, Oberon and Titania. Titania is protecting an Indian boy that Oberon wants, so Oberon gets his faerie Puck to go receive a love potion, so that Titania will now be distracted by love and Oberon can snatch the Indian child. Back in the city however, there is a group of actors organizing a play. After one of them tries to take up every part in the play, they get it all organized and head off to the forest to practice. So already in the first act we got everybody running off to the forest to cause drama. This play shines at how good its humor is, and is jammed pack with drama. I would recommend anyone to read this fancy story.

Reviewer's Name: Christopher K.
Genres:
Where Things Come Back
Whaley, John Corey
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In his novel, Where Things Come Back, Whaley explors many different stories of different characters that he somehow joins together to be coherent and related to one another. I loved this book! It was my second time reading it because I remember thinking it was a really good book the first time I read it and wanted to see if I missed anything. It encompasses the relationship between two brothers and the mystery of how and why one of them went missing. As I was reading it the second time, I realized all of the clues that Whaley put in the book as to tell you how Gabriel got taken. I had a love-hate relationship with this book because of some of the very sad, real, and deep characters Whaley includes. This book had me in tears of joy and sorrow as it goes through Cullen’s memories he had with his brother and also the HORRIBLE crazy man that stole Gabriel and the way he terrorizes him. Gabriel was definitely a character that I loved the most as he was calm and has unspoken humor. He also isn’t the average athlete as he has nerdy interests as well. The only thing I didn’t love was how insignificant the ending was compared to the rest of the story. I wish Whaley went into more depth of how Culen Reacted to the surprise at the end of the book. I recommend this book to an older audience as it has some very deep stories within the characters. I’d rate this book a 9/10 only because of the ending. I thought everything was so beautifully incorporated into the story.

Reviewer Grade:11

Reviewer's Name: Micah L.
Genres:
The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The Great Gatsby takes place during the Roaring 20’s in New York before Prohibition was ended. Gatsby hosts parties where he also gives out alcohol to his guests. I did not like this book at all because I didn’t like the love story between Gatsby and Daisy, frankly, I didn’t really like any of the characters to begin with. I think it might’ve been probably because I personally have higher morals than the characters show during this time period. I didn’t like the way Nick was used and quite honestly taken advantage of by Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby. What I disliked the most about this book is the psychotic obsession Gatsby has for Daisy because she’s his “dream.” If he has a clear mind, he’d notice that he couldn’t be in love with a lesser human being. I think all of his achievements to get to where he was, a wealthy popular man was all a waste because it was all for someone who didn’t have the equal affection in return for him. I also didn’t like how loose everybody is in the story. I thought it was sad how because Gatsby’s couldn’t see how his “dream” later became unattainable and nonexistent. I don’t recommend this book as there was hardly a turning point and it seemed to linger in unresolved conflict. I think this book suits a much older audience as it is quicker pace and sometimes hard to follow, and also for it’s immoral content.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Micah L.
Awards:
Genres:
The Help
Stockett, Kathryn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In Kathryn Stockett’s, The Help, she writes about African-American maids in Southern Mississippi during the 1960’s. Skeeter, one of the protagonists in the story, brings light to their circumstances by publishing a book about their experiences. Through her interviews, I began to love every single character for different reasons, even Hilly Holbrook. I thought it was a heart-warming story that I could not put down! It’s good for all ages to read as it lets you in to some history, comedy, and respectful romance. I was interested into reading this book because I’d seen the movie a dozen times and still am not tired of it. I heard that the book was better than the movie and I thought that was just not possible and needed to find out for myself. Inspite of my efforts to prove them wrong, they were right! The book is better than the movie as it goes more in to depth about Mini, Abbigail, Hilly, and Keeter and her relationship with her Mother. Out of all the books that I’ve read, this is definately in my top three and I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a exciting and witty story where justice is served for whats right. I also don’t think that watching the movie before the book ruins the story. As I read the book and Stockett was describing the characters, I pictured Emma Stone and the rest of the cast as if they were actually made for the book.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Micah L.
Genres:
A Dog's Purpose
Cameron, W. Bruce
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I choose to read this book because of the movie coming out with it. The book is about a Dog's everyday life. This specific dog is trying to find his purpose in life but continues to be reborn until he can figure it out. After finding his best friend, Ethan, he believes his life is over and he has fulfilled his purpose until he is reborn again and more confused than ever. He is now on a journey to figure out life's real meaning. The book is told from a hilarious dog's point of view and is both uplifting and heartbreaking. Throughout his life he encounters many different animals and different kinds of people, both good and bad. The dog never breaks his character and is completely confused by the everyday activities that we would never think about in our daily life. The book gives the reader a new perspective on how their dog thinks and what is going on in their head while they walk around cluelessly. The only part about the story that was disappointed was that it was geared towards a younger audience. While anyone of age can still enjoy the book I bought it thinking it was going to be at a higher reading level than middle school. Though the book was aimed at a younger crowd it was still funny and interesting to read. The movie and book were both good but completely different, if you have watched the movie but not read the book I would recommend it because they are not very similar and both funny. I would recommend this book to anyone around the middle school age or anyone who is in love with dogs and loves a fairytale happy ending.
Reviewer Grade:11

Reviewer's Name: Madison G.
Fast Food Nation
Schlosser, Eric
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I picked this book to do for a book report on non-fiction American novels because of all the talk that "fast food is going to kill everyone" going around. According to the book that may be true. Eric Schlosser talks about the issues in the food industry today and how it is going to affect people in the long term. He gets his evidence first hand from interviews of all kinds of people involved with fast food production and the stories of past openings of these restaurants. The encounters take place with French fry distributors, McDonald's employees, old fashioned ranch owners, parents of children who have died form food borne illnesses, and food engineers. The book gives the story of the start of processed food and what it has evolved into today and real world examples and facts of what is happening to the population and what will continue to happen in the future if it is not stopped. The book was very enjoyable as secrets and interesting facts were revealed that would make me think twice before heading to another fast food restaurant but it also gave perspective to those running the business and what their daily life is like. Eric Schlosser also discusses the past productions of food along with the present to show how little the industry has done to improve and the little interest they have in their consumers and employees. Childhood obesity is also addressed in the novel along with the tricks used against children to put processed food into their systems early and for as long as possible to make a profit. The solution mentioned is to abandon all processed foods and return to the old ways of nutrition, only eating the foods we can produce ourselves without the help of machines or chemicals. The characters in the book are everyday people that anyone can relate to in their struggles just to get by or enjoy life without the hassle of thinking about what they should eat or feed their families that night. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in food production or interested in nutrition and what is best to fuel our bodies.
Reviewer Grade:11

Reviewer's Name: Madison G.
The Jungle
Sinclair, Upton
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book I picked to read for a summer book report on a fiction American novel. The book was recommend to me by my mom who had read the book a few years earlier in a college catering class. The book describes the story of Jurgis who moved to America from Lithuania in search of a better life. The story goes on to discuss the flaws of the food and meatpacking industry and the poor working conditions. The struggles of the everyday American man are revealed along with the unsanitary process of meat packing. The book was unpredictable as Jurgis is faced with one problem after another not only within the food industry but with the constant life of struggling to keep himself and family alive with little to no money. The book was very depressing and may not be the first choice of those looking for a heroic or uplifting story. The story was never boring and there was never a time that something new wasn't being introduced into the book that added more to the story every second. The historical aspects found in the book are very accurate considering that one of Upton Sinclair's closet friends was Mother Jones who was a huge part in the labor movement during the 1900s. The book was also interesting in the fact of how much America has changed throughout the years and it what ways it is still the same and not much has been done. The book did help me throughout the rest of the year in both English and US history classes to understand the lives in which the everyday American lived. I found this book very interesting and fun, especially for a summer reading, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to take a trip into the 1900s.
Reviewer Grade:11

Reviewer's Name: Madison G.
Book Review: It's Not Summer Without You
Han, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han is the sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty. It is even more heart wrenching than the first book but that makes it even better. Susannah Fisher, Belly’s second mother plays a huge role in her life now. Belly and Conrad started their relationship off strong just the way she always imagined it would be. When he starts to become distant, they call it off and Conrad disappears. Jeremiah calls Belly for help and together they look for him. She is still heartbroken from their breakup but she goes through those internal conflicts independently. Jeremiah has a big surprise in story for Belly and she is faced with many more struggles.
There is an aspect in this sequel that I really loved and that was Susannah. She is in Belly’s thoughts all the time and as a girl, that really gave me something to relate to. Always hearing my mother in the back of my head telling me what I need to hear. It’s Not Summer Without You is terribly sad but exciting at the same time. It is impossible to give up on Belly’s story as she faces her problems. If you read the first book and want to keep going, I highly recommend it. It only gets better from here.

Reviewer's Name: Alahna E.
Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Han, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han is my all time favorite series. I have read and reread all of them and they never fail to make me feel excited, heartbroken, angry, and satisfied all at the same time. (I only feel angry because the books come to an end.) The first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty is beautifully written. It tells the story of Belly who only lives in the summer. In the town of Cousins that she has gone to every single summer since her birth, she has everything she needs. The Fishers have always considered Belly and her family a part of theirs. Susannah, the woman of the Fisher house is acting off this summer. The two fisher boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, always seem to make summer the paradise that she loves. Although she is younger, Belly has always had an enormous crush on Conrad, who seems dark and moody but fun and intelligent at the same time. Jenny Han depicts the perfect story of heartbreak and first love all at the same time.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, The Summer I Turned Pretty is absolutely amazing. The characterization is incredible and you feel so connected to Belly and what she is going through. Even though the story starts when she is fifteen, the reader feels as though they have watched her grow up. Jenny Han knows exactly how to rip your heart to pieces and then sew it all back together. This book was given to me as a birthday present and it has stains and rips in the pages because I used to carry it everywhere! I 10/10 recommend The Summer I Turned Pretty to anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Alahna E.
Awards:
Book Review: Tell Me Three Things
Buxbaum, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is realistic fiction and romantic. Julie Buxbaum writes about, Jessie, a teenager who has her life changed forever when her mother dies from cancer and her father practically elopes with a stranger. From Chicago to Los Angeles, Jessie struggles with her identity and her place in the jungle of Wood Valley High School. From the popular girls mean comments to the falls in the classroom, she considers moving back to Chicago. That is until she receives an anonymous email from someone called “SN” short for “Somebody/Nobody.” This stranger gives her advice on how to survive in her new world. It is sweet and filled with mystery. SN seems to know her too well. Who could it really be?

This was one of my favorite books that I read this year because Jessie always had someone in mind that she thought could be SN but she really struggled trying to make sense of it all. It was such a fun read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a little heartbreak and a little love. The story was pretty relatable to any girl who has ever been thoroughly confused by drama in her life or has suffered any kind of loss. It was not predictable like some high school novels can be, it was surprising yet satisfying at the same time. What caught my eye about this book was the cover which has hearts made out of half eaten waffles which I guessed was relevant to the story. It is definitely a thumbs up read from me!

Reviewer's Name: Alahna E.
Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Turtles All the Way Down is John Green's latest release. Aza Holmes struggles with anxiety every day. She discovers that the multi-millionaire father of one of her old friends, Davis Pickett, has disappeared. Because of this, Aza and Davis reconnect with each other. I believe that as many people as possible should read Turtles All the Way Down. John Green does a fantastic job of, to some degree, describing what it is like to struggle with mental illness. As someone who struggles with anxiety myself, I found that Aza and I had many thoughts in common. Even if you don't have depression or anxiety or OCD or another mental illness, I would still highly recommend this novel. If you have ever wondered how it feels, Green does a fantastic job of making Aza's trouble relate-able. I loved the range of emotion in the book, from happiness, to fear, to feeling forgotten, to feeling love, John Green has described them all. Though not one of the best books I have ever read, in order to have empathy for more people and their situations, I recommend this novel.

Reviewer's Name: Hannah H.
Genres:
Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Skloot, Rebecca
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a powerful narrative detailing one of the most revolutionary scientific and medical discoveries of the 20th century: HeLa cells. Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951 when she was 31 years old. During a surgery to remove some of her tumor, one of her surgeons took a sample of that tumor for testing in his lab. As he had tested many other cancerous cells, he expected Henrietta's cells to die within a few hours. They never did. Her cells continued to reproduce, and still do to this day. Henrietta's family, however, was never notified that her cells were taken. They discovered this in a news article years after the fact. The book not only tells Henrietta's story, but her family's as well. Rebecca Skloot worked for years with the Lacks family to ensure that justice was done, and Henrietta was not lost to history. I enjoyed the personal perspective that Skloot used to tell the story. It had the full potential of being written like a scientific journal, but Skloot told it as a beautiful narrative. Henrietta, her husband and children, and even Rebecca herself were characters and there was emotion on every page. It reads like a novel. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in medicine and its history.

Reviewer's Name: Hannah H.
Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See
Doerr, Anthony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is the story of two teenagers living during World War Two. Marie-Laure LeBlanc is blind, and lives with her father in France. Werner Pfennig lives in a coal mining town in Germany. As war draws near, Marie-Laure and her father move to the French coast to try to avoid the war while Werner is pressed into service in the German army. Both of the main characters learn to accept and cope with war in their own unique ways. They come of age through the war, and learn to navigate their war-torn world. This novel was recommended to me by my grandmother. I took her recommendation eagerly, as I love studying history. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author used different points of view to show many sides of one story. Each of the characters must learn to interpret their own experience whether that is Marie-Laure memorizing her way around her city or Werner in his military service. I found both of the main characters very relate-able, despite their story taking place decades ago. Marie-Laure has a never-ending curiosity and Werner is constantly questioning the morals he is presented by his society. These characteristics are things that I think many teenagers, of any era, can relate to. This has been one of my favorite reads this year, and I would highly recommend reading this novel.

Reviewer's Name: Hannah H.
Genres:

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