All Book Reviews

Grenade
Gratz, Alan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Grenade by Alan Gratz is a great book perfect for most ages. It is a historical fiction that will take you back to 1945 on Okinawa Island, Japan, in the grip of World War II. The two perspectives of Hideki, a native on the island, and Ray, an American Marine, both have never experienced war before and are fighting on opposite sides. Hideki is pulled out of school and drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps, they expect him to fight for the Japanese army and all he is given is a grenade. Ray, has landed in Okinawa with his group of soldiers, he is surrounded by the enemy and has no idea if he will live through the war. Both have to fight their way through the island and eventually they meet. The choices they make could change both of them severely.
This story is thrilling, suspenseful, and fun to read! I loved this book because it is constantly surprising and it puts you in 1945 with the characters, who have extravagant emotions and conflicts. I stayed up all night reading this book and it was so worth it! It can be a little violent but overall it is an amazing book. I was recommended it by a friend because I don't normally read historical fiction but it did not disappoint! I love all of Alan Gratz's books and I would certainly recommend them and Grenade.

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Awards:
Deep and Dark and Dangerous
Hahn, Mary Downing
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I really enjoyed this book while reading and after finishing it. This book was a combination of the two things I love most; mystery and thriller.
Mary Downing Hahn is a great author and I love reading her books and going down a spiral of questions. All of her books are clever, it’s like watching a movie without a screen! This is by far my favorite book by Mary Downing Hahn.
Ali is a thirteen year old girl who stumbles across a torn picture of her mother and aunt. Who’s the third person? This book is about Ali’s journey attempting to solve this mystery. I definitely recommend this for mystery lovers, horror lovers or both!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
My Nonidentical Twin
Evie, Meg
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I enjoyed this nonfiction book a lot. This book was very informative of what Tourette’s Syndrome is. The author, Evie, walked the readers through the pros and cons of having Tourette’s Syndrome.
I follow Evie on social media platforms and see this journey documented through there too. However, her channel is not as informative as this book. I love how this book brings awareness to Tourette’s Syndrome and the people who suffer from it.
If any reader wants to be more aware of this condition, I recommend reading this well written autobiography by Evie Meg.

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
The Betrayed
Cass, Kiera
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After being slightly disappointed by The Betrothed, I stayed loyal to Kiera Cass and picked up a signed copy of The Betrayed. It was good! Hollis lives outside of the palace and vows to defeat a group of assassins who work for an evil king, all while avoiding the other king she left behind. The morals had changed from the first book to be focused on overcoming grief and juggling different family values. Plus, the unpredictable love story didn't hurt. Hollis' personality developed to be even more obstinate due to her experiences. The ending was, just like the first book, a little deflating, but I see the author's vision for an atypical female empowerment story to combat any criticism from The Selection and I will give her credit for being creative with the storyline.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Betrothed
Cass, Kiera
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Three stars is pretty tough for me to rate, seeing as I love the Selection series so much! Kiera Cass is a great author, but The Betrothed didn't blow me away. The main character, Hollis, follows everyone else's lead in trying to seduce King Jameson and is surprised to succeed. She has trained in the ways of a queen her whole life and is prepared for life as a royal- until a handsome palace worker shows up and Hollis questions everything she thought she knew about true love. Hollis is a level-headed, passionate character (although a little whiny at times) and I liked her character arc from a conforming queen-to-be into a rebellious person who cares more about love than money or a title. What I didn't like as much was the disheartening twist and a complete change in the mood of the book. Many readers enjoy a good dark plot twist, but it felt like I had started reading a whole different book after being so invested in the first one.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
It
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Despite the high page count, I've been looking to reread It by Stephen King for some time. It was a great book; it just took some time to get through. Seven friends all team up to fight an other-worldly murderous clown after several people turn up dead in the small town of Derry. This clown feasts on your worst thoughts and fears, and destroys your mind as well as your body. The switch between the seven friends as kids versus adults was entertaining, because they handled emergency situations differently as well as having different motives because of how the clown affected their childhoods. The chapters could get tedious at times and have a lot of fluff (in a horror book? YES!). I would even call the last hundred or so pages strange as the final battle became sort of biblical and unlike the direction of the rest of the book. Still, if you're a fast reader and would like to get a horror book under your belt, try it out!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Genres:
Mexican Gothic
Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Mexican Gothic follows an interesting take on haunted houses and distant ancestry. The resilient main character, Noemi, travels to a small town to visit her newly-married cousin at a house called High Place out of concern for her cousin's illness. The longer she stays, though, the more she realizes that there is something more sinister going on than an isolated family. Unlike some reviews I saw, the pacing was engaging for me. It was broken into short chapters with a lot of action in the last hundred or so pages, which is how a lot of thrillers are organized. This helped me be motivated to read more when the story line was not quite my taste. It was cool, however, that Noemi was realistic in her thoughts and reactions. It made the story feel more genuine as the plot got crazier. This isn't something I would necessarily recommend, but it was still enjoyable.

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Reid, Taylor Jenkins
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It is a deal breaker for me when a book's main character is unlikeable. This book was not like that. Evelyn is a talented and determined character who was able to break away from her traumatic experiences and pave the way for female actresses that don't match Hollywood's cookie cutter movie stars. She isn't always polite and malleable, which was cool to see when other books set in the same time period only focus on men's perspectives. I was invested in Evelyn's life throughout the progression of her seven marriages and how they ended. Monique is a scatter-brained but relatable character as well. I enjoyed how she and Evelyn interacted and the twist of how their stories intertwined. Try this book if you like historical fiction and being uplifted by female empowerment.

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In a perfect world where overpopulation is the only problem, an elite group of unbiased assassins called Scyths are expected to “glean” the population to keep it at a manageable level. This is by far one of the best young adult sci-fi books that I've ever read. With its fast-paced plot, Scythe is a captivating story of two teenagers faced with enormous responsibility and life-or-death consequences. I have a soft spot for skillful world-building, action, and fleeting romance; this book was a masterful concoction of all three! Also, on a personal note, I have read far too many books with idiotic plot twists. I am pleased to say that this was not one of them. Get ready for an addicting read, as this book isn't easy to set down.

Reviewer's Name: Kate
Interpreter of Maladies
Lahiri, Jhumpa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri is a collection of nine short stories about cultural differences. In each of the nine stories, the beautifully composed characters are taken through inspirational journeys, whether conflicts about romance, communication, cultural differences between India and America, or separation. Not all endings are happy, but a lesson can be learned from each story. It is a must-read book that challenges cultural differences and will transform a mindful reader's perspective. Overall, I would rate the book five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Son of Neptune
Riordan, Rick
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

“The Son of Neptune” was a good book and a good sequel. This is a book in the “Heroes of Olympus” series which takes place after the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series. This book is about Percy, Hazel, and Frank, three demigods who will end up going on a quest together. While guarding the entrance to the Roman camp for demigods, Hazel and Frank see Percy Jackson haphazardly making his way towards the camp with monsters following him. The monsters that are following him don’t seem to stay dead. Once Percy gets accepted to camp, he gets asked to go on a quest with his new friends to free Death so that the monsters will stay dead. Frank is a demigod who doesn’t know who his godly parent is and he is a very adorable and clumsy character, especially around Hazel. Hazel is supposed to be dead but has a new chance at life to fix mistakes that she made about forty years ago. Percy remembers nothing, except a name, Annabeth. Each main character has secrets that are revealed during the quest and almost dies while trying to free Death and save their camp.

This book was pretty good and it really helps to have read the series that comes before this one. It introduces some new characters (Hazel and Frank), and you can’t help but love them. I enjoyed how there were details/hints that tied back to the first series. The Greek vs Roman was well portrayed in my opinion, in both the cultures overall and fighting styles. I also enjoyed the explanation of why there were both Roman and Greek gods. I want to hug Hazel and Frank, their characters were so cute and relatable! I do feel like a lot of Hazels' personality is dependent on how she treats others. Percy is not as relatable because he has no memory so we don’t get that much information about him to relate to. The writing style as usual was very funny and descriptive. The plot connects well to myths, the modern worlds, the other books in the series/world, and the characters. Overall, a good book and a very fun take on Greek and Roman mythology.

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

Six of Crows is the first book in Leigh Bardugo's duology following her Shadow and Bone trilogy. This novel is the story of Kaz Brekker and his attempt to put together a crew to pull off an impossible heist - sneak into the impenetrable Ice Court of Fjerda. Kaz Brekker, also known as "Dirtyhands" in the Barrel (the slums of Ketterdam) is a part of the Dregs (a gang built out of those "scraped from the bottom of the Barrel"). Then we have Inej, or "the Wraith" who has an impeccable talent for sneaking around and has a liking to knives. There's Jesper (a personal favorite), a sharpshooter who never misses, but has a serious gambling problem. Wylan, a intelligent bomb master, who's also the insurance in case the plan fails. Finally, we have Nina (also a favorite of mine), a Grisha heartrender, and Matthias, the outsider who has insider knowledge. For 30 million kruge (or 323,848,425 USD), the six teenagers decide that a mission that will probably get them killed, will still be worth it, because together, they are more dangerous than all of the soldiers inside of the Fjerdan Ice Court. Teenage drama, messy romance, plot-twists that can change everyone's opinion of one another. This book was probably my favorite out of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series. There isn't anything I would change, and would definitely consider re-reading.
Reviewers Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Nataleigh
Genres:
Ruin and Rising
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Ruin and Rising is the third and final book in Leigh Bardugo's trilogy, Shadow and Bone. The novel starts off with Alina Starkov living in an underground city, accessible by tunnels beneath her homeland, Ravka. Aided by shadow soldiers he created, the Darkling has assumed the throne of Ravka, usurping the former king and queen. Alina is wanting to go back up above ground and defeat the Darkling, but is severely weakened by being underground and so far away from the sun, as well as being weakened from the big battle with the Darkling at the end of the previous book, Siege and Storm. With the help from her childhood friend, Mal, Alina regains her sun summoning abilities and intimidates the Apparat (the one keeping them underground, who also wants Alina on the throne) into letting her and her companions go back above ground. Once they all emerge from the tunnels, Alina and her friends all start to search for one of their lost companions, Nikolai -- the last surviving family of the former king and queen, and the true heir to the throne. But trouble seems to continue to come their way. The Darkling's soldiers constantly hunting Alina, a hidden fortress in the mountains that have been holding people important to Alina, a new discover of invisibility, new and more terrifying monsters, and an immortal man willing to destroy everything in order to gain more power. This book had me on edge for most all of it, but also had me questioning some of the characters and their decisions at some of the slower-paced parts. Ending with multiple big plot twists, this book left me wanting more. This is one of my favorite series, and I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who loves dramatic and adventurous fantasy.

Reviewer's Name: Nataleigh
Genres:
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
Shadow and Bone
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shadow and Bone is the first book of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy, and her Grisha series. Shadow and Bone is the perfect book for someone who loves fantasy, super-human powers, and plots of self-discovery. The novel starts off with the main character, Alina, and her childhood best friend, Mal, in the orphanage that they grew up in. Grisha examiners (Grisha have special abilities like the ability to heal, or control water with a flick of a hand) come to test the children for special abilities. Both Alina and Mal are found to not have these abilities. But this does not continue to be the case. When Alina and Mal are grown up and apart of the army, they try and cross "the Fold". The Fold is a strip of darkness that divides the country of Ravka, which is based on Tsarist Russia; The dark strip was created by the Black Heretic, or a shadow summoner. The Fold is a long strip of complete darkness, full of dangerous monsters called Volcra. When one of these monsters try to come at Alina and Mal as they are trying to cross, it is revealed that Alina has sun summoning abilities, and is in fact, a Grisha. Once the army gets back to base after the attack, the General, also known as the Darkling another shadow summoner, demands that Alina comes with him back to the Little Palace to train and fight with the Grisha army, seeing as she is the only sun summoner and the one who can get rid of the Fold. Alina learns how to control her abilities better, makes new friends, starts to fall in love, and shows off her abilities to other high-up citizens of Ravka. She even learns about a way to amplify her abilities. But even while all these great things are happening, Alina can't help but to worry about what could go wrong, her friend Mal, and a possible deceiver. When one of Alina's teachers, Bahgra, reveals that someone close to Alina isn't who they claim to be, Alina runs away in fear and hope that she can find this amplifier before her traitor does. This book had many plot-twists that kept me drawn to it the entire time I was reading. Mystical creatures, political mayhem and unexpected romance. This book is the one that gave me a love for reading nd left me wanting more after the cliff-hanger at the end. This trilogy only gets better as it goes on. The novel will always be on a must-read list for me.
Reviewers Grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Nataleigh
Awards:
Genres:
Siege and Storm
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Siege and Storm is the second book in Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy. It is preceded by Shadow and Bone and followed by Ruin and Rising. After making their escape from Ravka and the Darkling, Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev have to try and make do with their life in an unfamiliar land. The novel starts with Alina and Mal having an encounter with the Darkling's soldiers in their new home and having to run so they don't get captured. Alina and Mal decide to sail out and search for another one of Morozova's amplifiers. However, as Alina and Mal are in search of the next amplifier, the Darkling ambushes the ship they were on and takes Alina and Mal hostage. Once the Darkling finally got Mal to track down and find the next amplifier so that the Darkling could control Alina, the captain of the ship Alina and Mal were originally on, Sturmhond, staged a coup and rescued Alina and Mal. In the second book in this trilogy, we see a lot more of Mal and his relationship with Alina. We also see a lot more of Alina's internal struggle with herself; What is her identity and can someone that is not Grisha (like Mal) truly understand her? The funny thing about this book is that a lot of Mal and Alina's problems with each other would be solved if they had better communication. As the plot of the novel continues, the risk becomes greater. The concern in the last book was destroying the Fold, but that is now mostly forgotten. The entire future of Ravka is now on the line, and Alina seems to be the only one who can determine the future of the country. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm is a wonderful reward. Personally, with some of the new characters like Sturmhond and his ship-mates, Tamar and Tolya, the bigger battles, the higher stakes and anticipation, Siege and Storm is my favorite book in the whole trilogy.

Reviewer's Name: Nataleigh
Genres:
Divergent book jacket
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of the best books I've read this year. It is action-packed and entertaining throughout the whole book.
Split into 5 different factions, or branches, based on your personality and character traits, Beatrice (Tris) Prior is a danger to all of society. She is what's known as Divergent, someone who doesn't fit into one of the preset sections in the civilization. Forced to hide it or face certain death, Tris decides to become a Dauntless, the faction favoring the brave. She faces a dangerous initiation there, in which she must face her fears and become a true Dauntless or live factionless forever. Soon the world becomes more dangerous for the Divergent and she must do everything possible to survive.
I liked this book because it's very attention-grabbing, it was a book I could escape into. It had very cool fighting and training scenes and was so detailed and relatable that I knew how Tris felt half of the time. The book had me hooked and up all night reading it. I think the author did an excellent job with all of the characters and plots that went into the book. I picked this book because I wanted a good dystopian book and I was not disappointed! Divergent is extremely well written, suspenseful, and quick... You will never want to put it down. This book comes with a great storyline and just the right amount of romance to add to the overall brilliance of it all. By the end, you will adore all the characters and it will leave you longing for more. (It's a 4-book series with 3 movies :) If you love a good young adult, dystopian, romance this book is for 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
Into the Wild book jacket
Krakauer, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a nonfiction story about a young man named Cris McCandless. After graduating college in 1991, McCandless left without a trace hitchhiking around the United States. During his travels, McCandless goes by the name Alex Supertramp wanting to reinvent his life. He meets and changes countless people's lives. McCandless had his sights set religiously on Alaska, thinking it his last grand odyssey. McCandless wanted to fend for himself in the Alaskan wilderness, which inevitably proved fatal. This beautifully written book is full of adventure and life lessons. Overall, I would rate this book four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Sense and Sensibility book jacket
Austen, Jane
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters, Marianne and Elinor, who have been left destitute following their father's death. Marianne is an impulsive romantic who chases love wherever it will lead her. Elinor is logical and socially conscious, and hides her turbulent emotions even from those closest to her. Together, the two of them will survive scandal, family drama, and first loves in an attempt to find the prized middle ground between passionate expression and silent intelligence.
This is not the best Jane Austen novel. I've only read about one and a half of her other works, but I can guarantee anyone that this is not the best Jane Austen novel. My main problem with this work is that it has all the drawbacks of a Jane Austen classic (slow pace, meandering conversations, way too many characters) with none of the expected romantic investment.
There's still a lot of great stuff about this book. The best thing for me was the main character, Elinor. Elinor is the character through which we sees the story, which has a lot of benefits. It makes her sister's antics more endearing and impactful. It makes her romantic situation more sympathetic, which it needs. It also makes the book much more interesting, because Elinor is an amazing character! She's funny in the best, most sarcastic way possible. She's observant and intelligent, so its great to watch how her mind works. She deeply loves the people around her, and gives everyone new dimensions. She is what makes this book special. The other benefits, I'd say, is the general humor in the writing, the drama of the story, and the sustained level of tension.
The thing I don't like about this romance novel is that it doesn't do what its supposed to do: create a compelling romance. Both sisters have romances that both end somewhat in tragedy, which is supposed to be very sad and moving. This works a pretty well with Marianne, since her situation involved a lot of deceit and drama that was very fun to read. It does not work at all with Elinor. Elinor's love interest is present for very little of the novel, and is so boring that I already forgot his name for this review and wouldn't have remembered it while reading the book if Elinor didn't think about him so often. And she does think about him a lot, which doesn't make sense to the audience, since he's offered so little of himself as a character to be a compelling love interest. This wouldn't be as big of a problem if romance wasn't the central pivot of the book, but as it stands it's distracting to see the intelligent, charismatic lead longing after someone the audience couldn't care about less.
All in all, this book is still very good, and worth a read! I'd recommend this to anyone who likes regency romance, interesting female lead characters, moving emotion, and lots of drama!

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve