Biography/Memoir

Book Review: 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

Author
Macadam, Heather Dune
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I wavered between a 4 and 5 star review here, but my reviews are based on storytelling ability, not necessarily how little I enjoyed hearing about the details of Auschwitz. This author did a fantastic job of telling the stories of nearly 1,000 women while letting some of their personal accounts lead the pace and tone. Though the characters were hard to keep track of at some points, there was constant clarification of individuals to develop empathy for the girls in the Holocaust. There was also some groundbreaking information on the sexist disparities between records of the female experience in Auschwitz- as soon as you think life couldn't have been worse for these prisoners, it is revealed that women were treated the absolute worst. Definitely worth the read if you can stomach the tragedy.

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: The Diary of a Young Girl

Author
Frank, Anne
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Diary of a Young Girl is a series of diary entries written by Anne Frank, a young girl who recounts her experiences during the Holocaust. Anne writes her experiences using memorable quotes, and even through her tough experiences, still manages to write with a sense of hopeful optimism, and Anne's belief in the world and humanity are both inspiring and tear-jerking. Anne writes in the voice of a young girl but also writes in an astonishingly real and mature way. Reading her diary entries will educate all readers on what it was truly like to live through the Holocaust, and will help those who want to be informed to be more educated on the event. The Diary of a Young Girl carries out the message of hope and teaches readers the horrors of history. All age groups should most definitely read this novel, as it holds majorly valuable lessons and will hopefully teach all audiences not to repeat our past mistakes.

Reviewer's Name
Michelle Y

Book Review: Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far About Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams

Author
Johnson, Shawn
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I rate this book five stars. The book is an autobiography written by Shawn Johnson about her experience growing up as a gymnast. Beginning with her experience in school and ending with her experience at the 2008 Olympics, the book is both motivating and inspiring. I can relate to Shawn Johnson in her determination and the in the way she dreams big. I would recommend this book to anyone, and it is in my top ten books of all time.

Reviewer's Name
Katie

Book Review: Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Author
Noah, Trevor
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Born A Crime is the story of comedian Trevor Noah's childhood in South Africa. Each chapter follows a certain theme and features a lesson which Noah learns and takes with him as he grows up. Noah confronts darker, more serious topics with an endearing sense of humor and a resilient perspective, making the autobiography wise, poignant, funny, and heartfelt.

Trevor Noah's mother was the most influential person in his life. Being born to a black mother and white father during South Africa's apartheid, he was a "crime" under the law, but his mother made sure that he still had all the opportunities that other children did, and even more. She gave him knowledge and experiences, taught him how to respect women, and never stopped laughing. As Noah vividly portrays his mother, she comes alive on the pages of his autobiography. His story is also her story--of love, loss, pain, and joy.

This is a book that everyone should read. It speaks to the complexity of racism and its lasting consequences, but it is also entertaining and engaging. Noah tells stories of sadness and hardship alongside funny anecdotes that will make readers laugh out loud.

Reviewer's Name
Alexa

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author
Skloot, Rebecca
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot, is a book detailing the life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks unknowingly donated her cells to one of the most important fields of research, cancer cures. Her tumor cells, also known as “HeLa”, are extraordinary in that they replicate fast enough to create a whole new human in under 48 hours. This book is fascinating in more than one way: it explores the history of her and her cells, and it explores some gray areas in rights to cells and parts of dead entities. Instead of focusing just on one topic and one family, it expands to include many that have had to deal with bio material rights. I personally found this an interesting but slightly disturbing read. I recommend reading this one to learn about the history of cell rights and their gray areas.

Reviewer's Name
Ethan

Book Review: Free Lunch

Author
Ogle, Rex
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

"Free Lunch" by Rex Ogle was one of the best books I've read all year. A true story, this book follows a 6th grade boy living in poverty. Both his mom and dad are unemployed, and he is forced to babysit his two-year-old brother, rather than hang out with friends. He doesn't even have time to complete his homework. Rex is determined to succeed, but struggles to focus in class because of his constant hunger - all his family can afford us cheap junk food. I liked his character development throughout the story, and how he gradually grew to be a better and more mature person. I'd recommend this for anyone interested in nonfiction and coming-of-age stories. It's a fairly easy read with simple language, best for younger tweens and teens. Just a warning, though: the story deals with heavy topics which may be triggering to some, so if you are sensitive to this sort of material, it might be best to avoid.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Audrey

Book Review: I Am Malala

Author
Yousafzai, Malala
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I Am Malala is a moving story about a young girl and how she not only fought death from a bullet, but also fought for her rights to education. The main character in our story, Malala, was a strong young girl who stood up for herself and fought for her rights to education, and many other rights for women and girls. In 2012, Malala was shot point-blank on her head on her way back from school, and somehow survived. Even after almost dying, she continued to spread her message of hope, truth, and miracles, and even became the youngest person ever to earn a Nobel Peace Prize. I loved this book because Malala's words and actions were very inspirational, especially for a young women, and made anyone feel that if they try hard enough and stand their ground, they can inspire thousands. If I were to give this book a grade out of 10, I would give it a 10/10.

Reviewer's Name
Lilleah

Book Review: Unbroken

Author
Hillenbrand, Laura
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

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.

Reviewer's Name
Ava W.

Book Review: The Glass Castle

Author
Walls, Jeanette
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The book The Glass Castle is an autobiography by Jeanette Walls, going through her hectic life and how she handled everything. I liked this book, but it's about a really sensitive topic, and it could go through a lot of overwhelming and gross details towards the middle of the book, so I recommend for more sensitive readers not to read this. I picked this book because I saw that we had to read it in school, so of course, I wanted a little peek of what it was about. The start of the book was more calm, but readers could start to tell that her family isn't the way it's supposed to be. Throughout the book, there will be a lot of surprising and unexpected events, most not very wanted. I wouldn't say I "enjoyed" the book because that would sound wrong, but I felt the need to keep reading, seeing what happens next. I feel like a lot of students could relate to Jeanette. Maybe our conditions might not be as bad as hers, but readers could feel luckier and safe to be living a better life. But overall, I do recommend this book to less sensitive readers.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name
Trisha

Book Review: Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Author
Noah, Trevor
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This story explains what it was like to be born a crime. Trevor Noah is the child of a South African mother and a European father, which in South Africa, was illegal. Trevor has to learn how to stay positive with a racist government in control. This book does an excellent job explaining what it was like to grow up during Apartheid. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book because despite the bad circumstances, this book made me laugh a lot.

Reviewer's Name
Lotus