Contemporary

Book Review: One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying
Author: 
McManus, Karen M.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

One of us is lying is a captivating murder mystery, romance, thriller. 5 teens enter detention, but what happens when only 4 leave. As you read you find out more and more about the case. The 4 teens all have secrets
is murder one of them? This book is so enthralling, once you start it will be hard to put it down. With great characters and a very interesting story with tons of twists and turns. If you love solving mysteries or discovering the truth, this is totally the book for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: 
Rylie

Book Review: Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen
Author: 
Emmich, Val
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book, which is based on the musical by the same name is so
touching. It deals with very hard topics like social anxiety, depression,
mental illness, and suicide. This story follows Evan Hansen as he starts to
get caught up in a web of lies. While a very tough book emotionally, it is
also very touching and Evan is somebody that lots of people can relate to.
This book is the perfect combination of emotional, witty, heartbreaking, and
heartwarming all at the same time. So if you are looking for a great story,
realistic characters, and a beautiful message, this is the book for you! -
Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: 
Rylie

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
Author: 
Sebold, Alice
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Susie Salmon is a 14-year old girl who is killed by her neighbor Mr. Harvey after school on her way home. Mr. Harvey disposes Susie's body and throws her charm bracelet into a pond. Susie's spirit flees from her body and runs towards her personal heaven where she watches as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she also tries to come to terms with her death.

My favorite part about this book is the theme of accepting death. Susie's family struggled with closure, and as a result, Susie's soul was restless and she wasn't able to enter into 'Heaven'. Even though she's only 14, Susie explored themes such as love, friendship, the after-life, and forgiveness. Personally, I don't think Mr. Harvey's ending was enough, but I was happy that Susie and her family found closure. The book felt very personal; like I was with Susie the whole time, and I felt very connected to her and attached throughout her whole emotional growth. Ironically, Susie does the most growing when she's dead, because that's when she does the most soul searching. I also thought this book pointed out how flawed adults are, and that they aren't the perfect put-together image young teens have about them. I watched the film adaption after, and if you prefer films, the movie is just as awesome!

Reviewer's Name: 
Nneoma

Book Review: Paper Girl

Paper Girl
Author: 
Wilson, Cindy R.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Paper Girl is about a girl whose world is caving in around her, and is not able to cope very well with it, until a boy comes into her life. All the characters are so well developed and all have great backstories. The whole book is a big question if she will overcome and has you wondering the whole time, which I loved. Something that I did not love about the book is how the main character's mental illness is portrayed. It is very hard to relate to I feel, unless you have felt similarly. This did not take much away from the book's overall greatness though. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, cute teen romance book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana M.

Book Review: Bad Blood

Bad Blood
Author: 
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Bad Blood is about 5 teens with natural skills that lead them to work with the FBI to solve cases. In this book they are going back to look into their pasts especially the main female character to try to lead to a murderer, or multiple. I was not able to put the book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Everything comes together so nicely. All the details play into each other and I can not imagine how the author came up with such elaborate ideas that are so complex. This book is for anyone who loves the show Criminal minds because they are so similar or is looking for an amazing crime book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana M.

Book Review: The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary
Author: 
Levithan, David
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

The book "The Lovers Dictionary" by David Leviathan gets a "meh" review. While the book seems like it'll be a hopeful love story, it actually spins a web of lies and heartbreak. Each chapter is a new word, and the chapter explains the definition, through a story. While this seems to be a cool idea, it was not well planned out in this book. Sudden changes in setting, as well as changes in the timeline, leave this book quite confusing. It makes you want to get entranced by the book, but also makes it difficult to do so. Had the author better explained both the timing and the reasoning behind the flashbacks of sorts, the story would have been better able to comprehend and relate with. The story also has these thought-changing scenes that make no sense. One second the narrator is madly in love and very happy about it, and the next he is broken-hearted and considering leaving his partner. The constant back and forth is difficult to follow and honestly quite frustrated. I think the idea of the book was a great idea, however, I do not believe the author knew quite how to plan it out.

Reviewer's Name: 
Star B.

Book Review: Cut

Cut
Author: 
McCormick, Patricia
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book tackles some very tough topics in very realistic and accurate ways. Main character Callie has been placed into a residential treatment center, shortly after her family discovers that Callie had begun to use self-harm to cope with many issues. The stress of being in this facility, as well as familial and mental stress, leads Callie to silence. Acting on selective mutism, Callie chooses to stop talking. Many people try, and yet fail, to help her open up and speak. Through the book, from memories and dialogues that run through Callie's brain, we discover that Callie has an extremely stressful home life that has become detrimental to her mental health. This book speaks on the reality of mental health facilities in America, as well as the type of home life that many live and suffer through silently. This story faces the reality of self-harm and mental illnesses. These topics are very uncomfortable for many, and almost taboo, but "Cut" breaks through that and breaks down the walls of real-life issues, and progress through mental health issues.

Reviewer's Name: 
Star B.

Book Review: American Dirt

American Dirt
Author: 
Cummins, Jeanine
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I really enjoyed this book and the author's style and her ability to draw you in. She is very detailed in her descriptions with the main character's relationships and she causes you to become aware of issues in Mexico in a manner you may not have considered. While the book has received much criticism (you can research this), I think it is a worthy read to make us all want to dig deeper into the migrant situation.

Reviewer's Name: 
CJoos

Book Review: One of Us is Lying

Book Cover
Author: 
McManus, Karen
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

One of Us is Lying is a mystery novel about four high school students who are suspected for the murder of their classmate. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Simon go into their after school detention following a normal day at school, but the events that happened after weren't so normal. Simon, the outcast and the creator of the high school's gossip app, has been murdered and the other students in detention claim they know nothing. Yet after his murder, the posts on his gossip app don't stop, eventually revealing some shocking things about the suspects. Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate decide to join forces and find out the truth behind Simon's murder.

Overall, this book was really good. I would have given it 5 stars but I feel like the description (from the book) is a little misleading. The book focuses on their lives after the murder of Simon Kelleher and not as much of them trying to solve the murder. While I really do like the way it explains the details of their lives, I just found it a bit misleading. Other than that, the book is great. I absolutely love the character development in this novel.

In the beginning Addy is what you might call a "dumb blonde" but later on she becomes much more independent and her character develops in many ways. I also really liked the plot twists, they completely blew me away! I can't reveal much more than that but I truly didn't expect some of the things that happened, to happen.

Reviewer's Name: 
Prarthana

Book Review: The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux
Author: 
Vérant, Samantha
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Although this book was predictable and sometimes read like a Hallmark movie - I completely enjoyed it. The food described made my mouth water, the side characters were charming and actually more interesting than Sophie (who
was a bit whiny), and the description of the French chateau made me want to go wander through a field of lavender. If what you need is escapist fiction, this book will fit the bill perfectly.

Reviewer's Name: 
Krista

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