Nonfiction

Book Review: Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life

Author
Fitzgerald, Tom (Thomas)
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

If you're looking to get educated on LGBTQ+ history, this is a great book to try. I loved hearing about some of the most influential figures of the LGBTQ+ movement and their impact on others. They persevered even through backlash from events like the AIDS epidemic and built a community where everyone is welcome to be themselves. Some parts can get slow to read, but the authors use modern language and humor to appeal to a variety of audiences and make history more entertaining. This book is so empowering, give it a try!

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Author
Larson, Erik
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

This is a compelling story of the popular World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the serial killer who took advantage of it. Set in the late 1800's, David Burnham and H. H. Holmes receive equal attention in alternating chapters between the fair's fascinating architecture and the growth of a heartless killer. I liked reading about the trials and errors of the fair and technology in the 19th century. Also, Holmes' terrifyingly calm demeanor added suspense to what would happen to his victims. It is a cool turn-of-the-century book, but the shift between monotone construction and graphic murders was an interesting style that isn't for everyone.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: Simply Philosophy

Author
Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2021
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Simply Philosophy is a collection of different ideas and concepts about a ton of topics, also showing different points of view.
This book remains one of my favorites because it takes ideas from famous philosophers in history, and then explains them in ways that are easier to understand. It uses helpful graphics and real-life examples to explain detailed concepts. One of the ideas I liked the most was from René Descartes, explaining why humans can never be sure that anything except their consciousness exists. The book was also very organized, putting similar ideas in the same sections.

Reviewer's Name
Kelsey
Genres

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 Odd 1s Out: The First Sequel

Author
Rallison, James
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

If you have read my first review, then you now that this sequel was a wish come true. I say this because I was so excited to have more stories from James Rallison in the first place, which I did not see coming. I am choosing one story to talk about in this review and that story is the missing mattress. He starts talking about how he isn't the "let me speak to your manager," type. This sets up the story pretty well because it gives that little bit of foreshadowing that makes you want to keep reading. The next thing that happens is that the movers don't bring his mattress from his old apartment to his new house, and they apparently have no idea where it is. He checked his account were all of the pictures of his stuff that needed to be moved had been posted, and lo and behold, his mattress wasn't there. He decided to call customer service and see if his mattress was on his friend's account and the other person on the phone asked him to describe it to confirm it was his. Normally he is an expert at mattress description, but today he was drawing a blank, so he just asked whether or not there were two mattresses in his roommate's account. Sadly he/she, couldn't, "disclose that information." Because of this, he attempted to fairly describe it and they said that they had a mattress that fit the description he gave. They said that they would move it to his account if it was his, but just to be safe, he called his roommate to look at his account and he said it only had one mattress in it, so he assumed they moved his mattress back to his account. He checked his account the next day and, NO MATTRESS. He filled out a missing item form on the website and still 2 days later, no mattress. He was going to have a guest room in his house, so he decided to just buy his guest bed and mattress now. The company finally found his mattress a week later, and he returned with a passport, a suntan, and passable Spanish.

I liked how the author made a sequel because it gave me even more hilarious stories to enjoy before I fell asleep at night. I didn't dislike anything about this book per say, but as I said before, I do wish there were even more stories. When you finish it, it is almost like a disappointment, and you just decide to read it again. I chose this because I had already read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the first one. It wasn't predictable because you can't really predict a book that is full of different stories with each of them having their own little plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who possesses the ability to read and enjoys a good laugh.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: The Odd 1s Out: How to Be Cool and Other Things I Definitely Learned from Growing Up

Author
Rallison, James
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Diving straight in, this book isn't a single story. It is actually a collection of stories from James' childhood that are about, of course, "How to be cool and other things that I definitely learned growing up." As to not give too many spoilers, I will only give the premise of one of my favorite stories in the book, Harry the Moth. Harry is a White Lined Sphinx Moth that was hanging out on their porchlight when the door opened, and he was drawn into their house. James and his twin sister Faith find him hanging out on the windowsill, put him in a jar, and they decide to keep him as a pet. Back when James thought his mom had good ideas, he listened to her suggestion that he should take Harry to his kindergarten class so he could be the class pet there. The teacher realized that having a class pet with a lifespan shorter than a year would be a bad idea, so she decided to release him a recess so they all could learn about nature. This was also back when he thought his teacher had good ideas, so they released the moth, and he had a great life left. 10 seconds. Those moths were probably supposed to only come out at night, so it flying around in an open space during the day gave the birds a free excuse to eat it. I guess this story is to show how James learned not to think that his mom and teacher had good ideas and never to release moths during the day. All the stories have little bits of funny wit and irony that make it a good read.

I liked this book because it gave me even more comics and stories from the Youtuber and Cartoonist, James Rallison. The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it wasn't longer! Every single story in there is so good that when you finish, you just want more. I chose this book because, as I said before, I had seen James' YouTube videos and I wanted to read more of his stories from his childhood. This book wasn't predictable as it didn't have one story to follow so it meant that it took lots of twists and turns that were interesting to read. Based on all of this, I think this is one of the best books that I have read this year and would recommend it to anyone.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

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: How 'Bout Them Cowboys

Author
Myers, Gary
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

How ‘Bout Them Cowboys is a great sports book. It gives a detailed description into the inner workings of arguably one of the greatest sports franchise’s. This book contains fantastic football stories and interviews with the Cowboys owner, former players, and fans of “America’s Team.” I really enjoyed learning about the history of the Cowboys. And I chose this book because I am a huge football fan. I would recommend this book to any sports fan who wants to learn more about the football business. Throughout this book, I could sense the loyalty and commitment that great players feel to their Dallas Cowboys.

Reviewer's Name
Ananth

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