Reluctant Readers

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The Hunger Games has a futuristic setting were there are 12 districts in Panem, the only civilization left in the world. The Hunger Games was a punishment for the districts who rebelled against the Capital, in the Hunger Games people 12-18 are chosen to fight to the death is a arena literally big enough for a whole natural habitat. Our main character Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl who lives in district 12. Her sister was chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, but Katniss took her place as a tribute. How will she survive against other people chosen to partake in the Hunger Games, an a few mutants every hear and there.

Reviewer's Name: 
Brendan M.

Book Review: Th1rteen R3asons Why

Th1rteen R3asons Why
Author: 
Asher, Jay
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

I read this book because I had heard a lot about the show, but I wanted to read the book rather than watch it. I was a little disappointed. It was a quick read, but it seemed to lack strong characterization. I especially did not like the narrator, Clay Jensen, just because he does not have much depth of character. The writing style is intriguing and mysterious, but it did not make up for the two-dimensional characters. This book was not bad, and it presented many meaningful issues, but the way it was written made it drab and even repetitive. However, I would still recommend this book to those who are interested in the show.

Reviewer's Name: 
Sabrina J.

Book Review: Divergent

Divergent
Author: 
Roth, Veronica
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Divergent is part of a 3-book series. It's about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior who lives in a Dystopian society. There are five factions, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, each of which represent and practice one virtue that the government believes to be the causes of war when they are lacking. When each child in the society reaches the age of 16, they must choose one faction to dedicate their lives to. An aptitude test displays to them which faction they would most belong in, however, Beatrice comes out as Divergent, someone who contains the attributes of more than just one faction. Being Divergent is a threat toward the society and the government, and if they find out you're Divergent, you will be killed.

Divergent is a moving story based on the character Beatrice Prior who goes through a series of events that help her to determine who she is and where she belongs. We watch her struggle with insecurity and doubting herself, a common struggle throughout all teenagers, and we see her overcome them. She becomes confident in herself and her decisions, just like we must all learn to do.

This book is honestly one of my favorites. It's packed with action and suspense, while at the same time it inspires and teaches. It's unique and different from other action stories and definitely keeps the reader intrigued. However, I'd recommend it ages 12+. There's a decent amount of violence, some of which might be hard to read for some kids, and a few other scenes and questionable content that might not be age appropriate for children under the age of 12. Overall however, I loved this book and strongly recommend it for teens.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ella S.

Book Review: Maybe a Fox

Maybe a Fox
Author: 
Appelt, Kathi
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book was a great book, it was beautiful! It was also a B.O.B book for seventh grade from what I know. I loved the characters because they are so relate-able. It all starts when Sylvie, one of the two main characters, goes missing one morning on her daily run to get in shape for track. There is only one explanation for her disappearance, the Slip, which is a mysterious body of water. Jules the other main character is crushed, Sylvie is her only sister, and after Sylvie drowns all she has left is her father. The family of two is torn apart by the loss of their mother and now, oldest daughter. Life goes on, and when the time comes for Jules to go back to school, she sees a sign of luck, but even that is not enough. While all this takes place, deep in the woods, three fox kits are born, two males and one female, who happens to be a kennen. After many adventures Senna, the kennen fox and Jules meet, drawn together by a force of nature. Then something terrible happens. It leaves Jules is in shock, but she makes a discovery of a lifetime. With all the switching from points of view, the book can be a little bit confusing, but it still is great is the reader can understand. I highly suggest this book to anyone looking for a fairly quick read, I was able to read it in about a week. This book was very enjoyable and the reader could feel like they are a part of the book. Highly suggested!
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Ella S.

Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner
Author: 
Dashner, James
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Partly due to the success of The Hunger Games , the Young Adult genre swerved into the survival/sci-fi/dystopian genres that also allowed The Maze Runner to have a ready and willing audience. With this being the case, I’d almost say The Maze Runner has more utopian sensibilities since the narrative encourages teamwork for survival, instead of a “winner take all” emphasis presented in The Hunger Games that valued selfish ambitions over communistic altruism. Plus, if you put 50 teenage boys in a box with no adult supervision, I think the logical conclusion would be more along the lines of Lord of the Flies instead of solving a deadly maze.

While the premise was interesting and allowed for a constant and steady pacing of inciting events, I felt there was not enough explanation in this first part of the trilogy, with very few questions being answered by the end and a lot of hand-waving to push the characters forward to a conclusion. In fact, having seen the movie adaptation, I was hoping the book was better suited to explain the ending, but it was equally as confusing. That being said, there were key elements in the book (like the telepathy) that didn’t make it into the movie.

Overall, the few main characters in The Maze Runner were interesting and unique, even if it took some of them two years to even figure out the simplest parts of the maze. Still, fear can be a huge hindrance toward progress, so I guess I understand their predicament. Additionally, despite using a euphemistic system of swears as part of the characters’ unique jargon, I couldn’t help but think that this book would have been a lot more inappropriate for a young adult audience if the actual swear words were used instead.

An interesting premise with engaging characters, I give The Maze Runner 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. Weilert

Book Review: Flush

Flush
Author: 
Hiaasen, Carl
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Flush, written by Carl Hiaasen was about a boy, named Noah. Noah has a father who is in jail for sinking a boat called the Coral Queen. His father has been put in jail before, and never regrets what he has done because he believes that he is responsible for his actions, and it is worth it for what he has done. Noah is used to his father doing crazy stuff like this, because when Noah's father sees something that upsets him, he will do whatever he can to stop it, especially with people hurting and damaging wildlife. The reason he got recently put in jail is because he claimed that he saw the boat putting all of their sewage into the ocean water. Even though his dad does lots of crazy and unpredictable things, Noah thinks his dad would never lie to him about what he saw. He starts to investigate and tries to prove that the Coral Queen did in fact put sewage into the ocean. This book did surprise me in some ways, and the book got more and more interesting as it went on.

Reviewer grade:

Reviewer's Name: 
Riley C.

Book Review: Everlost

everlost by neal shusterman
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Over the past year or so, Neal Shusterman has quickly become one of my favorite authors, which can probably be attributed to this fantastic novel.

Everlost is the first of three novels, which follows the story of two teenage characters, Nick and Allie, who have just awoken in a ghostly parallel to the real world after drying in a car crash. They are somewhat like ghosts, and retain the exact appearance they had when they died. The book follows these characters as they traverse through this ghostly world, and try to find their purpose among the other dead children, known as the "afterlights". Along the way, these two characters encounter many lifelike characters, and Neal Shusterman is able to effectively depict each event with imagery and descriptive language. I found myself actually excited to read the next chapter, which is coming from someone who is not typically an enthusiastic reader. Therefore, I would recommend this book to anyone who has spare time and is willing to delve themselves into a truly great book.

Reviewer is in grade 11.

Reviewer's Name: 
Alex K.

Book Review: Scars

Scars
Author: 
Rainfield, Cheryl
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In Scars by Cheryl Rainfield, Kendra, a young teenager, struggles with self-harm, depression, and having the constant fear of her rapist following and threatening her. All throughout the book she struggles with many things, and Rainfield describes her journey with passion and accurately describes what depression can and does feel like. I really liked that this book brought attention to in-home neglect, as her mother does not pay much attention to what is happening with her daughter more as how her daughter is being portrayed. I didn't like how fast paced everything is, although it does positively affect the book in some aspects it is a bit overwhelming in certain chapters. I picked this book because of the title and the cover, I have struggled with self-harm and it seemed like I relate to it, which I could in so many ways. This book was very surprising and it made me gasp out loud when the big truth was revealed. I could definitely relate to Kendra, as I said before I struggled with self-harm and have plenty of scars I need to heal. But not only in that way, she and I both have homophobic mothers who at first did not accept the "choices" we made. This book was really, really, great and it truly is one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Gemini K.

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