Kids Book Reviews

Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Isabel is a thirteen-year old slave who is trying to gain her and her
sister's freedom. After their master died, Isabel and Ruth were supposed to
be freed, but were sold to a Loyalist couple who brings them to New York.
After an incident where Isabel is branded, Ruth if sold to a family in a
different state. Determined to find her, Isabel takes the advice of her
friend and servant boy, Curzon. Isabel becomes a spy on her master and other
Loyalists and reports back to the Patriots. Later, when Curzon is arrested,
she breaks him out of jail and the two run away to look for her sister.

Even though the novel is fictional, the events are based on the American
Revolutionary War, and it's pretty accurate. As someone who likes history and
adventure, this book was a good balance of both. Despite her circumstances,
Isabel remains a positive character and does everything to protect her sister
and those she loves. Obviously, there's some sensitive topics since they're
slaves, but I do think this book gives good information about the
Revolutionary War and how African Americans were ironically very helpful to
the Patriot cause.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

The sequel to Chains, this story follows Curzon's life as a soldier for the
Patriots during the American Revolutionary War. After Isabel abandoned him to
look for her sister, Curzon finds himself on the outskirts of Valley Forge.
After saving a soldier from a British troop, Curzon enlists in the Colonial
Army for the next year. The book describes Curzon's life at Valley Forge: the
strenuous labor, harsh winter climate, lack of food and resources, and the
racism Curzon experiences from other soldiers. Not long in his stay, his
former master visits the camp and forces Curzon back into servitude. For the
rest of the novel, Curzon plots his escape and reunites with Isabel.

I wasn't expecting the second book to be told through a different point of
view, but Curzon's story is just as touching as Isabel's. I also think that
the book is a good perspective of the life of a soldier at Valley Forge. The
events were relatively accurate, and throughout, I felt tense and anxious to
know about what would happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed Curzon and Isabel's
reunion, and I'm thrilled that there's a third book to the series.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Anderson, Laurie Halse
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

The final book in the Seeds of America trilogy, Isabel is finally reunited
with Ruth. However, when she meets Ruth, who has epilepsy and a degree of
intellectual disability, she rejects Isabel to stay with her adopted family.
Eventually, after convincing Ruth to accompany Isabel, Curzon, and a third
slave, Aberdeen, the four teens go out to search for freedom. They travel
north until making it to Williamsburg where the girls work in a laundry, and
we find out that Curzon joined the Patriot army and Aberdeen became a spy for
the British. Separated briefly, Isabel and Ruth reunite with Curzon at a
Continental Army camp.

After all of Isabel, Ruth, and Curzon's suffering, the ending was a big
breath of relief. Everything seemed to fall in place finally. This book,
besides providing good information about the Revolutionary War and colonial
society, showed how just like White Americans, African Americans wanted to
forge their own identities and fight for what they believed it; whether that
was freedom, family, or love. Even though the main characters are fictional,
I felt like I was reading someone's real experiences and story from the past.
I also liked the list of all the historical events that took place over the
course of the trilogy that the author provided at the end.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

5 stars(A magical book)
Welcome to a magical world, filled with witchcraft, wizardry, dark magic, and wonder. This book starts off with Harry Potter, a boy close to the age of 11, being bullied by his only family about how strange he is. It follows him as he enters a mysterious school, learning more about why he is so strange. I enjoy this book because of the many different aspects of mystery there are. I would recommend this book to any person looking for a magical read.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Varjak Paw book cover
Said, S. F.
4 stars = Really Good

4 stars (little young for me).

Varjak Paw is a fantasy written from the point of view of a cat. This book caught my attention because it was about a cat descended from a family of ‘special’ cats, who has passed down mysterious knowledge, dubbed ‘The Way’. It starts off in a household full of cats with an absent owner, possibly sick, possibly dead. Varjak Paw is the runt of the family, a cat who itches to discover what's on the other side of the wall. I enjoy rereading this book because of how well written the storyline is. The different pieces fit together perfectly in a puzzle.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan W.
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
3 stars = Pretty Good

Jonas lives in a society where everyone is treated equally and given the same opportunity. Except for the Committee of Elders and special people lie The Giver, no one has 'special privileges'. Jonas, like everyone in his society, has a sister and two parents who were specifically handpicked to be his 'perfect parents'. In Jonas' society, no one sees color or has memories of the 'time before' beside The Giver. Eventually, Jonas is picked as the next Giver and begins his training once he officially becomes a teenager. During his training, Jonas experiences pain and happiness for the first time, and he's granted the ability to see color. After The Giver dies and Jonas becomes the new Giver, he finds it difficult to cope with the burden of enduring all the pain and suffering from the past and decides to run away.

I liked this dystopian novel. Jonas' society seems perfect on the outside, but once I met The Giver, I realized that people like Jonas could live perfect lives at the detriment of people like the Giver and Birthmothers who are isolated from the rest of society and treated based on what they can provide instead of their actual character. At first, I didn't like Jonas because he didn't think for himself and he always followed the rules. By the end of the book, after he's received all The Giver's memories, he starts to stand up for what he believes in. He even tries to save his family but sees that they're too brainwashed by the Committee of Elders.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Into the Wild
Hunter, Erin
4 stars = Really Good

I read this book when I was in the 3rd grade. I loved cats, so this series seemed really interesting. The series “Warriors” is HUGE!! There are so many books, and after reading “Into the Wild” I read all of them. This book is about a normal house cat named Rusty. He finds out about a group of cats that live in the wild. His curiosity lures him ‘into the wild’ to be with the warriors. For my third grade self, this book was the coolest thing ever! There’s drama and a mystery. While I definitely think that the target audience for this book is probably late elementary to middle school, this is a good read for anyone. I loved this book, and would highly recommend to anyone who loves cats and has a good imagination!

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
A Wrinkle in Time
L'Engle, Madeleine
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

A Wrinkle in Time is unlike any Science Fiction novel I have ever read. It is exciting and scientific and even a little romantic like every other science fiction novel, but it grapples with other ideas like how one thing (yet to be revealed) helps to conquer the darkness inside us and all around. It follows Margaret (Meg) Murry in the search for her missing father but at the same time follows a search in understanding herself. She wants more than anything to find her father because he was the one who made her feel like herself and now that he is gone, she feels lost. Her genius younger brother Charles Wallace is a major player in Meg's journey to find herself and in the end is what will trigger the one thing she has that the darkness does not.

I first read this book in third grade as required reading, but since then I have probably read it over ten times. It is one of those books that you get something new out of every time you read it. I have also never read such a creative book. Madeleine L'Engle makes it interesting and unpredictable while at the same time tying in internal struggles. Everyone can relate to Meg and will learn from her struggles by reading this book.

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

The Lightning Thief is a book starting with the premise that the Greek Gods are alive, and Percy Jackson is thrown into the middle of a war between them. Rick Riordian blends Mythological details with humor and regular teenage actions into an otherwise peaceful world. The main reason I liked this book was that you learned about the ancient Greek Gods while reading a fun book. If you read this one, I would highly recommend reading the other four books, as well as The Heroes of Olympus series.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
A Wrinkle in Time
L'Engle, Madeleine
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

A Wrinkle in Time is an amazing book that brings fantasy mechanics into science, and makes it as real as possible. It starts off with Meg, a brilliant child in a family of brilliant people, who is struggling with grades. She blames it on herself, but she goes on and explains that it's because her father suddenly left, upsetting her natural world. A Wrinkle in Time brings together amazing description techniques, and interesting science mechanics, with quite a bit of humor. Overall, this book is one of my favorites of all time.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Compass South
Larson, Hope
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Compass South is the thrilling story of Alexander (Alex) and Cleopatra (Cleo) Dodge, twins in 1850s America. With their single father missing, and no money left to live, the twins abandon their gang-ridden home in Manhattan. Cleo and Alex set out to impersonate missing boys who are heirs to a rich uncle in California. Along the way, they meet suspicious characters, new friends, and obstacles of every kind. This graphic novel is a thrilling adventure with lush artwork, a solid story, and lovable characters. Each chapter slowly unravels the journey of the Dodge twins and was good enough for me to read in a single sitting. Highly recommended to lovers of graphic novels, adventure/mystery, and Mark Twain-type stories.

Reviewer's Name: Lily
The Last Present
Mass, Wendy
4 stars = Really Good

The book The Last Present follows around a group of teens that know things other people don't and two of them are able to go back in time. I really enjoyed the book and thought everything tied into each other well. While at times it can be a little confusing what is happening or why they do what they do, you end up always getting the answers. The author did a great job of making sure all the details made sense and that all the little details were included. While it is a series I had not read the other books and it made perfect sense. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that will take you on a ride of twists and turns.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Book Review: Blubber
Blume, Judy
4 stars = Really Good

I enjoyed this book. It was a very accurate description of bullying and being bullied. The problem I had with it is it ended very abruptly and there was no illustration on how to overcome bullying and no vindication. I assume the author did this on purpose, providing a snapshot of bullying with no solution. A list of anti-bullying resources would have made a great addition to the book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Paulsen, Gary
3 stars = Pretty Good

A 13-year-old boy, Brian Robeson, traveled in a small bush plane to visit his dad in Canada. Mid-flight the pilot has trouble breathing and Brian finds himself trying to fly the plane so they don't crash. The plane eventually runs out of fuel and makes a crash landing into a lake. While swimming out of the lake, Brian remembers the hatchet his mother gave him which becomes his one and only survival tool. When Brian realizes he is stranded in the woods, he has to find ways to survive in this new environment. Brian first finds a patch of berries for a source of food. He then sets out to build a shelter for safety and fire for warmth. After facing many challenges Brian and missing warm meals and his bed, Brian must continue to survive by adapting to his situation.

Reviewer's Name: Kiana
Lucky Broken Girl
Behar, Ruth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Lucky Broken Girl is about is girl named Ruthie, who recently moved from
Castro's Cuba. When her father decides to buy a car and surprise the family,
they get into a terrible accident, testing the car out. Ruthie breaks her
leg, and must live in a body cast to mend her leg and to make sure one leg is
taller than the other, since she is growing. Ruthie must spend months in the
body cast. Along the way, Ruthie makes friends and loses friends, learns how
to paint, and continues her life, as much as possible, as to not get behind.
This is also a true story. The author changed some parts of the story, but it
is based off of true events.
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me that not everyone's life is
perfect, and everyone is going through something. Even though the setting of
the book was in Ruthie's room most of the story, I had a lot of trouble
putting the book down. There are some sad parts but there are also a lot of
happy parts. This book is definitely a ten out of ten.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
The Island of Dr. Libris
Grabenstein, Chris
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

I love this book because of the creativity. The way it blends creative concepts and reality is amazing, in that it feels like something that actually could happen. The detail is pretty good and the characters feel realistic. Overall, this book is a great read, blending creative concepts, excellent detail, and realism into the same book.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Artemis Fowl
Colfer, Eoin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Artemis Foul is a thrilling book, bringing fantasy to reality. The
fantasy part of the book is really well done, as the technology for the most
part is realistic. The book follows mainly Artemis Foul, a 12-year-old genius
child, millionaire, and criminal mastermind. To get his family's fortune back
after his father is assumed dead, Artemis Foul dives into legend and comes
across fairies. But these fairies aren't the ones from bedtime stories, they
are dangerous and, when it comes to it, deadly. This book has a story with
many twists and turns. I highly recommend reading this book, it is a
must-read book.

Reviewer's Name: Torin
Keeper of the Lost Cities
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

"Keeper of the Lost Cities" by Shannon Messenger was recommended to me and I love it! The plot, characters, and the way it flows all makes the book a 100/100. Twelve year old Sophie Foster is suddenly taken from her world by a boy who explains to her how she is different and claims she can change the world. Leaving the people who raised her was difficult, but after meeting people and gaining new relationships, Sophie realizes that she would do anything to save her friends and family. Along the way, Sophie hopes to find out who and what she really is.

Reviewer's Name: Kate S.
Sal and Gabi Break The Universe
Hernandez, Carlos
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Welcome to ‘Sal and Gabi Break the Universe’, a book that will take you on an awesome universe-tearing adventure! This book will show the life of a middle-school magician, named Sal. I especially loved this book because of the time put into the descriptions of the magic tricks. Another thing that makes this book shine is the humor. There was enough humor in this book to keep me laughing the whole time I read it. This book is high up on my book list. I would suggest this to anyone, and I mean anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
 Bridge to Terabithia
Paterson, Katherine
3 stars = Pretty Good

This book is about two unlikely friends who create an imaginary world with many kinds of animals and beasts. Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke become friends when Leslie moves and becomes Jess’s neighbor. But they really get to know each other when Leslie is the only girl to beat Jess in a running race.

One day, Jess and Leslie use a hanging rope to swing over a little river that is nearby, and that’s when they start to rule, as king and queen, the imaginary Terabithia.

There, the two friends have adventures as they try to rule over their subjects, and keep peace and order in Terabithia. Some of these subjects include hairy vultures, squogres, and other spirits, both good and bad. Squogres are massive squirrel-like creatures who are constantly growling, and they wear strange golden helmets with a spike on top, like a Triceratops.

With this book keeping you imaginative, with some sad and happy parts, I'm going to go with 3/5 stars for The Bridge to Terabithia.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman