Historical

Book Review: The Paper Girl of Paris

The Paper Girl of Paris
Author: 
Taylor, Jordyn
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

When Alice ends up in Paris for the summer her whole world changes. When her grandmother passes away she inherits a mysteriously locked apartment in Paris. Upon finding the apartment, she acquires help from a cute Parisian student named Paul. Paul and Alice quickly become friends and realize there may be more to their friendship. Between figuring out a mysterious apartment from World War 2 and a budding romance this book is a keeper! Couldn't put it down.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maria

Book Review: This Tender Land

This Tender Land
Author: 
Krueger, William Kent
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Orphaned and alone, Odie and his brother, Albert are sent to Lincoln Indian Training School where they spend the next four years of their lives. However, the superintendent is cruel and abusive, and after committing a grave crime, Odie is forced to run away. Together with his brother, Mose his friend, and Emmy, an orphaned girl, Odie and his newfound family take a canoe down the Minnesota River with plans to go to Saint Louis and settle down with their family. During their odyssey, the friends change in different ways as each of them grapples with their heart's truest desires.

This book is an allusion to a different popular story, and I loved the different references and allusions. The main characters are all children, but each of them brought me so much insight into the world and what it means to "find what's in your heart". The novel is also full of great surprises that kept me wanting to read even more! It's mostly an adventure novel, but there is some romance and elements of fantasy and magic, so there's a bit of everything for everyone. The ending was also beautiful, and although it was a bit sad, it was fitting.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nneoma

Book Review: The Girl from the Channel Islands

The Girl from the Channel Islands
Author: 
Lecoat, Jenny
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Hedy is a Jewish girl who went to Vienna to escape the Nazis but she unfortunately trapped herself amongst them. This time, she has no escape. Her life gets into greater and greater danger everyday. She hides with her friends and family and becomes a translator and tries whatever she could to keep herself hidden and safe. She meets a German officer who gives her sympathy and feels the position she's in. Kurt is his name, and he and Hedy start to develop feelings for each other. I feel like readers would enjoy the characters and their useful friendships in the book. Overall, this book is a little more mature because of the situation and the events, especially since it's based on true events, but it is still a great read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Trisha

Book Review: Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima
Author: 
Anaya, Rudolfo A.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Taking place just after World War II in New Mexico, this novel follows the coming of age of Antonio (Tony). The story is told through the perspective of adult Tony who reflects on his childhood, starting at the age of seven when an elderly curandera, Ultima, moves in with him and his family. Throughout the novel, Tony struggles with understanding his destiny, and whether he should embrace the vaqueros of his father's family or the religious farmers of his mother's. Torn between his parents' different dreams for his future, Tony forms a close bond with Ultima, who serves as his middle ground. During the course of his childhood, Ultima shows Tony how to embrace all sides of his identity to create something new.

I enjoyed this book because it covered a variety of important themes, and although it's centered around Chicano culture and literature, its message transcends cultures. Tony's story was full of heartbreak, adventure, love, and hope, and in one way or another, I found that I could relate to his story and the characters around him. The 2013 film adaption also does a good job of following the original storyline.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nneoma

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
Author: 
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Set during the Jazz Age of the 1920s, this novel is told through the perspective of Nick Carraway, who moves to Long Island New York for work. There, Nick meets Jay Gatsby, a mysterious multi-millionaire who has an obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy. Throughout the course of the novel, Gatsby makes several attempts to get Daisy's attention, and with the help of Nick, the two eventually begin a secret affair. Ultimately, however, Gatsby's disillusionment with Daisy ends in tragedy.

I gave this novel a three-star rating because I felt that while the plot and storyline were interesting, it doesn't resonate with young adults so I got bored reading through it. None of the characters are likable because they all commit or help in a crime, and many of their motivations are morally corrupt. Given the time it was written, some of the characters also reflect biases held at the time, which are outdated and borderline offensive now. I did like the overall themes and message of the book, and the 2013 film adaption is the best adaption of the four.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nneoma

Book Review: The Book of Lost Friends

The Book of Lost Friends
Author: 
Wingate, Lisa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book was not necessarily easy to read but it was so well done:it juxtaposes the two time lines and the main characters with aplomb and great sustained suspense. 1888 vs 1988 racism and the differences and the shameful similarities. Fascinating characters, great plotting and page turning suspense. Thought provoking and a really good read. Really glad I read this.

Reviewer's Name: 
Susan I.

Book Review: Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
Author: 
Steinbeck, John
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is quite the definition of a classic book. The two main characters, George and Lennie wander around Soledad California in the 1930s, pursuing their dream of owning their own farm. Throughout the book, there is a lot of conflicts involving Lennie, who battles with intellectual disabilities. Of Mice and Men does a fantastic job of highlighting the ups and downs of a relationship, especially when George is left to a lot of "caretaking" roles. The book was not excessively predictable, however, this is a definite element of foreshadowing that could add predictability. The entire story involves the idea of pursuing your dreams, as well as the difficulties people ran into during the great depression, and some of the sexism, racism, and overall discrimination. I think that this is a very important topic to bring awareness to, especially during the time, and I believe that Of Mice and Men does a great job illustrating that.

Reviewer's Name: 
Judah

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: 
Maniscalco, Kerri
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I absolutely loved this fast paced murder mystery! With awesome likeable characters to an exciting plot, this book has it all. A good murder mystery should always have an exciting ending, and this book did not disappoint. I was totally engrossed in this master piece from start to finish, and cannot wait to start the second one. Stalking Jack the Ripper blew away my expectations and more.
Reviewer Grade: 9.

Reviewer's Name: 
Sage

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
Author: 
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The Great Gatsby is likely the most commonly read book by students between middle and high school, an assigned reading that teaches students what some aspects of life were like in the 1920s and the over indulgent society that preceded the Great Depression. However, it is also a very simple book about an image obsessed man whose life in a summer is documented by a man who barely dares to call himself a friend. For all the hype surrounding The Great Gatsby, especially with a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, it is honestly a pretty underwhelming read. Never was I completely enraptured by the story or awestruck by any new information given by the author. It is a descent book with some interesting underlying meaning but overall I would say it is mediocre at best, certainly not a literary masterpiece to be held in prestige.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie

Book Review: The World to Come

The World to Come
Author: 
Horn, Dara
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

For lovers of art, WWII history, and philosophy, Dara Horn's "The World to Come" packs quite the punch with it's mixture of topic materials and introspection on family, religion, politics, and the concept of preservation. This book follows a family's history from before birth to the afterlife and it's attachment to a very famous painting. In terms of literary analysis, this story has some of the most vivid and interesting imagery and metaphors I have ever seen in a book. Also, it's interpretation of the Jewish afterlife is incredibly interesting, although maybe that is just because I am outside the faith. However, this book is a beautiful, sometimes gorey, piece of
literature that expanded my perspective on many aspects of global life and connection, especially the impact of war on families and time in general.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie

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