Humor

Book Review: Big Shot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

Author
Kinney, Jeff
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

If you have read the other Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, than you know that Greg has never been much of a sports kid. From sitting inside all day playing video games to not using the bench press that he got for Christmas. He thinks that people get certain athlete genes that make them better at sports and he guesses that he didn't get many of those. Despite his hereditary roadblocks, he wants to prove himself to his dad who is continually encouraging to give sports a shot. His opportunity comes faster than he realizes when his school announces field day which would have evens like tug of war contests and sack races. This was all looking like a good chance for Greg until field day takes an unexpected turn. From being used as light weight, to being traded away by his own teacher with two other kids for one beefy kid. Greg was ready to give up, but his mom wouldn't let him. She thought he had potential to do any sport he wanted to, and with basketball tryouts coming up, she made him go. Greg was sure that he wouldn't get on any of the teams, but he got on a separate team that was started by the basketball star's father. The basketball star, Preet Patel, couldn't make it to tryouts because of a family event, so he wasn't allowed to try out for the team. He really wanted to play basketball so his father, angry about the situation, decided to start a team with himself and all of the kids who didn't make the basketball team. Greg thinks that there might be a chance that they could actually do good with Preet on their team, but disaster strikes when Preet hurts his ankle and can't play for the rest of the season. Will Greg Heffley crash and burn, or will he get his "Big Shot."

I neither disliked nor liked this book. I felt like it was an okay story, but not the best Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that I have ever read. I picked this book simply because I have read these books since 3rd grade, and I want to continue to read them and see which ones are the best. The part that I enjoyed most about this book was the part in the gym when Greg actually considers working out. I'm wondering if he may actually do it in the future. The part I enjoyed least about this book was the field day event. I just felt like it was a real uninteresting time filler. This book didn't surprise me at all. It was a fairly easy to predict and not one of the best books I have read this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes this series or funny sports books.

Reviewer's Name
Cooper
Genres

Book Review: Everything on a Waffle

Author
Horvath, Polly
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I rate this book five stars. The book tells the story of Primrose Squarp, a presumed orphan. Throughout the story she continues the search for her missing parents, despite disapproval from others. I relate to Primrose in her determination and courage. I would recommend this book to any of my friends, and it is in my top three books of all time.

Reviewer's Name
Katie

Book Review: Horton Halfpott, or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor, or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset

Author
Angleberger, Tom
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Horton Halfpott is a comedy novel about a kitchen boy's life, love, and mystery. Horton Halfpott follows its titular character as he navigates the cruelty of the nobles, a new-found crush, and the investigation of a stolen "Lump". The book's core is its comedy, with a narrator adding to each movement with foreshadowing and direct acknowledgement of the reader. Targeted for kids ages 8-12, the humor is clever but not so much as to confuse a younger audience. Characters are likeable and the main characters are well-developed considering how short the novel is. Although the mystery's conclusion is evident to the reader, watching the detectives' and antagonist's plans in work adds an element of tension to the book, especially during the second half. The only major issue I had while reading was pacing. Most chapters are quite short, and the book could easily be reduced from almost 50 4-5 page chapters to 15 longer chapters. With such short chapters comes some whiplash as certain characters take control of the perspective for a page or two before the reader swaps to a different character. This had some jarring results, especially around the 3/4 mark of the book.

Overall, Horton Halfpott is a great story with some formatting problems holding it back from being a fantastic one. This story is still a worthwhile read for pre-teens, however.

Reviewer's Name
Locke

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball

Author
Kinney, Jeff
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Wrecking Ball is full of twists and turns. The Heffleys find themselves with a massive inheritance, and by Mom vote, turned it toward home improvement. However, they soon learn that home improvement is nothing like their expectations. There was no chocolate pudding floor, no gaming floor, just rotten walls, unwanted critters, and something hiding in the pipes... They manage to find another home to move to, using the money from selling their old house. The deal falls through when the buyers see the house after the "improvements". When the dust settles, will the Heffleys have to get out of Dodge, or will they be able to stay?

Reviewer's Name
Kai
Genres

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End

Author
Kinney, Jeff
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The main gist of the fifteenth book by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End, is that Greg Heffley and his family have been living in their grandmother's basement ever since some "financial issues" surfaced in the previous book. Ergo, there house was destroyed by a hot tub falling through their roof. Anyways, the conditions in which they are living in are not only uncomfortable for Greg, but also extremely boring. He has to not only face being cramped in a basement with his family all summer, but he can't even go hang out with his best friend Rowley because he and his family are on a trip to Europe. The family comes to the conclusion that they need a vacation, but the problem is that they are in strict money-saving mode. With a stroke of luck, they are able to find opportunity when Greg's Dad's brother, Uncle Gary, leaves an old RV in Greg's great grandmother's driveway. They clean it out, buy supplies, and hit the open road. On the way to finding their perfect camping paradise, they hit many road-bumps such as finding a place to park the RV, getting lost in the woods, and having a run in with a bear. Finally, they find Campers Eden, which is an RV park and resort where it seems that they can enjoy the perfect vacation. Will things turn out the way they think, or will they go off, "The Deep End."

Personally, I fairly enjoyed this book despite the fact that I am probably older than most of the audience that enjoys it. I find that the simple humor and writing is a good thing to help me relax at night and give me a laugh at the same time. The main reason why I picked this book to read was because I had been reading the books since third grade and like to keep up with them even though they are not quite at my reading level anymore. The only thing that I didn't enjoy about this book was it was the same basic story for the Long Haul which was the ninth book in the Wimpy Kid franchise. In the Long Haul the family decides to take a trip during their summer vacation so their family could bond. Besides this fact, the book was a fairly decent read. It was not necessarily the best book I have read this year, but it was a definite nice taste of nostalgia and humor. I would recommend this book for anyone in the second grade or higher. It is what I would call a timeless and easy read.

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Big Squirrels Don't Cry

Author
North, Ryan
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

In this second collection of Squirrel Girl comics, you'll once again find Doreen Green trying to balance her life as Squirrel Girl and as a computer science student at Empire State University. This can be quite the balancing act, especially when you have a huge fluffy tail that you have to hide when you're in your civilian persona. While other superheroes have origin stories that explain their tremendous powers, Squirrel Girl is...Squirrel Girl.

Doreen's "unbeatable" title continues to be tested as she uses both her skills as a squirrel person who can communicate with and control squirrels and as a computer science major to defeat villains who terrorize New York City. The fact that she's a superhero who can talk to and control squirrels is just amusing enough that fans of the first collection will likely enjoy this one. However, I wasn't prepared to read a Howard the Duck crossover in this collection, so know that it's not necessarily a volume completely dedicated to Squirrel Girl.

Once again, I enjoyed Ryan North's writing (there's a lot since Dorreen rarely resorts to violence to solve her problems). I haven't read many comic books, so I'm still getting used to the art styles, especially since they are distinctly different between the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl issues and the Howard the Duck issues. And while this volume was entertaining, there is a certain limitation that comes with a superhero whose only abilities revolve around squirrels. Doreen can use only so many iterations of these powers before they become repetitive.

More Squirrel Girl action with a Howard the Duck crossover, I give The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Big Squirrels Don't Cry 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Powers of a Squirrel

Author
North, Ryan
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I was first made aware of this somewhat obscure Marvel superhero because I am a regular reader of Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics webcomic series. While I sat on the knowledge of Squirrel Girl's existence for some time, I finally broke down and bought the two-volume collection of North's imagining of the hero. In this first volume, Powers of a Squirrel, we get to know Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl), a computer scientist student studying at Empire State University.

As a much more comedic superhero compared to the likes of Iron Man or Captain America, Squirrel Girl's claim to fame is the fact that she is "Unbeatable." This includes defeating some of Marvel's most fearsome and powerful villains in unique ways that don't involve violence. Sure, sometimes Squirrel Girl has to get her paws dirty, but the more amusing storylines are the ones where she saves the day using unconventional squirrel-based techniques. That being said, it's a funny gimmick the first few times, then it gets repetitive near the end of this volume.

The art for this comic was decent, but the writing was certainly worth the price of admission. Even the little author notes at the bottom of the page were fun to read, despite being in a minuscule font that my 35-year-old eyes had trouble reading. There's a lot of suspension of disbelief in this collection of the first eight issues of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but honestly, what superhero comic book doesn't have some amount of this? And while Squirrel Girl is a bit more quirky than other superheroes, I do hope that she'll get her own MCU movie in the future.

A quirky and fun Marvel super hero, I give The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Powers of a Squirrel 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.

Book Review: All the Wrong Questions: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?"

Author
Snicket, Lemony
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

If you have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you know of a secret organization, and many, many easily fooled people. But, Lemony Snicket is not one of them. This book involves that secret organization, a very dangerous criminal, a plot involving a statue of a hideous sea creature, and Lemony Snicket himself. Perhaps you should turn your attention away from this horrible book and read another one.... JUST KIDDING : this book is amazingly awesome, no matter what Mr. Snicket says on the back!

When Lemony Snicket was 12 years old, he already had his hands on a mystery.mA confusing, detailed mystery. But if you pay attention, and read closely, you should be able to keep up. Lemony purposefully chooses the last-ranked mentor on the list, hoping that he will have more time for something else, but nothing can be farther from the truth. He is soon involved in another mystery, one that will take nearly all his time. His mentor, S. Theodora Markson, has no idea what she's doing, but acts like she knows everything. Someone is lying to him. He gets into trouble with the law by pure accident. This will take all the skills and knowledge from his 'unusual education'.

I love all of the Lemony Snicket books I have read so far, and this one is no exception. The plot will keep you guessing at every twist and turn. I like the way Lemony hardly ever panics, and how he handles things in his out-of-the-box way. This is a great way to spend the time if you are bored and sleepy, because it will wake you right up, and keep you entertained throughout the whole book. However, do not read this at bedtime, because you will not be able to stop, and will probably lose yourself a lot of sleep. This book is the first in a series, if you are looking for more Lemony Snicket.

Have fun reading!

Reviewer's Name
Kelsey