Realistic

Book Review: The Serpent King

The Serpent King
Author: 
Zentner, Jeff
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

'The Serpent King' gripped me in its coils and kept me turning its pages late into the night. A triumph of love and dignity," (New York Times Bestselling author, Stephanie Perkins). In the depths of a small Tennessee town, Dill Early struggles with a reputation that isn't even his. With an insane, jailed minister for a father and a brainwashed, beat-down mother, Dill does not expect to escape from the recesses of poverty and shame. "The Serpent King" tracks the senior year of outcasts Dill and his best friends Travis and Lydia. Throughout this exhilarating novel you experience joy, heartbreak, hope, and thankfulness for your own situation.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.

Book Review: Wonder

Wonder
Author: 
Palacio, R.J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book "Wonder" is about a boy with face abnormalities named August who goes to public school for the first time as a middle school student. While going to school he makes friends, enemies, and faces hardships most students don't face. The source of his bullying throughout the year is Julian. Auggie deals with Julian and his gang with his own new friends until something unexpected happens.

I picked this book because the description seemed interesting and "Wonder" is a battle book. I enjoyed the deep meaningful lesson that the book teaches. There is actually not a part I did not enjoy. "Wonder" was not at all predictable. I could relate to August because likes Star Wars and I do too. It is one of the best books I have read this year. I highly recommend reading "Wonder" for a heartwarming story with many ups and downs.

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O.

Book Review: Where the Watermelons Grow

Where the Watermelons Grow
Author: 
Baldwin, Cindy
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Rules for reading:

1) Never ever buy a book. The library has thousands for free.
2) Never ever write in a book, especially if you followed rule 1.
3. Never let more than 5 days pass without reading more of your current book.
Stories don't feel slow if you read them quickly.

Where the Watermelons Grow broke all my rules.

When it finally arrived in the mail, I was very very tempted to devour it all in one night. However, it only took a few pages for me to see that this book needed to be a whole different experience. Like Della, my mama suffers from mental illness. I was 20 instead of 12 when my mama's meds suddenly and tremendously stopped working, and I felt just like Della-- wondering why daddy couldn't take care of it, thinking that I was old enough now that I could fix it if I worked hard enough, and wondering in what ways I had caused or contributed to breaking my mother.

So many times I had to put Watermelons down for a few days (even weeks) to just soak up all my thoughts about a certain chapter or section. It also gave the story more weight to kind of experience it in real time instead of having everything resolve by the end of my week.

One passage that struck me the most was where Della's congregation notices Mama isn't at church and are asking Daddy if he needs any help, but he just sheepishly thanks them for their generosity and assures them everything is fine while Della's mind replays all the things that were not fine about Mama that week and she can't believe Daddy thinks it's fine. I've lived that scene so many times about my mama, and in my adult life when so much is not going great. It's not that help isnt necessary, but more that you dont even know what kind of help to ask for, or if it even exists.

Through it all, Della learns that she has many other women in her life to help mother her when Mama isn't at her best. I know my mom kind of resented my sister and I having additional role models because she didn't want to be replaced, but I don't know how we would have gotten by without having such a community of women willing to take loose chicks under their wing from time to time.

One last thing, I'm a little jealous that Della made peace with her situation at 12. It's a long road, and maybe I haven't mastered it yet either, but it would have been good to have this kind of assurance at 12. ;)

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie M.

Book Review: Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree
Author: 
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book "Fish in a Tree" is about a girl named Ally Nickerson who has dyslexia and faces the struggles of not being able to read and everyday struggles any student can relate to. Ally experiences the school hardships of being alone, bullying, and not wanting to work. Despite these struggles she manages to get through the year while succeeding with her new friends. Throughout the story Ally learns valuable traits that the reader can relate to and apply to their own life. The novel "Fish in a Tree" not only inspires the reader, but teaches that things do get better. I personally liked the book because it was inspiring and had a great plot.

I picked this book for multiple reasons and was not at all disappointed. My first reason for picking the book was because it is a new battle book. My second reason for picking "Fish in a Tree" was the fact the reviews states fans of R.J. Palacio's "Wonder" would enjoy it and "Wonder" is one of my favorite books. I enjoyed the amazing character development the most. I actually enjoyed enjoyed all parts of "Fish in a Tree" and can honestly can not find a part I did not enjoy. This book did surprise me. I expected it to end in a sad, depressing way but it was in fact the exact opposite. I related the most to the main character Ally and her friends Keisha and Albert. This is by far one of the best books I have read this year. I would 100% recommend reading "Fish in a Tree".

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O.

Book Review: Wonder

Wonder
Author: 
Palacio, R.J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book Wonder fallows different perspectives of a boy named auggie and his family and friends. Auggie is a little boy with a deformed face. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the switching of one prespective to the next. Anyone who wants to read this book is welcome to it can be read by 8-18 year olds or just anyone who wants to read it. The author did a really good job of tying all the perspectives together and make them not confusing. It was definitely one of my favorite books.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ashlyn H.

Book Review: Illegal

Book Review: Illegal
Author: 
Colfer, Eoin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Ebo’s brother Kwame is missing. But Ebo knows where he’s gone: to find their sister. Life in Libya is hard, so Ebo and Kwame’s sister, Hannah, left and promised to send back money once she was installed in Europe with a new job and more money. But since she left, Ebo and Kwame have heard nothing from her. So when Ebo wakes up one morning and Kwame is gone, Ebo knows he must go after him. What follows is the harrowing, heartbreaking story of Ebo’s journey through dangerous cities, deserts, and the ocean.

Wow. Look, I cry a lot, and am no stranger to crying whilst reading. But this book made me sob. Like, uncontrollable tears running down my face. The refugee story is often a sad and intense one, and Ebo’s is certainly no exception. And then, when you think about Ebo’s story in the context of it being a real thing happening to real people in this world that we all share, and the US is actively turning away people in similar if not the same situation, well, its depressing. But importantly so. One must also consider the fact that thousands of children, thousands of people are dying, and no one seems to care. It’s a deeply sad book that will cause lots of introspection, but for me, that’s a good thing. This is an issue that needs more attention.

The stunning artwork added to the impact. Seeing Ebo’s expressions - the heartbreak, loss, and hope playing out across his face – made what was already an intense, powerful story all the more affecting. I loved pretty much everything about this book, and I hope you take the time to read it. 5 stars.

Thanks to Baker & Taylor, Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the free paper and electronic advance copies, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Illegal is available now – put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: The Rejected Writers' Book Club

The Rejected Writers' Book Club
Author: 
Kelman, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

If you need a laugh-out-loud book with plenty of zany characters and a main character who happens to be a librarian, PICK UP THIS BOOK NOW!!! These are a wacky group of writers, and you will just have a good time following their adventures. Be sure to read the next two books in the series - "Rejected Writers Take the Stage", and "The Rejected Writers Christmas Wedding."

Reviewer's Name: 
Krista M.

Book Review: The Science of Breakable Things

The Science of Breakable Things
Author: 
Keller, Tae
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I loved this book and its amazing way of taking a classic plot like a dead mother and transforming it into a mother than only seems dead, but is actually sick with depression. The main character, Natalie, misses how her mom used to act and be around her. When her teacher Mr. Neely requires a science project for school and suggests a egg drop, she enters the competition determined to win the cash prize. Natalie thinks she can use the money to take her mom and herself to see a rare blue orchid her mom used to study when she still worked. With the help of her best friend and a new acquaintance, will her hopes to have her mom back to normal splat right in front of her? I recommend this book for an easy, but inspiring read about friendship, family, and keeping hope alive.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cook, Anna

Book Review: After Iris

After Iris
Author: 
Farrant, Natasha
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is great! I loved how it captured a big-family dynamic, and how it completely dived into the mind of Bluebell, the twin of Iris, now dead. Bluebell struggles with her twin's death, the negligent behavior of her mourning parents, and the varying personalities of her eccentric remaining siblings. Her elder sister, Flora, is subject to outbursts, passionate rants, and dying her dreadlocks pink. Blue's younger siblings, Twig and Jasmine (yes, I'm aware they have stupid names) are temperamental and adorably obsessed with anything cute and fluffy. When Blue's parents hire a stay-in babysitter, Zoran, to tend to the kids full-time when the parents are away, Blue realizes that she doesn't have to live in the shadow Iris left behind when she died. She realizes she is her own person, outside of her deceased twin.

I LOVED this book! It's about a large family coping with loss, and a former twin coming to terms with her sister's premature death.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jordan T.

Book Review: George

George
Author: 
Gino, Alex
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Since it was so short, it was a really quick read, but by no means an easy one. I loved it because it was so eye opening, real, and heart breaking. I hated it for the same reasons. It was incredible! The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is because it ended too quickly. "George" is about a 4th grader who knows she's a girl born into a boy's body. As she struggles to keep this concealed from her peers, she debates if she even should keep the truth a secret. I don't want to spoil it too much, but she receives support from some peers, and uncertainty and... almost disappointment?... from others. Please read it, it's amazing! I loved it so much.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jordan T.

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