National Book Award/Finalist

Book Review: Ghost

Book Review: Ghost
Author: 
Reynolds, Jason
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I had taken a break from reviewing books until I read Ghost. This book is really well written. The narrator is believable and the plot illustrates his struggles and growth. Ghost is a troubled kid who stumbles onto a track team and turns his life for the better. I both loved and hated the ending, because it was so good but I didn't want the book to end. Great quick read. I highly recommended giving it a whirl.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: 
Lee, Harper
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is an essential piece of literature. It tells a story that highlights the darkness of America's past, through the innocent eyes of a young girl. With this type of narrator, who almost only understands pure truth, joy, and rage, it is possible for readers to feel what she feels, and be brought into her small world (Alabama during the Great Depression) with simple, yet beautiful writing. The story itself is touching, and focuses on themes of family, racism, and solidarity. Aside from its essentiality in explaining America's history, it also can be read as a coming of age story, where the characters begin to see the harsh reality of the world in which they grew up, and in which they created lasting memories and relationships. It will make you laugh, cry, and feel.

Reviewer's Name: 
Malachi

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye
Author: 
Salinger, J. D.
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

The Catcher In The Rye is about the life of Holden Caulfield and his views on the world as well as life. Holden drops out of a prep school in Pennsylvania to explore New York City. This book captures living in the 1950's and 1960's brilliantly, as well, as the spirit of rebellion that Holden has. I did not like this book because Holden complains way too much and has negative views on the world around him. He also has a bad habit of using profane language in every sentence. The message of the book however is meaningful as it discuses how kids should enjoy being themselves and to stop worrying about growing up and becoming an adult so fast.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ananth

Book Review: American Street

Cover of the book American Street
Author: 
Zoboi, Ibi
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

American Street is about a girl named Fabiola who moves from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to Detroit to see her aunt and cousins. When Fabiola and her mom get to New York to go on there connecting flight to Detroit her mom got held back
in New York while Fabiola goes on to Detroit. Once she gets to Detroit and gets to her cousins house she finds out that her mom wasn't coming to Detroit because of immigration laws. So she stays with her cousins Chantal, Donna, and Pri and her aunt Jo till she can figure out how to get her mother to come to Detroit. Fabiola enrolls in school and struggles to adjust to America. She grows close to her cousins who were known as the "Three Bees," Pri is the brawn of the group, Chantal is the brains, and Donna is the beauty and together they made a good team. Fabiola becomes friends with a classmate to get help with homework and stuff. They slowly become fast friends. Slowly she falls in love with a boy named Kasim who was best friends with Donna's drug dealer boyfriend, Dray. Finally, she figures out that Kasim went to a party to sell drugs for Dray and something bad happened that left Fabiola and her cousins heartbroken. In the end Fabiola, Pri, Donna, Chantal, and Aunt Jo moved away from Detroit for good and left for New Jersey.

Something that I liked about this book is that it was moving and heartbreaking but still a beautiful piece of literature. Something that I didn't like about the book was that Dray and Kasim were friends because they were so different and Dray wasn't a good guy but Kasim was a good guy. I usually don't like books like this but this one was so passionate and moving that I had trouble putting the book down. Another good thing about this book was that the plot didn't take awhile to develop and Fabiola changed a lot with her visit to America.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaitlyn B.

Book Review: A Separate Peace

Book Cover
Author: 
Knowles, John
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

In his award-winning book, A Separate Peace, John Knowles writes a compelling story about a friendship at a New Hampshire boarding school. Revolving around the time of World War 2, two sixteen-year-old boys find themselves stuck between the brightness of youth and the solemn disparity of adulthood brought on by war. Gene is a studious serious loner who is the opposite of Phineas, the handsome and popular athlete. Although their personalities may be fundamentally different, they are best friends and roommates who do everything together. The book is narrated by Gene, the protagonist, who slowly begins to resent Phineas for his athletic talent and widespread popularity. In his mind, the once-trusted bond grows into a rivalry, and a rift begins to develop and separate them. Knowles writes the book in rich tones, laced with symbolism and meaning. As it dives deep into themes, this book is often required to be read in high school English class. It is admittedly slow moving, but still filled with marvelous lessons and morals. While I would definitely recommend reading this book at least once and praise it for its depth, personally, it was not incredibly engaging or life-changing for me. While A Separate Peace is an American classic, it lacks the emotional sentimentality that really makes a book stand out.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hope M.

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye

 The Catcher in the Rye
Author: 
Salinger, J.D.
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

This book is about a boy named Holden's life. Holden has decided to run away from school after he was suspended. He had to figure out life because he didn’t want his parents knowing. I didn’t like this book because I found it wasn’t very interesting. The reason being is it’s not very adventurous and keeps repeating negativity throughout the book.
(Reviewer Grade. 9)

Reviewer's Name: 
Theanna

Book Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Author: 
Mafe, Tahereh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is an amazing book. The novel isma coming of age/romance story, based around a 16 year old, muslim girl named Shirin. Shirin experiences horrible acts of Islamaphobia at her new high school and in public because of her hijab. Things get even worse when Ocean, a popular white boy at the school befriends her. The interracial aspect of their relationship makes not only Shirin vulnerable towards acts of hate, but Ocean as well.

Once I started reading this book, I could not stop! I am very thankful my teacher recommended it to me. The story was engaging and fast paced! I loved how beautifully the story was written, and the powerful message behind the words. It is important that teens learn about serious topics like racism and religious discrimination to help prevent hate in the future. There are a few parts in the book with mature language and topics, but I still recommend that teens and adults read this novel!

Reviewer's Name: 
Aztin

Book Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Author: 
Thomas, Angie
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Hate U Give is about a 16 year old black girl raised in a fictional poor community of garden height who goes to a private school on the other side of town. The main problem in this book is when Starr the main character’s best friend Khalid, who gets pulled over from leaving a party and sadly gets shot by a white police officer. The book contains some sensitive topic about black oppression and police brutality. Although it does talk about cop brutality it isn’t a police- bashing book. The book's intention is to spread awareness on the deep conflict with in poor black communities in our nation. I highly recommend this book 10 out of 10.

Reviewer's Name: 
Miguel

Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Author: 
Yoon, Nicola
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The reason I chose this book is because of the many books I have read this one stood out the most. The story is about a girl and a boy meet one day in New York. The girl is trying to get her deportation reversed and the boy has a Yale interview. The meet during several events and become fast friends. What I enjoyed most about this book was the events that lead them to become friends, then more than friends. What I didn't like about the book was the ending. I didn't like how everything turned out.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaitlyn B.

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: 
Lee, Harper
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

To Kill a Mocking Bird is about the racism and false accusations towards African Americans in the 1930s. The book is for a more mature reader because of the language used and some of the ideas that are introduced. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the racial prejudice in the south in a book with a good plot. The characters are also relatable to a reader which I really enjoyed. Overall I think Lee did an amazing job writing this book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana M.

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