Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Classics

The Things They Carried
O'Brien, Tim
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brian is a pretty good book about the Vietnam war. The book jumps around a lot with the characters in the war, after the war, and before the war. While it could be a little confusing at times, it was still an entertaining book. If you like reading books about Vietnam, but that also go in depth on the character, this would be a great book to read. Overall, I'd recommend this book!

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Anne of Green Gables
Montgomery, L.M.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Anne of Green Gables is a popular classic novel about a quirky redheaded orphan named Anne. When Anne is adopted by the Cuthberts at their farm up in Green Gables, we follow Anne as she struggles to adapt to her new life.
Unlike most older classic novels, Anne of Green Gables was a very easy and fast read. I really enjoyed this book, and the story drags you into a youthful and whimsical world. The problems Anne faced, such as her first day at school, or the issues that her overactive imagination would lead her into, were all very fun and lighthearted to read about. This novel filled me with emotions of nostalgia, and the read was a very peaceful and enjoyable one.
Overall, this novel tackles the topics of growing up, being young, and fitting in, all in a very charming way.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Decameron  book jacket
Boccaccio, Giovanni
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In plague struck Italy around the 1350s, 3 young adult boys and 7 teenage girls as well as their servants hide out in various castles while telling each other stories to pass the time. Each of them has to tell one story per day. For each day there is a new theme decided by the"ruler" of that day. These themes include; Misadventures with happy endings,Tragic loves, Bawdy loves, Munificence, and Avoiding Misfortune with witty remarks.

Though this is a good and classic book it is not for everyone due to it having mature sexual themes, so if you do not like such things either dont read this book or stick to the days that arent about things like those... also watch out for Dioneo's stories because he can say a story on whatever he likes. Alltogether a good book if not for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: Valkyrie
The Things They Carried
O'Brien, Tim
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien horrifically recalls Tim’s time during war, in what he calls “A true war story that isn't real”. This book recreates the experiences O’Brien went through during wartime, and is written in a very grotesque manner. The story jumps around from timeline to timeline, in a way that a lot of the time you aren't sure what perspective you’re reading from. While written very well, O’Brien has a habit of making every character seem like a horrific person and puts himself on kind of a metaphorical pedestal, in what seems to be an attempt to reconcile with the guilt he faced from the atrocities committed by him and his platoon. I would definitely recommend this book to others, despite its faults, but I believe the most important thing to know going into this book is that the events described are so grotesque they seem like made up fantasies or true stories that have been modified to seem worse than they actually are, which is part of O’Briens intention of telling the story the way he remembers it happening, not the way that it actually happened.

Reviewer's Name: Jaala
Where the Red Fern Grows book jacket
Rawls, Wilson
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is an emotional masterpiece, and it is the first book that ever made me truly cry. Watch as Billy Colman scrapes together the money he needs to fulfill his dream, buying two hounds to hunt racoons. Thrill as Billy quickly becomes famous for his exploits, and fall in love with his trusty furry companions Little Ann and Old Dan. This book will emotionally connect with anyone who has ever has a furry friend and it will take your heartstrings along for the ride as Billy and his dogs go through thick and thin. I would recommend this exceptional book to anyone who is looking for a heavier and more emotional read.

Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
Blume, Judy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Are You there God? It's me, Margaret, is a coming-of-age story about a preteen girl experiencing and exploring womanhood for the first time. The story is about Margaret, a girl on the brink of turning 12 years old who moves to New Jersey where she meets new friends at her new school, and experiences puberty for the first time. During her time in New Jersey, she begins to understand new things and new people, and even begins to learn new things about herself. I love this book because it is an amazing representation of a girl entering her teen years and trying to find herself, and how confusing going through puberty can be. I can't think of anything that I would change or prefer in this book. If I were to give this book a grade out of 10, I would give it a 10/10.

Reviewer's Name: Lilleah
The Westing Game
Raskin, Ellen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Westing Game is a fun, murder-mystery that follows 16 unlikely people working together to solve a mystery of "who-dunnit?". To sum it all up, this book is about a deceased man named Sam Westing, who planned a gathering for all of his distant relatives at his hotel to play a game that will uncover who murdered him. Sam Westing had said in his will that the very person who murdered him is one of the 16, and whoever had figured out who did it, would win the game and be the heir to his fortune. I liked this book because it was very fun trying to solve the mystery along with our characters and to see all of the different perspectives and thought processes of each of them. I did often find some of the characters frustrating to deal with, however, because they didn't try to work together and only tried to solve it for themselves. If I were to give this book a grade out of 10, I would give it a 7.

Reviewer's Name: Lilleah
Doctor Faustus
Marlowe, Christopher
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is an amazing study of enlightenment views on religion, morality, and social structure, all wrapped up in a fascinating tale of the supernatural. Doctor Faustus makes a deal with the Devil in exchange for power and knowledge, but, as a result, he constantly wars with himself. On one side, Faustus wants to repent his actions and avoid damnation, however, Faustus also is driven on by his greed and arrogance to pursue his dark arts and continue fulfilling his desires, visiting places such as the Papal and Imperial courts, leaving only after he has achieved his mischief. The story is amazing when considered within the historical context of its writing, the enlightenment philosophy and religious teachings show throughout the book, pitting the Old Testament views of damnation and repentance against the more forgiving views of the New Testament. I would highly recommend Doctor Faustus to those seeking to learn about the enlightenment and 16th century culture.
Harrison
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
Medea
Euripides
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

While the play Medea by Euripides probably invokes thoughts of classrooms and a literature teacher delivering lectures about themes and literary devices, the play itself is actually enjoyable to read and compare to modern times. Follow along after the tails of Jason’s journey with the Argonauts to capture the Golden Fleece and learn about Jason’s struggles for power and status within the culture of ancient Greece. Watch as Medea turns from a caring mother, wronged by her husband, into a villain, committing evil deeds and attempting to justify them in the name of justice. The play is an amazing window into Greek culture and Greek drama, and it is an enjoyable story for those who enjoy Greek mythology and want to learn how the Greeks communicated their stories to the people through plays.

Harrison
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, that has the misfortune of having to control and mask his alter identity, Mr. Hyde. After some unfortunate events partake, others begin to realize that the wise Dr. Jekyll has an alter identity. This novel has an unpredictable ending that left me stunned. I thought that the book was really good due to the continuously moving plot and the amazing characters that create a wonderous mystery throughout the book. I was required to read this book for school and I would definitely recommend it for readers that are in middle school and beyond that enjoy a great science fiction or mystery novel. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is in the top 10 definitely! To Kill A Mockingbird is a story of prejudice Jim Crowe South and the constant fight for justice. Jem is the older brother of 'Scout', a tomboy constantly trying to fit in with the big kids. In the story, they attempt to fight for a black mans rights in attempt to prove his innocence in a rape trial. I would highly recommend this book to middle and high schoolers. This book has a deep meaning of the powerful message that kids can have and their outlook in bad situations.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
The Outsiders
Hinton, S.E.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of the most inspirational and powerful books to date. The Outsiders is a story about a 14 year old boy named Ponyboy Curtis. He and his brothers and apart of the social group called the greasers . They continuously fight for the right to be treated the same when fights begin to break out. When an accident happens involving one of Ponyboy's closest friends, they flee and begin to doubt why they continue fighting.
This book is an excellent representation of fostering a community of love and empathy amongst our fellow peers.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
Genres:
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, who struggles with controlling his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. As he attempts to mask his other personality, horrifying events occur that present the horrible personality of Mr. Hyde. Other citizens begin to discover the connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the novel finishes with a jaw dropping climax and resolution. I was required to read this book for school and I would recommend it for readers middle school and above. I really enjoyed the progression of the plot and the ending that was unpredictable. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book jacket
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of Tom's adventures. Really Good.

Reviewer's Name: Olivia
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a novel about Jean Louise Finch (Scout), living through her father Atticus' controversial decision to defend a black man in court. Along with experiencing the tribulations of racism in her home town of Maycomb County, Scout, her brother Jem, and her friend Dill explore the curiosities of the town and investigate the mysterious Boo Radley. The plot gave me excitement to continuing reading, and the joining of the two plots at the end created a perfect ending to the story. I thought that the book was really good due to the knowledge that was gained about the history during the Great Depression and the progression throughout the book that helped develop the main character. This was a school required book, but I would definitely recommend it to readers in high school and above.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" begins with a straightforward introduction to its main character and narrator, Nick Carraway. Nick fancies himself a man of high morals and while he does not always succeed, he tries his best to adhere to his principles at all times. Nick comes from a prominent family in a middle western city; however, after fighting in the Third Infantry Division during World War I, Nick tires of the monotony of the Midwest and goes east — to New York — in order to learn the bond business and in pursuit of more adventure. Nick settles in West Egg, a village that is described best as housing those who are "new money," and is a direct counterpart to East Egg, home to New York's most elite. It is in New York that the we are introduced to Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin; Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband and Nick's former schoolmate; Jordan Baker, the Buchanans' close friend and renowned golfer; and finally, to Jay Gatsby, Nick's neighbor and the titular character of the novel. Nick becomes entangles within the affairs (both literal and figurative) of these characters, as both his fascination and friendship with Gatsby grow.

At face value, "The Great Gatsby" may appear almost to be a soap-opera, but in truth, it is the very opposite. Much like its characters, beneath its shimmering facade, "The Great Gatsby" houses profound and poignant messages and themes — about societal roles, the ever-elusive American dream, and human nature.

Reviewer's Name: Elaine
Fahrenheit 451 book jacket
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Fahrenheit 451" is a short story that tells about Montag's transformation from finding a pleasure in burning books, to loving books and all the knowledge that comes with it. Montag lives in a society where the government has forbidden to read books and seek knowledge through writing. Montag is part of a group called "Fireman" who are supposed to put out fire, but that's not the case since they do the opposite. He lives with his girlfriend and has a bad relationship with her. They don't really talk and just look after themselves. Deep down, he cares for her, we'll find out when Montag gets home and see she's fallen over because of an overdose, where he called the ambulance and the police. At the end of Fahrenheit 451, Montag escapes the city and joins a small community of survivors who have successfully fled the repressive society and are dedicated to memorizing books. The group is moving north to start anew, and for the first time in his life Montag has a future to look forward to.

The short story is one of the few books I find interesting. Usually, I do not read many books and definitely not with the genre "dystopia". If you compare this short story to the society we live in right now, you can see they are opposite to each other so for me it is very interesting to hear how the people in "Fahrenheit 451" were dehumanized. The introduction was very boring, but the further you got into the short story, the more interesting it became. In the end, someone was really good. I still think this short story is relevant to us today because it proves what good conditions we live in, and I certainly appreciate more the privacy and freedom I have. "Fahrenheit 451" has a lot of themes, such as the power of books, because you can really see how much a book can have meaning. All the power a book may have manifested in this particular short story. There are also other themes, such as, Loss of Individuality, Role of Technology and ignorance and Knowledge. All these themes have an important meaning in this short story.

After I read this book, I was trapped by the dystopian world and all the social problems they had. I wonder a lot what our society would look like if the government had banned reading books, would I have read this?

Reviewer's Name: Sadiiq
The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The Alchemist is a novel about Santiago a shepherd boy, who goes on a journey to find treasure. I've heard lots of hype around this story, but I have to admit that this story did not live up to its name.
Sure, the writing was pretty good, but I could not find myself getting into the story at all. I wasn't connected to any of the characters, and I couldn't care less about what happened to them.
Maybe this novel wasn't exactly meant to have a detailed and structure plotline, since it was more of a metaphorical piece, but the journey the main character took throughout the novel was written in such a way that made it completely uninteresting. The writing was more philosophical and seemed more like a long lecture rather than an actual story. Maybe I missed something, but as much as I wanted to like this book, I couldn't. Toward the end, I found myself only skimming the pages to skip to the end and get the story over with.
Maybe the experience with this book is different for everyone, but I'll have to say that it was definitely not for me.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegory about a farm of talking animals that push out their farmer after the abuse that they endure and proceed to create their own form of government. The animals form their government without the realization of the need to work for survival and have to adapt to the situation which causes discrepancies and arguments. I thought that this book was really good due to the surprising climax, ruthless betrayal, and the historical relation that it contains, but it does have some dragging parts. The plot is unpredictable and very interesting throughout. I had to read this book for school and thought it would be boring, but after reading it I gained knowledge of history through symbolism and recommend this book for history enthusiasts such as myself. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
The Little Prince
Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Little Prince is a story about a pilot who crash lands in the middle of a desert, attempting to repair his broken plane. Whilst he tries to do so, he meets a strange young boy who he calls the "little prince," and ignites an odd friendship with the boy.
I've found that my experience in reading this classic tale has been different each time. My first time reading, I vaguely remember thinking how childish and confusing the story was. However, through my most recent and second time reading, I've finally understood the popularity surrounding the book. Although this story is meant to be a children's story, I think that people of all ages can read and appreciate this book, as it contains some deep and meaningful themes and quotes.
This story speaks incredible volumes on the journey of growing up and is assisted in delivering this message through beautifully crafted sentences. Reading this book was an unforgettable experience, and I cannot express how stunning this book is. The illustrations in this story add some childlike charm, and the whole time I was reading, I was so content with the sweet writing style that I didn't want it to end. During the last few pages, I felt a bittersweet emotion as the story began to close, and I think the ending was perfect and added the right amount of sadness and hope.
Overall, this book is one of my all-time favorites, and I cannot recommend it enough. You will not regret reading this story, and I hope some of the lines written in this story stick with you as they have for me

Reviewer's Name: Michelle