Gogol Ganguli regrets his parents decision of giving him his humiliating name ever since he was born. But when we rewind to 1968, we see the newly immigrated Gangulis’ give birth to a baby boy and in order to be released from the hospital, they must break their Bengali culture and give their son an official name, which they decide to be Gogol. Growing up, Gogol hates his name, but once he learns of its origin he rethinks its meaning and after a life-changing incident, Gogol learns to embrace his culture and his family heritage. Bringing you on a journey of love, self- realization, and of a life or death situation, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is an amazing novel and I found it super interesting to me because it related so much to how I grew up. There are many suspenseful and attention grabbing parts and I highly recommend it. I had to read this book for an assignment, but I ended up loving it, except for some boring parts especially in the first few chapters since it's just introduction. I recommend this book to those who have an interest in cross-cultural conflict books, but most people in my class disliked it so I’m assuming it wasn’t interesting to them.
Reviewer Grade: 10
The Manor Farm is home to animals who, noticeably, hate being controlled and oppressed by their farmer, Mr. Jones. One night Old Major, a wise boar, gathers the animals for a meeting and tells them of a dream he has where all animals live together with no human beings to oppress or control them. After his death, the animals take over the farm under the leadership of the pigs. As the story progresses the pigs move away from Animalism and move towards becoming human beings. Animal Farm by George Orwell is number 9 in my top books list mostly because it is a satire about the Russian Revolution and Stalinism. I did not like it in the fact that it overused personification and the use of animals to represent Russia in the 1970’s, but if we look at the book as a story just about animals taking over a farm, it is actually really interesting. I would recommend it to some people, not to others (those who dislike personification and satires).
Reviewer Grade: 10
Six year old Scout Finch is living in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression. Raised by Atticus Finch, Scout and her brother, Jem, are very comfortable with Maycomb and understand the well being of their neighbors, except the house of the mysterious Arthur Radley, whom they obsess over. Half the book is basically about Scout, Jem, and Dill (their new friend) trying to lure Arthur Radley out of his house. However, when Atticus, a lawyer, decides to take the case of a black man named Tom Robinson, tensions become high and the trial to see whether Tom Robinson is guilty or innocent based on his crime and, especially, his skin color is at stake. I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and it is my #1 favorite book because the structure of this book is so eye-opening since it addresses the struggle and tensions between African- Americans and Whites during a time period where slavery was abolished just less-than a century ago. I highly recommend this book because it is just so jaw-dropping and it hit me with surprises that had me at the edge of my seat.
Reviewer Grade: 10
In this fantasy, John Flanagan describes the life of a few kids growing up in a medieval setting where you can become the apprentice of different trade masters. The book mostly follows the apprentice ranger Will as he trains to be a full fledged ranger. This book is meant for teens and young adults because the Ranger's Apprentice series follows the lives of Will and his friends and all the troubles they face. If you like imagining what your life could be like in medieval times, than this book is for you.
Reviewer Grade: 8
This book by J.K. Rowling engulfs you in a world of magic where you want to keep on reading without putting it down. Harry Potter takes place in England, and is all about a boy named Harry Potter's time at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. This book can attract readers of all kinds of reading levels because of its simplicity and depth. The Harry Potter series is an extremely fun series and the characters are full of emotion. I guarantee that you will love this book.
Reviewer Grade: 8
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a very good and interesting book. This book is about an Indian boy named Arnold, also known by his nickname Junior, who is a freshman in high school. Junior lives on a Native American reservation and doesn’t fit in with any of the other kids very well because he has many special abilities that make him look, talk, and function differently. In the story, he has a best friend called Rowdy who is in his eyes, is really tough and strong. One day, Junior decides that he needs to go to a better school OFF the reservation (Rez) called Reardan. When he transferred, Rowdy decided that he hated Junior. Everyone at his new school calls Junior names, and makes fun of him because he’s an Indian with disabilities. Throughout the book, Junior encounters many more hardships and obstacles. I did like the book, although it was very depressing towards the end. The book has parts with more mature content, but is not bad if you are older. The part I enjoyed in the book is when Junior makes the basketball team by being crazy and making crazy shots. This is the second best book I have read in 2016… Messenger of Fear being the first. All in all, this is a great book that any teen should check out if they are mature enough to read it.
Reviewer Grade: 7
The book, The Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders, is a very fascinating book by Brandon Mull. The book starts out in a small town in Arizona. The main character, Cole, is getting ready for Halloween. He soon meets up with his best friend, Dalton, and the girl he likes, Jennifer, along with a couple others (six). They are looking for a haunted house that was a few blocks from where they already were. After finding the haunted house, a guy jumps up and tries to scare the group, and fails. He reveals that the biggest scare is in the basement, and once they were there, the guy locked the door behind them. Dalton starts to worry, and soon they were grabbed by a guy called Ham. Ham grabs most of kids, but Cole gets away, and Ham disappears behind a curtain and vanishes. Desperate to get his friends back, Cole follows him, and ends up in… the outskirts! The part I enjoyed in this book was when Cole gets into the outskirts. I recommend this book to anybody who likes action books and suspense.
The story; Double Vision is a great book that I recommend to readers who like suspense. Double Vision starts out in the main character; Lincoln’s school. He and his classmates are to go on a trip to a chicken farm not far from the school. After getting to the chicken farm, the farmer was very strict, and didn’t let anybody near his chickens. Instead, he just talked about them, and told everyone all about chicken farming, chicken housing, chicken food, etc. Soon, Lincoln got bored and decided to go see the chickens for himself. After sneaking away from the group, Lincoln opened the door to the chicken coop and was flustered by chickens in front of all of the other kids. After Lincoln went home, he found out that he was expelled from his school, and the farmer is suing them for a great amount of money. Because they knew he was in lots of trouble, two agents came to knock on their door. After, they told them that they would take Lincoln and straighten him up. At first, his mother refused, but decided to give in. After Lincoln got in their car, they said they weren’t taking him to a boot camp… but a spy camp! The part I enjoyed in this book was when Lincoln got attacked by chickens! I recommend this book to any age that loves suspense and action!
Reviewer Grade: 7
The book Sidekicks is an amazing book! It starts off with a boy named Scott, and he is a Sidekick to Phantom Menace, a hero that fights crime. In the beginning, Scott has an archenemy named Monkeywrench, and he later discovers that Monkeywrench is someone he knows. They get to like and get to each other. Also their Mentors are archenemies, but they don’t care. They just want to be together. But something puts a wrench in their plan! (No pun intended). Sorry, I don’t want to give away the ending! In my opinion, this was a great book, and probably the best book in 2016 that I have read. I chose this book because the cover and name just appealed to me, and later on the story did. This was a basic superhero Romeo and Juliet. The story made me sit on edge when I was reading it. It was an amazing thriller, with lots of twists. This story was very entertaining. The story had lots of jokes, lot of character development, and a lot of happy things in it. This is why the book was appealing. Also it had no things that diverted you from the topic; it was straightforward and very precise. If you want a book that is an easy read for 12+ this is one of the best ones, there is no need to reread. But this book does have some mature humor, so not a very good bedtime story for little kids.
Reviewer Grade: 7
Actual Rating: 3.5
This book by James Dashner was a extremely good book. In the beginning this book was about a man named M.G, Also known as master George, delivering a series of curious riddling letters, to people across the globe, one of these people, Artticus “Tick” Higginbotom was one of the recipients. He faced all kinds of perils and met more people who would pursue the letters. In the end he- Nope! Can’t tell you anymore! Sorry! I chose this book because the name and the authors opening was just fantastic. And so was the book! It left me wanting more, even if I was beyond my point of exhaustion. The book is in the third person, normally I hate third person, but this book was so involved that I didn’t even notice until about halfway through. There was a lot of character development in this book Artticus went from a person who just went along with things, to a person who solved problems and stood up for himself. Sure, he nearly got killed a couple times, but he lived. This book is for ages 12-18 mainly, and for anyone who likes riddles and action. That is why this book just appealed to me it just fascinated me to solve these riddles by myself. It took a long time for me to put the book down, I was always “One more chapter one more chapter!” I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Reviewer Grade: 7
In my opinion, Warhorse wasn’t a very good or enjoyable book. The only reason I chose this book is because we were learning about the renaissance era, and I thought, “Maybe this will give me an edge on it.” I was very, very, VERY wrong. This book is about a boy named Lorenzo in the Renaissance era who is an amazing crafter and designs armor protection for a Duke. One day there is a war about to take place so Lorenzo decides to fight the war with the Duke. But, his mentor, Massimo, forbids Lorenzo to because of his father’s wishes. The young armor-smith obeys his master, but to help the army, he lends his horse, Scoppio, to the Duke. Then Lorenzo later goes and joins the Duke, and gets his horse captured! Sorry, can’t tell you anymore. In my opinion, this book was very confusing. To start off, at chapter about 15 it started to get really funky. So up until then you can read it strait-through, but then you need to start to re-read. Also this book was a very uplifting book about hope, but to me it was all about obstacles of war and perseverance. This book was very odd, I mean, how many books can you find about historical fiction on Renaissance war? That is one of the reasons I chose to read some of the odder books, to give you an inside look on the weirdest things. This is the worst book out of 14 that I have read, but a close second would have to be Wh3n. Sure it was action packed, but it was also very depressing. So don’t read that one either. But in all, the character is very un-relatable, that is why I found this book so bad, sure he had a lot of character development, but how many kids do you know that are armor smith designers? So on that note I’ll leave you off, Maybe you’ll like a hidden element I didn’t catch! So with that in mind, go read this book to find out for yourself!
Actual Rating: 4.5
The book Losing It was a very good book. This book was about an obese kid that all he did was watch baseball, but that all changed one day when his dad had a stroke. He had to go live with his Aunt, which made him exercise, and he also went and ran cross country. I can’t tell you anymore, Sorry. This was an ok book in my opinion. I chose this book by its cover, Yes, I judged this book by its cover (And back). There was a lot of character development, from a kid who could barely walk everywhere, to a kid who was a runner. This book is probably going to be in the comedy section, even if it didn’t make you laugh, because it’s really a kind of an obstacle overcomer book. I also think this book is good for people who think they can’t do it. This book teaches you can do anything with hard work. I also think that this is a book for ages 12+ because it is a bit of a harder read. I mean who could know about some of the things that they talked about. There were a few words I had to look up. Overall this book is a book I would recommend to anyone really.
Reviewer Grade: 7
In the last book of The Selection series, Eadlyn must choose between the last six boys, better known as the Elite. Her relationships become even more complicated than she could have realized. The combination of her mixed feelings about the Selection, her worry over her sick mother, and running a country are too much to handle at some points. Discover new secrets and even more news from the Selection world in the last book, The Crown.
I am personally, a huge fan of the Selection series. I had already pre-ordered this book and got it the day it came out. I have to say, I was disappointed by the small size of the book. It was just over 250 pages, the font was huge, and it was double-spaced. There wasn't much of a story. I feel that Cass rushed the story, and she was just trying to get it done.
As well as the little content, the relationships just seemed forced in this book. Keeping it nameless, one of her suitors and her exchange declarations of love to each other, after just barely having their first kiss. I personally loved the combination of the two characters, but the relationship felt rushed. Cass could've given them much more justice than she did.
What I did love, however, was the character development of Eadlyn through the book. In The Heir, I thought Eadlyn was terrible. She was snotty, rude, and not a relatable character. In this book, she was much kinder, and I appreciated her more as a person. You could see her opinions and beliefs being influenced by the big hearted boys who surrounded her.
The book, for the most part, was predictable. I had it figured out who she was going to pick since the last book. Other than the main plot, the book managed to surprised me. Cass always has something hidden up her sleeve, and this book had all of her secrets spilling out.
Overall, I'm a huge fan of the series, but this book would defiantly not rank high on my favorites.
Reviewer Grade: 9
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is about a fireman named Guy Montag whose job is to, ironically, start fires. Everything was going great for Guy, I mean he had money, a “loving” wife, and had an exhilarating job of burning books. That all changes when he meets a teenage girl who completely changes his view on the corrupt world and when he opens a book, which is illegal, he realizes why reading them is forbidden. Guy realizes he must escape this awful place, but where would he go? How would he get there? And who can he trust? Fahrenheit 451 is one of many dystopian society novels that catch my attention because it makes me wonder what would happen if this WAS our world. It is very boring in the beginning and is confusing at some parts, but overall it’s an amazing book and had me reading 20 pages within 10 minutes towards the end. I chose this book because I love dystopian society books and also the cover looked intriguing. I wonder what would happen if books were illegal and people were forbidden to read them?
Reviewer Grade: 10
After a mission to Mars goes wrong, Astronaut Mark Watney is left on Mars all by himself and must find a way to survive on the deserted planet for 414 days. The Martian by Andy Weir is a nerdy but super jaw-dropping novel because it incorporates a survival journey combined with accurate science. Having a limited supply of food, no contact with NASA, and his crew mates thinking he is dead, Watney must use his botany and dummy mechanic skills to find some way to not die on Mars before the next Ares mission. Being stuck with disco music, a variety of technical problems, and no human interaction, Mark Watney is on the route to giving up, when NASA is able to contact him and work to bring him back home, but will Watney make it? We read this book as a requirement for English and I thought it was going to be a nerdy, boring sci-fi book, but it actually was super attention grabbing and I found myself finishing it within 2 days. The whole book is so interesting because you get to learn about a guy surviving on Mars and even if it is fiction, Andy Weir actually used accurate scientific data to back up his book.
Reviewer Grade: 10
Magnus Chase is a sixteen-year-old homeless kid with a fear of wolves and a tragic past involving the death of his mother. He doesn’t think he is anyone special – that is until his mysterious Uncle Randolph tells Magnus that the boy’s father is a Norse god.
And that he is in grave danger.
Magnus is plunged into the world of Norse mythology, discovering the truth behind his parentage and his mother’s death. He also finds out that Ragnarok, the Norse definition of the apocalypse, is on the horizon. The fire giant Surt is planning on unleashing an evil creature named Fenrir Wolf to start Ragnarok. If Magnus and his friends don’t stop Fenrir from being released, Ragnarok will begin and both mortals and heroes will be in danger.
This book is witty, surprising, adventurous, exciting, and very unique. Our hero Magnus Chase is someone you can really root for – along with his friends Samirah, Hearth, and Blitz, who are all relatable, likable, and overall totally awesome. I really loved how this book takes you on an amazing adventure from page one. Every plot twist was completely unexpected. This book is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year- suitable for everyone who loves a good adventure story.
I chose this book because Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, is one of my favorite authors. I had high expectations for this book because of this – and it totally met all of them.
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer is the start of an amazing, utterly unique book series. 5 out of 5 Stars.
Reviewer Grade: 9
After her friends find out that she's been keeping secrets, Zoey is alone. In a week, she goes from being the most popular fledgling to being an outcast. On top of everything else, Neferet has declared war on humans. Zoey knows that it's wrong, but who will listen to her now that everyone believes her to be a liar?
This book was alright. Despite everything, Zoey can't waste time feeling sorry for herself. She must pick herself back up and continue fighting in the battle of good vs evil. Some things are bigger than yourself.
Reviewer Grade: 12
Friends turn into enemies and enemies turn into friends in a shocking turn of events. Zoey finds herself at the center of drama as usual. Somehow, she's managed to rack up three boyfriends, but that's the least of her worries. Not knowing who to trust, Zoey finds herself confiding to her sworn enemy instead of her friends. But keeping secrets is sure to lead to trouble.
I enjoyed this book. It was a mess of emotions, but it was good. I understand why she had to keep secrets, even though it backfired in the end. It was a tricky situation and she didn't make things easy for herself either.
Zoey has finally settled into her new life as a fledgling. She's come to terms with her powers and is in training to become a High Priestess. Just when everything seems to be working out, human teenagers begin to disappear and are later found dead. Naturally, the vampyres are suspected to have orchestrated the murders. Nothing is ever as it seems as Zoey finds the people she loves in danger and faces a shocking betrayal.
This book was pretty good. Zoey had to question her beliefs and learn to trust somebody that she thought was an enemy. Already, she's finding out that maybe what she thought was right and wrong really is the opposite. I liked that she didn't just deny everything and let personal grudges get in the way of doing what's right.
Reviewer Grade: 12
After a Vampyre Tracker marks Zoey as a fledgling, she must move to the House of Night to complete her transformation. There, she soon learns that she has special powers, ones that most ordinary vampyres and fledglings do not have. When she discovers that Aphrodite, the leader of the Dark Daughters, also has been gifted by Nyx and is misusing her power, she realizes that she must embrace her destiny and take Aphrodite down.
This was a good book. It was fun to watch as Zoey settled into her new life and came to the realization that she would never be normal, even for a vampyre.