Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Nonfiction

Food: A Love Story book jacket
Gaffigan. Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a light and hilarious read, though probably not a good choice if you are looking for something more informational. Jim Gaffigan is a great comedian, and the care he put into organizing this book about food is evident. It was nice that Gaffigan didn't take himself too seriously in each chapter. Since most autobiographies that mention food discuss more negative pressures of food culture, this book turned it around into a positive ode to food, a reminder to never feel bad about fueling your body with good food. Unexpectedly, it was also a reoccurring theme for Gaffigan to discuss the fear of not being a good enough parent and other anxieties about social norms that relate to food. Pick up this book if you are already a Jim Gaffigan fan or you just need a comforting book.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood book jacket
Noah, Trevor
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Each page of this book was a joy to read, as it gives readers a glimpse into how different cultures affect the children who grow up within them. Trevor Noah is a talented comedian and an even better storyteller. Each narrative in the book felt like I was experiencing the moment with him, as he struggles with his identity in the boundaries of apartheid. The way Noah describes his mother- strong, resilient, yet strict from a place of love- is a very realistic concept that many people don't discuss. Parents aren't perfect and grow with their children, but it's their true intentions that determine whether or not they are really doing what's best for their child. I also found it fascinating how Noah communicates having to choose between two races that he isn't truly apart of. I highly recommend reading Born a Crime because of the lesson that everyone is more connected than they realize, and where you grow up shouldn't restrict who you grow to be.

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Illustrated Feminist: 100 Years of Suffrage, Strength, and Sisterhood in America
Lewis, Aura
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a great book to learn more about important female figures in America if you don't have time to read long biographies. The book is organized into decades, with an informative page for each individual. The illustrations are colorful and compliment the writing well. The book discusses significant milestone's in women's history as well as the drawbacks. It draws attention to privilege and the need for even more progress, particularly in the workforce. Try this book if you are interested in feminism and its values!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Wild Horse Country
Philipps, David
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wild Horse Country, written by two time Pulitzer Prize winner and Colorado native David Philipps, is a masterpiece of investigative journalism. Philipps goes to every corner of the country to explore the current state of one of the final remnants of the Wild West: Mustangs. Even without a previous interest in wild horses and their current happenings, readers will be immersed in the stories of how they came to be, the people who have saved them, the people who haven't wanted them saved, and the people who have failed to do anything at all. Philipps explores the situation so fully, and immerses himself in the journey of learning, but still somehow manages to create a book that is unbiased and logical, rather than one based in the individual perspectives he sought out to chronicle in his book's pages. Each story, each piece of research and investigation, is captivating and beautifully written, but even more impressive than the stories and investigation themselves is the way the book can inspire a reader to do something. Not only within the situation of the wild horse, but in the everyday situations that surround us, Philipps inspires readers to learn.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
Genres:
My Nonidentical Twin
Evie, Meg
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I enjoyed this nonfiction book a lot. This book was very informative of what Tourette’s Syndrome is. The author, Evie, walked the readers through the pros and cons of having Tourette’s Syndrome.
I follow Evie on social media platforms and see this journey documented through there too. However, her channel is not as informative as this book. I love how this book brings awareness to Tourette’s Syndrome and the people who suffer from it.
If any reader wants to be more aware of this condition, I recommend reading this well written autobiography by Evie Meg.

Reviewer's Name: Abigail
Into the Wild book jacket
Krakauer, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a nonfiction story about a young man named Cris McCandless. After graduating college in 1991, McCandless left without a trace hitchhiking around the United States. During his travels, McCandless goes by the name Alex Supertramp wanting to reinvent his life. He meets and changes countless people's lives. McCandless had his sights set religiously on Alaska, thinking it his last grand odyssey. McCandless wanted to fend for himself in the Alaskan wilderness, which inevitably proved fatal. This beautifully written book is full of adventure and life lessons. Overall, I would rate this book four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women
Cavallo, Francesca
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Even though this is meant for younger readers, I thoroughly enjoyed Rebel Girls Lead. If you would like to casually learn about current and past female activists to get insight on topics like politics and feminism, this book is for you. There wasn't any specific political commentary other than the need for more women in powerful roles, which makes this read accessible and enjoyable for anyone. I liked how each individual got their own page and portrait created by a small artist. It made the book feel more personal and inspired me to look further into the women I related to the most!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
A Teen's Guide The 5 Love Languages: How to Understand Yourself and Improve All Your Relationships
Chapman, Gary D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was so good! I actually read it because I was fighting with my bf and was telling my mom about it and she told me to read this. I actually found out that my love language is words of affirmation. I like the book because it was really easy to read, and I actually feel like I learned things that are real important in dating and even in just friendships. I told my bf he should read it!

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Soul Surfer
Hamilton, Bethan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Soul Surfer" was very interesting to read. Sometimes it takes me forever to get into a story, but with this book I liked it from the first chapter. It is the story of a 13 year old ( I'm only 14) that loved surfing and when she was surfing one day, she was attacked by a shark and the shark bit her arm off! The main story line talks about how she dealt with her new life without an arm. I liked how she wasn't negative and she didn't give up on anything. I also liked how she changed so much, like all of the different stages she went through to get to the end of the story. I am going into the 9th grade.

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict's Double Life
Jenkins, Tiffany
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I picked this book because I follow the author on Instagram, her page is called Juggling the Jenkins. She is very real and down to earth and talks about her book online. The book is her real life story of her adult life. She talks about how hard her life became after she went to jail for being a drug addict. The stories of the things that happened to her while she was in jail, made me cry! I think she is a very strong woman and reading her story made me want to be better. I am going into the 9th grade.

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Make Your Bed
McRaven, William H.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Make Your Bed" is a very inspiring book. I really liked that the author was in the Navy snd wrote this book based on a speech that he gave at a college graduation. The thing that I liked most about the book were all of the advice he gives that everyone, even teenagers, can make little changes in your life that can change how you feel about yourself and your life. It reminds you that even if your life is not going the way you want it to, you can always take small steps towards being happy. I am going into the 9th grade and I think my friends should read this.

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Screenwriting is Storytelling
Wright, Kate
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

“Screenwriting is Storytelling” written by Kate Wright, forwarded by Arthur Hiller, is a diverse, and engaging introduction to screenwriting with many lessons in plot and character development. Evaluating dozens of popular movies and providing insight into the art of creating a story, Wright gages screenwriting past simply making a scene eligible to an actor or director and expands the concept to the very origin of a script, the story. From this, Wright not only guides the reader through the process of making a handsome script, she as well includes the detailed aspects that create a subtle, yet concise, deeper meaning of a story.

The almost rigid, scrupulous manner Wright orders a story into, can be a well-fit reference book for those who have no issue abiding by a stricter structure, but can also be a downside for those who prefer a more Dan Harmon approach—following a simple guideline—with room for some wiggles.

Either way, the information Wright provides is undeniably useful. I’ve found a deeper appreciation for film/story genres that—frankly—I’ve never been much a fan of, and it’s through the arduous journey of creating a script from the ground-up, that a story can be truly appreciated, which Kate Wright does a fantastic job at being the tour guide.

Reviewer's Name: Sofia
Genres:
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Lewis, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Moneyball, written by Micheal Lewis, is a narrative, nonfiction novel based on the miraculous 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics. Micheal Lewis was inspired to write about the Oakland A's because of the statistics behind the game. He realized that even though the Oakland A's had one of the lowest budgets in the MLB at the time, they were winning an unusually high number of games. What Micheal Lewis wanted to know was: why was the cost-per-win so low in comparison to other teams? Was the Oakland A's performance a fluke, or was it not?

Billy Bean, the general manager for the Oakland A's and his trusty statistician, Paul DePodesta can answer both. Billy realized that he had to look at the game differently to obtain an advantage over other teams. All the "good" players followed the money, leaving the unpicked players for the teams that could not afford the good ones. The problem was that Billy Bean could not afford the good ones. Paul DePodesta found a way to search through the seemingly useless pile of players to find stars. He realized that some player's traits, such as batting average, were overvalued in the market, while some, such as on-base percentage, were undervalued. DePodesta saw that a player, in the eyes of the market, with a low batting average was worth more than a player with a high on-base percentage. He realized that he could buy high quality players for less, and that is exactly what he did. I liked the book because it has interesting statistics in it, and it also highlights the ingenuity that went behind one of the best seasonal records in the MLB.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Angelou, Maya
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, written by Maya Angelou, is an autobiographical account of Angelou's childhood. When Maya is a young child, her parents divorce. After the divorce her parents send her and her brother, Baily to Stamps, Arkansas to live with their Grandmother, where her Grandmother, affectionately referred to as "Momma", runs a convenience store. Angelou, despite her self-consciousness, appears to have had a great childhood growing up in the store. After about five years, Angelou's dad unexpectedly comes in and takes Bailey and her to their mother, who was living in St. Louis. While there, Angelou is molested by her mother's boyfriend. The boyfriend is quickly murdered and Angelou feels responsible for the death.
I liked to book because Angelou highlights how anyone can do what they set their mind to, and even in bad situations a human can grow immensely.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
Food: A Love Story
Gaffigan, Jim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I first read this book after it was recommended to me by a teacher, and needless to say, it instantly became a favorite.

Food: A Love Story is the second hilarious memoir by comedian Jim Gaffigan about - you guessed it - food. It covers the culinary distinctions throughout geographical regions of the United States, the difficulty of eating healthy in a world of delicious junk food, the conspiracy that lead to the creation of the Chimichanga, the shame at eating at McDonalds without children, and more. This book has it all. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants a good laugh.
Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Isabel
Genres:
You're the Only One I've Told: The Stories Behind Abortion
Shah, Meera, Dr.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

With all that goes on in the world, politically and socially, it is important to seek out resources and educate yourself on the topics you care about. This book was that for me. I like how the author used her credibility as a doctor to share facts about abortion while also opening up a platform for individuals to tell their deeply personal stories. This book is heavy and heartbreaking and empowering. I can't recommend it enough.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
When Breath Becomes Air
Kalanithi, Paul
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiographical, nonfiction, story of Paul Kalanithi, a man who has worked his whole life to pursue his dreams. Kalanithi is a top neurosurgeon-neuroscientist a couple years away from graduating medical school. Even before graduating, million dollar offers pour in for Kalanithi to head new, top research facilities. However, disaster strikes: lung cancer. Kalanithi talks about his progression from seeing people in the patient's chair to being the one in the chair. Throughout his journey, Kalanithi informs the reader of the life cycle, the importance of hard work, and most importantly, family and love.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
Legendary Children
Fitzgerald, Tom (Thomas)
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you're looking to get educated on LGBTQ+ history, this is a great book to try. I loved hearing about some of the most influential figures of the LGBTQ+ movement and their impact on others. They persevered even through backlash from events like the AIDS epidemic and built a community where everyone is welcome to be themselves. Some parts can get slow to read, but the authors use modern language and humor to appeal to a variety of audiences and make history more entertaining. This book is so empowering, give it a try!

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
Larson, Erik
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This is a compelling story of the popular World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the serial killer who took advantage of it. Set in the late 1800's, David Burnham and H. H. Holmes receive equal attention in alternating chapters between the fair's fascinating architecture and the growth of a heartless killer. I liked reading about the trials and errors of the fair and technology in the 19th century. Also, Holmes' terrifyingly calm demeanor added suspense to what would happen to his victims. It is a cool turn-of-the-century book, but the shift between monotone construction and graphic murders was an interesting style that isn't for everyone.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Simply Philosophy
Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2021
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Simply Philosophy is a collection of different ideas and concepts about a ton of topics, also showing different points of view.
This book remains one of my favorites because it takes ideas from famous philosophers in history, and then explains them in ways that are easier to understand. It uses helpful graphics and real-life examples to explain detailed concepts. One of the ideas I liked the most was from René Descartes, explaining why humans can never be sure that anything except their consciousness exists. The book was also very organized, putting similar ideas in the same sections.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
Genres: