Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Classics

The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I was underwhelmed by the entire concept of the book. I felt as if it was poorly written and extremely sappy. The whole "find your personal legend" to me was a reach to be creative but went downhill. I admit, some parts of the book pulled me in but the plot never seemed to satisfy me 100%.The message in the story is to follow your own legacy but it also has a supernatural element that helps Santiago through his journey and it seems that if an individual wants to find his own worth and legacy, you need some supernatural, god-like force to help you along the way and not a lot of people like the idea of that. The book was reviewed as amazing and one of a kind but I think otherwise. The way the author tried to make the story deep, failed and it seems like a silly fable at the end of the day.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
And Then There Were None
Agatha, Christie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The name Agatha Christie is synonymous with unique and puzzling mysteries, but And Then There Were None is definitely one of her best. The plot is simple enough: ten people are invited to an island, stranded there, and then accused of a murder. And then one by one each person begins to die just like the people in the old nursery rhyme “Ten Little Soldier Boys.” However, the reader is kept in the dark as to who the murderer is until the very end, and the end is not at all what the reader might have expected. The plot moves along fairly quickly, but it doesn’t get confusing. The characters are fully sketched out which helps to make the story somewhat believable. The best thing about this book is that it is not at all cheesy; it is gripping and just frightening enough to make the reader want to finish the book before they turn out the lights at night.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
Dandelion Wine
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Dandelion Wine is a book about an entire town in Green Town, Illinois. It follows many of the different citizens, but focuses on the character development of Douglas Spalding. The book starts with him and his Grandfather making dandelion wine, as a tradition as the beginning of summer. I am reading this for school, and at first, I wasn't thrilled with it. It has no plot, but instead makes up for it with the mini stories throughout the book. Every chapter is new, and about a completely different citizen of Green Town. I was shocked with how the book had many different themes, most of them dealing with love and death, but most of all grief. Each chapter changed my perspective of the world just a little bit, so by the end I felt almost new. I was able to relate to Doug very much, along with other characters. This book hits the hard questions, and views the tragedies of life through only a boy's eyes. I found myself gasping at parts, not because of plot twists, but because of the complete shock of innocence vs tragedy. It made me view life in a completely different way. This has defiantly made my top 5, maybe even 3, book list.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn C.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Verne, Jules
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a wonderful book. In it, the main characters Axel and his uncle find a mysterious message in a book saying that if you descend into the crater of Sneffels before the kalends of July, you will find a passage to the center of the earth. Putting aside all hesitations, they begin their journey and explore the depths of the earth.
Will their journey succeed or will they die in vain? Find out by reading this book. You will not be disappointed! The only bad part is that it's a bit unrealistic. Overall, this is a great book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When Ford Prefect, an undercover alien that got stuck on Earth, realized that Earth would soon be blown into smithereens, he and his human friend, Arthur Dent, escape and embark on an adventure through space. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy parodies other sci-fi novels, which is enjoyable for those who are experienced with that particular genre. This novel is very light-hearted, simple, and it doesn't really get too serious anywhere. The humor is random and ridiculous (in a good way), and it really was what made the book. All of the characters had strong and eccentric personalities with their own little quirks that make them special; they were all very engaging. It's a pretty good classic (that's why I chose to read it in the first place), it's very quotable (and who doesn't like quotes?), and fast-paced. It might seem a little immature to a select few, but the amount of people who like it heavily outweigh the ones who don't.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has caused controversy over the years about whether it should be taught in schools. I personally, feel this book is one of the single most powerful novels written concerning prejudice, racism and the American Dream. It tells the story of a boy Huck Finn who escapes his abusive father and begins a journey down the Mississippi River where he soon joins with Jim, a runaway slave. Huck repeatedly faces the decision between turning Jim in as society has taught him or continuing to help him escape and lie as his conscious urges him to. Ultimately, Twain uses satire and Huck’s adventures to reveal the truth about the remaining prejudices in society and the idea that people need to think independently from society in order to preserve morals.

Reviewer Grade: 11

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

The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is by far one of my very favorite. It tells the story of Daisy Buchanan and Mr. Jay Gatsby through the Nick, the narrator and a recent Yale graduate’s conscious. He opens the book recalling a piece of advice his father gave him about refraining from criticizing others. Nick views himself as separate yet apart of the world he creates for us. He becomes fascinated by his neighbor Mr. Jay Gatsby who throws lavish and extravagant parties and is known all through New York yet still seems dissatisfied with his lifestyle. After observing him staring longingly at a green light across the bay, Nick learns Gatsby has been pining after Daisy, who is married to Tom, for years since their young love was interrupted when he left for the war. Fitzgerald uses the historical context of the 20’s and the idea of disillusionment popular post WWI to create a novel that explored the society and lifestyle of the time and the human nature to yearn for both the past and the out of reach.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Tessa B.
Genres:
Anthem
Rand, Ayn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Equality 7-2521 is a street sweeper in a society ruled by a Communist/ Fascist type of dictatorship where individuals rights have been destroyed and everyone works only to serve their government. As a young boy, Equality 7-2521 witnessed the execution of someone who had spoken the “Unspeakable Word” and ever since
then, he has wondered what that word is. Resuming to the present, Equality 7-2521 one day discovers
a metal grill leading down into a dark tunnel from the Unmentionable Times, the ancient period prior to the establishment of the present society. For the next 2 years, he does secret experiments down in this tunnel and discovers electricity, but when he shows it to the World Council of Scholars, he is rejected and must escape from being persecuted. I love Anthem by Ayn Rand because it talks about a dystopian society and about a curious mind that defies the government and learns something great. The beginning is boring and is of backstory, but from there it becomes so interesting that it feels like you are there with the main character. Also it’s a short book for those who hate 800 page books and want a quick read for school or just to kill some free time.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Awards:
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
2 stars = Meh
Review:

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

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

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

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Genres:
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

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

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating 4.5

This book leads right in connecting to The Adventure of Tom Sawyer. Huck was one of Tom's friends and the story is now based around him. He soon was adopted with many things coming along after with a man named Jim. There is a lot of action and things that can really trigger the emotions. Symbolism is a really good thing to look out for in this novel.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating 4.5

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is a pretty good novel. The main character of course being Tom goes through a series of interesting things. He witnesses things he probably shouldn't have and spends a lot of time with his small group of friends. He faces a lot of adventures and risky things throughout. This book is good especially if you read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I love this book. It is disturbing and fascinating in its implications concerning human nature, and filled with characters who are equally intriguing and disturbing. Published in 1891, it was initially met with scandal, but is now considered a classic. Dorian Gray is both a social commentary and a cautionary tale about the excesses of pursuing a life of pleasure only.

Dorian Gray is a singularly beautiful young man who is initially unaware of his own power to fascinate people with his looks and personality. When we meet him, he is the muse of a sensitive and successful artist who adores him for his beauty and innocence, and has painted a portrait reflecting those qualities. Then Dorian Gray meets Lord Henry Wotton, and everything changes. Lord Henry introduces the impressionable young Dorian to his philosophy of hedonism -- the pursuit of pleasure. Over time, Lord Henry uses his influence to subtly manipulate Dorian into fully embracing his philosophy. In short, the beauty remains (Dorian Gray actually stops ageing), but the innocence is lost forever.

As our hero grows more and more morally corrupt, a curious thing happens -- the portrait ages and changes, reflecting the state of Dorian's soul even as he remains outwardly young and beautiful. Looks can be deceiving.

The concept of someone who sells his or her soul in exchange for youth, beauty, money, or fun is nothing new, but this novel is so thoroughly fascinating that the basic premise never gets old. Plus it's short -- barely more than 200 pages in the copy I read. The characters are all very memorable and seem to be representative of various approaches to living life, which is simply an interesting thing to think about. Additionally, it gives some philosophical insight into the state of society -- a depiction that seems dangerously relevant to modern life. This story raises questions of morality, redemption, and the costs of living with your choices, but they are so fascinatingly handled that those topics will linger in your mind long after you've closed the book. I recommend it to everyone.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Genres:
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Animal Farm a group of animals are faced with some problems with the owner of their farm. Through these problems the animals form an alliance in order to try and get rid of their owner. It's full of action and controversy making it more fun to want to read. There are also some sad parts which also add a spark of emotions to the book. I believe this can also relate to actual human things that go on in the world, which makes it able to be relatable to the reader.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Hurston, Zora Neale
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Set in the 1930’s and 40’s, Janie is a woman who just wants love. She was raised by her grandmother, but the two did not agree on what Janie’s perfect life should be like. Janie’s grandmother sets Janie up with a man who will take care of her. This is just the beginning, though. As Janie meets more people, she becomes a different person herself. Eventually, she meets Tea Cake, a mere boy to her womanness that swoons her with the love that she’s been searching for all along. Be prepared, though for the teary ending that was bound to happen from the beginning.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison H.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book has been given more credit than it probably deserves. However, it is still a great novel. Bradbury has such beautiful writing, it grabs you from the first sentence. The story is about a man, Montag, who lives in the future as a fireman. Unlike today’s firemen, though, Montag is a fire-starter. He burns houses that have a single book in them, since books are illegal in this future. Montag meets a young girl, though, that changes his perspective on his previous perception of why books are so bad. If you are itching to read something quick, good, and that will make you think, this is a book for you!

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison H.
Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I am neutral about this book. Most of the people I know hate this book because it is so sad. It is about the story of a man named George and the obstacles he faces while trying to take care of his friend Lennie. The ending of this book drove me crazy and it gives absolutely no closure to its readers. If you are someone who enjoys books with a happy ending do not read this book. For the people brave enough to read it, beware. This book will haunt you for years to come.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gerilyn M.
Genres:
The Enchanted Castle
Nesbit, Edith
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Before I start, I would like to clarify that although I DID give this book 3 stars, I probably would have given it more if it had been written in a slightly less complex manner. The storyline is great and the characters are interesting, but the whole book is D.B.D. (Death By Description) and it can go on for a dozen pages at a time detailing a single short event. That can make the story difficult to follow, leaving you (or at least me, anyway) almost unable to appreciate it. As for the summary: The Enchanted Castle is a fantasy book by Edith Nesbit about three children, who, while playing in the forest, discover a secret passageway into the garden of a castle. They make believe that it is enchanted, and wake a young girl sleeping there, who they pretend is a princess. The girl is only the castle’s housekeeper’s niece, but the four of them soon discover that the garden really is enchanted, as is a ring that they find inside the castle. Both get them into such predicaments as turning invisible, accidentally wishing themselves taller and older, bringing mannequins to life, and accidentally turning into a statue and dining with members of the Greek pantheon. I will leave the outcomes of those situations to the book, as well as the ending, which I will only say is a happy one with everything resolved. I would recommend this book to those who like classic fantasy or other books by Nesbit (Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, etc.).
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob U.
Heart of Darkness
Conrad, Joseph
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Actual Rating: 2.5
Heart of Darkness is a classic book by Joseph Conrad that is deep, heavy, and somewhat disturbing. I probably would have given this book more stars if it were not for the immense amounts of dialogue and a maddeningly complex storyline. I did find what the book was actually about interesting, however, trying to follow along with what was happening with all the detailing and talking practically made my brain come out my ears. So, in spite of the complexity, I will sum it up as best as I can. Here’s basically what happens: The book begins with the narrator (presumably an unnamed sailor), along with several others, listening to a man named Marlow tell a story on board the Nellie, a sailing vessel. Marlow tells them a story about when he was a young man working a job as an ivory transporter on the Congo. Through an ivory trading expedition, he develops an interest in a man named Kurtz, who seems to have a godlike power over the natives. Through talking to several others, he discovers three main things about the mysterious Kurtz: that he is in poor health, that he has tons of ivory, and, according to one source, that he may be trying to steal the manager’s job. Marlow and some of Kurtz’s acquaintances then take a boat to bring relief to the man, but are attacked by the natives. They later learn that the natives attacked them because they were worried that Kurtz would be taken away from them. I will not give away any more as it may ruin the story, but it is a somewhat tragic one. I would recommend this book to people who like books that are deep and thought provoking, and can comprehend complex plots and conversations.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob U.

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