Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Historical

Out of the Dust book jacket
Hesse, Karen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a historical fiction novel set in Oklahoma's Dust Bowl and during the Great Depression. It follows Billie Jo, a young girl as she struggles through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. During the book, Billie must endure heart-wrenching experiences that no one should have to go through. The author does a bewildering job of illustrating the struggles of the Dust Bowl and gives you a new perspective on this historical event. The Dust Bowl is no longer a page in a history textbook but a story that will break your heart. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book with 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
Curtsies and Conspiracies
Carringer, Gail
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Curtsies and Conspiracies follows Sophronia Temminnick, a girl who just finished her first semester at deadly finishing school. The new semester brings fresh battles, hardships, and fun! When there's a fancy ball in London that all the girls want to go to, Sophronia is skeptical. What could be there that's worth it? The plot of this book is filled with twists and turns, and you should definitely check it out!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
Etiquette and Espionage
Carriger, Gail
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book, Etiquette and Espionage, follows the teenage, mischievous, unladylike Sophronia. Her mother deems her manners unfit, and sends her off to finishing school. As she quickly learns, this "finishing school" isn't what it seems. The school is an academy for spying and deadly maneuvers. Throughout her first few weeks and months, Sophronia makes friends with some colorful characters, and learns that life might not be all manners and fun. This book is packed with adventure and will make you hang on to the edge of your seat! Try it out, there'll be some plot twists and laughs all along the way.

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
11/22/63
King Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

22/11/63 by Stephen King is about the Kennedy Assassination, and time travel. I really like stuff about time travel and alternate universes, so this book sounded pretty interesting. Basically, an English teacher named Jake gets to go back in time, and ends up changing history. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Stephen King, time travel, or finds the JFK assassination interesting. I will say though, that while I really enjoyed this book, and think it’s good, it’s definitely not Stephen Kings best work.

Reviewer's Name: Emani
Under the Lilacs
May Alcott, Louisa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book, Under the Lilacs, is a heartwarming story that everyone of all ages would enjoy. It follows Bab and Betty, two young girls living with their mother. While out on a picnic with their dolls, the girls find that someone has stolen their cake. They find that the culprit is a dog-and the dog belongs to a boy named Ben. After learning that Ben is alone without a guardian, Bab, Betty, and their mother take him in. Ben is mischievous, but well mannered and fun. Throughout the rest of the novel, Ben finds a place inhis new home, and though there are struggles along the way, it's ultimately a happily ever after. Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott is an amazing book that you should definitely try!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
Where the Crawdads Sing
Owens, Delia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book takes place in North Carolina and follows the life of a girl named Kya. Kya has lived alone in the marsh since a young age and has always loved the life within. The book follows her as she grows up and the challenges she faces. Then her life takes a drastic turn when she is accused of the murder of Chase Andrews. The book deals with themes of love, loneliness, and more.

This book was pretty good, but outside of what I normally read. That said it was a very interesting book to read. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird because of the trial and theme of prejudice. Kya was such a unique character to follow with her lifestyle and how she acted. It was easy to cheer her on during the trial or feel her pain. It was fun to follow along with the trial and see the evidence. That said, I didn't rate this higher because of the twist at the end. The twist caught me off guard and it wasn't one I liked. I felt it went against some of the points made in the book. Although I know some people really loved this book. So this is one of those books you should read for yourself and see what you think. You might really like it or you might not. Either way, I think this book did a good job of showing Kya's world and life.

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
I Survived The California Wildfires, 2018
Tarshis, Lauren
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Josh and his mother travel to California to see Josh's cousins, Nicole and her daughter, Holly, who run a reptile shelter. At first, he doesn't think he'll like Holly, because she's so different from him. And while Josh loves basketball, she doesn't even know any famous players! But when disaster strikes, and he and Holly are trapped in a wildfire, he learns that maybe she isn't so different after all.

Even though I put four stars, I think that this book deserves 4.5 out of 5. This is quite possibly my favorite book in the I Survived series, that I have read so far. The only thing I didn't really like is that it was too short. This book is a great read for long road trips, because it is very entertaining, and it is also rather quick, so you won't have time to get bored of it.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
I Survived The Destruction of Pompeii, 79 A.D.
Tarshis, Lauren
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Marcus is a slave in ancient Pompeii, working for the despicable Festus Julius, who is having a party to see the upcoming gladiator match. Marcus thought he would never see Tata, his father, again after he was sold to someone else. But when he sees the people that the champion gladiator would fight, he also sees Tata. Can Marcus save his father from the arena and still survive?

This book had a pretty good story, although it could have been more enjoyable if it were longer. I enjoyed Marcus' quick thinking, the descriptions of Greece, and what it would be like to live there. However, I did notice that Mercury, the Roman version of Hermes was mentioned, even though the book is set in Greece. I would read this when you are bored, because it does get to the action pretty quickly, and you can read it in less than a day.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
Tarshis, Lauren
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

George has always been on the lookout for adventure. And so when he and his sister Phoebe start to travel home on the Titanic, he goes to explore every inch of the massive ship. But when the Titanic unbelievably starts to sink, and Phoebe is nowhere to be found, George must save her. George knows he won't give up, but will he be able to help his sister without ending up dead himself?

This book is a short read, but it is very interesting to see George's thoughts and feelings as the ship sinks. I like the way he doesn't panic, at least not a lot. I would recommend reading it when you are waiting for something, because it keeps you interested throughout the entire book, and it is only about 100 pages.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
Treasure Island
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is an amazing book filled with suspense and action to no end. It follows the story of a boy named Jim Hawkins, whose life takes a turn after buccaneers turn his quiet inn life upside down. He is whisked on a voyage after learning of a "treasure island". After overhearing a conversation between some of his most trusted friends, Hawkins has to find a way to fix the voyage-and stay safe! Treasure Island is filled with twists and turns that will certainly keep you on edge for the whole book! Check it out, you'll definitely enjoy it.

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
The Song of Achilles
Miller, Madeline
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is the story of Patroclus and Achilles and what their lives were like. They meet each other at a young age and soon become fast friends. They go to train with the Centaur Chiron in the mountains, but soon the call of war comes knocking. Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, has been kidnapped and taken to Troy. This causes the heroes of Greece to rally together to fight, including Achilles. Achilles desires the promise of glory, so he joins, and Patroclus, who can't bear to leave him, follows. This war will challenge of how far some will go for the promise of glory even at the cost of love. This book is told through Patroclus' perspective and gives a unique inside into what the Trojan War was like.

I've heard amazing things about this book, and I was not disappointed when I sat down to read it. Both of these characters were so lovable, I soon became invested in the story. I didn't know a lot about the Trojan War other than the wooden horse. I loved learning more about the history while following the boys' lives. This story was an emotional roller coaster for me. Be prepared to shed some tears and yell if you hop onto this wild ride. I loved this book so much and would recommend it to many. Every character had depth and played an impacting role in some way. It was beautiful. Here is one of my favorite quotes: "He is half of my soul, as the poet say." Song of Achilles.

-10th

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011
Tarshis, Lauren
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Dexter has always wanted to go storm chasing. So when Dr. Gage, a meteorologist comes to Joplin, Dex has a chance to do just that. The storm seems harmless enough, at first. But when they realize the clouds are hiding a tornado, the storm chases them instead. Dex is trapped in the car. Can he survive, just like his brother Jeremy, a Navy SEAL?

This book is ok. It had lots of detail, and I especially liked the tour of the meteorology van, because I enjoy science. I also liked the way Mrs. Tarshis described all of Dex's feelings about his brother and the tornado. It seemed like Dexter was real, at some points in the book. It also got to the action pretty quick, and it is interesting the whole way through. I would read this book if you are bored, like most of the books in the I Survived series. It could have been longer, though.

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
Lucky Broken Girl
Behar, Ruth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lucky Broken Girl is about a Girl named Ruthie and her family, who moved to America from Cuba. Ruthie's English is starting to improve and she is making friends at her new school. But that all changes when she gets into a car accident, and breaks both of her legs. She has to spend a year in a cast and she has to relearn how to walk once it is off. I really liked this book because it was emotional. I laughed and cried while reading this book. I liked how the characters were written, I thought they had a lot of personality. I also really liked the plot. Overall I thought this book was very enjoyable to read.

Reviewer's Name: Lotus
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an exceptional novel filled with mischief, fun, and excitement. Huckleberry Finn is a young teenage boy who just ran away from his civilized, structured life in search of something adventurous and new. After leaving on a raft, he meets a slave, Jim, who slipped away from his home. Huck and Jim set out on a rafting journey down the river to make a new life and find Jim’s family. Along the way, Huck is conflicted between turning Jim, the runaway slave, in, or letting him reach freedom. As they go along, he discovers his true self and makes his decision about Jim. Filled with fun stunts, mishaps, and laughter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an amazing classic you’re sure to love.

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
Circe
Miller, Madeline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is a book everyone should read once in their life no matter their age. It is about an immortal witch named Circe banished to an island to be forever alone. This is because the greek gods fear her powers. The book follows her life as she grows as a woman and learns what it means to live. It was very empowering to see her grow so much in the span of 300 pages. At first, I was not excited to read this book, but it very quickly surprised me. Quickly I was led into Circe's world and couldn't pull away. It has everything I love growth, love, loss, change, and a well-written story. I was angry when Circe was suffering and happy when she found joy. One should read this book especially if into greek mythology, but never fear for those who know nothing about it can follow along. It was amazing to see Circe meet characters from her point of view including the well-known Odysseus and her time spent with him. It was well written and showed what it truly means to live.
- 10th grade

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
Rose in Bloom
Alcott, Louisa May
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Louisa Alcott’s book, Rose in Bloom, is a highly engaging and unique story for all readers. It follows Rose, a young woman who has returned from Europe and finds her cousins and friends all grown up. Throughout the course of the novel, Rose struggles between self-discovery and societal pressures towards marriage. As she learns more about herself and life, Rose finds that she can take control of her future and be her own person. Rose is a very philanthropic and independent character and the plot will pull you in; it’s a must read for everyone! You should totally give it a shot-I’m sure you’ll love it!

Reviewer's Name: Gemma
The Paper Girl of Paris
Taylor, Jordyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When Alice ends up in Paris for the summer her whole world changes. When her grandmother passes away she inherits a mysteriously locked apartment in Paris. Upon finding the apartment, she acquires help from a cute Parisian student named Paul. Paul and Alice quickly become friends and realize there may be more to their friendship. Between figuring out a mysterious apartment from World War 2 and a budding romance this book is a keeper! Couldn't put it down.

Reviewer's Name: Maria
This Tender Land
Krueger, William Kent
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Orphaned and alone, Odie and his brother, Albert are sent to Lincoln Indian Training School where they spend the next four years of their lives. However, the superintendent is cruel and abusive, and after committing a grave crime, Odie is forced to run away. Together with his brother, Mose his friend, and Emmy, an orphaned girl, Odie and his newfound family take a canoe down the Minnesota River with plans to go to Saint Louis and settle down with their family. During their odyssey, the friends change in different ways as each of them grapples with their heart's truest desires.

This book is an allusion to a different popular story, and I loved the different references and allusions. The main characters are all children, but each of them brought me so much insight into the world and what it means to "find what's in your heart". The novel is also full of great surprises that kept me wanting to read even more! It's mostly an adventure novel, but there is some romance and elements of fantasy and magic, so there's a bit of everything for everyone. The ending was also beautiful, and although it was a bit sad, it was fitting.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Girl from the Channel Islands
Lecoat, Jenny
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Hedy is a Jewish girl who went to Vienna to escape the Nazis but she unfortunately trapped herself amongst them. This time, she has no escape. Her life gets into greater and greater danger everyday. She hides with her friends and family and becomes a translator and tries whatever she could to keep herself hidden and safe. She meets a German officer who gives her sympathy and feels the position she's in. Kurt is his name, and he and Hedy start to develop feelings for each other. I feel like readers would enjoy the characters and their useful friendships in the book. Overall, this book is a little more mature because of the situation and the events, especially since it's based on true events, but it is still a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Bless Me, Ultima
Anaya, Rudolfo A.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Taking place just after World War II in New Mexico, this novel follows the coming of age of Antonio (Tony). The story is told through the perspective of adult Tony who reflects on his childhood, starting at the age of seven when an elderly curandera, Ultima, moves in with him and his family. Throughout the novel, Tony struggles with understanding his destiny, and whether he should embrace the vaqueros of his father's family or the religious farmers of his mother's. Torn between his parents' different dreams for his future, Tony forms a close bond with Ultima, who serves as his middle ground. During the course of his childhood, Ultima shows Tony how to embrace all sides of his identity to create something new.

I enjoyed this book because it covered a variety of important themes, and although it's centered around Chicano culture and literature, its message transcends cultures. Tony's story was full of heartbreak, adventure, love, and hope, and in one way or another, I found that I could relate to his story and the characters around him. The 2013 film adaption also does a good job of following the original storyline.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma