Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Humor

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
John Dies at the End book jacket
Wong, David
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

John Dies at the End is a story on two levels. On hand hand, it's a poignant exploration of the darkness of humanity, the fear of the unknown, the tragedies of life, and the devastating realities we exist besides everyday. But also, it's about two idiots on a space drug and their strangely resilient dog.
This book should be the blueprint for every dark comedy. It isn't a needlessly tragic story with a few laughs thrown in or a joke fest that undercuts every poignant moment. It blends comedy and tragedy seamlessly, balances it perfectly, and hits it for a home run with meticulous writing and characters. This is mostly done by finding the hilarity in tragedy, specifically the tragedy of life. This book is strangely and wonderfully existential for being mostly about shadows and movie monsters, a very classic demons of a character mirrored by demons of the world. The characters in general are stellar, with so many flaws and so much cynicism but with some shining nuggets of morality and love that makes them very easy to root for.
The entire thing is a joke that takes itself seriously in the best way possible. There are horrible moments of death and gore and dehumanization, and I would definitely look up some content warnings, but it's still such a fun ride. One minute there's gruesome character deaths and existential dread and body horror and such, the next minute one of the characters need to just kill the alien larvae quickly to get to work on time. Or their dog explodes and shows up like two days later and they don't care enough to investigate that. It's a rollercoaster of mood swings, but in a good way.
All in all, I don't know how to describe this book without using far too many words. Basically, despite some anticlimactic moments and weaker plot structure, this is a perfect dark comedy. I'd recommend this to any fans of horror, humor, existential dread, nihilistic humor, and well-written alien drugs!

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Spy School
Gibbs, Stuart
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Where many spy novels explore the skill and expertise on display with fully trained spies, Spy School takes it back to basics. Ben Ripley, a normal middle school student, is chosen by the CIA to attend an academy for spies. Ben may not be the best spy there - or even in the top 90% - but he might be the only person who can stop a plot against the whole school.
A great novel for young readers looking for action and comedy, Spy School is a great introduction to the spy genre. Complete with interesting characters (although not without some flat characters as well), the plot moves at a quick pace while still keeping its reader engaged and excited. Although it is the first novel in a series, it works well as a standalone. However, the series has tended to improve as it has continued, maturing with its readers, so I would say continuing to read the series is worth your while.
If you're looking for a thriller for young readers, Spy School is the book for you!

Reviewer's Name: Locke
Genres:
Today Tonight Tomorrow
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book surprised me as far as good pacing and witty banter. It seemed like an average enemies-to-lovers book, which it is, but something about the characters' deep discussions and interests intrigued me. The main characters, Rowan and Neil, have been high school competitors for years to become the top of their class, never before stopping to consider that their passion to be the best hindered the discovery of similarities between them. Rowan and Neil had great chemistry and I could easily understand the pressures and concerns they had as newly-graduated high school seniors. Some reviews argued that the author tried to address too many issues in one book (misogyny, anti-Semitism, veganism, etc.), but my opinion is that there isn't a limit on how much you can advocate for equality in one book! Try this one out, it might surprise you.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Awards:
It Sounded Better In My Head
Kenwood, Nina
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was real easy to read and for me to get interested in. It is a story about a girl who had real life problems. The book tells the story of her after she gets out of school and how she just keeps running into problems. Like her parents get divorced, I could relate to her on this because my parents got divorced when I was 7. I like reading about real life stuff because it makes me feel like I am not alone with my things. I hope that the author writes a sequel to this book.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Blume, Judy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I read this book because my mom wouldn't stop talking about how she LOVED this book when she grew up. It was pretty funny. It is a book about.a kid in the fourth grade that has a little brother. And the little brother was just SO cute that everyone, not just his parents gave all of the attention to the brother. That part I can kinda understand. I have a little sister and for real babies usually get all of everyone's attention. It made him feel like a nothing. I liked the book because I could definitely relate to it, and it was pretty easy to read. I think it would probably be better for like middle school kids or younger to read. But it was good.

Reviewer's Name: Sophia
Chomp book jacket
Hiaasen, Carl
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a book that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I've read it every year since I was in elementary school, and it's a great story about kids standing up to nonsensical adults in a humorous yet adventurous way. Wahoo is an observant, level-headed character who contrasts with his father's personality well. I also love the girl Tuna because she is brave for everyone except herself, which is such an interesting character trope to follow. There's a great message of the negative impacts of media, such as reality television, and finding beauty in unconventional things. It is a quick read that will stick with you for a long time.

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Wrecking Ball
Kinney, Jeff
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The book, "Wrecking Ball," the main plot doesn't start immediately. First there are a couple of stories including a garage sale and a segment talking about how rich he would be when he grows up. When you finally get pass this entrance into the book, we can get to the beginning of the main plot. Greg Heffley and his family are initially devastated to find out that their Great Aunt Reba had died, but then they found out that she had left them a decent amount of money. This of course started to make them argue over what to do with it. Each suggested their own idea, but the mom's idea of expanding the kitchen won out despite unpopular response because she, quote on quote, was the only one who ever wrote Great Aunt Reba any Thank You cards. Nothing seemed like it could go wrong, the expansion began, and the family began to actually get excited about a bigger kitchen. But as you probably already know in these books, something goes wrong, but this time, everything goes wrong. Trash and concrete moving into the neighbors yard, toxins in the walls, and wasps getting into the house. The neighbors by this point were obviously not the agreeable type so when they found out that part of the extension was on one of the neighbors property, they had to take the extension down. The family hit down by this failure, decides that instead of improving the house, they're going to move to a new one in a new school district. Will this work out? Will Greg and Rowley stay friends? I guess you will just have to read.

I liked this book because it was a new story that didn't have any similarities to the previous books like some of the other stories have. I didn't dislike this book, but it was a fairly mediocre read for me and it didn't amaze me. I chose this book because I have been reading the series since I was young, and I enjoy getting the new book in the series when a new one comes out. I would recommend this book to anyone really who likes a good easy story to read before you fall asleep at night.

Reviewer's Name: Cooper
Big Nate Strikes Again
Peirce, Lincoln
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Nate Wright is back at it again when the unexpected strikes. Mrs. Godfrey gives a difficult assignment to research a great American. Not only this, but Nate is forcefully paired up with his archenemy and helpless teacher suck-up, Gina. She isn't exactly thrilled about it either as she is afraid that being partnered up with Nate will ruin her perfect GPA. They get assigned the topic of Ben Franklin, but Nate is more concerned with who became the captains for the Fleeceball teams. Fleeceball is a version of indoor baseball that their school plays for a season every year. Luck and disaster strike when Nate finds out he was made one of the captains, but unfortunately, so has Randy Betancourt the school bully. Nate gets in trouble, as usual, and inadvertently misses the captains meeting. Nate panics and rushes to tell the coach, but all seems good when Nate looks at his team. The coach picked all good players for him, except one, the absolute worst when it comes to athleticism, Gina. Will Nate be able to meet Gina's high expectations on their project, win the Fleeceball tournament, and deal with Randy all at the same time? I guess we will just have to see if Big Nate can, "Strike Again."

The reason I enjoyed this book so much was because Nate finally found an interest in something academic even if it is just one person from history. I guess this shows that he is not completely hopeless. I honestly didn't dislike any part of this book which I immensely enjoyed while reading it. The story stayed fresh and relevant, and it moved in a way that kept me reading. I picked this book just because I was at my cousin's house and needed something to read to fall asleep at night when I was younger, so I chose to read this, and I was hooked to the series ever since. This isn't one of the best books that I have read this year, but it does come fairly close.

Reviewer's Name: Cooper
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself book jacket
Peirce, Lincoln
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Big Nate, or Nate Wright, is a boy who has to deal with an arrogant teacher suck-up Gina, his perfect sister Ellen, who, Nate says, adults are too short-sighted to see how annoying she is, and a number of teachers including the worst one of all, Mrs. Godfrey. She apparently fails to recognize that despite his lack of knowing anything about history, or really anything else academic, that he is destined for greatness in the future. Nate feels though that at the current stage in his life, 6th grade, he can't do much about people not realizing his greatness, especially when surrounded by misguided teachers, his clueless father, or his joking best friends Francis and Teddy. Luck strikes when Nate didn't eat breakfast and one of his best friends Teddy offers him a fortune cookie. Most of the time Nate wouldn't get anything worth thinking about, but this time is different because, "Today you will surpass all others." As soon as he gets this, He realizes that the only place that he will surpass all the others is at school because at home the only people he could surpass is his clueless dad and his annoying sister. Because of this, he tries every class out of the day to make it happen, causing him to land seven detentions throughout the day. Will Nate Wright be able to surpass all of the others, or will he be in detention, "In a class by himself."

I liked this book because Nate seems to not understand very much about what he should do in the world, so this means that he will inevitably make his own funny decisions. The only reason that I didn't like this book as much was because it was the first in the series and I just didn't feel like it was the best one out of them. I picked this book because I had already read some of the other books in the series, (I read them out of order,) and I decided that I probably should read the first one to see how the story began. This book surprised me because I had no idea what the "origin story" could possibly be for this kind of a character, but if I would have guessed, the story would have exceeded my expectations. I have read many books like this, this year so sadly I can't say that it is one of the best ones that I have read this year.

Reviewer's Name: Cooper
Big Shot: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Kinney, Jeff
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

If you have read the other Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, than you know that Greg has never been much of a sports kid. From sitting inside all day playing video games to not using the bench press that he got for Christmas. He thinks that people get certain athlete genes that make them better at sports and he guesses that he didn't get many of those. Despite his hereditary roadblocks, he wants to prove himself to his dad who is continually encouraging to give sports a shot. His opportunity comes faster than he realizes when his school announces field day which would have evens like tug of war contests and sack races. This was all looking like a good chance for Greg until field day takes an unexpected turn. From being used as light weight, to being traded away by his own teacher with two other kids for one beefy kid. Greg was ready to give up, but his mom wouldn't let him. She thought he had potential to do any sport he wanted to, and with basketball tryouts coming up, she made him go. Greg was sure that he wouldn't get on any of the teams, but he got on a separate team that was started by the basketball star's father. The basketball star, Preet Patel, couldn't make it to tryouts because of a family event, so he wasn't allowed to try out for the team. He really wanted to play basketball so his father, angry about the situation, decided to start a team with himself and all of the kids who didn't make the basketball team. Greg thinks that there might be a chance that they could actually do good with Preet on their team, but disaster strikes when Preet hurts his ankle and can't play for the rest of the season. Will Greg Heffley crash and burn, or will he get his "Big Shot."

I neither disliked nor liked this book. I felt like it was an okay story, but not the best Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that I have ever read. I picked this book simply because I have read these books since 3rd grade, and I want to continue to read them and see which ones are the best. The part that I enjoyed most about this book was the part in the gym when Greg actually considers working out. I'm wondering if he may actually do it in the future. The part I enjoyed least about this book was the field day event. I just felt like it was a real uninteresting time filler. This book didn't surprise me at all. It was a fairly easy to predict and not one of the best books I have read this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes this series or funny sports books.

Reviewer's Name: Cooper
Genres:
Everything on a Waffle book jacket
Horvath, Polly
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I rate this book five stars. The book tells the story of Primrose Squarp, a presumed orphan. Throughout the story she continues the search for her missing parents, despite disapproval from others. I relate to Primrose in her determination and courage. I would recommend this book to any of my friends, and it is in my top three books of all time.

Reviewer's Name: Katie
Horton Halfpott book jacket
Angleberger, Tom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Horton Halfpott is a comedy novel about a kitchen boy's life, love, and mystery. Horton Halfpott follows its titular character as he navigates the cruelty of the nobles, a new-found crush, and the investigation of a stolen "Lump". The book's core is its comedy, with a narrator adding to each movement with foreshadowing and direct acknowledgement of the reader. Targeted for kids ages 8-12, the humor is clever but not so much as to confuse a younger audience. Characters are likeable and the main characters are well-developed considering how short the novel is. Although the mystery's conclusion is evident to the reader, watching the detectives' and antagonist's plans in work adds an element of tension to the book, especially during the second half. The only major issue I had while reading was pacing. Most chapters are quite short, and the book could easily be reduced from almost 50 4-5 page chapters to 15 longer chapters. With such short chapters comes some whiplash as certain characters take control of the perspective for a page or two before the reader swaps to a different character. This had some jarring results, especially around the 3/4 mark of the book.

Overall, Horton Halfpott is a great story with some formatting problems holding it back from being a fantastic one. This story is still a worthwhile read for pre-teens, however.

Reviewer's Name: Locke
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball book jacket
Kinney, Jeff
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Wrecking Ball is full of twists and turns. The Heffleys find themselves with a massive inheritance, and by Mom vote, turned it toward home improvement. However, they soon learn that home improvement is nothing like their expectations. There was no chocolate pudding floor, no gaming floor, just rotten walls, unwanted critters, and something hiding in the pipes... They manage to find another home to move to, using the money from selling their old house. The deal falls through when the buyers see the house after the "improvements". When the dust settles, will the Heffleys have to get out of Dodge, or will they be able to stay?

Reviewer's Name: Kai
Genres:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End book jacket
Kinney, Jeff
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The main gist of the fifteenth book by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End, is that Greg Heffley and his family have been living in their grandmother's basement ever since some "financial issues" surfaced in the previous book. Ergo, there house was destroyed by a hot tub falling through their roof. Anyways, the conditions in which they are living in are not only uncomfortable for Greg, but also extremely boring. He has to not only face being cramped in a basement with his family all summer, but he can't even go hang out with his best friend Rowley because he and his family are on a trip to Europe. The family comes to the conclusion that they need a vacation, but the problem is that they are in strict money-saving mode. With a stroke of luck, they are able to find opportunity when Greg's Dad's brother, Uncle Gary, leaves an old RV in Greg's great grandmother's driveway. They clean it out, buy supplies, and hit the open road. On the way to finding their perfect camping paradise, they hit many road-bumps such as finding a place to park the RV, getting lost in the woods, and having a run in with a bear. Finally, they find Campers Eden, which is an RV park and resort where it seems that they can enjoy the perfect vacation. Will things turn out the way they think, or will they go off, "The Deep End."

Personally, I fairly enjoyed this book despite the fact that I am probably older than most of the audience that enjoys it. I find that the simple humor and writing is a good thing to help me relax at night and give me a laugh at the same time. The main reason why I picked this book to read was because I had been reading the books since third grade and like to keep up with them even though they are not quite at my reading level anymore. The only thing that I didn't enjoy about this book was it was the same basic story for the Long Haul which was the ninth book in the Wimpy Kid franchise. In the Long Haul the family decides to take a trip during their summer vacation so their family could bond. Besides this fact, the book was a fairly decent read. It was not necessarily the best book I have read this year, but it was a definite nice taste of nostalgia and humor. I would recommend this book for anyone in the second grade or higher. It is what I would call a timeless and easy read.

Reviewer's Name: Cooper
All The Wrong Questions: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
Snicket, Lemony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you know of a secret organization, and many, many easily fooled people. But, Lemony Snicket is not one of them. This book involves that secret organization, a very dangerous criminal, a plot involving a statue of a hideous sea creature, and Lemony Snicket himself. Perhaps you should turn your attention away from this horrible book and read another one.... JUST KIDDING : this book is amazingly awesome, no matter what Mr. Snicket says on the back!

When Lemony Snicket was 12 years old, he already had his hands on a mystery.mA confusing, detailed mystery. But if you pay attention, and read closely, you should be able to keep up. Lemony purposefully chooses the last-ranked mentor on the list, hoping that he will have more time for something else, but nothing can be farther from the truth. He is soon involved in another mystery, one that will take nearly all his time. His mentor, S. Theodora Markson, has no idea what she's doing, but acts like she knows everything. Someone is lying to him. He gets into trouble with the law by pure accident. This will take all the skills and knowledge from his 'unusual education'.

I love all of the Lemony Snicket books I have read so far, and this one is no exception. The plot will keep you guessing at every twist and turn. I like the way Lemony hardly ever panics, and how he handles things in his out-of-the-box way. This is a great way to spend the time if you are bored and sleepy, because it will wake you right up, and keep you entertained throughout the whole book. However, do not read this at bedtime, because you will not be able to stop, and will probably lose yourself a lot of sleep. This book is the first in a series, if you are looking for more Lemony Snicket.

Have fun reading!

Reviewer's Name: Kelsey
The Importance of Being Earnest
Wilde, Oscar
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is a short play about characters who are indeed NOT earnest. Algernon, a bachelor living in London, has an imaginary friend called Bunbury whose false existence he uses to get himself out of unpleasant social gatherings. Similarly, Jack—who lives in the country with his ward, an orphan named Cecily—has a made up brother named Ernest, whose constant state of “illness” allows him to visit the city when he pleases. From these false identities arises a huge misunderstanding, when Algernon decides to visit Jack’s country home posing as Ernest, the imaginary invalid brother whom Jack had planned to kill off that very day in order to end his pretending once and for all. The two friends must sort out the misunderstanding with their respective fiancées, and end up making an ironic discovery in the process.

This play is highly amusing, with its opinionated characters and witty commentary. It has a satisfying denouement; from start to finish the plot is engaging, and it doesn’t drag on. I would recommend The Importance of Being Earnest to anyone who likes a clever and entertaining comedy, or just a good laugh!

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I'll be honest. The main reason I picked up this book was because I kept hearing people talk about how 42 is the meaning of life and I had no idea what they meant. I also read it because I'm generally a big fan of science fiction, but it was mostly to understand the 42 reference. Despite my less-than-admirable intentions, though, I massively enjoyed it. The author is very creative and the writing itself is well-crafted, but, at the same time, the book doesn't take itself too seriously. It's hilarious. From the "42 is the meaning of life" idea that everyone talks about to the name "Slartibartfast," this book made me laugh out loud several times, which isn'ta common occurrence when I'm reading. I also read it as an audiobook, and Stephen Fry as the narrator makes it that much better. My only complaint about it is that the ending was a bit abrupt, but that's what sequels are for, so all in all, I would highly recommend.

Review grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
Dealing With Dragons
Wrede, Patricia C.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Dealing with Dragons is a novel about a princess named Cimorene. What's unusual about this particular princess is the fact that she is very improper. Unlike most princesses, she actually has a brain. When she learns of plans to wed her off to some cotton brained Knight, she runs away. She runs, not to the Enchanted Forest, not to some abandoned tower, but to a dragon's lair. I enjoy this book because of how well it puts you in the story. Once you start reading, you can't put it down. I recommend this book to anyone reading fairy tales, but not content with how stupid some of the characters are.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Young, Skottie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia