Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reviewer: Grace Wade-Stein
Star Rating: 5 stars

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Recently adapted into a movie, The Hate U Give is a stunning bestseller about Starr Carter, a teenage black girl who lives in the predominantly poor, black neighborhood of Garden Heights and attends Williamson Prep, a private school in a neighboring affluent, white community. Starr is mostly able to keep her two worlds apart, presenting one version of herself to her white friends and boyfriend and another to her childhood friends and family, until she witnesses the shooting of her best friend by a white police officer.

The shooting turns Starr’s life upside down. She is forced to navigate her grief and stand up for Khalil as the only witness to his murder while protecting her family from retribution, both from the police and local drug lords. Ultimately, she must find her voice in a world that is doing everything it can to silence her.

Everyone should read this book. It is politically and socially relevant and manages to be alternately shattering and uplifting. It masterfully weaves together themes of adolescence, race, violence, police brutality, protection, sacrifice, love, and friendship to paint a nuanced portrait of our world’s complex issues. Readers of all backgrounds will empathize and identify with Starr’s struggle to find her voice and benefit from the perspective of this book.  


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Reviewer: Grace Wade-Stein
Star Rating: 4 stars

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is a fast-paced dystopian fantasy novel set in a world divided by blood color. Silvers rule with the help of their unique supernatural abilities while Reds are forced to find employment or be conscripted. Mare Barrow is a Red working to support her family alongside her seamstress sister Gisa while their three brothers are away at war. When a plan to pickpocket a Silver goes awry, Mare finds herself working at the Silver Palace, where she discovers her own supernatural abilities.

Mare’s discovery is a revelation that threatens to destroy the balance of power that has governed her world for centuries. Fearful of what her power might mean for their own, Silvers authorities forge a new identity for Mare as a long-lost Silver princess. In the high-stakes masquerade that ensues, Mare finds herself caught between two worlds, two princes, and two courses of action: keep up the charade and protect her family or smash the Silver regime from the inside out.

This book’s intrigue, rebellion, and betrayal made it riveting. I would recommend it to fans of fantasy and dystopian favorites such as Divergent and The Hunger Games.



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan


The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
Reviewer: Luka K.
Star Rating: 4

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The Burning Maze is the third book in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series, a series based upon the mythological god Apollo from the Greek myths. Apollo has been cast away by his father Zeus, and must complete a series of quests as a mortal to become a god again. In this book, Apollo must venture into Daedalus’’ labyrinth and try to free his third oracle. With the help of some demigods, he fights his way through angry sorceresses and gods, while his son Nero tries to thwart him at every end.

As always, Rick Riordan delivered another gripping book, with amazing characterization and dialogue that sets it apart from the average fantasy. He is the only well-known author that uses the myth in a way that are not only interesting but also informative. It may be my fondness for his writing, but I honestly found nothing wrong or off-putting in this book.

This book would appeal to lovers of Rick Riordan’s writing, and also fantasy lovers. This is a strictly fantasy book with no other genres. Fans of the Fablehaven series will find this book especially to their taste.

I would rate this book as a 5, but that is a bit biased. I believe an appropriate rating for this book is a 4.5 stars.

Hooper by Geoff Harbach


Book: Hooper by Geoff Herbach
Reviewer: Luka K.
Star Rating: 4

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Hooper is a book about Adam Reed, a Polish immigrant in high school whose passion is basketball. He is amazing on the court, but not so off of it. Adam must find a way to balance all the things that come along with moving halfway across the globe. With the help of newfound friends, Adam follows new pathways that lead to new experiences and opportunities.

This is a feel good book, so the characters are especially real and heartwarming. The story feels like it could have happened in real life. One of the most intriguing points was the theme of immigrants and how they are treated here. Adam experienced bullying no matter where he was, but eventually everybody warmed up to him. Another great part about this piece is even though there was no stand out pieces of imagery, the setting was easy to imagine. I kept the pages turning even though this was not a mystery or action book.

The one problem I found in this book was that the plot repeated itself again and again in different settings. It got monotonous after a while. Other than that, this was a solid read. This is a good book for anyone wanting a break from action and fantasy novels, or just a feel good story. I would rate this 3.5 stars, but I feel it deserves more because of the themes it points out. Therefore, I would give Hooper 4 stars.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Reviewer: Langley
Star rating: 4





Once and for All, by Sarah Dessen, is the author’s latest coming of age drama. The story focuses on Louna Barrett, the daughter of an esteemed wedding planner. Having grown up with her mother’s business taking center stage, Louna has dealt with every kind of love story. She’s comforted brides with cold feet, found runaway ring-bearers, and even dealt with full-on disasters. Because of this lifestyle, her own mother’s failed love story, and the tragic tale of her first love, Louna has developed a rather cynical attitude towards love. But when Louna’s mother takes on a new client, and the brother of the bride (a Casanova named Ambrose) weasels his way into Louna’s life, things change for them both.


In a general sense, Once and for All has the same storyline as almost every other Sarah Dessen book. A teenage girl falls for a boy, and the effects of that relationship change the girl in some way. However stereotypical this story is, it still hooks the reader to the very end in typical Dessen fashion. The characters are relatable, complex, and the details of the story are full of originality. I would recommend this book to fans of John Green and romantic comedies. Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. The ending left room for possibilities, but tied up the story nicely. Though it may be nothing outside of the author’s comfort zone, Once and for All had me crying, smiling, and overall satisfied.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Reviewer: Marisa, 11th grade
Star rating: 5

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A raw and honest collection of poetry, Milk and Honey beautifully looks at issues of love, femininity, and the struggles faced by humankind. Rupi Kaur is a powerful poet, getting her start on Instagram, attracting a large following with her compelling words and poignant passages. This is her first published work, consisting of her words interlaced with her own pen drawings. Painted with such real emotion and feeling, these poems touch your heart and every other part of you that is so incredibly human. They take you a journey, finding what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what drains you, and what gives you hope. The way she uses words is powerful and graceful, aligned just right as to make you truly feel, and to open your mind to understanding the vast society and world we live in. This book might not be appropriate for a younger audience because there are some drawings of naked female figures, but nothing too entirely graphic. I would recommend this book to any teen or adult, male and female, who wants to feel key pieces of being a human. Overall beautiful words that give you a warm hug, this book is a quintessential glimpse of the magnificence of humans.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Book: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Reviewer: Marisa, 11th grade
Star rating: 5

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The Sun is Also a Star is a captivating novel about two paths crossing, despite it’s unlikeliness, and the beauty and the love and the heartache that comes out of two worlds colliding. Natasha is a girl, not believing in fate, trying to face the harsh reality that her family’s deportation is imminent. Daniel is a boy living under the enormous weight of his parent’s expectations, who becomes a dreamer when he meets Natasha. Exploring these two characters, as well as other’s stories that cross their paths, this novel explores fate, the probability of the universe, the interconnectedness of humankind, and that even though parallel universes exist, and there is an infinite possibility of outcomes, we have arrived to this current moment. This novel carries a lot of emotion, makes you feel strongly for both the characters, fall in love with their beautiful romance, and cry at its uncertainty. It effectively explores the universe, and immerse you into some concepts not thought of all the time, mainly probability and interconnectedness in the broadest sense of the words. I have no negative words for this novel. It makes you feel the broad range of emotions you are capable of feeling, and makes you feel them very deeply, while opening up your mind to an infinite number of possibilities. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in a love story that goes beyond the cliche, and that explores all corners of the confusing universe we exist in.