Laura Harrington’s Alice Bliss: Reviews

Reviewed by H.T.; 11th Grade If you are looking for a tear jerker book, don’t read Alice Bliss. When I began reading this book, I thought that I would need tissues right beside me and that when I was done I would dwell on it for at least a week. I was wrong. Although Alice Bliss was really well written it wasn’t what it was described to be. There were times where the narrator would change and that would leave me confused. Alice Bliss is a book about this girl named Alice and her families struggles after her father got deployed in Iraq but really it was more of Alice being an annoying teenager. This book is really good if you are looking for something sad and you are easily upset by the idea of death.”

T.F.; 10th grade This was an enjoyable book, but it did not have a happy plot. The story opened my eyes to real world situations and showed that even without a happy ending you can move on and grow. It is relatable and felt like a real story, not fiction. I forgot that it was a fiction and really believed that it could happen to someone, which it can, making it believable.

S.Q.; 12th grade I would recommend Laura Harrington’s “Alice Bliss.” It was a little slow in the beginning of the novel, but once the story got going it was hard to put down. There were many surprises in the novel, and it was not predictable. I really liked how there were flashbacks in the novel when Alice thought of her father in Iraq. It was easy to read, and was a story that in many ways relates to the world today. Many families have loved ones in the army, and it gave a little insight to what it must feel like to have someone so far away. It was interesting and was a good read!

A.R.; 12th grade I loved reading this book. Although I’ve never had a family member leave to serve in Iraq, I could still relate to Alice and her loved ones. Harrington artfully flashes back to times in Alice’s childhood, and this helps the reader get inside her mind and understand her. I even understood myself more after reading the novel. This book was definitely a tear jerker and I have not stopped thinking about it, even though I finished it over a month ago. I don’t know why, but it definitely struck a nerve!


Daniel Brown’s The Boys in the Boat. Nonfiction: Reviews

J.M.; 10th grade The Boys in the Boat was a very inspiring underdog story and is honestly one of the best books I have ever read. This book follows the journey of nine boys from Washington University as they, “showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit meant” (Daniel James Brown). Although you find out that these nine boys win the gold on the very first page of the book, there is still an element of suspense throughout the story. The boys have to compete in multiple races in order to get to the Olympic level. The races are written in such great detail that you feel like you are on the sidelines watching it. The book was so well written that it was impossible to put the book down in the middle of a race. Even though you know that they have to win some of the races, the way they are written makes you second guess what the book told you on the very first page. This book is centered on one oarsman, Joe Rantz. Joe really changes for the better throughout the course of his rowing career. He encountered many challenges while growing up; poverty, the death of his mother, his father remarrying to a woman who is very mean to him, countless new homes, and finally, new brothers and sisters. At the beginning of the book Joe says that he would never let himself rely on anyone ever again. This one idea sets the stage for the rest of the book, because throughout the story Joe slowly begins to trust the boys in his boat more and more. In the prologue, the book describes Brown, the author, finding Joe dying and how he becomes fascinated with Joe’s story. When Brown told Rantz that he would like to write this book Joe simply said, “I’d like that. But not just about me. It has to be about the boat.” It is amazing to see throughout the story how much Joe grows to love the boat and the boys he rowed with, a love which he carried until the day he died. The other boys; their coach, Al Ulbrickson; and their boat builder, George Pocock, were also important parts of the story even though the book was mostly about Joe. I really liked how new characters were introduced throughout the story. They are described only after they meet Joe and their background stories only take up about two paragraphs. These characters growing relationships with Joe are described more than the characters themselves are. This really shows how the bond between this team grows, and how Joe learns to rely on his teammates throughout their journey to the Olympics. This gave more depth to the book. One of the most unique things about this book is that every chapter begins with a quote from George Pocock, the famous boat builder. The quotes were a great part of the book because even though they are centered on rowing, they tie into important life lessons. The quote from chapter nine is a perfect example, “One of the first admonitions of a good rowing coach, after the fundamentals are over, is ‘pull your own weight,’ and the young oarsman does just that when he finds out that the boat goes better when he does. There is certainly a social implication here.” Another great aspect of this book is how descriptive it is. Everything is described in a way that makes it very easy to picture. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Brown describes “swing.” Swing is when everyone in the boat is in perfect unison and is completely focused on rowing. It is described in such a way that it seems, as the book says, “almost magical.” The book also does a great job of tying in what was happening in Germany at the time. The Boys in the Boat was a very inspirational story and I highly recommend it!

J.S.; 10th grade The Boys in the Boat was in interesting and information filled book that explained in detail about perseverance and how the underdog U.S. Team won the gold for the 8 man rowing team in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

O.l.; 12th grade As a rower myself I know first hand what a difficult sport Crew is. Brown effortlessly depicts the true strength it take to do this sport. Following these young men on there journey to Olympic history we learn about the sport, and the deep bond that forms between boat mates. When you step into a boat it is no longer about you, it’s about the person sitting in front if you and behind you. Brown sums up the sport in a way I was never taught. It is no longer just me it is us, all 8 rowers moving as one. It is about encouraging one another to push, not for themselves but for the person in front of them. And that will lead you to victory.


Marissa Meyer’s Cinder & Scarlet: Reviews

Reviewed by G.R.; 9th Grade It was such a cool book. Seriously. Cyborg Cinderella from the future.It was interesting because it sort of followed the original plot of Cinderella, but was different enough that you didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was awesome!!!! Read it!!!!!

K.M., 10th grade. Cinder is a fast-paced easy read that kept me at the edge of my seat. The way Meyer writes, you can so clearly envision the characters, the setting, and feel the emotion. I read at a sophisticated level, and although Cinder was a simple novel, I enjoyed it so thoroughly that I couldn’t wait to read the rest of The Lunar Chronicles. I would 100% suggest this book to all ages. Scarlet: Lunar Chronicles; #2

G.R.; 9th grade Scarlet is a really good book! It was a fun twist on the story of Robin Hood and was really interesting. There was always something happening. Read it!!!


John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: Reviews

Reviewed by K.W.; 9th Grade It was absolutely amazing.It really made me think, and gave a whole new perspective on cancer and it’s effect on people. It was a beautiful love story, and not just the love between Hazel and Gus; the love shared between Isaac and Gus, Gus and his parents, etc. was wonderful. The whole thing was just amazing and reading it was an awesome decision.

Reviewed by K.D.; 10th Grade In The Fault in Our Stars by John Green there is so much more to take way from this novel than it just being another cancer story. In can be seen through the characters of Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster that during the most scary and difficult times of your life it is important to have another person who will provide love, care and support for you. Although neither of them were in a state of bliss they were able to create their own happiness in each other.

Reviewed by S.H.; 12th Grade I really liked this book however it was hard for me to read. Not because it was dense or difficult to understand, just because it was depressing and upsetting. I knew I would enjoy this book even before I started reading it, because everyone who read it before me really liked it. I liked how simple the reading was and I never had trouble understanding what was going on. I loved Augustus Waters, one of the main characters, because he was a kind and an amazing human being. Hazel Grace Lancaster was a intelligent and kind person who I understood and could identify with with. She was different from most teenagers which I enjoyed reading about. I really enjoyed the book because all the characters were relatable and spoke and acted like real people. Everyone had flaws, but mostly cared for one another. I liked how this book only focused on two people in love right from the begging because with every page, you learned more about the characters. I loved how sweet and innocent this book really was. This was not my all time favorite book because it was very sad. However, I think I will always remember this book and the messages it portrayed about love, loss, and friendship. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and all it had to offer. I started in the morning and ended that afternoon, which proves how much I enjoyed the book.

Reviewed by M.A.; 11th Grade This is not so much a story about fighting cancer as it is a story a bout living life to the fullest, the bittersweet story between life and death. Learning to accept death is one recurring theme but, also, learning to love while you can. Even during the bad days, Gus and Hazel are still able to love each other. I learned that even though you are young, you can still love. While reading, I learned about the characters as well as myself. The Fault in Our Stars takes you on an emotional journey that will make you laugh, cry, and learn to accept people for who they are.

Reviewed by G.D.; 10th Grade “Okay: Hazel Grace Lancaster is a teenage girl. She enjoys “An Imperial Affliction,” a book she finds very relatable, and has read many a time. She enjoys literature and literature references, and is as sarcastic as your every-day teenager would be expected to be. She also has thyroid cancer and a machine she gets the pleasure of wheeling around on the daily so she can actually breath. Her doctor had diagnosed her with depression, and suggested a youth group to go to and discuss her feelings and fears of her cancer. Reluctantly, she attended, even making friends with a boy named Isaac who was meant to lose his eyes in a matter of time. And one day, he himself brought a friend – Augustus Waters. Tall, dark haired, light eyed, and with a slight tilt to his stance due to a prosthetic leg he lost to cancer himself, Gus explains that he is only there to support his friend Isaac. And when questioned on his fears his answer was simply “Oblivion”. “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” – Hazel The two find themselves together, perfectly complimenting and perfectly in love. The exchange their favorite books and read their entirety, they have picnic near large scale art pieces, they dine in Amsterdam, and they find attachment to the word “Okay.” But, unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. You can sugar coat things, pretend everything’s going to work out in the end, and that its all going to be a forever-after sort of situation. But that’s just not the truth. This is. The story between the two is the primary plot, though there is a large subplot, which I simply adore, surrounding Hazel’s favorite author, the author of “An Imperial Affliction,” who lives in Amsterdam and whom Hazel and Gus visit during the novel. The interaction with him, both in the book and in the movie, is some of my favorite writing of any book. I can feel the tension very easily in both portrayals, and you feel the same anger that Hazel feels. Which is true for every scene – Green manages to really latch onto you with his words, and you care deeply about the characters within the first few scenes of the book. The literary reference and the words the characters speak are simply superb. The ending, which is usually John Green’s strong suit, doesn’t fail here. The way this book ends is one of the best endings I’ve ever read – similar to Green’s other hit novel “Looking For Alaska,” which is my favorite of his books – and does well to leave a lasting feeling within you that doesn’t just fade out like any other book. This is probably the most commonly known teen-fiction novel out there today, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if I was just one of a thousand people to review it. Its highly quoted and widely loved around the world, both by screen and by page – and for very good reason. It’s tragic, it’s funny, it’s surprisingly relatable, and unsurprisingly tear-jerking. Do I think you will cry reading this book? “I do.”

Reviewed by C.T.; 9th Grade This book instills hope in its readers. This story goes beyond the initial belief of what cancer is like, and digs deep into the topic of cancer in children while exposing the ugly truth. In addition to showing the many tragic events that may come from the disease, Green sheds light on what it may be like for cancer patients to be in a relationship.

Reviewed by L.B.; 10th Grade The Fault in Our Stars is a wonderful book and I believe it reaches out to a wide variety of people. The characters have cancer, but that isn’t the focus of the book. It’s about the innocence of young love. Hazel Grace and Augustus are both a little awkward but that is what makes it so great. It makes there story real. From the first page your sucked into Hazel’s journey. You feel as if you are Hazel Grace. Somehow you know exactly what she is going to saw before she says it. I love the book because although it’s fictionally the characters feel all too real. I strongly recommend this book because it’s not just your average love story, it’s something more.

K.M.; 9th grade For my summer reading, I chose to read The Fault in our Stars by John Green. The Fault in our Stars is an inspiring and remarkable book about a young girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. One aspect that I enjoyed about the book is that Hazel, who has cancer, narrates the story in the first person point of view. This gives the readers access to all of her thoughts and puts you in her perspective. Another feature about the Fault in our Stars that I enjoyed was the many memorable quotes including “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly then all at once,” which is referring to the way Hazel fell in love with Gus, and “ you don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have a say in you hurts you,” which is explaining that it’s not everyone’s choice if they get hurt or not, but they do choose the people that they surround themselves with. The Fault in our Stars is filled with romance, humor, and tragedy. Throughout the book there are many positive messages about life and growing up. I highly recommend this book.

A.H.; 10th grade After all of my friends telling me how amazing this book was, and seeing commercials on TV for it, I finally decided to read it. I did enjoy the book, however, I felt that I would have liked it much more if people hadn’t hyped it up. Because everyone had been saying “It’s such an amazing book” and “the best they’d ever read”, I went into the book thinking it would be great, however, it paled in comparison to the story I’d imagined it to be. Although I was a little disappointed, I did like the book and I found the messages it held to be very insightful.

D.I., 12th grade If you are looking for a romance but also have a tissue box by your side, then John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is the book for you. As you take an emotional journey along with the main character, Hazel, you soon realize that every little thing affects your life drastically. Due to John Green’s style of writing, this is a very quick read. This book allows you to feel every emotion as they roller-coaster from heart felt and romantic to tragic and depressing. Green introduces each character in a way where you easily and rapidly create connections with each of them. Although many teenagers would be inclined to read this book, it is also a great story for adults to encounter. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

M.D.; 12th grade The story line of The Fault in Our Stars captures the life of a teenage, terminally ill, cancer patient named Hazel Grace. Hazel had always been a girl who kept to herself, until she had met a boy named Augustus Waters. Green introduced and brought the characters to life in a way that really helped to enhance the story. He did a fantastic job taking the reader by surprise with such a dramatic plot twist. The way he had changed events and put Augustus in Hazel’s position was so unexpected. It left you wanting to keep reading and to keep wanting more.

O.C.; 9th grade i cant describe this book. All i can say is that it is absolutely amazing. There was never a point in the book that i wasn’t interested and John Green managed to pull me into the book to the point i didn’t want it to end. I recommend this book to everyone and i guarantee you will laugh, cry, jump and fall in love with the book at the same time.

N.G.; 11th grade I found the book to be a fairly easy read and I enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of John Green’s work and this book is no exception. As somebody who also saw the movie, I must say that I liked the book a lot more than the film. A very sad book but sometimes the most beautiful literature is rich in emotional despair. I would recommend this book to anybody who’s interested in other works by John Green or anybody who saw the movie in theaters.

N.K.; 12th grade I thought that this book was very well written and an easy read. The book was written in a way that kept me constantly interested. The author has a talent for writing in a voice that teenagers can understand and enjoy. Obviously, everyone has heard about if not seen this movie, but I do believe that reading it is a better experience. I did watch the movie after I read the book, but I enjoyed how the characters were described a lot more than the movie was able to portray them. I would definitely recommend this book to a young adult reader, probably a girl, but I’m sure anyone would enjoy it. The story could hit very close to home for a lot of people in many different ways. It’s a good read for young people because they can relate to the things going on, whether it be the romance or even dealing with disease. This book was an emotional but enjoyable read.

K.M.; 12th grade I enjoyed this book very much. I felt that no aspect of it was forced, and it showed the many different types of relationships that people will experience not only in high school, but throughout their entire lives. It was very relatable (sic), and addressed many different types of experiences that arise.

A.R.; 9th grade The Fault In Our Stars was a great book. John Green takes a subject of tragedy and sorrow but, turns it into an incredible story of love and passion. He displays real heartaches and struggles through cancer and inserts these issues into each different character with their own personal death match. Despite these troubles, each character, even the ones with illness, seem to put others first. This book exhibits anger, excitement, sorrow, humor, friendship, loyalty and love. I highly recommend this exhilarating book.

M.R.; 10th grade This is a book that is filled with emotion. You find yourself laughing, smiling, and crying all in one book. It puts things into reality and teaches you to just live your life and be appreciative. Augustus and Hazel, two teenagers battling cancer, make you fall in love with their relationship. The Fault in Our Stars is inspiring and I would strongly recommend it to people of all ages.

A.L.; 9th grade I thoroughly enjoyed the novel The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. Before I read this book, it already appealed to me. I had heard from numerous of my friends that it was a great book and after reading it, I fully agree! Every chapter of this book is filled with emotional, romantic, and humorous dialogue that makes it hard to put down. I felt as if the relationship between Augustus and Hazel was very interesting. It is amazing how they both have cancer but try not to let that stop them from having a regular life. They learn to support one another’s situations while shining the light of their relationship rather than their cancers. I was also interested in the fact that a book (An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten) inspired Hazel and Augustus to travel to Amsterdam, even when it was not recommended by doctors. She was willing to put her life at risk for the book that she loved! If I had to change one thing about this book, I would make lsaac a bigger character. I felt as if his character was so interesting and deserved more attention. Overall, I would give this book a 9 out of 10 and I might even read it again!

B.M.; 9th grade The Fault In Our Stars, or TFIOS as other’s may call it, is a astounding, extravagant read. It is about a girl cancer patient (Hazel Grace) who meets a post cancer boy and they end up falling in love. He brings her to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author who actually ends up being penny-pinching and parsimonious. They also egg some ones house together. But in the end of the book, the boy ends up becoming very ill. Augustus Waters (the boy) ends up getting sick from his cancer which had come back. This turns Hazel’s world upside down. When he dies, she is shocked and full of grief. Personally when that turn of events happens it makes the book more interesting. Not that the book was ever dull but having events turn for the worst put a new feel into the book. Like a tragedy, almost like Romeo And Juliet. But in a new fashioned, cancer kinda way. Overall I absolutely pleased and entertained by this book. I would recommend this book to anyone i know. It is really spectacular.

G.T.; 12th grade This book is a must read. When reading this book, I could not put it down. Each page was something more and more to add to the story. The story was very sad because Hazel has been suffering with cancer and meets a guy that finally makes her happy but then he winds up getting cancer. Hazel and Ansel both obsess over a book that has no ending and this is the theme of the story basically. They explore together and go to the writers home which is across the world to find answers yet get nothing. Finally the story ends in tragedy when throughout the whole book you think that Hazel will die, but something else actually happens.

T.F.; 10th grade This is one of my favorite books. The story line shows strength in many of the characters, especially Hazel. It follows her life and shows the ups and downs of it as she deals with her cancer. It does not sugar coat the struggles of her disease and it feels real. It is really easy to get enveloped into the story and it’s characters. It made me appreciate the life and health I have by showing a life scenario of someone around my age who is not in good health.

C.C.; 9th grade I have read The Fault in Our Stars many times, and there’s something for everyone! In this novel’s enthralling plot, there is the heartbreaking storyline of adolescent cancer, a beautiful story of love and loss, and moments that will stick in your mind for weeks after reading. This novel is also beautifully written, with carefully chosen wording and flawless paragraph construction. The Fault in Our Stars contains silly moments that make you smile at the strong friendships of the characters, as well as deep thought-provoking moments about what it means to be alive and fear of oblivion. No matter what your taste in books, there is something that will hit home. Green’s novel deals with teenage woes while still addressing major issues. The Fault in Our Stars’ quotable passages will leave you thinking questioning the character’s lives and choices, as well as your own. This novel will change the way you view love, loss, existentialism, and the forming of relationships. The Fault in Our Stars is an emotional roller-coaster, but you won’t be able to put it down.

S.N.; 9th grade The book “The Fault In Our Stars” is the type of book to read when you want to cry. This book is funny, serious, and extremely sad. It is filled with a lot of tragedy and love. I would recommend this book to teens between the ages of 13-1. This is because even though most of them haven’t gone through what the characters in this book have, they can still relate to the events that happen.

C.M.; 12th grade The book was a decent love story, though I have to admit, Green’s writing is a bit lackluster. In my eyes, it was a book about unextraordinary characters in an extraordinary situation, despite Green’s attempt at asserting the opposite situation, which didn’t click well with me. As well, some of the themes made very little sense, such as Augustus’s surprise (prepaid) trip to Amsterdam. I have an exceedingly difficult time believing he would make that leap without some sort of confirmation from Hazel first. Another thing that bothered me was Gus’s “metaphorical” use of cigarettes. “I don’t give them the power to kill me”? Are you kidding me? In all reality, that motif would’ve lasted all of twenty minutes in a REAL angsty teen. All in all, I think The Fault In Our Stars was an attempt to add a sparkle to youth life, and in my eyes, Green failed.

B.J.; 12th grade The Fault in Our Stars was a great book, but an extremely sad one. I’m more of a person who only reads thriller or mystery books, but a couple of my friends said that I needed to read this one, once they had heard that the movie was coming out. It was very sad and very depressing, but it somehow left you with an uplifting and pleasant feeling by the end of the book. Two kids, that are my age, made the absolute best out of literally the worst possible situation they could have been in, and it was kind of awesome to read about it. If you are reluctant to read this book because you think it is going to be too sad, I was right there with you! But I would definitely say that The Fault in Our Stars is a book that you will not regret reading in the end!

J.F.; 12th grade The Fault in our Stars is a very inspirational book. It shows you how bad life can turn so quickly, but you have to be able to look forward and keep pushing, even through the toughest times. This story keeps the reader on their toes throughout a courageous journey of fighting cancer for two young individuals. Eventually, Hazel and Gus fall for each other which changes the theme to a romance love story. They share the same common characteristics, cancer, except one is a cancer survivors and the other is currently suffering from a terminal cancer. No matter the circumstances, they are always their for one another and continue their love for each other.

A.K.; 12th grade I did not hate the book but I did not love it either. I thought some parts were kind of hard to understand and it was too metaphorical. I did enjoy some parts of the book, like when Hazel and Gus started really liking each other. I like how it showed that anyone can find love.

K.W.; 12th grade My feelings on “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green are explained perfectly through one of Augustus’s many thoughtful quotes, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly then all at once.”m I fell completely in love with this novel and all of its characters. The story starts out with Hazel Grace Lancaster a girl who had become her disease. In the very beginning I felt annoyed with Hazel, she has terminal cancer and yet she wasn’t living her life like she should be; day to day… cherishing every second. Instead she chooses to sleep and watch Americas Next Top Model marathons. Hazel doesn’t really make the most of her support group either, well not until Augustus Waters shows up with Issac a boy who is loosing his sight to cancer. Augustus changes Hazel completely, as the story goes on Hazel begins to live her life to the fullest day by day. On the night Hazel and Augustus meet they decide to read each others favorite books Hazels being “An Imperial Affliction” and Augustus’s “The Price of Dawn”. As the book goes on we see that Hazel and Augustus’s main Goals revolve around “An Imperial Affliction” and its mysterious author Peter Van Houten; who ventured to Amsterdam after he finished the book. In the first third of the story Augustus comes in contact with Van Houten’s assistant Lidewij Vliegenthart, and they begin to email back and forth about the strange yet logical ending of “An Imperial Affliction”. Why does it just end mid sentence? What happens to Anna’s family, friends, and hamster? Hazel also decides to email miss Vliegenthart- who says she is writing to them as the author himself- about the story. Augustus brings Hazel on a Amsterdam themed picnic and reveals he didn’t use his wish from when he was sick with osteosarcoma a type of bone cancer which caused him to lose a leg. At the picnic Augustus uses Amsterdam’s color orange to tell Hazel that he will be bringing her to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten so both of them can find out the secretes of “An imperial Affliction”. A few days before Hazel and Augustus’s trip to Ampsterdam Hazel has an episode of pleural effusion which happens when the lungs fill with liquid. Hazel is near death when this happens and yet somehow pulls through. Her doctors and parents question if she should be traveling but Dr. Maria, who is familiar with Hazels cancer type convinces the others that they should let hazel live her life and let her go. While in Amsterdam Hazel and Augustus do many things. By far the most important is the meeting of Van Houten himself. It turns out that his assistant Lidewij set up the whole meeting. Van Houten turns out to be a mean- spirited, alcoholic, with no intention of answering any of Hazels Questions except the one about the Hamster. Even though this is a huge let down to both Hazel and Augustus they still go on with their plans for the day which includes going to the Ann Frank house where they share their fist kiss. The next day Agustus has something to tell Hazel, his cancer is back. After many complications with Augustus cancer he realizes that he does not have much time left and has a ‘prefuneral’ there Hazel and Issac give their eulogies here hazel thanks Augustus for their little infinity. A few days later Augustus dies. Hazel attends both the funeral and Burial. While at the funeral someone begins to talk to her and she realizes it it Van Houten, he apologizes to her for ruining her trip. Hazel tells Van Houten to leave. Hazel remembers after the funeral that Augustus had began to write the sequel to “An Imperial Affliction” for her. She searches for it and eventually realizes that he must have given it to Van Houten. She gets in touch with his assistant and is sent the sequel or at least she thought it was the sequel. After reading it Hazel realizes it is her eulogy it says ” you don’t get to choose whether or not you get hurt, but you do get to choose what hurts you.” Augustus is happy with his choices, and he hopes Hazel is, too. She is. I loved this story, in a way John Green ended the book like Van Houten ended “An Imperial Affliction” we do not know what happened to Hazel Grace after this. John Green really made this story touch my heart. The characters were so nicely developed and i saw the quote “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly then all at once,” really come alive for me. At first i wasn’t sure if i would love it, but after reading it I now have a new favorite book.

C.H.. 9th grade I thought the boook was a perfect mixture of love, tragedy, drama. I chose this book mainly because i like romantic stories. I recommend this book to anyone else who likes a good romantic story to sit down and read. The Fault in Our Stars is also a movie so if you are the type of person who likes to read the book before the movie I believe that this is the right book is for you. If you like any of these qualities in a book i suggest you read it. I think The Fault in Our Stars is a great book!

M.P.; 9th grade The Fault in our Stars, by John Green, is the best book I’ve ever read. There was not one point in the whole entire book where I was bored. Every page was just as good as the next. I never wanted to put the book down, I was too intrigued in what would happen next. The book is inspiring, amazing, and heartfelt. It honestly doesn’t matter what type of genre you are into, you will love this book. I recommend this book to everyone.

B.R., 9th grade This book is an amazing read for young adults! There is amazing points of drama, suspense, and romance. John Green seems to be able to connect with the reader and his characters as well as making funny points. Hazel Grace Lancaster is a girl with cancer. Her mom forces her to make friends at the weekly church support group where she meets a cute boy named Augustus Waters. As they learn more about each other they go on a huge adventure that leads to more than just love. Read this book if you want a story that you can connect with and love. Okay? Okay.

S.B.; 10th grade Very good book I related to it very much because of my brother dying and other stuff in my life I would decide tell recommend this book but you have to read the book before you see the movie I cried during the movie because I lived that but with the book it was harder for me to experience it without seeing it. It was definitely very emotional so make sure that you have a box of tissues near by but other wise it was such an amazing book!!

M.K.; 10th grade The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books. The author does a great job of telling the story from the point of view of a teenager. The novel addresses serious issues such as depression, illness, and death while being funny, romantic, and relatable (sic) at the same time. It will make you laugh ad cry, and I highly recommend it.


Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave: Reviews

Reviewed by A.B.; 9th Grade The Fifth Wave is about a girl named Cassie who leads a normal life until aliens invade Earth. The intruders operate in “”waves,”” or a new way to mercilessly kill humans. The first four waves kill thousands of people, including Cassie’s parents, and the world is left in rubble and fire. The worst part: the aliens look exactly like humans and it is impossible to tell the difference between friend and foe. Cassie’s way of life is simple- keep hidden, keep moving, and trust no one until she rescues her younger brother after he was kidnapped by the aliens. But when a mysterious stranger saves Cassie’s life, she is forced to rethink her survival ideals and trust him in order to save her brother. I really enjoyed reading The Fifth Wave. It had something for everyone in it, from the science fiction plot to the futuristic setting to the paranormal romance. It was also different in the way that the book was set up in sections where different characters would tell the story from their point of view, and it was cool to see how each character’s actions affected one another and the stories intertwined. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action, survival, science fiction, paranormal romance, and battle.

P.C.; 10th grade When I first picked up this book at the library, I said to myself “I guess I’ll read this.” I didn’t really like any of the books on the list by the short descriptions in the list we got, so I picked this one up off the table, out of all the other ones I could have picked just as easily. I made the right choice. I don’t normally like sci-fi, alien invasion type books, but this was an exception. I tore through it in about a week after starting it. One of he best parts is the character development, and the theme of determination throughout the whole novel. The Human-Silencer (silencers are what the main character calls the Aliens) conflict is good, but not as good as the internal conflict within the characters, and their will to stay alive despite the carnage all around them. Another one of the best parts is that the story never actually comes into contact with any real aliens. sure, the characters are surrounded by human sleeper agents for the Aliens, but you never see any of the real aliens. Another thing I really liked is that the book changes perspective every part (there are 13 parts) between 3 of the main characters. You get a perspective of a lot of different points of view, and even though the main characters never really come in contact with each other until the end (except for Cassie and her brother), you still feel a very tight connection between each of the main characters and what is happening in the world around them. This has been easily one of the best books I have ever read, and If it weren’t for the summer reading assignment, I probably wouldn’t have read it. However, if I did pick it up by chance, I still would have thoroughly enjoyed it if it wasn’t on the summer reading list. If you like sci-fi or apocalypse based books, you MUST read this.

N.P., 11th grade The 5th Wave had me hooked after the prologue, so when the main story began, I knew I was in for something special, and boy was I right. Within the lightning fast page turner that is The 5th Wave are two storylines, one action-packed, the other slower paced, but just as gripping, that intertwine near the finale, but before that point they are Game of Thrones-esque in their independence from the other, which is something I always find much more interesting than different POV’s on the same story. While I wasn’t expecting that, I can say I was positively surprised, and I think it helped the book a lot. The characters in each storyline are written in ways that I think are very realistic given the circumstances, which also add to believability. I really liked the interactions between the characters in each storyline; I felt it was very natural given the situation in each. The action in the book helped form a constant flow of events, leaving me wondering what on earth would happen next. With gripping action, twists, and characters, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is an jawdropping sci-fi action novel that grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until long after the book was over, and I strongly recommend it to any sci-fi fans out there.

S.H.; 10th grade Overall, The 5th Wave was a fantastic book written in many different viewpoints and styles. It maintains a sense of drama, mystery, suspense, and darkness to the very end. I am not usually one to recommend books to others at all, because I am usually the last one to read said books among the group that I could recommend them to. However, if this were not the case I would recommend it to anyone who loves the science fiction genre, as well as those who do not usually prefer that genre.

C.S.; 12th grade i liked this book a lot it was very interesting. it also made me not want to put the book its also the reason why I finished it in one day. I also liked the language the author used. it was just a great read all around the moral the tale and the conflicts and the intense cliff hanger moments were great too.


David Iserson’s Firecracker: Reviews

Reviewed by E.M.; 12th Grade I really enjoyed this novel. It was very fast paced and to the point. Once I got started reading, I didn’t want to stop. It was a very funny as well. I actually laughed out loud at some of her sarcastic comments and wise thoughts. It had a mild romantic theme to it without being cliche which appealed to me. The story line was very original with lots of unexpected things happening. While she is learning life lessons, you are too, in a different point of view than than most novels. The only thing that didn’t satisfy me was Astrid Kreiger’s lack of emotion, especially at the end of the novel. Overall this book is very good entertaining and fun to read.

R.S.; 9th grade I really liked this book! I loved how different this book was from every other book about a kid who goes to high school. In every book the high schooler is insecure, nervous, and basically has no no confidence. But the main character Astrid is nothing like that. She walks around like she’s the best person in the world and isn’t afraid to admit it. I also found the story to be very unexpected. There were some parts of the story that I absolutely never saw coming. I expected this to be an average book not that interesting but I love realistic fiction so i figured why not read it? But as I read it and watched the characters grow, watched deaths happen, saw identities revealed, and witnessed every major twist that took place in this book I realized that this was not the book I expected to read.


Michael Northrop’s Gentlemen: Reviews
N.P., 11th grade. When I picked up Gentlemen by Michael Northrop, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Right from the very beginning there was something about the situation at hand that had me instantly hooked, and what followed was a gritty, fast-paced thriller that captivated me at every turn.Northrop writes his high school teenage characters in ways that are both gripping and relatable (sic), and the ways that they dealt with their friend’s disappearance were very realistic, and therefore, more believable. The plot’s numerous tie-ins and/or mirrorings of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment brought an entirely new sense of realism to the story, making it feel like it could happen at any school in any town. I also really appreciated some of the humor in the book. Some of the jokes the characters pulled further added to them being realistic typical high school teenagers. My only gripe with the book is that there was one sub-plot that I was invested in (in which the protagonist Michael is trying to get in touch with a girl he met over summer break) that was never really concluded. Apart from that, Gentlemen by Michael Northrop is a captivating, realistic thriller that had me invested until the last word that I think any fan of teen fiction should strongly consider.

C.G.; 10th grade This book starts off with 4 friends, Micheal, Mixer, Tommy, and Bones. They go to Tattawa High School and are social outcasts. Their english teacher Mr. Haberman calls them gentlemen which is ironic because their classmates treat them like they’re losers. Their life changes when Tommy goes missing, which he is known to do sometimes. However, this time he is gone for weeks and Micheal, Mixer, and Bones try to figure out what happened to him. Micheal, Mixer, and Bones come to the crazy conclusion that Mr. Haberman has something to do with Tommy going missing and when Mr. Haberman makes comments about a kid going missing and being murdered in between classes it makes them believe his theory even more. In this book the author makes the reader realize that people aren’t always what they seem. For instance, Micheal was thought to be a loser and dumb by his classmates when in fact he was quite smart. His teacher Mr. Haberman saw his potential and referred to him and his friends as gentlemen to show them respect so they would feel good about themselves. Micheal judged Mr. Haberman like he himself was judged by his classmates. He automatically assumed that Mr. Haberman was involved in Tommy’s disappearance because of his strange behavior. The author told the story through Micheal, the main character. This made it easier for a teenager to relate to Micheal’s life and thoughts. I enjoyed this book and would recommed it to a friend because it was a realistic depiction of how teenagers think and act. This book shows how kids can blow things out of proportion based by their quick judgements. It kept the reader guessing as to what could have happened to Tommy.

G.B.; 12th grade “Gentlemen” is a fast paced, easy mystery/thriller read telling the tale of four high school kids Mike, Mixer, Tommy, and Bones. The story is told by Mike, a heavy- thinker and likable character. His point of view gives it a great classic teenager feel and shows the strength and weaknesses of high school relationships. The boys reaction to Tommy’s disappearance will keep you reading. I recommend it to those that dislike slow starts, and are looking a quick humorous thriller.


Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala (Memoir): Reviews

Reviewed by S.C.; 11th Grade The incident involving Malala Yousafzai being shot was a heart breaking tale, however in this text, Malala narrates her story from the begining of her family’s history up until her recovery in a playful ,but informative tone. From reading this text, I have learned a great deal about Pakastan’s history and the “Pushtans” (Malala’s ethnic group). I enjoyed this text because, as Malala is guiding you through her struggle for girls education during the Taliban take over, the reader really feels Malala’s emotions and sympethizes with her. Malala expresses her deep ethnic roots by incorperating some Urdu words into the text, which if found very enlightening. Even though Malala was shot because she stood up for what she believed in, she continues to speak out for girls education and peace in Pakistan. Reading Malala’s story makes you appreciate the privledges America provides for us (like equal education for girls and boys), whereas Malala risks her life to earn those privledges. I strongly recomend this text to readers who enjoy non-fiction and a story with a lot of detail.

B.C.; 12th grade I Am Malala is a wonderful, heartwarming, exhilarating, yet sad but also uplifting story. Throughout the story you are filled with so many emotions. She goes through her entire life and everything that happens around her from her government to her family. Malala was shot when she was just 15 years old, by the Taliban. Before she was shot she was a very strong activist for the right of women’s education. Following in her fathers footsteps she loved to speak out and use her voice. She is a strong girl and she will continue to speak out against what is happening in her country. Malala was shot, yet she is not afraid because she knows she is Malala.

A.C.; 10th grade I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is an autobiography about a girl who when was only fifteen went through something horrifically tragic for just standing up for what she believed in and what she did with that devastation to her and her family was heroic. I Am Malala was published on October 8, 2013, but the story actually happened a year before then. This book is such a nonstop because Malala’s life when she was fifteen is completely different than mine is now at fifteen so it is interesting for me to read about how life’s can be different just because they live miles and miles away from each other. This book, I can somewhat relate to because I am a girl and Malala pushed for girls education rights and even tough I have rights to my education her story does make me realize some things that are away from girls for just being girls even in the United States. I Am Malala was an emotional and heartbreaking book but is was also very inspiration to me at the same time, to see how strong Malala is and how strong a girl can be, it pushes me to be stronger!

C.C.; 10th grade This is a book that everyone should read. You do not know how lucky you are until you have read this book. A 15 year old girl named Malala comes from a place where women are supposed to clean the house, cook, and take care of the children, but Malala believes everyone should be educated including women. The leaders of her country, which is Pakistan, say that it is against their religion. Malala speaks out and tells her people that their is no rule against their religion and that god wants his children to be educated. Malala gives interviews and speeches standing up for women’s education. People will try to stop her, but all she wants is to be able to go to school freely.

M.H.; 10th grade Overall, I was very interested in learning about this story, as it was all over social media. Malala is a hero in my opinion because after she was shot by the Taliban for going to school, she raised awareness of the tragedies such as this occurring in her country. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a second year in a row this year, which is very inspirational for someone only seventeen. However, her book was not my style. Even though I loved how she stood up for girls’/womens’ rights, I just didn’t like her writing style. The book was more historical and cultural based, and for me I love reading thriller books. For a history buff or someone that enjoys biographies, I guarantee this book will interest you. She talks a lot about her childhood, and the traditions their area in Pakistan follows. Her book is also centered on the Taliban and the warzone that she was forced to abandon. Honestly, I could not read more than 15 pages without being bored, especially because there were a lot of complicated names and traditions to remember.

D.C.; 9th grade I Am Malala is a good book. I enjoyed all the action and what she was trying to do, but during some parts of the book I would get very confused on the culture.


Gayle Forman’s If I Stay: Reviews

Reviewed by B.M.; 11th Grade I absolutely loved If I Stay by Gayle Forman. It’s the story of a young girl who needs to choose whether to die with her family or live. What I love about it is that the character contemplates the decision by returning to her old memories. These memories include her family, her boyfriend, and music. Another key feature in this book that I loved is the inclusion of music. Both the lead characters play instruments that are totally different from each others, but they learn that no matter what instruments are used, any music will sound good together as long as you love playing. I thought the book was heartbreaking, exciting, and different from anything I have ever read before. I recommend to anybody who loves reading and feels that a book can change your life because this one changed mine. And I am counting down the days to when the movie adaption hits theaters.

C.C.; 10th Grade. I read the back of this novel and it left with a question, which made me want to read it. Mia is a girl that has a passion for music and a loving boyfriend and family. All that changes when her family get’s into a car accident due to the snow. She is left in catastrophic conditions, while the other members of her family have died. She must make a choice to which she awakens from her condition and goes forth with her life or if she moves on with her parents and brother. This question made me want to read the book and find out what she chose.

L.B.; 10th Grade. Exceptional is the only word that comes to mind. While reading time becomes still, and your transported into another world. The story unfolds right before your eyes. It makes you recognize how valuable each moment is, and the power of love.

P.J.I.; 10th grade This was a very interesting book to read. The author’s way of telling what happened and how things occurred was very well written out. Personally, i liked this book and wanted to keep reading to find out what major event would happen next.

B.P.; 12th grade If I Stay, by Gayle Forman is an amazing book, which I loved reading. It is the story of Mia, a high school student who lives with her family until a terrible accident takes place and Mia is forced to make the most difficult decision imaginable, to live or to die. The story begins on a winter morning after a snow storm. The family decides to take advantage of a day off and go visit family and friends. While driving, the car is hit by a pick up truck and is eviscerated. Mia sees her lifeless body in the snow, and we realize she is seeing this as an out of body experience. She then sees her parents lifeless bodies and realizes they are gone. She does not know if her little brother, Teddy is alive or dead at this point. The rest of the story takes place at the hospital with Mia’s “spirit” watching everything that is going on. It also takes place as flashbacks where we learn more about her boyfriend Adam, and her amazing talent as a cellist. Mia and Adam are not a couple you might expect, she is a classically trained cellist hoping to be accepted into Juilliard and Adam is in a rock band called shooting star. But music brings them together and they admire and respect each others love for music, and they fall in love. Adam’s band is becoming famous and he is playing a lot of shows which takes them away from each other. They have disagreements and struggles but they hope to stay together. When Adam hears of Mia’s accident he is crushed and rushes to the hospital where Mia watches as he does everything he can to get into see Mia while she lays in a coma. Mia can hear everything going on around her, and she learns that her parents, as well as her younger brother have all died in the accident. At this point Mia’s grandfather, who is at her bedside says to Mia, “It’s okay, if you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. But that’s what I want and I could see it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you I understand if you go. It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.” (p 181)

K.R.; 12th grade “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman is a thrilling, emotional, and life changing novel that contacts all of your emotions and makes you feel as if you are a part of the main character, Mia’s, life or death decision. I adored Gayle Forman’s creativity in constructing a novel that forces you to take time out of your own life to appreciate the life you have and all of the consequences that come along with making certain decisions.

J.R.; 10th grade This tragic story has many plot twists and stays interesting throughout the book. It was a reality shock and makes you realize that naything could happen and how your life can change in an instant. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

M.L.; 10th grade This was an amazing book, and I highly recommend it to anyone, eleven and above. The author does the incredible (and cruel) thing of making you fall madly in love with characters that you know are already dead. The book is a series of touching flashbacks as well as the present event, and is truly life changing.

E.C.; 10th grade If I Stay is a bestseller with a movie that has just come out, so I thought I would give it a read to see if it really was all it was chocked up to be. My opinion is split, while I did enjoy this book, it was a quick read (only 1 day), and I thought the plot was good, it left me wanting more. It was predictable for the most part and I knew almost off the bat what the main character was going to choose. It also fell into quite a few clichés, but that is expected of a teen fiction/romance. In all I think it was just ok, I enjoyed reading it but I’m not running out to get the sequel, it lacked some depth but was an overall enjoyable read.

A.C.; 12th grade If I Stay follows Mia Hall, a quiet and family-oriented young high school student. Mia is a gifted musician, patiently waiting for an acceptance letter from Juilliard when her life takes an unexpected turn. After a fatal car accident, Mia finds herself in a coma having an out-of-body experience. Through Mia’s eyes, the reader learns Mia’s complicated history with Adam Wilde. Through the novel, she weighs her decision to stay or join her family in death. If I Stay would likely appeal to fans of supernatural romances. However, it is relatable to the musician, family-man, and high school student alike. It is definitely worth the read!

A.L.; 9th grade I really enjoyed reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I found that the characters were really easy to relate to and it was hard to put down. I was very interested in Mia and Adam’s relationship as well as Mia and Teddy’s relationship. If I had to change one thing about this book it would be the pace of the story. Everything went by very fast and I would have preferred a slower pace of events. Overall, I loved this book and I plan to read the sequel!

D.B.; 11th grade If I Stay is a wonderful read that I personally enjoyed. I became emotionally entwined in the intricate plot as there were several different heart-aching and inspiring aspects to it. Different types of love are present, the love between family, the love between friends, and the love between significant others. The deep expression of love between characters shows how powerful it can be, and it made the characters sacrifice their own happiness or well-being in order to put their loved ones’ needs first. This novel not only shows the advantages and struggles of love, but the significance of music as well. It also put the reader in a position that makes them question their own thought process, morals, and decisions as they ponder what they would do if in Mia’s complicated, heart-wrenching position. At the same time, philosophy and spirituality are linked into this incredible work of art as part of Mia’s dilemma is what would happen if she chose to leave behind her friends, family, and boyfriend. This story made me that much more grateful for all the important people in my life, as I learned to appreciate the little things because you never know when they could cease to be your reality. Freak incidents do in fact happen, and making the most of every moment is something I learned to do from this novel. Additionally, love has such an amazing influence on people’s choices, and sometimes makes people choose to suffer in order to prevent their loved ones from added pain rather than taking the much easier way out.

A.G.; 9th grade The book If I Stay, was recommended to me by a friend who absolutely adored the book The synopsis concluded with “she was just a normal girl with a normal life who suffered a tragic accident.” The fact that she had a pretty “normal life” made me question if this was the book for me. Now, I do not have anything against normal lives, one of my favorite books is all about surviving high school and making friends and trying to have a normal life, its just, everyone I know has pretty standard lives. That’s why I choose to read books with characters whose lives are far different from my own. I mean why read about high school drama, and crushes, and trying so hard to get into that college when it happens to us everyday? My friend was correct. Mia was a normal girl with a normal life. She doesn’t live in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, her parents aren’t supernatural, she has no superpowers what so ever, and her boyfriend is 100% human. However her parents were former punk rockers as well as her boyfriend. This peaked my interest. I can’t really tell you why I ended up reading the book because, to be honest I don’t know. Maybe it was my friend who convinced me or the fact that she had an out of body experience and I thought that was pretty cool. It doesn’t really matter, the point is I was surprised on how great the book was. It truly shows how valuable life is. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

P.J.I.; 10th grade This was a very interesting book to read. The author’s way of telling what happened and how things occurred was very well written out. Personally, I liked this book and wanted to keep reading to find out what major event would happen next.

Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor. Nonfiction: Reviews

E.M.; 11th grade Lone Survivor is a reminder of the sacrifices our military deals with every day so we can be safe and live prosperously in the greatest country in the world. Lone Survivor goes into detail how our greatest trained soldiers live their lives and the sacrifices they must make to defend our country. The book is an autobiography/ non-fiction which amazingly describes a battle that occurred in the mountains of Afghanistan between four outnumbered Navy SEALS and the Taliban. Lone Survivor is an eye opener and makes us understand how lucky we are to have such a great fighting force who fights for us and makes us understand how greatly we are in their debt.
J.A.; 12th grade Lone Survivor, “the eye witness account of Operation Red Wing and the lost hero’s of SEAL TEAM 10”, was a book fill with tragedy, and a brave Navy SEAL’s self given talent to never give up. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Special Warfare since World War II. Marcus’s brave team fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive. The whole team, including Marcus had been shot, bruised, and broken, but they all never put their weapons down. On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a Taliban leader known to be in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a “small”, but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive. This book was a story of Marcus Luttrell and his desperate attempt to survive in the mountains of Afghanistan; however, more than anything, it was the story of his team mates, the Brave Daniel Dietz, the noble Micheal Murphy, and the amazing Mathew Axelson. Throughout the next few days, just about dead, Marcus fought off six members of the Taliban who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers because of their code of Pastunwale. Marcus takes us back to a huge battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the American team plummeted a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through bullets and explosions. In this moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell relives one of the most amazing narratives ever written about modern warfare and gives a tribute to his brave teammates, who made the, “ultimate sacrifice for their country” (Luttrell).

E.M.; 12th grade An absolutely magnificent real life account of how a war hero managed to overcome adversity when things were looking really bleak for him. As his entire team (SEAL Team 10) got killed in the mountain terrain of Afghanistan by members of the Taliban, Marcus had to fight to stay alive throughout the night and later on when the Taliban was coming after him. There are big differences throughout the book and the movie for those who have only seen the movie. One of these major differences is that in the book, the training that is required to become a navy seal is much more emphasized in the book. Another major difference between the book and the movie is that in the book, the surviving that Marcus had to do during the night time is a major part of the book unlike the movie. This is a very inspiring book about over coming adversity and all people should entertain the idea of reading this book.

M.L.; 10th grade Lone Survivor was easily one of the best books I have ever read. It is the true story of Navy SEAL Team 10 and Operation Redwing, a mission in the mountains of Afghanistan to kill or capture a dangerous Taliban leader. Author Marcus Luttrell was one of four SEALs sent into the mountains on the mission and was the only one to make it out alive after their position is compromised and a rescue attempt goes horribly wrong. Lone Survivor grabbed my attention from start to finish and provided insight not only into the actual mission in which eleven Navy SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers were tragically killed by Taliban fighters, but the training and preparation it takes to become one of those elite American soldiers. The first half of the book sheds light on the harsh training Luttrell and other Navy hopefuls underwent to become a SEAL, which I personally found quite interesting. Although this part of the story starts off slow, it quickly turns into one of the most intense and emotional battle sequences I have ever encountered. Moments of heart-pounding suspense, tear-jerking sadness, and the occasional dark humor keep the story interesting and the reader wanting to keep on reading. Vivid descriptions of the battle up in the mountains of Afghanistan make the reader feel as if he or she was actually there, and you can feel Luttrell’s pain as bullets fly around him and his sorrow as his buddies are killed by his side. Lone Survivor is definitely one of the most interesting and attention-grabbing stories I have read, and I highly recommend it and its movie adaptation to anyone interested in the military and action-packed tales of valiance and heroism displayed by our noble Armed Forces.

A.G.; 11th grade I really enjoyed reading this book. War books have always interested me. This one is no different. By the end of the book I had trouble reading due to my sweaty hands smudging the ink. The book got very intense and was heart breaking. I only cried for 20 minutes. I have never gotten so emotional involved in a book. Once I picked I picked up the book it was very hard for me to put it down. By far one of the best books I have ever read.

B.Y.; 11th grade The book “Lone Survivor” is a very intense, first-hand telling of a mission that four navy SEALs had to take on in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. Four went in, only one came out. Marcus, the main character is “the lone survivor” and also the author of this gripping novel. It’s a long but pretty easy read. When reading, it is hard to stop, especially when you get to the action parts towards the middle, because what comes after each scene is crazier than the last. It goes into such great detail when explaining each individual wound and each shot all the soldiers take to the back, chest, head, arms, and all body parts. When I was reading this, I learned so much of what not only the soldiers go through, the families too. This story is very sad but also teaches so much about today’s military combat people experience.

D.C.; 9th grade Overall I thought that Lone Survivor was a great book. I like this book so much because it is so action packed. every page had so much energy in it and was very exciting. I would for sure recommend this book to anyone that loves action.

J.C.; 12th grade I thought the book was very real and graphic. You really got a in depth look into that horrible day in the mountains of Afghanistan.

J.G.; 12th grade This book is a thrilling eyewitness report of operation redwing. The book shows great heroism and courage as seal team 10 led by Marcus Luttrell fights for their lives each and every minute in the afghan mountains as they are being attacked by a small group of al Qaeda members. This is a great book if you are into military and suspense. But you really don’t need to be into the military to enjoy this book, you will enjoy the courage and will to fight each member of the seal teams displays. This book truly shows the world that the American Navy Seals fight for the man standing next to them. They will do anything and everything to protect a fellow Navy Seal

A.R.; 10th grade It was a great story. The book was outstanding. It truly showed the courage of all the members of SEAL team 10 and all the Night Stalker s who lost their lives.

J.M.; 12th grade I love this book. It is very moving and makes me respect the people serving our country even more. It is very sad how navy seals had die on this mission but it made me wanting to read more.


Michael Lewis’s Moneyball: Reviews

N.F.; 12th grade I thought this was an extremely interesting book. After already knowing the story behind Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics through the movie, I was happy to be able to read the book.The book, like in most cases, had much more information that the movie did not provide. If you are someone who is interested in the game of baseball, this book is perfect for you. It is amazing how Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta were able to transform the Oakland Athletics organization by calculations. However, if you have no interest in baseball this book could definitely be hard to interpret. With all of that being said, I enjoyed reading Moneyball greatly and highly recommend it to others who have a passion for sports.

T.W.; 11th grade A great read that kept me interested the whole time. I am a baseball fan so that did help. The way the book was able to describe the story of the Oakland Athletics in chronological order, taking a closer look at the way Billy Beane was able to make things work when no one thought he was right, really intrigued me. It goes deeper into the story of a franchise with not as much money as the better franchises in baseball.


Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper: Reviews

N.G.; 12th grade K.W.; 9th grade It was incredible; from the very beginning, I was roped in and could not stop reading.I was sucked into the story, feeling like the characters were actual people. The fact that the story was written in several different points of view allowed me to see what almost every person was thinking, and I really liked that. It help me relate to the story more. The ending was completely unpredictable and I cried quite a lot. The whole book was incredible, and one of my favorite books I’ve ever read.

A.M.; 12th grade I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as it was something very different from what I have read before. The story revolves around the family of a girl who is suffering from leukemia and has been suffering since the age of two. I felt a lot of compassion for the characters and enjoyed reading about how each one of them handled it. In addition, the side love story incorporated was an extremely creative way to bring the entire novel full circle. Throughout the story, I felt conflicted about Anna’s desire to receive medical emancipation from her parents. This confusion made me want to continue reading to fully develop my opinion. All in all I would recommend this book to almost anyone I know. Even though it seems like a thick book, I got through it in two days just because of how truly compelling it is. If you are looking for a deep story with passionate characters and real life situations, then this is the story for you!


Naoki Higashida’s The Reason I Jump, Nonfiction: Reviews

Reviewed by S.H.; 9th Grade Knowing a lot of people with autism, this book really connects with me. My brother has autism and this book led me to understand more things than I knew.I would really recommend this to anyone, knowing an autistic person or not. This book is also a quick read. It took me less than 24 hours to read so if you have time, then you should definitely use your time to read this book.

Reviewed by M.G.; 10th Grade This book was insightful. I enjoyed reading this book because for many years I worked with kids who have special needs. After reading this book I finally have a better understanding of what goes on in their minds.

Reviewed by B.M.; 9th grade This book was both inspiring and informational. It helps people understand what it is like to live with autism. It shows that even though they are different they are very similar to all of us. It is a fascinating book I strongly recommend everyone should read.

Reviewed by J.R.;11th grade When I first picked up this novel (sic), I did not know what to expect. The saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” really applies here. The Reason I Jump proved to be an insightful lesson on what goes through the mind of someone with autism. At thirteen years old, Naoki Higashida, gives the reader a look into his life with autism. He explains things that people without this disorder do not understand and how he wishes they could. Throughout the novel, Naoki is asked a series of questions in which he answers back as best he can. He explains that people with autism have a tough time communicating with others. However, Naoki learned how to overcome this challenge. Naoki Higashida was taught to read a Japanese alphabet letter board and he uses that to help him write. Something fascinating that I learned about autism is that when the child is having a fit or panic attack, it is often from a memory they are experiencing in their mind. Naoki explains how he often feels uncomfortable from memories and not from what is actually happening in the present. Naoki beautifully writes his feelings and struggles through a system in which he can communicate. Naoki expressed his thoughts and insights to the autistic community. I think Naoki’s goal throughout this book was to tell the world that people with autism are just a little different than people without it, but they are people with the feelings and thoughts too. They deserve to be heard. Naoki is giving everyone in the world a gift with this global novel, and reaching towards a better understanding and fusion of the world’s people.

C.C.; 9th grade “The Reason I Jump” by Naoki Higashidi was by far one of the most powerful books I’ve read. It is so inspiring to think that such a young boy with such a severe medical condition can write so beautifully. The language used in the book was very fluid and well written, while the content was rather profound. This book changed the way I think about Autism completely, and now I not only have a better understanding, but I realize what a misunderstood condition it is. “The Reason I Jump” changed how I will perceive people with Autism in the future, and the further first-hand explanation of this condition in the book really changed my thinking about what it is, how Autistic people think, and why they do the things they do. This book provided a whole new understanding of Autistic people, and believe it or not, some of the simplistic ideas displayed by Naoki actually changed how I think about and understand my life as well. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an insightful perspective on being human, or for an interesting look inside the mind of someone who you may not understand.

O.D.; 9th grade The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida is a very quick, informative, and interesting read. Almost like a biography, this book is about the author, Naoki himself, a thirteen year old autistic boy. In this, he answers questions about autism with personal experiences and insightful assumptions. Throughout the book, there are short, wise stories that may seem unrelated, but indeed are. This book is suggested as a parenting book for parents with autistic children, and though I am not one, I still very much enjoyed it.

W.S.; 12th grade In The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida puts you in his shoes, a 13 year old boy with autism. He answers commonly asked questions like “Why do you talk so loudly?” and ” Why don’t you do what you’re told to, after being told a million times?” with answers easy enough to be understood fully. The book gives you an inside peak into the everyday struggles of a young boy who can think just like any other person, but can’t put his thoughts into verbal language.

A.R.; 12th grade This is an excellent book that opens the reader’s eyes to what it is like to be autistic and to have no quick way of explaining what’s going on in the moment. The writer is one of the most insightful and deep thinkers I have ever experienced. I recommend this book to people who know an autistic person, and anyone who wants to understand more of what it is to be human.


Jeff Bauman’s Stronger. Nonfiction: Reviews

N.G.; 12th grade This story is the most inspirational one I have ever heard. Jeff Bauman becomes an idol to every citizen in our country and tells his story with such emotion and honesty. The sarcasm and tone in the story creates so much voice it is as if he was telling you his experience one on one. Jeff becomes a double amputee from the bombings at the Boston Marathon and through surgeries and a long road of recovery he just wants to be able to walk again. To him, the policemen, his friend Carlos, and all the other people who saved lives that day are heroes, but to most people so is he.

A.B.; 12th grade This book happens to be one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone. It made me realize how much you have to cherish each day of your life, because you never know what tomorrow can bring. Walking through Jeff’s journey throughout the book not only made me realize how determined he was, but showed me who a real hero was. Jeff never expected his life to be this way, so he had to learn how to make the best of it.

J.G.; 12th grade Stronger is the incredibly moving tale of Bostonian Jeff Bauman. Bauman was and is the face of strength in the days after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. In Stronger, Bauman tells his remarkable story of the day of the bombing while also intertwining stories of his youth and life until the Marathon Monday. I would definitely recommend
Stronger for someone looking for a feel-good read.

A.C.; 12th grade This chilling tale recalls Jeff Bauman’s experience at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Bauman vividly explains the events that took place that day leading up to the explosions of the bombs and afterwards. Like many of the other bystanders waiting at the finish line, Bauman was severely affected by the explosion. However what makes Bauman’s story really special is that he knew exactly who was behind this act of terrorism.


Dana Reinhardt’s The Things a Brother Knows: Reviews

Reviewed by B.K.; 10th Grade Throughout the story, I felt myself being in the same shoes as Levi as a younger sibling. Other times, I could feel myself living vicariously through Boaz as an older sibling. I am actually both, so I could easily relate to both brothers, but Dana Reinhardt insight into each characters. I thought that Pearl and Zim, Levi’s best friends, showed how far friends will go for a friend. The relationships between Levi and the other characters showed thee author experience in friendship and family.

J.S.; 10th grade The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt is an extremely emotional book that shows how important family is, and how it could be altered as a result of war. This book really shows how Levi’s family life is changed along with his own. Then suddenly Boaz, Levi’s brother, returns home, and Levi must go over many difficult obstacles to find out more about what is going on in the mind of Boaz and how the war has affected him. This book is definitely a fast read and I would most certainly recommend it for anyone who is interested in the effects of war and PTSD.

J.H.; 12th grade “The Thing a Brother Knows” by Dana Reinhardt is a great story about a kid named Levi and his brother Boaz, who just came home from war. The characters are well thought out and their personalities are well defined. It is a great story about both friendship and brotherhood. This book takes you inside how a returning soldier is effected by the war. Besides the physical dangers of the war, which are obvious, the book takes you inside how psychologically effected returning soldiers are. The book does an amazing job depicting Boaz and how troubled he is after fighting in the Middle East. The psychological toll the war has on him has made it nearly impossible to integrate himself back into society. After locking himself into his room for nearly three weeks, Boaz announces that he will hike the Appalachian Trail to find himself and clear his head; however, Levi is the only one who knows that he is lying. After Boaz leaves, Levi convinces his parents that he is meeting Boaz at a certain point on the trail. Levi eventually finds Boaz and that is where their journey begins. The unpredictability of their hike is what constantly keeps the reader engaged. The reader must wait until the end to find out to what extent the war has affected Boaz and where his hike is truly leading him. Throughout the hike, Boaz and his brother slowly regain the connection they had before he went to war. A very emotional book, the plot takes on the complex relationship between the brothers and how devastated the family had become when Boaz was gone. Looking at the perception of soldiers at the beginning of the book, it’s fair to say they do not deserve enough credit. Boaz, along with other soldiers, is viewed as just a hero and after finishing the book, it clear that he deserves better than that title. It is an emotional book that is also entertaining, funny and enjoyable. I highly recommend it.


Jodi Picoult’s Vanishing Acts: Reviews

Reviewed by K.W.; 9th Grade It was a wonderful book. Not Picoult’s best, but still extremely good. It kept me wanting to know more, and I also enjoyed the note of romance in there: the love shared between Delia/Fitz/Eric was something I really liked about the book. If I had a criticism, I would have to say I wasn’t hugely impressed with the way the book ended. It didn’t tie up all the loose ends, and I wasn’t too satisfied with it. Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it was a worthwhile read.

C.H.; 12th grade Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult, is a heart wrenching novel which brings the reader on a journey of self evaluation of their views toward a very controversial moral issue – kidnapping. Picoult, a Princeton University graduate, is a five time #1 New York Times best seller. Her accessible writing style has earned her devout followers who admire her topics of disputed ethical issues. Her novel, Vanishing Acts, is a story of just that, a vanishing act: a little girl who vanished from her mother’s life for decades due to her fathers’ actions. The book exposes the realities that there is always a reason behind ones’ actions, that not all criminals are bad people, and that you really need to know both sides of a story before you can justly form opinions on it. This book is intended for those who are blind to these realities. I believe that Vanishing Acts is a beautifully written novel that should be read by all who need their minds opened and their worlds expanded. Delia, a 32 year old mother, receives the wake up call of a lifetime when her loving father is arrested for the kidnapping of a six year old girl named Bethany. As it turns out, Delia was Bethany and she was taken from her home in Arizona when her father had her on a custody visit. They ventured to New Hampshire where they settled and lived under false identities for 28 years. When she heard the news, it seemed like her whole life up to that point had been a lie. As Delia, or Bethany, returns to Arizona to await the trial, memories of her past begin to trickle into her mind and she continues to search for the motive behind her fathers’ radical action. Vanishing Acts is written very clearly, yet it leaves some room for the reader’s interpretation. By changing narrators throughout the books’ sections, many different views are expressed regarding the same situation. This allows Picoult to achieve her goal of causing the readers to question their previously held beliefs. She makes the point that sometimes the right thing to do is not always accepted by others, which is sometimes a very hard concept to grasp. This is the first book I have read with such a controversial concept as kidnapping at its forefront. Whenever I heard of kidnapping cases on the news I wrote of the kidnappers as psychos who were reckless, to put it simply. After reading the novel, my views are altered. I still believe that most cases are unjust and that kidnapping is not something that should be okay; however, I now see that sometimes there is good reason behind the cases and that some people just get caught into the net crime and see no escape. I cannot personally relate to nearly any of the situations that the characters in the novel are put in. I can relate the the emotions they felt – confused, helpless, and lost. Everyone faces challenges in their lives, but mine were certainly put into perspective after completing Vanishing Acts. I liked how the book transported me into situations that I have never experienced including prison life, being kidnapped, and the lengthy process of a trial. I would not change anything about the book since every element and every word contributed to the amazing story. I would absolutely recommend Vanishing Acts to anyone who wants to be taken on the type of adventure that will put things into perspective and change your outlooks on many of lifes’ most difficult situations.


John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson: Reviews

Reviewed by C.L.; 12th Grade After I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I thought over all it was a pretty good book. The chapters shared between the two Graysons showed their personalities and the growth of their characters throughout the story. It was funny and witty. It was a book that held my focus and made it hard to put down. The only thing I wish that happened was I wish there was more interactions between the Graysons. They meet, and then they don’t talk or see each other for awhile. I kind of wished that they would have allowed their friendship to grow a little. Another thing is that I hated Tiny in the beginning of the story. I just hated his attitude and how he seemed not to care about his only friend and only about himself. But of course, his character grows also. So I ended up liking him in the end.

Reviewed by A.Z.; 10th Grade. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan is a must read for fans of modern young adult fiction. John and David brought out the best in each other through the creation of the two Will Graysons and their unique story. I find their way of including this irreplaceable character in an unswerving way to be brilliant, and the descriptions of him point to the main strength of the novel. Will Graysons ability to take on big issues, such as mental health, sexuality and body image along with both the respect they deserve is inspirational and allows anyone to connect to the characters. In the beginning, I was not a fan of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I had struggled with David Levithan’s chapters, due to the fact that they had no capitalization whatsoever, and I happen to be the, biggest, grammar freak, it almost hurt to read it. However, as the story developed, I not only tolerated this, but started to enjoy it. And once the book was finished, and I read David’s author note, I absolutely loved it! Overall, I thought Will Grayson, Will Grayson was great, quirky yet serious book.

K.C.; 9th grade “Will Grayson, Will Grayson”, in my opinion, was one of the better books I’ve ever read for the summer reading assignment. The story is told from two different perspectives (Will Grayson and the other Will Grayson) which would, in theory, make the book more complicated, but instead adds more detail and personality. Will Grayson #1 is constantly occupied by his very gay giant of a best friend, ironically nicknamed Tiny; a girl he likes, Jane; and dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. His scenario is very relatable to teens, and I think in cases like those, the reader connects more to the characters which always makes for a better book. Will Grayson #2 is a depressed, newly gay, all-black-wearing teenager with many of his own problems. Will Grayson #2’s sense of humor makes him so lovable, even if his character wants nothing to do with the thought of love at all. The two Will Graysons meet each other, brought together by purely fate itself. They have great impacts on each others’ lives, and things start looking up for a change. After everything seems to be perfect, it all starts to fall apart again. This book takes many turns and never left me unsatisfied or bored. “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” is about two average teens’ lives, but kept me on my toes until the very last page. I would definitely recommend this book to many of my peers and overall, was a great summer read.

A.C. 12th grade Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a captivating novel co-authored by John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, and David Levithan. Will Grayson, Will Grayson explores the lives of two boys who have virtually nothing in common aside from their first and last name. The novel offers a variety of characters and I love this because each reader can relate to one of the given characters. Green and Levithan develop the characters beautifully; however, the friendship between the Graysons is not thoroughly explored within the novel. The novel is humorous but also insightful to the teenage mind. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a must read for young adults.

M.K.; 11th grade. Will Grayson, Will Grayson was an amazing book. It was creative and unique. Both Will Grayson’s had contrasting personalities and very different lives but by some twist of fate, end up meeting in a very strange spot where neither expected to be. Their lives are both changed at that point for better and for worse as one Will Grayson begins to fall in love with the other Will Grayson’s (o.w.g’s) friend, Tiny and o.w.g admits his feelings to his friend Jane at exactly the wrong time. Things begin to build and peak and then it all comes crashing down as each character has to decide how they want to live their life and who they want to be in it. The writing choices made by the two authors were very interesting as David Levithan’s half of the book was written without capitals and seemed to portray the character’s uncaring emotion. The plot was all over the place, starting with one issue and slowly evolving to another, making the book more realistic due to the fact that there isn’t a constant plot in life. I felt that each character had a good supporting background and a purpose in the book and I really enjoyed the overlapping relationships with these characters. Overall I think this was a fantastic book. I couldn’t put it down.

H.D.; 10th grade When I first started to read this book, it really caught my attention within the first few chapters. I really enjoyed how the book was written. I was able to understand the language use and follow the story line really well. At first I thought the book only focused on one Will Grayson at a time, and I didn’t pick up that each chapter was each Wills’ point of view. But once I picked up on it, it made me love the book and both Wills even more.

 


Paula Stoke’s The Art of Lainey: A Review

Reviewed by G.R.; 9th Grade I loved The Art of Lainey!! It was a very well thought out book. It was relatable as well as funny and interesting to read. Read it!! Annotation: “When soccer star Lainey Mitchell gets dumped by her boyfriend Jason, she employs an ancient Chinese warlord’s tactics to get him back.”

Jen Wang’s Koko Be Good: A Review
Reviewed by A.L.; 12th Grade The first thing I noticed when I picked up Koko Be Good was the art. I read graphic novels and comics and manga; I love them. But a lot of them don’t have art as gorgeous as this, a nice sepia-toned mix of pencil, ink, and what I’m assuming is watercolors (don’t quote me on that, I’m no expert in the art materials department). As for the book itself, I found the characters interesting and the pacing to be fast. But at the same time, I’m not quite sure what happened. I have no clue what the plot of this book is. There was probably some sort of deeper meaning I missed out on, too, because a lot of the story just didn’t make all that much sense. Either way, with it’s worth reading. The art and characters are worth your time, even if the rest is a confusing tale of…something. I’m still not entirely sure what happened here, but again, it’s by no means a bad book. And it’s short enough that those of you with little time on their hands can still fit it in.


David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy, Nonfiction: A Review

Reviewed by M.S.; 11th Grade Beautiful Boy is a real, inspirational story about addiction. David Sheff writes about his experiences as a father of a meth addict. His true story not only describes his son Nic’s struggles, but also his as a father.This book made me truly realize how difficult it is to have an addict as a family member. It taught me to look at addiction in a different light. I usually do not read non-fiction books, but this was an exception because it read like a piece of fiction. The idea that addiction is a disease is mentioned throughout the book and Sheff begins to understand how this might be true. After reading this book, I do believe that addiction is a disease. Addicts may choose to start drugs, but genetics also factor into this (not to make excuses). Addicts can also choose to go to rehab, just as patients can choose to take medicine or lose weight. Conversely, addicts can choose to continue to use, just as patients can choose to deny medicine or gain weight. I also have a better understanding of how the family of an addict feels. They are constantly worried. In the end Sheff needed to take a step back and focus on himself as well as Nic. To take a quote from Al-Anon frequently mentioned in the book, “I cannot control it. I cannot cure it” (Sheff 310). It even takes a brain-hemorrhage for Sheff to realize this. This book was amazing and eye-opening. I am excited to read Nic Sheff’s book Tweak, which is from his point of view. This book is amazing and everyone should read it.


Paul Volponi’s Black and White: A Review

D.M.; 11th grade Overall one of the best summer reading books I’ve read.It was different enough to catch my interest within the first couple pages, but certainly not too strange to turn me away. The novel includes quite the sequence of ups and downs that make it very hard to put down. I would no doubt suggest this book to anyone who has the chance to read it.

Sarah Ockler’s The Book of Broken Hearts: A Review

E.R.; 10th grade Jude Hernandez is not only the main character but the baby in the family to her already adult sisters, the daughter who’s father is losing the fight against his own crumbling mind, the boss of one of the trouble making, supposedly “heartbreaker,” ‘Vargas’ boys who is helping her attempt to keep her father stay sane while trying to protect her scared heart.This book was bittersweet and heart wrenching. The author, Sarah Ockler, was not just able to capture the life leaving a person perfectly but could also show how love could blossom in the most random and unwanted times. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends. Librarian’s NOTE: Good read-alike for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars for those looking for an emotionally intense and bittersweet read.


Al Clark’s Called Out But Safe: A Review

B.K.; 9th grade I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book.I didn’t know if it would appeal to me or not, but I ended up liking it a lot. It starts off with a basic description of Clark’s family- telling how many siblings he has, his parents professions, etc. The rest of the book is a gathering of anecdotes that are more or less in chronological order. When reading, you discover a lot about how an umpire works and how hard their job actually is. In baseball, a player can strike out 2 out of 3 times and still be considered a star. But an umpire has to be correct all the time. Did you know an umpires salary is around $350,000 a year? Those are the kind interesting facts you learn from this book. Anyone that likes baseball or just likes a good read should definitely pick up this book.


Ian O’Connor’s The Captain: A Review

E.N.; 12th grade This book is great for any sports fan! It reveals a different side of Derek Jeter that many people might not know, it not only talks about his baseball career but discusses life before the MLB and the many obstacles he had to overcome. One obstacle that he overcame was his strength. He was not known as one of the most muscular or powerful hitters and many coaches doubted his talent because of that, but he used this doubt as motivation and it only made him want to get even better. This book gives an insight into his childhood, teenage years, and most of his Yankees career. It also gives the reader an idea of how he gives back to his community, he has his own charity called the Jeter Turn 2 Foundation and also gives a lot to many other charities. Overall, this book shows how Derek Jeter was a true talent, team player, and had a lot of class throughout his career on and off the field. I highly recommend this book for anybody who enjoys sports or would like to learn more about the New York Yankees and Derek Jeter.


Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity: A Review

Reviewed by S.C.; 11th Grade I absolutely LOVED this book. The first 40 or so pages were very, very slow, but once I got through them I could not put it down. Instead of a phone, I would have this book out under my desk hoping that the teachers wouldn’t notice. It’s a story of friendship and love and torture and hope and suspense. Julie and Maddie and two best friends who even though they are separated, could not be further apart. Through this adventure, the two do all they can to survive all the while not knowing if the other is alive or not. Julie is held captive by the SS and made to betray her country. Maddie, after crash landing in France, is being helped by a family in the resistance. Both have no way of knowing if they are still going to being alive the next moment. Then this tale of pure epic awesomeness has an ending that even if I tell you, you will never see coming…you will still not see it coming. It is truly the BEST book I have EVER read. Being matched in quality ONLY to one other book-which happens to be it’s sequel (Rose Under Fire).


Kate Elliott’s Cold Magic: A Review

Reviewed by K.K.; 12th Grade If you like a twist in history like never seen before, this book is for you. If you like magic, this book is for you. If you simply like adventure and surprises at every turn, you will love this book. Plot twists jump out of everywhere, just at the perfect times. The magic in this book is nothing like I have ever seen before. Catherine’s entire world is a lie and she has to figure it out before something horrible happens. The love Cat has for her cousin Bee is amazing and throughout this novel, her love just becomes greater. I was about to explode in happiness by the end of the novel because it was such a good book. It had heart wrenching moments but pages later I would be laughing with tears still running down my face, still not over what just happened. This book flew my emotions around on a roller coaster and I cannot wait to read Cold Fire, the second book!


Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown: A Review

Reviewed by G.R.; 9th Grade The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a really good book!It has a lot of good suspense and action. Anyone who reads books from the YA section of the library would definitely love this! On the downside though, it was sometimes a little hard to follow, but if you pay attention, it’s great.


Patricia McCormick’s Cut: A Review

Reviewed by A.Z.; 10th Grade Cut by Patricia McCormick is one of the best books I have read all summer, I could not put it down! Patricia tells a very gripping and emotional story in Cut. She makes you feels as if you’re living in Callie’s mind as you read the story. At times I wanted to speak for Callie, times I wanted to yell at her, and times where I just wanted to hug her. This book is extremely thrilling. “Then, I placed the blade next to the skin on my palm. A tingle arced across my scalp. The floor tipped up at me and my body spiraled away. Then I was on the ceiling looking down, waiting to see what would happen next. (pg. 3)” It provides vivid imagery that allows you to feel and understand what the character is going through. My only complaint for this book is that I want more! There was so much space for details on the others in her life. Overall, Cut is an amazing and perspective changing book. ”


Travis Roy’s Eleven Seconds. Nonfiction: A Review

R.P.; 9th grade Travis Roy, a hockey player from Yarmouth, Maine was eleven seconds into his first shift in his division one college hockey career when his life completely changed. Travis was paralyzed and would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. He and his family, who too were greatly affected, went through an emotional 20 months of rehab. For the rest of their lives, his family would have to care for Travis. Along with the help of people like Bobby Orr, the Travis Roy Fund was established. This helped Travis and his family pay for all his needs like a special van that Travis could ride in. Travis and his family went through some very tough times, but with bravery and hard work, they were back on their feet. His story is very inspiring and everyone should work as hard as he did to improve his health in their everyday lives.


Gabrielle Zevin’s Elsewhere: A Review

Reviewed by B.K.; 10th Grade Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin beautifully depicts the true happiness in life is not getting older, but instead the quality. Liz, an ordinary teenage girl, is killed in a car crash and is transported to Elsewhere where she will grow younger until she is seven days old. She will then be transported back to Earth to be reborn. The story is the tale of how she copes with dying, but also how she finds the best things in life.


David Fischer’s Facing Mariano Rivera: A Review

V.B.; 9th grade This book has it all if you like Major League Baseball and Mariano Rivera! It has baseball stats as well as 149 Major League Baseball player and coach interviews about their experiences with Mariano Rivera during his 19 seasons in Major League Baseball.


Michelle Dalton’s Fifteenth Summer: A Review

Reviewed by D.M.; 11th Grade The novel Fifteenth Summer began as a book that sucked you right in. I always like reading about love stories to see where someone’s love can take them, but in this story their love sort of came to an abrupt end as soon as their summer ended. I thought Josh and Chelsea’s summer romance should have taken them on more adventures or towards the end they should have worked harder to stay together then just say goodbye.

M.C.; 12th grade If you’re looking for a quick, feel-good read then Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton is the book for you. Dalton tells of the pain and worry Chelsea feels about visiting Bluepointe for the first time since Granly passed away. However, Chelsea’s summer turns out to be a great one when she meets Josh. Together Chelsea and Josh share a romantic summer but still experience difficulties. Dalton is able to tell a romantic summer tale while not focusing on only that relationship. There are great details of Chelsea’s relationship with her two, seemingly perfect, older sisters, the feelings of losing Granly and the connecting with her best friend back in LA. Fifteenth Summer is relatable for any teen, and is a great summer read.


Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock: A Review

Reviewed by C.W.; 12th Grade Finnikin of the Rock is a typical fantasy book. There is magic and alliances. It is a good start to the series though not one if the best books I’ve read. There could have been more character development and more to the relationships. There was no need to include a love story but it ended up the way I wanted it to. The story itself was interesting and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


David Klass’s Grandmaster: A Review

J.B.; 11th grade. Grandmaster [is] the story about an “average” kid who becomes involved in a high level chess tournament, and along the way discovers many things he had never once new about the game of chess, and it’s impact on people, his father specifically. It is very, very, intriguing. (You’ll soon notice I use that word to describe this book a lot because it is exactly how I felt when reading this book). Grandmaster would be a great read for anybody looking for a suspenseful story, with many secrets within. You may expect chess to be just another boring board game, but if you decide to read Grandmaster, you’ll soon realize it can be much more than what you had ever thought.


Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy: A Review

M.R.; 10th grade.. Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera was a book that changed my outlook on many controversial topics such as terrorism, the Islamic faith, and torture. Throughout the story, I began to question my views on these subjects because of the events that would occur to the main protagonist, Khalid Ahmed. The reader is first introduced to him as an innocent fifteen year old Muslim boy born and living in England only a few months after 9/11.A sudden family trip to Pakistan would lead him to become a prisoner at the infamous Guantanamo Bay Prison until he’s finally released at seventeen years old. His journey from the time he leaves for Pakistan until the time he comes home had me captivated and on the edge of my seat while reading this. The chapters kept getting better and better right until the very end. Guantanamo Boy is a book that I highly recommend to any reader interested in a great story.


Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now: A Review

Reviewed by A.H.; 10th Grade If you enjoyed the book The Fault in Our Stars or even Romeo and Juliet, there’s a good chance you would enjoy the book How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. The novel follows Daisy, a fifteen year old girl from Manhattan, who is sent to live in the United Kingdom during an impending war on terrorism, with family she’s never met, by her father, and her evil and expecting step-mother, Davina. Daisy discovers farm life is very different from city life, as she gets to know her cousins Osbert, Edmond, Isaac, and Piper, and her Aunt Penn. As Daisy adjusts, she learns more about her late mother, and falls in love with Edmond. When Aunt Penn leaves on a business trip, the kids begin preparing for the total war, and Daisy and Edmond’s relationship grows. As the war starts to escalate, the house is taken over by military personnel, and Piper and Daisy are separated from the others and sent to live with a general. When things take a turn for the worst, Daisy and Piper must fend for themselves in the wild, as it becomes their mission to return home and find their relatives. I thought the book How I Live Now had a very good plot and concept, however, I felt the author did a poor job conveying the realistic qualities of characters in the novel. For example, the only characters who were well developed enough to be considered three-dimensional were Daisy, for the most part, and Piper. It seemed like many of the other characters were there to just “guide along” the plot. Another aspect of the book that I dislike was the relationship between Daisy and Edmond. By the end of the novel, it was easy to tell that they both cared about each other immensely, however when they first got together, as a reader I was surprised and almost confused. Neither character talked much to the other and their relationship seemed very rushed into on the authors part. Therefore, their relationship seemed artificial and a point the other poorly developed leading into their relationship. The only other part of the novel that I disliked was the style in which the author wrote. Throughout the whole book, excluding the epilogue, the author refrained from using quotation marks, and it made some of the conversations in the book very difficult to follow. Aside from all of my negative remarks, I did enjoy the book, and I would recommend it to a friend if they were looking for a modern, dystopian novel.


Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron: A Review

J.C.; 12th grade. Personally, this book was a little outside of my normal reading “comfort zone” at first. Typically, I don’t read science fiction or fantasy book, so I had no idea what to expect when I picked up Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. Right away I was hooked.The book switches between the stories of Finn and Claudia, two teenagers both fighting their own battles worlds away. Finn has been stuck in Incarceron, a prison with a mind of its own, his entire life, or so he thinks. He has no memory of his childhood, and no idea what exists outside the doors of the prison. Claudia, however, lives Outside. She lives in constant fear of her father, the Warden of Incarceron, who holds more power than anyone can imagine. With the help of a Key able to connect the two world, the two teens try to help each other escape their own prisons. Many adventures ensue as the two make their escape. I like how Fisher switched narration between the two worlds. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with that type of narration style and it added such an interesting aspect to the book. The book had a simplistic writing style, which made the book pages turn quickly. This book isn’t your typical love story, like so many books these days, so that’s refreshing. Fisher has a great imagination and creates beautiful, lifelike descriptions of the two worlds. She also has the ability to create relate-able characters that are both comical and inspiring. Overall, this was truly a great read and perfect for high schoolers. If you’re going to read this book, be prepared to go back to the library to pick up the sequel.


Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi: A Review

Reviewed by E.G.; 11th Grade “As a movie, I found Life of Pi to be rather uneventful; however as a book I found it fascinating.The book was like a puzzle, you had to figure out what was true and untrue. He used metaphors and it was almost like he was giving you his story, his facts, but it was up to you to decide what to believe. It was very philosophical. Unlike the movie, it was not just a boy surviving on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger for months, the first 25ish chapters he’s not even on the boat. The author talks about his life before the boat and what he thought prepared him for the journey he was going to take. My favorite part was at the end. The ending was very surprising, it was captivating. In just a few pages, you question everything you had read. You find out that there is a bit of dual story going it. I really enjoyed this book!


Scott Helman’s The Long Mile Home. Nonfiction: A Review

M.H. ; 11th grade On April 15, 2013, Patriots’ Day, the spirit of the city of Boston and its people was crushed after a devastating attack at the Boston Marathon that took three innocent lives and seriously injured hundreds more. A “week from hell” followed, which included an in-depth investigation from the FBI, a frantic manhunt, a lockdown order for nearly one million people, and the assassination of MIT police officer Sean Collier. “Long Mile Home” describes the 2013 Boston Marathon, manhunt, and recovery through the eyes and ears of a doctor, a Boston police officer, the manager of the Marathon, the Tsarnaev brothers spectators who had limbs blown off, and the heroes who raced into the blasts and saved numerous lives. The book also describes the city’s courageous recovery effort, including the One Fund to help the victims, the Red Sox’s 2013 World Series Championship as a way of uplifting the city, and the several memorials and events that honored the heroes. It is a thrilling book that starts by making you cringe at the horror that took place, but leaves you with an enormous sense of pride in the city of Boston. “Long Mile Home” is the one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. I would recommend this book to anybody that was impacted in the slightest by the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. If you’re interested in history or major world events, this is a must read. This book truly defines what it means to be Boston Strong.


Mike Piazza’s Long Shot: A Review

M.G.; 10th grade Before I read the first word of the first page, I knew I was going to love this book. Mike Piazza and I share many quality traits that make us similar.One is a love for the greatest game on the face of the Earth, baseball. Baseball is the best game because it brings out the best and the worst of you. When Mike was in high school, nobody thought he was going to get drafted. When the dodgers picked him out of pity, no one thought that he would make it to the big leagues. Though, he did. He did this by not ever giving up. When he was faced with a challenge, he took it head on. When someone told him that he couldn’t do something, he did. Always proving to himself and his colleagues that he was the real deal. This book inspired me to keep working hard to accomplish my goals. Always going the extra mile and having it pay off in the end. This book is one of my favorite books because of the things that it taught me and the great story it told me about how anything it truly possible.


Elizabeth Scott’s Love You Hate You Miss You: A Review

Reviewed by B.M.; 11th Grade Within this book is the story of Amy. Her life is not easy nor fair.The book takes a while to kick off. However, when it does you will not want to put it down. The characters are developed and rich with regular characteristics. Although you never meet Julia, you learn a lot of things about her from Amy’s point of view.


Catherine Fisher’s Obsidian Mirror: A Review

Reviewed by C.W.; 12th Grade . Obsidian Mirror is a fascinating story about time travel.I did not like the first few chapters but before long I was completely absorbed in the different story lines. The story is very complicated and always has you thinking. I would read this book again in a heart beat. I’m looking forward to the sequel.


John Green’s Paper Towns: A review

J.H., 9th grade. This book incorporates many aspects of high school as we’ll as being a teenager. It also shows the struggles that we’re faced just to help a friend. This book would be a good read for an avid reader, or even someone who doesn’t enjoy reading. I would recommend this book to anyone.


Jodi Picoult’s Picture Perfect: A Review

Reviewed by K.W.; 9th Grade It was a fantastic book. I loved the way it showed how people can really come to love each other in such short periods of time, and how they can love each other even after they hurt one another.It dealt with finding yourself, making sacrifices for the ones you love, and finding it in you to do the right thing, even if you don’t want to do it. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. It just left off sort of and left some questions unanswered. All in all, though, the book was fantastic and well worth the read.


Jodi Picoult’s Plain Truth: A Review

Reviewed by K.W.; 9th Grade It was fantastic, just like all of her books I’ve read. It gave a really interesting insight into Amish life.The story was intriguing and incorporated many personal and cultural issues into the book as well. It was extremely interesting, and this ending did not disappoint me as much as some of her other endings have in the past. Instead, I was surprised and all the loose ends were tied up. It was an overall fantastic book.


Jodi Picoult’s Second Glance: A Review

Reviewed by K.W.; 9th Grade It was a fantastic book. There was a lot of suspense and plot twists.It was also really cool to see how all the different characters were tied together, and how they were brought together by the hauntings. I loved it, and once I started it, I just couldn’t put it down. It was probably one of my favorite novels that I’ve read by Jodi Picoult.


Bennett Madison’s September Girls: A Review

Reviewed by C.W.; 12th Grade September Girls surprised me. In reading the description I thought it would be your typical teenage love story with only one twist. In reality Sam and his family reveal that life and love are difficult. A great read for the beach.


Carol Plum-Ucci’s The She: A Review

S.C., 9th grade. The She was a great Mystery book about the puzzling disappearance of young Evan Barret’s parents. Eight years prior to the current setting his parents are lost at sea for a reason that nobody can seem to figure out. The reoccurring theory is “The She Devil Of The Hole” or “The She” who swallows ships is the cause of their death. However, many do not believe in this theory and settle with the fact they were totaled by a powerful storm. When Evan takes a dose of acid eight years later, he is struck with terrible memories and tirelessly struggles to figure out what really happened that night. But, he does not do this alone, Evan meets a girl who has the same effects and same memories of how her parents died in the same area except much more recently. Read the incredibly suspenseful adventure of these two students as they effortlessly attempt to figure out the real story of “The She Devil Of The Hole”.


Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone: A Review

Reviewed by M.C.; 12th Grade This book was a powerful depiction of a girl growing up and dealing with unusual obstacles. The events she experienced were not uncommon, but the way she handled and dealt with them was. From her eating disorder to convincing herself she is better person with the wrong man, her ways of coping are extreme. This novel captures the life of a girl who does not know how to deal with tragedies, and Lamb forces the reader to reflect on how they themselves deal with the tragedies in their own lives. This lengthy novel and story of honesty makes the reader wondering how this tale could possibly be fiction.


Patricia McCormick’s Sold: A Review

Reviewed by E.G; 11th Grade Sold was the perfect balance of culture, detail and poetry.It follows a thirteen year old girl whose step father sells her into prostitution in present day India. I thought it was brilliantly written, giving just enough information to get the message across. It was dealing with a severe, alarming subject matter but because it was written in a series of poems, it was not overwhelming. It’s very relevant for today and I think a very important reality for people to be aware of. The pace of the book was good, it was very straightforward and given the author’s background, it seemed very accurate. I didn’t love the ending; it was a little bit of a way to just finish the book. The author did such a good job describing the whole book, it was authentic and evenly paced and I just don’t think the ending met those same standards. However, the vast majority of the book is excellent so it’s really worth it to read it!


Douglas Wentworth’s Stranded: A Review

Reviewed by M.D.; 12th Grade Stranded was a spectacular read. Right from the beginning of the book, the action started and things began to happen that kept the pages turning; I read this book in one sitting. Within the first few pages, the reader is introduced to Sandra Hapgood, a scientist who came up with the process known as “Stranding”. This process is used to store human DNA and transform it into new humans when a new planet that can support human life is found. On board the ship, these strands are being deleted by someone, and Wentworth keeps the mystery going until the last few pages. While all of this is going on, author Douglas Wentworth creates a definitive and lifelike picture of the events and scenes taking place which adds to the experience. I would highly recommend this book if you’re into the sci-fi/mystery genre.


Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty: A Review

Reviewed by A.Z.; 10th Grade The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han is possibly one of the best heartbreaking and romantically real books I have ever read. Though any story with a love triangle at its core can frustrate any reader, I strangely became content with the story overall. I of course have my favorite boy * hint hint Jeremiah* , and enjoy the depth of which the characters were explored with the flash backs to childhood memories. The Summer I Turned Pretty was more touching and meaningful than one may expect, and isn’t just about a love struck teenager. I even felt a little teary at times. Overall, I loved The Summer I Turned Pretty, and would recommend to anyone who’s looking for a fun summer read


Mike Lupica’s Travel Team: A Review

J.S.; 10th grade I enjoyed this book a lot and think that the characters created by Lupica are relate-able and are some that can be rooted for as the story progresses. Being a sports fan, this book is a real page turner with in game action and off the court drama that any teen could relate to. I would give this book 4.5 stars and recommend it to any sports fan.


Karen Healey’s When We Wake: A Review

Reviewed by A.L.; 12th Grade When We Wake is an interesting sci-fi story that’s worth a look even if you’re not a fan of the genre. It does have its issues, as does every book, but overall a good read.I didn’t find the protagonist (or any character, really) all that interesting, and there were a few problems (namely how ridiculous parts of it were-the secret community of farmers that appears toward the end, in particular, was odd). But again, the story itself is pretty good.


Max Brooks’s World War Z: A Review

R.G., 9th grade. When i saw world war z on the summer reading list, i began reading the book with hopes of gory violence and hardcore action. Instead, I was blindsided by the political genius of the author Max Brooks. With a question and answer based format, this book had a multitude of interviews involving people who had been an important part of the war, and some bystanders to the horrific events that occurred. From politicians to war heroes, the entire book kept me on the edge of my seat. Keep in mind that these interviews occur after the war. The infection began in a small village where a man was called out to examine a patient experiencing strange side effects. He soon found out that what he was looking at was far worse than any modern affliction. This young boy had started the deadly strain of virus known as African rabies. This turned him and anyone he had bit into a killing machine who could feel no pain and had a thirst for flesh. He had bitten others and those others would go on to bite more healthy humans thus increasing the numbers exponentially. After some time, the world gradually became more and more aware of what this was and after a few months there was no stable government. No police, no laws and limited supplies equals absolute chaos. People began to die by the hundreds, then thousands then millions. The world was in a state of absolute panic. After many many years, full of hardships struggle and death, the humans began to fight back. The way they did this was every winter the infected would freeze, rendering them harmless. During this period of time, the army would secure a state a year by killing all of the infected. I really liked this aspect of the book, because it had a sort of credible ending. In other zombie books and movies there is no end to the war, its just turmoil all the way through. The closure provided here gave a satisfying end to “world war z”. I loved the book so much and the interviews were amazingly detailed and well written. I’d recommend it to anyone with a love of zombies and horror movies.