Enjoy these book reviews by our teachers and students.
This unforgettalble memoir, follows Tara Westover, a young girl who lived a sheltered, isolated life in Idaho with her controlling, survivalist father who stockpiled supplies and food to protect them from government control and catastrophic events. Forced to work grueling, dangerous hours in her father's junkyard business and to endure her brother's verbal and physical abuse, Tara courageously decides to leave the only secluded life she has ever known and go to college at the age of 17. Since Tara has never attended school as a child, she is introduced to truths that contradict her family upbringing and way of life. Readers are able to watch Tara's struggle to find a balance between loving her family and the betrayal she feels as she opposes their beliefs and values. I recommend this book to people who enjoy biographies about people who are able to overcome obstacles to not only survive, but succeed in life.
By: K. Farmer
I am not typically one who finds myself reaching for a non-fiction book, but this one may encourage me to do so more often. As someone who just finished reading a book based around the idea of a superhero fantasy, this book brought me back to earth, a little bit too much. Free Lunch by Rex Ogle describes the startling truth of the issues present in the United States that most people either don’t realize or choose to ignore. Rex grows up as a poor kid in a relatively well-off community. He tries his best to be there for his family, who is not always very supportive of him. Along with the struggles of starting middle school, Rex has to deal with poverty, discrimination, and abuse from his parents. Rex tells the heartbreaking story from his point of view and really drives home the point of putting on someone else’s shoes. The craziest part is that this story is 100% true.
After reading this book and the author’s note, I could just imagine how difficult it must have been for the author to have to relive these moments while writing this. It helped me really appreciate what I have and look at the world differently.
The writing itself was not difficult to understand but the concepts may be more difficult for younger audiences to grasp. I would highly recommend this book to anyone over the age of eleven, only because anyone younger may have a difficult time understanding some of the ideas that the author described. I even recommended this book to my mother and younger brother. The book is relatively short in length, but the number of pages is unimportant since the content is so valuable and impactful. It allows you to experience and learn about the hardships of poverty and truly be thankful for what you have. Overall, I highly recommend this book and would go as far as to say that this would be a good elementary/middle school summer reading/in class reading option.
By: A. Chong
The book, Five Feet Apart by Mikki Daughtry, Rachael Lippincott, and Tobias Iaconis was an uplifting and saddening story. I enjoyed this story very much and I would most definitely recommend it. It played out nicely and it was easy to create a picture in your mind of what was happening. The author gets you really attached to the characters and it makes you feel as though you are them. Almost every chapter leaves you wanting to see what happens next and to read more. This book related to teens having illnesses in real life and how challenging they are to live with. The story is about two teens dealing with cystic fibrosis that meet inside hospital walls and fall in love. The only problem is they can’t get within 6 feet apart of each other without catching the other’s illness. They decide to take a foot away so the story is called Five Feet Apart. They try to have a normal teen life even though their life expectancy is short. The story has emotional twists and turns leaving you not knowing what’s going to happen. I would recommend this book if you are into drama and romance. If I could rate this story out of 10 stars I would give it 9 because at a few points the story got slow.
By: Abby S
Obsessed, a thriller and memoir of Allison Britz, is about a 15 year old girl struggling with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and anxiety. One night she has an almost too real nightmare where she was diagnosed with brain cancer. When she woke up she thought it would actually happen. She had to start avoiding some triggers like her cellphone and hairdryers, in her everyday life which led to anxiety. She did everything she could to make sure her dream wouldn’t come true. Sometimes it felt as though you were her, going through what she was going through. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in thrillers or the reality of mental illnesses. While reading it leaves you wanting to keep turning the page and see what happens next. I would most definitely recommend this book.
By: Abby S.
In a different world filled with magic, Revna and Linné must find a way to survive in the male dominating nation of the Union. In a war of territories between the Union and the Elda, the Union becomes desperate enough to need to recruit a team of all female fighters. Linné and Revna are enlisted as pilot and navigator. They come from very different backgrounds Linné- the runaway daughter of a general and Revna- the daughter coming from a poor family. They have the odds stacked against them and the rest of the army camp doesn’t believe in them. Linné and Revna have very different personalities and will need teamwork and their magic to succeed in the age long war. We Rule The Night leaves you reading with the question of will they succeed? Will they be able to get over these differences to fight for the bigger picture? This book fits into the generic style that many young adult fiction books do, which does get rid of some of the eager page turning effect that some more unique books may have. The book was reasonably paced but I feel that the introductions and descriptions of the characters were repetitive. This book is easy to understand concepts wise but there are some lines of dialogue that I had to reread to see who was saying what. There are other books I would recommend for people looking for a dystopian style fiction book (which this book seems to be) but this book does the job for satisfying your needs for adventure young adult book without all of the mushy romance parts.
By: Alexis C.
There is a reason why critics are calling Cassandra Clare the “New Queen of Fantasy.” In her stellar debut of The Mortal Instruments Series, Clare captivates readers with her strong-willed characters, humor and wit, and incessant but invigorating plot twists. In City of Bones, Clare introduces us to her underground world of fantasy, filled with demons, werewolves, and vampires, which is seamlessly woven with the fabric of the modern world, comparable to works of J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. Immediately, readers will fall in love with the short, stubborn, ginger-haired main character, Clary Fray, and will be entranced by her journey into discovering this world of magic and mystery, while also uncovering the secrets of her past: Who has kidnapped her mother, who was her father, what happened to her long lost brother? Upon meeting a group of hidden protectors of the world, known as Shadowhunters, Clary becomes swept up in their politics and finds herself in a position which could determine the future of both worlds: the modern and the Shadowhunter.
This book is wonderfully paced, suspenseful, and contains so many plot twists and surprises at the turn of each page. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in the fantasy genre, and loves reading about magical worlds as an escape. It might be a little bit odd for someone who is not used to fantasy, as I was when I first read it, but at the book’s conclusion, you’ll be immediately searching for the sequel, I promise!
By: Gwen B.
I really, really enjoyed this book, it was very good. When I first started the book I did not want to put it down, I think I read a whole half of the book in one sit down. Definitely one of the top best books I have ever read. One factor that contributed to why I really enjoyed it was that I found the book extremely well written. I especially loved the dialogue of the characters and their answers and comments to different things throughout the book, I found that to be the best part of the writing. This gave the book a humorous aspect to it, while the main idea of it was quite the opposite. From the start, I had a feeling it was gonna be one of those books that leave a lasting impression, and one you can not get out of your mind, it will always just stay there (which is not a bad thing, it is a good thing). Which let me tell you, I was definitely right about that. If you do choose this book to read, which I highly recommend, you better be ready for a bumpy ride, and the shedding of some tears, (if your an emotional person, like me). But with that said, although it brought upon a lot of sadness and tears (in a way I guess it was a happy sad), one of the greatest parts was the piecing together of all parts of the book bit by bit as the book went on and the feeling of wanting to keep reading to know the full story. Another part of the story that goes along with what I just said, and probably my favorite aspect of the book, (it is hard to say it in a way that would not spoil the book, but I will try my best), the fact that things from earlier on in the story come back and play a part later, which was the part that made the book the saddest to me (you should be able to understand if you have read it). Sure, I was in a way disappointed by the ending, but I realize in a book what happens is what happens because it is written in a way to leave that lasting impact on the reader, that feeling all readers love to experience, even though it may not be the happiest, brightest ending. Although, now that I think about it the ending to this book was not all that bad. Sure, it was sad, but everything came together and it left a sort of happiness and feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction with the story towards the end. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to other young readers just like me, who are looking for a good book to read, and are into a story with drama, romance, humour and bits of tragedy type of story.
By Olivia M.
4.8 out of 5 stars
The book, The Fall of Grace by Amy Fellner Dominy was a well written and a creative story. I enjoyed the story very much, and the placement of events was well done and in some parts suspenseful. At the beginning, the story was split into two times but as the story progressed, it flowed into one. This was done very cleanly and moved the story along at a good pace. When the times changed, it tended to give off a suspenseful feel and made me want to keep reading to find out what happened next.
The story is about a girl whose mother had run the Family Fund, a fund with loads of investors who soon come to find out that the money is gone. As soon as the FBI comes to find Grace’s mother, she falls into a comma. Grace is determined to prove her mother’s innocence and is willing to go to great lengths for do so. She decides to head to a place where her mother has talked to her about before in search of clarity, but on her way there she finds a boy from her school, Sam Rivers. She finds out he is following her because he is in search of the money that her mother is accused of stealing. Grace and Sam run into several struggles along the way to the place including many dangerous experiences. This book is a very good book if you enjoy suspense, drama and even romance. If I were to rate this book out of 10 stars, I would give it a 9 because at some points it can be a little confusing but the flow and story worked nicely, and it was a really enjoyable book.
By: Tessa M.
I just recently finished reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman, the second novel of his I have completed. After enjoying A Man Called Ove, I figured I would definitely find this one entertaining. From the very first pages, I realized I would not be disappointed. Immediately, Backman draws the reader in by delving into the minds of various characters. Be it a middle aged father who is the General Manager of the hockey club, his wife who is a successful lawyer, his musically talented 15 year old daughter, her “outcast” best friend, various hockey players on the successful Junior team, as well as many other adults and teens, Backman gives insight into their deepest thoughts, desires, and fears. His writing style is a concise, distinct manner that contains almost constant suspenseful foreshadowing. There are numerous times where I was cringing, expecting a certain outcome, but Backman provides so many twists that it never becomes predictable. This novel is so much more than a chronicle of a Hockey team and its fanatical town followers. You do not have to be a sports fan to enjoy this captivating story. There are some profound life lessons about choices, individuality, and identity. If nothing else, it is a very enjoyable read.
By: Ryan Wandyes
Little Fires Everywhere is a great book. Though, do not get me wrong there are some parts in the book that I thought were a little slow. I found when they were explaining parts of Mia’s life, and Elena RIchardson’s life it was a little slow. That being said though, I really like how Celeste Ng explained everyone in the story. It was very thorough, and if you read the book you can just imagine how that person acts and what they look like. Overall, this is an enjoyable story that I would totally recommend to anyone who loves young adult fiction.
Favorite part: When Mia is kind to Lexie. (If you read the book you will know what I am talking about)
Favorite Character: Izzy because she has a totally different side to her that you would not expect.
I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Love this book!
By Kayla C.
The Fault in our Stars by John Green is a well written book. This has always been one of my favorite books and I recommend it. The characters bounce off each other perfectly and all add an important factor. The author gets you attached right away and very easily. The story is about a girl who has lung cancer and goes to a support group. She meets someone and eventually become close. They read the same books and travel to their dream destination together; but her lung cancer still plays a role. She is forced to live her life rolling around an oxygen tank everywhere she goes. It’s a challenge but along the way she figures things out. There’s ups and downs that make you just want to read and not stop. Out of 10 stars I give it 9.5. Overall I really loved this book.
By: Rose G
This is Where it Ends is an intense and engaging story about a school shooting. It is told by 4 different point of views. Thomas, the troublemaker who is Sylv’s twin brother. Sylv, the smarter twin. Autumn, a dancer who is the sister of the shooter. Finally, Claire, a track athlete who is locked out of the school during the shooting. The tales of these student intertwine to show different side of the story. I would rate this book a 4.5/5 because of the action. I could not put it down! It was heartbreaking. I suggest you read it. It proves a lot can happen in a short amount of time.
By: Sophia D.
During a time period when a woman’s only job is to find a husband, Elizabeth Bennet finds herself acquainted with the prideful Mr. Darcy. One of five daughters, Elizabeth is sensible and quick-witted. Despite the Bennet’s low status and poor connections, Mrs. Bennet is determined to find a proper husband for each of her five daughters. From their first introduction, Elizabeth was strongly displeased by Mr. Darcy’s overflowing pride. As they continue to find themselves together, Mr. Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth develop into something stronger. However, Elizabeth’s prejudice against him remains. Throughout the novel, Jane Austen includes conversations and comments from Elizabeth that reveal her strong character. Her sharp tongue, strong will, and intelligence is what draws Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth. Pride and Prejudice is not an easy read, but is definitely worth it. The story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, along with the other events that take place, keep readers wanting more. The novel is also an eyeopener to readers as it takes place in England between 1797 and 1815, a period where the rights of women were not as developed as they are today. All in all, I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5.
By Allison B.