Written by: Leah, Sabrina, Olivia, Julie and Anna
This Book Deserves To Be Stolen!
Review of The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Liesel Meminger is bright girl living in a dark time; Nazi Germany in the 1940s. At age ten, she is shipped away to foster parents, watching her brother die on the train on the way there. After his burial, the grave digger forgets his book, so Liesel takes it with her, while she can’t even read. This begins a long line of book theft, following her from her brother’s grave to the town of Molching, where she lives with her foster parents; kind Papa and not-so-kind Mama. Liesel’s world has never been happy, but she finds comfort in the books she steals with the help of her friend, Rudy Steiner. Her world changes, though, when a Jewish man named Max arrives at her doorstep, and stays in her basement to hide from the Nazis. With the war raging, Liesel’s father also gets pulled into the army to fight for the Nazi cause. Tensions run high as the enemy waits at every turn, and no one knows who to trust. This book is narrated by Death, the figure that is working overtime to collect the bodies of the dead souls from the war. He and Liesel’s path seem intertwined, and create a haunting story about a girl in the gloomiest of times. The ending will stay with you, and, while bittersweet, is appropriate and will not ruin you overall impression of the book.
This book is long, with a sophisticated literary style, and words to match. A bit of foul language is spread throughout, but it shouldn’t be a turnoff. The reading level is advanced, from 7th grade and up, and mostly for teens, but even adults would find this book enjoyable. Think of it as a cross between Shakespearean writing and an Anne Frank time period. Composed beautifully, and interspersed with simple drawings done by Max and Liesel, The Book Thief is truly incredible, and very well-written. Although the topic is broad and advanced, this book should be read thoughtfully and will provide a great escape for anyone willing to take the time to read it.
Review by: Leah Porter
Read This Before, Not After!
Review of What Comes After by Steve Watkins
16 year old Iris had the good life in Maine. She had her best friend, who was always by her side, her cozy cabin up on top of the hill, and her father, who was always there for her and who she loved more than anything in the world. When the person she cared for the most dies her world turns upside down. She moves to North Carolina, to live with her aunt and her cousin, who abuse her. They hit her and take away everything she loves. She finds light in the goats her aunt uses to make cheese. Without her father or best friend, she is lost, lonely, and unhappy, but she is determined to get through the tough times. Even if she does find happiness again, what will she have to sacrifice for it? I liked this book because it was really deep. I like how the author captivates you. It is a very emotional book and the writing really compels you to look beyond the writing and visualize Iris and what she is going through. The climax is the most passionate part of the book because the way the author writes it is very descriptive and moving. The ending might surprise you because there is a huge plot twist. I would recommend this book to mature readers, grade 8 and above, because of some language and events that take place in the book. You might like this book if you enjoy reading heartfelt realistic fiction books. What Comes After is about 334 pages, but you won’t want to stop reading. If you have read this book and enjoyed it you may also want to read Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan. Overall, I loved this book and would definitely recommend it.
Review by: Sabrina Irey
Double the Summer Fun!
Two reviews on one great book.
Review of The Summer I Turned Pretty By: Jenny Han
Isabel Conklin, or better known as Belly, thought this summer was just going to be a regular summer. But it all changed in a blink of an eye. Belly, her mom, her brother, go up to the summer house in Cousins Beach, every year, and visit Belly’s mom’s best friend, Susannah. Susannah has two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah who have no interest in Belly, whereas Belly has a huge crush on Conrad, and Jeremiah is her best friend. But this summer when she shows up at the house, both Conrad and Jeremiah start to actually notice the beautiful girl that Belly has become. In the book The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny Han, writes about one normal summer that has turned into every girls’ dream summer! Belly has her dream boy, Conrad falling for her and now Jeremiah, but it doesn’t stop there. She meets Cam, a guy that shares her same interests and she really likes. But Belly doesn’t know who to fall for, who will protect her or who will love her with all their heart. I really like how I can relate to The Summer I Turned Pretty, to my own life, and how I feel as if I am Belly in the story. However I didn’t like how the book is scattered around at so many different places and times. Jenny Han did a great job with this book and pulling people into a love triangle. She throws so many twist and turns and emotions into this suspenseful, 250 page, realistic-fiction book. I recommend this book for ages 12-15 because of the explicit language and actions. How does this love triangle end? Will Belly find her dream guy? Will this summer be perfect after all? Does Belly end up happy and satisfied?
Review by: Olivia Grzymkowski
Review Part 2
It all changed, this summer. Isabel Conklin, also known as Belly, was all ready for summer until her two favorite boys started to look at her differently. Belly, her older brother, and her mother have always gone up to Cousins Beach to meet with Susannah, her mom’s best friend from college, and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. But this summer Jeremiah and Conrad don’t see Belly as an annoying little girl anymore; their eyes notice the beautiful girl they haven’t acknowledged before. In this book, The Summer I Turned Pretty, the author, Jenny Han, wrote this as a complete love triangle or maybe between 3 instead. For Belly, Conrad has always been the one she has wanted and this year Conrad starts to notice her maturity. Luckily for Belly, she gets to choose between not only Conrad, but Jeremiah and a mystery boy she meets at a summer party. All she knows is Conrad is her dream boy, Jeremiah is her best friend and Cam, a guy who shares her interests, is falling head over heels for this girl. Her feelings twist and turn and sometimes disappear, but she seems to end up back where she began, with the passion of love for Conrad. Jenny Han filled this book with situations that 12-15 year olds could relate to. I loved this book because I could put myself in Belly’s shoes and see how I would have handled her problems. If you read this, you will be eager to read the second book; It’s not Summer Without you and maybe even the third, We’ll always have summer. Overall, I would give this a five star rating because it kept me on the edge of my seat and I could relate to some of the events. This romance will make you curious to identify: who will Belly choose? Will she find that special person? Or will she lose all three of her admirers?
Review by: Julie Rebstock
Wish on a star for this book
Review of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The fault in our Stars is a realistic fiction novel narrated by Hazel, age 16. Hazel is a teen diagnosed with stage IV lung and thyroid cancer. This book starts off with Hazel explaining her views of cancer and its effects on her life. Hazel has been homeschooled for three years now, and she attends a support group at her local church. At the support group, there are several other teens like her with varying states of cancer. Hazel despises the support group, that is, until she meets Augustus Waters at one of the meetings. Augustus is in remission, and the two quickly become friends and eventually, fall in love. They bond over their experiences with a terminal disease, literature, and their views of the world around them.
Both Augustus and Hazel find a deep connection within the book An Imperial Affliction, written by Peter Van Houten. However, the book ends before several of their questions are answered. Therefore, Hazel decides that is her only wish to meet van Houten, who lives in Amsterdam. Augustus has recently been granted a wish by the Genie foundation, a group that grants the “wishes” of young cancer patients. The two plus Hazel’s mother take a four day trip to Amsterdam to meet the author. It is soon after that Augustus has been informed that his cancer has come back, changing his and Hazel’s lives forever.
This book is a moving story about the power of love and the immeasurable force of quiet courage. It displays the power of laughter, life, and soul, even in the face of sure death. A romance that brought tears to millions of readers’ eyes, this book is one of the most powerful young adult books ever written. I highly recommend it to all!
*contains mature content regarding relationships, some language
**Extremely popular! Availability in some libraries may not be good.
Review by: Anna Sacchetti