2012 BOOK REVIEWS
from the students of Hightstown High School
Escape From Furnace:Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith AR: 6.5 Square Fish, 2009,273 pp., Thriller
They say hell is the worst place of all. But they would be wrong because beneath earth is hell and beneath hell is furnace.
Alex Sawyer is not your normal kid, Alex and his gang of friends robs houses and get into all kinds of trouble. But Alex’s next heist would be the last. When Alex and his friends are about to get out of a house they just robbed, Alex gets caught and finds out that the whole house is packed with huge guards from furnace. Alex’s friend Toby gets shot and killed by the warden of furnace. Panicking Alex tries to make a run for it but gets caught and arrested in front of his mother’s sad eyes.
When Alex goes to court furnace put the murder of his friend on him and the court rules him guilty and sends him to furnace a mile beneath earth. Alex finds out how evil furnace is with no rules on fighting or killing. But that is the least of his worries when he sees the horrific creatures that walk at night and pick their next victim. Alex and his inmate friends come up with a perfect plan to escape and reveal the deep dark secrets of furnace to the world above. Will Alex find the way out and succeed, or will he fail and die like others that tried to escape furnace?
What I liked about this book was that it was fast paced, full of action and suspense every second. The author takes advantage of every page to make the story more thrilling and exciting. The book is really a horrific thriller that will have you thinking of what is going to happen next. This is a fantastic book that will make you want to keep reading and before you know it, you will be finished.
Recommended for grades 7-10
--Reviewed by Evan Fernando
Escape From Furnace: Death Sentenceby Alexander Gordon Smith
Faber, 2009, 261 pages, Science Fiction/Thriller
Alex Sawyer was just a normal kid who went to school every day like anyone else. But he and his friends starting to get into stealing from people’s houses and his entire life flipped upside down. One day he was caught by the wrong cops at the wrong time. He was sent to an underground prison called Furnace Penitentiary and fought effortlessly to escape. He came very close twice but the Warden has had enough and is turning him into one of his science experiments. Will he be able to turn his luck around?
Smith uses great descriptive language that creates every moment of the story right in front of your eyes. This heightens the pace of the action packed climactic story line and will keep you wanting to read on for hours and hours. I recommend this series to anyone seeking a thrilling book packed with action around every corner.
--Reviewed by James Anthenelli
Needful Things by Stephen King AR: 40 pts
Fantasy, FollettBound, 1991 736 pg
A new shop named "Needful Things" opens in the town of Castle Rock, Maine, sparking the curiosity of its citizens. The proprietor, Leland Gaunt, is a charming elderly gentleman who always seems to have an item in stock that is perfectly suited to any customer who comes through his door. Gaunt knows of the arguments and grudges between the townspeople, and Gaunt expects his customers to play a prank on other townsfolk, this is meant to escalate the town into a time of violence and misunderstanding.
Rivalries begin to flourish; people start to kill each other over pranks and personal motives by the townspeople. Eventually people become desperate to protect themselves and Gaunt starts to sell military weaponry to the townspeople that trade away their souls.
Alan Pangborn the chief of police, becomes wary of Gaunt, however his employee, Ace, a petty criminal becomes loyal and suspects Gaunts supernatural connections. Gaunt keeps Ace in line through intimidation, and Alan begins his investigations.
Stephen King does an amazing job creating a story where he can use an ordinary town in the United States while adding supernatural tendency’s to the background. Although the story seems to move at a slow pace, the cautiousness and the impatience of the Leland Gaunt makes the book impossible to put down.
---Reviewed by Vincent Tomie, Hightstown NJ
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Pocket Books 2005, 576 pages
Pet Sematary is an amazing book that is chilling to read and too thrilling to put down. It's very well written and it expresses feelings in a whole other way.
Louis Creed and his family, moved into a beautiful house in Maine. They had the perfect family. A perfect husband, a lovely wife, Rachel, a very cute daughter, Emily and their adventrous toddler, Gage. They even have the perfect pet, Chruch the cat, who Emily adores with all her heart. The only thing that will ruin their normal life, is the pet cemetery that is apart of the backyard. Everything was going alright until Louis stays behind when the family goes to Chiago. What does he do when he finds out his daughter's cat dies?
Stephen King is an author that won't fail to catch your attention. With unique horror ideas, he'll add details that will make you feel like you were in the book. He always writes his books so that the plot doesn't go too fast and will catch your attention.
--Reviewed by Tia Gargiullo
Mister Death’s Blue-eyed Girlsby Mary Downing Hahn
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2012, 328 pp. Mystery/Thriller
Cheryl, Ellie, Nora Charlie and Paul were juniors in High School. Bobbi-Jo lived across the street from Ellie, so she was close with them. They were best friends and did everything together, including trying drugs and alcohol. Cheryl’s ex-boyfriend, Buddy, was convicted of the crime of murdering Cheryl and Bobbi Jo as they were walking to school on the last day. Everyone thinks it is Buddy, but the police had proof that he did not do it. Throughout, the book, investigation is wandering through the town of Elmgrove to figure out who murdered the two girls.
What I liked about the book was that it had a lot of teen problems in it. It had peer pressure, temptations and a lot of emotion. The book likes to focus on the death of the girls, but it doesn’t get too scary. It’s good when you always have friends around to talk to, but when they are split up, it’s good to stay close. The more you get into the book seems like you are part of what it happening; you feel like one of the outsiders or other teenagers on the block who knew these girls and were hurt when it was on the news and in the papers. It’s a real problem because people murder every day and sometimes they can’t find the person who did it.
Mary Downing Hahn really made the book suspenseful. It was a very slow book, but to make the book last and suspenseful, the little details mattered. She really got into a teenagers mind and was very insightful about what was going on. Once you start your challenging and confusing teen years, this book would come to your liking. It has drama, it has some horror in it, but it really seems like a normal teenager’s life in this upsetting environment.
--Reviewed by Myriam Parker
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Imagine having the world’s worst serial killer as your father! That is the reality Jazz has to wake up t every single day! His dad, Billy, is singlehandedly responsible for 184 deaths. Jazz witnessed almost all of them first hand. Billy’s intent for his son was to become the best killer ever, even one day better than himself, teaching him with sick and cruel ways imprinting each moment of his insidious childhood permanently to his memory. Billy was eventually caught and put in a maximum security prison for life.
Jazz is 17 years old and has to try being a normal teen while everyone knows the fact that he is the devil’s child. His girlfriend, named Connie, who is one of the three people that understands him. The next is a person who despite his gruesome past was friends with Jazz even before Billy was caught, his best friend, Howie. The sheriff who finally put an end to his father’s terror is G. William and has been the only adult Jazz could ever trust. There are some people that make life really hard for Jazz like Doug Weathers. He has been trying for years to get an interview with Jazz and get into the murders first hand. He is nothing but persistent and very obnoxious. Another person is Deputy Erickson. He’s a new deputy who’s right under G. William and simply has it in for Jazz Connie and Howie.
All is well in the little town of Lobos Nod. Eventually it all comes to a screeching halt. A body is found in the park. Everyone is convinced that it just a random murder, all except for Jazz. Eventually bodies start piling up in a very familiar pattern. Jazz, Connie, and Howie are in a race against time to find the culprit before he disappears.
I Hunt Killers is an emotional thrill ride that has action on every page. Barry Lyga is a master storyteller and a comedic genius. Anyone who can handle the gruesome detail and rollercoaster of emotions should absolutely check this book out.
--Reviewed by Rohan Patel
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi AR:11 points
HarperCollins, 2011, 352 pp, $11.98 Science Fiction/Future/Soldiers/
17 year old Juliette has been locked up in an asylum, for something she didn’t mean to do. But when she’s finally freed, by Werner, she’s disgusted by what she must do. She has to kill people, which was why she was locked up in the first place. She has the power to kill just by touching people.
As earth’s resources dwindle, Werner desperately needs power to control people and he thinks Juliette is an asset. Despite giving Juliette everything she needs, she still refuses to do what he wants.
Juliette is a prisoner and she knows it. But then she meets Adam, the boy in charge of her, the boy she’s positive she knew when they were kids. He’s the only person there that looks at her like she’s a human and not a monster. The only one that actually tries to talk to her, besides Werner. Then Juliette finds out something shocking, she can touch Adam without him dying.
As the book continues, Juliette and Adam’s relationship grows, all while Werner and his soldiers are oblivious. Then, Juliette and Adam make a decision to escape Werner and his harsh demands. The end has a surprising twist that no one will see coming.
In this dystopian novel, Tehereh Mafi does an amazing job at expressing the character’s emotions, especially Juliette’s. The author goes back and forth from Juliette’s diary, where she expresses a lot of emotion and where a lot of background information is found. This makes it easier to understand the book. She also uses many short sentences to make things bolder and stand out. The plot line was really amazing and had me guessing the whole time. I would recommend this to people who like dystopian books.
--Reviewed by Suyesha Pallava
Realistic Fiction: Female Protagonist
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen AR: 10 points
Pregnancy- Fiction/ Unmarried mothers-Fiction/Friendship-Fiction
Penguin Group, Puffin Books, 2004, 281pp
This year I read a book called Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen that simply fascinated me and touched my heart. It was filled with sadness, decision-making, teenage love and a big strong friendship. In the book an outgoing girl named Scarlett was living a beautiful summer teenage love with her boyfriend Michael while her best friend Haley the more conservative type of person was working at a summer camp. Things were going pretty good but during the beginning of their junior year everything just seem to change their lives completely.
At this point Haley shockingly finds out her best friend’s boyfriend Michael had died in a motorcycle accident her friend Scarlett was left devastated and filled with so much anger. And if that wasn’t enough later after they soon find out Scarlett was going to have Michael’s baby. Scarlett has always been the strong more courageous one in the friendship but after this news she needs Haley more then ever. Now Haley is placed with a major task she must learn to be strong for her friend and be with her during this whole new experience in both of their lives.
Along with things going so wrong Haley discovers a rainbow along this rainy path. During gym class she meets a boy Macon who drives her crazy. She soon after starts crushing on him so desperately and wishes he did the same. Out of nowhere he does and they become much closer and even more than just friends. Like Scarlett she realizes how teenage love really feels like, exciting, filled with adventure but at the same time so risky and heart breaking.
They both learn how to overcome all these obstacles together while maintaining their friendship and promises in tacked. At a blink of an eye everything improves the problems and stress just seem to fade way while the open doors bring happiness back into their lives. Honestly this was my favorite book especially because I am a teenage girl who at one point has experienced a teenage love so I can totally relate to what Haley went through. And their friendship teaches values that, no matter what friends need to be there for each other during the good times as well as the bad ones. I would absolutely recommend this book to all the teenage girls out there they would learn so much from this book.
--Reviewed by Karen Serrano, Hightstown, NJ
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Turtleback Books, 2004, 281
Scarlet and Hailey have been best friends for years. Then Scarlet’s boyfriend dies in a motorcycle accident. After Scarlet finds out she’s pregnant Hailey helps her deal with it.
Hailey is at camp when she gets the news. When she gets home she finds Scarlet in a complete melt down. Even though Hailey isn’t the one pregnant she’s affected with everything going on. During her junior year Hailey gets into her first serious relationship.
The book is exciting and suspenseful. The author writes descriptively so you can picture it. As a reviewer, there’s nothing bad I can say about this book. Reading this book was exciting and entertaining.
--Reviewed by Emilia Sinchi
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard AR: 9 pts
HarperCollins, 2007, 226 pp., Fiction
Alison, Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna became friends after they worked together in the Rosewood Day School’s charity. Soon, they became very best friends went to parties and told secrets. One day, Spencer had a fight with Alison and that was the last day everyone saw Alison.
All of Alison’s friends and family started looking for her. Meanwhile, her four friends received threatening text messages from a mysterious person called “A”. Will they find Alison before it’s too late? Who is threatening to reveal Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna’s secrets?
Sara Shepard has done a wonderful job creating a suspenseful story that readers can’t resist reading. Although the four friends all have secrets that they keep to themselves, they believe and care about each other. This thrilling, mysterious and scary storyline of Pretty Little Liars make it a great choice for people who like to read about mysteries and life. Once you read this book, you might also enjoy the sequels to this book too. I really enjoyed the way Sara Shepard portrayed the characters and how they search for “A”.
--Reviewed by Akshaya Srinivasan
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan AR: 13 points
Harcourt Children’s Books, 2011, 352 pages, Realistic Fiction
Eleanor Crowe is a headstrong teenager who got herself pregnant at sixteen and lives an abnormally stressful life. She is faced with three choices, to give her baby to her sister after it’s born, give it to her boyfriend’s parents, or marry her boyfriend and raise the baby on their own. They end up living at her boyfriend’s dad’s fat camp. Lam is her boyfriend and a drug addict that isn’t very considerate of her and only seems to care about is partying. At his dad’s fat camp is where Elly meets Banner. She is a shy eleven year old girl who Eleanor becomes very close with. As time passes and the baby’s due date gets close, Eleanor starts to feel more alone than ever and still doesn’t know what she wants to do with her baby.
In Pregnant Pause Han Nolan has a very honest, sympathetic, and descriptive about the characters feelings. Because she was so clear the book was very easy to relate to and understand. What I liked about this book was how straightforward Nolan was, how I could relate to how Eleanor was very stubborn, how the main character was scared about having her baby, and the end has an unexpected twist. I recommend the novel to teenagers because it is from a teen point of view. The only aspect I did not enjoy about this book was that the beginning was a little dull. Other than that I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to teenage girls.
-Reviewed by Jessica Nazario
Willow by Julia Hoban
Dial, April 2nd, 2009, pp., 329 Realistic Fiction
Willow is a troubled teen, who killed her parents in a car accident, unintentionally. Yet, she feels the need to reinforce that same suffering she caused on her parents, on herself; so she harms herself by cutting. As she struggles with the past, she meets a teen boy named Guy. They become acquaintances, and don’t pay much mind to each other. Until Willows razors fall out of her bag. Eventually,. he finds out about Willow’s secret, and becomes determined to help her, by wanting to tell her older brother. However, Willow doesn’t want to disappoint her brother, David, anymore than she already has. So they make a deal. If Guy and Willow can have therapy sessions, he won’t tell her brother. After quite a few conversations, they become a bit more than just friends. Then, things start to heat up.
Julia Hoban, has a “way with words”. She plays up the suspense, leaving you hanging after every chapter. You just can’t stop reading! Willow is intense and emotional; it brought tears to my eyes. It’s incredible how much love you grow for the characters. Being a reader, this book gave me chills, and makes me feel like I’m experiencing everything Willow is. It’s definitely a great book for teens, young adults, and especially ones who have suffered from self-harm.
There are a few things, which as a reader, made me in love with this story. I enjoyed how in denial Willow was, and just how much Guy changed her. I loved the writer’s purpose in writing this story; that you can overcome anything. The suspense and the emotions I got from reading this book, made me feel like I really new Willow, like she was real. The only thing that could have been improved was that their weren’t really chapters, it was more of an ongoing thing.
--Reviewed by Victoria Roehr, East Windsor, NJ
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Pages: 256 AR: 7.1
Caitlyn lived a normal life. She had her mom, her dad, and older sister, and a best friend that was like her sister. All of this changed though when Cass, her older sister, ran away. Although Caitlyn and Cass were very close, there were just some things that Caitlyn hated about her older sister. Cass was the child with all the extra activities, and perfect grades; she seemed like the ideal child. Caitlyn thought that her mother focused most of her time on her. But when Cass is gone, and although she misses her, Caitlyn felt obligated to fill her sisters’ shoes. That’s when she joined the cheerleading team.
While at one of her many cheerleading parties, Caitlyn meet Rogerson. Instead of staying at the party with her best friend Rina, and what should have been her new boyfriend Mike, she left. There was something about Rogerson that was just so... different. There was just something about him that just made him so captivating. Maybe it was how he made her forget all about her missing sister, and her drawn mother and father. Caitlyn saw Rogerson as a different person, but she never really saw how dangerous he really is.
Sarah Dessen has created a subtle and compelling work of literature that goes far beyond the teen problem novel in a story rich with symbolism, dark scenes of paralyzing dread, quirky and memorable characters, and gleams of humor. From the very beginning Dessen’s descriptive writing just draws you in, and all you want to know is what happens next.
--Reviewed by Emily Fitzgerald
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen AR: 16 pts
Speak, 2006, 374 pages, Realistic Fiction/Adolescent
Although Macy is fixated on her pristine and orderly life, it is far from perfect. The summer after witnessing her father’s tragic death she begins dating her obsessively neat, well-rounded boyfriend, Jason thinking he will keep her on the right path. She plans on spending this summer taking over Jason’s shift at the library while he’s at “Brain Camp” and staying home studying for her SAT’s. Meanwhile her disciplinary and stressed mother is working all day.
When Macy is offered an excitingly chaotic job at Wish catering, she takes them up on the offer, making her boring job at the library her second priority. While working at Wish she begins spending more time with her new friends, Kristy, Monika, Bert, and Wes, who start getting her to loosen up a bit. While Jason is at camp, Macy and him decide to take a break which leaves Macy wondering why she doesn’t just break up with them. Throughout that summer Macy particularly starts spending more of her time with Wes who she seems to be favoring him over Jason. They learn quite a lot about each other while playing the Truth game.
This book is very relatable to teenagers as it mentions Macy’s grief and love. The author of this book is definitely a very honest and realistic writer and made it very easy to put yourself in the character’s shoes. Because of the great plot to the book, it was very fast-paced and easy to follow. I would highly recommend The Truth About Forever to adolescents 13 and up.
--Reviewed by Christine Teffenhart
Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
AR: 9.0 points
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2007.
Lauren’s life is practically a farytale, except for the fact that her parents are divorced. Other then that she has her best friend Katie, thats always there for her, acceptable grades, and a very good looking boyfriend. Things start changing when a guy named Evan returns to town.
As the days go by, Lauren starts spending more time with Evan than her boyfriend Dave. Even if its impossible to hangout that day, they make it happen but when it comes to Dave she’s always making excuses. Soon enough Katie realizes thats something has been strange about Lauren. Rumors start spreading and everyone begins to wonder whats going on with Evan and Lauren. Lauren has to change something in her life, she better do it soon though cause you never what others reactions might be.
Simon Pulse does an excellent job with dialogue, it all seemed realistic. The plot of the book is realistic as well. It can help many young ladies that are in a relationship or even if you want to learn more about the “highschool life,” its an amazing book. Some parts will loose your attention but then when the drama comes in it get your attention right back again.
--Reviewed by Steffany Sanchez
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar AR: 8 points
17th Street Productions, 2002, 201 pages Fiction
Serena van der Woodsen is the most beautiful girl that ever stepped foot on the Upper East Side of New York City. After ditching her friends and a luxurious life in the city for another one at a boarding school in Connecticut, Serena’s so called “best friend” Blair Waldorf is getting all the attention she’s never had with Serena by her side. But once Serena gets kicked out of boarding school and comes back to Constance Billard School for Girls in the city, jealousy accumulates between the two friends and the whole school.
Suspicion rises when Blair sees that there is an undeniable connection between her gorgeous boyfriend, Nate, and Serena. With everyone against Serena she doesn’t stand a chance at being the most popular person on the Upper East Side again…or does she? And is there a whole other story behind why she left for boarding school in Connecticut in the first place?
With von Ziegesar’s powerful description, you will never want to put Gossip Girl down. In the lives of New York City’s elite teenagers there is never a dull moment. Situations that take place in this novel can strongly relate to young adults going through high school. Von Ziegesar also put a humorous twist to the reading while still keeping the lives of those in the book painfully honest. Gossip Girl is a book that teenage girls will rave over.
--Reviewed by Liliana Russo
Witches and Wizards by James Patterson AR: 7 pts
Little,Brown, December 2009, 320pgs, Fiction/Fantasy/SyFy
Whit and Wisty lived in perfect harmony with their parents. Not knowing the secrets their parents were keeping from them led to their danger. According to the New Order it states that sourcery of any kind was not permitted. Sadly this is what their parents were keeping from them.Their parent hadn’t told them that they were full-blooded witches and wizards. After a home invasion and ripped away from their parents and belongings Whit and Wisty have been put and a hardcore prison where they are barely fed. Now they are on a race to escape and find their parent so they are able to live peacefully again.
Like always James Patterson draws his readers in with his creative and well detailed writing style. The way he writes is exclusive honestly rarely seen well at least to me. His amazing techniques forces the readers to be interested. When you read this book you would be forced to read it that’s how interesting it is believe me.
--Reviewed by Kessly Felizor, Hightstown,NJ
Inheritance (Book 4 of the Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini AR: 49 Points
Paolini LLC, 2011, 839 pages, Fantasy/Fiction
Eragon is a fifteen year old boy who lived and worked on a farm all his life until he learned that his destiny was to become a dragon rider. After long months of training and battle, the Varden achieved many victories and lots of hope on finally defeating the empire. But Eragon has also had to mourn many losses of the people he was close to along the way. The Varden are in desperate need of Eragon and his loyal dragon, Saphira, to defeat the empires army. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix, the evil ruler who wants to conquer all of Alagaesia.
The best part of Paolini’s writing is his cliff hanging chapter endings and his creativity of the plotline. The author’s use of vocabulary is excellent for young adult readers. Paolini is the next J.K. Rowling, so if you like fantasy fiction, then this book is for you.
That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis AR: 7.1
Fantasy 382 pages
Mark Studdock is a young sociologist that works at University of Edgestow. His wife Jane Studdock is a scholar now house wife that has dreams that show the future. The University of Edgestow has been offered a deal to sell Bragdon Wood to the N.I.C.E. (National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments). Even though the University wanted to keep Bragdon Wood the Warden sold it to increase reputation with the N.I.C.E which is a powerful new scientific organization. Mark then decides to leave the University of Edgestow for the N.I.C.E. to get on board with their mission to change the world forever.
Jane meanwhile seeks out help after she starts to see her dreams come true. She ends up at St. Anne's which is where many of the people whose property was stolen from them during the University of Edgestow and N.IC.E. deal. At St. Anne’s Jane meets a man named the Director who is immortal and has traveled across the universe. When St. Anne’s learns that the N.I.C.E. bought Bragdon Wood to dig it up and look for a mysterious immortal called Merlin they rush to find him before the N.I.C.E. does.
The book was written in 1945 so some of the text is hard to understand. Also the where lots dialogue parts that seemed too dragged on forever. Besides those negative points the book was over all enjoyable and I would recommend this book to anybody.
--Reviewed by Jesse Allen
The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins AR: 15
The Book, The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins was a dramatic, action packed, suspenseful novel. I couldn’t compare the ability of the author to never lose the pace of the plotline, she did what no author could do, and that is break the barriers of whenever the pace slowed she fixed it.
This book is about how in future North America went through what they call The Dark Days, and how the capitol took over twelve districts of Panem. And to show how powerful the capitol is, each year they hold a traditional Reaping in each district, were they picked two tributes, one female and one male, from the ages of twelve to eighteen to learn how to survive in combat. But only one tribute from all the districts can survive to use these skills, for all the tributes must fight to the death in the annual Hunger Games, in an ever changing Arena. In this book a sixteen year old girl, Katniss Everdeen, does everything, and everything to save her family from death, especially her younger sister Primrose. But at the Annual Reapings It was Primroses’ name that was picked from the bowl of tributes. Katniss knowing she can’t protect her sister in the arena, Volunteers her own self as tribute to take her sisters place. But what she doesn’t know is that she has just volunteered to change her life.
What I thought was good about this book was the pace. It never slowed down but it did speed up which kept it very interesting. I would recommend this book for anyone in fifth grade or higher, I feel as if it is too graphic for younger minds.
--Reviewed by Sam Benson
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins AR: 16 pts
Scholastic Press, 2009,391 pages
Catching Fire is the second book to the trilogy The Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta are back in District 12 after both winning the hunger games. Like all victors, they now can enjoy a life of safety and riches. But with the stunt they played defying the Capitol and their games, Katniss is worrying that the Capitol is after her.
With rumors that the districts are rebelling against the Capitol and a victory tour soon approaching, Katniss had to convince all of Panem that she is madly in love with Peeta. She has to protect her family and her best friend Gale from the cruel consequences of the Capitol. But when the quarter quell is announced, something happens that no one ever expected. Once again the odds are not in her favor.
Suzanne Collins does a wonderful job at making a power description of the characters feeling making you feel exactly how the characters feel. The plotline has a twist in which it makes you believe that after everything that happens all going to be alright when at the end its worse than the beginning. It is suspenseful going from chapter to chapter trying to see what happens next. I would recommend this book to teen/adults that enjoy sci-ficiton. The fast pace plotline and very realistic dialogue between characters engages you in the book and when you start you won’t want to stop.
Reviewed by Maria Nonsoque
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Ar:16 pts
Scholastic, 2009 , Sci -fiction / Action, 391 pgs
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta have conquered The Hunger Games. They are now off to The Victory Tours around the twelve districts of Panem. They face so many obstacles in Victory Tours with killings and more. Later on, they find out that they have to face The Quarter Quall which is like another Hunger Games. There is no way out.
Suzanne Collins has a thrilling second book to The Hungers Games. Her suspenseful ending to the book leaves you wondering what happened. This book makes you want to be apart of it. Katniss and Peeta faces so many tough decisions in Catching Fire. I simply enjoy Katniss and Peeta love and hate relationship. I cried reading this book because it had such a wonderful ending.
I would recommend this book to teens that are 8 to 12 grade. Suzanne Collins’s words and details really put images in your head. The book is very thrilling and captures the moment. It makes you want to not put the book down. You also should go read the last book of the series MockingJay. You won’t regret it.
Reviewed by: Laura Ceras
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry AR points: 17
Simon & Schuster, 2011, 458 pp, Sci-fi/Realistic Fiction
Though Benny thinks his brother is a coward he agrees to be his apprentice so he doesn’t lose his rations. As they go out to the Ruin Benny learns what his brother really does and the truth about “zoms” and zombie hunters. While opening a pack of Zombie Cards and stumbles on The Lost Girl card and Charlie Pink-eye doesn’t want anyone to think she is alive. When he loses his friend to Charlie Pink-eye Benny and Tom go into the ruin to find her before she goes into the zombie games. While Benny is out in the Ruin he finds the Lost girl, well she finds him and she helps him on his mission to save children from the zombie games.
This suspenseful Sci-fi leaves you on the edge of your seat and begging for more. Though this book is about zombie there is the simple life changing events that everyone goes through making you feel connected to Benny and his friends. I recommend this to all teenagers whether they like zombies or not. If you love adventure then you will love this book.
--Reviewed by Anthony Valletto
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry AR: 17 pts
Simon & Schuster, 2010, 458 pg., Science Fiction
In a post-apocalyptic world, 15 year old Benny Imura needs to find a job before his rations are cut and half. Failing to find a job, Benny is forced to be in the family business, as a zombie bounty hunter, like his older brother, Tom.
As Benny and Tom spend time together out in the Rot & Ruin, Benny learns a lot of emotional things about zombies, bounty hunters, and The First Night. As Benny learns the painful truth from Tom, he is forced to confront another horrifying truth: sometimes, the most terrible monsters are the human ones, not the Zombies.
One day Benny learns about the Lost Girl, and set out to find this Zombie killing beauty. As Benny and Tom get into trouble with another bounty hunter named Charlie looking for the same girl, Nix, Benny’s best friend, gets dragged into the middle of things, making innocent Zombie killing a life or death situation for kids all around the Rot & Ruin.
Can Tom, Benny, and Nix, save everyone, find the lost girl, and rid the Rot & Ruin of monstrous Bounty hunters?
Although the beginning starts of slow, Jonathan Maberry does an exceptional job writing this book. There is a lot of cliffhangers, suspense, action, gore, love, and understanding all tied into one amazing novel. The text is simple and can change your entire perspective of the zombie apocalypse. I would recommend this book for people who love suspense, love, and action all packed into one.
–Review by Amani Najjar, East Windsor, New Jersey
Fracture by Megan Miranda
The book I read was Fracture by Megan Miranda. It's about a girl who falls through ice. She suffers severe brain damage, but seems fine on the outside. But, everything isn't perfect. She's an anomaly, a mystery. Doctors don't understand how she's not a vegetable. After the accident, she realizes she can sense death. Literally, she is pulled to it. She meets another person like her. It stinks of death around him, and she can just feel it- it's inescapable. It's haunting.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for something that keeps their interest throughout the whole book. It''s very suspenseful, and will keep you at the edge of your seat. I felt attached to the book, I wish it didn't have to end. This book seems ideal for junior high or high school students. I got addicted, I have to admit. The way the author uses descriptive phrases is unlike any other. It's not too complex, nor is it simple. It is right in the middle. I really enjoyed this book, and I hope others will too.
--Reviewed by Cassie Holben
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien AR:16.0
Houghton Mifflin, 2001, 330 pages, Fiction
The Hobbit is about Bilbo Bagins, a hobbit, and thirteen dwarves go out on an adventure to try and regain land that the dwarves lost to a dragon. On this
adventure, the dwarves and Bilbo take a short pit stop in the Mines of Moria. Here, they meet a goblins and another hobbit named Golliem. While trying to escape an army of goblins, Bilbo trips over a rock. While Bilbo is one the ground, the goblins are passing by him not noticing him. When all the goblins pass, he gets up to try and find his way out, but meets up with Golliem. They go into a game where the winner gets one wish. While playing this game, Bilbo some how finds the ring and lips it into his pocket.
This book has fast moving chapters, that "suck you in" with the descriptiveness, and the insightful details on the scenes and people. It had good depictions of all the characters, the battle scenes were descriptive with how Bilbo fought. I recommend this book to people who like to read about fictional people and creatures. I think this book was really good to read with it's details.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Dystopian animal fable, Political roman 120 pages AR points 15
The animals of the farm are sick of being treated like trash from their owner Mr Jones. After Mr Jones dies the animals come together to make the farm a nice place for animals. There leader old major declares that if you act like a human in any way may it be walking on two feet or sleeping in a bed that you are a traitor. The animals than take on a song called beasts of england and use it as there anthem. They start to set up a list of rules so that there isnt chaos. The only problem was not all the animals could read like the pigs who out smarted them 10 to 1. This gave the pigs contorl of every animal. Two pigs snowball and na[polean than change the sighn of the farm from manor farm to animal farm to show they had there own farm where only animals lived and worked. All the animals work together to do the harvest, milk the cows and even gather eggs to sell. After a long while the animals start to become more and more like the humans they hate by killing each other and trying to use techniology to run there farm.
As usual George orwell has done it again writing another great novel connecting to Russia and how The goverment took control. He did an amazing job making the animals talk and thin k like people useing realistic dialouge. He had also made the animals, Farm and events in the book almost exactly resemble the way Russia was changing and conroling the people with power, fear,lies and minipulations to make the people or animals be on there side. As you read the book not on ly will you be getting a good story but learning about the history in Russia during this time and how they weaseled ther way into power by slowly taking control. The entire book is very sybolic using differnet chearicters to represent either events that happened or the government. I would suggest this book for grades 9 up because it is a difficult book to understand and connect to what really happened . I woulod also suggest it because its a very good book and is very enjoyable for young teens up to adults.
--Reviewd by Aidan O'Connor
Realistic Fiction: Dramatic Issues
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Clay Jensen receives a package on his front door step one day. The package had no return label so he didn’t know who it was from. When he opened the box he found 7 cassette tapes with 13 recordings. At first Clay was confused of what they were for but later on finds out what they were.
Clay starts listening to them in his garage on an old tape player his dad still had. On the tapes was Hannah Baker talking. Hannah had committed suicide about two weeks before this. While Clay listens to the tapes he finds out why she sent them out. She wanted 13 people to get the tapes. Those 13 people were the 13 reasons she had killed herself.
After listening to a few tapes Clay’s mom comes into the garage so he quickly turns them off so she cannot hear the recordings. He told her it was a project for school and he was helping a friend out. Clay later on went to his friends out and took his portable walkman. Clay spends the rest of the night listening to the tapes and following the map Hannah had given out. He finds himself out all night finishing every single tape and the reason he was on the list.
--Reviewed by Veronica Guido
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher AR: 6 pts
Penguin Group, 2007, 288 pp., Fiction/Friendships/Teens/Suspense
Clay Jenson, one of the main characters in the book, is very quiet and a good yet mysterious teenager. A girl moves to his town named Hannah Baker and his life changes from that point on. Hannah, the other main character, has a horrible yet interesting life at clay's hometown. This book explains everything that happened in just 288 pages.
Thirteen different people and thirteen different tapes. These tapes are past around to thirteen different people and they all have a reason to what happened to Hannah. Each person in the tapes lead up to a reason and somehow they all tie together but clay can’t handle his emotion and goes all over the town has Hannah says. It is very emotional to him because he never really had the guts to talk to her and now he just can’t. They worked together at the movie theater in town and went to one party. That party they had a good conversation and talked majority of the time. But that's not all that happened at the party and on that night. Hannah's life here at this new town was insane and exciting but at the end not what you would except for a teenager. What she experienced and her life story should not be true but unforgettably it is.
I do not read a lot myself but this year my teacher got me into it and I was very iffy about this book but i read it and it’s my favorite book yet. This book is very suspenseful with lots of twists and turns. It is not very predictable at all and finally had the best ending in all the books I read this year. I love books with great endings and this book exceeded this to the max. It was very creative and unique. Hannah is one tough person because she went through a lot in her life and held up for so long. That gave me some encouragement to always do my best and don't let other people effect you because you are yourself. Everything in life happens for a reason but not everything in life has an explanation. That's my motto and this book follows it. It is a great read for people that need that little boost to always do their best and try no matter what.
--Reviewed by Alex Siminoff
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher AR:6pts.
Razor Bill 2007, 288 pp. Realistic Fiction/ suicidal
Clay Jenson has loved Hannah Baker since the day he laid eyes on her. Hannah is new to the neighborhood but because of the people she associated herself with, she began to have thoughts of suicide. Before Hannah had commited suicide she made 13 tapes stating they 13 people and why then are a reason why she killed herself. This story takes you throught the journey of Clay listening to all the tapes in one night try to figure out why his name was one of them, he had always been so nice to Hannah Baker; he loved her.
All of the people that recieved the tapes where given a map to visit the place that Hannah was talking about in the tape, she wated them to feel the emotion he did. When clay reaches the tape with his name on it, he becomes devistated to hear that he is one of the reasons that Hannah had killed herself. Hanna was at a party one evening and clay was there as well but it wasn't until they were in the same room together that things when crazy. That night was Hannah's breaking point, that night she changed everything. Calay id afraid to here what else in on the tapes after he realized why he was on.
I would recommend this suspenseful book to teen reader who deal or know people that thoughts of suicide. Always i would recommed this book to people that have experienced loving someone that doesn't love you back. Jay Asher made this book so realistic and mysterious that it draws people into it like a magnet. Anyone who reads this book will most likely enjoy as I did.
--Reviewed by Juliana Ruperto
Street Pharm by Allison Van Diepen Ar Points: 6.0
Publisher: Follett bound Pages: 297 Genre: Realistic Fiction
“If a brother wanna get ahead, he gotta use every minute to better himself. Everything I did made me better -- tougher, stronger, richer, smarter -- or I didn't do it” – Ty Johnson. That’s how Ty Johnsons sees it ever since his dad was sent to jail for being a major drug dealer. At the age of 16 Ty took over the business. Ty knows what it takes to be the best he is smart cunning. Know at the age of 17 he continues to stay on top with his ability of survival.
Ty just wants to have a normal life. He is doing badly in school but it’s hard to juggle the drug industry in school. He even almost broke his number one rule. Don’t fall in love until your 21. But he can’t help it. He controls the business alongside his dad’s friend sonny. He is trustworthy not a common trade in the industry they were in. For now everything seems normal Ty has money girls and connections but everything is soon to change.
All is well until Ty’s business begins to be tested. A knew presence in town is trying to take control of the streets. With problems around him Ty is faced with some difficult decisions. Can he balance school his business and the girl he is getting close with. He thinks about his outcomes will he keep living the life he is living life and risk the chance of going to jail like his father or forget about the business and start a new life. Street Pharm is a Thriller filled with action throughout all its pages. Allison Van Diepen is a great writer with a unique way of putting things. Anyone who likes books about gangs, violence and love should read this.
-- Reviewed by Walter Barreto
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson AR: 7 pts.
Penguin Group, 1999, 198 pg. Fiction
The book Speak is a very inspiring book that talks about a teenage girl who starts her freshmen year in high school as a complete outcast. This all starts from an end of the summer party that scarred Melinda Sordino’s life forever. She ruined that night by calling the cops and now all her friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know can’t stand seeing her at all. Melinda hasn’t told anyone about that night, not her friends, and not even her own parents because she thinks that they don’t understand her. This is why she rather remain alone, but that’s not even safe at some times, because that night is haunting her every day of her life. She rather not speak of it, but if someone finds out she has no choice but to say the truth. This heartwarming novel is a very interesting one that will keep you turning page after page, and most teenage girls will love it.
--Reviewed by Ashley Castillo, Hightstown, New Jersey.
Hate List by Jennifer Brown AR: 13 points Little Brown & Company, 2010, 408 pages, Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction
Valerie and Nick were always looked down upon in school and made fun of. She has to deal with the name calling and teasing in school and at home she had to deal with her always fighting parents. She hated her life and thought the best thing in it was her boyfriend Nick. They use to get along great and she felt that when she was with him she had an escape from her bad life for a while. They use to know each other very well. She knew everything about nick and him about her. But little did she know that he was planning to come to school with a gun and shoot people. All the people they had written down in their notebook, the hate list. List of all the people that teased them and that they couldn’t stand. Even her own father.
Nick walked in school tired of getting bullied and gave them all what he thought they deserved. Students screaming, running, and pushing their way out of the cafeteria and halls to safety. Valerie could believe her eyes when she saw him shoot the first person and then just walk away to find the others. She froze, still couldn’t believe it. Then she knew what to do. She ran. Not to safety like the others but to nick. She had to stop him and she knew that if someone could stop him it was her. Hall after hall. Turning every corner trying to run as fast as she could. Hearing gunshots from a distance she sped up. She couldn’t let him do this. She had to stop him.
This book is a great book and it is interesting. Brown tells the story in Valerie’s point of view during the shooting and after. Shows all the struggles that Valerie has to face after it all happened. The consequences and how she learned to accept that it wasn’t her fault. It shows her whole process and how her friend really aren’t who they appeared to be and finds that the people she would have talked to the least are the ones that reach out to her the most .
--Reviewed by Carmen Cochancela
Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones Ar: none
Historical Fiction, 2008, $25.00 672 pages
In 14th century Barcelona, Arnau Estonyol is the son of a runaway serf and has always been chained to something stopping him from obtaining the freedom he so desires. As a child Arnau is forced to serve his demanding uncle and evil cousins while later facing the tragic death of his father. He finds solace in becoming a bastrix and carrying stones for the virgin of the sea. As a man he is mixed up in a complicated love affair and must face the politics of Barcelona while his status escalates society he faces the challenges alongside his friend and slave Sahat who runs his money trade company. Then as a council of the sea he faces the accusation made by his wife and allies he didn’t even know he had will save him.
Ildefonso Falcones may not be well known, but there is nobody better to write a historical fiction novel. Throughout the book the twists and turns have always kept my interest in the story. He disrobes the characters and the setting so vividly it feels like you’re looking at a picture instead of the words. If you are looking for a book with action, politics, love, and an amazing story stretching across the entire life of an amazing individual. It is a fast pace book with a suspenseful plot. As soon as you read the first chapter you will be captured.
--reviewed by Shayan Jamaluddin
Under the Moonlit Sky By Nav.K.Gill
Napoleon Company,2010, 345p. $15.95
As a Canadian, born in British Columbia, Esha never learned to follow her true religion; Sikhism. She considered herself more Canadian than Indian. In the eyes of a young college student, Esha doesn't see a reason to go to her father's country, she just wants to enjoy her summer with her friends. Esha was the one daughter her parents had, until the burdening day she found out about her father's other family. Before she could look any further into who his other family was, her father passed away through a terrible accident during his job hours. The last words she heard from her father's mouth were that she needed to go to Kiratpur, India, to immerse his ashes. Esha's mother had given her no other choice but to spend her entire summer in India with his other family, immerse the ashes in the river of Kiratpur, and come back home safe and sound. It wasn't going to be an easy trip, and Esha wasn't going to go back home as quickly as she wanted to. Esha then began her journey to India, entering the tense atmosphere during power under Indira Gandhi. Will she survive?
Nav.K.Gill is a Canadian resident of Toronto, Canada. She wrote Under the Moonlit Sky, her first book at the age of 27. As a Sikh believer, Nav decided to add her own twist to the horrors of the occurrences following Indira Gandhi's assassination. Her goal was to bring back the forgotten tragedy of Sikh's being killed for believing in their religion. Any teenager interested in reading about Indira Gandhi's assassination, should read this book. It's filled with romance, comedy and suspense on every page. Nav.K.Gill may have only wrote one book, but it's an amazing start to her writing career.
--Reviewed by Cheta Patel
Realistic Fiction: Mystery
Scat by Carl Hiaasen Ar: 12 points
Knopf, 2009, 371 pages, Realistic/ Mystery
Nick and Martha were on a field trip to a swamp with their teacher Mrs. Starch when suddenly a fire started. Mrs. Starch went into the fire to get something for her student. No one knew what was going to happen the next day when Mrs. Starch was reported missing. One of the suspects is Duane a student who threatened her the day before the trip. Meanwhile Drake McBride and Jimmy Lee Bayliss try not be caught by police. A masked man is also seen driving in Mrs. Starch’s car with Duane, which raises questions for Nick and Martha.
Carl Hiaasen is very creative in his writing; he creates different types of characters that are weird or funny. His writing is sometimes suspenseful like when, they go inside Mrs. Starch’s house or when the students are interviewed by the police. The writing is also descriptive about the animals, plants and about the characters. The book had an interesting plot and the book never got boring, something would always happen. People who would enjoy this book would be people who like to read about animals/wildlife and mystery.
--Reviewed by Jonnathan Aguirre
Shelter by Harlan Coben AR: 9 pts
Putnam Juvenile , 2011, 304 pg. , $ 12.00 , Fiction
After watching his father die and sending his mother to rehab, Mickey Bolitar is forced to live with his strange uncle. This means switching schools and Mickey takes this opportunity to correct his life. He makes some friends and even gets a shy girlfriend Ashley.
When Ashley all of a sudden goes missing, Mickey sets out to find her. He soon discovers the sweet girl isn’t who he thought she was, and neither was his father. The Bat Lady, an old, creepy women who only comes out at night and is rumored to be a hundred years old never shows her face. But as Mickey walks home from school, she comes out and tells him something that leaves him angry and confused. Mickey feels as if the whole town is hiding secrets from him, and he is determined to find out his family’s mysterious past.
Harlan Coben did a amazing job creating such a creative, interesting story! Combining Mickey’s past and future makes you want to keep reading. Full of twists, shocks, and surprises, I would recommend this to teens ages twelve and up. People who are looking for a suspenseful mystery should definitely check this book out!
--Reviewed by Morgan Sinacore
Gym Candy By Carl Deuker AR: 9 Points FollettBound, 2008, $8.99 Sports Fiction
Mick Johnson, a high school star on the football team is forced to succeed by his father. But on one Friday night game, he gets stopped just short of the goal and decided to take “gym candy” to succeed in his life of football. But soon to realize the consequences and risks on taking steroids, and his relationship with his girl just went downhill after the use of Gym Candy.
Before the game later in the season, one of Mick’s friend on the football team saw Mick sneaking into bathroom, and then the next week he did it again, and the next week. His friend didn’t know what was going on, except it had to be something bad. Before the game his friend went into the bathroom before Mick did to see the horror going on in the stall.
I liked this book in so many ways; it’s hard to get to all of them. Number one on the list is because it is a very interesting story on football. I play high school football, and the book is strictly about high school and football. The way Carl writes the book makes it ten times better. The anger expressed from his father to Mick is said so good. And how Mick thinks about how much of a dumb ass his father is, makes it so much easier for me to not put this book down. I don’t have many books like that, I hate reading but after reading Gym Candy, I wanted to read more sports fiction books. The action packed chapters I think were the best. I would finish a chapter thinking the next one would be about the next day at school, no, right into the middle of the Friday night football game. This book would be great for freshman in high school who plays football. That sounds like too specific but it’s true. It’s about high school and football, not just football, which makes it even better. I really liked this book and think everybody should read it.
--Reviewed By Matt Jacobsen-Hightstown High School, NJ
Gym Candy by Carl Deuker AR: 9 pts
Graphia, 2008, 313 pp., Sports/Realistic Fiction
Mick has been playing football ever since he could walk. His dad was a professional football running back and played for the San Diego Chargers. Sadly, an injury ended his short career. Now, Mick feels that he must live up to his dad’s expectations. He is about to go to high school and wants to join the varsity team. He ends up doing so, but stiff competition makes Mick doubt if he can keep the backup running back position.
Mick does have a good season. He ends up winning the starting spot after the original starter gets kicked off the team. In the last game of the season, Mick brings his team back into the game after trailing by a couple touch downs. With 3rd and goal and a couple seconds left to play, Mick has a chance to win the game for his team. He gets the handoff and breaks through the line. It is only him and the middle linebacker. Mick braces himself put gets stuffed 3 yards short. His team loses and they miss the playoffs. Mick feels it is his fault for his team losing and he blames it on his weakness. He feels the need to get stronger. Off season workouts begin and Mick is determined to get bigger. After weeks of not seeing the big improvement he wanted, Mick starts going to this new gym his father signed him up for. At the gym, Mick meets a trainer named Peter and the form a friendship. Mick tells Peter about how he wants to get stronger fast but isn’t getting any results. Peter then recommends steroids to Mick. At first Mick says no, but after getting beat up by the original starting running back, he decides to try steroids. Mick then starts getting big results and can’t stop using it. He gets hooked. He feels the advantages for a while but then the side effects kick in. Mick starts getting back acne and he starts having bouts of depression. He doesn’t feel like hanging out with his friends or spending time with his dad. He just wants to be alone. His friend Drew takes notice on the big jump in strength and he starts getting suspicious. At the same time, Mick starts having thoughts of suicide. Still, he continues to use steroids. He starts asking himself what’s more important, football or his life?
I have never read a Carl Deuker book and this book was recommended to me by my friend. At first I was reluctant to read this book, I finally gave in when my friends nagging became too much. I’m glad he kept nagging me. This book turned out to be one of my favorites ever. Carl Deuker created a character that any aspiring athlete can relate to. I play football as well and throughout the book I found myself constantly saying I know how Mick feels and this is exactly what I was going through. The dialogue is very believable and you actually think a teenager wrote this book not an adult. The ending is not what you expect and by that time you feel that you’ve known Mick his whole life. The moral lesson given by this book is also very good. A must read for any athlete or sports fan. This book is also good for any reluctant readers.
-- Reviewed by Malki Benalcazar, Hightstown, NJ
Gym Candy by Carl Deuker AR: 9.0
Graphia, 2008, 313 pgs Realistic/Sports/Friendship
Mick Johnson has been playing football ever since he can remember. Now he is in high school where things are more competitive and you have to fight for a position on the team. Shortly after getting the starting position at running back Mick gets stopped short of the end zone. His teammates blame him for the loss and he doesn't know who to trust anymore. To top it all off Mick's dad used to be one of the best running backs around, making it to the NFL. Mick has to live up to his dad's expectations but how far is he willing to go?
After getting a membership at the gym Mick discovers that he isn't getting the results he wants. He talks to his personal trainer who offers him "Gym Candy". Mick is very cautious about his decision knowing the effects. Then again he wants to make his dad and teammates proud. Is he willing to take steroids or will he take the honest way. Excellent performances at games make him think this is the right thing, but when his best friend gets suspicious of the sudden strength he has to hide it and be more cautious. Mick can no longer handle his problems and does something nobody could have ever predicted.
Deuker style of writing is great in this book as it makes you feel as if you were in the book. The sudden twists in the book only makes the book even better. Deuker does a marvelous job with the book creating real events teens go through and the struggles of everyday life. This fast paced book is a must read. I would recommend this book to all the football fans and whoever likes twists in books. Will Mick's hard work pay off or will he choose the easy way out?
--Reviewed by Santiago Suquilanda
Crack Back by John Coy AR: 5.0
Scholastic INC, 2005, 201 pp
The book I was reading called Crack Back by John Coy was very intense, interesting, fast paced, thrilling and in my personal opinion is a page-turner. Many parts in this book were very intense and suspenseful, like when there was just a few seconds left in the game to win it and he runs the play. Crack Back Crack Back said hike and he runs the play and the quarterback throws a bullet right in his hands.
This book is about a boy named Miles Manning that isn’t the most handsome kid in class, and he is definitely not the smartest either. But he’s really good at one thing and that’s football. This year, his team is favored to win the conference and go to states. Everyone is pushing him to be bigger, stronger, and faster. His coaches push him, his dad pushes him, and his best friend pushes him to get better. But now he can be bigger and stronger, he is offered something that will make him much be able to do all this stuff. Will he do it read this book and found out what Miles will do and become.
Personally I really enjoyed this book and I think you will to. I loved the storyline in this book it just wanted you to read more and more till your done with it. The author’s wording was very smooth and understandable. The storyline is very basic and I recommend this book to the people that get stuck with hard decisions and they don’t know what to do.
--Reviewed by Bipin Singh
The Running Dream By Wendelin Van Draanen AR: 9.0
Random House 2011,332 Realistic Fiction
This tear jerking story will warm your heart. The Running Dream is the story of Jessica, a junior in high school, who loses the bottom half of her leg due to a tragic car accident. The book follows Jessica's journey to over come obstacles as she faces life without a leg, and without running
After running a fifty-five flat four hundred at an invitational, Jessica gets into an accident where one other girl is dead and she is left legless. Running was Jessica's life. She thrived off of it. Yet she believes she can never run again.
The author tells the story through Jessica's eyes. She easily is able to fill the book with emotions. The Running Dream will leave you speechless. Readers will be able feel Jessica's hardships and triumphs. This book can move anyone to tears and if you are looking for inspiration this is the book for you.
--Reviewed by Mariela Rodriguez
Realistic Fiction: Male Protagonist
It’s Kind of A Funny Story By: Ned Vizzini
Craig is the main character. He is smart, funny, and likeable, and he seems to be headed for a bright future. However, just twenty-four hours after the happiest day of his life when he found out he got into his dream high school, starts to crumble and swoop before his eyes. He has a great home, a supportive family, and numerous friends, but something is wrong. The majority of his world becomes “Tentacles,” Craig’s word for describing all the problems in his life.
After meeting a new friend he begins doing marijuana. His life begins to be getting more stressing and wants to go get pills to treat him. But after a month he stops taking them and becomes depressed. Wanted to commit suicide but didn’t and checked himself in a hospital. He meets new people and falls in love too. This book is great for teens and is a great book to read about kids our age.
-Reviewed by Richard Medina Hightstown, NJ
Exit Here by Jason Myers AR: 13pts
Simon Pulse 2007, 443pgs, Realistic Fiction
Travis is a teenage boy who comes home from college once he fails out and starts getting back into what he did before he left. He begins to do drugs, drink, smoke, and hang out with all of his friends once again. Among all of his friends, his best friend has always been Cliff. Cliff isn’t exactly the best friend in the world though; always asking to borrow money and asking Travis to favors for him. And some of the favors that he asks Travis to do for him will backfire on Travis.
There is just one thing that keeps bothering Travis: What happened in Hawaii? Right after Christmas Travis decided to go to Hawaii with one of his friends, but when his friend bailed he still decided to go by himself. However, when he was there a huge tragedy happened, and he could have been a really big factor to that tragedy, but he just can’t remember. Does he really want to know the truth, or will he live with the fact that he could have done something horrible while he was there?
Jason Myers does an outstanding job with this book, using Travis as an example of similar events that happened to himself in his life while adding other details to the book which make it fiction. Exit Here is a fast paced book and the description is beyond amazing. All of the cliffhangers will keep you turning the pages and wanting to read it forever. Every single chapter something new and jaw-dropping occurs which makes you not want to put the book down. I really loved this book and I recommend it to all high school students because of the vivid pictures that are painted in your head and the mature humor in the book. Also, this book suits high school students well for all of the activity with drugs and alcohol that go on.
--Reviewed by Luke Redfern, Hightstown High School, New Jersey
Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Caro
240pgs, Comedy, Realistic Fiction
The book I read was Lexapros and Cons. I really enjoyed the book because It was very humorous and had a lot of twist and turns in it. The story is about a boy who has a case of OCD that causes him to check the stove a lot and worry about a lot of things. He also has to wear different colored Converses depending on the mood he is in that day. He ends up getting in trouble with both his only friend and his to-be girlfriend. I would give this book 2 thumbs up.
--Reviewed by Eddie Lewis
Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
Grove Press, 2004, 243 pages, Realistic Fiction, AR Points: 12
A Native American girl named Corliss has a passion for reading. One day, she finds a poetry book that she particularly loves. When she tries to find out more about the author, she cannot. Eventually she finds a printed interview with the man, and sets out to find his home to meet him. She does meet her goal, but the author isn’t how she imagined he would look, and is not too fond of having visitors.
This is just one of nine short stories in Ten Little Indians, by Sherman Alexie, author of other successful novels with mostly Native American main characters. He did an amazing job giving the message through tales that life is unexpected, and cruel in some situations. I liked how as random and unbelievable as some plot revelations may be, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. There was one part in one story that involved a dildo being flailed around in the confinement of a children’s hospital in hopes of relieving everyone’s sickness (please, read the book to understand).
For readers that enjoy short stories, Ten Little Indians has nine of them, so you’ll like it. For readers that enjoy morals that teach you to value life and know that anything can take place no matter how cruel, you’ll like it as well.
-Reviewed by Charlie Carretti