Friday, February 26, 2016

The Old Man and The Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway
Lexile: 1370
Pages: 127
Genre: Fiction
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1952)
Rating: 5/ 5 Stars

This book is a powerful realistic fiction book with a great meaning. This book takes place in Cuba, 1940. The story is strongly affected by the setting because the old man fishes on the Gulf Stream. The old man is a kind character along with the boy,the old man’s best friend. They always fish together and spend whole days out at sea, even though they don’t come back with lots of fish they still have lots of fun. But the boys parents do not agree with this because they want him to catch fish and make a living off of it. The boy is forced to go fish with a crew while the old man is left fishing alone. Even though the old man is sad about the boy having to leave he still continues to do what he loves. After  working hard day and night to catch a fish he finally hooks a big one. He fights with the fish day and night and is determined to bring this one in. After suffering hand cramps, cuts, and exhaustion he got it! “yes i finally brought him in after working day and night”. On his way back to shore he see’s black fins popping out of the water, trailing the blood of the fish on the side of the boat. this worries the old man and he grabs a wooden paddle and is ready for a fight. The sharks keep taking pieces off of the big marlin as the old man hits them in the head repeatedly. after having fought the sharks for a long time he gets back to shore where he is greeted by many people and the boy. everyone feels bad but knows how hard he has worked. the old man goes back to his home and falls asleep dreaming about loins. the theme of the book is the honor in struggle. the reason for this is because the old man has worked so hard to catch a good fish and achieves his goal while overcoming many challenges. something i like about this book is all of the fishing terms. but something i don't like about the book is some things were not the best explained and put into great detail. i think people who like fishing or people who like a book with a deep meaning would like this book. i would give this book five stars because it was a well written entertaining book.

Contributed by Henry Murphy

Friday, February 19, 2016

Paper Towns

Author- John Green
Lexile- 850
Page count- 345
Genre- Mystery
Awards- 2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery
My rating- ⅘ stars!

“Paper Towns” is a mixture of mystery and a bit of romance because when the girl that Q loves (Margo) goes missing, he tries to find clues that leads him to find out where Margo is. Paper Towns takes place in modern time in Orlando, Florida, but Margo runs away from Florida to a “Paper town”. A paper town is a town marked on a map that doesn’t actually exist. Q is trying to find Margo, his friend and the girl he loves who has run away.  
One day, two kids, Q, and Margo, find a dead body in the park. 9 years later Margo shows up unexpectedly at Q’s window asking him for a favor, she wants him to drive her around so she can get revenge on people. The next day Margo does not show up at school, she has gone missing. Q believes Margo has left clues for Q to find her. Q is determined to find her. Does Q find Margo? Does she come home? Is she still alive? Read Paper Towns to find out. The theme of this book is “chasing after what you want in life”. Margo shows this by leaving Orlando. She doesn’t care about leaving everything at once because it’s what she wants at the time and she might not be able to do it later. Q also shows this by skipping graduation to go find Margo because that’s what he wanted out of life at the moment.
I liked how Q was finding clues as to where Margo was, and how he went through a lot to find the girl he loves. I didn’t like how the book was kind of slow, and I also wasn’t very fond of the ending. I think girls/women would appreciate this book more, but boys would enjoy it too. Read if you like mystery books with a bit of romance.


Author: Veronica Roth
Lexile: 830
Pages: 526
Rating: /5 stars
Genre: Dystopic, or Science-Fiction
Awards: none
The novel “ Allegiant” is Sci Fi, because the it takes place in the future or has futuristic characteristics. For example there is third a war, the Purity War. The government believes the Purity war was caused by damaged genes. To prevent another war the government decides to make factions. Also this novel has a bit of romance. The main character, Tris, has a deep connection or love with another character Tobias. They both are madly in love with each other. They do face a lot of hard times, they let people influence their relationship or their behavior.
When Tobias and Tris leave the city where the factions are, they meet people beyond the fence or beyond the city. There Tobias and Tris learn the factions are an experiment, created by the the people beyond the fence. Factions were created to study genes, to find out who is genetically pure and who is genetically damaged. When Tobias finds out he is genetically damaged he is troubled or bothered, because for along time he thought he was Divergent like Tris. It turns out that Tobias only shows some Divergent characteristics. He believes he doesn’t know who he is anymore. Tris tries to explain to him that it doesn’t matter if he is genetically pure or genetically damaged. This shows Tobias is an example of letting titles define you, it’s your actions that define who you are. Tobias makes such a big deal out of being genetically damaged, but honestly what does that even mean? Being genetically damaged doesn't change who you are. Just like factions, our society puts us in groups or categorizes us. For example political party, I don’t think we need political parties I think you should vote for whatever candidate you think is best, without putting the title Republican and Democratic candidates. Towards the end of the book Tobias learns it doesn’t matter if he is genetically damaged. This problem still exist with the scientist who created the factions. So Tobias, Tris, and a few others come up with a plan to get rid of the factions and the scientists who created them.The plan requires Tobias to face some fears like confronting his parents and it requires Tris to forgive her brother and make an extremely tough decision. She has to decide if she wants to sacrifice herself or her brother. She chooses to sacrifice herself, which gets her killed. After Tobias finds out Tris is dead he doesn’t know how to function anymore or handle himself.
I would give this book, because I thought it was great, the author did a very well job with describing the characters feelings. After Tris’s death the author showed Tobias’s vulnerable side, showed him grieving. I did not give it five stars because I didn’t like that Tobias didn’t get revenge on his father. I think Tobias should have at least got to say something to his father. If you enjoyed the Hunger games series I think this would be a good pick for you, but do understand they are very different. It has a mixture of both romance and action. It is great especially for young adults looking for a book to read for fun or for school.

Contributed by: Lena Solomon

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Death Cure

Author: James Dashner
Genre: Dystopic, Sciende-Fiction, Action-Adventure
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars

The book The Death Cure fits into the Science Fiction/Adventure category because The Gladers go on a trip to defeat WICKED, a “good” organization trying to get rid of a virus that they created. The action of the story takes place throughout the whole book. There are different scenes of chasing and violence that make it a great, suspenseful book to read. It takes place in WICKED’s headquarters, Colorado, forests, and many other places.The setting effects the book because of how the characters can act and what they can do with their surroundings. The protagonist in The Death Cure, is a boy named Thomas. He grew up working for WICKED and throughout The Maze Runner series has realized that they're doing more bad than good, and now he is trying to stop them. Another character in the book is Teresa. She has grown up with Thomas, even though for part of the series she fought him because she went with WICKED, thinking they were good. 

In the beginning of the book, Thomas is locked in a room, only receiving meals. Once he gets out he has to go to a meeting with everyone else in The Trials, where he finds out that he can get his memory back. In the rising action, Thomas escapes WICKED because he doesn't want his memory back and meets up with Gally, an old enemy from the maze in Denver, Colorado. They proceed to find out that WICKED is really after a doctor who can remove the devices that they are giving them. Once Thomas and the rest of his friends get them out, WICKED kills the doctor. Then when they go to a coffee shop Thomas gets kidnapped, then goes to headquarters and put explosives around WICKED’s facility. The climax of The Death Cure is when Thomas has to wait for the explosives to go off, his friends help him escape, but in the meantimes two of them die. The falling action is when Chancellor Paige, the creator of WICKED says that she is sorry for creating The Flare and WICKED was actually supposed to be good. The resolution is when Thomas and the rest of the survivors go to safe haven, to be safe from The Flare forever. The theme of the book is even when you try really hard to get something right, it still might not go as planned. I think that because of when Teresa died, she was with Thomas till the end but then she died saving him. Also because even though they got to safe haven, there was no cure to The Flare, and lots of people still died. What I didn't like about the book was the beginning, it was slow and I think James Dashner could have came up with something better. What did like about the book was the ending. I think it came to a nice unsuspected ending, that tied the book up well. I think other people that would like this book would be, anyone who read The Hunger Games, Divergent, or anyone who has read other books by James. Overall I would give this book a ⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating because I liked the book but I thought the first two were more suspenseful and better written.

Contributed by: Nina Sachs

Friday, February 5, 2016

Clash of Kings

Author- R.R. Martin
Lexile- not available
Page count-  784 pages
Genre- Fantasy
Awards: Locus Award for the Best Fantasy Novel
Rate: ☆☆☆☆/5
Warning: Book may possess offensive topics for younger readers.

“A Clash of Kings” is the second book in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R Martin.  This book is a continuation of the dark fantasy filled war and violence.  The war between the North and and the South is slowly progressing.  The reader will discover how all of the subjects of Westeros are affected by the war–from Kitchen boys to King’s hands.
It is important to remember that Westeros is a complicated Medieval society, where people are killed just for amusement, Valyrian steel swords are the best weapon, and some dogs are treated with more respect than women.  It is also important to remember that the book is not told from only one point of view; each chapter focuses on a different character’s life and choices to emphasize that not one person is affected by society’s choices.  The interaction between the characters is also important because if a conversation is taking place between two people, one chapter will show one character’s thoughts, and another chapter shows the other character’s thoughts.
The story takes place right after “A Game of Thrones”, only there is more tension and bloodshed.  In the prologue, Maester Cressen is at Dragonstone watching over Stannis Baratheon’s only child Shireen.  Shireen tells Cressen about her nightmares where the dragons come alive and eat her.  Cressen tells her that dragons have been killed off.  Then Stannis and his wife Selyse come in and talk about the war.  They talk with Cressen about the Rainbow Guard, marrying Shireen to Robert Arryn, and Stannis’ lost birthright.  After their conversation Cressen meets with the “witch” Melissandre, and ends up selling his life to the Lord of the Light.  
The beginning of “A Clash of Kings” jumps right into characters’ lives.  Arya is with Lommy and Hot Pie and heading to the Wall, but they get caught.  Lommy is killed and Hot Pie and Arya are sent to the Towers.  Meanwhile, Robb and Catelyn are in battle while leaving eight-year-old Bran in charge of Winterfell.  Robb defeats Stafford Baratheon at Oxcross with a crushing victory.  Catelyn takes a trip to an enemy camp and tries to make peace with Stannis and Renly Baratheon, but all they do is bicker about how Renly was given all of the birthrights when in fact Stannis–who is the eldest of the three Baratheon brothers–should have obtained them.  The Baratheons continue to prepare for war against Robb Stark and Catelyn isn’t allowed to leave the camp.  Concurrently, Daenerys Targaryen is bringing her khalasar (similar to a tribe and army) back to the Seven Kingdoms to take the Iron Throne in the name of her late husband Khal Drogo.  She is finally informed that King Robert had been slain, which makes her quest a little easier, but she doesn’t know about the war between the King of the North and the Baratheons.  Even so, she has a weapon no one else in Westeros has: three living, breathing dragons.  As the armies move closer together, the more uneasiness between them.
Since this book is so complex, there are many themes and overall messages.  One major theme is time steals innocence when no one is looking.  The overall example of this is all of the children in the book.  They all maker such adult choices that you constantly have to remind yourself of their ages.  Robb leads an army, wins a battle, and captures the Kingslayer at 15 years old.  Daenerys leads a khalasar and mothers three dragons at 14 years old.  Bran is made Lord of Winterfell and hosts a feast.  In today’s society most kids don’t have to worry about being in charge of a large group of people.
It has been mentioned before that each chapter is told from a different character’s point-of-view –I happen to admire that part of the series.  I like how there are many perspectives on the same situations.  For example, Catelyn and Robb are mother and son going into battle.  Obviously, they have different thoughts in their heads: Robb is thinking about his army and what he could gain or lose by fighting, and Catelyn is thinking and peace, and who might want to kill Robb.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes multiple narrators and anyone who feels comfortable reading and thinking about about social issues that may not be talked about every day.  On that note, there are a few subjects that might be offensive.  If you are not ready or willing to think about offensive subjects, do not read this book.

Contributed by: Julia Monsey

The Thirteenth Tale

Author- Diane Setterfield
Lexile- 840L
Page count- 406 (hardback 2006 version)
Genre- Gothic Suspense
Rating: 5/5 stars

Have you read a book that required you to keep notes to keep the events and characters straight in your head? This book is written from the point of view of Margaret Lee, a woman who is an introvert who works in a book store. There are many twists and turns that a reader does not see coming. Margaret is "bookish" and very articulate in describing her world around her. She enjoys just being around the books, but one day she comes home to her apartment above her father's bookstore and finds a note from an author. Vida Winter, the famous author who left the note, seeks Margaret to interview her. Margaret is not the popular, likely choice. Soon, the reader will discover both of these women have stories to tell, but to uncover them means both women have to endure many ghosts from their pasts. Uncovering one's past can help one in many ways, including changing one's future. This book will keep a reader entertained, enthralled, and enriched with verbose reading.

"I have not read an incredible book like this one before." Abby B, 8th Grader