Friday, June 24, 2016

Spy School

Spy School

Author: Stuart Gibbs
Pages: 304
Lexile: 740
Genre: Mystery, adventure
Rating: 5/5 stars

This book is called Spy-School, by Stuart Gibbs. It is a mystery and action book. It takes place in Washington D.C. The main characters travel to the Washington Monument, the National Mall and to the White House. The protagonist is Ben Ripley, and he is faced with the task of defeating SPYDER. Erica Hale is Ben’s best friend, and helps him defeat SPYDER.
It begins in a normal middle school, then Ben gets carted off to the academy of espionage and must take SACSA exams. also he gets attacked by a professional assassin. Then, he finds out that he is mole bait. his search to find the mole becomes more difficult when he finds a bomb under the school. Erica and ben get locked in a closet with the bomb. They successfully defuse it and save the school. In the end , Erica’s dad ends up stealing all the credit and claims it for himself.
It’s a story about danger and daring. I know this because they are constantly in danger. Furthermore, they are always running towards danger, like the fact that instead of hiding in the top of the Washington Monument. I really like this book because it is relatable. Also, there are lots of cool things and places that they go and do. Also, it puts a new perspective on life. I would recommend this book to anybody in middle school and up who likes realistic fiction. This is a great read, highly recommended. this book is one of my personal favorites.

Contributed by Liam D.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Author: Jesse Andrews
Pages: 298
Lexile: 820
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 2/5 stars

Disclaimer: This book is realistic fiction and young adult, because it involves many adult topics and profanity. Although the book does not consist of actual events, readers can relate to the issues the characters experienced.

The main character of this story is a senior in high school, and his name is Greg Gaines. He has to confront his insecurities ,and he is searching for  an identity. You will learn a lot about how Greg has somehow managed to avoid being one of those “lame” kids with no friends. Greg doesn’t really have any friends, but there is this one kid that he hangs out with. His name is Earl. Greg and Earl are pretty much complete opposites. Earl is his own person and does whatever he wants. No one is stopping him. Greg on the other hand, has a mom that is too involved in his social life. But I wouldn’t really consider Greg and Earl friends. They’re more like associates or business partners. They work together on creating these really pointless films.  Earl really isn’t a good influence on Greg, but he somehow manages to keep Greg in check. A majority of the story takes place at a hospital and in a teenage girl’s bedroom. The hospital setting definitely gives the reader a dull and sad feeling. The teenage girl’s bedroom helps the reader relate to the teenagers in the story. This book takes place in our current time because the characters are using modern day technology. They also use a lot of present time slang in this book.

Greg is that kid that has really bad social skills. He struggles with communicating with kids around him. It’s as if Greg doesn’t exist. No one notices him. Greg has somehow managed to just blend in and stay low key his whole life. Greg has one friend, and his name is Earl. They have made films together since they were in elementary school.

Greg and Earl make mediocre films that would likely never be produced. Although they are not very good movies, one of their classmates, Rachel enjoys watching the films. When Greg finds out Rachel, has been diagnosed with leukemia, he and Rachel’s mother decide that Greg would be the best person to make Rachel feel better about her illness. Greg is worried about her watching these films, because he does not think they are good. Earl doesn’t care if they are good and would do anything to make Rachel feel better, so he lends her the films. One of Rachel’s friends realize how much she likes the films and asks Greg to make Rachel a film to make her want to keep fighting. He takes on this challenge with his coworker Earl. Once they complete the film they aren’t happy with how it turns out, and Greg can tell Rachel doesn’t like it. She has still gave up fighting, and she has accepted that she is going to die. The theme of this book would be to care about others, and don’t be selfish. Greg hasn’t really ever had anyone to care about but himself. Now he’s in a situation where he has to care for someone else that is in serious need. At the beginning, Greg really struggles to comfort Rachel, because he is trying so hard to be someone he is not. Greg is too selfish to give Rachel his films to watch so Earl does it. When Earl does this, Greg gets highly upset. 

I liked that this book wasn’t like the Fault in Our Stars at all. It didn’t automatically make everything about Greg and Rachel being in love. I also really like that this book actually taught the reader a lesson about sacrificing for others. I dislike how this book involves so many chapters that don’t have anything to do with the plot. Some parts were funny but most of the book was filled with humor from the narrator, but the jokes really just fell flat. (I) If you have a really good sense of humor you will love this book. I say this because the comedy really isn’t something that just anyone will find funny. You will also enjoy this book if you like books with unique formats. I give this book two stars because I did not find it very funny but I like the plot of the story.

Contributed by: Faith Bland

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner
Pages: 384
Lexile: 770
Genre: Dystopia
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book is the first book in a trilogy.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a very interesting and exciting novel. This book takes place in a future dystopian society, and goes under the genre of science fiction. The setting of the book plays a major part in the plot, “the maze”. All of the characters reside in an area in the center of the maze called “the glade”. The maze is inescapable, as far as the “gladers” know. The main character, Thomas, is a teen boy who, like all other gladers, came into the maze with no knowledge of himself other than his name. Because of this, Thomas spends much of the beginning of the book confused and wondering what he’s supposed to do. He wants to help the gladers out of the maze, and is willing to do anything to do so, even though he doesn’t have any idea how. In the start of the book, Thomas is arriving in the glade, confused as ever. The other gladers spend days attempting to explain to him what was going on, or at least as much as they know. Just when Thomas has begun to adjust to the glade, strange things start to happen. Someone new is brought into the glade, claiming they know Thomas in some way. This makes Thomas more confused and curious about this place, if that was even possible. Throughout the book, Thomas goes through many struggles and adventures as he tried to find out who he is and what he’s going to do about his situation. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the character development. As I mentioned before, Thomas starts out as nearly nothing, and as he makes more decisions and learns more, he slowly becomes a hero to those around him and himself. One thing I didn’t like about the book was the lack of closure at the end, but it did a good job making me want to read the rest of the series. Overall, the book was a rather fast read that I enjoyed. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in sci-fi dramas, or books like The Hunger Games or Divergent.

Contributed by Cassie Beisheim

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green
Pages: 336
Lexile: 850
Genre: Romantic Drama
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The book takes place in Indianapolis.  This book takes place in current times. Hazel Grace is the main character and is a seventeen year old girl with cancer.  She has had cancer since she was a young girl. Another character is Augustus Waters.  He is a boy Hazel meets at the cancer support group in a church shaped like a cross. The support group meets in the middle of the cross because they feel like they are in the middle of Jesus’s heart.  Hazel’s mom makes her attend the meetings.  Hazel feels like she does not need the support group.  Then one day she met Augustus (Gus) Waters and there is an immediate connection between the two.  They kept staring at each other during the meeting.  Throughout the book Hazel and Gus become really good friends and fall in love. The main conflict of the story is that both of them have cancer and the story is about living.
The book starts with the beginning of Hazel and Gus’s relationship.  They start as friends and then fall in love.  They go on a trip to Amsterdam together and Hazel finds out some unfortunate news.  The rest of the book deals with the aftermath of the unfortunate news.
Gus teaches Hazel that it does not matter that you have cancer, you can still live your life to the fullest.  Before Hazel met Gus, she spent her time re-reading the same fictional novel by her favorite author and watching television with her mom.  No friends ever come over to the house to visit with Hazel.  Once Hazel meets Gus everything changes.  He teaches her how to live life and enjoy life.  Hazel realizes she has to live her life to the fullest.

I liked Gus the most.  He was able to change Hazel, he was romantic, and he was a good friend not just to Hazel but to his friend who goes blind.  One thing I did not like about the book was that overall it was a sad book. People who like romance, drama, and are not afraid to cry will like this book.  I think this book deserves five stars for it’s amazing characters and fun story.

Contributed by: Melissa Batchman