Friday, July 29, 2016

Big Game

Big Game

Author: Stuart Gibbs
Pages: 352
Lexile: 740
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4/5 stars

The entire story is based on finding out who shot at the rhinos and who robbed the ice cream and candy stores. C. There is action through the whole book. The setting of this book it at a zoo, and it is present time. D. The main character of Big Game is teddy, he is 12 years old, and his parents live and work at the zoo “Fun Jungle”. The other main characters are teddy’s parents, they are important to the story. This book continues from a series of two other books, so you may want to read those first.

The story starts when the keepers are walking the elephants and they hear a loud rifle shot, this small event will be very important throughout the whole story, it is the first main event to happen. When Big Game starts to have more action is, when teddy is accused of robbing a ice cream and candy store, when he never did and there was no real evidence of it, it also seems to look like it wasn't a human that did it. Later in the story the author puts in a plot twist that maybe one of the monkeys escaped and broke in, but the mean security guard marge is determined to catch him and arrest him.

The climax of Big Game is, when security thinks that the hunter was a woman not a man, but after all it was just a disguise. This was one of my favorite parts of the story. The climax also continues  when teddy, and summer (the owner’s daughter), go to one of teddy's friend’s aunt and uncle's ranch and find out some good suspects that they never really any evidence on. Also, in the story there were many events of teddy and his parents trying to catch the hunter, each time he got away, but on the first try, teddy's mom breaks her leg trying to run after him. The climax continues when teddy and summer go to check out where security thinks that the hunter shot from, at SafariLand, once they are there, they almost fall into the crocodile pit, but they escape safely. This was one of the most scary parts of the book.

The falling action in Big Game starts to happen when they set up a camera to watch the monkey that they think is escaping and catch him in the act! Then, story ends when Teddy finally finds out who shot at the rhinos, it was 2 of the zoo's employees. They almost escaped the zoo with the real rhino horns, that are worth over 1 million dollars.

The resolution of the story is  when teddy caught the two hunters and had to do it a weird way too, by making the elephants stampede again. They almost made it away with the real horns, when the zoo had the fake ones!  I really liked how the author made the book end how it started, it was interesting.

The theme of Big Game is mystery, the author shows this theme by having you wonder who shot at the rhinos all through the story and added many other stories inside the book to continue with the mystery theme. H. I really liked how this book was a mystery type of book, and I really liked how it continued from the other books in the series, and how there were 2 other mysteries inside the main story. I didn't like how the book was very long. I recommend this book to anyone that likes mystery type books and people who like animals would also enjoy this book.

Contributed by: Bobby Dengel

Friday, July 22, 2016

City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 496
Lexile: 710
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
City of Bones
This book is a young adult fantasy because it contains a variety of different supernatural beings and demon slaying teenagers and shadow-hunters. The story is about Clary Fray a teenage girl living in an apartment with her mom in Brooklyn. Clary’s life is turned upside down when her mother is kidnapped by some creature. From there Clary is dragged into the Shadow World to save her mother and everything she thought she knew about the world is challenged. The setting of modern-day Brooklyn affects the mood of the story. Countless times in the book the busy streets of Brooklyn or the dark alleyways are used for effect. The busy streets give the  reader the sense of frustration or clutter. Here is a quote from the text on pg. 261; “Clary froze, staring into the shadows at the mouth of the alley. For a panicked moment she wondered if she’d imagined the voice.” In this quote the setting of the dark alleyway creates a mysterious and spooky tone, but this is only one of the many times the alleyways are used to that effect. 
The story begins when Clary witnesses a murder by three teenagers with odd markings on their skin, who she later discovers are shadowhunters. As Clary learns a shadowhunter is a human with angel blood who is appointed the task of protecting humans from the Shadow World. Clary’s mom is kidnapped by the evil shadowhunter Valentine who seeks the Mortal Cup, a powerful weapon. She then meets one of the teenagers from the bar, Jace who helps her on her journey to rescue her mom. As the story progresses Jace and Clary grow closer and start to become more than just companions.  Along the way, Clary learns that her mom was once a shadowhunter married to Valentine and she must find and protect the Mortal Cup if she wants her mom back. The turning point in the story is when Valentine shows up and takes the Cup and Jace. Clary seeks the help of Luke, a friend of her mother’s and werewolf, to find Jace and her mom. When she finds Valentine, Clary and Jace find out they are brother and sister which makes their feelings for each other even more confusing. At the last second Valentine escapes through a portal with the Mortal Cup, and Clary’s mother is left in a comatose. with the Mortal Cup, and Clary’s mother is left in a comatose.

In the end Clary learns that you have to accept who you are to feel complete. For her this meant she had to come to terms with her shadowhunter blood and face the fact that Jace is her brother. I know this is the theme because this scenario is shown more than once in the book and can be applied to the real world. Jace also fits the theme by accepting that his father is a villainous murder and that he is happier with Clary in his life.

The only things I disliked about the book were all the new terms. Each time the author brought up a new term relating to the setting of the story she wouldn’t go into detail about it. Instead I was left to come to my own conclusions about what the author meant. For example the Clave is a term commonly used. I assume that they are the rulers of the Shadow World, but I don’t know for sure. I recommend this great story to my friends or anyone else who has the same taste in books. I know they’ll love this book because we all share the common interest of an action-packed fantasy.

Contributed by Callie Cox

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Summer of Pink and Green

My Summer in Pink and Green

Author: Amy Greenwald.
Pages: 259
Lexile: 740
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
This book is part of a series.

Lucy Desberg, a thirteen year old girl, is the one who tells the story. Claudia, Lucy’s older sister, came home from college for the summer to help with their family’s spa opening. Lucy was completely annoyed at her entire family because nobody was taking her seriously. Claudia was so worried because the opening date of the spa kept getting pushed back. The book took place in Connecticut, and the Desberg’s always went to the beach to hang out and have fun.
Lucy got a grant for her family’s pharmacy, which was struggling financially. The grant was for making everything eco-friendly. Her best friend, Sunny, is ignoring her and Sunny’s brother, Yamir, has a crush on Lucy, but she doesn't know it. The climax was when Mayor Danes, who gave the Desberg’s this grant, came by the pharmacy to check in and make sure everything was going smoothly. This was a big relief to the family because it meant that somebody cared about the spa opening and was there to help. Lucy then talked her sister into driving her downtown so she could go to a meeting at the library. While there, she learned a lot about business and how to help out by doing research. In the end, the spa was open and every problem had been solved.
My favorite thing about this novel is how relatable it was. By the end, I felt like I knew the characters in real life. Since it was from Lucy’s point of view, the way it was written was very similar to a diary or journal. By the last page, I felt like I knew the characters in real life.
The theme of this book for sure has to do with family life. Lucy had to express herself by behaving as a mature teenager so that her family would know how responsible she truly is. After all, actions speak louder than words, according to Lucy.
I recommend this fun book to middle school girls. It’s suspenseful throughout and will always make you want to be best friends with Lucy Desberg.

Contributed by Gracie Cohen

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Crossover

The Crossover

Author: Kwame Alexander
Pages: 240
Lexile: 750
Genre: Poetry, Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Once you start reading this book, you won’t be able to stop. “The Crossover” is a amazing action-packed combo of realistic fiction and sports. This book takes place in junior high, the second most known place for drama, (the first is high school). Josh, the main character (A.K.A Filthy Mcnasty), is a fantastic basketball player who plays on his junior high team. But when his twin brother starts to hang out more with someone different than Josh, Josh feels like he’s put aside. Of course, how could I forget to mention Josh’s twin brother’s name, Jordan. Although most people call him JB, he’s like basically Josh’s equal in basketball.
The story starts of with Josh and JB scoring points in their basketball game. Later on in the week, there’s a new girl who starts there, and Josh can tell that JB is definitely interested in her. Then at one of the games, the new girl comes to watch, and JB notices, and then the next day, JB walks into lunch with her and sits with her, leaving Josh all alone. One day Josh overhears his mom arguing with his dad about going to the doctor and mentioning something about everyone in their family history has come down with some kind of heart disease. But when he tries to tell JB, he won’t listen, because he’s too busy on the phone with the new girl. Then when JB starts to hang out more and more with the girl, and eventually starts dating her, he starts making Josh angry and frustrated. Then at one basketball game, Josh finally snaps and does something so terrible, that JB doesn’t talk to him for almost the rest of the book. Later, at a park, while JB hung out with his girlfriend, Josh played a game against his dad, but then it lead to Josh’s dad collapsing and being rushed to the hospital. While Josh’s dad is still in bed, his suspension from the basketball team has gone away which means he can play. But rather than go play, (which he definitely wanted to do more than stay in a hospital waiting for nothing to happen), he stayed in the hospital with his dad. Then on the day of his championship in basketball, Josh’s dad tells him to go play and then sends JB to watch. While Josh won the championship, it came at a terrible price. Then after the incident which changes his life, Josh starts thinking in a much bigger way leading him to see that what he did to his brother was wrong.This leads us into one of the themes of the book. Be careful about what choices you make because good choices lead to good results while bad choices lead to bad results and you don’t want to make the wrong choice.

I loved how the book was written, and the way each line flowed into the next like a fluid. Plus, I love how the author put the words on the page in different ways so he could emphasize his point. The only thing I don’t like was how short it was, because I really wanted to keep reading but there was nothing more to read. People who love raps, rhythm, poems, basketball, or sports in general would love this book. Actually, anyone would like this book but if you like reading those kind of books, than you absolutely will LOVE this book!

Contributed by Phani Chintakunta

Friday, July 1, 2016

Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher
Pages: 304
Lexile: 550
Genre: Young adult fiction, Mystery, Drama
Rating: 4/5 stars

Thirteen Reasons Why
This book is considered young adult fiction because there are types of drama that only teens would have, also it is in the point of view of a high-schooler's life. The story takes place in a small part of a town (they never specified what city or where it is). The time is most likely current since it never really effects the story. The setting is a big part of the story because while Clay listens to the tapes he travels around town, following the path of where Hannah’s stories took place. There’s even a map at the beginning of the book, so the readers can see where all the places are. The protagonist is Hannah, and even though the reader never meets her personally, we still know all her thoughts and feelings throughout the book. The main conflict is that Hannah commit suicide (before the book started, so we never heard from her personal point of view) and now she’s sent all these tapes (explaining why she killed herself) to people who have somehow caused her death. Now, Clay, who liked Hannah and knew her personally, has to listen to why she killed herself on these cassette tapes.
The beginning starts off with Clay finding the tapes on his doorstep. Then, the rising action is when he finds out that the tapes were sent to people who caused her death. She explains that the thirteen people who are to hear these tapes did something (or didn’t do something) that caused her death. Upon this knowledge, Clay is extremely nervous to know what she said about him. So Clay ventures into the night, cassette player (he borrowed a walkman from his friend Tony) and map in hand. The climax is when Clay finally listens to his tape, and he discovers that he didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, Hannah actually liked him. The falling action is when Clay reaches the end of the tapes. Finally, the resolution is when Clay sends the tapes off to the next person (which is actually the start of the book), and he’s forced to move on. The theme of this book is that all our actions have consequences. I know this because everything that happened to Hannah, even the smallest things that people just overlooked, affected her in a way no one can ever come back from. Even if someone thought they weren’t doing anything harmful, it still caused something horrible to happen. For example, when Zach took all the notes from Hannah’s compliment bag, it seemed small but she really needed something to keep her alive. Or when Alex violated her in public. He didn’t think much of the gesture, in fact he thought it was funny, but it meant much more to her.
I liked how as Hannah was telling her stories, we could hear stories from Hannah's point of view as well as Clay’s point of view. Clay always shows how he never knew something was going on with Hannah, and that shows how this could very well happen in the real world. I also liked how realistic Clay’s reactions were. Usually, mostly in movies, people react over the top to small things that aren’t important to the story. However, in Thirteen Reasons Why, Clay acts almost exactly how I would act (if I was ever listening to something like this and in public). I like this because I feel more connected to a book when I can relate to it. If you like drama and mystery than this book is for you. Especially if you like teen novels, read Thirteen Reasons Why. This book is filled with teen drama and the mystery never stops.

Disclaimer: this book deals with suicide

Contributed by: Brynne Bursack