Friday, November 25, 2016

"Before I Fall"

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 496
Genre: fiction, romance
Ratings: 4/5 stars
Awards: there are too many to list...check out this link for the awards' list and a movie trailer:
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This book is a romance novel because firstly, this book takes place on Valentine’s Day, or as Samantha calls it, Cupid’s Day. This is also a romance novel because Samantha falls in love with the most unexpected person, Kent. The setting of this story is Thomas Jefferson High School in Connecticut. If this wasn’t set at this high school, this would’ve completely affected the resolution of this story. Samantha would’ve never have met Juliet, therefore not being able to save her. The protagonist in my book is Samantha. Samantha lived a perfect life and she had it all. She was a part of the popular group at school and had the perfect boyfriend. But obviously, none of that mattered when she was killed in a car crash. The main conflict that she faces is Samantha is stuck living the day she dies over and over. Kent is another important character besides Sam. Kent is very important because Kent falls in love with Samantha and most likely would’ve been her boyfriend if the days didn’t start over. The plot of this book is very unusual since the days start over, but the book begins with Samantha going to high school on Cupid’s day and is excited to spend the day with Robert. Then, in the rising action, Sam gets killed in a car crash and wakes up on the same day that she died. At first, she doesn’t believe that she is reliving the day that she died, she is in denial. She thinks that maybe yesterday was just a dream. The next day's, Samantha is apathetic and does reckless things, like stealing her mom’s credit card. Then Samantha tries to be a more respectful and kind person, thinking that this is what she needs to do to escape this repeating day. But one night, Samantha finds out that Juliet killed herself. So after this night, Samantha tries to prevent this from happening, in hopes that if she does this that she will be saved too. Suddenly, in the climax, everything clicks, Samantha knows that her fate has been sealed, the point of her repeating the day of her death is so she can help someone else’s life. Samantha realizes she must save Juliet. In the falling action Samantha does everything to save Juliet and make everything right. The story is finally resolved by Sam saving Juliet by pushing her out of the way of a car.

The theme of this book is to be nice to everyone because you never know what someone is going through. I chose this as the theme, because this is an ongoing message the author tries to convey. For example, Samantha and her friends were always very mean to Juliet. By them doing this, this made Juliet feel so alone, while things were also bad at home. So because of this, Juliet ended up killing herself. Another example, is that the girls have also always been mean to Anna Cartullo, they always call her names and spread rumors about her. They didn’t realize how upset it made her feel.

One thing I liked about the book is the way the author created Kent. She created Kent to as this weird, dorky guy. But the author reveals his true personality and then Samantha begins to fall for him. This ties is with the importance of the theme of this book, being nice to everyone. But the one thing I did not like was the ending. Only because I just wanted it to end with by her saving Juliet, she would wake up from a coma in a hospital. But it just ended with her officially dying to save Juliet. Despite my opinion, this shows perfectly how life really is- people can’t live forever and we don’t always get the ending we want. People who enjoy romance novels or books that make you think about life would love this book because it had an adorable love story and will make you think about what really happens in the afterlife.

Contributed by Gabby Levine

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Lovely Bones Review

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author:  Alice Sebold
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Horror
Rating:  /5 stars
**Mature content for a middle schooler

The Lovely Bones Review

The Lovely Bones  is a great fictional novel.  That takes place in the 1970’s and late 1980’s, this story of a young girl is told from her point of view in heaven.  Susie Salmon, who is already dead when you first meet her, starts to tell the story of her short life from heaven.  Heaven seems to have everything Susie would want, all the luxuries she could ask for.  Yet Susie is looking down at her home ,and her family on earth.  Susie can't let go of earth or her family.  Susie's father, who is having trouble letting go of his lost daughter, sits in a room full of bottled ships she helped build.  Her father finds out who the murderer of his daughter is, yet doesn't know what to do.  The police don't like the idea her father has and disregard it.  The family is really struggling to hold on.  Susie's sister can't accept her death and lies to herself.  While the mother thinks the only way to go about her problems is to run away from them ,and her family who everyday reminds her of the daughter she once had.  Susie's sees her little brother trying to understand and grasp the word “gone”.  While she watches her friends ,and a girl she new little about she realizes she may not be the only one, the only one “gone." One day in heaven ,when Suise does not look down on earth, instead she finds herself in a field  with many other girls around her, she realizes they are all victims of the same man who killed her.   She sees they have let go of earth ,and she wonders if she can do the same.   One day while Susie watches a girl named Ruth, she falls ,she falls from the gateway where she stood watching. Susie fell right into Ruth's body while Ruth went to heaven. They both finally get what they wanted, in the little time the have they see and do everything they couldn't do where they were.  And when that time ends and Susie returns to heaven ,she lets go of earth.  And her family is able to move on. Susie realized, letting go is sometimes easier than holding on. Her sister can now move on with her husband and baby.  Her mother now returns home to her family who will reminder of her beautiful daughter.  And her brother now understand what the word “gone” means.  And Susie can now move on from her grieving ,from her death.  My favorite quote from the book is “Don’t worry Susie ; he has a nice life.  He’s trapped in the perfect world.”  liked this quote because it ties into Susie life ,and afterlife so well, it helps her let go.  The quote helps her understand ,and be okay with letting go of earth and her family.  The things in her perfect world she can't have.  Anyone looking for a book that can make you so happy and sad at the same time will love this book.  This book has a great message sent in it.   

Contributed by: Shale Kennedy

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hunger (Gone series)

Hunger (Gone)
Title: “Hunger"
Author: Michael Grant
Pages: 608
Genre: Dystopic
Rating: 4/5 stars

Hunger Review
“Hunger” is the second book in the riveting Gone series written by Michael Grant. This book is a fantastical combination of mystery, drama, and all things sci-fi. This dystopian novel takes place in a small beach town, in southern Alabama. Perdido Beach is the perfect setting for this book because they are on this tiny peninsula, so it makes you feel like they’re really trapped within the barrier. Sam Temple, a 15 year old boy, is left to run a town full of kids. He’s the appointed mayor of the small town, and he has to find a way to stop the mutations of animals, keep the normal kids from rebelling, and make sure no one starves. Caine, on the other hand, only has one mission, and it’s to stop his twin brother, Sam. He runs the group of muties (mutants) at Coates, the elite private school for juveniles. Between his controlling temper and his fascination with the Gaiaphage (the reason they all have mutations) , he has little time to think about  ruling the other kids.

When all the food has gone to waste, Sam, asks a group of kids to ride with him up to the cabbage patch to collect more food. While they are up there, a kid called E.Z. picks up a head of cabbage and is devoured by “zekes”, which are man-eating worms. Now Sam has to worry about these creatures killing his kids  and his veggie crop. Meanwhile, back in Perdido Beach, Hunter, a mutie, has killed another kid by accident, when his main target was Zil,a normal. Now Zil has created the Human Crew, who will kill and mutilate any mutie that steps in their way. Meanwhile, Caine has woken up from his 3 month coma and is ready to destroy Sam. He takes over the power plant with Drake”Whip Hand”, Diana, and Computer Jack. While Caine is trying to break open the heavy door, a brave girl named Britney, has a gun locked and loaded for the intruders. Caine finally breaks through and Drake wrecks the girls to pieces yet, Jack keeps on working to get the power shut down in Perdido Beach. While this is happening, Edilio and Lana go to the mine to blow up the Gaiaphage. But the Gaiaphage has a different plan for her. He possess the healer and she goes and shoots Edilio and then, with some control, walks back into the mine and attempts to blow it up. Sam has gone up to the power plant to where he is met with Drake. Drake beats him to a tiny pulp and Orc shows up, a half rock, half human mutant, and kills Drake. Orc then picks up Sam and takes Caine also to the mine. Caine, Orc, and Sam come upon the mine and there they find Duck, who can suck things into oblivion. Caine and Duck go into the mine and find Lana. In order to stop the Darkness, Caine throws Duck at the Gaiaphage, which pushes it deeper into the barrier, but kills Duck in the process. Lana is snapped out of her daze and heals Sam and Edilio and then they all go home to hope to survive another day. In the cliffhanger of the book, you realize the girl that was beat by Drake, Britney, is still alive. The normals hate the muties, so they lead other kids in thinking because they are different, they are bad. Some kids still think that the muties are okay, but with all the events that are occurring, they are going to need more convincing. Sam’s friend, Quinn, is often ridiculed by the normals for being friends with muties, but he realizes that if the the normals want to kill the muties, they are not better than the mutants.

I liked the book because it was and wasn’t like The Hunger Games. I liked that it’s still about kids fending for their lives because it shows that sometimes they may seem tough on the outside, but on the inside they are all scared kids. For example, after their meet at the power plant, Sam goes home and breaks down crying because he is just a kid and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. This showed that they are all terrified of the environment they live in. Even though the book is 590 pages, you get immediately sucked into this mysterious world.(I) I would recommend this book to anyone that is 6th grade and up. If you like The Hunger Games or Divergent, you are sure to this fantastical spin on the genre.

Contributed by Elise Hillebrand

Friday, November 4, 2016

Deep and Dark and Dangerous Review

Title: Deep and Dark and Dangerous
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Pages: 192
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 5/5 stars
Deep and Dark and Dangerous

The story is set in modern time, and takes place at Ali’s family vacation house that’s on a lake in Maine. Ali tries to ignore this mean girl named Sissy which happens at the lake house when . Ali’s Aunt Dulcie takes Ali and Emma, Ali’s little cousin, to the lake house for the summer.
At the very beginning of the book, Ali’s mom, Claire, does not want her to go out to the house with her aunt and cousin. But, after a while of begging and nagging, her mom finally gives in. One day while Emma and Ali are playing on the shore of the lake, they meet this girl named Sissy. Emma loves Sissy and does whatever she tells her to do, but on the other hand Ali hates her. Sissy is really secretive, and never talks about her backstory. Sissy talks about this girl named Teresa who drowned in the lake when Ali’s mom was a kid. In the climax of the book, Ali and Emma find out that Sissy is actually Teresa, but as a ghost. Sissy also takes Ali and Emma out on the lake on a canoe, and Emma almost drowns. Later, Dulcie tells the truth to Ali about how Teresa drowned. Dulcie, Clare, and Teresa all went out on a canoe. Dulcie through this doll off the canoe, and Teresa really wanted it, so she jumped off and went after it. When Teresa jumped off, that causes the canoe to tip. Dulcie grabbed Claire and hung on to the canoe with her, meanwhile Teresa swam for that doll and just drowned. Her bones were never found. In the very end, Sissy tells Emma and Ali where her bones were, so they told people to go down and get them and sure enough, her bones were there. They had a funeral for Sissy.
I think the theme of this book is get to know both sides of the story before you make your opinion. This is a possible theme because throughout the whole book, Sissy hated Claire and Dulcie because she thought they just left her in the lake the die. This was not true at all, Sissy only thought this because she never heard the other side of the story. Also, Dulcie got mad at Ali because Emma said Ali called her names, which wasn’t true. If Dulcie heard what Ali had to say, then she wouldn’t have got all mad.
I love this book so much because it is so suspenseful. It kept me on the edge of my seat every time I turned the page. The only thing I don't like is the way that Sissy influences Emma to do bad things. It made me really upset when Emma turned into a brat. Anyone who loves mysteries and ghost stories should definitely read this book. This book has a really good, unpredictable plot twist.

Contributed by Zach Hearst