Friday, December 30, 2016


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Title: Extras
Author: Scott Westerfield
Pages: 417
Genre: Sci-Fiction, Action
Ratings: 4/5
This book is a fantastic mix of action and Sci-Fi because it takes place in a futuristic, utopian society in Japan. In this city, all currency is based on face-rank, or how famous you are. This scale ranges from #1 most famous person in the city to the one millionth most popular person in the city.

It all starts with Aya Fuse, just a small, insignificant Extra. Aya has been doing everything she can to try to become famous like her brother, Hiro. (He just so happens to be one of the most famous people in the city.) She has kicked (posted) more stories than she can count, but she’s always just been an Extra. Then she finds out about the Sly-Girls, a group of people dedicated to staying off the radar. They go against everything society has taught them and try as hard as they can to be no-bodies. Aya has caught them riding the Mag-Lev trains, (super fast transport trains) and she believes that once she kicks this story, she may just become famous, or at least she won’t be an Extra anymore. However, while infiltrating their ranks and posing as one of them, and trying to get important videos, she stumbles on something far bigger than a few girls riding on top of trains. She finds these creatures that look inhuman, and what she thinks is a “World Killer.” While riding on top of one of the trains, it takes an unexpected stop inside a mountain. Her and a fellow Sly Girl, Lai, hop off the train in search of why they were stopped. What they find is of course a mountain, but it’s hollowed out. They realize it is storing something, what they think is an enormous “World Killer” which they fear will be used to destroy cities one by one.

After a few months of working undercover, she finally gets enough shots to kick her story. With the help of her brother Hiro, they both believe that this story will sail through the roof! However, on the night of the big reveal, there is something wrong. None of their feeds are working and she can’t post her story. What ends up happening is the “inhumans” find out about the story and they can’t let her kick it. She is being followed and about to be kidnapped, when a former special circumstances agent, Tally Youngblood, who happens to be the most famous person in the world, rescues her and her friends. However, they are not in the clear yet, Tally has decided to use Aya to infiltrate the inhumans base. She disguises herself and purposely gets captured. Once she gets into their base and tries to destroy it, Aya realizes something. The inhumans aren’t out to destroy the world, they are trying to save humanity. They have hollowed out the mountains to make launch pads. They think that since humanity is using all the land on the earth, they must colonize space! Aya realizes this and manages to stop Tally, with great effort. She then re-kicks her story to show how the mountains were not city-killers, and how they were actually to help humanity.

I think the theme of this book is that “fame/popularity doesn’t make a person who they are, it’s about the way they act.” I think this is the theme because Aya ends up becoming the third most popular person in the city, but in the end, she’s still just Aya. Also, her friend Lai (a sly girl) dedicated her life to staying off the radar, but when Aya kicks her story she also becomes famous, and she realizes that she doesn’t care if she’s famous or not. She’s also still just Lai.

Some things I liked about this book werewas how there was constant action and how it was never predictable. I never would have guessed that the inhumans were trying to colonize space and not trying to destroy the earth.
Some things I didn’t like about the book werewas weird slang that took made the book feel not very smooth. For example, the author would use words such as dizzy-making, which disrupted the flow of the book.

I think this book is mostly suited for people who like futuristic books and constant action, but it is also suited for both genders.

Contributed by Ethan Naughton

Friday, December 23, 2016

From Bad to Cursed

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Title: From Bad to Cursed
Author: Katie Alender
Pages: 448

Rating: 4/5 stars

The book is an outstanding mixture of Mystery, Horror, and Supernatural and takes place in modern times United States. A high schooler, Alexis Warren, is your average teenager, almost. She and her family have just recovered from the possession of her sister, Kasey, by an evil spirit. But another problem comes up for Alexis, and the choices she has to make will either save her and her friends or destroy her life.

One day when Kasey comes home from school and asks Alexis to drive her to a friend’s house, Alexis is happy at first, happy that her sister finally made friends and even started a club, The Sunshine Club. But she soon finds out that the club is not as harmless as it seems. Kasey thinks she can fix the problem on her own but Alexis and her best friend, Megan, join the club to investigate and watch over Kasey. They find out what’s really going on, the girls are all of a sudden becoming beautiful and popular, and the price is their souls. Alexis and her best friend, Megan make plans to destroy Aralt, the evil spirit that is taking over the girls’ lives. They end up accidentally giving up their own souls, and with the help of Aralt become beautiful and successful. Why were they trying to destroy someone who gives them so much and asks for so little in return? It’s not until the end that Alexis realizes that it’s not only Aralt controlling her actions but herself as well. It shows how Alexis tries to fight her inner demon, literally, and leads us to the theme of the book. In the tragedy that is Alexis’s life, she’s had to make many choices. She’s had to fight herself to do what’s right instead of what’s easy, to give in. With Aralt the easiest thing to do is to give in. Why give up fame and success and beauty to stop Aralt?. So what if the next girls Aralt will choose end up succumbing to him?, iIt’s not her problem. Instead Alexis comes to her senses and tries to stop him, even if it means risking her life. That is the theme of the book, do what’s right instead of what’s easy.

I like that the book is a Supernatural book, but twisted into the life of a teenager. Alexis was a pretty normal person, with mild behavior issues. Add some spirits and possessed girls and you get an amazing story packed with action at every turn. What I wish was different is that it was at a higher reading level. I recommend this book to anyone in 7th grade or higher. Anyone who reads it will LOVE it! It won’t let you put it down so get ready to stay up all night!

Contributed by Taymae Mimouni

Friday, December 16, 2016


Author: Louis Sachar
Pages: 233
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Awards: John Newbery medal, National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award
Rating: 5/5 stars

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The protagonist in Holes is Stanley Yelnats, he is under a curse because of his great-great grandfather, and because of this curse he is sent to a boys detention center where the kids have to dig one hole a day. The detention center is located in the desert.

Stanley is wrongly convicted of a crime and is sent to a detention center for boys. At this detention center the boys have to dig one hole a day. Stanley finds out that they are digging to find a treasure that kissing Kate Barlow (an outlaw that stole from money from different towns) buried the treasure  somewhere in the desert, and that one of the people she robbed was his great grandfather. This is where he meets this boy named Zero, and they instantly become friends because they both do not belong there. They form a bond quite quickly because they are from the same town. The kids call him Zero because he is very quiet and says zero words. But after some time, Zero runs away from camp, and inspired by Zero, Stanley runs away soon after. They soon reunite in the desert and climb a mountain to find food when they make it to the top they find onions to eat and water. They later sneak back to camp to try to find the treasure. , so they went back to hole where  they found a lipstick case with Kate Barlow's name on it buried in a hole. This is where they found the treasure, but right as they pulled it out, the head counselor caught them. After a while stuck in the hole, Zero found out that the treasure said Stanley’s name on it, and they got to go home with the treasure and the camp was shut down., Stanley and Zero split the treasure because there was a lot of it.

I think that theme is never give up. It is that because Stanley and Zero never give up trying to survive when they run away. They were going through dehydration climbing the mountain but pushed to the top. I liked the ending. I also Liked when Stanley did not fit in and was the odd man out. I also liked how where were like two parts of the story, one with him great great grandfather getting cursed and the other with Stanley. Kids/teens would like this book.

Contributed by Henry McIntosh

Friday, December 9, 2016

Title: Scorpia Rising
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Pages: 402
Genre: Action, Fiction
Awards: This author has won many awards
Rating 4/5 stars
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Scorpia rising is an action-packed adventure full of high speed chases and gunfights. Scorpia Rising is about a teenage spy named Alex rider who works for M16 or the British Intelligence Agency. He has worked for them on many occasions and is one of the most lethal spies ever! His father John Rider and uncle Ian Rider both worked for M16 but sadly they were K.I.A (killed in action). Alex’s main conflict is against Scorpia and their evil plans.  

Scorpia is a terrorist agency that is notorious for sabotage, corruption, blackmail, intelligence, killing, and of course blowing stuff up. Scorpia has been dogging Alex all of his life because on his first mission he foiled their plot to blackmail france and cost them millions of dollars! He has made Scorpia look like a fool on many occasions and now they are back for revenge. They lure M16 into a trap by sending out false evidence that leads to Cairo college, M16 is forced to use Alex who is trying to live a normal life by going to school and doing regular teenage stuff. They send Alex and Jack starbright (his nanny/mom) to Cairo undercover as a normal mom and son, so that Alex could go to the college and inspect the man of interest, Erik gunter who is supposedly undercover as a security guard. But one of Alex’s old enemies, Julius Grief, who was made to look exactly like him by his mad father has escaped from a maximum security prison and has teamed up with one of scorpia’s ringleader,Razim, to destroy Alex rider once and for all.

Alex rider and Jack starbright get captured and sent to a maximum security fort that doubles as Razim’s base and what Razim has planned for them nobody is ready for. Jack Starbright has an escape plan but it exactly what Razim wants and he tortures Alex by making him watch Julius Grief blow up the car that she is in and kill her. A rescue team soon storms the base and Alex rider escapes but he will never be the saame.In this book I like how it is written about a teenager so that I could relate to it, like having to go to school having friends, being on your phone etc. I also like how  it is unpredictable with twists and turns that I never saw coming! I would recommend this book to teens or pre teens and people who like action books.

Contributed by Emmanuel Martin

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" Book Review

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Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 636
Genre: fantasy and mystery because it has a lot to do with wizardry
~Scottish Arts Council Book Award 2001 

  • ~Children’s Book Award in 9–11 category 2001 Winner of the Hugo Award 
  • ~Whitaker’s Platinum Book Award 2001 

Ratings: 5/5 stars

Hogwarts makes it difficult for outsiders to harm students and staff inside. Harry Potter, a fourteen year old, faces the rigorous task of surviving the Triwizard Tournament (which he was entered in without consent) where wizards have died in before. He also has to look out for Voldemort, a powerful wizard who has been plotting to kill Harry since he was a baby.

Hermione and Ron (Harry’s best friends) help Harry conquer his fears. Hermione aids Harry before the first round of the Triwizard Tournament by spending a great deal of time giving him pointers with his plan. Ron, like Hermione, also helps him solve mysteries, keep him company, and support him. The story starts off when Harry is at his ignorant Aunt and Uncle Dursley’s house for the summer (as usual). He dreams of Voldemort planning to murder him as he jolts awake with his scar hurting. During the first task, Harry has to get through the guarding dragon to get to the golden egg. As time passes on, the second task arrives, and Harry saves Ron at the bottom of the lake. In addition, he saves Fleur’s sister because he doesn’t notice Fleur coming. This earns him extra points for expressing morals, tying him first with Cedric. As Harry overcome these barriers, he develops the courage he uses in the third task. In the third task, Cedric and Harry are transported to a graveyard, and they find Voldemort and Wormtail there. Cedric is killed by Wormtail as Harry and Voldemort duel. Spells are executed at the same time, causing the ghosts of the wizards Voldemort killed to come out and hold him off. As the ghosts hold him off, Harry quickly grabs the cup (portkey) and transfers back to Hogwarts for help.

At the end, Harry is announced as Triwizard Champion with a prize of a thousand Galleons. He is also invited to spend the summer holidays with the Weasleys. Friendships are the backbone of happiness and life. It is something that separates Harry from Voldemort (who are both orphans and speak Parseltongue). For the first half of Harry’s summer holiday, he was just counting and getting through each day with the Dursleys until he went to watch the Quidditch World Cup with Ron and Hermione. Those few days with his best friends made up for the happiness he missed. During the school season, Harry and Ron get into an argument for weeks after Ron doubts Harry and gets jealous over the attention that comes with being a chosen champion. During those weeks, Harry feels very lonely and sad, but he soon becomes joyous after the two friends clear things up. Harry’s friends complement his incomplete family.

I like that this book isn’t just fiction, but also mysterious. The plot is filled with suspense and action as Harry completes adventurous tasks, while spending his time finding out bits and bits of information that leads to the mystery behind the missing of Crouch and the culprit who entered him in the tournament. There were many nuances of each character that leads to suspicion. The book includes many morals as well. For example, the awareness of enslavement is raised as Hermione works on building equality between the house elves and wizards. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery packed with action. If you like a book that keeps you reading nonstop, you’ll love this book!

Contributed by Angela Liu

St. Louis County Library Winter Reading Club!

Warm Up with Reading this winter at the St. Louis County Library! This is a free winter reading club for all ages from December 1 through February 28th. Prizes are available for everyone who reads! Go to your local St. Louis County Library branch to sign up!

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