Friday, May 26, 2017

Surviving the Applewhites Review

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Title: Surviving the Applewhites
Author: Stephanie S.Tolan
Pages: 216
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Awards: Newbery Medal

Throughout the book ‘Surviving the Applewhites,I had a great journey being with the protagonist, Jake,  and seeing  him  evolve from evil to good in this realistic fiction,but since I’m done with the book I actually feel relieved.It was a good story but I just couldn’t relate to any characters. I guess I’m biased toward my life but that's beside the point.

Starting from the beginning , the main protagonist is Jake. Not much is said about his past other than his parents went to jail he burned down down his school on purpose.Or did he? But back on topic that’s all that’s said about his backstory and it left me craving for more.

The main story was great though. The characters had relationship you cared for ,but even though the Applewhites seemed like the same person with different interest they all had unique characteristics which make this book a great realistic fiction. All except for one. ED Applewhite, who is a strict girl who says she isn’t as creative as the Applewhites. But no matter how much he bothers her, she still treats Jake like a brother.And even though I couldn’t relate to the play, I could relate to the preparation and the behind the scenes they use to make their barn into a surprisingly successful theatre.

So the worst thing about this book was at most times it was just plain boring for me to read.These sections seemed to take up a quarter of the book and were very unnecessary.Maybe these parts were supposed to represent the book’s theme family  “The kid (Destiny) had began explaining to anyone who would listen that Jake was the ‘bestest brother in the whole wide world”. Or the other theme friendship”He had gone out to the woods ,Winston (The Applewhites’ dog) tagging along loyally”.

Which I would understand why they added it but they could’ve had the same affect on me without them. But in the end I enjoyed the book with all the excessive details and plot holes. I’d rate this book 3.5/5 stars. Really well written but not relatable to me. I would definitely recommend this to a friend.That is my opinion on Surviving the Applewhites.

Contribution by:  Dontrell Thomas

Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Reading Programs!

Hey readers!  Summer is here (thankfully), and now is a great time to get signed up for the summer reading program in your area.  There are free summer reading programs offered through the City of St. Louis library system, the St. Louis County library system, and the St. Charles City-County Library district.

Happy reading!

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Friday, May 19, 2017

“Racing in the Rain; My Life as a Dog

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Title: Racing in the Rain; My Life as a Dog
Author: Garth Stein
Pages: 304 paperback
Genre: Realistic-Fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Racing in the Rain; My Life as a Dog” is a realistic fiction novel that is influenced by family, since the story revolves around a man’s broken family. The book takes place in an urban city during the lifetime of a dog named Enzo. This only allows him freedom in his owner’s apartment, and he has to do everyday things just like a normal dog has to do. The main protagonist is Enzo’s owner, a very skilled racer named Denny. Denny must face family hardships, bankruptcy, along with deaths of loved ones. Someone that he loved very much was his wife, Eve, who dies due to cancer. In the exposition Denny falls in love with Eve, and they have a child named ZoĆ«. Since he is a racer, and his only way to get income are tournaments, he is constantly away from his family, even when Eve passes away. Because of this, Eve’s parents sue Denny for being a bad parent. Denny tries to find a lawyer, but uses all his money doing so. On the verge of bankruptcy, he loses all hope. The parents, Max and Trish, see the wrong they are doing to Denny, and realize that keeping a father and daughter apart is terrible. They call the trial off. A theme of this book is “family is the most important, no matter the cost.” This is from Denny’s perseverance and risking his money and job to get a lawyer, just to be with his daughter again. I love the point- of-view the author decides to use. Enzo. Since he is a dog, people talk near him without knowing he can interpret what they are saying. Like a fly on the wall. This is a tale of sadness and breaking through, finding hope and changing a family forever. Any fan of “The Fault in Our Stars” would love this book. Even so, I recommend it to everyone.

Contributed by: Kevin Tan, aka K-Tan

Friday, May 12, 2017


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Title: Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Adventure
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Mosquitoland” by David Arnold is an adventurous and passionate book filled with mystery. It takes place all across America, (she’s on a road trip) in 2016. The protagonist, Mary Malone, found out her mother was very sick. She decided to run away and search for  her mother. She gets into a little trouble on her run away to Cincinnati. Poncho Man, as Mary calls him, is on her bus. They stop for food, and Mary needs to use the restroom, but she gets followed in. Poncho Man follows her in and rapes her., Mary throws up on him and runs out. She decided not to press charges, as for she just wants to find her mom. Mary has a hard time after this, for example finding out her mother is very ill, getting raped, but the cherry to her sundae is getting into a bus crash and losing her friend. After she loses her friend Mary decides she has a new mission, finding Arlean’s brother (Arlean was Mary’s friend who was killed). Instead of getting on her next bus she runs to a nearby town, supposedly Arlean’s brother is working at a gas station there. After a couple nights under a bridge Mary meets a friend, who said he will help her find Arlean’s brother. Will Mary go look for mother or Arlean’s brother? The theme of my book is growing up. It’s about being on your own, making your own choices, and living life for you. My favorite part of this book is the adventure Mary takes to find her mother. She learns so many new life skills that help her. My least favorite part was when she got raped, no one deserves to be treated like that. Poncho man was a disgusting man, he haunted Mary three times later on in the book. I recommend this book for people who like adventure, passion, and mystery all in one. I also recommend it for kids ages 12 and up. It taught me a lot of good things for my future. I give Mosquitoland four stars , because at some points it was hard to follow, other than that it was really good. Mosquitoland by David Arnold inspired me to do better in the world.  

Contributed by: Laura Swanson

Friday, May 5, 2017

Earth Unaware Review

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Title: Earth Unaware
Author: Orson Scott Card
Pages: 368
Genre: Sci -Fi
Ratings: 3/5 stars
Earth Unaware, The first Formic War” is science fiction because it takes place in a futuristic world where half the human population is born and spends their life on spaceships. Many of these ships spend long and uneventful months docked onto asteroids mining them for their resources. On board El Cavador, a mining spaceship, lives a teenage boy named Victor. Though he is only a teenager, the crew looks to him as their best engineer and a great leader. Throughout the novel, Victor is continuously put into dangerous situations and forced to make difficult choices that will permanently affect his life.
One day while Edimar, Victor's cousin, is on watch, she spots an unknown spaceships traveling at a speed no human technology could possibly reach. This sends a wave of panic throughout the ship, putting the ship's council in a awkward situation. They decided that the ship would stay put, but little did they know about another rising conflict. On board the Marhku, Lem Jukes and the crew have been looking for a space to test their “glaser.” Lem Jukes and his crew come up with a plan to get El Cavador off of the asteroid belt. During the raid the Marhku accidently kills Victor’s uncle and disables the ship’s power and communication. It is now Victor’s responsibility to get the ship running, so they can reach the Italian ships. Victor is now realizing that he is going ot have to become leader in order to save himself and the rest of the world. When they see the damage the alien ships have done, Victor volunteers himself to go on a seven month journey to Luna. All along, Victor is making choices and risking his life for the good of other people. Even in some of the most dangerous situations he continues to help as many people as he can. Helping people no matter the situation will lead to better things for yourself. This is a theme of this book because Victor continuously helps people out, and he ends up on Earth with a better life. He is locked up on a tiny ship for seven months just to warn the planet about the aliens coming. He could have easily been killed, but he persevered because he knew the world needed to know the aliens were coming.
I both like and disliked this book at times. I thought that it was slow and boring at times. Something I did like was the main character, Victor. In many ways he was similar to Ender Wiggin, who I really liked. Another thing I found interesting was how the author made three completely different perspectives and then he brought them all together. In many ways it was like Ender’s’ Game, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction, and anyone who like Ender's Game would enjoy this book.

Contributed by: Nick Steibler