Friday, June 30, 2017

Variant Review

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Title: Variant
Author: Robin Wells
Pages: 384 first edition hardback
Genre: Sci-Fiction
Ratings: 4/5 stars

This book takes place in Maxfield Academy. Maxfield is a private school, isolated in the mountains. But it is completely different than how you expect. The students have absolutely no contact with the outside world, including the fact that they have no calendars.  Also the school is surrounded by a 12-foot wall, and beyond that a 12-foot fence. This adds to the creepy feeling of the school, and it sets up for most of the plot.

Benson Fisher is a new student at the school, and he soon finds Maxfield has many secrets. One of the main ones: There is no escape. Benson soon becomes determined to find out all of the school’s secrets, and this annoys many of the students including his roommate and friend, Mason. Now as Benson finds out more and more about the school, he distances himself from his friends more and more. Suddenly his girlfriend, Jane, is killed by another student at the school, which shows him the biggest secret of the entire school. One that nobody else knows. So now Benson must find proof to show all the other gangs the big secret. Once he does, a big group of 35 try to escape. But only 2 survive.

What I really liked about the book was just the overall writing of it . In that I mean that I love how all the subplots tie together, and that the characters are written so that you can never really trust anyone at anytime. This ties into the Theme. A possible theme I thought of for the book is : “Don’t trust unknowingly, because things can be different than they appear. But something I didn’t like about the book was that it is rather cliche. Even though all the plot twists were pretty original, you can pretty well predict when they are coming.

Contributed by Bernice Trapp

Friday, June 23, 2017

Surviving the Applewhites Review

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Title: Surviving the Applewhites
Author: Stephanie S.Tolan
Pages: 240 paperback
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Award: New York Bestseller

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 Applewhite family's 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."

Contributed by Dontrell Thomas

Friday, June 16, 2017

“Racing in the Rain; My Life as a Dog Review

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Title: “Racing in the Rain; My Life as a Dog”
Author: Garth Stein
Pages: 304 paperback
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Rating: 4/5 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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Earth Unaware Review

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Title: Earth Unaware, The First Formic War
Author: Orson Scott Card
Pages: 352 (hard cover)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: 3/5 stars

This book 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 accidentally 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 to 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 Stiebler

Friday, June 2, 2017


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Title: Stained
Author: Cheryl Rainfield
Pages: 304
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4/5 stars

This book is a jaw dropping mixture of mystery, heroism, friendship, and faith because Sarah Meadows is forced to discover things about herself she never knew. The action in this book mostly takes place in this strange house/room that Sarah cannot see because she is blindfolded. The setting affects the story because it makes it more mysterious and it makes the reader curious about where she is reading. Sarah Meadows was born with a port-wine stain on her face. She is kidnapped on her way home one day. Her main conflict is trying to escape the prison room/house she is being kept at. Nick, is Sarah’s friend from school. They are both outsiders. As the chapters rotate perspective, the author shows us how much Nick really cares for Sarah.

Sarah Meadows was walking home from school one day, when Brian, Mr. Meadows’ co-worker, kidnaps Sarah. Sarah is blindfolded and has no idea where she was taken to. Is at a house? Or just a room with no bathroom or bed? She only has 4 senses to find out. Brian keeps Sarah there for a long time. She misses her family and has to find a way to escape. As time passes by, Sarah is getting used to living there even though she is still blindfolded, starving, and dirty. Meanwhile, Nick is trying everything he can to get Sarah back. Will he rescue her? Will Brian kill Sarah? Read the book to find out.

The theme of this book is courage, hope, and love. I know this because Sarah has to find the courage she never knew she had to stand up for herself towards Brian. Even though Sarah think of giving up, she never gives up hope. Neither does Nick. Everyday Nick has hope Sarah will come back or that he will find her. What I liked about this book was that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I liked the fact that my heart was beating really fast as I was reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. What I didn't like was that some things Sarah said was always talking about what it would be like if she escaped towards the middle of the book, and that got a little annoying. I would recommend this book to almost everyone above the age 13. Boy or girl. At first it might seem a little scary and harsh, but after all you will LOVE this book.  

By: Lili Toledano