Category Archives: Student Review

Student Review by Alex H.: Prodigy by Marie Lu

ProdigyTitle: Prodigy

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Legend #2

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Published: January 29, 2013

Alex’s Summary: Marie Lu has the two characters, June and Day, working alongside each other to rescue his captured brother. Just a while back his mother had just been killed by the Republic as a way to capture him. This was before June would decide to go on Day’s side. With Day captured June thinks everything is done yet the truth behind the Republic begins to unravel and she goes against everything to join Day’s side. Now traveling in Las Vegas on the run, they will join the Patriot rebels and attempt to save Day’s brother and reunite the country that once was. But the unthinkable happens, the Elector Primo dies and his successor will spell disaster if nothing is done to suppress the chaos that follows. With a compelling story just like its predecessor, Prodigy will immerse you into a story that is filled with mystery, suspense, thrills, and love.

Alex’s Review: After reading Legend, the open ending at the end of the book just compelled me to want to read the sequel. I wanted all the questions to be answered, what would happen after everything that has happened? Who would die and who would live? The questions just kept coming but because of all those questions, I congratulate Marie Lu. She has written a story so compelling that you won’t want to put it down. Everything about it just makes the book readable. I love the way she uses the questions that readers might possess at that time and answer them in a variety of ways. Ways that may surprise the reader. The way the events play out is easy to follow and I was left with little questions about why this happened or why this character did this. There is nothing I can say about the book and Marie Lu that I would have changed. It’s just that good. It keeps you on your heels, holding a mystery around every corner and the suspense forces you to keep going. The 3rd and final book of this series, Champion, will have me itching for what Marie Lu has in store for the epic finale. I would love to see a country unified now into one country. I would love to see her continue using the format she’s been using to keep me reading the books and always wanting more. I want the ending to be something worth remembering as the series comes to an epic closing. 

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Student Review by Alex H.: Legend by Marie Lu

LegendTitle: Legend

Series: Legend #1

Author: Marie Lu

Published: November 29, 2011

Alex’s Summary: Legend. Bringing together all that a person knows of the United States and flip-flopping it turning the goodness we call home into ravaged countries called the Republic and the Colonies respectively. These two countries used to be together, bound by the people, the United States of America. I guess you can say it’s another Civil War. Set in Los Angeles, California, Legend brings together two opposite beings from two separate worlds. One whom we call June, lives in a luxurious apartment with her brother Metias in a more up kept part of Los Angeles. Taking a trip to the outskirts where the upkeep is not as sustained, people live in shabby yet livable houses. This is where Day comes in, a wanted criminal even though he is supposedly dead. Helping his family get through harsh times he lives and sleeps in falling apart buildings that are a result of the flooding while taking of a girl named Tess. Keeping you on your heels, Day soon meets June in unimaginable circumstances. But when Junes meets him, everything she’s ever been taught to do and learned about the Republic changes, as it twists and turns to create a story that’s filled with thrills, chills, love, and suspense.

Alex’s Review: The twists and turns is what caused me to love this book and its sequel, Prodigy. After reading it I feel very alive. My adrenaline kicks in as a part of this story begins to get suspenseful and thrilling. Add in all the action and it keeps you on your toes. Not knowing what’s to come you just want to keep reading to uncover that mystery. But uncovering it leads to more questions and that’s what drove me to keep reading Legend. It brings together everything that a person can love. The action, the love story, and the unpredictable storyline ties it all together to bring a story and book worth reading over and over again. After reading, I felt as if I was satisfied with all that Marie Lu had written. I wish I could say that there were “errors” in the book but from what I read, the book just seemed to keep me going with little questioning about why this happened, where this character came from, etc. I would love to go really in depth about what this is all about but that’s just going to spoil it for you. I’ll let you know that if you do read this book, go and read Prodigy too! You’ll love both books.

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Student Review by Mackenzie S.: Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Prozac NationTitle: Prozac Nation: Young & Depressed in America

Author: Elizabeth Wurtzel

Publisher: Quartet Books

Published: 1995

Summary: Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel is a memoir about Wurtzel’s battle with atypical depression. Wurtzel writes about her life as a child with divorced parents, her life as a Harvard student, and the many events that happen between those periods in her life. Wurtzel discusses how it feels to have depression and the constant experimenting she had to go to find just the right antidepressant that gave her a fighting chance in the world. Because of Wurtzel’s depression, she was constantly trying to find happiness when the therapy, hospital stays, and pills wouldn’t help her enough. She tried moving to new places, experimenting with illegal drugs, and dating different guys. Prozac Nation gives tells a great story of a Wurtzel’s continual struggle to find happiness in a world that seemed very dark to her.

Mackenzie’s Review: Prozac Nation was a very interesting book to read. I usually read fiction so this was a very different for me. It was a real-life story and didn’t have quite the suspense and climax to it, but it did pull me in and make me want to continue reading. Before reading this book, I read many reviews online and people complained about how whinny Wurtzel sounded; and yes, I must admit, Wurtzel was constantly complaining but I think she gave a true and honest perspective on how depression feels. People can’t expect to read this book and have it be uplifting because Wurtzel is honest in telling her readers how it feels to have a mental disorder. She doesn’t sugarcoat it. Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is how she writes. Her vocabulary is extensive and her metaphors and similes really make the reader understand how she felt at the time of the event. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great memoir to read. I would also recommend getting the book that has the Wurtzel’s note that she wrote a year after the original book was published. In her note, she tells about why she wrote Prozac Nation and she answers many of the frequent questions she was asked, which is really interesting to read.

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Student Review by Ashley M.: Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

PathfinderTitle: Pathfinder

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: 2010

Series: #1 Pathfinder Series

Interest: Science Fiction

Summary: Rigg has a special talent; he can see the paths of where everyone has been throughout history. His whole life he uses this power simply to track down small animals to trap, this was how he and his father made their living. When Rigg’s father dies leaving him alone in the world with instructions for him to find his sister, someone he was unaware existed, he journeys back towards the town where an unusual and unfortunate accident occurs resulting in one boy’s death and a vengeful mob searching for him. After collecting a bagful of jewels, his inheritance, he sets off for Arissa Sesamo with Umbo in tow. Like Rigg, Umbo has a special ability. He can speed up the rate people’s minds work. Between the two of them they can travel through time. After cashing in one of the jewels it comes to light that Rigg may be the supposedly dead prince of a fallen gynarchy. He meets his sister and they are forced to flee the wallfold before one of the various political parties gets ahold of them.

Review: I love this book. I have read other books by Orson Scott Card so I was excited to get my hands on this one. The characters are well developed and you really feel for them. The technicalities of the time travel was a bit difficult to follow and kept you on your toes at Rigg and Umbo worked to figure it out themselves. There were so many twists and turns that you couldn’t have possibly expected. I was really eager to read the sequel, Ruins, too. It was not as good the first one but was an enjoyable read nonetheless.

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Student Review by Tyani J.: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson, will graysonTitle: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Author: John Green & David Levithan

Publisher: Dutton Children’s

Published: April 2010

Interests: Contemporary, realistic fiction, GLBT, humor, friendship

Summary (from Goodreads): One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Tyani’s Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson is yet another fantastic John Green novel but this time with the added bonus of being able to meet another great author David Levithan. The book is separated with every chapter switching off between authors. At first, I could not stand David Levithan’s style of writing. He does not use correct grammar, no apostrophes, no name capitalizations, and he doesn’t capitalize the beginning of his sentences. Being quite a bit of a grammar-Nazi when it comes to other people’s writing, I was ready to stop reading this book. But I sucked it up and read on; I realized how important this writing style was to create the voice for The Other Will Grayson. It not only helps clarify who is writing but I feel like it fits his personality as well.

I loved every little bit of this story. I loved the characters personalities, how the stories intertwined yet still had their own storyline, the musical songs, everything. At the end of the book, I felt like Tiny Cooper was my best friend too and even though I have no idea the tunes of the songs, I wanted to sing along. I was a bit disappointed in the end, just with some personal opinions of who should have ended up together and such, but other than that, it was grand. John Green has done it again and I look forward to reading more of David Levithan’s writings.

 

 

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Student Review by Krystal K.: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter MeTitle: Shatter Me

Author: Taherah Mafi

Publisher: Harper

Published: November 2011

Summary: In a dystopian society, Juliette has a lethal mutation that causes the life of everyone she touches to slowly be sucked from them. She never wanted to hurt anybody, in fact she tried her hardest not to but she was still out cast and eventually put into an asylum away from society. One day, she gets a roommate after 264 days of isolation. Her new roommate Adam (yes, he’s a boy) eases her into talking and interacting with humans since she’s had almost a year with absolutely nobody. After she feels a small connection with the boy, the “Reestablishment” (new dictatorship) come into her cell and transport her elsewhere. Juliette is heartbroken to figure out that Adam is part of the Reestablishment and refuses to talk. They take her to their base where Warner, the head of the Reestablishment in her sector, tries persuading her to use her power against all the people who persecuted her in life before. She refuses profusely but Warner won’t have it. He basically keeps her captive until he’s sure he can utilize her powers. After a while, Adam finally shows Juliette that he only joined the Reestablishment so that he could be with the girl who always took the blame for everything and always took the insults without so much as talking back(so Juliette). Warner admits his twisted love for Juliette, but since she is in love with Adam she refuses him to which he laughs off and says she’ll come around. Adam and Juliette escape, but the Reestablishment is everywhere. They will be found.

Krystal’s Review: I personally liked this book since it is mostly action filled, although I wasn’t too crazy about the hookup sessions between Adam and Juliette since it was just awkward to read, especially when my mom or brother walked in. Avid readers of Dystopian style books like The Hunger Games, Dustlands series and Fallen series may like this book. The twist at the end was just, wow. For the next book in the series: Unravel Me I am hoping for either Adam or Warner to die (not to sound like a terrible person but I’m a sucker for a tragedy) because if Adam dies then Juliette would have only her new Resistance family to lean back on, without the love of her life and would have to raise Adam’s little brother which would be a constant reminder of the love she lost; However if Warner dies then there won’t be a Reestablishment leader so hellbent on having Juliette. Also, because Warner and Adam are the only people who can touch Juliette without any negative repercussions. I would also look forward to the Resistance winning the war against the Reestablishment just because I don’t really like long series. 1-4 books is usually about my limit, even if it is as engaging and fun to read as this one was. In conclusion, I recommend this book because I couldn’t put it down, I had to finish the night I got it and it has action, drama and romance which are the three major genres (minus horror) that make this an intense read.

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Student Review by Tyani J.: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper TownsTitle: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published: 2008

Summary from Goodreads:

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life – dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues – and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

Tyani’s Review: 

Oh, John Green how you never cease to amaze me. Paper Towns has once again, exceeded my expectations. Not only is it beautifully written, like every other John Green book, but it is able to entice you and masterfully reel you into the adventure that Quentin experiences throughout. You are right there next to him from the beginning adventure with Margo and all the adventures that he has. One of the main things I liked about the book is the overlying idea that even though people seem to be one person, on the inside they could be someone completely different. “Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are… People are different when you can smell them and see them up close…”  Throughout the whole story, Quentin believes he is in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman, the most popular, most beautiful girl, with the perfect life, but as he goes on, he realizes that the Margo Roth he fell in love with really isn’t the Real Margo Roth. I think that this book was written so perfectly, in a way that almost every person can relate to because no matter how hard we try, we don’t always let people see the real us.

The book keeps you on the edge of your seat just waiting to see what will happen next.

At times I just wanted to flip to the end of the book to see how it ended because I couldn’t take the suspense. Paper Towns is simply another masterpiece beautifully written by John Green.

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Student Review by Colin P.: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry FinnTitle: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Author:  Mark Twain

Summary: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is a classic novel following the journey of Huck Finn as he escapes from his drunkard of a father and his overprotective caretaker Miss Watson with Miss Watson’s runaway slave Jim.

Colin’s Review: I really enjoyed the comedy of Huck and his buddies who have very low IQ’s. Especially two slimy men that Huck meets who introduce themselves as royalty that had their thrones unrightfully taken from them. I also liked the moral of the story. Huck helps a runaway slave escape to freedom even though he is from a racist time period from a dominantly racist state of Missouri. It was a very tough decision that many people of the time would’ve struggled with. Huck would’ve struggled with it much more if he had to smarts to fully grasp the situation. But the stupidity of all of the characters is what makes it such a good read.

I had no problems with the plotline itself except for a few parts seeming a little ridiculous. However, the version on the “Bookshelves of Room 918” was a classic retelling. According to the people who wrote the version I read, classic retelling means dumbed down so much that a second grader could read it with ease. This book had annotations at the bottom of the page telling you what the word speculating means. And the worst part is when you see one of those you almost feel obligated to look at the definition because you think it might be important. If you were to read this, I would recommend the original version. Other than that, I have no grievances with this classic novel.

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Student Review by Courtney G.: Ransom My Heart by Author: Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia (With help from Meg Cabot)

Ransom My Heart Title: Ransom My Heart
Author:  Mia Thermopolis & Meg Cabot

Published: 2009

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Interests: love, marriage, heroine

Summary: The lovely, fair Finnula Crais is the youngest lass of six sisters and one brother; also the most prone to trouble. She prefers breeches over dresses and can outhunt any and all men in the land. But what happens when she has to hunt for a man? A man who has riches to bless upon her sister. Never shy from a challenge, she starts out, only to find Lord Hugo Fitzstephen; earl and master of the land she lives in. Coming back from the Holy Wars, Lord Hugo is surprised by the fair Finn in her breeches and hair. Caught by her snares, they start on an adventure that neither of them will forget as love crosses their path while evil crosses the land. Attempted murders, claims of betrayal, and a bond of love that is unbreakable, lead this tale to an ending that no one could see coming.

Courtney’s Review: Hurrah for Princess Mia! When I saw her, Ransom My Heart, for the first time last year, I knewI HAD to read it. I’ve read mainly historical romances, so when I read this one I was surprised at how much effort she put into this book. The Fair Finn is what I think every girl wants to be: an excellent marksman, daring, adventurous, a great cook, and up for just about anything. In England 1291, it was a taboo to wear breeches, of which she did anyways. I liked how Lord Hugo is also a very distinguished part of her society, but she doesn’t know until she returns home after a series of romantic exchanges and the idea of Brother Robert beating the crap out of him. I didn’t know that there could be so many challenges in life that lead to betrayal later  that would bring them, ultimately, closer.

I can’t really describe what I don’t like about this book. It is one of my favorite reads, but if I had to choose something to nag the sweet Princess Mia about, it would be that everyone seems to seem just a tad bit too innocent. Maybe roughen some of the characters up just a little would help keep people guessing of who-did-what.

This book is one that I keep under my headboard so it’s within reach for me to read at any time. Ransom My Heart  captivates you and makes you cheer for Fair Finn and Lord Hugo to make it through to the end. It is definitely a book worth writing a sequel to. I mean, what happens after the Fair Finn is done embroidering and draws her knife again?

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Student Review by Tyani J.: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

DeliriumTitle: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: February 2012

Series: Delirium #1

Interest: dystopia, love

Tyani’s Summary: Lena anxiously awaits her 18th birthday when she will receive the government mandated cure for one of the deadliest infections known to man; Love. She looks forward to her picture-perfect life until 3 months before her birthday when she falls in love. She soon realizes that love won’t kill her but not having it just might.

Tyani’s Review: Delirium  was absolutely phenomenal. Lately I’ve been into the “dystopian society” kind of books like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Matched, and Uglies, but Delirium was definitely one of the best I’ve read so far. I have to admit, at first the idea of a society without love kind of angered me, I didn’t understand why love was so dangerous, but that is the whole point of Oliver’s book. Lena has the same discernment that love is not a disease. I loved how well put together Lauren Oliver’s society was. It was very well thought out, with rules and regulations from “The Book of Shhh” put at the beginning of each chapter. It allows the reader to be fully immersed into the book as if you were really a citizen of this fictional society.  Her descriptions and metaphors are very intricately thought out and masterfully written. One of my personal favorites was when she first sees Alex and she describes her vision as if Lena was looking through the lens of her camera.

There were just a couple things I didn’t quite enjoy about the book, starting with the fact that you don’t really get to connect with any other characters besides the main character Lena. As you read the book, you are following the story of this young girl Lena but Lauren Oliver fails to go more in depth about really any other characters. I wish I could have gotten to know both Alex and her best friend Hannah better and I’m hoping to do so in the sequel Pandemonium. There were also a few other parts including kissing, hugging and other violence between Lena and Alex, but most scenes shared between both characters are relatively short considering their relationship is forbidden.

Delirium is ended with one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever read. Not “worst” as in badly written, but “worst” in the sense that I cannot wait to read the sequel Pandemonium. I’m excited to see how her relationship with Alex continues and how Lena will have the opportunity to develop into her “true self”. Also, there were many decisions left without knowing the consequence so I’m excited to see the outcome of those.

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