Category Archives: Student Review

Student Review by Tyani J.: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsTitle: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books

Published: June 12, 2012

 

Summary (from Goodreads): Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind
Tyani’s Review: John Green; I’ve reviewed nearly all of his books but I don’t think any combination of the 26 letters in the alphabet can come close to describing how perfect this book was. TFIOS was the first John Green book I had the pleasure to read; I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. This book will take your emotions for a ride that is most definitely not a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend. If you have read Looking for Alaska, that one smashed your heart into a bajillion pieces, but TFIOS will take those pieces, set them ablaze, and feed the ashes to the wind. It is a book full of pain and hope and it is honestly one of the best books I have ever read. The character development is beautifully planned out so that by the end of the book, you feel as though you were right there with Hazel and Augustus as they went on their adventure. John Green has created another masterpiece that is definitely worth the tears.

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Student Review by Tyani J.: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a WallflowerTitle: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books
Published: 1999
Summary (from Goodreads): Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Tyani’s Review: Relatable. If I had to sum up this book in one word, that would be it. I have never been able to relate so deeply to any other book than I have to this one. And that says something, considering I get emotionally attached to every single character in all the books I read. I don’t know Chbosky’s life, I don’t know what he has gone through to make him write out my life story in 213 pages, but he managed to do just that. He was able to make Charlie such a relatable character by writing the truth of what happens in high school, without sugarcoating anything. He wrote a story for the underdogs, the teenagers that everyone fails to remember. The events and the feelings that go on in Charlie’s life are so real, that in one way or another everyone can relate to them. This book managed to make me feel like I wasn’t alone in the things I’m going through, even though Charlie is a fictional character. It probably wasn’t the most well written story, but written as it was from the perspective of a freshman boy, it was a masterpiece.

 

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Student Review by Jordan S.: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

Pillars of the EarthTitle: Pillars of the Earth
Author: Ken Follet
Publisher: NAL Trade

Published: 2002

Summary (from Goodreads): As a new age dawns in England’s twelfth century, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal. It is in this rich tapestry, where kings and queens are corrupt – and one majestic creation will bond them forever.

Jordan’s Review: The book Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, is definitely not a book for everyone. It is set in the 1100s and follows the family of Tom Builder. They must roam around England, trying to find work for Tom and his son Alfred while also trying to feed his pregnant wife Agnes and their daughter Martha. While this book seems to be very historically accurate, some parts can be extremely dry, especially when the author deviates from the plot and explains a historical event that took place at the time, or when he explains about something pertaining to the time period. I enjoyed learning more about how it was like then and the conditions people had to deal with. It was definitely easy to see how people could become corrupt and immoral even in a world where religion was the most important thing. The characters have to deal with making decisions that can affect everyone, even if it’s the right thing, but more often than not the wrong thing. The author shows how family values do not always apply, and one must do things that make them happy, though they may be selfish.

I can say that I did enjoy this book, but it was very difficult for me to get through. The author was able to expand the plot and draw it out over a very long period of time, and this was good for explaining everything that was happening to each character (there were quite a few characters that had stuff going on), but this also confused me in some parts. In order to really understand what was going on, I had to read slowly and make sense of it all before I moved on. There were some dynamics of the book, that were only confusing because they do not apply to the world now, that I had to figure out because they were unknown to me until that point. Another thing that may be a problem about the book is that it’s very disturbing in some parts. If you don’t like books that deal with graphic things, then you shouldn’t read it. At the end of the book I felt like I had accomplished something because of the length and also because Follett was able to wrap up the plot very well. Almost every single one of my questions was answered, and I knew what happened to all the characters and where they ended up in the future.

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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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