Monday, January 26, 2015

A new student review of The Bunker Diary

crabby posted a new student review of The Bunker Diary . See the full review.

Linus’ narrative makes for a gripping page-turner from the very start. The effectively crafted atmosphere of suspense is maintained throughout the novel, fearful tension saturating every page as Linus struggles to hold onto his sanity, even when his hopes are repeatedly crushed. The Lord of the Flies-esque scenario that develops within the bunker is a clever examination of the human condition, seen through the eyes of an endearing but troubled teenage boy with an authentic voice. Although, while the bunker is merely an intriguing backdrop for a primarily character-driven story, I still found myself disappointed with the lack of resolution in the plot, which was, until the end, building toward a promising climax— a climax that never really happened. The outcome of the story is implied, but the puzzle built throughout the novel is never actually solved. What was a tantalizing mystery was left disappointingly murky, the identity and motives of Linus’ kidnapper remaining unknown. Perhaps this ambiguity was a part of the message that happy endings are unrealistic, but all the loose ends could have been wrapped up much more soundly while still retaining the same impact. Buckle up for a harrowing, fascinating journey— but don’t hold your breath for an exciting conclusion.

 

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A new student review of Like Water on Stone

Star360 posted a new student review of Like Water on Stone . See the full review.

With the publishing market full of heroic World War I novels that center on England or America, I was very glad to read such a wonderful novel that told the story of the Armenians’ plight. Equally horrible to genocides like the Holocaust, it is a time period in history that deserves more exposure. Dana Walrath’s Like Water on Stone uses four perspectives to give readers a rounded view. That may seem complicated to keep up with, but each distinct voice builds upon the other to create an intricate tapestry. Shahen, Sosi, Mariam, and the eagle, Ardziv, combine vivid threads of youth, maturity, and innocence. The author’s lyrical verse is at once raw and enchanting. It expresses action, dialogue, and thoughts. While free-form, it follows a distinct pattern that binds the story together. Readers not accustomed to reading novels in verse should not give up, as it gets easier to read after a few pages. Symbolism and figurative language are used with a practiced hand, so it is not flowery or overdramatic. There is a mild fantasy element as the eagle follows the children and protects them. I found it intriguing to have a “bird’s eye view” perspective of the complex situation. Like Water on Stone provides a deeply memorable tale of family and freedom best for readers ages thirteen and up.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A new student review of The Shadow Lantern by Teresa Flavin

Ravette posted a new student review of The Shadow Lantern by Teresa Flavin. See the full review.

The amount of detail in this novel was truly astounding. I struggle to find the appropriate words to describe how the Shadowlands from the painted slides and Arcadia from The Marineer's Return to Arcadia actually combined into one "thing." More or less, it was like trying to make sense out of Wonderland. Despite that, I loved the way the story played out. Even more so, I enjoyed Marin and Angus's reappearances; which were unexpected, but pleasing all the same. An even more shocking detail was the reappearance of Lady Ishbel, who had died in the second novel after leaving the labyrinth. She had "reappeared" as a spirit that haunted Sunni for a short time before returning inside the painting. As an added bonus, there was even a little romance between Sunni and Blaise; which I thought was, for lack of a better word, adorable. All in all, I enjoyed this novel to the fullest and I highly recommend the series to anyone interested in art, magic, and adventure.

A new student review of Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer by William Summerhouse

cbill6 posted a new student review of Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer by William Summerhouse. See the full review.

 When I started this book I found it very slow and lacking action in the beginning then towards the middle I started getting sucked in and found it fast and interesting, with the outcome a total surprise. This action-packed novel is amazing when it comes to the wild exploration of epic proportions and bear/wolf things (yes they’re called bearwolves). Oh and for the answer to the question on the back cover in the publishers summary: Flimps are Flimps. Yes I believe this book is interesting, and amazing but the cover ( Don’t judge it BY  the cover) portrays Orion as a 15 year old boy who is strikingly similar looking to yes, Justin Bieber. I suggest this book to anyone who is adjusted to reading violent books, with an age limit of 12 and up.

A new student review of Autumn Falls

Peace8747 posted a new student review of Autumn Falls . See the full review.

I thought it was a very good book! I loved how it kept me reading. The reason why I kept reading was that I wanted to find out what would happen with Reenzie and Autumn. I also could relate to some of the things that happened in the book. That is always a good atribute of a book! 

A new student review of Now That You're Here

alison_S posted a new student review of Now That You're Here . See the full review.

Let's get something straight: I don't like science. Science fiction? Yes. But science class? That's a different story. Yet throughout Now That You're Here, Nichols expertly blends science fiction with, well, actual science, and I (shockingly) found myself enjoying both. Though these gems of quintessential geekiness— think quantum theory, vintage sci-fi, and classic Star Trek— imbue the novel with a (charming) nerdiness, Now That You're Here centers on relationships, more than on research or academia. The romance between Danny and Eevee, for example, motivates most of the characters' decisions, and this unexpected-yet-unforgettable courtship enhances the novel's otherwise predictable premise with a much-needed emotional subplot. But while the Danny-Eevee romance is sure to enchant any teenage girl, Danny's almost-immediate fascination with Eevee does, at times, seem calculated for swoony-ness rather than realism. Then again, I suppose the whole from-a-different-universe thing would excite my interest too.

But Now That You're Here transcends your run-of-the-mill romance novel; while I couldn't help but enjoy Danny and Eevee's storybook romance, Eevee's ever-changing relationship with herself lent the novel an element of psychological complexity not found in more superficial YA romances. Though Danny's parallel world struck me as a tad generic, I still enjoyed Now That You're Here's heartwarming character relationships and charming geekiness.

A new student review of The Prey by Andrew Fukuda

MezokaCapturer65 posted a new student review of The Prey by Andrew Fukuda. See the full review.

One of the most important things that a book needs to do is to bring the reader into the story mentally and make them really care about what happens in it.  This is especially important in a series as the book also has the job of getting the reader excited for the next book.  This book most definitely does that, for me at least.  The right word to describe this book is "intense!" I felt like I needed to rest after reading it and I became so invested in it.  I felt legitimate fear for the characters as they continually faced certain death and became exhausted from their efforts.  In this book we learn more about the bloodthirsty creatures, and also get a name for them: "duskers."  The story of these creatures and their development over the years really intrigues me.  Fukada leaves the reader wondering whether or not the story told about their origin is the truth in a plausible way, which I see as a good thing because it gets me hyped for the next book. The scene near the end, where Sissy is bitten by Ashley June, really got to me.  For me it is probably the most intense moment in the book.  Yet it also raises more questions, which I love.  How did Ashley June get out of the chamber? How did she get bitten? How was she able to get away when surrounded by duskers to have enough time to transform?  It also makes me love her character more, because she's so loyal and strong, but also has a soft side which she is able to transform into another strong point. 

Another great thing about this book was that the danger in it seemed really threatening because it shows the victims of the danger.   One of these victims was a character that the other characters had a strong relationship with.  Too often I find books in which the danger the characters are in doesn’t seem real, because every character gets out just fine.  When reading the ending to this book I became so excited my heart sped up.  I also love that the book was not overly vulgar in any way when there were plenty of opportunities to be vulgar.  It adds more emphasis on the importance of the story.  A pet peeve of mine is that some teen books think they need to be overly vulgar or sexual in order to appeal to teens, which isn’t the case.  It may be for some teens but not the kind you probably want your target audience to be.  This book is not for the faint of heart.  I would recommend it to fans of books such as The Hunger Games, or books which take place on a different version of earth.  These types of books explore threats not experienced in our current world and are able to explore these threats in a convincing way so that we can understand what the situation feels like.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A new student review of Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Lucy posted a new student review of Take Me On by Katie McGarry. See the full review.

Take Me On is a really amazing book that I would recommend for anyone who is interested in high school romances. It has some foul language, but other than that, I believe it is an amazing book. In fact, I absolutely adored the book. I plan on reading all of Katie McGarry's other books that I can find. She’s an amazing writer!

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A new student review of Running Out of Night

natblue17 posted a new student review of Running Out of Night . See the full review.

I liked the groing friendship that developes between Lark and Zenobia on their journey.  I also loved the added suspense and problems evovling in each chapter.  I really liked the proverbs at the beginning of each chapter foreshadowing the chapter.  

I didn't like how little information of Zenobia we are told.  The author tells that she is separated from her family but she is an important character and I would like to know more about her. The author writes this book in Lark's point of view and she hasn't had proper education so it is often confusing and distracting with all the improper grammar.  

A new student review of The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

cowboys1 posted a new student review of The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy. See the full review.

I like this book because the story and characters were believable.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading fun fiction books.

A new student review of Tandem

IrishdancerCC posted a new student review of Tandem . See the full review.

I really enjoyed Tandem because it gives a good message about family and it shows that sometimes when you can't walk away from someone, it turns out to be a good thing because you are forced to stay and work things out. You can't just give up. I really liked how the author used humor. She worked it into situations that were serious, and it really showed how the characters became frustrated with each other, but found a way to keep going.

A new student review of Monstrous Affections An Anthology of Beastly Tales

tsarevna13 posted a new student review of Monstrous Affections An Anthology of Beastly Tales . See the full review.

Each story is alluring, capturing ones attention well right from the start. The writing styles are all very different, allowing for unique telling of stories. Holly Black’s story is in a familiar first person. Other stories range from first or second to third person closed and omniscient. A couple well known authors are thrown in the mix to peak interest, but their stories don’t make the rest seem lesser. Brilliant insight from each ‘speaker’ or lack there of, beautiful details that aren’t monotonous, and changes in relatability make this volume a very exciting read. The only issue I found was one specific story, it was very vague and confusing in a way that slows the story down a lot. It felt like it was meant to be an old myth turned modern, but from another language that was then poorly translated. The compilation as a whole was marvelous, Id recommend it to anyone who likes ‘beastly tales’.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A new student review of And in the Morning by Wilson John

ReesaOnFire posted a new student review of And in the Morning by Wilson John. See the full review.

Told through a series of diary entries and letters sent and unsent And in the Morning seizes the reader’s mind and soul as we relive every moment of Jim’s life since the beginning of the Great War (World War I).

Author John Wilson tells a fantastic story.  His research on real letters, diaries and lives of soldiers in the Great War made the story heartbreakingly true as it followed historical events precisely, while his tone and syntax in Jim Hay’s diary entries build a personal bridge for the reader to cross into the horrendous war.  

The hardships and humanity of the Great War are too easily forgotten in our modern world. And in the Morning is a unique historical fiction novel which portrays the life of the amateur solider in a gentle, heart breaking way.  

When reading about the World Wars, there is always an impact. The nature of that particular period in our world’s history is so overwhelming it is nearly impossible to read something about or from that period and not be affected. And in the Morning  is both a historical book on the war giving vivid descriptions and opinions of the time and the fictional first hand account of Jim Hay.  In short, the book was highly effective in its aim  to draw close the reader as it created the perfect looking glass to gaze at the period. The fact that it included letters written from Hay that had both been sent and unsent allows the reader to feel as though he or she is personally there, receiving his letters.

Also notable is Wilson's superb job at maintaining a balance when describing the horrors of war; he did not write in a way that was too explicit for a wide viewership but did not lose the essence of the actions of the time period.  In short, And in the Morning presented a tasteful way of depicting the war while conserving its brutality.

Wilson creates a relatable gateway for young readers to learn about a period of trial in our world’s history through his choice to compile these entries from young Hay. I enjoyed And in the Morning and recommend it for readers aged 15 and up.

 

A new student review of Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows by Andrew Cratsley

Eowyn7 posted a new student review of Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows by Andrew Cratsley. See the full review.

This was a pretty mediocre book, in my opinion. The characters where lovable and fun, but the story line was very derivative. A lot of things were pulled from Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons. There were quests, spellbooks, mithril, a drunk redheaded dwarf, and a mysterious ranger, to name a few. The plot was a little sketchy, too. There were some events that seemed unlikely. The pattern of healing got repetitive as well. A character gets hurt. It looks like it might be really bad. Nevermind, Reika used magic and they're ok. If this had happened once or twice it would have been fine, but this happens after nearly every battle. That being said, I really love the interaction between the author's characters and how he ties in the prejudices that are a part of human nature. Overall the book was okay. I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone, though.

A new student review of Princess of Thorns

btulips posted a new student review of Princess of Thorns . See the full review.

After reading this book, I thought it was very imaginative and interesting. I thought it was cool to see through the point of view of Sleeping Beauty's daughter. This book was different from most of the books that I have read, and I highley recommend this book if you like a strong female character and action.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A new student review of Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

snehayamsani posted a new student review of Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan. See the full review.

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan is the third book in The Lynburn Legacy. It is well written, the characters are adorable and funny, and the plot is just downright amazing.

 

Brennan does an amazing job with the writing by adding her own intelligent and witty remarks throughout the book. It’s light, funny, heartbreaking, sorrowful, and beautiful all at once!

 

Brennan also does a good job creating the characters. Kami is sassy, funny, witty, and extremely loyal. By far, Kami is probably the most favorable character in the book (though her dad comes to a close second). Brennan also creates undeniable chemistry between Kami and Jared that is true of the saying "opposites attract." Jared’s moodiness reflects Kami’s sassiness and his dark posture brings out Kami’s witty personality. Anyone can see that the two characters balance each other out, even through the ups and downs of their relationship.

 

If I had read the other two books, Unspoken and Untold, I'm positive I would have understood the plot better. Unfortunately, I read the final book of the series without reading the first two. Nevertheless, I liked it. Brennan puts a new spin on magic and sorcery by using modern elements to develop a well thought out story.

 

I did feel that the plot of Unmade moves too fast. Everything seems rushed and too coincidental. I mean Kami just happens to find the boy she loves trapped underground, yet she is able to save him unharmed by her enemies? It just seems too easy.

Overall, I’d give this book a 4 out of 5.