City of Bones

by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones coverCity of Bones is a story about a girl, Clary Fray, who finds out more about her family than she could have ever imagined. She finds that her mother used to fight evil monsters, that the boy she likes, or might even love, might be her brother who was supposed to be dead, and to top it all off... her father was the most evil and manipulative man in universe. Clary has seriously wished that she never went out that faithful night.

City of Bones is a very magical book. It makes you want to look into your family history and see what is hiding. The story itself has so many interesting parts that it can not be put down. I would recommend City of Bones to anyone who loves a great action and adventure page turner. You have to have a lot of time for this book because you'll never be able to put it down!

Aleck, 14

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The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Night Circus coverThe Night Circus is always a sight to behold, a legend weaving through the darkness, a surprise that awaits when one opens their eyes in the morning. As its name suggests, it only opens at night, and enthralls its visitors into a land of fantasy, wonder, and excitement. Then, the next day, it's gone, a legend once more. However, there's trouble brewing within the mysterious circus...here is another unconventional tale of boy meets girl.

The Night Circus was a really interesting book, for the reason that I've never read anything like it before. However, this also has some negative aspects to it: I didn't understand much of what was going on a lot of the time. Not only that, but the ending just struck me as unnatural and forced.

Despite its flaws, The Night Circus is a good book to read. Anyone, boy or girl, will enjoy this book. I would suggest this to 6th graders and up.

Erica, 16

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Switched

by Amanda Hocking

Switched coverAt the age of six, her mother convinced herself that Wendy Everly was evil and tried to kill her. Now, Wendy is in high school, and she can't seem to fit in. She soon discovers that maybe her mother was right. She is not the person that she believed she was, and it all starts with one boy... Finn Holmes. He soon reveals the truth to her- she is a changeling and was switched at birth. He has also come to take her home. Wendy is then led into a world she never thought could have existed.

Switched was a well-written story and had many surprises every time I came to a new chapter. If you feel that you can never really find your place in the world, you can relate to Switched and find yourself in love with this story more and more as you read.

Aleck, 14

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Eon

by Alison Goodman

Eon coverThis book was about a girl in China who pretended to be a boy. All she wanted was to be chosen by one of the mighty dragons. She risks her and her master's lives just to get away from living like a peasant.

All in all, Eon was an amazing book. It makes you think of how anyone can become something truly great. Whether a girl or boy, you can do anything if you just set your heart on it.

If you love great fiction stories or magical dragons, you would love Eon by Alison Goodman. She makes the words come off the page and into your minds to really connect with the book.

Aleck, 14

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The Dark City

by Catherine Fisher

Dark City coverThe world used to be governed by magic and the Order, who used valuable Relic Boxes to heighten their powers. Now, it is controlled by the Watch, which outlawed all the Makers of the Order and spun lies about them, clouding the truth. Galen and Raffi are two of the last of the Order. Along with mysterious Carys, they travel to the heart of the evil, Tasceron, in order to completely banish the Watch from their land.

This book was average, mainly because it never really held my interest very well. I thought the entire plot was drawn out too long, and I wasn't sure where the entire story line was going until the very end. However, the setting in which the story is placed intrigues me, though I wanted to give up reading multiple times. All in all, I was disappointed with the outcome of The Dark City (the first in the Relic Masters series).

I would recommend this book to those who like sci-fi or fantasy, but if you're in need of something constantly exciting, you might get a bit bored with this.

Erica, 16

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The Iron Thorn

by Caitlin Kittredge

Iron Thorn coverAoife has an unfortunate history: her mother is crazy and locked in an asylum, and her brother, who contracted the deadly Necrovirus that runs in the family, ran away from his asylum and is now a convict. Now, as she nears her 16th birthday, a note from her elusive brother appears with the words "Find the witch's alphabet. Save yourself". Deciding to run away from her life at a steampunk engineering academy, Aoife embarks on a journey that will save her from the Necrovirus that will soon rip her of her sanity.

To me, The Iron Thorn was an average book. It dwelled a lot on the witchcraft factor that kind of took away from the entire "steampunk" genre, which is supposed to be relating to Victorian futuristic machinery and engineering. If I had to say, this book was a mix of "Faerie" fantasy, steampunk, some romance, and a dash of horror too.

If you enjoy steampunk, magic, or darker books, you would like this one. If you're kind of squeamish, stay away! And by all means, do not read at night alone like I did!

Erica, 16

Rating: 

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Luka and the Fire of Life

by Salman Rushdie

Luka coverLuka, along with his pets, dog and bear, set off into a magical world created by his father, Rashid Khalifa. This story revolves around Luka's journey as he retrieves the "Fire of Life" in order to save his father's life.

Luka and the Fire of Life is one of those novels that has you completely enthralled in the story. The novel incorporates several figures from various mythologies along with references to the tangible world. 

I would recommend this book to anyone 10 and up that enjoys fictional adventures/travels. It's a great read that emphasizes a son's love for his father. All in all, it's a really great book!

Gillyn, 15

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Eragon

by Christopher Paolini

Eragon coverEragon, a teenager in his prime, finds his peaceful life as a farmer boy being ripped apart as he discovers a valuable--and rare--dragon egg. Going headfirst into danger, against the government itself, he becomes a Dragon Rider and sets off to find a place of belonging, across the desert and into a land of the unknown. 

I liked this book! Eragon wasn't a perfect person and was sometimes reckless and annoying, but he was charismatic in his own way as he grew throughout each obstacle in the story. The only flaw I see in the book is that most of the plot and "world" is taken from Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings.

I would recommend this book to anyone grades 6 and up. Paolini's books are long, but if you can read Harry Potter or are at a higher reading level, you will enjoy Eragon.

Erica, 16

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Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl coverHe's rich, he's smart, he's evil, and he's only twelve years old. Artemis Fowl, an Irish mastermind-slash-millionaire, embarks on an impossible journey to uncover the hidden world that nobody knows about: the land of the fairies. Is he crazy? Maybe. But he might be on to something.

My initial reaction was that it was funny, in a sarcastic "I can't believe he said that" kind of way. The plot is fairly new, and the characters are portrayed in a way that is enjoyable; although I couldn't follow the storyline sometimes, it was overall a good book, but it didn't make me want to rave about it.

I would recommend the book to fantasy lovers or people who like a good dose of evil-mastermind-protagonist in their reading rituals. However, readers beware: the series sours after around the 4th book, The Eternity Code, so be prepared.

Erica, 16

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Howl's Moving Castle

by Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie Hatter is a Plain Jane who believes that she is incapable of doing anything worthwhile due to her status as the eldest of three sisters. However, when she is turned into an old hag by an evil witch, she embarks on a quest to find the solution to her dilemma, in which she meets many fascinating characters, including a very handsome wizard and his moving castle.

I loved it; it was a topsy-turvy romance that had a classic feel to it along with a spice of humor. Additionally, I loved how the romance was understated verbally (there was actually no "I love yous" between the two protagonists) but adorable and fascinatingly addicting.

Yes, I would definitely recommend this book to others. Girls of any age would enjoy it (but grade level wise, perhaps 5th grade and up?) as well as select boys who enjoy quirky fantasy without minding a dose of sweetness.

Erica, 16

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