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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird is set during the Great Depression and also revolves around racism in the South. Scout Finch is the narrator and the main character who grows up in the segregated South. Her brother, Jem, their friend, Dill, and she are all intrigued by story of Boo Radley, a young man who has been prisoner in his house for multiple years. When their father, a lawyer, takes on a court case defending a black man accused of raping a white woman, their world changes.  

The book follows their lives and proves the theme that you can't judge a person unless you have been in their shoes. I thought the book was interesting in the way of how segregated the community was. It was a good story with an underlying theme and multiple conflicts. Overall, Harper Lee did a fantastic job of portraying the South.

I would recommend it because it has a good message of not judging a person until you have experienced what they have been through. People of all ages would enjoy this novel.

Chanel, 14

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Gulliver's Travels 

by Jonathan Swift
04/23/2013 Categories: action classic fantasy suspense

Gulliver's TravelsGulliver's Travels is a fantasy book detailing the narration of Lemuel Gulliver. He travels across the sea and discovers interesting and vast countries very different from his own. Gulliver encounters a country where he is a giant, and another featuring a civilization of giants.

The book wasn't that bad. At face level, this story is a fantasy that explores random ideas of a country. There are some parts in the book where the ideas go over one's head, and/or parody something one wouldn't normally know about. One can get the best out of this elderly book once they know the background behind it, but otherwise it's an ok book nonetheless. I recommend this book, not only because it's a classic that everyone has to read, but it's very interesting and has ideas that are uncommon to hear about these days. Like most literary classics, it's a tad difficult to read, but don't let that be an excuse for not reading this classic.

Jakob, 15

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The Old Man and the Sea 

by Ernest Hemingway
04/01/2013 Categories: action classic suspense

The Old Man and the Sea details an elderly Cuban fisherman's adventure at sea. Almost out of luck, he encounters a marlin of gargantuan proportions and engages a fierce battle with it.

I thought this book was solid, but not the best. It has a simple premise, but this works well with its deep, thoughtful ideas. Its writing is simple, but the words flow very naturally and professionally. It does feel unexciting and drawn-out at times, but mostly it depends on the reader.

I'd recommend The Old Man and the Sea to anyone who wants to read a good classic. It's a short read compared to most books, but it makes quite an impact.

Jakob, 15

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To Kill A Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

To Kill a MOckingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird is about fictional character named Scout narrating from an adult perspective about something that happened during her childhood. Her story has two main plots: one about she, her brother, and their friend trying to learn more about Boo Radley, a man who has nasty rumors made about him and never leaves his home; and another about the court case in which an African American man named Tom Robinson is convicted for accused rape.

I thought the book was okay overall, because I enjoyed the suspense of the court case, but some other elements of the story seemed bland, or just were not relatable to me in my generation. For example, the scenes with Scout in school did not interest me much, for it had too much detail of a simple elementary school classroom.

I would recommend this book to adults who were around when it was written, since it would relate more to their generation. Also I would relate it to anyone who enjoys exciting court cases, since the court scenes are gripping and exciting.

Hayley, 15

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Animal Farm 

by George Orwell
03/04/2013 Categories: animals classic dystopia

Animal Farm is a book about a farm that is taken over by its overworked animals. They wish to create a world where all animals are equal, but many conflicts arise from all areas.

Personally, I found the book to be so-so. The book may seem silly and childish from the title and base description alone, but it is actually a very deep symbolic novel. Animal Farm has a few emotional thrills inside of it, but is an easy and fast read.

The book is difficult to give a recommendation. Despite being about talking animals, the story isn't exactly always happy, and anyone can die. If one wants a dystopian that stands out from the rest, Animal Farm might be a good choice.

Jakob, 15

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Invisible Man 

by Ralph Ellison
02/19/2013 Categories: african americans classic racism

Invisible manThis book was an extremely confusing narrative about a black man's life during a time when blacks were still struggling against racism. He is more educated than most black men but is thrown out of his school and forced to go North for a job, where he gets caught up in an organization. He thinks a lot about what he does and is a very powerful speaker. However, he decides that he is truly invisible.

I suppose I moderately liked the book, however, it was hard to grasp at times. Nonetheless, it did get me thinking about the deep concepts it was trying to convey. The only reason I would recommended this book is because it is a famous piece of literature that appears frequently on the AP exam. I would expect that people who like to think deeply about society would like it.

Jordan, 1ing7

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Sense and Sensibility 

by Jane Austen
12/27/2012 Categories: classic family drama romance siblings

Sense and Sensibility is mainly about two girls, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, who have moved into a small cottage after the recent death of their father. Elinor and Edward Ferrars are thought to be in love with each other, but Elinor is unaware of the secret Edward has. Marianne meets John Willoughby while nearly injuring herself, but is all of it just a game?

I thought it was pretty good because it explained how most women in that time period basically had nothing to look forward to except to get married.

I would definitely recommend this book if you have read other Jane Austen books. If you like Pride and Prejudice then try this one!

Audrey, 15

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The Scarlet Letter 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne
10/22/2012 Categories: classic historical movie

This book was about the life of a "harlot". While she only did what any other human being would, the world around Hester Prynne judges her to an extreme.

This book was a bit of a challenge, but had a very strong message and conveyed a very interesting tone.

This book would probably only be best for teens, or adults, with higher reading levels, but just because it is a challenge.

Khrystina, 17

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Fahrenheit 451 

by Ray Bradbury
09/06/2012 Categories: censorship classic dystopia movie

Fahrenheit 451 coverFahrenheit 451 takes place in a worst-case scenario future, where the brilliant are censored for their knowledge, creativity is demolished, and books are burned by firemen. The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman, who meets a seventeen-year-old girl who talks about a past where people could think.

Fahrenheit 451 is a bit difficult to read at first, but once you begin to understand its meaning, it becomes a spectacular read. It details how censorship can ruin and degrade a society.

I recommend this book to not only Science Fiction lovers, but also to any big thinkers out there. Fahrenheit 451 details a topic that is rarely touched upon in our society- censorship.

Jakob, 15

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The Golden Ball and Other Stories 

by Agatha Christie
08/14/2012 Categories: classic mystery paranormal suspense

Golden Ball coverAlthough The Golden Ball and Other Stories is not your typical Poirot or Marple mystery, Christie delights readers with 15 mind-boggling mysteries that keep the reader hooked until the end.  Above all, the romance, crime, and supernatural themes create twists in the plot that only Agatha Christie is capable of writing! From a Grand Duchess in hiding, to the ghost of a child who had starved to death, each passage in this book is completely unique from the other. 

Because of this, I found The Golden Ball and Other Stories to be very addicting; I couldn't keep myself from reading it!

This is a book I'd definitely recommend to mystery-lovers. Agatha Christie does not fail to amaze the reader 15 times with well-hidden clues and intricate explanations.

Julie, 14

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Atlas Shrugged 

by Ayn Rand
08/13/2012 Categories: classic dystopia sci fi

Atlas Shrugged coverThe world is falling apart at the seams; orders and shipments are late, the country is in debt, problem after problem keep on arising and everyone is at a loss as to what to do. And through this chaos, Dagney Taggert wants to make sure that her railroad keeps on running, but she finds herself facing multiple obstacles as the "destroyer" tries to stop her. And now Dagney finds herself struggling to save the industry and keep real honest hard working men from the destroyer's grasp. And she finds herself realizing the true meaning behind the question: Who is John Galt?

Atlas Shrugged is by far one of the greatest and most thought-provoking books ever written. Rand forces you to stop and look around at the world and makes you wonder what is in store for the human race and if there's any hope for the future. The story, although complex at first, ties together nicely at the end. Although a simple story, Rand is able to write it in a way that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. 

I would recommend this book to everyone who loves the classics and doesn't mind reading a very (and I mean very) big book. Atlas Shrugged is definitely for those readers who love to read about the world around them and want to be introduced
to a new train of thought.

Jana, 17

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Lord of the Flies 

by William Golding

A band of boys get stranded on an island, away from society and everything they've ever believed in. As they stray further and further away from humanity's notion of "justice" and "law", what will save the boys in the end? If they ever get rescued, that is.

Lord of the Flies is a classic book that's pretty unconventional. It is chock-full of meaning and depth and because of that, I give it four stars. It lacks one star because I was pretty upset with the ending, but I believe that the ending makes the book THE BOOK.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who would like to challenge themselves. Most kids read this as a required book in high school, which is where I suggest you start, but if you're younger and like to really read in between the lines, go for it! Be careful though, some aspects of the book are gory and the entire story is dark as a whole.

Erica, 16

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Lord of the Flies 

by William Golding

Lord of the Flies coverLord of the Flies is about a plane of boys that crash onto an island and try to survive. They first start out by having a leader, but slowly they start to go insane.

I liked the book, but it was a little hard to read because of the advanced vocabulary. It was definitely psychological and dealt with a lot of hidden meanings in sentences that made you have to go back and read it again. 

I would recommend this book if you like adventurous settings. Also keep in mind this book is a challenge, and I would say that children twelve and older could read this.

Audrey, 14

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Daddy Long Legs 

by Jean Webster
12/07/2011 Categories: classic written like a diary

Image result for daddy long legs by jean websterA classic novel documenting the story of orphan Judy Abbott as she receives the chance to become an author, provided by a mysterious benefactor she lovingly nicknames "Daddy Long Legs".

Daddy Long Legs is written in a letter format, from Judy to Daddy Long Legs, and is an unusual yet refreshingly satisfactory book. I loved Daddy Long Legs for its rare and unique writing style. Even though it's a classic and was written long ago, the plot twists were amusing and surprising at the same time.

I would recommend this book to girls of any age, or to anybody who likes reading books with a bit of a old-fashioned flair. If you also enjoy reading things with a diary-like format, this book is for you!

Erica, 16

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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie 

12/07/2011 Categories: classic murder mystery

Hercule Poirot, a quirky detective, is trapped on the famed Orient Express, a famous luxury train. Unfortunately, being the type to often become stuck in the oddest situations, a murder has occurred and Hercule must get to the bottom of it--with the murderer still on the train. 

It was interesting, to say the least; I felt like although the words and writing style were poignant, it was a bit boring and felt a bit rushed. The hints throughout the book were TOO well hidden, and at the end when Hercule Poirot spilled the secrets of the mystery, it felt like it was altogether too much information at once. 

I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys classics or mysteries (or both) and has a higher reading level (e.g. high school). Preferably Sherlock Holmes fans, because if you're used to the language of Doyle, reading Agatha Christie will be a breeze.

Erica, 16

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