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Posts in Category: older teens

America's First Daughter

by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

America's First Daughter is about the life of Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha (Patsy) Jefferson Randolph, and her influential role in her father's political views, presidency, and private life. The book begins when Martha was a child, and ends with her as an elderly woman. The storyline navigates Martha's travels, love interests, marriage, children, and her close relationship with her father.

This novel was very well-written and thoroughly researched. The authors did an amazing job of recounting the story of an influential, yet not well-known historical figure. I like the story a lot because I can relate to Martha during her teenage years.

I would recommend the book to others because it is very interesting and informative. It was very raw and realistic, which I think other people will appreciate. If you like history, this book would be great for you!

Bethany, 15

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A Child Called It

by Dave Pelzer

A Child Called It is the autobiography of Dave Pelzer, where he recounts of his childhood and endeavors child abuse by his mother through starvation, beatings, and mental abuse. Through out the whole novel he wonders why he is treated so badly by his mother, even though his oldest and youngest brothers don't receive this abuse. He as well seeks out the help of his father, however with no avail. Although, he goes through all this trauma, he manages to maintain his faith and survive through the abuse of his mother.

A Child Called It is an interesting yet unfortunate autobiography. It brings to a wider attention towards child abuse and how any little sign of abuse should be brought to attention not just pushed beside; because a parent made an excuse. I liked how specific each detail was written down and how the author uses pathos to invoke the emotion of sadness and depression. The autobiography makes it as if you were there and hearing the abuse and seeing it.

I would recommend this novel to those who like hearing true stories with explicit images in your head of what is going on. It may even leave you in tears just like me, however, it is worth reading even through the sadness. You won't even want to put the novel down and wish to want to know more.

Anahi, 17

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Nickel and Dimed

by Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed is about the author who decides to work minimum wage jobs and live like someone would with that kind of job. She goes through different jobs and tells about her experiences.

I thought the book was okay, because it was interesting but I felt like the author should have tried living more like a person working with a minimum wage job. Also, I thought she should have included a more difficult situation.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to learn more about how hard life is working a minimum wage life. If you want to learn more about the life of an average American I suggest this book.

Sandra, 16

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by Betty Smith

The book focuses on a poor Irish-American teenage girl and her family as they live in Brooklyn, New York City. The book takes place during the first two decades of the 20th century.

I liked the book because it dealt with a family that was from Irish decent and I though it was interesting because many people came from countries far away and they had to adjust to life in America. Also, the girl's family is poor which I can relate to in a way.

If you like reading books about poverty and overcoming obstacles I suggest this book. Also, if you like reading about the motivation people have to live differently than they're parents try this book!

Sandra, 16

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A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is about two women. One is named Miriam, who's father arranges a marriage between her and Rasheed. She marries him and tries to have children. She is unable and he becomes abusive. Later, Laila marries Rasheed after her parents are killed by a rocket. She becomes pregnant and gives birth to a girl and he becomes abusive towards her as well. The two women become friends and have to deal with an abusive husband until something changes that.

I liked this book because it talks about how women are treated in a different country. I like that the author didn't hold back because it really makes the reader understand how those women must have felt.

If you have read The Kite Runner I recommend reading this book. It's an emotional story about how two women become friends after having to live with an abusive husband. If you like reading about drama and how women are treated like less than humans you should read this book.

Sandra, 16

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The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is set in a post apocalyptic time, about the journey of a man and his son.Their journey takes several months as they travel over landscapes where most of civilization was wiped.

I really liked this book because I like reading books that are set in post apocalyptic times. It was interesting to read how a father and son interact with each other after having to live in a place where most people are gone. It made me think about what I would do if I lived in a post apocalyptic time.

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes reading about post apocalyptic stories. Also the book deals with survival, and how they have to survive and watch over each other.

Sandra, 16

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Speak

by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book is about a freshman in high school named, Melinda Sordino. During a party something happens to her and she calls the police. Soon, everyone starts asking her why she called but she doesn't want to tell anyone. Eventually she stops speaking and only expresses herself through art.

I really liked this book because it dealt with violence and victimization, and I have never read anything like this before. It made me think about how many people go through traumatic experiences and don't talk about them because they feel guilty.

I recommend this book to anyone that likes reading books about post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic experiences. Just to forewarn, this book contains topics like sexual assault.

Sandra, 16

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A Place to Stand

by Jimmy Santiago Baca

This book is a memoir about a Chicano boy who is abandoned by his alcoholic father and his mother. In his book, he talks about the crime, violence and drugs he was exposed to. He talks about how his decisions led him to end up prison and he explains what he experienced there.

I really liked this book because it really made me think about how many people end up in jail or dead because of their bad decisions. I thought about how the author did all those things because he didn't have a nice childhood. He was abandoned and that led to everything that happened to him. The book is tragic and really touches you if you read it. I felt that I can better understood how many people end up in violence when they are not raised with love and compassion.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about how our childhood experiences lead to how our future will be like. If you like to read memoirs, I recommend this book. It's emotional and doesn't hold back from harsher realities.

Sandra, 16

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Outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell talks about how being a genius isn't always the only way to succeed. In his book, he talks about patterns in studies about people who are successful. He mentions outliers, people who are different than most and how they are able to succeed.

I really liked this book because it made me think about how some people have more advantages and opportunities to succeed. Also, it's interesting to read about those patterns that have to do with how people are born and how that determines whether someone will be successful.

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes reading books that deal with psychology and success. I like the way the author makes the book seem personal and it can connect to many people.

Sandra, 16

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The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a memoir, written by Jeannette Walls. In this book, Walls explains what it was like growing up in poverty. She recounts how her siblings and she had to live with parents who were not the type of parents to be raising so many kids. Her childhood included many difficult times that shaped her into the person she became.

I liked this book because the author had to see so many things in her childhood that many kids shouldn't see. She had to live with two parents who were not in any condition to raise children. It made me think about how lucky I am to have been raised by good parents and not to have grow up as the author did.

I think people of all ages should read this book. It makes you become aware of situations that happen everyday that you might not think about. You sympathize with the author and her siblings and what they went through. This was a very inspiring read!

Sandra, 16

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The Crucible

by Arthur Miller

The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials. It's about a girl named Abigail Williams who claims she and other girls were possessed by the ladies in the town who are witches. Abigail does all this because he wants John Proctor's wife to be executed so she can have him to herself. Eventually many people are arrested because of Abigail's lies, some are even executed.

I liked this play because it makes you think about how fear is very powerful. People are willing to say and do many things out of fear. The author wrote the play in response to McCarthyism and I thought it really showed how people believe what they want without any proof. This play is an example of how fear can spread and cause people to overreact.

If you like reading about the Salem witch trials, I recommend you trying this book.

Sandra, 16

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Between the World and Me

by Ta-nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me is letter that the author is writing to his 15 year old son. He writes about his life experiences growing up as a black male in America. He argues the dangers of being a young black male and the relationships between violence and race. In this book, Coates wants not just his son to take something from it but he wants society to read it and understand how life is for a black person in America.

I thought this was an amazing book! It talks about how society has viewed black people and how it continues to view them as inferior. The author writes his book to his son but it wasn't meant just for him. I learned a lot about how difficult it is to be black and to be viewed as less than human just because of the color of your skin. It's a powerful book and I really enjoyed it.

I would recommend this book to those "privileged" people who have never experienced racism. Anyone who isn't black should read this book because it really makes you aware of how society has treated people just because of how they look. The book allows people to have an idea of what it must be like to have to live in a body that one can't control. In this case, how to live as a black male in a world where everyone controls what happens to that person.

Sandra, 16

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Freakonomics

by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

This book explores unusual topics in a way that is unexpectedly revealing about the nature of society and economics. By analyzing statistics on topics such as schoolteachers cheating on standardized tests and relating that to something completely different, such as sumo wrestlers intentionally throwing matches, the reader learns not only how interesting economics can be, but how oftentimes the world is not as it seems.

I would describe this book as eye-opening. To many people, the word "economics" connotes boredom, but this book may just change your opinion. This unconventional take on economics demonstrates key principles of analysis while tackling serious themes such as human honesty and the effects of poverty.

Even if you are not typically partial to nonfiction, I would recommend this book. It is always good to expose yourself to a variety of genres. Oftentimes, we fall into the pattern of trusting our assumptions and the assumptions of others. This book is an impressive reminder that even when what is typically accepted seems reasonable, it is important that you analyze the facts for yourself. What you find may be surprising.

Julia, 17

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Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

Established in a dystopian society, books are outlawed and "firemen" are used to burn and eliminate these books in fear of knowledge and power among people. However, one fireman named Guy Montag uncovers the secrets of society's past and the origin of these book burnings which causes him to go deeper into the history of his society. As Montag discovers more and more secrets, he finds himself more in danger of losing his family, friendship, and his identity.

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic book that I believe everyone should read, because it signifies why reading is so important and it gives us this vision of what the future may be like if technology takes over our society and our world.

I would totally recommend this book to middle school and high school students, along with young adults. This book is more geared towards teens and young adults. I feel like they would enjoy it due to the interesting plot. 

Kirsten, 15

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The Devil You Know

by Trish Doller

This book was about a girl named Cadie, who has been raising her baby brother since her mother died. Cadie has just turned 18 and wants to get out of the house and go to a party. There she meets a pair of cousins and decides she is going to go on an adventure with them. She is finally enjoying her life, until something tragically goes wrong. 

The Devil You Know is a book full of twists and turns. It will leave you thinking until the last page. The book is full of deception, romance, and it will draw you in until you can not put it down. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes excitement because it is fun and will keep you on your toes. This book is exactly what you want to read if you are looking for adventure. 

Mackenzie, 15

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