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Of Mice and Men 

by John Steinbeck
04/29/2017 Categories: classic friendship

Two migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, move from place to place in California looking for jobs during the Great Depression. George is a smart but uneducated man while Lennie is a big man with special needs.The men eventually find a job, but soon things go bad after Lennie accidentally kills a man's wife.

I liked the book because it had a surprising ending. I never would have thought the author would have his characters have a dream that would not succeed. The dream was an important part of the book because many people's dreams are crushed because of unexpected events.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about the Great Depression. If you like reading books with unexpected endings, you would really read this book.

Sandra, 16

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The Odyssey of Homer 

by Translated and with an Introduction by Alexander Pope
02/23/2017 Categories: classic epic poetry mythology

Image result for The Odyssey of Homer / in the English verse translation by Alexander Pope

The Odyssey of Homer is a classic Greek novel about a man named Odysseus and his struggles as he tries to get home to his wife and child after the war. In this book, Odysseus runs into many problems, because of his own ignorance, or because of the selfishness of his crew. Throughout this interesting tale, we see Odysseus not only struggle to get home, but also struggle to find himself as he morals and values change on his journey.

I loved reading The Odyssey, because it is not a simple book. While Odysseus' journey is fun to read, the language is difficult to understand, as well as the messages underneath. I loved reading this book, because it makes you think and has a lot of depth.

If you don't like books with depth, The Odyssey is not the right book for you. However, if you like to read challenging books that not only have interesting stories, but a lot of depth, I would highly recommend it. 

Sara, 14

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Little Women 

by Louisa May Alcott
02/16/2017 Categories: classic friendship romance siblings

This novel follows the lives of four sisters living in New England around the time of the Civil War. Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth all face their own personal trials in growing up. They struggle to find happiness and independence while facing heartbreak and lost dreams.

This is an all time favorite of mine. Although the book mainly focuses on the lessons that the girls learn, none of the lessons or situations come off as cheesy or unrealistic. The book emphasizes the importance of finding contentment even when things do not turn out as you expect. The girls find comfort in their loving family when things become difficult.

Anyone who appreciates a heartwarming novel, or who is looking for something with classic themes of love and family, would like this novel. Little Women is a great book for all ages. I first read it in sixth grade, but still enjoy rereading it.

Julia, 17

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A Tale of Two Cities 

by Charles Dickens
02/16/2017 Categories: classic france history revolution

Image result for tale of two cities

This book is set in both London and Paris during the French Revolution and shows how the escalation of violence affected both the innocent and the guilty. Themes addressed in the book include loyalty and self-sacrifice. Although it is an older book, Dickens approaches these topics in a way that still seems applicable to today.

I enjoyed this novel because of the wide variety of characters. I felt like it provided insight to all types of people and relationships that everyone faces in their lives. Since the book is set over a period of a few years, the reader is able to watch the development of these characters and becomes attached to them.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction or in unique, complex characters. It is also a good choice for anyone who wants to start reading some of Dickens' works. 

Julia, 17

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee
02/15/2017 Categories: classic deep south racism

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic American literature book about two white children who have to overcome obstacles and deal with a prejudice society in the South during the 1930s. In this book, both children must learn to understand society when they are exposed to a case where their father, a lawyer, is defending a black man against a white man. During the case, the children learn not to prejudge others when they discover more about their neighbor (and outcast), Boo Radely.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorites, because you not only get an interesting and mysterious story from a child's perspective, but also a book full of commentary on racism and prejudice

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, and an interesting story about racism in the South. If you like American literature, you will love To Kill a Mockingbird, as Harper Lee does a great job of depicting the South and the issues that are taking place.

Sara, 14

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 

by Mark Twain
11/25/2016 Categories: adventure classic historical racism

A young boy named Huck Finn ventures out with his best friend Tom Sawyer. They encounter the world of discrimination and racism during their trip. In this coming of age novel, these two characters experience intellectual growth as well. 

I did really enjoy this novel. It dealt with racism and showed how society was back then. As the characters learned, the reader learned alongside them. 

Yes, I would recommended it. For adolescents, it's good to read a coming of age novel since they can relate to it better. If one enjoys learning about the deep racial issues back then and reading how a young boy reacts and learns from it; this is a novel you would enjoy. 

Johanna, 16

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The Crucible 

by Arthur Miller
11/25/2016 Categories: classic historical human behavior play

In 1692 Salem, Massachusetts there's tension rising in the town. Talk of witchcraft was the rumor people were gossiping about. Eventually many girls were accused of practicing witchcraft. This sent the town into a frenzy. Trials were conducted, people lied, and people questioned the situation. 

As a person interested in the history regarding the Salem Witch Trials, I definitely enjoyed this book. It gave me an insight on how people reacted and what they decided to do about this practice of witchcraft. With such little evidence, it was interesting to see how people jumped to conclusions. 

Yes, I would recommend it. It's a coming of age story and it teaches the consequences of lying. If anyone is interested in the Salem Witch Trials, this novel is for you. 

Johanna, 16

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The Grapes of Wrath 

by John Steinbeck
10/12/2015 Categories: adventure classic realistic fiction

The Grapes of Wrath follows the Joad family as they try to escape the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma by heading out west to California to try to make a new life. Ma, Pa, and Tom carry the rest of the family, along with Jim Casy, as they face the hardships and cruelness of migrants heading west, dealing with the law, religion, and social interactions that the define the Joad's and the rest of the migrants. The unity of love and community and the idea of a whole rather than individuality during the harsh times is seen through out Steinbeck's work.

This book is one of my favorites, as it depicts the hardships of people who are trying to make a living in a fast paced society such as America. Also, how Steinbeck was able to capture what was going on in the era the book was written about through people that were going through it. The use of multiple symbols and motifs are what really made me think and what Steinbeck intended and they way he made everything fall into place.

This novel is for those who like the seriousness side of books rather than the over zealous books. This is for those who are moved by words and what is happening in their society that is affecting them. If you want to see change in questionable parts of your society, then The Grapes of Wrath will positively motivate you in doing so.

Anthony, 16

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Go Ask Alice 

by Anonymous
10/05/2015 Categories: classic drugs realistic fiction

This story is about a teenage girl who gets served a drink laced with LSD at a party. Since then, she gets addicted and she can't stop. This novel is about the hardships she goes through in being addicted to drugs.

I liked this story because it was sort of a graphic novel. It successfully showed the side effects of drugs and what the teenage girl had to overcome when taking drugs.

I would definitely recommend every teenager to read this novel. This story seems very anti-drug abuse and it shows teenagers what the affects of drugs are. Aside from teaching teenagers a lesson, it is also a great read.

Analyss, 17

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Lord of the Flies 

by William Golding
09/29/2015 Categories: classic survival stories

Lord of the Flies is the story of a group of boys who crash on an island with no adults. They have to fend for themselves in order to stay alive. The leader, Ralph, tries to keep everything under control, with his friend, Piggy. Will everything go according to plan? Will they make it or break it?

I believed Lord of the Flies was very well-written. It showed you how a human being would act if placed in the same situation. The book expresses the dramatization of the civil and barbaric side of the human being.

I would highly recommend this book to others because it makes you wonder how a group of humans would act in the same situation the other boys were in. Would we act the same? Or differently? I would recommend this book to readers ages thirteen and up due to the violence and language.

Sara, 14

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Of Mice and Men 

by John Steinbeck
09/26/2015 Categories: classic friendship handicaps

Of Mice and Men is a story about George and Lennie, who has the mind of a child, who aspire to own an acre of land and a shack for themselves. They are California laborers and work as much as they can to achieve their goal. After landing a job in Salinas Valley, their dreams have come closer, but Lennie's small mind causes him to do things that can possibly end their dream.

Of Mice and Men was a very short book, but very intriguing. I absolutely loved this book because it was so captivating and thrilling! I probably finished it in a whole day. It is a nice book to read and it has a very interesting plot.

I highly recommend this story to others. Teenagers will love this book and it will be one of the least boring books they will read in their high school career. Of Mice and Men is just a great read for everyone! Even my dad loves this story.

Analyss, 17

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Tender is the Night 

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night is a tragic romance novel about an 18 year old actress by the name of Rosemary Hoyt who goes on vacation to the French Riviera. There she meets the handsome Dick Diver, whom she falls in love with. Dick Diver is a psychiatrist who is the doctor and husband of Nicole Warren. The story depicts the life of Dick Diver, in which the wealth he has encountered provokes him into a different lifestyle other than his own.

This book was to a moderate extent, interesting, but it is very difficult to understand. Fitzgerald writes in a very complex and wordy way that actually makes it strenuous to know what is truly happening. This book also doesn't have the greatest plot in the world and it seems as if I was never really intrigued with what was happening.

I do recommend this book if you really admire a complex way of writing in an author, but if you don't, I don't think you will like this very much. I thought that after reading The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, I would like it a lot. The Great Gatsby has such an interesting and clear plot that the plot. However, Tender is the Night was mildly disappointing but a little disappointing. I know many people who have very much enjoyed this novel, so might as well give it a read. 

Analyss, 17

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The Great Gatsby 

by F. Scott Fitzgerald
09/21/2015 Categories: classic love triangles murder social classes

The Great Gatsby, set in the 1920s, follows Nick Carraway as he becomes acquainted with a mysterious man by the name of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby's dream and ambition for the last five years was to win back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, after their love was thwarted when Gatsby was away fighting in World War I. Nick aids in their eventual reunion, which puts Gatsby at odds with Daisy's husband.

This novel is considered by many as one of the greatest American novels ever written, and it certainly holds up to that bar. Although the plot seemingly reflects that of a love story, it really is SO much more. Fitzgerald uses the characters (and Gatsby's dream in particular) to explore deeper themes such as the corruption of the rich and the untruthfulness of love and devotion. I liked the book especially for its memorable characters and the amazingly descriptive writing that Fitzgerald utilizes.

I would recommend The Great Gatsby to people above the age of 13 because the type of writing in this book used to convey themes can be hard to interpret for a younger audience.

Giabao, 15

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1984 

by George Orwell
05/13/2014 Categories: animals classic dystopia politics sci fi

19841984 was a story set in a futuristic, dystopian society. The society had telescreens everywhere and they watched everyone at all times. If you showed any signs of rebellion toward the leader, Big Brother, the Thought Police would take you away and you would disappear. This story followed Winston, the main character, and his rebellious journey in a world where everything is manipulated and everyone is watched.

I enjoyed reading this book because it was intriguing to see how a society like that works and lasts that long. Most of my favorite books are set in a dystopian, futuristic society, so this novel fit perfectly with my interests.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who is intrigued my those sort of societies. It is a classic and everyone should be exposed to it.

Chanel, 15

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee
03/26/2014 Categories: classic court battles deep south racism rape

To Kill a MockinbirdThat one famous line "It's a sin to kill a mockingbird" has captivated millions of readers. In this book, it's the innocent versus the guilty and the notion that the guilty prevails over the innocent in some cases. A black man is accused of raping a white woman while really, he is innocent. But with the times being what they are, he has no chance of being tried at a fair trial. Narrated by a young girl who experiences all of life's twists and turns, this book will keep you turning pages until the last word is read.

It was a really good book that made me really think about how life worked. It captivated me with its world of innocent vs. guilty and wrong vs. right.

I would recommend this book to everybody. It is one of those books that make you really think about the unfairness of life while touching your heart at the same time.

Hieu, 14

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