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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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Brave New World 

by Aldous Huxley
02/01/2014 Categories: classic dystopia identity


Brave New World tells the story of life in the World State, a new civilization in which everything appears to be perfect. It follows Bernard a social outcast, Lenina a woman who follows the rules, and John the Savage who cannot understand how they can live in a world without love, and without free will.

I did not really enjoy this book; at times it was hard to understand what the author was trying to say. The tone of the novel was also really dark, and the book ends in a very disturbing way.

I would not really recommend this book based on my preferences - the plot did not really interest me.

Daisy, 17

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The Scarlet Letter 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne
09/30/2013 Categories: classic movie religion

The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hester Prynne, a sinner in Puritan New England. At the beginning of the novel, Hester is punished by her community for having committed adultery. She is forced to wear a scarlet letter A for the rest of her
life. Even more intriguing is the fact that her lover's identity is unknown, making for a story filled with mystery and secrets.

I had to read this book as part of my summer reading assignment, and was not initially thrilled about it. But as I read more, I realized that the story was actually pretty good. However, the language was very hard to understand since the novel was written in the 1800's.

I don't think that I would recommend this book to others unless you're searching for a challenge to stimulate your brain. While I understand its literary value, I wouldn't suggest this book to someone just for fun.

Daisy, 17

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To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

To Kill a MockingbirdThe book is about the Finch family taking on a court case. Supposedly a black man raped a white woman and it caused a big stir because some people believed he was innocent.

I liked it because it was in a way fighting racism. Back in the 30's a white man's word was always right over a black man's word but Atticus did not care and still took on the case.

I would recommend it to others who like sort of old timely books. I would also recommend it to people who like books on fighting racism.

Sabrina, 14

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The Iliad 

by Homer
05/22/2013 Categories: adventure classic mythology romance

IliadThe Iliad is a classic book that every student must read sometime in his or her life. Although very extensive in length and inclusive of historical details, Homer incorporates parts into his presumed poem that everyone will enjoy. From the runaway love affair of the beautiful Paris and Helen, to the fight for glory between Achilles and Hector, to the battle amongest gods and their patrons. This book is a good excuse to read some ancient history, without being stuck reading an actual history book.

The biggest problem I had with this book, is that it was very long and very hard for me to comprehend. It is definitely a book that calls for a great reader with a lot of determination to complete the book.

I would only recommend this book to those who seek after one of the classics or want to read about ancient Greek history. This is definitely the perfect book if that is the case; if not, and you are not someone who enjoys long books or history, I would not recommend this book. The only reason I read it was for academic purposes in which it was mandatory that I read it. Although I did not necessarily enjoy the book, I am glad that I read for the sake of achievement. I can now say that I have read the Iliad.

Mackenzie, 15

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The Odyssey 

by Homer
05/22/2013 Categories: classic fantasy mythology romance

Odysseus, a Greek veteran from the Trojan war, sets sail, returning to his home of Ithaca after 10 years of fighting in battle. After his ego comes out, however, Poseidon, god of the seas, is determined to keep him from reaching Ithaca. In the 10 years after the war, Odysseus is challenged by cyclops, witches, lotus, sirens, sea monsters, and the temptations of he and his crew that cross their path.

This was my favorite book written by Homer that I have read so far. It is like the sequel to the Iliad, only tremendously more interesting. It is a love story between Odysseus and his wife Penelope and their dedication to each other as he fights his way home. Not only the romance, but the book also includes magical creatures and enchantresses and all sorts of Greeks myths, which I find very interesting.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. It is a great book, especially for those who enjoy adventure, romance, the classics, and or fiction. This a book that combines all three genres. I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did, being that it was a book written by the author of the Iliad, which I absolutely despised. This is a book that I will always have on my bookshelf. 

Mackenzie, 15

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East of Eden 

by John Steinbeck
05/21/2013 Categories: classic family drama siblings

East of EdenEast of Eden tells the story of the Trasks and the Hamiltons - two families who come together in the rich Salinas Valley in California. Steinbeck's novel follows three generations of these families as they relive the biblical story of Cain who strives for his father's love, and of Abel who receives all of Adam's love and pride.

The novel had a very interesting story line that was often full of plot twists and surprises. Some of the characters were really endearing, and others like Cain and Abel, proved to be dynamic characters as the story progressed. The novel was really dramatic and often kept the reader at the edge of his seat.

I would very much recommend this book to others, due to the fact that it contains a great story line and dynamic characters. I would especially recommend this novel to readers who enjoy classics and who are not afraid of reading a long book.

Daisy, 17

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Pride and Prejudice 

by Jane Austen
04/30/2013 Categories: classic family drama romance siblings

The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of Regency Era England. Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy.  But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice as well as outside opposition to be together?

I love this book!  While I wasn't able to appreciate it when I was younger (I hated any subtle witticisms and interactions whose meanings weren't completely obvious and there's no sword fights over a girl's honor) but now that I'm older and got to read it with my class, I understand it a lot better. The characters are delightful and there is a lot of humor and wit to provide comic relief. Of course the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth is one of the main reasons I love the book, since their relationship grows and blossoms despite a bad first impression, miscommunication, social disapproval, familial opposition and their own faults which get in the way from the beginning.

I recommend this book for book-lovers that can appreciate classical literature and subtle details. Be ready to re-read this book many times because it gets better each time I read it.  Anyone that can appreciate a good romance will love this amazing novel.

Rebecca, 17

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1984 

by George Orwell
04/29/2013 Categories: censorship classic dystopia politics

This story is about Winston Smith, who lives in a dystopian society called Oceania, which used to be the former Americas and British Isles. In Oceania, pretty much all of life is controlled by the government, simply called the Party.

1984 tells of Winston's rebellion against the Party and his struggle to remain himself.1984 is an amazing book. It really gets you thinking about how humans can survive in a society such as this one. Winston's narration is great also, very funny and thought-provoking.

Obviously, sci-fi fans would like this book, but really I'd recommend it to anyone, since it tells such a great story about human nature. It's not that hard to read, and one of those stories that can stay with you for a lifetime.

Kristine, 15

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Bless Me, Ultima 

by Rudolfo Anaya
04/29/2013 Categories: classic mexican americans religion

Bless Me UltimaThe novel Bless Me, Ultima is about a young boy who struggled to find his own beliefs and path in life. His parents couldn't be more different: his dad being a free spirit, while his mom is completely religious. Antonio is introduced to several beliefs by other characters who are alienated from society based on their own personal beliefs.

I loved this book because it demonstrates how a young child is forced to chose his/her own path and not what people want him/her to. I love how Ultima, a curandera or healer bonds with Antonio and helps him overcome his fear of losing faith in Society's beliefs. I also loved how Rudolfo Anaya introduces the Hispanic language into the novel, so the reader can be pulled into the language of the people.

I would certainly recommend this book to people who have a background of the Spanish language; however, anybody can still enjoy this book without knowing Spanish. This novel is a classic of the Hispanic novels, because of how the author uses the language to untie the reader with the society in the novel. This novel was perfectly bonded so anyone can read and know what is happening, and the book has some mystery and magic.

Lauren, 17

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The Scarlet Letter 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne
04/29/2013 Categories: classic movie older teens romance

The novel begins with the town gossiping about resident Hester Prynne. The reader wonders what Hester Prynne did that was so bad. The novel is mostly about how Hester raises her child and why the father won't confront that he is the father.

I loved this book because of its romantic quality, and that even though is was written like two centuries ago, love still exists. I love the part when Hester and the father first meet each other after so long and they still feel love for each other. I hated how the father was such a coward to face the town and say that he was the father.

I would recommend this book to people who can read books with difficult language, and love romantic novels. People who love a suspense love story will love this book, and I loved this book even though everyone in my class disliked this book. This book has a deeper meaning and moral of you read it carefully, and do not treat it as homework.

Lauren, 17

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The Sun Also Rises 

by Ernest Hemingway
04/29/2013 Categories: classic older teens romance world war I

This novel takes place after WWI, where most of the main characters, such as Jake, were soldiers in war and therefore received war trauma. The novel is mostly about how these soldiers self-medicate with alcohol, and how they can never fully be themselves again.

I enjoyed this book, due to the fact that the novel talked about the soldiers after a war, and how the war changed these men. The war also affects a woman named Brett who seems to be a modern woman during that time period and has a relationship with Jake. My least favorite part was when Brett used Jake to get to Romero, and I felt disgusted towards Brett.

I would gladly recommend this book to everyone. This book does contain some mature content, such as self-medicating with alcohol, and the effects of war on soldiers. This novel explores the minds of once stable men and woman who become anger-filled and depressed people.

Lauren, 17

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Picture of Dorian Gray 

by Oscar Wilde
04/27/2013 Categories: classic folktales

Image resultThe novel is about a handsome young man named Dorian Gray, whose beauty inspired his friend Basil Hallward to create his masterpiece, a portrait of Dorian. Basil becomes infatuated with his youthful appearance and purity of thought, worshipping Dorian to be his muse. Everything changes when Dorian meets the charismatic Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, who suggests that the only things worth pursuing are beauty and fulfilment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian bitterly wishes the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than he, even at the cost of his own soul. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, so when he pursues a life of crime and debauchery, the portrait reflects his soul, with each sin manifested as a disfigurement or hideous sign of aging.

This book was truly a delightful experience that targets all the senses through detailed imagery and follows Dorian's deterioration, from cruelty to cold-blooded murder, until he is too far gone to save. The book includes universal themes that are especially applicable in an age obsessed with appearances.

I would recommend this book to book-lovers that love plenty of figurative language and a slow pace, but also some fast-paced action every once in a while. While the beginning may be a little slow, Lord Henry Wotton is always a fun character to read and the second half of the book moves very quickly.

Rebecca, 17

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Animal Farm 

by George Orwell
04/25/2013 Categories: classic movie short stories

One fateful night, the wise, but elderly pig Old Major gathers the starving animals of Manor Farm and speaks of an impossible dream, in which the animals throw off their tyrannical human masters and are free to enjoy the fruits of their own labors. After Old Major's death, two other pigs, Snowball  and Napoleon lead a revolution that drives their cruel master from his land and leaves the animals in charge of their own destiny. For a while, everything is perfect, but Napoleon soon becomes intoxicated with power and forces Snowball into exile, eventually turning the other animals against him. Napoleon leads the animals on a campaign of self-denial and hard work that promises security and freedom; however, it soon becomes obvious that Napoleon and the other pigs are growing fat while the other animals are starving, and are quickly becoming the sort of creature they once waged war against.

I loved this book because even though it was made to address the Russian Revolution and the spread of communism, it remains relevant today as a warning against big government. I was surprised how a story with meaning, power and an enjoyable plot could fit in a book so short. It is simple, but powerful with heart-wrenching scenes and an ending that comes with unstoppable force.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone because even if you don't like stories that make you think, this book is good enough to just read as a fable or short story. You don't have to love history or understand the symbolism to enjoy this book.

Rebecca, 17

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Gone with the Wind 

by Margaret Mitchell
04/25/2013 Categories: classic love triangles military movie

This epic historical romance depicts the turbulent love affair between Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler during the Antebellum Era, Civil War Era, and Reconstruction Era. Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, struggles to survive in a world destroyed by the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Scarlett uses every means at her disposal to claw herself, her loved ones, and her beloved Tara out of the poverty and out from under the heel of the victorious Yankees.

This book is one of my favorites, if not my favorite, book of all time. I was expecting a lengthy novel glorifying slavery and revolving around a sappy relationship between the perfect Southern gentleman and a Southern belle. I couldn't be more wrong! While it is a long book, the story never gets boring or repetitive. While many of the characters represent ideas, they have amazing depth and never fail to touch your heart and stay there. 

Yes, I would recommend this book, but beware!  This book is a real commitment and takes a long time to finish, but it is more than worth it in my opinion. The action is balanced by beautiful imagery and the character development, especially in Scarlett. It is definitely worth reading. One problem I had was keeping all the characters straight, since there are a lot of them, but since the book is so long you'll have a lot of time to get to know all of them before long.

Rebecca, 17

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