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This Star Won't Go Out 

by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, and John Green
11/15/2017 Categories: cancer non-fiction

This book is Esther Earl's life. Journal entries, notes, everything. Esther Star Earl was diagnosed with cancer at age 12. In 2010 at the sweet age of 16, Esther passed away. Even though it may seem like a sad tale, Esther is a very interesting girl. You get to understand her, and laugh at her journal entries, and you get to know her. How many of you people have read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? Yeah, well John dedicated that book to Esther. God bless you, Esther Earl;) 

I have to be honest(on a public site, seriously?) with you guys, I cried in the ending because Esther died. I mean, I knew it would happen, but you get so attached. Don't get discouraged, you should still read it. Honor those who have passed. It was a great, touching book. 

Anyone could read this, but those who want to connect with someone you never expected to, should read this book. Esther also has her own YouTube page:cookie4monster4/user/youtube.com(just google it. 'Tis easier) Hope you love it as much as I do!

Priscilla, 12

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Taking Flight 

by Michaela DePrince
11/15/2017 Categories: inspirational non-fiction war

Everyone has heard of Misty Copeland, the black ballerina, but have they heard of another one? Well, her name is Michaela DePrince, and she has a story to tell. Despite the horror's of her past, Michaela has really taken flight and proven to people that someone who was judged as the lowest of low, can really rise to the top.

This book is yet another war memoir(I know, what is up with all these war books?), and as unique as How Dare The Sun Rise. Michaela DePrince takes you through the journey from becoming the grand ballerina she is seen as today. Fun fact: This book took place at the same destination as A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah(or, 'The Review My Sister Wrote')

I hope everyone reads inspirational bookS like these, because they will see the world at a different angle than when they first begun the book. Even though war memoirs are hard to read, it really explains the hardship that people might not even heard of. This is what people are doing today: helping kids in Africa who has gone through the same things as Michaela. Horrifying scenes from war. It also has it's fun parts!(young black kids have the weirdest images of white people, "Their hair are different colors like Teacher Sarah's crayons. I heard that you could see the sky in their eyes.")

Priscilla, 12

Rating: 

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How Dare The Sun Rise 

by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
11/15/2017 Categories: inspirational non-fiction older teens war

This book is a war memoir of Sandra Uwiringiyimana. It describes the vivid memories that Sandra endured in Africa. War was raging, and people died along with it. Sandra's story is sure to horrify. Horrify you in the means of presenting to you a different point of view as the victim of war, and to explain what it is like not having the rights we have in the U.S.

It was really good. Some parts were very hard to read through(well, it is a war memoir) because I am reading about someone's real life. It was definitely interesting because I learn what it is like outside of the United States. I think everyone has the potential to learn a different point of view, but only a few try.

Like I said in the earlier paragraph, I think everyone should read this book, and I hope many do. This is a story of people who are not really known, who rise up to become a national beacon of hope.

Priscilla, 12

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A Long Way Gone 

by Ishmael Beah
10/25/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens true stories war

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a very stirring autobiography about Ishmael Beah and his journey to becoming a boy soldier and how he recovers from it. Beah takes the reader through his painful journey of loss and pain, but also a journey of discovery and growing up. Beah takes the reader deep into his thoughts and heart, describing the devastating disappointment and pain of his family's death, the hatred that fueled his drive in being a boy soldier in the Sierra Leone civil war, and finally how he reconciles with his past and how he finally regains his childhood and humanity. 

This novel was very good because Beah is very honest about his experiences and pain. It's interesting to read about how he learned to cope with the memories of his painful past and losses. But it's also interesting to see him grow and recover from his past.

I would recommend this book to all people. It's a good book about culture, war around the world, recovery from grief, and the loss of childhood. It also questions the role of the idea of 'Humanity' and what happens to people who have lost it.

Keila, 14

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Horsefeathers: & Other Curious Words 

by Charles E. Funk
09/23/2017 Categories: non-fiction

This book isn't just a story, it's better! It's a bunch of little ones combined into one book! It is filled with different sayings throughout history. To list a few(If you don't know, Google it.): Joe-Pye Weed Butterscotch Belladonna Nuthatch and Earwig.

I think that the words are very interesting, and I am very fond of my class--English, and I think it is a great way of expanding your vocab, and blowing people's mind when you do.

I believe that everyone should read this book, like I said earlier, it is a great book for more understanding of uncommon words most people don't even use.

Priscilla, 12

Rating: 

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The Dream Giver 

by Bruce H. Wilkinson

Meet Ordinary, he lives in a place where everyone lives in the Comfort Zone, and everyone is the same. Until one day, Ordinary decides to leave the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream, no matter the Border Bullies that block his true potential.

I think this book is a great reminder that anyone could achieve their dreams. Even though there will be some roadblocks, we can always think our way through the problem, not around. It is a fantastic book that will question your way of thinking, and it will help you explore yourself and your values.

Everyone should seriously read this great book. Anyone who wants to expand their horizons, and create a different way of thinking. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Priscilla, 12

Rating: 

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The Making of a Navy Seal 

by Brandon Webb
09/20/2017 Categories: non-fiction war

This book is about the amazing journey of the author, Brandon Webb, on becoming a Navy Seal(hence the title). Through the first couple chapters, you really get into Brandon's life, and you can really see the changes from when he was a vigorous sportster to one of America's Deadliest Snipers. Through the difficulty of his father, and getting a spot into the Navy Seal training, Brandon Webb's story is a truly interesting tale. A story worthy of telling your friends. 

I really like this book because you explore the HARD-core training the recruits have to go through. In order to graduate onto the next level, they have to go through a really hard training week. Guess what it's called(c'mon, it may be easy. . .). Hell Week. That's right, not nonfiction no more. Though it seems like it might be the hardest thing in life(probably is), the funny thing is, it is the most interesting thing in the book. It might not be for you. But there's one way to find out. . . 

Anyone can read this great, powerful book. Get the excitement of the capturing of al-Qaeda, and the terror of 9/11. I think this book is a great nutshell capturing all the military training, and Brandon Webb must be a great author, father, and sniper. After you read this book, I can totally assure you that it will change your mind about looking at Navy Seal's walking around. R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Priscilla, 12

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The Overachievers: The Secret Life of Driven Kids 

by Alexandra Robbins

Image result for The Overachievers: The Secret Life of Driven KidsThis book is a thrilling non-fictional piece that highlights the lives of nine upperclassmen at Walt Whitman High School. We journey with these students through the stress of their hectic academic schedules, their equally ambitious parents, and their internal struggles. The college admissions process is always present, and it makes you feel just as trapped as the students that go through it. See what it is like to be the Superstar, the Perfectionist, the Workhorse, the Teacher's Pet, the Slacker, the Meathead, the Flirt, the Popular Girl, and the Stealth Overachiever as they give us a glimpse of their overachieving lives.

This book is very interesting because it gives the reader a behind-the-scenes perspective on the overachieving culture that many high school students across America are a part of today. I like the fact that instead of seeing this world from one perspective, you get perspective from nine different people that are well-trained in the field.

Every high school student should pick up this book at some point, as well as parents, counselors, high schools, and colleges. If you are involved in any educational environment at all, or even if you just like to read for pleasure, this book is for you.

Anna, 14

Rating: 

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens 

by Sean Covey
08/23/2017 Categories: non-fiction self-help

In this book, Sean Covey lists the seven good habits that teenagers should adopt for an improved life. He includes most of the typical troubles that people face during their teenage years. 

I liked that Covey wrote this book to help troubled teens make positive changes in their lives. He covered self-image, peer pressure, family and friend relationships, and life goals. Despite his good intentions as a writer, I felt that Covey missed some important aspects of a "troubling" life that some teenagers might face. Most of the tips he gave only applied to teens with an ideal life: financially stable home with caring but strict parents. I felt like he didn't include any problems that teens in more severe situations were going through. While reading this book, I felt like he oversimplified the issues that some teens face and gave vague or counterproductive solutions to his readers. 

This book claims to be the "ultimate teenage success guide," but it only covers a limited number of problems that may only apply to teens in an ideal home. Another issue with this book is that a teenager fighting with his parents over going to a party versus a teenager fighting with his parents over making more money to support the family are two very different things. Covey offers one solution for both of these problems even though his tips may only help the first teenager. Because his solutions are too broad and simple, I wouldn't recommend this to friends who are going through serious problems such as poverty, depression, or bullying. 

Heejeong, 18

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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes On An Imperfect Science 

by Atul Gawande
08/19/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens

Image result for Complications: A Surgeon's Notes On An Imperfect ScienceIn Complications: A Surgeon's Notes On An Imperfect Science, Atul Gawande, a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, describes all the problems that surgeons in training and even professionals face in the emergency rooms. He argues throughout his book that there are always complications during surgeries and treatments of patients, but that those complications are what allows those practicing medicine to learn and fix their mistakes.

Atul Gawande is a surgeon but I really liked that he admitted in this book that he as a surgeon and his practices are all imperfect. It might be hard to simply say these things because the public expects doctors and especially surgeons to be perfect beings. His message was very clear throughout the book: the world of medicine is constantly evolving and the only way to advance is to make mistakes. I think this book brings awareness to the public that doctors are not omniscient, and that the readers need to understand that doctors cannot promise anything. 

I would recommend this book to older teens because some of the anecdotes that Gawande shares may not appeal to younger readers. However, I think after reading this book, older readers will appreciate the world of medicine and all that we know in that field so far. Again, complications may seem like a negative thing in this this field of science but I think it's important for others to understand that they are necessary for the advancement of medicinal knowledge.

Heejeong, 18

Rating: 

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

by Rebecca Skloot
08/19/2017 Categories: african americans cancer non-fiction

In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot tells the true story of how the cells of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman with cervical cancer, were extracted and preserved by doctors without her consent. Lacks' cells were the first cells that were able to reproduce infinitely in a lab setting, therefore earning the name "immortal cells." These "immortal" cells of Henrietta Lacks were nicknamed "HeLa" cells by scientists and they were crucial to the development of new medicine for cancer as well as other illnesses. Using the story of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot writes about the clash between the progress of medicine and ethics. 

I started reading this book for my AP Biology class and I was so sure that it was going to take a long time to finish it. However, the whole entire time, I felt like I was watching a movie (which I really liked). I was so surprised by all the detail because it would have taken Rebecca Skloot a long time to interview all the people involved and research all the events that took place. The acquirement of HeLa cells were very controversial: Henrietta's status as a black citizen made it easier for doctors to use her for research purposes, the Lacks' family did not receive a dime for their contribution to the progress of medicine, and Henrietta died without even a headstone to mark her grave. Skloot includes all of these little details in this book to get the readers to weigh the pros and cons of these injustices committed against a family.

I believe that everyone should read Skloot's books. There are so many crazy things that happened in the world that I didn't know about. I think that reading this book has helped me gain more knowledge of how doctors and scientists were back then. What's ironic is that these doctors were trying to help their society, but in doing so they deceived and manipulated their patients. Even though I didn't get any closure regarding the controversy over HeLa cells from this book, I was able to better understand how the world has changed from the 50's. I recommend this book to everyone, not just people interested in science. It will really open your eyes on the issues of our world.

Heejeong, 18

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Surf Like A Girl 

by Rebecca Heller
08/12/2017 Categories: non-fiction

Image result for Rebecca Heller Surf Like A Girl

For all my awesome, surf-loving girls out there! THE book has come, and I am wanting you to read it! This book will get you from picking the right wetsuit, to picking a board. And some beach tips on the way. I really hope you will enjoy this book as much as I do!

I really, really like this book. It is just a single book, and the author is amazing! Bethany Hamilton has read the book, and left a comment, and even by the cover, you can tell you are about to go on a journey. . .

I would recommend it to all my lady gals out there who have a passion to surf those gnarly waves, and tame your fears, and have a blast! Starting the with the whitewater will be best, and maybe begin with a foam board. P.S. The boards from Costco are pretty decent. It is your choice, and I do suggest that you'd do research on surfboards! Have a great time!

Priscilla, 12

Rating: 

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Because of Romek: A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir 

by David Faber, James D. Kitchen
08/10/2017 Categories: holocaust non-fiction older teens wwII

In this memoir, David Faber describes his experiences as a Jew living under Hitler's Third Reich during World War II. Faber recounts the terrible mistreatment of Jews in concentration camps as well as his multiple attempts to escape. Although he was a survivor, he explains that the terrors of those years still haunt him in forms of nightmares.

This was the first Holocaust book that I picked up in my entire life. I read it at an early age, way before I had actually known about the injustices against Jews during World War II. The book gives a vivid description of what Faber's life was like before, during, and after the Holocaust. It was a difficult read because of the content but it did happen and I'm glad that I was able to learn from this book as well.

I would recommend anyone to read Faber's memoir. The first time I read it, I was in fourth grade. I didn't understand it at first, but I was able to learn from it the second time. I really liked Elie Wiesel's books but Faber has a different style of writing that makes it feel like you're there with him. It's scary but I think that was one of the reasons why Faber's book had a much more lasting impact on me than Night did. I think it's important that we remember the Holocaust and that we never forget it because it was terrible crime against humanity. That's why I would really recommend this book to anyone.

Heejeong, 18

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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
06/21/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens

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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