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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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Devil in the White City 

by Erik Larson
05/21/2013 Categories: murder non-fiction older teens true stories

Devil in the White CityIn 1893, the World's Fair was to be the biggest event of the century, and it was. Numerous exhibitions from across the country and even the world traveled to Chicago to be displayed next to newfangled creations like the Ferris Wheel and the jawdropping shows of Buffalo Bill. Little did anyone know that danger was lurking in the shadows in the form of serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes: the devil in the White City.

I LOVED this book. As an avid reader of murder mysteries, the story of Dr. Holmes was at once intriguing and frightening. Coupled with the story of the World's Fair, I found this book to be a wonderful dose of both true history and an enthralling plot. Even if you don't like history, you'll still enjoy this book because the story is not overwhelmingly filled with data yet is still realistic. The actual events of both the Columbian Expo and Holmes's killing sprees are portrayed in a wonderful narrative format that is a delight to read. However, due to the rather gory aspects of this novel, I'd recommend this book only to strong readers with equally strong stomachs.

Erica, 17

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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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Divergent 

by Veronica Roth
05/21/2013 Categories: action dystopia love triangles suspense

DivergentIn Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both.

I loved this book! The plot line was very interesting and captivating. As you continue reading, you fall in love with the characters.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a dystopian novel filled with romance and action. If you loved The Hunger Games and other similar books you will definitely enjoy Divergent.

Maria, 15

Rating: 

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Reformed Vampire Support Group 

by Catherine Jinks
05/14/2013 Categories: funny mystery paranormal vampires

Reformed VampiresIn this book, vampires are not beautiful, sparkly creatures of the night. Instead, they are sickly and disturbed people who have a terrible addiction to blood. Join Nina and her support group as they try to find purpose in their otherwise dreary and pathetic lives as they try to free an enslaved werewolf from a terrible life of cage fighting.

This book was very fun to read because it presents a different picture of what vampires could be. The eccentric characters were funny, realistic, and easy to like.

Yes, I would recommend this book because not all vampires are sexy, romantic, and powerful. It's a different spin on supernatural stories, and I think many fans such as those of Wicked would like it.

Kristine, 15

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Hush, Hush 

by Becca Fitzpatrick
05/13/2013 Categories: angels murder romance

Hush HushA fallen angel, Patch, doesn't know whether or not to kill the human he has fallen in love with. Meanwhile the human, Nora, is being stalked by an an unknown person who is also trying to kill her.

I loved this book because the more Patch tried to be apart of Nora's life, the more mysterious Patch became. You slowly find out about Patch's past and how he got to where he is now.

I would recommend this book for any girl who likes mysterious men who are really hot. If you love romance it will be an epic love story for you.

Jacki, 16

Rating: 

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Lord of the Flies 

by William Golding
05/13/2013 Categories: human behavior survival stories

A plane crash leaves several young boys stranded on an island. Two of the boys, Ralph and Piggy, give rules to the rest to gather food, make shelters, and create signal fires. A third boy named Jack takes a different path and through the actions of these children. Lord of the Flies reveals the animal nature of humans that the author believes is true.

The novel is middle of the road for me. It contains several themes and ideas in a dangerous atmosphere. Being stranded on an island is dangerous enough but once you recall that all the characters in the book are young boys, the book becomes a lot darker and more suspenseful. Personally, I disliked that all of the characters are male, whereas if the story was told with females, I believe it would have been more interesting.

Chances are, the average teenager has read this novel. If not, I would be hesitant on a recommendation unless the reader wants a thought provoking novel with ideological sandboxes to dig into.

Jakob, 15

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Out of the Easy 

by Ruta Sepetys
05/13/2013 Categories: adventure murder mystery realistic fiction

Out of the EasySet in 1950's New Orleans, Josie Moraine, the bright daughter of a prostitute, wants to escape the Big Apple and reach for an exceptional college. However, a mysterious death involving her mother disrupts her plans. Josie sets off to find the truth, escape New Orleans, and still get accepted to the college of her dreams.

I was hooked with this book from the first few chapters. The vivid characterization makes the wide number of characters alive and believable, and the plot is quite a roller coaster. There's also a lot of research put into the setting of 1950, but not extensively, just subtly. The author's writing style is very simple and her writing doesn't disappoint.

I'd definitely give it a recommendation to mature teens and adults. Those wanting a fantastic romance mystery will get a thrill from Out of the Easy.

Jakob, 15

Rating: 

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A Feast for Crows 

by George R.R. Martin
05/13/2013 Categories: fantasy older teens politics war

A Feast for CrowsThis fourth installment in the Game of Thrones series chronicles the story of the characters readers have come to love. With the war in Westros changing tides, alliances are made, friendships broken, and many, many lives are lost. Everywhere there is chaos and scheming, and secrets never stay that way for long.

I liked this book because the believable characters keep the story rolling at a fast pace. The plot never stops twisting in ways you never expect, and the author goes in depth with every detail so I felt like I was standing alongside my favorite characters.

I would recommend this book to someone who wants to know all of the gritty details of the fights and enjoys seeing things play out from multiple viewpoints.

Liam, 15

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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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The Lovely Bones 

by Alice Sebold
04/29/2013 Categories: child abuse movie murder older teens rape

Susie Salmon is a normal, 14-year-old girl with a happy family and looks forward to going to high school and maybe dating her crush, Ray Singh.  That all changes when she is brutally raped and murdered on her way home from school and she, and her family, have to deal with the aftermath. Susie narrates to story from her personal Heaven as she comes to terms with her death and watches her loved ones move on and live in a world without her.

It was an interesting read and very touching. Expect an emotional rollercoaster, I was crying by the end, but there is a happy ending so hang in there.  I wanted to read this book because it sounded very original and I wanted to see how Sebold handeled  the whole Heaven issue and having a narrator who was dead.  I thought she handled it well overall and really shows how Susie and her family mature and move past her death.

I would recommend this book for someone that wants something different and is open to unorthodox and sometimes difficult-to-swallow subject matter.  This is not a book for someone very sensitive; there is teenage sex, rape, character death, adultery and some other subjects readers may be uncomfortable with. Read with an open mind and be ready to cry.

Rebecca, 17

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I Am the Messenger 

by Marcus Zusak
04/29/2013 Categories: adventure mystery realistic fiction suspense

I am the messengerDeadbeat Ed Kennedy stops a bank robbery in his small town. Afterwards, he gets suspicious playing cards in the mail, instructing him to go to certain people to change their lives forever.

I Am a Messenger is a great book because it shows how anyone can change other people's lives for the better. Ed is likable character that most people can relate to. This author also wrote The Book Thief, which is in my opinion better, but fans won't be disappointed.

I Am the Messenger is still a good book that anyone can enjoy. Read at your own risk, however, since Ed's town has a lot of iffy people that do iffy things.

Kristine, 15

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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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