Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's TravelsGulliver's Travels is a fantasy book detailing the narration of Lemuel Gulliver. He travels across the sea and discovers interesting and vast countries very different from his own. Gulliver encounters a country where he is a giant, and another featuring a civilization of giants.

The book wasn't that bad. At face level, this story is a fantasy that explores random ideas of a country. There are some parts in the book where the ideas go over one's head, and/or parody something one wouldn't normally know about. One can get the best out of this elderly book once they know the background behind it, but otherwise it's an ok book nonetheless. I recommend this book, not only because it's a classic that everyone has to read, but it's very interesting and has ideas that are uncommon to hear about these days. Like most literary classics, it's a tad difficult to read, but don't let that be an excuse for not reading this classic.

Jakob, 15

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Princess Academy

by Shannon Hale

Princess AcademyIn Princess Academy, Miri, a young, weak Lowlander who so desperately wants to help the rest of town working in the quarry, is chosen to be one of the girls sent to the top of Mount Ekenl. Her job is to attend the Princess Academy, run by the harsh and sometimes cruel Olana, and train in order to compete for the Prince's heart. Throughout her training, Miri makes both friends and enemies and she becomes torn. Where does her heart lie: with the Prince who can offer her and her family a better future or in the village with Peder? Yet, what Miri does not realize is that she and the rest of girls are living on a deserted mountain top where they can easily be taken hostage without anyone realizing. Can Miri prove her strength to everyone and will her Prince save her?

Princess Academy is a beautifully written book filled with both adventure and romance. Miri is a character that all girls can relate to in one way or another, and her story forms a lesson to all: true strength comes from within and true love is stronger than any storm. Hale does an amazing job of portraying a beautiful and unique tale and connecting with the reader.

This book is perfect for all female readers, especially preteens. Every girl who reads this will come away with a very important lesson whether it be about true love, friendship, strength, or family. This story was written to show every girl what it means to be a princess and how every girl is a princess inside.

Jana, 17

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A Clash of Kings

by George R.R. Martin

Clash of KingsClash of Kings is a continuation of the novel Game of Thrones. In this book, the houses of Westros gears up for war as the king in the North attempts to win independence from King Joffrey. Meanwhile, Stannis Bartetheon asserts his rule from the island fortress of Dragonstone and tries to wrench the loyalty of the lords of storm's end from his brother Renly. Across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen guides her people and her dragons with hopes of reclaiming her families throne.

This is an incredible book because it is full to the brim with vivid descriptions of battles, events, and plots from the point of view of the characters across the world. It is full of plot twists and realistic characters that have their own histories and secrets.

I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of fantasy or war stories. Or if you want something that will keep you up all night turning the pages, then look no further.

Liam, 15

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Unspoken

by Sarah Rees Brennam

UnspokenKami has fallen in love with her imaginary friend, a boy who has talked in her head ever since she can remember. Then suddenly, a boy with the same name and personality appears before her. At the same time, brutal animal killings are beginning to surface in her small town, and it's up to Kami and her cohorts to straighten things out.

I liked it! It's like a modern Gothic novel that was both excruciatingly good and sort of disappointing (but I can't tell you why). The characters were well-developed and the surprisingly dark, fantastical story behind the town (Sorry-in-the-Vale) was rather intriguing. I await the sequel with bated breath!

Girls will probably prefer this more due to the romance involved, but due to the surprising twists and turns as well as the darkish flavor of the story, guys may enjoy this book as well. If you get spooked easily, you might want to read this one in the daytime.

Erica, 17

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The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea details an elderly Cuban fisherman's adventure at sea. Almost out of luck, he encounters a marlin of gargantuan proportions and engages a fierce battle with it.

I thought this book was solid, but not the best. It has a simple premise, but this works well with its deep, thoughtful ideas. Its writing is simple, but the words flow very naturally and professionally. It does feel unexciting and drawn-out at times, but mostly it depends on the reader.

I'd recommend The Old Man and the Sea to anyone who wants to read a good classic. It's a short read compared to most books, but it makes quite an impact.

Jakob, 15

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Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

Anne Frank is a thirteen year old Jewish girl who hides in an attic called "the Secret Annexe" for two years with multiple other families. She writes about all of her experiences in a journal, which is this book. Anne details her relationships, conflicts, and thoughts about her, the people she's with, and the troubles of 1942.

This book is an amazing look into life during the Holocaust. Anne has a very wide vocabulary for her age, and has very deep opinions about the world around her. Her interesting personality makes it very entertaining to read, and it is very easy to relate to her (more so if the reader is female).

If you'd like a book detailing what life was like during the Holocaust, The Diary of a Young Girl is definitely a story you should consider reading. I recommend it. It's simple to read, but lasts long enough to produce an evident impact.

Jakob, 15

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The Secret Prophecy

by Herbie Brennan

Secret ProphecyImagine if your dad died and some really strange people showed up at his funeral with guns hidden in their jackets. That's what happened to Edward Michael Goverton. Call him Em. When Em stumbles on a Nostradamus "secret prophecy" he is in for the adventure of a lifetime. Aided by a Secret Service (Section 7) agent named Victor and a good friend, Em discovers what kind of mess he is really in and along the way, finds out the truth about his dad.

 I loved this book because of all the action. I couldn't put it down. I would recommend this to anyone who likes action and spy stuff.

Hieu, 13

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Wild Things

by Clay Carmichael

Wild ThingsImagine that your mom was mental and left you to your own devices to survive. Then she died. That's what happened to Zoe, a nearly 12 year old girl. Taken in by her uncle Henry, a blacksmith, she quickly warms up to him and befriends a wild cat and her wild half-brother along the way.

This book was really awesome! It was also nominated for an award!

Yes, I liked this book because Zoe showed a lot of maturity and trust. This is definitely a story for all to read.

5 stars

Hieu, 13

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Storm of Swords

by George R.R. Martin

Storm of SwordsIn the third installment of the Game of Thrones series, Storm of Swords heats up the tension between the warring kingdoms of Westros. As King Joffery tries to maintain his hold on the iron throne, an army of Wildlings masses in the north beyond the wall. As the Nights Watch pleads for assistance, the war only heats up as lords become more anxious about the war and how it might end.

I loved this book because it was action packed and kept me guessing until the very last page!

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy or historical fiction and does not want to be spared the gory details.

Liam, 15

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Warm Bodies

by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies

A plague has turned people into zombies. Nobody knows how or why it started, but now everywhere you turn you see gray skin. R, a zombie who can't remember his own name, is the one who must change the zombies' fate.

I liked this book a lot because R, the main character, is trying his hardest to regain his ability to care. With Julie, R can care again and tries his hardest to keep his humanity out for others to see.

This book has romance AND zombies for anyone who needs a little thrill. There is also some supernatural bits with R as he gets closer to saving human kind.

Jacki, 16

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To Kill A Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

To Kill a MOckingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird is about fictional character named Scout narrating from an adult perspective about something that happened during her childhood. Her story has two main plots: one about she, her brother, and their friend trying to learn more about Boo Radley, a man who has nasty rumors made about him and never leaves his home; and another about the court case in which an African American man named Tom Robinson is convicted for accused rape.

I thought the book was okay overall, because I enjoyed the suspense of the court case, but some other elements of the story seemed bland, or just were not relatable to me in my generation. For example, the scenes with Scout in school did not interest me much, for it had too much detail of a simple elementary school classroom.

I would recommend this book to adults who were around when it was written, since it would relate more to their generation. Also I would relate it to anyone who enjoys exciting court cases, since the court scenes are gripping and exciting.

Hayley, 15

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Animal Farm

by George Orwell

Animal Farm is a book about a farm that is taken over by its overworked animals. They wish to create a world where all animals are equal, but many conflicts arise from all areas.

Personally, I found the book to be so-so. The book may seem silly and childish from the title and base description alone, but it is actually a very deep symbolic novel. Animal Farm has a few emotional thrills inside of it, but is an easy and fast read.

The book is difficult to give a recommendation. Despite being about talking animals, the story isn't exactly always happy, and anyone can die. If one wants a dystopian that stands out from the rest, Animal Farm might be a good choice.

Jakob, 15

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Rosencrantz & Guidenstern are Dead

by Tom Stoppard

Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead is a fairly short play based on a line ("Rosencratz and Guildenstern are dead") from Shakespeare's Hamlet. The play follows the two minor characters: Rosencratz and Guildenstern as they act behind the stage. Weaving in and out of the original story, the reader is able to get a better glimpse at these two characters as they struggle with their own issues about reality, life, and identity. Rosencratz and Guildenstern struggle to find some solid ground in a world were nothing, not even probability, makes sense.

To say this play is fantastic would be an understatement. The idea behind the play is simple enough; yet, the manner in which Stoppard commenced to write it and the bigger ideas about life that he incorporates within the plot are pure genius. The play does have its moments of comedy (in fact, most of it is comedy), but underneath the comic facade, it holds even deeper thoughts about the meaning of life.

I would definitely recommend this book to others for the very fact that it is for everyone. Even though it is based on Shakespeare, it is not Shakespeare. The language is easy to understand and the comedy is for everyone. Yet, I believe that those who would appreciate it the most are those who have read some Shakespeare, especially Hamlet.

Jana, 17

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Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle

by L.J. Smith

Vampire DiariesElena is captivated by a new stranger who arrives at her school. At first the stranger shows no interest in her, making Elena want him more. After a bit of hesitation, the mysterious man, Stefan, finally gives in to her and a strong love is created.

I liked how Elena was a very firm character. Elena stood up for what she believed in and did whatever she wanted. You can't resist Stefan and Damon Salvatore, they're perfect!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a love triangle. You are stuck between loving Damon's evil vindictive side or Stefan's loving loyal side.

Jacki, 16

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Divergent

by Veronica Roth

DivergentThis book is about a group of five factions. In the book a girl gets a new chance at life when she gets to choose what she wants to be. She left her family to become a dare devil. She is trying to stay alive at this compound. But can she stay alive with the people that are there?

I loved this book. I actually read it five times! This book can catch your eye just by the cover. I liked it because I like to read dramatic books. 

I know for a fact that others would love this book. I had recommend it to my friend and she loved it. When you finish this book you will want to get the next one. If you like DANGER you will like this book.

Rebecka, 14

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