Categories

The Glass Castle 

by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a memoir, written by Jeannette Walls. In this book, Walls explains what it was like growing up in poverty. She recounts how her siblings and she had to live with parents who were not the type of parents to be raising so many kids. Her childhood included many difficult times that shaped her into the person she became.

I liked this book because the author had to see so many things in her childhood that many kids shouldn't see. She had to live with two parents who were not in any condition to raise children. It made me think about how lucky I am to have been raised by good parents and not to have grow up as the author did.

I think people of all ages should read this book. It makes you become aware of situations that happen everyday that you might not think about. You sympathize with the author and her siblings and what they went through. This was a very inspiring read!

Sandra, 16

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The Crucible 

by Arthur Miller
04/26/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens play

The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials. It's about a girl named Abigail Williams who claims she and other girls were possessed by the ladies in the town who are witches. Abigail does all this because he wants John Proctor's wife to be executed so she can have him to herself. Eventually many people are arrested because of Abigail's lies, some are even executed.

I liked this play because it makes you think about how fear is very powerful. People are willing to say and do many things out of fear. The author wrote the play in response to McCarthyism and I thought it really showed how people believe what they want without any proof. This play is an example of how fear can spread and cause people to overreact.

If you like reading about the Salem witch trials, I recommend you trying this book.

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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Between the World and Me  

by Ta-nehisi Coates
04/26/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens racism

Between the World and Me is letter that the author is writing to his 15 year old son. He writes about his life experiences growing up as a black male in America. He argues the dangers of being a young black male and the relationships between violence and race. In this book, Coates wants not just his son to take something from it but he wants society to read it and understand how life is for a black person in America.

I thought this was an amazing book! It talks about how society has viewed black people and how it continues to view them as inferior. The author writes his book to his son but it wasn't meant just for him. I learned a lot about how difficult it is to be black and to be viewed as less than human just because of the color of your skin. It's a powerful book and I really enjoyed it.

I would recommend this book to those "privileged" people who have never experienced racism. Anyone who isn't black should read this book because it really makes you aware of how society has treated people just because of how they look. The book allows people to have an idea of what it must be like to have to live in a body that one can't control. In this case, how to live as a black male in a world where everyone controls what happens to that person.

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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Better Off Friends 

by Elizabeth Eulberg
04/26/2017 Categories: dating drama friendship romance

Better Off Friends is a book about two teenagers who meet when they are in 7th grade.They are named Mccallan and Levi. They continue to be friends convinced that they can remain friends without having feelings for each other. Eventually they realize that maybe they won't be better off just friends.

I like this book because it's entertaining and really easy to read. It's a normal romance novel that has a good plot and interesting characters. The author doesn't try to over complicate anything, the book is just a fun easy book to read.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for an fun romance book. If you like romance novels and books that take place in high school you should try this one out!

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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Before I Fall 

by Lauren Oliver
04/26/2017 Categories: death high school drama

Before I Fall is about a 17 year old girl named Samantha Kingston who is killed in a car accident. She if forced to relive her death every day for a week. As she figures out what is happening, she tries to change her fate. She starts doing new things each day, things she would have never done before.

I really liked the book because it's an interesting plot to have to relive the day of your death. It really teaches how we have to live every day to the fullest without taking advantage of others or being a bully.

If you like books that deal with the five stages of grief, I recommend this book . Also if you like the theme of live vs. death you should read the book. 

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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As I Lay Dying 

by William Faulkner
04/26/2017 Categories: death

As I Lay Dying is a story that is narrated by 15 different people through 59 chapters. The main focus of the story is the death of Addie Bundren and her families motivations to honor her wish of being buried in her hometown.

I liked the book! I loved how the author wrote 15 different perspectives, making the reader think about how different we interpret things. Also I liked how death was a big center of the story, I thought that was interesting.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading books about how people deal with death. Also if you like the theme of death and isolation between families I suggest this book.

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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The Alchemist 

by Paulo Coelho
04/26/2017 Categories: short stories

The Alchemist is about a young shepherd who has a dream of finding treasure in Egypt. After he keeps having the same dream he decides to go to Egypt. This book is about his journey there.

I liked this book because I have never read a book like it, it was really interesting to read it. Also, I liked how the main theme of the book is finding your own destiny. Many people have to decide what they're gonna do in their lives.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading books about deciding what we want to do with our lives. If you likes books about adventure and fantasy, I suggest you read this book!

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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Fahrenheit 451 

by Ray Bradbury
04/26/2017 Categories: sci fi

Fahrenheit 451 is about a future in America where books are burned by firemen along with the houses that are hiding books. Montag, the main character, has been a firefighter for 10 years. He has never questioned why they burn the books until he meets a 17 year old girl who tells him about the past and how no one was afraid of thinking.

I liked the book because I enjoy reading books about the future. It makes you think about how the future can be if people were to stop thinking. I like how the book had a young girl who was questioning why the future was so different from the past. It makes you think about how our present is different and sometimes worse than the past of many.

I would recommend this book to people who has ever questioned why we do things the way we do them today. Anyone who thinks about how different the future will be should read this book. Also the book is a great example of how there will always be people who will not settle for what everyone is doing and will always try to change things for the better.

Sandra, 16

Rating: 

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The Private Lives of the Impressionists 

by Sue Roe
04/26/2017 Categories: art biography france non-fiction

Late 19th century France sometimes was not a friendly place for the then-considered-radical impressionists. This book analyzes how the friendships and family lives of the impressionists (such as Monet, Manet, Bazille, and Renoir) were influenced by societal expectations and political events. Their art was unprecedented, and while society may have been slow to accept it, they continued with their work, and today it is revered.

This book, beyond being a biography, is a commentary on friendship and rebellion. For this reason, I found it very enjoyable. Sue Roe provides ample descriptive details while also explaining interesting historical facts. By learning about their political, economic, and social tendencies, and by analyzing written records of the painters themselves, the reader is provided with a detailed characterization of each individual artist.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in art or history. The writing is somewhat slow, since it is essentially a history book, however the content is extremely captivating and worth the read.
 

Julia, 17

Rating: 

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Freakonomics 

by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
04/26/2017 Categories: non-fiction older teens

This book explores unusual topics in a way that is unexpectedly revealing about the nature of society and economics. By analyzing statistics on topics such as schoolteachers cheating on standardized tests and relating that to something completely different, such as sumo wrestlers intentionally throwing matches, the reader learns not only how interesting economics can be, but how oftentimes the world is not as it seems.

I would describe this book as eye-opening. To many people, the word "economics" connotes boredom, but this book may just change your opinion. This unconventional take on economics demonstrates key principles of analysis while tackling serious themes such as human honesty and the effects of poverty.

Even if you are not typically partial to nonfiction, I would recommend this book. It is always good to expose yourself to a variety of genres. Oftentimes, we fall into the pattern of trusting our assumptions and the assumptions of others. This book is an impressive reminder that even when what is typically accepted seems reasonable, it is important that you analyze the facts for yourself. What you find may be surprising.

Julia, 17

Rating: 

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Fahrenheit 451 

by Ray Bradbury
04/20/2017 Categories: mystery older teens sci fi

Established in a dystopian society, books are outlawed and "firemen" are used to burn and eliminate these books in fear of knowledge and power among people. However, one fireman named Guy Montag uncovers the secrets of society's past and the origin of these book burnings which causes him to go deeper into the history of his society. As Montag discovers more and more secrets, he finds himself more in danger of losing his family, friendship, and his identity.

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic book that I believe everyone should read, because it signifies why reading is so important and it gives us this vision of what the future may be like if technology takes over our society and our world.

I would totally recommend this book to middle school and high school students, along with young adults. This book is more geared towards teens and young adults. I feel like they would enjoy it due to the interesting plot. 

Kirsten, 15

Rating: 

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Eleanor and Park 

by Rainbow Rowell
04/20/2017 Categories: emotions & feelings family drama romance

The novel, Eleanor and Park, tells the love story of two outsiders during the 1980's who find solace and comfort in each other's differences. Eleanor and Park is a story of family, emotional turmoil and first loves and how fleeting they truly are.

The novel, as a whole, was exceptional. The writing style is beautiful yet witty; there are no boring scenes within this book. The characters are well-developed and for the most part, quite realistic. The ending leaves a bit to be desired, but the journey easily makes up for it.

Yes, I would highly recommend this book! It was a fun and easy read. If you like coming of age stories with a slight 80's twist, you will definitely enjoy this novel! 

Hannah, 16

Rating: 

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Catcher in the Rye 

by JD Salinger
04/20/2017 Categories: human behavior

The novel, Catcher in the Rye, tells the story of a wandering boy and his many encounters after being expelled from a prestigious private school. Set in 1950's New York, this story follows the cynical protagonist, Holden Caulfield, as he attempts to make sense of the many values of life.

The book, to sum it up in one word, was quite pretentious. Not to say that it was bad because it most certainly was not. The writing itself was masterful in its complex symbolism and metaphors. The main character, however, could be infuriating at times with most of his decisions being unrealistic at best and idiotic at worst.

The book is definitely an acquired taste. Some people may absolutely love it and some absolutely despise it. To each their own. Personally, I would recommend this book to others just so they could formulate their own opinions on it. To anyone who likes coming of age and self-discovery stories, you might want to try this one.

Hannah, 16

Rating: 

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Uglies 

by Scott Westerfeld
04/20/2017 Categories: dystopia friendship social classes technology

Image result for uglies

Tally is a girl who can't wait to be 16, because when she does, she will be turned "pretty". Where Tally lives, everybody over the age of 16 looks the same; perfect skin, bones remade to the exact length, perfect everything. But Tally's wish is slowly crushed and turned into something else when she meets Shay, who wants Tally and her to run away to a mysterious boy in the wilderness, and never turn pretty.

I thought this book was very good and thrilling. The author seemed to have the setting in the future; where North America is long history, and the 10 billion people who lived there, 300 years before this new government and society, were called "rusties".

I would recommend this book to people if you like future-settings with some rebellion and excitement.

Cailin, 11

Rating: 

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I am Number Four 

by Pittacus Lore
04/20/2017 Categories: friendship high school drama sci fi

He has no name, really, or a permanent home; just Number 4, and his home was a planet in a different galaxy, that got taken over by another alien race. One month he's Broden living in Kansas, the next he's Zak in Montana. 4 has to move yet again, to stay as far away from the other alien race searching to kill him. John (which is his new name) settles in a new town in Ohio and when he finally feels at home, they come to kill him, but he and his friends fight back and stop them.

I thought it was a pretty good book. It was especially interesting with all the different alien people on Earth, with each race trying to kill each other.

If you like characters that are far different from everyone else and action, you would really like this book. This book made me want to never put it down, it was so good!

Cailin, 11

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