Escondido Public Library

 

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

A Separate Peace is a novel that takes place during WWII, and talks about two best friends. Finny and Gene seem to be unlikely friends, because Finny is really into sports and having fun, while Gene focuses on his studies and being number one in his class. Gene becomes extremely jealous of Finny' s popularity, and becomes paranoid that Finny doesn't want Gene to be number one in the class. Gene's jealousy controls him and gets the better of him and starts the main conflict in this novel.

This book teaches the life lessons of friendship and loyalty. A true friend should not feel jealous and want to bring down a friend, but should be happy and support his or her friend. A true friend will acknowledge and accept their wrong doings toward their friend, and finally his or her friend will accept the apology. Another life lesson I learned was that you should always think before acting because you might regret it until your death.

This book is more than two covers filled with printed pages. The words and story itself come to life with each turned page. The characters become a friend you yourself will not want to say good bye to. The whole book was amazing, because the book starts out as a comedy but becomes and ends as a tragedy. If you are a strong reader and can withstand a sad ending like this one, I strongly recommend this book. A Separate Peace is more than a book , it's a soul that keeps living.

Lauren, 16

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Gentlemen

by Micheal Northrop

GentlementIn Gentlemen, Tommy, Mixers, Bones, and Micheal are a tight-knit group that no one in school or outside of school dares to mess with. One day, while in class, Tommy throws a "tantrum" and is sent to the vice-principal's office, but he never makes it there nor does he go home. Tommy disappears and the rest of the group can't find him anywhere. They begin to worry that something is wrong and are convinced that Tommy has been brutally murdered, especially when their English teacher, Mr. Habermann, the one man who actually calls them "gentleman", begins acting very strangely, speaking of murder and the ideas of crime and punishment.

Gentlemen is definitely a book that I liked. It's very fast paced and gripping and has you enthralled until the very end. The ending itself is unexpected and although it may seem slightly disappointing at first, continue reading on till the end and you'll find that feeling of disappointment replaced with one of content. By the end of the book, you'll find yourself wondering about the true meaning of friendship and respect.

This book is one that I would recommend to everyone and anyone who loves to read and wonder about the deeper things in life. Yet, I believe that those who like reading crime thrillers and stories about the dark side of society would greatly appreciate this book.

Jana, 16

Rating: 

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Love & Leftovers

by Sarah Tregay

Love and Leftovers coverThis book was about a teenage girl named Marcie who moved for a brief period of time to New Hampshire. She felt lonely and hooked up with a boy from her new school and did not tell her boyfriend back at home.

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to relate to, fun to read, and had a good storyline.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. People who like realistic fiction, love stories, and novels written in verse would love this book.

Jennifer, 16

Rating: 

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The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

Anne Frank is a 13-year-old Jewish girl, who spends two years of her short life hiding in a cramped attic, located in Amsterdam, along with several other families. This real-life story takes place in 1942. Anne and her family are in the "Secret Annexe," because at the time, the Nazis were occupying Holland. Anne keeps a diary, in which she writes all about her life.

The story of Anne Frank is very touching and powerful. It is a remarkable book that is perfect for any advanced reader. I liked it because of the plot line and vivid details. It is interesting to read about a girl your age, and to compare your life to her's.

If you are interested about learning more about Europe's history, and discovering how life was back then, you should consider reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. You won't be disappointed!

Milla, 12

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Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire coverCatching Fire is about a violent game called, The Hunger Games, where children fight to the death -- until one person remains standing. It contains romance, action, and drama.

Catching Fire is a brilliantly plotted book, and you won't be able to put it down until you are done. I like how it uses so much detail, and how the story is told from the perspective of Katniss, the main character. If you are a fan of science fiction books with romance mixed in, then you would love to read Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

I recommend reading the first book of this series, The Hunger Games, before reading Catching Fire.

Milla, 12

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Desert Flower

by Waris Dirie

Desert Flower coverDesert Flower was written by a well-known model Waris Dirie. The most amazing factor of this book is that this is a true story and is still as or more interesting than fiction. The reader explores the life of a circumcised woman in Somalia and all of her obstacles.

I love this book based on the fact that Waris Dirie's life as a child must have been difficult, and you explore a different country with different cultures. The type of society we pretend doesn't exist is still alive and well in other countries. This book is an eye- opener to our lack of knowledge beyond our country.

I would certainly recommend this book to older teens due to the inappropriate and intense scenes. This book truly captivates the reader and reinforces the lesson that not all of our lives will be easy and there will be challenges we must overcome. The title is a symbol, because a beautiful flower or woman like Waris can grow from anywhere, even in the desert, and still prosper.

Lauren, 16

Rating: 

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The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

The Color Purple might be a violent and challenging book; however, it has a very rich and deep meaning. Celie has become one of my favorite woman characters because of all she has endured in her life. Having to suffer seeing her two children taken from her at a young age and seen as subordinates, Celie still has hope in God. Woman are just as strong as men.

This book is an inspiration to a lot of woman who are suppressed by men. Celie is one of those characters you get very close and by the end of the book I was wishing it wouldn't end. Celie assumes her sister is dead after not hearing from her for years. The Color Purple has many twists and a very shocking ending.

I would recommend this book to older readers who want a challenge - it's an amazing book but is very explicit and has a lot of violent scenes. This book also has many racial and gender arguments and ventures into an era when women didn't wear pants and were looked upon as a man's property. The tile can be seen as a symbol throughout the story and is told like if you were reading through an old journal. Remember the reason this book is a challenge is because the speaker, Celie was learning how to write.

Lauren, 16

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The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

Lovely Bones coverThe Lovely Bones is told by the main character, Susie, whose murderer is unknown in the
beginning. A mixture of mystery and romance, Susie's knowledge of her murderer gives the reader anxiety because she's dead and telling her story from heaven. Susie learns more about her family when she is dead than if she would of have been alive.

This book was seriously a spine chiller!  You feel sympathy for Susie and her family. This book is filled with a lot of irony and sarcasm. The way this book is told from the beginning is amazing, because the perspective of Susie makes the reader see the whole story of a person who couldn't tell their story. Most homicides and suicides committed only have one or two stories but not the person who died. Those of us left behind usually never get the real story about how the person died or what they were thinking when they died. 

I would certainly recommend this book to older teens as it does contain intense and dramatic scenes. Alice Sebold did an amazing job crafting and writing The Lovely Bones, so I hope you read and enjoy this book.

Lauren, 16

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The Reader

by Bernhard Schlink

Reader coverThe Reader, written by Bernhard Schlink, is a book that talks about inapprpiate
relationships. The main character, Michael , becomes enthralled by Hanna, a
woman is his neighborhood, who is twice his age. Fifteen year old Michael lies
to his parents, goes back to school, and even sells his prized stamp collection
for his new lover, Hanna. This book has two parts. At the beginning, Michael is fifteen when he firsts meets Hanna, but is later in his twenties when he finally sees Hanna again.  Michael finds out why and where Hanna disappeared.

I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy a good mystery, and if you pay close attention you can solve the mystery. However this book does contain intense scenes. Remember, Michael and Hanna do have a inappropriate relationship. This book was a fast read book because of the awesome mystery - it's a total page turner!  There is also a movie with the same name based on this book.

Lauren, 16

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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

by Lisa See

Snow Flower coverThis book takes place in China in the 19th century.  A girl, Lily, is force to have her feet bound after seeing her younger sister die of foot-binding. Lily is then introduced to her matchmaker who tells her of her Laotong, or long life friend. Lily and Snow Flower come from two completely different worlds yet still hold a strong bond.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is an incredible book that has a fairy tale in real life. However, in this book, Lily and Snow Flower must endure many obstacles before they find their true happy ending. Nevertheless, Not everybody or book has a happy ending
and life has many twists. 

I greatly recommend this book to people who like sharp twists in books and shocking endings. This book does contain intense scenes and may not be suitable for young teens. This book is a must- read from Lisa See. If you are interested in China's history or even if you aren't, you will be after you read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Lauren, 16

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Matched

by Allie Condie

Matched coverCassia lives in the Society that controls everything. They control what you eat, what your job is, and who you love and marry. To most, it is hardly the price to pay for a long life. The Matching ceremony happens the year they turn 17, and it's where guys and girls find out who they will spend the rest of their lives with. When Cassia sees her Match, she is certain that he is the one, until she glances at the microcard she is given, and sees another boy she knows. She then has to choose, a thing the Society forbid a long time ago, between the life she knows and loves or the unknown. 

Matched is a book that makes you think about how lucky you are to have choices. Because the setting is in the future, and references back to this time, you realize what could become of our society and way of living. It really hits that note of how important choices are because without them, someone else would rule our lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I would most defiantly recommend this book to others because of the way it makes you feel about your life. Some take this for granted when actually we are very lucky to have our own choices everyday! Matched is a book for all and is amazing!

Chanel, 13

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

Oskar is a nine year old boy who has lost his father in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He "invents" things in his mind to cope with living with a secret he keeps from everyone. He finds a key in his father's room, and that leads to an adventure filled with meeting new people to find out more.

This book is definitely one of my favorites, because the way Oskar thinks is unlike anyone I've ever read of, but it gets sort of confusing because it tells from the point of view of several people.

I would recommend this book for everyone because it is just that good!

Alexis, 15

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White Oleander

by Janet Fitch

White Oleander coverThis book takes the reader through the life of a teenage girl whose mother goes to prison for killing her ex-boyfriend. She is then sent to several foster homes, where she learns more about herself. 

White Oleander is an interesting book because it really brought into perspective that there are people living in these types of situations in the world.

I would recommend this book to high school age and older due to the mature content. There is also a movie with the same name based on the book!

Alexis, 15

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Fire

by Kristin Cashore

Fire coverFire is a human monster--unearthly in her beauty, she charms everyone around her to the point that it's dangerous. Even though she has the ability to control anyone's mind, her life isn't that great, either. With an infamous monster father and relationship troubles between an old friend and a new unlikely one, she struggles to find herself in a time of war and strife.

Fire was pretty good overall. Like Graceling, its companion novel, it is spun in the same world and has an intricate, complex plot. It's a little darker than the first book (though you don't have to read it to understand it) and it does have some inappropriate moments, so beware.

If you like fantasy or if you've read Graceling, you would definitely enjoy this book. Due to the content, I would rate it for 8th graders and up.

Erica, 16

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The Book Thief

by Marcus Zusak

A foster girl named Liesel, is taken to the Hubermanns. The narrator of the book is Death, which just adds to the amazingness of this book. Death explains the story in precise detail and explains how "Papa", also known as Hans Hubermann is a comforting man, who teaches Liesel to read. Liesel learns to read and steals books during the time of the Holocaust in Germany. 

This book really makes you think about Death and what it is. Death explains about taking people and you realize how the Jews and anyone who helped the Jews, suffered severely. It really helps grasp the concept of that time period.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. Most kids, like myself, love to read about fighting and Death. Everything about this book was amazing!

Chanel, 13

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