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Underwater 

by Marisa Reichardt

Underwater is about a teenage girl who goes through a traumatic experience. On October fifteenth, at a school in California, everything changed. That day was the day that Morgan tried to help somebody and do something nice but that small act of kindness plays a role in a deadly tragedy. Before that day, Morgan loved the beach, the smell of the ocean breeze, and hanging out with her friends and talking about the latest gossip. After that day, Morgan can’t move on. The idea of leaving her house has her sobbing at her door step. She can't even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface, drowning. The only person she interacts with besides her family is Brenda, her psychologist. But before Morgan can step outside, she must find the courage to forgive, first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and herself.

I really liked this book because the main character, Morgan, and I almost share some things like not having an amazing father and having to go to therapy but then there are things like a school shooting that I cannot relate to like completely isolating myself from the outside world. This book had been pretty emotional and the message was really interesting. The way that Morgan describes how she used to view the outside world is something that I've never thought much about and made me realize never to take certain things for granted.

I think that if anybody were dealing with some similar experiences as Morgan, then I would suggest that you read this book. This book has not only changed the way I feel about a certain place and person but made me feel like this character understood what I went through a little bit in the past and the saying "You're not the only one" is something that I constantly tell myself when I'm going through a hard time.

Isabella, 16

Rating: 

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Dealing with Dragons 

by Patricia C. Wrede
03/15/2017 Categories: fantasy funny witches & wizards

Cimorene should be happy she's a princess of a prosperous kingdom set to marry a handsome prince. There's just one little problem; it's all incredibly boring. Cimorene is not interested in what is proper behavior for a princess. She wants to have adventure and excitement so on the advice of a unlikely adviser she sets off to get one.

Dealing with Dragons is an amazing book with interesting characters who defy the stereotypes and challenge the normal fairy tale in almost every way. The book is eloquently written full of magic fantasy and adventure.

I read this book a long time ago and just decided to reread it and was surprised by how much I still love it. Dealing with dragons has interesting characters and plot and is probably one of my top 15 favorite book series. I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy and adventure.

Isabella, 14

Rating: 

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East of Eden 

by John Steinbeck
03/11/2017 Categories: brothers family drama siblings

This book follows three generations of the Trask and Hamilton families. Written as a direct allusion to the biblical story of Cain and Abel, it addresses the themes of sibling conflict and the struggle for parental affection.

This book doesn't have a straightforward conflict and solution; it includes a variety of real life familial and existential crises. For this reason, I found this novel to be realistic and poignant. The book is heavy with interesting description and complex character development.

This book is a must-read because of Steinbeck's unique writing style and emotional plot twists. It offers a wide variety of characters from the wise and fatherly Samuel Hamilton, to the sickly sadistic Catherine. Readers should note that it deals with some serious topics, but not to a ridiculous extent. 

Julia, 17

Rating: 

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Strange Angels 

by Lili St. Crow
03/04/2017 Categories: paranormal supernatural vampires werewolves

Strange Angels is about a sixteen-year-old girl who has lived most of her life hunting down monsters with her father. On the outside, people see Dru Anderson as another normal antisocial teenager with attitude problems but what others don't know is that she's doing them all a solid by keeping her distance from them. Dru's the opposite of normal, for as long as she can remember, Dru has been traveling from town to town with her father to hunt down the paranormal or anything that captures their attention. Dru's special ability makes her a magnet to things from The Real World but it has also helps her and her father find their location. Until it all hits the fan when in a frozen town in Dakota, Dru's father goes missing after going monster hunting by himself and to add to that, a hungry zombie breaks into Dru's kitchen door. Dru is forced to take matters into her own hands and try to survive from werewolves and flaming dogs. Now the tables have turned and Dru is now the one running from monsters. The monsters are focused on one thing. Killing Dru.

Strange Angels was a pretty good book because it kind of gave me that "Supernatural" vibe and I like to read about teen fiction and fantasy because it helps me forget all the problems that I have to deal with and escape my world and jumping into Dru's, helping me see things from her perspective like the feeling of not having a mother and having a father who is rarely home. In a way we are alike but we both deal with different problems of our own. Books like these are what keep me motivated.

I didn't find out about this book until my friend told me about it and I was so into it that ti read it twice! If you like Supernatural - the show - and a little bit of Twilight and Vampire Academy then here you go

Night 

by Elie Wiesel
03/04/2017 Categories: biography historical holocaust non-fiction

Night tells the story of Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel and what it was like for him and his family to live being isolated from the rest of the world with the Jewish community. Wiesel remembers when he lost his family to the immoral act of genocide and the fears that he had while losing the will to live.

Night is an interesting book because it's one of those books that can shake you emotionally by presenting the life of a Jewish person in the face of intolerance. This story is told all from Wiesel's perspective which shows us what it was like growing up with loved ones being killed and discriminated against during this time of genocide.

Yes, I would recommend this book to others because this story has a theme of how it is important to stand up to injustices even in the face of danger. Informing more people about making a change in the world is needed to create a civilized society. Young and old people should read this book so history can be remembered by all.

Kirsten, 15

Rating: 

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Court of Fives 

by Kate Elliott
03/04/2017 Categories: contests friendship siblings

Court of Fives starts out as a story of rebellion, a father and daughter who do not see eye to eye. That is until unforeseen circumstances take place leaving Jessamy alone in the world. She uses her strength and wit to try and bring her family together again.

I very much enjoyed this book because of the unpredictability, you do not know what will happen on the next page, which makes it extremely intriguing. The story shows what happens in troubling times.

I would recommend this book because it is adventure and excitement. Anyone who enjoys excitement and unpredictability will enjoy this book. 

Mackenzie, 15

Rating: 

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Feed 

by M.T. Anderson
03/04/2017 Categories: sci fi technology terminal illness

This book is about a futurist society where everyone has the internet implanted in their brains, even from a young age. This book follows a boy who has never had to think for himself and now has to learn there is more to this world then he had previously thought.

This book had a very good plot line, how a boy had to learn to think for himself. The writing however left a lot to be desired. The author, seemingly on purpose, uses very low level language, quite a bit of cussing, and slightly improper grammar. She does this because the main character is uneducated, which is very clever, but can be a little bit annoying.

I would not recommend this to someone who does not enjoy cussing or who gets annoyed by little grammar errors. The story line is very interesting though and I would recommend you reading it if you can ignore those other factors.

Mackenzie, 15

Rating: 

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The Host  

by Stephenie Meyer
02/23/2017 Categories: romance sci fi supernatural

The Host is an interesting story about "souls" who get placed in humans (erasing the original human), in order to take over their bodies and eventually the dying Earth. When Melanie, the main character, refuses to leave her body, her and the new soul placed inside of her must learn to compromise and work together to achieve what they want. At first Wanderer, the new soul, treats Melanie as an enemy, and wishes for nothing but Melanie to leave. However, when she begins to share thoughts and feelings with Melanie, Wanderer realizes that what the souls are doing is wrong as she begins to fall in love with Melanie's lover. The two souls go on an amazing story of love and hope to save the world and get back to the one they love.

I enjoyed The Host, because it is not only an interesting story of two conflicting souls, but also a lovers journey during the end of the world. This book is an interesting tale of human empowerment and the strength in their emotions when the world is being threatened.

I would recommend The Host to anyone who enjoys books about love, and the strength of human emotions. If you like love stories filled with action and passion, I highly suggest readind it!

Sara, 14

Rating:

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I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd have to Kill You 

by Ally Carter
02/23/2017 Categories: boarding school romance spies

I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd have to Kill You is the first book in the Gallagher series written by Ally Carter. This book is a fun series to read, and while it may not have a lot of depth, it is still a great story about a young teenage spy. This book is a fantastic kick off to the rest of the exciting. Throughout this book, and the whole series, Cammie Morgan, learns about the hardships of living a double life as a spy as she struggles between wanting a normal life with a normal guy, or upholding the family legacy.

I loved reading I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd have to Kill You, and the whole Gallagher series in general, because it is a interesting story, and it brings your spy fantasies to life in the book.

If you love spy stories and all around mysteries, this book is the perfect book for you! I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun book to read. 

Sara, 14

Rating: 

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Lifeguard 

by James Patterson & Andrew Gross
02/23/2017 Categories: murder mystery romance

Image result for Lifeguardbook

Lifeguard is fantastic mystery novel about a man named Ned Kelly and the woman he falls in love with. Ned Kelly, an average man, finds the girl of his dreams, but there is just one problem; she is rich. So when Ned gets offered $5 million dollars to break into a home, how could he refuse? Everything is going great until Ned realizes he's been setup. People have died, and his world is falling apart. This action packed book is about Ned trying to discover who would have set him up and why.

I really liked Lifeguard, because it is an interesting book and the end was a total surprise. This mysterious book will take you on an roller coaster with each passing chapter, and you will never see the end coming!

If you like action packed books with a pinch of romance, I would recommend Lifeguard. This book will make your jaw drop, and your mind wonder and wonder. 

Sara, 14

Rating: 

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The Odyssey of Homer 

by Translated and with an Introduction by Alexander Pope
02/23/2017 Categories: classic epic poetry mythology

Image result for The Odyssey of Homer / in the English verse translation by Alexander Pope

The Odyssey of Homer is a classic Greek novel about a man named Odysseus and his struggles as he tries to get home to his wife and child after the war. In this book, Odysseus runs into many problems, because of his own ignorance, or because of the selfishness of his crew. Throughout this interesting tale, we see Odysseus not only struggle to get home, but also struggle to find himself as he morals and values change on his journey.

I loved reading The Odyssey, because it is not a simple book. While Odysseus' journey is fun to read, the language is difficult to understand, as well as the messages underneath. I loved reading this book, because it makes you think and has a lot of depth.

If you don't like books with depth, The Odyssey is not the right book for you. However, if you like to read challenging books that not only have interesting stories, but a lot of depth, I would highly recommend it. 

Sara, 14

Rating: 

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Rush  

by Eve Silver
02/23/2017 Categories: action time travel virtual reality

Eve Silver's Rush is an intriguing book about people who have died (well almost), but before they are gone, get resurrected into a game. In this "game", they fight aliens in order to protect Earth. They are placed in teams, and periodically get transported to The Game when they are needed. Rush, the first book in Eve Silver's series, is very interesting and a great start to the rest of the fascinating series.

I liked reading Rush, because it is a great story of a girl that struggles with her own emotions, her hard life at home, and yet still manages to push through and defend the world when it is necessary.

I would recommend Rush to anyone who likes action books, but don't be surprised when there is a mysterious plot twist at the end!

Sara, 14

Rating: 

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The Giver 

by Lois Lowry
02/23/2017 Categories: dystopia ethics movie

The Giver, a well praised and well written book, is about a boy named Jonas who realizes that his world may not be as perfect as it seems. In this supposedly idyllic society, Jonas trains with the giver, or all knower in his town. When he, and only he, is exposed to the knowledge of the past, he realizes that everything that is happening in his once called home. In an effort to protect his loved ones, and live life the way it should be, Jonas realizes that he must successfully escape this fake world and leave behind the wrong world he use to love.

I loved reading The Giver, because it has a lot of deeper meaning and hidden messages underneath the interesting plot. This book has quite a bit of social commentary as well as an interesting plot that will leave you wondering why in the end.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, because of the well written messages laced in the outstanding plot. If you like books with depth, and interesting stories, I recommend The Giver.

Sara, 14

Rating: 

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Little Women 

by Louisa May Alcott
02/16/2017 Categories: classic friendship romance siblings

This novel follows the lives of four sisters living in New England around the time of the Civil War. Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth all face their own personal trials in growing up. They struggle to find happiness and independence while facing heartbreak and lost dreams.

This is an all time favorite of mine. Although the book mainly focuses on the lessons that the girls learn, none of the lessons or situations come off as cheesy or unrealistic. The book emphasizes the importance of finding contentment even when things do not turn out as you expect. The girls find comfort in their loving family when things become difficult.

Anyone who appreciates a heartwarming novel, or who is looking for something with classic themes of love and family, would like this novel. Little Women is a great book for all ages. I first read it in sixth grade, but still enjoy rereading it.

Julia, 17

Rating: 

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A Tale of Two Cities 

by Charles Dickens
02/16/2017 Categories: classic france history revolution

Image result for tale of two cities

This book is set in both London and Paris during the French Revolution and shows how the escalation of violence affected both the innocent and the guilty. Themes addressed in the book include loyalty and self-sacrifice. Although it is an older book, Dickens approaches these topics in a way that still seems applicable to today.

I enjoyed this novel because of the wide variety of characters. I felt like it provided insight to all types of people and relationships that everyone faces in their lives. Since the book is set over a period of a few years, the reader is able to watch the development of these characters and becomes attached to them.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction or in unique, complex characters. It is also a good choice for anyone who wants to start reading some of Dickens' works. 

Julia, 17

Rating: 

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