Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, is a play based on Blanche DuBois, a woman who attempts to appear pure, but is flawed in many ways. After losing the family home and with no where else to go, she turns to her sister Stella and moves to New Orleans to live with her. Stella welcomes Blanche while Stella's husband, Stanley Kowalski, is indifferent and rather rude to Blanche. After Blanche meets Mitch, one of Stanley's friends, she starts to fall in love with him. Blanche has to overcome her past demons and face her new ones in the struggle of living with her sister and her abusive husband which fighting alcoholism.

When I first started reading the play I thought it was terribly boring. The first few pages were rough to get through and I felt like it was never ending. But as soon as you get through it you finish it without realizing how fast it's going. Throughout the entire play I couldn't help but sympathize with Blanche. The end had me jaw- dropped and in complete and utter shock. I would recommend this play to anyone who tends to like the authors from The Lost Generation of Writers.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 11
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus is about 7 demigods who are trying to put a stop to the awakening of the Goddess, Gaea, who if she awakens fully will destroy the world. Together they fight Giants, Venti, and many other monsters who have decided to work with Gaea. The Great Prophecy, which was first introduced in The Last Olympian, stated that Gaea would fall to either fire or storm. That would mean only Jason or Leo could defeat Gaea once and for all. The 7 demigods get some help from some of the other demigods. The two demigod camps, Greek and Roman, are enemies and if they are to defeat Gaea they must work together.

The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan, will keep you hooked with its action-adventure and suspense. The writer includes a good amount of battling monsters. In his series, The Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan developed each character very well. Each of the characters play their own specific role in defeating Gaea and her army of monsters. This is a book you would enjoy reading if you enjoy reading action-adventure and mythology. This is the kind of book you won't want to put down. You can read this book in approx. 3 1/2 hours if you read without stopping and there are no interruptions. I recommend this book to kids in 5th through 8th grade.

Reviewed by Ridge, Grade 9
Casa Verdugo Library

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Macbeth, by William Shakesepeare

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, is the story of a man corrupted by power who ultimately becomes evil. Macbeth is a noble, and he hears a prophecy from three witches that he will become king. The only way to become king would be to kill the current king, Duncan, so Lady Macbeth, his wife, convinces him to commit the crime. This murder sparks a flame in Macbeth and throughout the play, Macbeth continues to unravel until he reaches madness.

Macbeth was an okay read for me. It is written by Shakespeare, so naturally, it was pretty hard to understand. I read Macbeth for school, and it definitely was not as bad as other works we read. It was interesting to see the character development in Macbeth and his wife. I would recommend Macbeth to students who enjoy classics and Shakespeare's works.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, February 1, 2016

In Real Life: My Journey To A Pixelated World, by Joey Graceffa

The book is about a YouTube star named Joey Graceffa talking about how he became famous on YouTube and the struggles of growing up. He talks about high school for most of the book and how he had so much trouble with school because he never really felt like himself around most people. But when he did try to be him self around people they would make fun of him and tell his he is gay. The book revolves around the idea that the bullying from these kids did not let him grow in to himself and he was very feminine but he was so scared to admit he was gay because his whole life people made fun of him for being gay. It also talks about how he felt like the parent his whole life because he had to deal with his mom who was a alcoholic and dad who left when he was young. The book talks a lot about the struggles he had growing up and how it got him to Los Angeles to become a actor/YouTube personality.

When I first read In Real Life: My Journey To A Pixelated World, by Joey Graceffa, I did not even own it my cousin left it at my house and I just decided to read it. I had no idea who Joey Graceffa was or what he did. But I still really enjoyed this book it was like talking a journey with him and gave me a lot of motivation to strive to do what I want in my life. It is very relatable with the things he says about high school how popularity and the "normal thing to do" can push you away from the things you want to do because you think it might be considered weird. But in reality if you like it do it there is no reason you should stay away from something because it is the unpopular thing to do. I recommend this book to anyone around my age or even older people, but I feel like a younger age can relate to it a lot more.

Reviewed by J., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Perfect Scoundrels, by Ally Carter

This book starts out and Kat and Hale are now officially dating. They are in a middle of a job when hale gets a call that makes him abandon her. He finds out his grandma hazel has died. Gabriele and Kat crash the funeral and.Kat meets the family and gets a sneak peak into the part of him she has never seen before. The place where people call him scooter and not hale. The will gets announced at the funeral and they find out his grandma has gave him the family business. Marcus offers to drive her home after and lets her know what hazel offered Marcus's sister and they think that the will was forged. She has to decide whether it is worth it to save her boyfriends company if she loses the boy.

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter is full of twists and turns. We get introduced to a weird side of hale and we are nervous about Kat and Hale's relationship the entire time. When I started reading this book I couldn't stop reading. I was entranced with the danger, the love, the stakes, and the characters. I am in love with mystery/adventure books so I fell in love instantly when I started reading. This book doesn't disappoint to leave you on your toes. Someone who loves intense adventure books with a hint of young love in it will enjoy this read.
Mia J, grade 12
Central Library

Monday, January 25, 2016

Nana Volume 6, by Ai Yazawa

In the book Nana Volume 6, by Ai Yazawa, things heat up in both lives of the members of Blackstone and Trapnest after the live concert in Hachi’s town. After coming home to Tokyo, the two bands decide to have a get together in room 707 and party through the night by playing mahjong just like their old days. Fangirl Hachi nearly faints with joy when she hears that her boyband crush Takumi will be there in her own home! Blast starts to finally earn fame in Tokyo city with the explosion of their thrilling concerts. But Nana comes into realization that all that she ever loved seems to be snatched away from her by Trapnest. First her dearest lover Ren by the lure of a better position and now Hachi by the fake love of the leader of Trapnest,Takumi

This volume of the book is one the most interesting because now all the other conflicts slowly erase and the problems seem to narrow down to Blackstone and Trapnest. The internal showdown between Nana’s Blackstone and Trapnest is well thought as Nana tries both psychically and mentally to win over the fame Trapnest has and all the happiness they are stealing from her without knowing. With the dark and lonely past Nana already has, it made me very pitiful to see Nana’s shaky and unstable life go through so many storms yet hope for a better tomorrow.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Death Note Vol 6, by Tsugumi Ohba

Death Note Vol 6, by Tsugumi Ohbathe supreme team of Light and L has put their brilliance together narrowing down to the seven members of the Yotsuba company. Yet still it seems impossible for the taskforce to target the actual Kira considering how all 7 members have the act of Kira. With the tension rising L gives Misa a part in this case to collect any information she can as the model of their company. If dangerous situations are depended on Misa then that means trusty Rem will surely give her a hand. But how will Rem come back to Misa who has not one speck memory of the Death Note.

Even though I very much like the serious intensity that goes on in this magnificent story, I am not very much fond of this Yotsuba situation. Mostly because of its lengthy duration and lack of climax. Another major factor is how the story just bounces back and forth between the task force and the Yotsuba building with no side situation to make the event a bit more dynamic. But at same time it’s interesting to see how Light responds to the Kira case as his usual self while helping Ryuzaki by trying to remember whether he was ever in the position of Kira

Reviewed by Ayesha, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Oxford History of The French Revolution, by William Doyle

The style of throwing in a few characters and their viewpoints to spice up the book really kept my interest alive. We are able to see how internal and external conflicts push to crash either the revolutionaries or the counterrevolutionaries immensely. The uplifting bellicose in France introduces us to people like Maximilian Robespierre and Marie Antoinette whose outrageously fanatical actions rose my curiosity and interest even higher. Everything starts off presenting a great introduction and keeping it all colorful until napoleon comes to power and the revolution reaches an end.

The spark of a revolution can become the ultimate milestone or the devastation flowing through all the lives of a nation, especially for the French. What better way can that history be told than by the scholarly words of Doyle who presents the revolution of France in a historic narrative. The Oxford History of The French Revolution, by William Doyle, is worded wisely by the brilliant author William Doyle who handles to present the story in a not too sketchy nor too detailed manner. Also, he hits the target to keep the story basic while keeping the reader’s mind interested.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

In this inspiring novel, Khaled Hosseini depicts the difficult life of the average Afghani woman. This heart-wrenching story is about two strong young women, Laila and Mariam, who have endured countless unspeakable events. Their whole lives revolve around loss and abuse. Mariam’s mom was suicidal, her dad was a cruel, heartless liar, and her suitor was ungrateful and extremely abusive. Laila’s story wasn’t any merrier. When Mariam and Laila met after the death of Laila’s parents, they formed a powerful and unbreakable bond in which they were able to provide droplets of happiness and hope in each other’s lives.

Many of the events that occurred in this novel were so excruciating that I could not bear to read any further. At times, I could not suppress a few tears. The author’s syntax and choice of details to include added great depth to his writing and aided him in attaining his desired impact on the reader. I would only recommend this book to someone if they are willing to endure the burden of holding the memory of what occurred to these two unfortunate women. Overall, I would give A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, a 10/10 because it is one of the few books that I have read in which the author was able to fully achieve perspicuity.

Reviewed by RO, Grade 10
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, December 28, 2015

Nana Volume 7, by Ai Yazawa

Nana Osaki’s Blast continues to climb up higher on the steps of fame as volume seven unfolds. With the band taking off and making it big, Hachi realizes that her game of being the head cheerleader of Blast starts to complicate as there are more and more diehard fans dedicating all of themselves to Queen Nana and the rest of Blast. Consequently, Hachi feels unaccompanied in room 707 as her friends chase after their dreams on the stage and she remains in the kitchen cooking all alone. Hachi is left questioned whether she would be happy with the charming cold Takumi or answer to the new happiness that knocks on her door.

Nana Volume 7, by Ai Yazawa, is the story goes on, we began to see the absurd Hachi becoming more eloped with all sorts of trouble. This makes me want to just give Hachi a warm hug and tell her that everything will be just fine. At this point of the story, I have realized that the amazing style of Ai Yazawa’s writing made me get very emotionally attached to all of the Nanas. In addition, I keep on being amazed at the new characters and situations while maintaining a good cadence with the old ones. I really do enjoy this book and the bonding I encounter with it in every step of the way.

Review by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, December 21, 2015

YOLO, by Lauren Myracle

Wow! This book YOLO was an amazing book to read! What was interesting about this book was that the 3 girls that were in this book, were always be texting each other. The girl's regular names are in the ()s. madmaddie ( Maddie), SnowAngel (Angela) and lastly Zoe Girl (Zoe). In this book, you will be experiencing these 3 best friends going through college! But the sad thing is, they all go to different colleges! So, they all communicate through texting each other. So obviously, in college, there are always ups and downs. For these girls it's if they can make a lot of friends, keep their boyfriends, and also, help each other through tough times. So Zoe is really curious if she will survive. I guess that you could say that Maddie and Angela agree with that. Maddie, id more a go-with-the-flow kind of girl. I don't want to keep on saying because I might be taking you to the end. Oh! 1 more thing; these girls always have 1 phrase on their minds, YOLO. Enjoy!

I loved YOLO, by Lauren Myracle! I think that if you like to be a good friend, this is the book for you! This book made me feel very good inside because of how the girls are always going to give advice to each other. Everyone out their, if you are a freshman, then go get this book! I really enjoyed reading this book because I am only in 6th grade; so now I have a general idea on what might happen to me if I was a freshman. I hope that you not only enjoyed my review, but this book, too! Bye, everyone! Have a lovely rest of your day! :)

Reviewed by Nicole G., Grade 6
Montrose Library

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fatal Purity: Robespierre And The French Revolution, by Ruth Scurr

Villains in the real world can be the most fascinating to watch with the question in mind “What is their aspiration?” Robespierre, was the fanatic French revolutionist who sought to limit the governments’ power by slaughtering their heads off. Because of which we also get to witness the thrashing downfall of him and the French Revolution. Fatal Purity: Robespierre And The French Revolution is brilliantly written by Ruth Scurr which depicts her effort of researching and analyzing to present the readers with Robespierre’s captivating story. Also, it’s acknowledgeable to have an author who delivers both facts and her opinions but not absolve nor condemn Robespierre’s character.

After reading Fatal Purity: Robespierre And The French Revolution, by Ruth Scurr, it is understandable that the author’s research and biography of Maximilien Robespierre was delivered with clarity, enthrallment, persistence and boldness. What engaged me even more is how Scurr went beyond focusing only on life events of Robespierre, she reached out further to bring us the society he grew up in and how the atmosphere outside his country was like. Adding all those factors to Robespierre’s situation it becomes clear why he provoked the path to end up one day beheading hundreds of men and women in the guillotine. This perhaps is one of the most finest and sharpest studies on the French Revolution as a whole and of Robespierre in particular.

Reviewed by Ayesha M., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, December 7, 2015

Antigone, by Sophocles

Antigone, by Sophocles, translated by Robert Fagles, is one of the Three Theban Plays. The play takes place in Thebes and follows Antigone and her persistence to follow divine law. After the death of her two brothers in the war, Polynices and Eteocles, only Eteocle is granted a proper burial by the king of Thebes, Creon, while Polynices, by law, is denied a burial. Antigone, who cannot stand to allow her brother to not have a proper burial, defies the mortal laws in order to maintain tradition and follow divine law despite the consequences.

I usually don't like plays but I thought that this was a really good one. I like how although Creon is the villain of the play, he comes from an innocent place. He doesn't want to bend the rules because as the new king, he has to set an image and reputation for himself. What kind of a strong and authoritative ruler bends to every will and whim of an average citizen? I also really like how Antigone's bravery is portrayed and although her actions seem noble and courageous, you can't help but wonder if she is doing the right thing for the wrong reason, such as fame. I would recommend this play to those who like Shakespeare's plays because older Greek plays such as Antigone inspired those like Shakespeare's.

Reviewed, by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, November 30, 2015

City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare, is the exciting fifth installment in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. In this edition, Jace goes missing after Clary leaves him alone on the rooftop with Sebastian, who was thought to be dead. Everyone is extremely anxious about Jace's disappearance, but it is only until Clary sees Jace walking around with Sebastian that she begins to get suspicious. Soon she learns that her Jace has been taken over, controlled by Sebastian, and they try to convince her to join them in their plan to bring demons into the world. Clary devises a plan with her best friend Simon and agrees

I really enjoyed City of Lost Souls! I'm usually not into these fantasy books with demons and faeries, but The Mortal Instruments is definitely an exception. Every book leaves me on the edge of my seat, including this one. I enjoyed the plot, as usual, and the characters were just as lovable and hilarious as always. I would recommend this book to fans of The Mortal Instruments series and teens who enjoy romance and adventure.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom

The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom, is a novel about Father Time, whose real name is Dor, and his mission to be freed from the pain and anguish of his new and unwanted job. After centuries of being lonely and trapped in a cave with nothing but his memories and voices of strangers asking for more time, he is given the opportunity to free himself of his job by helping a teenage girl named Sarah Lemon and a wealthy business man named Victor Delamonte learn to appreciate the time that they are given.

The Time Keeper was a book that I had been interested in reading and one day I decided to finally start it. Although it didn't meet my expectations and high hopes, it was a good book and I liked the message that it sent about appreciating the time and moments that you have. It teaches you that you should live in the moment instead of wasting your current time wishing for the future. Although the book did get kind of boring at times, my interest in finishing the book never faded.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, November 16, 2015

Love Lucy, by April Linder

On a backpacking trip through Europe, on the summer before Lucy Sommersworth will attend a private college, she is struck by the beauty of many things in Florence, Italy. To name a few, Lucy adores the culture of the city, the architecture of the buildings, and her new favorite type of food; Italian. Then the handsome street guitarist that works at the place she's staying at catches her eye. By the name of Jesse Paladino, a tourist himself from New Jersey, he has been staying in Italy for way longer than he planned. What will happen when Lucy's traveling buddy is starting to cause confrontations and Jesse starts sweeping Lucy off her feet? 

In part two of the book, Lucy's back in her home town already settled into the college which she can't seem to get used to. Convinced that Jesse was just a summer fling, she can't come to the realization that some relationships are meant to last longer.

The greatest summer novel any teenage girl with dreams of love and travel can read is right at your fingertips! Bound to sweep you off your feet, the tale of just another teenage girl with high hopes and overbearing parents is highly relatable. I recommend Love Lucy, by April Linder, to anybody in their teens that wants a tour of Europe and a whimsical romance right in their hands. This story is meant to inspire people to follow their heart and guides teens through making those very tough decisions in life.

Reviewed by Alexis K., Grade 10
Montrose Library

Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee, by Stan Lee and George Mair

Varieties of comic books can become a destination for fantasy, action or just a relaxing moment for nearly any age. Who among all the comic writers out there is the king of the comic book world? Why the great Stan Lee of course! Excelsior! : The Amazing Life of Stan Lee is an intriguing book written by George Mair about the biography of Stan Lee. This book balances telling the story of Stan’s early life in a good pace without leaving major gaps. Also, it addresses the rollercoaster ride the comic industries go through during that time and how comics became popular around the globe.

Mair’s thorough writing didn’t miss a moment of Stan Lee’s life which in some way may have affected his future or was simply interesting. One of the reasons why Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee, by Stan Lee and George Mair, is a little more special than any other biography books is because how Mair doesn’t only focus on the dramatic or tragic parts. He goes a little more beyond and tells the humorous parts of the comic genius’s life. Altogether Mair told the story of Stan Lee’s harsh and humorous life, and how he rose high up later just like the comic book heroes.

Reviewed by A.M., Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, November 9, 2015

The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

A poor orphan boy was running for his life. He stole a roast from an angry butcher who was chasing him with a cleaver. A wealthy man stopped the butcher from killing off the boy when he was sure to die. The wealthy man, Sir Conner, payed the butcher for the roast and turned to the orphan. The orphan introduced himself as Sage. Sir Conner took Sage and two other orphan boys. He planned to train all three of them to impersonate Prince Jaron, prince of Carthya. Prince Jaron was rumored to have died in a shipwreck, and his parents and brother were all poisoned so searching for the lost prince was the last hope Carthya had. Conner gave the three orphan boys two weeks to educate themselves, learn manners, and ride a horse. He would choose one of the three and pass him off as Prince Jaron, while the other two boys would be killed for security reasons. There was Tobias, the smart and polite orphan who had no skill in battle. The second orphan was named Roden. He was strong and was an excellent listener. Sage was not smart or polite. He was strong and knew how to be a rebel, just like what Prince Jaron was famous for. The three boys competed hard to keep their lives.

The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsenis one of my personal favorites. It has suspense, drama, action, a bit of romance, etc. I love all of the characters' personalities and their motives. Conner's wicked schemes, Tobias's inner strength, Mott's kindness, Sage's cunning personality and Imogen's story all are examples of things in the story that I enjoyed and what I thought was inspiring. The story plot is incredible and only a creative genius would be able to create such story. I recommend this story highly to young and old teens and adults. I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series and I hope you read this and maybe consider reading the book. :)

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

I,Q, by Roland Smith

I,Q, by Roland Smith, is a story about a thirteen year old boy named Quest ( ‘Q’ for short). His life turns upside-down when his mom, Blaze, marries a man named Roger and starts a band with him. When they book their first tour, Blaze and Roger decide to bring along Q and Angela (Q’s new step-sister), hoping to spend some quality time together as one family. During the tour, Q and Angela notice some strange people who happen to appear at all their pit-stops. They discover strange clues that lead them to believe they may have terrorist relations in their families. Can this really be true? The new siblings go on a mission to find out the truth about their relatives.

In my opinion, I,Q is quite a mediocre book. To be honest, the character development was terrible and the outcomes of the mysteries were quite predictable. The plot could have been thought out better by the author. There was not a lot of depth, breadth, or even significance. The book did not make me feel any emotions (fear, awe, anger, joy, etc.), which, for me, defeats the purpose of reading a book outside of school. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is looking for good read. Needless to say, I will definitely not continue to read this series. 

Reviewed by R.O., Grade 10
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, November 2, 2015

Better Off Friends, by Elizabeth Eulberg

Macallan and Levi's friendship could be considered as a lot of things, but not smooth. A little hesitant to befriend the long, blonde haired new kid from California, Levi proves to be a very caring companion for Macallan. Hanging out after school on Wednesdays becomes their tradition, they both share a peculiar interest in a British comedy, and their families even become close. Contrary to popular belief, however, they're platonic. Their best-friendship is constantly under scrutiny as they can't seem to successfully have dates of their own and spend more time with each other than anybody else. This makes the pair question: are they more than just friends?

Better Off Friends, by Elizabeth Eulberg, is a fresh story of a classical tale in which best friends become more than that. Great for any teen, this story brings to the table view points from both the boy and the girl. This book, spanning from seventh grade to senior year in high school, is realtable to all of those ages. Although, it might be odd to read for people who may have friends from the opposite gender themselves. Sports teams also play a substantial role in this story which may be interesting to readers.

Reviewed by Alexis K.. Grade 10
Montrose Library

Selp Helf, by Miranda Sings

Selp Helf is written by a well know youtuber Miranda Sings, she makes videos on YouTube on a daily basis. Miranda Sings is a very funny person so in her book she writes very funny things and she makes really obvious spelling mistakes. For example the title (selp= self, helf=help) Her book talks about… EVERYTHING, like Career, Fatchen (fashion), Love, Self esteem, Dealing with Haters, Money as well as Magic. There are a lot of activities in the book like how to be a unicorn and how to know what to wear or get a boyfriend/girlfriend. Most activities include a lot of cutting and gluing things together. She talks a lot about herself and her many… many talents. In the intro of the book she implies you to thank her for all the help she is going to provide you with. She is also claims that she going to teach you how to be a better person in general.

This is a comedy book, so please don’t think your life is like how she describes it. In this book there are pictures of Miranda Sings, that she took and drew herself. Everything you see and read is humorous in this book. I would suggest to keep an open mind and good laugh while reading this book but don't rely on her to tell you what to wear on a date, hahaha!

I think the book is really funny and I would really recommend it to anybody who has a good sense of humor to get it and read it. It made me crack up and smile all the way through. Enjoy it! Bye

Reviewed by Aria, Grade 7
Pacific Park Library

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Work In Progress, by Connor Franta

A Work in Progress, by Connor Franta, is a memoir based on a Youtuber's life, Connor Franta. Connor Franta is this big youtuber who has reached out to many people in society. He has done inspirational, comedy, vlogs and lifestyle videos. He is just a Minesota boy from a small town who is living in such a big world. Connor's book talks about many fascinating and inspirational aspect in his life. In the book we will follow his journey and adventures he goes through. He begins his journey from the beginning, the moments as a child. He begins talking about the life his parents had and how his life as a child was. In the book we slowly see how he came to love filming and the word creativity. Only some of us know the fact that Connor is gay and this fact is a big moment he goes through. He ends up explaining his journey of growing up and discovery. He discovers he is playing a phony life because he is not being his true self. He is going through confusion and through out the way he comforts us with words of wisdom and inspiration. The book is full awe because it has his personal interests and it is full of photography. Photography is one of his biggest hobbies so he demonstrates that my presenting that in his photos and book format.

I absolutely loved this book. This is my number one favorite book and nothing can change that. Connor Franta is the most inspirational person I've ever met. His book talks about personal aspects in his life, all his ups and downs. He gives us words of wisdom that he has observed and analyzed through out his 22 years of life. As I read I was discovering those aspects of life as well but I still learned new things about life. I personally love memoirs because it gives us the advantage of seeing what life is really like for them. They are not showing us an act or their mask. We are reading their experiences and thoughts, which is really personal. I personally believe we should all write our story. I am actually writing my own story for a special project of mine for school and I hope my book can inspire others some day. I recommend this book to young adults and adults. I believe they are truly going to enjoy it like I did. The book is beautiful full of colors and photos of his life. By the way is creativity is amazing so You should really check is book out, no regrets

Reviewed by Andrea V., Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Oedipus, by Sophocles

Oedipus The King, is a play by Sophocles about King Oedipus and is gradual demise. After a plague has sweeped Thebes, King Oedipus vows to find the cause. After consulting the gods and prophets, he learns that the sickness will not leave the city until the murderer of former King Laius is caught. When Oedipus launches the investigation, little does he know that he is searching for himself.

Oedipus is such a good play and I’m so glad I read it. The constant irony is overwhelming and as the reader you can’t help but feel yourself bursting with anticipation because you feel like everything is obvious but the characters are just too dumb to realize it. The word play is also very creative. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Greek tragedies or enjoyed the play Antigone.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bloodlines, by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines, By Richelle Mead, is about a girl named Sydney Sage is in a world of Humans, Moroi, And Alchemists. Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, which is a race that protects the Moroi secret from the human world. When the Moroi's have an vampire attack against the new queens, Vasilla Dragomir, long lost sister, Jill Dragomir. The Moroi decide to send the princess away during the revolution so the princess what get in any more danger. Sydney is asked to go to a new school in Palm Springs and protect the princess from all the people against her with the help of the warriors of the Moroi world, Dhamphirs, and the Moroi to make sure she doesn't get discovered. Sydney now has to be around this race she has already gotten in trouble with while trying to impress the alchemists. Sydney is going to have to protect Jill at all costs but will it be that easy?

I feel this book is worth the read. The story is very captivating and you feel like you are getting used to this new world with Sydney and not dealing with it on your own. The characters are very likable and made me laugh from time to time. Sydney may have her annoying moments throughout the book but it isn't too much that would make me hate the book it just made me root for her. If you are into funny fantasy novels with some danger i would recommend you read this book. Finishing this book just makes you want to be there for her experiences with this world.

Reviewed by Mia J., Grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Shakespeare:The Biography, by Peter Ackroyd

Shakespeare:The Biography, by Peter Ackroyd, is the ultimate biographical book about the brilliant Shakespeare written by Peter Ackroyd. Because of the significant information provided this book is one among many to actually have a well committed author exploring Shakespeare’s life like an arcane garden. Also, Ackroyd walks us along the streets of London and the nature that shaped the master mind of Shakespeare.

Aside from family background and works of Shakespeare, we learn more about the atmosphere he lived and breathed in. This isn’t just your typical biography highlighting only the hero. Ackroyd takes a step beyond and pinpoints the Elizabethan setting. The things we smell, see and touch throughout is what the phenomenal writing provides and makes us believe even for the slightest bit that we are roaming down the streets of London. The personal comments shared by Ackroyd as well creates an impact on the audience. As a result, the readers end the book with a better understanding of Shakespeare and his era.

Reviewed by A.M., Grade10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, October 12, 2015

Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian

The memoir Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian, recounts his life growing up as an Armenian-American. It combines perfectly what it means to be an Armenian-American, perfectly describing the assimilation of Armenians but also the preservation of Armenian culture, not only with language, but with food and traditions. While growing up, Peter never knew or heard about the Armenian Genocide and cannot understand why nobody in his family will talk about it with him. In the memoir, Peter struggles to learn exactly what the 1915 genocide was and how it effects his family so much that they fear to speak of it.

I have never been able to connect to a book as much as this. Coming from an Armenian family who was effected deeply by the genocide, I felt like I was Peter. I grew up never understanding the full concept of what the genocide was because it was essentially a family taboo. Peter’s writing really resonated and connected with me personally and I recommend this book to people who are interested in learning about the genocide and the true consequences of such a disastrous event and how it lead to a huge migration of Armenians.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Nana Volume 5, by Ai Yazawa

In the manga Nana Volume 5, by Ai Yazawa, a chance to visit home knocks on Nana Komatsu’s door as she receives a pair of free tickets to watch Trapnest live in VIP seats! But clever Hachi (Nana Komatsu) plans to hit two birds with one stone. Not only will her wish to see her favorite band member Takumi Ichinose will be granted but she also plans to drag Nana (Nana Osaki) with her to see the hot new bassist of Trapnest who happens to be her Ren. Merely that is a plan Hachi creates not a solid decision. That part remains on Nana’s wish which doesn’t seem to be in favor of taking a turn back to her ex lover.

As things seem to have calmed down in room 707, we take an insight onto the other half of the story to Nana’s life. This series can either show the two parts one’s life or the difference between the people we are. Nana’s heartbreak and relationship issues seems a whole lot more critical and really makes you think and connect. Whereas Hachi’s problems are like the times we eat chocolate and go on a shopping spree to ease the depression of the childish troubles we face at times. Therefore, both cases are very magnificently written to connect the readers to their deepest emotions and actions.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nana Volume 4, by Ai Yazawa

In the manga Nana Volume 4, by Ai YazawaNana Komatsu is tangled with all sorts of boyfriend mischief. On top of that, her sweet dreams of a blissful Tokyo life is crumbling as her job slips away. Confused with it all, Nana finds herself spending more and more quality time with her best friend forever Nana Osaki. As Nana spends more time getting to know the people of the band “Blackstone” she finds out about former the bassist Ren (currently the bassist of Trapnest) who also happens to be the lover of Nana Osaki’s life. This gives the perfect opportunity to distract Nana Komatsu’s worries and be the ultimate cupid to glue together Nana Osaki back to her other half Ren.

Nana Komatsu faces a significant turning point, among the many more to come, as ties breaks with Shoji. During this part many of us can see ourselves and the emotions that we encounter when we face a hurtful break in some sort of relationship. The reader becomes more engaging with the character of Nana Komatsu as they see a part of themselves in her and especially when she tries to have new adventures to erase away the pain of Shoji. I myself felt very emotionally connected to cupid Nana Komatsu who humorously takes on a new challenge to reunite Nana Osaki to Ren Honjo as a way to refresh her thoughts and push Nana Osaki to a happy ending.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Necessary Lies, by Diane Chamberlain

Ivy Hart is born into a poor family that lives on a small farm. Her parents die when she is young and she is forced to take care of her old grandmother, mentally-ill sister and her baby, William. Her grandmother, Nonnie , has a grudge against the older sister, Mary Ella. She had her own baby to take care of even though she was only a teen and the family was struggling already financially. Ivy falls in love with Henry Allen, the sort- of rich kid who loved her back. They kept their relationship a secret from their parents in horror that they will punish them. Jane Forrester, a woman who had a good education and lives in the uptown area, decides to work helping poor and ill people improve their lives. She goes to Ivy's house and does great things such as give the family a fan to help endure the harsh summers and took them to the beach for the first time. Jane starts a campaign to stop Ivy from being sterilized. She realizes that the path she had chosen is not the easiest.

I like the way that Necessary Lies, by Diane Chamberlain, has captured the reality world and all the conflicts in the story can be real life situations. Diane Chamberlain really shows us a world where not everything is a happily ever after. I love how this story teaches us about the consequences we may receive if not working hard. I disliked how depressing the tone of the book can be at times though.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, September 28, 2015

Nana Volume 3, by Ai Yazawa

The wacky adventures of the two Nanas finally starts as they settle in their cheap little place and tighten up any way they can to save a few bucks here and there. Considering their personalities from two different worlds, their unlikely friendship becomes more funny and bonding. Both Nanas peek a little more deeper onto the other one’s lives and discover more about each other. While doing so, they try to give a helping hand in any way possible. Nana Osaki is finally in contact with her former band Blast while Nana Komatsu begins to fall in boyfriend trouble.

Finally things are heating up in room 707 with Demon Lords of the bad luck. It is much better to see some action going on after the lackluster volume two. Both Nanas arrange a decision which can either elevate themselves to a better position or knock them down because of their stubborn pride. I think the best part of the manga series Nana Volume 3, by Ai Yazawa,  was seeing these two energetic and hopeful young ladies deal with a realistic struggle and how they manage to cope with it all the way with each other and with their friends.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nana Volume 2, by Ai Yazawa

Relived by being able to finally get to Tokyo, after all the long waiting days, the two Nana packed up their bags and left their homes in a jiffy. Surprisingly they happen to be in the same train headed to the same destination and fate makes them bump into each other during their ride. Things aren’t so warm and welcoming when both Nanas struggle to find a real home for themselves to stay in. At least on the plus side of all the troubles the two girls faces, their responsible friends are willing to help them settle their lives in Tokyo.

I was waiting very eagerly to reach a point where the two Nanas finally step into the city of their dreams. This second volume of the series was fine as we watched the two young girls try their best to settle in. But I did feel that there were a lot of extra scenes which were too detailed and took up too much of the readers time. This could’ve been all avoided by cutting many of the unnecessary parts but still balancing the comedy and interesting occurrences. Also, Nana Volume 2, by Ai Yazawa, did not have a climactic moment and was rather a same straight line all the way.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, September 14, 2015

Great Teacher Onizuka, by Tohru Fujisawa

Surely Onizuka has stumbled through his teaching training but that all means nothing if he doesn’t actually become successful at landing a teaching degree. In the book Great Teacher Onizuka, by Tohru Fujisawa,  things get even more messy and sloppy and just all over the place as Onizuka merely begins his journey on this noble goal of his. But along the way his foolishness doesn’t skip a beat and his brazen lust towards girls never seems to improve either. But under the influence of all the pressure Onizuka is tested from all sorts of direction to test this goal of his.

Things couldn’t be any more hilarious until volume two rolled in. The pile of amusing entertaining is overflowed as Onizuka does all sorts of hilarious acts to run towards his dream. But I was glad by seeing the microscopic speck of respect in Oniuka’s act after he gets to know Ms. Fuyutsuki who might just be his colleague in the future. I enjoyed the angle Onizuka was drawn from because in this volume his facial features really reveal how slick and cool of a guy he is. Once again, I am looking forward to the next volume which will tell us if Onizuka succeeds as a teacher or if it all goes down the drain.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, September 7, 2015

Vampire Knight Volume 1, by Matsuri Hiro

Yuki Cross is the adopted daughter of the headmaster of the Cross Academy where both vampires and humans attend on a different schedule. Along with the studies, Yuki’s duty is to make sure that all humans stay at their department of dorms and the vampires remain in their own. However, Yuki believes that both humans and vampires can coexist and yet remain living their lives peacefully. What she doesn’t know is that the world is a whole lot different and cruel than what her innocent expectations and hopes are.

The summary of Vampire Knight Volume 1, by Matsuri Hirowas the only counterargument I had to read this book since I do not enjoy the fantasy of vampires. But so far in this volume my of affection toward this series remained in a mediocrity level with nothing extraordinary nor blunt to present. The art however was not something that I found normal but rather bizarre. The deeply thick lines around the characters' eyes, especially the vampire, are rather a strange essence. But I am looking forward to reading the next volume in hopes of finding something more intriguing.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gorgeous, by Rachel Vail

Gorgeous, by Rachel Vailwas about a girl named Allison Avery. She has a bit of an interesting side to her because she recently sold her cell phone to the devil in exchange for 7 people to think she was beautiful. Then, the deal became true the next day because this girl named Roxanne (Roxie) Green told Allison that they should ditch 2nd period to go into the city. When they arrived, Roxie told Allison that they should go to get Roxie her photo taken for Zip Magazine. But then Allison ended up going into the building and getting her picture taking too. Will she be the beat that she can be with the devil, Roxie, her friend Jade and Serena, her mom, and her dad on her side with everything that blocks her way?  

I personally really enjoyed this book. My favorite part was at the end. But I don't want to be a spoiler. I really think that when you finish reading the book, you might/will get the moral which is, '' You don't have to show people that you are pretty and special, be YOURSELF!!!" So if I were you, I would really read this book. I hope that my tips on this book really made you want to read it.

By the way, you will see something interesting about Tyler Moss in the story....

Reviewed by Nicole G., Grade 6
Montrose Library

Monday, August 3, 2015

Next, by Michael Crichton

Henry Kendall and his tam of scientists need to stop agencies in destroying their creation. A one of a kind talking monkey. Biotechnology seems to advance the unpaved future for the world. However, there were great consequences following later. With amazing action, jaw dropping secrets, and unforgettable suspense, Next is a book that you can't wait to be reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Next, by Michael Crichton,  because it involves the particular fields that I am genuinely interested in. I felt that Michael Crichton did an amazing job with it and I believe that many young adult readers should take interest in it.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 10
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 27, 2015

Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli, is about a boy, Misha Pilsudski, with many nicknames such as Gypsy,Jew,and Stop thief. A boy out of many trying to survive the destructive life as a Jew in the Holocaust, a time when the Jews were treated very poorly. He goes through the decision if he wants to be a Nazi when he grows up. He becomes friends with Janina Milgrom as he tries to steal bread and joins her family who are brought to live in the Warsaw ghetto, where it is very dangerous. Misha meets and make relationships with different people as he lives in the Warsaw ghetto. In this world where Misha has to choose between life and death, many adventures come his way.

I thought that Milkweed,by Jerry Spinelli, was very touching because you got to know what the life of a Jewish boy living in the Holocaust was actually like. You got to know how hard to was to live and survive in such a place. There were some parts I did not quite enjoy such as the parts where the Jews in the ghetto were being treated so bad,it was heartbreaking. What I did love was how the book was based on how it actually was back then and how Jerry Spinelli did not change the fact that the Jews were treated poorly. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a book based on the history of our world.

Reviewed by Tina, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library