Monday, September 22, 2014

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Life of Pi, written by Yann Martel, details the fascinating journey of zoologist Piscine Patel as he becomes lost at sea on a life-raft. His only company is a group of threatening animals, including a massive bengal tiger named Richard Parker, whose very presence adds yet another element of danger to his already perilous adventure. Journey with Pi as you experience his most suspenseful and dramatic encounters.

I personally found this book to be very captivating. I thoroughly appreciated Martel's writing style, which fluidly described each event and made me feel as though I was experiencing Pi's voyage myself. Furthermore, the unique storytelling point of view that Martel employs adds another dimension to the reader's experience. I believe anybody who enjoys thrilling adventure novels should definitely invest their time in this book.

Reviewed by Alec S., Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

When I first read this book, I thought it would be just a regular old science fiction book, but it isn't. There are many original aspects to this book, such as the method of attack used by the aliens. The book did an excellent job keeping me interested, and I continued reading to find out more about the aliens, the attacks, and of course about the fate of the main character, Cassie. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, because this is a great example of a science fiction novel that does not occur in space. And anyone that enjoys books set in post-apocalyptic scenarios will be pleased as well.

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey, is setin a post-apocalyptic scenario, where aliens have invaded the Earth in 4 waves. The main character, Cassie, is one of the few humans left on the planet, and she is doing everything she can to survive, even though the fifth wave is going on while she is struggling to live. She learns to trust no one, because she is surrounded by her enemies. The other characters in the book, such as Evan, Ben, and Sammy, are all possible aliens, and Cassie has to learn to distinguish between aliens and humans.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 8
Grandview Library

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Perfect, by Sara Shepard

http://catalog.gpl.internal/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=13I595608WB48.2677&profile=gcent&uri=link=3100007~!1103982~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=browse_search_page&menu=search&ri=1&source=~!horizon&term=Perfect+%3A+a+pretty+little+liars+novel+%2F&index=PALLTI#focusDanger once again awaits the Pretty Little Liars. With Hanna struggling and doing whatever she can to keep her best friend, the girls start to drift apart. "A" threatens the girls with some of their darkest secrets yet. Emily is exploring new options with relationships, and her parents can't accept her. Spencer and her sister Melissa keep fighting to be the better, smarter, and prettier sister. Aria still can't stay away from her banned ex boyfriend. Will the Pretty Little Liars still stick together after they learn eachother's deep, dark secrets or will "A" finally take them down one by one? 

 The book Perfect, by Sara Shepard is a wonderful saga to Flawless. The characters are amazing with well-described thoughts, their own feelings, and their different actions that really allow you to understand what life is like for each girl. This series will never let you down with its continuing excitement and danger that never seem to fade away. Girls of all age groups could pick up this novel and love it. As you get closer to learning the true identity of "A" you just want to keep reading. This book will definitely get you hooked to the Pretty Little Liars series!

Reviewed by Jennifer G., grade 9
Montrose Crescenta Branch

Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick, is the sequel to the book Hush, Hush. With her sophomore year of high school over, Nora Grey is ready for an amazing summer with her boyfriend, Patch. After Nora mistakenly confesses her love for Patch one night and he does not respond, she begins to have her doubts about their relationship. Sure enough, they have a huge fight the next day and Nora ends the relationship. She thinks it will blow over soon enough, but when she catches Patch fraternizing with the enemy, Marcie Millar, Nora is angry. Things become complicated when Scott Parnell, an elementary school friend, moves back to town with a mysterious past. Nora will learn secrets about her family and who she should trust.                                                                                                                                 I loved this book! It was just as great as the first book in the series, which is usually not the case for most books. There were many twists and surprises that kept me on my toes throughout the story. I love all the characters, especially Patch, and I really enjoy this author's writing style. I would recommend this book to teenage girls who enjoy the fantasy genre and romance and I would rate it a 9 out of 10.

Reviewed by Rebecca S., Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey

A story of militant environmentalism, rampant mayhem, arson, and sabotage through the deserts of Utah, The Monkey Wrench Gang brings together four colorful characters and puts them through different acts of destruction. "Seldom Seen" Smith, a Mormon raftsman, meets Doc Sarvis, an eccentric doctor and wealthy surgeon, and his girlfriend Bonnie Abbzug, his young assistant from the Bronx. Oh, and there's Hayduke, the insane retired Green Beret. All four of them come together to destroy the menace to the American Southwest - industrialization and development of the desert, culminating in a plan to blow up a dam.

I think what I liked the most about The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey, aside from its bizarre sense of humor and its anarchist sensibilities, were the strange idiosyncrasies of its characters. Although they're environmentalists, they litter, swear, and leave the ends of their cigarettes and their beer cans on the sides of the road. They all drive huge cars, and Hayduke's vehicle of choice is a gigantic four-wheel-drive jeep. This is the type of book that would be banned at schools. None of these characters are good role models at all. Their only redeeming characteristic is their shared concern for the environment, which admittedly manifests itself in the destruction of public property.

Reviewed by Adrian G., Grade 12
Grandview Library

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Twelve, by Justin Cronin

The sequel to The Passage, The Twelve takes place more than a century after the initial effects of Project NOAH. It is set in a fortified enclosure in which some of the last remnants of humanity call their home. Surrounded by floodlights and concrete walls, it nevertheless needs some people to venture outside the walls to gather supplies and maintain the giant windmills that power the place, and more importantly, keep the floodlights on. Everything starts with the arrival of a young girl, who was there a hundred years ago when the first virals/jumps/shades/vampires were unleashed upon the world.

The Twelve, by Justin Croning, at its start at least, has a very City-of Ember-ish vibe to it. There are a couple young protagonists in a city, powered by a failing source, surrounded by inhospitable darkness. But the characters know what lies outside the walls, and what's more, they know how it can be killed. I still love The Twelve, but in a much different way than its predecessor. I like how it switches from a tale of destruction to more of an adventure through a dystopian Southern California filled with monsters. I also think the addition of the divine elements was a good idea: it provides a welcome contrast to the evil hunger of the vampires and seems to fit in well in a world filled with creatures that are described almost as supernatural.
Reviewed by Adrian G., grade 12
Grandview Library

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Passage, by Justin Cronin

The Passage is, quite simply, a vampire novel. But it's also a metaphysical journey across space and time, full of deep characters, the secrets of human emotion, and countless Biblical allusions. The United States military begins Project NOAH, designed to infect convicts with increasingly powerful strains of a hitherto unknown virus from South America. Agent Wolgast is responsible for bringing these people in, and he does his job extremely well - until he is assigned his last contact: a twelve-year-old girl. When they arrive at the compound, the subjects have become more powerful than anyone could imagine. And when Patient Zero entices one of the janitors into unlocking the cells, the apocalypse is unleashed upon the world.

The Passage, by Justin Cronin,  is still one of my favorite books. It's an extremely vivid tale of a vampire apocalypse. As a fan of the dystopian, apocalyptic genre, this book is a must read. The characters are deep, soulful and conflicted, and as a nice complement to the gritty pain and suffering, there are elements of the fantastical (other than vampires) and, on some occasions, the divine. I think one of the things I liked so much about The Passage is how each character responds to the apocalypse. Some literally convince themselves nothing strange has happened. Another takes to a cabin in the mountains. But you can see the human emotion present in each.
Reviewed by Adrian G., Grade 12
Grandview Library

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud

What better to explain the form of comics than in comic form? With a simple, cartoony avatar, a wildly varying, extremely appropriate artistic style, and deep insight into the psychological, artistic, and creative mechanics behind a comics, McCloud explores the world behind comic strips in an original and unique way. He begins with an introduction and definition of comics, quickly followed by the origins of juxtaposed images coming from Egypt and Mesoamerica, and then delves into the psychological basis for recognizing ourselves in a cartoony character that can be linked to our evolutionary instincts that come into play even when driving a car.

I enjoyed Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, immensely and learned an incredible amount from it. With a simple style, McCloud proves just how complex and expressive the world of comics can become. Even something as simple as a line can convey a wild range of emotion. For anyone with artistic aspirations, or (like me) a simple interest in the world of art in general, I can’t recommend Understanding Comics enough to not only teach you how to draw, but how to think about the vast array of mental mechanics that comes with drawing comics. And this is all presented in an easy to read and understand comic book. 

Reviewed by Adrian G., grade 12
Grandview Library

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Gunslinger, Stephen King

The Gunslinger is the first book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. It’s a bit of a departure from his usual genre of mundane and alien horror, but carries his signature writing style. It spans entire worlds, from a post-apocalyptic Wild West to different times on our own planet. Roland, the last of the gunslingers, is pursuing a sorcerer across a seemingly endless desert. Along the way, he meets Jake, a boy plucked from Earth by the sorcerer, as well as several others he meets through dimensional doors on a beach. His main quest is to find the Dark Tower, the multi-plane object that used to hold the universe together. Now it’s decaying, and Roland is trying to save it before the worlds collapse.

At its heart, The Gunslinger is more of a fantasy novel than a horror novel, although it does have some nightmarish elements. It’s the promising beginning of a series about nine books long. Personally, I found it interesting how King describes the gunslinger as less of a cowboy and more of a martial artist. He’s trained with his giant revolvers since his childhood and has shooting down to an art. In terms of the rest of the character, I liked the Eddie character a lot, but the split-personality Susannah character just seemed a little off to me. Still, I would definitely recommend The Gunslinger. 

Reviewed by Adrian G., grade 12
Grandview Library

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Magician King, by Lev Grossman

The Magician King, the second book in Lev Grossman’s trilogy, picks up where the last left off. Quentin is ruler of Fillory, the magical Narnia-esque land from the books he read as a child. After deciding to go on an adventure, as dictated by the magical realm he inhabits, he finds himself accidentally locked out of his dimension and stuck back on Earth. As he tries to find his way back, the story of his high school crush Julia unfolds. Unlike Quentin, she failed the Brakebills entrance exam and found a glitch in the memory wiping spell, which let her know there was a magical school out there, but closed to her forever. She chases magical knowledge all across the United States and works her way up the ranks of the underground magicians, paying some heavy prices along the way, and eventually reunites with Quentin.

For a bridge between the first and last books of a trilogy, The Magician King is really quite good. It departs from the more realistic, critical attitude towards magic and fantasy present in The Magicians and becomes a full-blown fantasy book that takes place in a world perfectly suited for fantasy adventures. The concept of a fantasy, fairytale world is nothing new to me, but the story of characters from our world exploring it is. And I think Grossman pulls it off really well, especially towards the end of the book where he begins to deconstruct the very nature of magic and provide an explanation for it. It may not be the most satisfactory of explanations, but explaining the origins of the universe is a monumental task and I think it fits in well with the rest of the book. 

Reviewed by Adrian G., grade 12
Grandview Library

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is ridiculously smart, not to mention introverted and unhappy. He’s bound for a top-tier college when he shows up and his interviewer is dead. After chasing a note from a paramedic into an overgrown alley and into the entrance exam of Brakebills College of Magical Pedagogy, he begins his education in real-world magic. Because in The Magicians, you don’t cast a spell by vaguely waving your hands, any more than a beginning programmer would write an air-traffic-control program. This is real magic, and it’s hard and brutal like any other subject. He manages to survive four years of intense study at Brakebills, but everything is thrown off-kilter when he and his friends discover the secret of interdimensional travel. 

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, remains one of my favorite books, even after five years. I would say it’s something about the sheer realism of the series that makes it different from something like Harry Potter - the world of magic is much more realistic, as far as that word can be applied to magic. One gets the feeling that if magic were real, this is exactly how it would play out. The other thing that makes The Magicians really stand out is how it manages to be both a fantasy book and a commentary on fantasy books. The characters make occasional references to Narnia and Harry Potter, which further adds to the feeling of realism.

Reviewed by Adrian G., grade 12
Grandview Library

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

What could be worse than a serial killer who gets his perverted kicks by snuffing out the potential of bright young women? Well, give him the ability to travel through time and that’s The Shining Girls. Except one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives having her disembowelment/throat slit, and vows to hunt him down and deal justice to him. However, she quickly discovers that it’s hard to track down a killer that could be anywhere in the 19th century. But she perseveres in her quest for revenge, and joins a newspaper and gets the help of a surly sports editor by the name of Dan, eventually finding the house that acts as his base of operations.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is an interesting book. It has the time-bendy feel of a movie that presents you with certain details and unexplained scenes throughout the main story, only to tie them up in a way that somehow reveals what really happened at the end. I guess my only real criticism of the way the story is told is that Beukes gives an incredibly in-depth description of each of the Shining Girls and their backgrounds and personalities, which does make their deaths much more powerful, but for some reason she refrains from characterizing the killer. Which is odd, because he features in most of the books and there’s not much of a motivation for him to do what he does besides some vague mental urge to satisfy himself and get rid of the voices in his head. This isn’t to say I didn’t like it. I enjoyed it immensely. It was a great read spread over a couple days so I could go back and look at the important things I had looked over the first time around.

Reviewed by A.G., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Saturday, August 23, 2014

No Place, by Todd Strasser

Dan, a senior, an athlete, part of the popular kids, and homeless. Both his parents have lost their jobs and now they're living in Dignityville. Of course, after such a drastic change to his lifestyle, Dan is one sour prune. But soon he starts to change, especially after a friend of his gets beaten up for no good reason. Now Dan must figure out, who's behind it, the why, and the how, with an all time shocker that'll blow your mind.

No Place, by Todd Strasser, will make you realize that there are real problems in the outside world. People live day to day oblivious to what's happening around them, but this book brings everything to light. Especially since it follows around a teenage boy, it'll wake up teenagers to follow the news and understand what's really going on and that they aren't living an easy peasy lifestyle. At any minute, anyone's life can go downhill, so now is the time to stand up for it. Just check the book out, you will not be disappointed!!

Reviewed by Anahit T., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth,  is the third and final installment in the Divergent series. The book immediately picks up from the last one, when Tris, the main character, reveals a video that changes lives forever. The factions are all destroyed and everyone is now factionless. Tobias's mother, Evelyn, is in charge of the factionless now. People labeled as threats to her leadership are placed in prison, including Tris. After undergoing an interrogation under the influence of truth serum, she is released into the chaos that is now her beloved hometown. Action and suspense ensue in these exciting novel. 

This book was a page turner, I read it in one sitting! It is full of action and suspense and, of course, romance between Tris and Tobias, my favorite couple ever. I really enjoyed the book, except for the ending that completely ruined the whole series. Be prepared to be shocked. I definitely recommend this book to fans of the Divergent series. I'm really sad that this series is over, it's amazing. 

Reviewed by Rebecca S., grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, August 18, 2014

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

Tris, Tobias, Marcus, Caleb and Peter go to amity headquarters in search for safty. They are welcomed to stay as long as they keep the piece. Tris is overwhelmed with greef and guilt after the incident with will in the previous book and she has no one to talk it out with. Evelyn’s army of factionless are working hard to convert everyone into becoming factionless. Tris is against this. Instead she wants to go out and see what the real world, that she learned about in the previous book, is like.

The action packed adventure of the characters in Insurgent, by Veronica Roth, kept it interesting from beginning to end. The characters, even though it may be extremely difficult, must put what happened to them behind and begin to work together for the good of their people and themselves. After the deaths betrayal and lying its hard to tell whose truly good and who can’t be trusted. This book can be entertaining for anyone who reads it. I think everyone can relate to at least one character. Personally my favorite character is peter but to each their own.
Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Draw the Dark, by Ilsa J. Bick

In Winter, Wisconsin, Christian Cage is the least liked. No one wishes for him to be around. His father and mother left unexpectedly leaving no information. While growing up he draws people's worst nightmares and they tend to... He starts to see flashbacks, not of his own, but of another's. Dr. Rainier helps him understand, to help solve a mystery that occurred not too long ago in Winter, Wisconsin.

Draw the Dark, by Ilsa J. Bick was interesting. It kept me on my toes, thinking what's going to happen next? I would try to piece together the mysteries and questions left unanswered. My heart would beat fast in certain scenes and I would want to yell out and warn Christian about what he was doing or what was about to happen or yell at him to move his butt before something bad happened. I don't know if there will be a second book, but I would love it if it happened, but who knows? It'd give great insight about his parents and what really happened to them!

Reviewed by Anahit T., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hunter X Hunter, by Yoshihiro Togashi

Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts, and even other men. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information, and the right to call themselves Hunters. As, Gon discovers that his father was a famous hunter he embarks on a journey to find his father, meeting reliable friends and going on dangerous missions as well.

As the creator of Yu Yu Hakusho, I really enjoyed reading Hunter x Hunter, by Yoshihiro Togashi . The plot's intriguing and so are the characters. The one weakness of it currently is the fact that the author likes to go on hiatus a lot and I felt that the recent arc with the Chimera was too drawn out.

Reviewed by Jacqueline L., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pretty guardian : Sailor Moon, by Naoko Takeuchi

In Pretty guardian : Sailor Moon, by Naoko Takeuchi, you get to know Usagi, Luna, Mano, and Ami. Usagi is sort of a flake, but she is a very good friend. Usagi is the one chosen to be Sailor Moon “the Guardian of love and justice", as she always says. She is faced with her first enemy when he friend Molly’s mother’s jewelry is infiltrated by the Nega force. She is very scared and complains about it until Luna helps her to calm down. When she finally gets her act together, she finishes off the monster by using her moon tiara. Usagi makes a friend named Ami who goes to Usagi’s school and a night school. Little did Ami or Usagi, know it was a Nega force trap. When the Nega monster over powered Sailor Moon and the Nega monster attacked Ami, Luna gave her the transformation pen so she could become Sailor Mercury.

This book is set in Tokyo where the sailor scouts lie dormant. The basic plot is Sailor Moon and Luna looking for sailor scouts and fighting Nega monsters to protect the planet. Usagi is a character some girls can relate to because some girls are lazy and flaky when it comes to school work and studying. Usagi is also a good friend who is devoted to helping them, if she devoted half of that to her studies then for sure she would be a good student. Usagi might not turn out as good as Ami but she might at least get a “C” average instead of her bad grades.

Reviewed by Nichole Z., grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon Book 6, by Naoko Takeuchi

In Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon Book 6, by Naoko Takeuchithe fight for Mano-chan’s attention continues. Since Usagi was late again she was beat to Mano’s morning hug by Chibi-Usa and Diana. Chibi-Usa is sort of Usagi’s enemy when it comes to Mano’s attention. After school Usagi goes to the arcade as usual and she meets a boy. His uniform shows that he is attending a new academy that is supposed to be for all the big teenage stars, such as athletes, musicians, and actors. These students also are known to excel in all the subjects taught which is how the academy was named the Genius School. The group, soon after he leaves, decides to leave as well. What they find though is very unsettling; they leave only to find that a strange creature is outside. 

This is a very dramatic book in the series. This is when a new enemy arises with a leader named Pharaoh 90. He uses, what are called incomplete diaman to infiltrate human bodies so their civilization can thrive on Earth. The story plot is very fun to think about. There was a question that arose in my mind ‘Is the new guy they met a boy or a girl?’ Since the person wears both boys and girls clothing. The reason for my question is we see the new guy in a Tuxedo Mask outfit and a Sailor Uranus. The answer should be in the next book.

Reviewed by Nichole Z., grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon Book 5, by Naoko Takeuchi

In Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon Book 5, by Naoko Takeuchithey find another sailor scout. This sailor’s name is Sailor Venus. She comes to help when Sailors Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Tuxedo Mask are over welled by the Nega force. She helps them to scare off the Nega force scum. She also brings a new cat friend named Atriums who Luna recognizes right away. The bad news is the Nega force finding out the true identity of Tuxedo Mask. They also find out a bit about Sailor Venus’s past as the action character, Sailor V. Coincidently, Sailor V is Usagi’s idol example for her when she is Sailor Moon.

This book is very fun and sort of dramatic. This is actually one of my least favorite in the series. The part I do like about it is they get a new scout, Sailor Venus, and a new talking feline friend, Airtimes. The finding of Artemisia brings up a great opportunity to give Luna a love interest, I thought and sure enough when Chibi-Usa comes to the past she brings a little kitty named Diana. I believe this is a very sure sign that Luna and Artemisia become very fond of each other in the future. I hope Chibi-Usa becomes a great sailor scout.

Reviewed by Nichole Z., grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Pretty Gaurdian: Sailor Moon Book 7, by Naoko Takeuchi

In Pretty Gaurdian: Sailor Moon Book 7, by Naoko Takeuchi, the identity of Sailors Pluto, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune are revealed. Sailor Pluto is a Theoretical Physicist apprentice at the Genius academy, Sailors Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn are regular students at the genius academy. The three sailors Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus come with disturbing news about sailor Saturn’s potential awakening. Back in the silver millennia Sailor Saturn, guardian of ruin and silence, silently pointed her staff at the Moon and as soon as that happened the Moon fell into ruin. This is why Sailor Saturn should not be awakened on Earth; otherwise the Earth will fall into ruin.

This book is full of twist and turns and a thought of murder. But the book is not all bad since Sailor Moon finds the power of Super Sailor Moon. This is a power that may come in handy when all the Sailor scouts are together but when they are separated it is no use relining on the power. The power of Super Sailor Moon has its limits just like any other power; all the Sailor Scout’s hearts must be connected. In my opinion, since this condition was in play, the scouts should not have split up, even if the academy was big. 

Reviewed by Nichole Z., grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gintama, by Hideaki Sorachi

The samurai didn't stand a chance. First, the aliens invaded Japan. Next, they took all the jobs. And then they confiscated everyone's swords. So what does a hotheaded former samurai like Sakata "Gin" Gintoki do to make ends meet? Take any odd job that comes his way, even if it means losing his dignity.

Although there isn't an intriguing plot behind Gintama, by Hideaki Sorachi, what really drew me in was the hilarious situations Gintama would go through in order to make ends meet.

Reviewed by Jacqueline L, grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, August 4, 2014

Toriko, by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

In the world of Toriko, by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, taste and texture of food are very important. Toriko is a hunter of precious foods regularly hired by restaurants and the rich. He is a man with inhuman skills to capture the ferocious, evasive and rare animals to complete his ultimate dinner course. His current accomplice, a weak, timid person, but who was inspired by Toriko's greatness, accompanies him on all his journeys on his quest for the course of his life.

Not only is Toriko funny, it's plot is simple enough that you could start off at any point in the story. Although the comedy might be lost because of the lost background on some characters, the central idea of Toriko as a cook hunting precious food ingredients is not lost.

Reviewed by Jacqueline L., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Friday, August 1, 2014

Middlesex, by Jeffery Eugenides

 Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, is a fictional novel that is told from the point of view of Calliope Stephanides, who is a hermaphrodite and until the age of 14 was raised as a girl. She runs away from home at this age just as she is about to receive an operation, and from then on identifies herself as a male (looking much like one as well). To describe her condition, Callie- later called Cal- has to bring forth her origins, starting with that of her grandparents in Greece. Through the lives of the family members that came before her/him, Callie gives a comprehensive story- one that leads to her present condition. 

One of the most intriguing aspects of Eugenides’ novel is that it oscillates between the present Cal and his/her past. The story begins far back with her grandparents who fled Greece when the Turks invaded the town and massacred Greek and Armenian Christians in the village of Smyrna. Cal tells of her grandparents new home in Michigan and later of her parents as their children and finally Cal describes her own life from the time of her birth. I enjoyed the detailed background Eugenides gave for each character in the story because I could clearly identify them and their feelings. It was much easier to connect with the characters, to understand them and to understand Cal because of how comprehensive the narrative was. I loved this book very much and would recommend it to high school level students and older.

Reviewed by Nelli, grade 11
Pacific Park Library

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On the Come Up, by Hannah Weyer

AnnMarie Walker is a 14 year old girl who gets pregnant in the book On the Come Up, by Hannah Weyer . She's in love with Darius, the baby's father. She listens to him even when he's in his worst moods. Towards the end of her pregnancy, she auditions for a role in a movie. She lands the spot and begins her little career of stardom. Soon after the movie's release, she goes back to being a mother and taking care of hers, along with questioning her sexuality, meeting new people, and falling in love with the right person.

This book is wow. The writing style is totally different from any other book I've read and it feels good, quite refreshing as well. It's also based on a true story, but it's also fictional, so all I could imagine were the characters being real and half of it actually happening. It's quite inspiring as well, even though AnnMarie faced some troubles in her life, she was still able to take care of herself and the one's she loved, and stepping up to not care about what others thought of her. It made me want to get up and do something good with my life. I loved it and hope a lot of people give it a go.

Reviewed by Anahit T., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins

In Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins, Sophie Mercer has just discovered that she is a witch. After a spell goes wrong she gets sent to Hex Hall, a reform school, where she meets her own set of problems. She falls in love with a handsome warlock, makes three enemies, and has a ghost "friend". Will Sophie be able to survive when students start getting killed?

This fast read is a great book that has a romance and other worldly feel. Sophie is down to Earth and fails which makes her all that much more relatable. People who enjoy a romantic comedy mixed with mystery will fall head over heels for this book. As a book one of a series it makes a great introduction to the world of Hex Hall.

Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9
Montrose Crescenta Library

11/22/63, by Stephen King

In Stephen King's book 11/22/63, Jake Epping travels back in time. When his friend, Al Templeton, suggests he use his ability to travel back in time to save President John Kennedy, Jake decides to do it. But, sadly for Jake, time does not want to be changed and it creates obstacles that Jake must solve ad learn from after each visit to the past. Even with his knowledge of how the future will play out Jake can never be certain that he is making the right decision because life turns on a dime. He never knows the consequences of his actions.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. This novel plays by its own rules, which can change at any point. The reader learns along with Jake and discovers his flaws and misinformation about the past and present and the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people who enjoy a fascinating thriller that makes up its own definition of time travel.

Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9
Montrose Crescenta Branch

Inferno, by Dan Brown

In Inferno, by Dan Brown, Robert Langdon is back and this time in Italy in the 4th installment of the Robert Langdon series. He awakes in a hospital with no recollection of the past 36 hours, and is in possession of a series of codes. He is on the run from dangerous people as he dives head first into the world of Dante's Inferno on a quest to save himself and the world.

With adventure at every turn, mixed with history and codes, Inferno is the perfect novel to get caught up in! The reader is kept guessing until the very end and everything is revealed. Although it may seem like a long book. it is a fast read because of its fast paced nature. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast paced thriller.

Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9
Montrose Crescenta Library

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira

In My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira, Marry Sutter dreams of becoming a surgeon even if she has to overcome the prejudices against women. When the Civil War breaks out Mary leaves home against her mother's wishes to go to Washington D.C. to fulfill her dream. Her mother desperately needs her at home to take care of her sister, but Mary doesn't want to give up. As her mother's pleas become more desperate Mary has a life changing decision to make.

This book was a riveting historical novel that truly explored the hardships of the Civil War. The issues that Mary faces come to life and were relatable to people in the 21st century. I highly recommend this book to all. The pacing of the book allowed for the reader to decide what he/she would have done in that particular situation. This makes My Name is Mary Sutter a fascinating read that is hard to put down.

Reviewed by Jackie, grade 9
Montrose Crescenta Library

Monday, July 21, 2014

Marked, by P.C Cast + Kristen Cast

In a world where vampires have always existed, 16 year old Zoey Redbird has just been Marked as a fledgling vampire and joins the House of Night, a school where fledglings learn how to blossom and become successful once they fully Change. But all who go through the Change make it. Zoey is no average fledgling though. She has been chosen by the vampire goddess Nyx to do the things she can't. Zoey now has these weird powers on the leader of the Dark Daughters-- the elite group of fledglings-- in order to save her friends and her school.

Marked, by P.C Cast + Kristen Cast books are like drugs. You need to keep reading to satisfy your cravings to know what happens next. I have this addiction to this book, i don't know if its good addiction for reading, or its bad because i spent over $50 trying to read them all (i should have gone to the library) but this has so many good plot twists and so much drama! Along with lots of supernatural things.They are great for short reads, i could read one in a day. So be careful. Overall i think they keep dragging this series on, but the story is sooooo good

Reviewed by Emily, grade 9
Montrose Crescenta Branch

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beautiful Music For Ugly Children, by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Beautiful Music For Ugly Children, by Kirstin Cronn-Mills revolves around a girl named Liz or shall I say a boy named Gabe. He is in his senior year and close to graduation. He has his own DJ radio show where he can actually be Gabe and be proud of who he is. He begins to embrace Gabe, as he calls it, "his B side", right after high school, and goes through hardships along with his best friend Page, his neighbor John, and his family, who have yet to come to terms with who he is. 

The title alone got me interested. It's that type of book that I have never encountered before and I loved it. It showed me the bonds of friendship, the acceptance of family, and how much hatred there is in the world along with how much love that equals it. It made me think that no matter what, people will still love you for who you are. I believe this book may or may not be an eye opener for some people who have very strong opinions against transsexuals, lesbians, gays, and bi-sexuals. It may even change their views to be accepting of others. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, it's amazing.

Reviewed by Anahit T., grade 12
Glendale Central Library

Monday, July 14, 2014

Season of Secrets, by Sally Nicholls

Season of Secrets, by Sally Nicholls, is about a girl named Molly who moved to the country to live with her grandparents and sister Hannah. One night her sister Hannah wakes up and comes to her and asks to leave because the place is they live is old and boring. Molly tries to convince her not to leave but they both run off into the night and Hannah leaves her and runs home to grandparents. Molly finds a man that is being chase that says run away and be safe. She runs back to her grandparents house and the next day she sets out to find the man. When she finds him she gives him food and become friends. She finds out he has magical powers because he is able to grow a plant in his hand and transfer it to the ground. Molly also discovers that he is hiding from the Holy King who was chasing at the night she was running away. What would the future hold for Molly, her family, and the magical man?

In my opinion, this story is very dramatic. The main character Molly must find a way to move on with the way her life is going and must overcome the obstacles. The seasons in this story reflect a new beginning. In the beginning life is hard for her since she is forced to move away from her original life. I enjoyed this book because it teaches us that life has its ups and downs and we must learn to overcome the difficult times. As her life progresses she meets a magical man that gives her life hope and meaning. I really enjoyed this book because Molly's gives the life lesson to the reader to learn and accept life as it is.

Reviewed by Tiffany, grade 8
Grandview Library

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Choke, by Diana Lopez

Windy is a normal eighth grade girl that becomes friends with a girl named Nina. Nina is in the popular group, so it is a huge change for Windy to be friends with a girl in the popular group. They soon become closer friends, but then realize that they would like to become even closer friends. They want to be breath sisters. To be a breath sister, the other friend has to choke you until you slightly pass out. Then she or he has to wake you up, and you do the same to him or her. Will Windy risk her life to be in the popular group and to become a part of the "in" crowd? Or will she make the right choice and just stay nothing but friends with Nina? Read this fantastic book to see what choice Windy makes.

There were some things that I liked and some things that I didn't like about Choke, by Diana Lopez. I loved the fact that it took place in middle school, because when I was reading it I was i middle school. As I read through the book, I realized how relatable the book was to real life. The way some of the people acted in class or even walking through the halls. I didn't like the fact that there was a "popular group" that acted all snobby, because that isn't how it was in middle school. There was always a "popular goup" but not one that was as powerful as the one in the book. I feel like middle school kids, or ninth graders would love to read this book, because I feel like they could all relate to some of the situations that happened in the book. I really liked this book, and hope that someone will like it too!
Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon Book 4, by Naoko Takeuchi

In  Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon Book 4, by Naoko TakeuchiAmi and Usagi are in the same school and Sailor Mars goes to a private school so they do not see each other. Ami and Usagi find out there is a new girl on campus who everyone is intimidated by her because of her height and the rumor about why she switched schools, the rumor is she was kicked for fighting. But not Usagi, she does not care what the rumor says she is determined to become friends with her, and she becomes friends with her. When the Sailor Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the new girl are out they come faced with another Nega monster and they are over powered. When the new girl is caught by the monster she becomes Sailor Jupiter.

The Sailor scouts meet a new scout. She is seen as a mean looking girl but Sailor moon sees her differently and is determined to become friends with her. This gives a great life lesson. the lesson is, do not judge a person for what you hear about them, make a decision for your self. I believe the new Sailor Scout Sailor Jupiter will be a great asset to the team and make the book more interesting and fun in later books.

Reviewed by Nichole Z., grader 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, June 30, 2014

Shadowland, by Alyson Noel

Ever and Damen are two teenagers who love each other. After many years of searching for his soul mate who keeps mysteriously coming and going out of his life, Damen is finally reunited with Ever. The only resolution he can think of to keep her with him forever, is turning her into an immortal. Just when they are starting to make up for the lost time, a curse has been set upon him and is forcing them to be separated. Ever is doing everything she can to seek the antidote that is hidden by the one who cursed Damen, Roman. Meanwhile, Ever is hired for a job by a 19 years-old boy named Jude who seems strangely familiar. Damen tells her why and gives her space to make a difficult decision that might mean losing him. 

Shadowland, by Alyson Noel is one of the best I have ever read. I like books that are in a series because they don't end and the story keeps going on and on. This book is basically based on true love. There are conflicts and big obstacles that have to be faced. There are a lot of mistakes done that have to be fixed. Responsibility is also a big challenge for all the characters. When I started to read this book, I didn't want to put it back down to take a break. I only took a pause when I started to have a headache. That's how good the book is. This book encourages me to keep reading and see what happens next till I get to the very last page and have to wait until I can get my hands on the next one... at the library! 

Reviewed by Lou, grade 8
Grandview Library

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Known World, by Edward P. Jones

The Known World, by Edward P. Jones, is a series of stories regarding the death of Henry Townsend. Henry Townsend, a black plantation owner, is a freed slave who has started his own plantation with his own slaves. We switch off from his slaves, his childhood, and the lives of surrounding characters to learn about his life and the events his death caused. To start off, Moses, the overseer slave, is the first slave Henry ever bought. He is extremely loyal up until Henry's death. However, when he develops feelings for Henry's widow, Caldonia, trouble arises. It is a time where slaves are as vulnerable as ever, running away, being cruelly punished, and very few laws protecting them. There is a strict division between what is thought, and what should be thought. Regardless of "free papers", a colored person is subject to discrimination, and in some cases is stolen back into slavery. The stories surrounding Henry Townsend's death not only teach the leader of his life, they teach the reader parts of history that were ignored.

My first few days reading The Known World were unpleasant, and continued to be unpleasant. This novel seems senseless, theme less, and requires excessive thought to decipher its true meaning. I found myself confused often, having to reread and constantly looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary. One factor that contributed to this confusion was the Jones's writing technique: prolepsis. Prolepsis is when the author is the "god" of those in the story therefore he knows every detail of their lives. This is revealed constantly in the text in instances such as the circumstances in which a newly introduced character was born or will die. I found The Known World to be a horrible book, and would not recommend it to anyone except perhaps a historian. 

Reviewed by Kristine K., grade 10
Casa Verdugo Library

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan

We once again join Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, at Camp Half-Blood. During training, Percy and Annabeth find an entrance into the Labyrinth and find out that Luke has been there before. They figure that Luke will lead his army in through the Labyrinth and ambush the camp from within. They must find Daedulus before Luke does, so that he won't know where to go in the Labyrinth. Will Camp Half-Blood stay protected or will this be it's final stand? 

Usually, I would love this book because it's part of the Percy Jackson series. But, I honestly didn't like this one. To me it was kind of like a few of the others.The plot line was the same, Percy is in a race against time, making sure that Luke does not succeed. The Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan, was kind of bored me, but it did have some twists that I was surprised when I read. This book kind of saddened me too, because you could tell they're preparing for the final book of a great series.Definitely not my favorite for the series standard, but an okay book. 

Reviewed by Julian, grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Fallout, by David Michaels

A spy named Sam Fisher finds himself on another mission, but this time it's for revenge. His brother is found dead due to radiation poisoning. As Fisher follows his brothers traces, he finds out that it's not one man that killed his brother, it is an entire organization of terrorists and religious extremist. It's also not about vengeance anymore, it now concerns the whole world. This organization dreams of no future, so they created an irradiated virus that can destroy all of the world's oil supply. It's up to Fisher to save the world and any hopes of a future. 

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Fallout, by David Michaels, will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire way, it contains action on almost every page. The action isn't wimpy at all, in fact, I would not recommend this for those who are squeamish. However, I would recommend this book for those who love spies or stealth. I thought that it took too long for the plot to escalate and that it took a while even for the main plot to start. The book also has a bit of mystery which was nice to see. I personally liked the book and will be reading more of the series. 

Reviewed by Julian, grade 9
Glendale Central Library