Posts tagged ‘real-life’

May 1, 2015

Read + Review — Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

by AmandaTheLibrarian

eleanorThe book takes place at a high school in Omaha, Nebraska in the year 1986. Park attends the high school, and his love of music and comic books contrasts with the rest of the school. He knows he’s a misfit, but he’s nothing compared to the new girl- Eleanor. Knowing she’ll get torn apart by bullies, he offers her a seat next to him on the bus. They gradually being talking, and a friendship develops between the two. Then, throughout the twists and turns of life, they become so much more.

I really enjoyed this book. The author managed to always keep the plot flowing and interesting. The fact that she set in in the 80’s was also interesting, as not many new teen fiction books set their books in the past. The characters in “Eleanor and Park” were all really diverse, which made the book seem more relatable. The metaphors, the characters, the writing style- everything was perfect.

The characters all had so much depth to them. Sometimes authors tend to neglect the personalities of people in the story or just give them a few basic character traits, but Rainbow Rowell really succeeded in making the characters really interesting. From the start, you learn so much about Eleanor and Park, and she wrote them both really well. Each choice they made and thing they said showed who they were, and the depth of the characters made the book much more personal.

Reviewed by Kitty, 7th Grade, Twin Hickory Area Library

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April 23, 2015

Teen Review–Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

by MandyTheLibrarian

eleanorpark

Taking place in 1986, Eleanor & Park follows the story of two teenagers who come from very different backgrounds. Park has lived in Omaha his entire life, but he has always felt different. Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she is an outcast in every way possible. When the two adolescents begin sitting next to each on the bus each day, their tentative friendships gradually blossoms into an intense and passionate relationship.

I absolutely loved the personalities of Eleanor and Park! They were both very dynamic characters, and it was so interesting to read each chapter from their alternating perspectives. Rowell’s writing style is very unique and different from anything I’ve ever read before; this was slightly confusing to me at times, but entertaining nonetheless. The plot was very well-developed, but I do feel like the ending left some questions unanswered to me. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to a friend.

My favorite thing about the story was how Eleanor and Park bonded over alternative music; I thought that was absolutely adorable and I could easily relate since I love alternative music!

Review by Maryum, Grade 11, Twin Hickory Area Library

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April 22, 2015

Read + Review: Read Between the Lines, by Jo Knowles

by LisaTheLibrarian

This book starts with the unfortunate day of an unfortunate boy, Nate Granger. Even though he is the opposite of a jock, a Kcoj as he calls himself, he gets a basketball injury in the middle of gym. He breaks a finger. His middle finger. For the first time in forever, he gets to flip everyone off without getting into trouble. Everyone including his grumpy, abusive and hateful father. At first I expected that this boy would be the main character of the book, but then I discovered he isn’t the narrator after the first chapter. More students and one teacher are the narrators of the rest of the book. As you follow the surprising stories of Claire the popular cheerleader, Dewey the older dropout college student, Jack the high school weed-smoking money stealer, and many other stories, you discover that they all seem to have the same horrible day.

I like this book because the author shows wisdom and comic relief throughout the story. Being able to connect many stories but keep the book interesting and new is truly a talent. Jo Knowles intrigues me and keeps me guessing at what is on the next page. I only wish she would get more in depth with the individual characters’ stories.

In the book, every new story shows the connections of all the others. All the stories interlock with surprising accuracy, and the characters have at least one thing in common, even though many don’t know each other.

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Reviewed by Virginia, grade 7, Dumbarton Area Library 

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April 21, 2015

Read + Review: Sway, by Katarina Spears

by LisaTheLibrarian

Jesse “Sway” Alderman, a high school senior, specializes in finding ways to get whatever people need; whether it be term papers, a date with the prom queen, or fake ID’s, he sees it all as business. Jesse prefers a life of solitude; he has few friends and tries not to let emotions get in his way. However, when the captain of the football team hires Jesse to set him up with beautiful and kind Bridget Smalley, everything Jesse thinks about himself changes dramatically. Several accidents happen, and in the process Jesse finds that he can’t always hide his emotions, especially when it comes to unlikely friendships and falling in love.

The author of this book, Kat Spears, found a way to weave the story of Jesse Alderman in a way that made me eager to read more. The way that she characterized Jesse’s personality makes it very easy for modern teenagers to identify with him; his sense of humor and belief that he can control everything, including his emotions, is a very common thing among adolescents. Moreover, my favorite thing about the book is how relatable the plot line and its setting of a modern day school environment are and how the characters and their backgrounds drew me into the story. I could not stop reading!

One of many memorable things about “Sway” is how the main character, Jesse Alderman, is portrayed. His life, intricate personality, and journey throughout the story make him seem like a character anyone would want the chance to meet, and possibly befriend.

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Reviewed by Lisa, grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library 

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April 18, 2015

Read + Review — How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon

by MandyTheLibrarian

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The book takes place in the small suburb of Underhill, a part of town plagued by gangs and violence. The story begins with the shooting and killing of a 16 year old boy named Tariq Johnson, causing an uproar in the community. Tariq Johnson was black, but his killer, Jack Franklin, was white. The police had found Franklin soon after the shooting, but reports say he was released soon after, due to a plea of self-defense. People cry out, screaming of racial prejudice against African-Americans. Everyone’s saying different things about what happened, whether Tariq had a gun or if he didn’t, whether he was a gang member, or if he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The book is narrated by a myriad of people, such as Tyrell, Tom Arlen, Junior, Brick, Noodle, Jennica, Kimberly, and quite a few more, though I think it’d get a little repetitive if I kept going. Either way, the community only knows one thing; Tariq isn’t coming back.

I personally enjoyed this book quite a bit, mainly because of its many narrators, telling their story from their point of view, from what they saw and thought on the day Tariq was shot. Some people say one thing, but the next person you ask says something completely different, and you don’t know what’s true. Another thing that was truly great about this book was its unique writing style, a style that was just so descriptive about everything, even the most minute things. It immerses you in the book, and really makes you feel for the characters.

In my opinion, the most memorable moment in the book is when the whole neighborhood of Underhill organizes a hoodie march in remembrance of Tariq.

Reviewed by Ryan, Grade 6, Tuckahoe Area Library

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April 18, 2015

Read + Review — I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

by MandyTheLibrarian

i am malala

I Am Malala: the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban is about a young, determined girl’s fight against the brutal Taliban in Northern Pakistan, and their extremist views of taking away the right to women’s education. Yousafzai describes her everyday experiences with the militant group, and her near death experience after being shot in the head by the Taliban. With her family, Yousafzai watches as the Taliban slowly take over her hometown of Mingora. Unlike most school girls her age, she speaks out against the Taliban’s unjust beliefs, and grows support for her cause from all over the world. Her strong-willed personality and urge to attend school empowers the reader throughout the book.

From the minute I started reading this autobiography, I was hooked in and amused by the new things I learned about Pakistan and what life in Northern Pakistan is like as a girl my age. Being a teenager, even Yousafzai enjoys to watch normal teenage movies such as Twilight and TV shows like Ugly Betty. This aspect built a strong connection with me as a reader. Yousafzai’s character and personality is very pleasant, and I admire her fight to advocate the importance of attending school for both boys and girls all over the world. Her determination, courage, and peaceful traits inspire me to be my best every day! If you enjoy reading about inspiring humanitarians and like to explore other cultures, I highly recommend this book for you!

Malala Yousafzai’s horrific shooting was particularly disturbing. Yousafzai had been a target for a Taliban ever since she had been advocating the importance of girls’ education in a highly conservative society. Her work has inspired me to put forth more effort towards my education as an IB middle school student.

Reviewed by Riwa, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library

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April 18, 2015

Read + Review — Best Friends Through Eternity, by Sylvia McNicoll

by MandyTheLibrarian

bestfriends

Fourteen year old Paige is hit by a train when taking a shortcut home in order to avoid some bullies. While unconscious, a part of Paige travels to a realm between life and death where she encounter a long lost childhood friend, Kim. However, overwhelmed by unfinished responsibilities, Paige is determined to find a way back to her former life. This book shows Paige embarking on a journey of self discovery and cultural identity.

The concept of this book was interesting for it touched upon realistic issues in a surreal way. Although the book was short, the characters were beautifully developed and each had depth. The characters in this story were easy to relate to because they faced very common problems that the average teenager faces. Overall, the plot was engaging and also unpredictable.

Something memorable about the book was that the problems that the characters had to deal with were real and believable.

Reviewed by Bonnie, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library

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April 18, 2015

Read + Review — Fantasy League, by Mike Lupica

by MandyTheLibrarian

fantasyleage

This book was mainly about Charlie Gaines’ love for the game of football. Charlie strongly supports his favorite NFL team, the Los Angeles Bulldogs, and he develops a strong relationship with the owner of the Bulldogs, Joe Warren. The main issue in the book is when Charlie Gaines begins helping Joe Warren with player picks, and this causes discrepancies with the rest of the community. As Charlie’s relationship with the owner progresses, Charlie’s personality also seems to transform. He becomes increasingly egotistic, and this causes tensions with his best friend Anna Warren.

In my opinion, I believe the book was written wonderfully and I would definitely not mind reading again. As I examined the complicated relationship that Charlie and Anna Warren, Joe Warren’s granddaughter, seemed to develop, I noticed that the event is very similar in the real world as well. I also enjoyed how a young 12 year old such as Charlie Gaines could become such good friends with a 79 year old. This relationship proved to me that friendship has no age limit.

One memorable thing about the book was the passion that Charlie Gaines had for football. The way the book was written, it seemed as if Charlie was willing to give up anything to be involved with football.

Reviewed by Sampath, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library

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April 18, 2015

Read + Review — I Was Here by Gayle Forman

by MandyTheLibrarian

I was here

With a mother who worked at a bar and basically stayed the night at a different house every day, Cody spent most of the time with the Garcia family. That is, until she received an email from her dead best friend on how she poisoned herself. Meg Garcia, the same best friend she shared secrets with and thought of as a sister. Even so, Cody didn’t know everything about Meg. When she visited Meg’s college dorm to pack, she found an encrypted file containing secrets that Cody never knew until it became unlocked.

I liked the book a lot and would recommend it to those who enjoy drama as there are a lot of broken relationships and unknown stories in the book. It’s about grief and moving on in life. I wish there was more action. Furthermore, I really like how there aren’t many characters because once they are introduced, everything else really falls into place.

One memorable thing about this book is how Meg and Cody were not alike at all but were still extremely close friends.

Reviewed by Angela, Grade 8, Tuckahoe Area Library 

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April 18, 2015

Read + Review — Public School Superhero, by James Patterson

by MandyTheLibrarian

publicschoolsuperhero

Kenny Wright, a smart and bright child, suddenly becomes someone he would’ve never thought of. His lies hurt his life and those whom he lied too. After almost being suspended, he gets an opportunity to become a friend to the rebels, forgetting his old friends. But when he sees an opportunity to fix his wrong doings, will he be able to take on the challenge?

Personally, I loved this book. As Kenny faces challenges, there was suspense on how he would take it on. Although this is a fast read, I think it was worth the time. For those who like fast and decent reads, this book is for you. Vice versa, for those who like more mature and long reads, this is probably not your best choice.

Kenny would do stupid but brave things to impress his friends. I don’t admire his ideas, but I like his courage. If I was him, I would’ve used that courage on something to help other people, not to get in trouble.

Reviewed by David, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library

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