Author: rachelthelibrarian

Read + Review: Sparrow by Sarah Moon

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Sparrow is about a girl named Sparrow who is shy and did something no one can decode. Sparrow doesn’t have friends and is currently in therapy. She feels like she will never be normal again. When Sparrow finds a flyer for a sleep away camp for rock music stuck inside a book, she decides to give it a try. After being there for quite a while, she realizes she didn’t just make the biggest mistake of her life- which is what she previously thought.

I liked that the author put many emotions in this book. There were parts that were funny yet there were parts that would make you feel angry or shocked. I also loved that the author wrote the book in first person. I was really able to understand Sparrow’s thoughts and feelings.

One memorable thing is that how Sparrow was really uncertain about the camp when she got there. But know Sparrow does have new friends and she is back to her normal self.

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Reviewed by Anushree, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library

Read + Review: Get Coding by Young Rewired State

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This is a magnificent book to teach kids how to code. First, the reader is taught to build a website using HTML and JavaScript code. They are then taught to create a password, a secure element, to contain it using JavaScript and how to combine the JavaScript with the HTML. Third, the reader is taught to create an app using the same type of code. Next, the reader is taught how to create hyperlinks, including information from other websites. Afterwards, the reader is taught to build a game using code, and lastly, they are instructed on how to add finishing touches like wireframes.

I thought the book was very helpful for kids my age. I think so because the simple way that the coding was described helped me learn basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in less than a day. However, I did not think readers under eight years of age (excluding those who have an exceptional interest in coding) will enjoy this book due to the lack of humor. I think that the authors could have done a better job on this.

One memorable part of the book was when the book described a few famous coders. It was memorable because it shows that though computers are usually generalized as modern technology, they date back to the 1850s.

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Reviewed by Varun, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Ten teens, who have had hard and troubled childhoods, are dropped off into the woods miles away from camp. They barely have any resources and are trying to find their way back to camp. Along the way, they reminisce about their troubles and tell haunting and mysterious stories to one another. They find out more about their peers as they explain their dark secrets. This twisting story is comprised of different tales that could keep you in paranoia for the night.

Overall, I didn’t like the book because the plot line was not clear and never really focused on the teens’ journey to camp. I was looking forward to a more thriller and sci-fi type of book, but it was more of a horror and story-telling novel. Although the style wasn’t what I was anticipating, the stories throughout the book were very interesting and mysterious. The styles written by the different authors for each of the different stories were very unique. Some parts of the book were slow and hard to read, but the individual stories were interesting to follow along.

What I found most compelling about this book was that the stories told by the teens were written by different authors. It was very cool how writers came together to comprise stories into one book with characters of different perspectives, tones, and personalities. Though the plot line of this book was poorly written, it was very memorable how the book itself was unique and a twisting anthology.

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Reviewed by Allyson, Grade 9, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher

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Due to his lack of social skill and grace, Deacon Locke constantly missed opportunities to ask anyone out to the prom. Drastic times called for drastic measures, and Deacon resorted to taking his grandmother, Jean, to his senior prom. Although it seemed absurd, it was considerate of Deacon to do since Jean hadn’t been able to go to her own senior prom. However, this wasn’t overlooked. Deacon Locke and his grandmother went viral, and dealing with the popularity that came with it had not been Deacon’s intention.

The beginning of the novel was somewhat tedious to read, but the rest of the book had colored me impressed. I found Deacon Locke’s story to be an engaging page-turner, and every page was absolutely riveting. The characters and their well-defined personalities complement the plot of the story swimmingly. Overall, the novel was well-balanced with humor and quirkiness, and it was certainly a delightful read.

One memorable thing about the book was the night of Deacon’s senior prom. Although the narrative of the night was very fast-paced, it was the highlight of the book. Deacon’s senior prom was also the event that sparked the drama that followed afterward.

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Reviewed by Jessica, Grade 9, Glen Allen Library

Read + Review: Cyclone by Doreen Cronin

The drop on the oldest and shakiest roller-coaster, the Cyclone, will never surpass the feeling of Nora’s heart dropping when she saw her cousin, Riley, faint after getting off of the roller-coaster. After Riley is taken to the hospital and put under intensive care, a doctor comes to deliver the news that Riley is in critical condition. After hearing the news, Nora stays cooped up in the family waiting room as guilt eats away at her. She had been the one to blackmail Riley into getting on the roller-coaster with her. However, every bone in Nora’s body yearns to help Riley recover, so she doesn’t hesitate to help Riley gain back her physical sense and mental state.

I could have never asked for a better book to get cozy with during the winter break. Because I am interested in the medical field, Cyclone was an endearing story that had really hit home for me. Additionally, I liked how all of the characters had their own distinct characteristics and personalities. The story was so genuine that it felt like I had been a part of the team that was helping Riley recover.

One memorable thing was a concept that was talked about in the book. There is a character in Cyclone named Jack, and he explained how a group of three people never seems to work. Two of the people will always find a way to be closer, which results in the third person being excluded. It’s something that I’ve seen so many times, but I hadn’t realized until I saw it in words.

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Reviewed by Jessica, Grade 9, Glen Allen Library