Category: Books

Read + Review: Somewhere We Only Know by Maurene Goo

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Who knew that the world’s famous K-pop star would fall in love with a normal teenage boy? It all begins with the desire to devour a hamburger. Lucky, known for her perfectionism on stage and for her luscious voice, decides one night to wander across the streets in Hong Kong for some delicious food (in her case, a hamburger). Meanwhile, Jack, a teenage boy, is on a secret “mission” for his so-called job, snapping never-seen-before pictures. When the two characters cross paths, love sparks in the air as they venture in the city. Around town, both Lucky and Jack experience the tasty food, wonderful showings, and freedom. However, there is a twist: Lucky puts on a fake identity known as “Fern” so she can live her life with Jack, but she doesn’t realize that Jack has already discovered the true her. How will this night end as secrets hang in the air?

Goo organizes the story in a fashion where the readers can peer into the thoughts of both characters, Jack and Lucky. I like how she describes each scene with detailed and vivid imagery, such as the landscape of Hong Kong and the hubbub in the streets. This story was on the cheesy side as I anticipated most situations. However, overall, Goo does an amazing job writing the story with a few interesting plot twists. If you are up for a cheesy, romantic novel, I would totally recommend reading this book!

The opening chapter was the most memorable scene of the book because I felt exactly like Lucky, running around the hotel frantically. The author opens the book by describing the hotel, Lucky’s emotions, and her role as a famous K-pop star in a way where the reader is sucked into the same world.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Allyson, Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment

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This book is about a 17-year-old girl named Layla Amin, who is a Muslim in a dystopian American society where members of that demographic are persecuted greatly. One day, government officials come to her house and tell her family that they must leave immediately to go to an internment camp in California. At the Camp Mobius, Layla, along with hundreds of other Muslim Americans, are contained in a confidential area surrounded by electric fences. Their rights are taken away as soon as they step through the doors, and the punishment for going disobeying the rules are extremely severe. These punishments do not waver the protagonists, as Layla and her new friends Ayesha and Soheil attempt to hatch a plan to escape from the facility.

I am in great awe about how well the plot of the novel was planned out. I believe that the story flowed very well, while the author also included a lot of twists and turns that were very unexpected, which left me unable to put the book down. There were no dull or boring moments; each chapter had a lot of action and dialogue that was very important for the development of the story. I also liked how the author incorporated humor into the novel, even though the main message of the story is very important to understand. Most of the main characters were teenagers, so the bickering they had with each other gave them a little bit of unique personality.

The most memorable thing about this book was the emotion that a lot of the characters had about the situation. Especially in a situation like this, it requires a lot of self-confidence to make a stand against something that is morally wrong. Throughout the whole novel, numerous characters showed so much in resilience and bravery in everything they did. This novel is extremely inspiring and will make any reader feel like they can accomplish anything.

5-stars-3

Reviewed by Griffin G., Gayton Library

Read + Review: Unpresidented by Martha Brockenbrough

Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump

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This book is a biography about Donald Trump, the 45th (and current) President of the United States. The novel started by following the life Friedrich Trump, who was the first member of his family to immigrate to the United States, as he attempted to make a name for himself in New York City. He eventually became very involved with restaurant business and had a son, Fred Trump, who fell in love with real estate, and eventually passed on this love to Donald. The rest of the novel details stories from Trump’s early life in military school and college and the first deals he made as a real estate mogul. Along the way, he gained a lot of popularity and a pedigree as one of the figureheads of business in New York City. He also became very involved in politics for the latter part of his life, which ultimately led to his decision to run for the election in 2016. After being elected on November 8, 2016, the rest is history.

I enjoyed that the novel was very thorough in terms of information on not only Donald Trump, but also his family members and other significant members of his campaign. I could tell that there was a lot of outside research that was compiled to make Trump’s life story complete. The one thing I didn’t like, however, was that there were some parts of the book that were relatively uninteresting and difficult to follow at times. When Brockenbrough wrote about various deals and lawsuits filed against him, there were a lot of monetary figures and financial terms that I had relatively little knowledge of. This novel requires a lot of knowledge and concentration to fully understand.

The most memorable aspect of this book is all the blasphemy that Trump told to reporters, stated online. The author decided to include dozens of quotes and Twitter posts from before and after his presidency to showcase his extremely aggressive nature and reluctance to accept basic facts. I already knew before reading this book that a lot of what he said was crazy, but the novel will truly show you an even crazier side to him that most have never seen before.

4-stars

Reviewed by Griffin G., Gayton Library

Read + Review: Undying By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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In this sequel to the popular novel “Unearthed”, our main characters, Mia and Jules are trying to escape the alien spaceship they were trapped on during the final pages of the “Unearthed”. After making an extremely narrow escape off the ship, Mia and Jules warn their hometown about the approaching threat that threatens the safety of the earth itself. But, to no avail. With absolutely no help, our main characters are forced to take matters into their own hands and handle the threat themselves. In this captivating novel, Mia and Jules travel across the entirety of Europe to stop the possible alien invasion. The story takes place from the mountains of Spain, all the way to streets located in Prague.

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was its humor at times. The situations would get very tense, and the author would just toss in a joke to defuse the situation. The darkish humor makes the book all the more enjoyable. The characters are also around the same age range as most people reading the book. The author knew this and made the characters relatable to their relative age range. I also like that the book switches between certain characters’ perspectives throughout the book to make sure the reader has a good idea of what’s happening from multiple perspectives.

Surprisingly, the most memorable moment in the book is in the first few pages of the book. Most authors never even get the idea to give a little note to the reader at the beginning of the book. I personally have never seen any author do that before. That’s the reason it’s most memorable for me. I will also always remember the love the author has for the reader. The author expresses that a lot, and that is another way I will always remember this book.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Minh L., Glen Allen Library

Read + Review: Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

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Mouse’s world seems to collapse when she is required to leave her ballet school, and her self-esteem seemingly deteriorates every second of her life. Without any alternative activities or interests to instill any inspiration in her, Mouse’s motivation is at an all-time low. However, her mother urges her to join her new school’s field trip to assist her with coming out of her shell. Unfortunately, she doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. Up in the mountains that are topped with snow, Mouse faces an exciting series of events with her two companions, Connie and Kiera, and a furry hamster that Connie managed to sneak in. Additionally, a romance begins to blossom between Mouse and Jack, the lead singer of a band without a name. Never Evers is a novel brimming with twists and turns happening both on and off the slopes.

The endearing moments between Mouse and Jack caused me to do everything within my power to suppress my squealing and giddiness due to their romance. What I found frustrating was the amount of time it took for the two realize how compatible they were together. Throughout the course of the novel, Mouse and Jack continued to be distracted by other love interests, but it frankly made their relationship more engrossing and interesting to read. Since the beginning, Mouse battles with her esteem and self-efficacy after hearing some not-so-nice words from Lauren, a girl who ceased to even interact with Mouse after finding out she was not accepted into ballet school. I could see myself in Mouse during moments when she felt down, which overwhelmed me with emotion. All-in-all, this novel emphasizes the significance of being yourself, which I personally believe is immensely important.

The most memorable event in the book is a conundrum that occurred in the beginning. Jack and one of his friends, Max, are invited to Lauren’s room, but when searching for it, they end up in Mouse, Connie, and Kiera’s room. The issue is that it was the middle of the night, and the ruckus they create cause an authority figure to come to settle the situation. I burst out laughing when Jack hid in the girls’ closet and encountered a certain “furry” friend, who was undoubtedly Connie’s hamster, Mr. Jambon.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by Jessica C., Glen Allen Library