Category: Read + Review

Read + Review: Self-driving Cars by Micheal Fallon


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This book mainly focused on the topic of Self-Driving Cars. The introductory chapter gives a brief overview on the history of automobiles. The next few chapters discuss the development of elementary Self-Driving Technology. In the last couple of chapters, the book really centers attention to modern day Self-Driving technology, and how several companies joined in the race to develop a fully autonomous car.

This book introduces the reader to the new technology of self-driving cars, which I think, the general population is still unaware of. I think it was a great book if the reader is curious about the history of autonomous cars and general information regarding them. I learned a lot of new things after reading this book. However, it is not a book that will entertain the reader as much as it informs them. I would have liked the book even more if the author made this fairly long informative book a little more entertaining by including fun facts and more pictures.

I think the most memorable of the whole book was when the author talked about the history of autonomous vehicles. I was pretty amazed to find out that humanity has been trying to develop partially autonomous vehicles for the past 40 years!


Reviewed by Talha A., Twin Hickory library

Read + Review: Second in Command by Sandi Van


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This book is about a military family who lives in a military town. It describes the events following the mother’s six-month deployment to an aircraft carrier in the middle of a potential military conflict. It describes the efforts of this family taking care of each other while missing a piece of their lives, their mother. The main character is Leo, a 16-year-old boy. His mother appoints him the second in command right before she leaves for her deployment. He takes this job seriously by helping his dad to take care of his 13-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister. His dad works all the time, his brother is falling behind at school and mixes with the wrong crowd, and his sister is having nightmares and missing her mom. As brave and responsible as he is, Leo is struggling with the responsibility that was put on him at such a young age. He is torn between keeping his promise to have his brother’s back and doing the right thing. Will he find a way to do both?

This book is written in an interesting style, it looks like a poem that does not rhyme. It is written as if it was a diary of the main character; a sort of compilation of his thoughts, a glimpse of his reality from his own point of view. It reads very easily and it is interesting how the author covers a lot of complex topics like acceptance of diversity, family values, friendship and love. I like how Leo’s friend Zen teaches him to breathe when stressed, which I personally find helpful.

I find the most memorable thing about this book was the family’s concern for their mother’s safety. They worked through the day and prayed she would come home alive. Makes me think how fortune I am to have my whole family together.


Reviewed by Preston M., Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Freedom Trials by Meredith Tate


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Evelyn Summers was unceremoniously dumped into jail when she was just a freshman in high school, and she has spent two years since then imprisoned with no idea why. All she knows is that she did something bad enough to land her in jail. Evelyn’s memories have been carefully and selectively wiped by the authorities so that she has no memory of the crime she committed, and she has spent her time in jail doing exactly as she’s told in hopes that she can be released into the real world and see her mother again. Finally, the day comes, and Evelyn and several other prisoners are called forward to complete the Freedom Trials — a series of seven mental and physical tests that they must pass in order to be freed. The catch? One failed trial, and they’ll be executed by firing squad. Evelyn’s fellow inmates already hate her because of something she did in the past, and she’s beginning to realize that it’s a hatred deep enough to compel some of them to resort to sabotage. As if she didn’t have enough to deal with, Alex Martinez, a new prisoner who apparently knows Evelyn and her crime, arrives. Against all odds, Evelyn must succeed so she can finally be free.

This book was a definite page-turner, and it had me on edge the entire time. Filled with suspense and secrets, the book’s mysteries weren’t convoluted enough to have me confused, and they weren’t predictable enough to make it a boring read; there was just enough thrill and enigma to keep the book going. It was fast-paced and well written; I liked that there was a lot of action, and I felt as though I were right there in jail with Evelyn. There was some really nice character development going on, and I could tell that the author had spent a lot of time creating this book’s world and describing it with details. Complete with twists, turns, and surprises, this book was the perfect dystopian novel.

One memorable thing about the book was that it was written in alternating perspectives, switching between Evelyn’s present-day encounters and her journal entries from when she had just been jailed. A certain event from her past that was hinted at in the present was acknowledged and explained in the journal entries, but the unique thing was that the gap between the introduction of the event and the explanation of the event created suspense — and a little confusion. This was because the author talked around it and avoided describing it directly, but also stressed its importance by hinting at how disgraceful and shameful it was. In the end, the secret lived up to its foreshadowing, and added another layer of complication to the novel.


Reviewed by Sanjara M., Twin Hickory library

Read + Review: The book of no worries by Lizzie Cox



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The Book Of no worries is a survival guide that covers most of your worries/anxieties that you might have as you are growing up. This book also has a lot of stuff to relate to such as problems at school, relationship, social media, and troubles at home. The Book Of no Worries also has little sections of questions and answers in each page so if you have any questions for any worries you have, it could be answered in the book. Overall, this book is an excellent resource for tweens, who are going through a normal roller coaster of growing up.

The main plot is all the worries and anxieties of the daily lives of tweens. The main character is this girl that has brown hair and she is a tween herself going through most of these worries and anxieties. I really liked this book because I am a tween. I am going through some problems and this book is very helpful. This book is also very true because most books are not as relatable but this book really is. The Book Of no Worries is an amazing book.

The most memorable part of the book is mainly everything because it helps with most things that will actually happen in life. It also it talks about siblings because I do have some problems with my siblings and The Book Of no Worries helps with that. I really liked how the book had some sections of the book for question and answer. I loved how the book was also really relatable to tweens. I disliked how the font of the book was because I think because it could have been a little more serious than it already is. I also really liked how it talked about the most common worries a tween can have.


Reviewed by Grecia H., Libbie Mill Libary


Read + Review: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson


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Stevie Bell, a crime aficionado, has been obsessed with the Truly Devious Case, an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that took place on Ellingham Academy’s campus in 1936, ever since she can remember. It was the reason she went to the school in the first place despite her parent’s objections. While staying there and searching for answers to who the culprit of the Truly Devious Case was, her classmate, Hayes Major, was killed. Although Stevie discovered who his killer was, Stevie’s parents took her out of school as they feared for her safety. After coming back home, she realized how much she missed her friends, the campus of Ellingham, and the excitement of working on the case. Stevie was willing to do anything to go back to Ellingham, even if it meant making a deal with the devious Senator Edward King, Stevie’s mortal enemy. But going back means going back to David, her ex-boyfriend and Edward King’s son, the guy she never wanted to see again. When she finally makes the decision to go back to Ellingham, she gets back with her friends and starts her investigation again while trying to keep her distance from David. Everything seems to be going well until Stevie’s investigation takes her to unexplored and dangerous places that make her question everything she thought she knew. Now, Stevie must make the decision to either back out from the investigation on the decades old case, or risk hurting someone close to her. But Stevie has never backed away from a challenge.

This book was a labor to read and was not very well put together. The pacing was horrendous as the book starts out very slow and stays like that even after a third of the way through. And although it picked up pace after about halfway through, it only picks a little and is still not very enjoyable to read. This makes the book a slog to read and kept making me put the book away after just a few minutes of reading. Another aspect of the book which needs improving are the characters. Stevie is extremely simple and flat and seems to show no emotion throughout the entire the book. Some of the side characters are better, but most of them show little emotion and are one dimensional. The stakes in the book are also very small as there is no real looming danger or time limit which pushes the protagonist to accomplish her goals. There is no real sense of urgency and everything feels dulled down. The only real positive I had about the book was the imagery and setting. Deciding to set a book in a remote campus was a good choice as it allowed for a sense of wonder and mysticism. This was enhanced by the author’s exemplary use of imagery which would send chills down my spine every time she described a new location.

The most memorable part of this book for me was the horrendous pacing. I have never read such a boring book with such slow pacing and it really left an impression on me, but not a good one. This book probably took me the longest time to read out of any other book I have ever read, and it wasn’t even very long at just 369 pages.


Reviewed by Aswin G., Twin Hickory Library