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The book Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram follows the story of 16-year old Darius Kellner, a Star Trek loving outcast who also has depression, and his journey to his home country of Iran. At home in the U.S, Darius has never fit in. He is always getting teased by Trent Bolger and the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy, and is made fun of for his Persian descent. So his expectations are low when Darius and his family travel to Iran for a holiday, only for those thoughts to completely disappear once he meets his grandparents neighbor Sohrab. Sohrab and Darius start spending time with each other, and soon enough become the best of friends. When they are around each other, Darius turns into Darioush, the Persian who loves to play soccer and eat faludeh. The rest of the story continues with funny twists and a heartwarming ending, that is sure to make you tear up.
My thoughts on this book were at the very least interesting. Near the beginning, I was very confused. The main source of this were all Star Trek references and the first few chapters. There were so many references to Star Trek, that after a while the book became unreadable since I did not understand any of them. The only references I did get were to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, of which there are a lot, even more than the Star Trek ones. That was only my opinion though, and I’m sure all the Star Trek loving Hobbits would love this book. Other than this, I really did like this book. The plot-line was interesting, intriguing, and heartwarming, and I could really relate to some of the things in this book, with my parents coming from a country like Iran as well. Overall, the book was quite charming, and the characters were extremely likable.
One of my favorite parts of this book was something that happened near the end when some tension between Darius and his dad started to clear up. I really liked this part, because it was well written, and even made me emotional. All the lead up to that moment helps too, with all the suspense floating in the air, until this moment came clearing up the fog in a heartfelt way. This moment also was one of the main changes Darius went through in Iran and was a sincere moment overall.
Reviewed by Aryan A., Twin Hickory Library
The Crossroads, sequel to The Only Road, continues the story of Jamie Rivera, a refugee from Guatemala. In the previous book, he entered the United States due to gang violence in his home country. After both he and his cousin, Ángela come to live with their brother, Tomás, Jamie is extremely reluctant to start school. This entrance into his new school is made even worse by the fact that he can barely speak English. Throughout all the bullying, embarrassing moments, and the fact that everything around him is strange, Jamie never truly feels like he fits in. He wants nothing but to go home to Guatemala, but violence back in his home country prevents him and his cousin from returning. It almost seems as if he’ll never belong in the United States, but has no choice but to stay. Through the unknown, will Jamie finally make friends and truly learn to belong?
I honestly liked this book. It was just amazing with a unique story, one that I had never heard before. I had never read a story about two Guatemalan refugees before, and was intrigued by the synopsis. I liked how real all of the characters seemed; they just seemed so believable. I could completely understand how strange and afraid Jamie felt when entering a new school, even more so since he couldn’t speak English that well. Also, the scattered details throughout the book, like Jamie’s artwork and even descriptions of Vida, their dog, made the whole read quite endearing. However, I didn’t really understand some of the details and references in the book, since I hadn’t read The Only Road.
One of the most memorable parts of the book was how Vida, the dog, was described. Vida was described using all of the most tantalizing details possible. Sometimes, I even felt like she was in the room with me while I was reading. In the previous book, Vida was rescued by Ángela and came with them to the United States; which is similar to Jamie and Ángela being “rescued” from the gangs in Guatemala and being taken to the U.S.A. Throughout the book, she was a true companion to everyone, and the way she could sense when people were upset was just so endearing. The attention and accuracy of all these canine details make me wonder if the author had a dog similar to Vida.
Reviewed by Sanika R., Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library
Bonnie and Clyde were a legendary criminal couple. Constantly on the run, their numerous crimes include murder, robberies, and many, many cases of grand theft auto. They were sensational headliners, famous throughout the country in a time when money was scarce and resentment towards authority was on the rise. But how exactly did these lovers wind up on the path of crime? How many of the stories are true? From humble beginnings to a violent end, this book chronicles the lives of these famous outlaws.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It provided not only an informative retelling of the lives of two famous figures, but it also provided an interesting insight into what life was like during the Great Depression. Bonnie and Clyde were always people I heard mentioned or referenced many times in pop culture, but never really knew anything about until now. I definitely recommend this book to any history lovers.
My favorite part is probably the part that details their lives and upbringing before they became criminals on the run. I find that you can tell a lot about why someone went down the road they did by learning about their early years, and it is always interesting to hear what started it all.
Reviewed by Dahlia S., 10th grade, Twin Hickory Area Library
This book was about two girls named Avery Armistead and Kayla Butts. They were very close friends when they were little, but now that they are older they rarely see each other. This summer, they’re going to Spain together. Both girls try to figure out why their families made them come on this trip together, but they can’t seem to find a reason until Avery loses her passport. After they find out the truth, they are very angry at each other, and their families. Throughout their time in Spain they keep their distance from each other, but when something happens to Avery’s dad, they finally realize they don’t have to be mad at each other for the decision their parents made.
I thought this book was a very great book, and it was written very well. I liked how the book was written in both of the girls’ perspectives which made the story more interesting, and made me want to keep reading. I think my favorite character was Kayla because she always knew how to handle a situation, and always tried to have a positive attitude. At the beginning of the book I did not like the character Avery because she was always being rude to Kayla and making fun of her, but at the end she learned not to do that as much.
I think the most memorable part of the book was when a scary situation happened to Mr. Armistead. The two girls worked together to help him get to the hospital, in a whole different country the hardly knew anything about. Then, when they were at the hospital they really became close in their friendship, which was a sort of turning point in the book.
Reviewed by Helen L., 7th grade, North Park Library
You’ve probably heard of famous political activists and abolitionists like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. But have you ever heard of Myrtilla Miner? A headstrong woman with a huge desire for knowledge, she wouldn’t go on to settle down and become a housewife like her father wanted, but instead establish the first school for colored girls, several years before the Civil War. Thanks to the dedication and work of Ellen O’Conner, a close friend of Myrtilla who didn’t want her legacy to be forgotten, the life, the struggles, and the achievements of this unsung hero are together in the form of this book.
I found this book quite informative. It details the story and the determination of a not as well known abolitionist and political activist whose name and accomplishments, despite all her flaws, definitely warrant some recognition. It also told of the differing perspectives across the country, painting a picture of the gradually shifting cultural and political climate at the time. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history and great activists.
For me, the most memorable part about this book was the part about her childhood. I honestly had no idea about the things it mentions about woman’s rights and education at that time, so it was very interesting to me.
Reviewed by Dahlia S., 10th grade, Twin Hickory Area Library