The mighty thunder god, Thor’s hammer is missing. A boy named Magnus Chase, and his friends Samirah-Al-Abbas, Blitzen, and Hearthstone must set out to find this magical object that could decide the fate of the city, Midgard. However, Magnus and Samirah, along with a dangerous person named Alex Fierro live in the Hotel Valhalla, a place for heroes who died bravely on Earth. Magnus is a son of Frey and is amazing at healing people, Samirah is a Valkyrie and is extremely strong, Blitzen has a way with fashion, and Hearthstone is talented when it comes to using runes. From giants, to Loki, the god of trickery and deceit, these friends battle many enemies along way.
I thought that this book was excellent. The writing style and technique is unlike any I have ever read. This story has an interesting plot, amusing sarcasm, and wisecracking humor. It is different from the regular Greek mythology, but still has the same engrossing effect that made me not want to put this book down. Each character has a different history, interests, and personality that add to the group. It was fascinating to gain knowledge about Norse mythology and read the detailed descriptions of various places and characters that make this legend unique.
One memorable thing about the book is the approach that Rick Riordan took when describing Thor. It was different from the cliched image that we think of when imagining the god. This new description of Thor added to the humor and writing technique, as well as making the story intriguing.
Reviewed by Ilakkiya, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Library
Naeem is far away from being a normal teenager. Being an immigrant from Bangladesh, he has always been expected to do well in school and be a good student, but that is just not what Naeem is. He doesn’t want to be noticed by his hard-working parents or by their gossipy neighbors, but everyone knows that there are more people watching: mosques being infiltrated…Cameras on poles…Everybody knows: Be careful what you say and who you say it to, anyone might be a watcher. Naeem always thought that he could charm himself out of anything, but suddenly, all of his mistakes catch up to him and the cops offer him a dark deal. Naeem thinks that he can become a hero by doing this, like in his brother’s comic books. But what really is a hero and how can Naeem become one?
Overall, this is the first realistic fiction book that I have read in a while that I have actually liked. Naeem, the protagonist, is really relatable for me because of his personality. At one point in my life, I also thought that I could escape everything in my life and that they would never come back and haunt me. It eventually did catch up with me like it did with Naeem and I felt as though that experience was very relatable. I also liked how each and every character had a lot of depth to them and how they had multiple sides to their personalities instead of being really shallow.
The most memorable thing for me in this book were the characters. Each and everyone of them have great in-depth personalities and backgrounds that make the story much better, because backgrounds and personalities create depth to the story and help us visualize how people became what they are.
Reviewed by Aswin, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Library
Helena, the mysterious teenage sister of Aerin’s, has vanished. The police can find no leads, and as five miserable years slip away, her sister is still gone. One day, she reaches out to the internet with a fading hope of answers, and in response, Seneca, Maddox, and Brett show up at her door. The group dives into the case only to find deeper and deeper layers of secrets. On the way, they pick up a few friends who have all lost someone close to them and, like Aerin, are dying for the truth.
I found that The Amateurs was a good read and easily pulled me through to the end. The characters were deep, realistic, and well-developed, and the plot was very intricately thought out. I also found the writing style on the duller side, but the plot was so intriguing that the writing didn’t need to be too dressed up to be interesting. It could certainly turn a fantasy enthusiast into a crime novel reader. I’m glad that I gave it a chance, and I hope to read more by this author in the future.
The most memorable part of the book is the way that the characters’ pasts brought them together through striking similarities. They were a different and distant bunch, but they were able to heal with each other’s presence.
Reviewed by Leah, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Library
World-famous museum curator Jacques Saunière has been found dead in the Louvre Museum of Paris. After taking a bullet to his stomach, he has had 15 minutes left to live. And when he died, a 2,000-year-old secret would have been lost forever. To save one of the deepest secrets of the world, he created a series of strange codes that lead to the truth.
At the same time, Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor on a trip to Paris, is having an uneventful journey until one night, the police take him to the scene of the crime. He is mystified by what he sees and gains several leads, but suddenly, he realizes that he is the main suspect. With the help of Sophie Neveu, a French cryptologist, he escapes and attempts to decipher the clues. However, he finds obstacles at every turn and everything seems to be acting against him. In the end, if Langdon cannot solve the riddle on time, the secret will be lost forever.
I found this to be a very good novel, quite different than anything I have read before. The plot is both intricate and easy to follow, and the different characters are developed very well. The twists and turns keep the audience at the edge of its seat, waiting to discover what happens at the end. The suspense is very well done, and the story gives enough information to the readers so that they can form their own ideas and see if they were correct. Although this is mostly a serious book, there was some humor which increased the quality of this read. Overall, this was an amazing tale, and I would highly recommend it to a friend.
One of the most unbelievable aspects of this book was the use of riddles and codes. The author creates a variety of riddles, puzzles, and anagrams which lead to a long and difficult quest. I was surprised at the creativity and knowledge involved in those clues, which are highly developed and make one ponder over them.
Reviewed by Shivram, Grade 9, Gayton Library
Eric Connelly is the man. Or at least that’s what his dad, a powerful senator, wants him to be. Eric lives in Capilano, CA, like Hollywood and Beverly Hills, but better. Everyone here is very rich and very powerful. Everyone, except Eric. But, he’s over that. Eric’s going to change and he going to change with an explosion, literally. With his new friends, called the “Suicide Pack,” things turn from mildly insane to deadly in an instant. Matthews takes us onto the journey of our lifetime as we explore the town of Capilano.
I thought that the book was quite well written. With 365 chapters, the book is a bit over 500 pages, with lots of pages half-empty. Chapters are either two pages or less. Still, Matthews managed to put on an impressive show. The book was well constructed, and even though it seemed a bit far fetched, it was also very relatable. The plot, however, was very fast-paced and might not fit all readers. There were plenty of surprises, but there were no major loopholes or craziness. I did enjoy the book, but it was not necessarily in my comfort zone.
With this book being so unique in numerous ways, it is difficult to settle on one thing. However, what’s really different about this book is that Matthews breaks the fourth wall (which means to talk to the audience directly). This is a rare feat that Matthews pulled off wonderfully. With Matthew’s vibrant storytelling style, we get to know the main characters more personally.
Reviewed by Eric, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Library
The Forgetting is about a girl named Nadia. She lives in a city named Canaan. Canaan is a large city, surrounded by tall walls. Inside it’s walls people live a near normal life, except for something dreadful. Every twelve years, the whole city goes through something called the forgetting, during which everyone’s memories are erased. They start life again as blank slates, and know nothing about their previous life. To prevent major confusion, everyone has a book. Your book is your life, literally. You write down truth in your book, and you must write in it every day. This is so that, after the forgetting, you learn who you are. But, Nadia is different. She remembers everything. With the help of Gray, she tries to figure out why the forgetting occurs and how to stop it before the next forgetting, which is only coming closer.
I really enjoyed the book. I especially enjoyed all of the surprises it threw at me. It was funny and entertaining, and I couldn’t put it down. It was extremely detailed, and it was almost as if I was a part of all the action. I felt like I was in Canaan itself. The only thing I disliked was the end of the book. The climax was pretty rushed, and so was everything after it. Other that that, it was one of the best books I’ve read.
One memorable thing from the book was Nadia’s little sister, Genivee. Genivee is a twelve year old girl, and she is my favorite character. She is sweet, kind, funny, and artistic. She is one of the few people that will listen to Nadia, and is always extremely energetic. She is a really good sister, and always keeps Nadia in her mind.
Reviewed by Pranithi, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Library
Ever since Pat, Coop, and Kate saved New York City from disaster in the book Beneath, with the help of Alex the Librarian, they’ve been on the run, separately. But, this will all change when they all meet in Portland, Oregon. The People of the Deep (POD), an underground cult-like community that Kate was part of, have resurfaced and they will do everything to get their new plans in action. Suddenly, Kate has disappeared and left notes in her path. The O’Toole brothers will have to work side by side with familiar faces and new strangers to find Kate and bring the POD to justice.
This book was so well written, that someone didn’t have to read Beneath, to understand the events of this story. With switched first person views between Pat and Kate, Smith gives us two unique perspectives of each situation in a way that makes us wonder even more and more. The vivid plot can be confusing at some points, but in the end, everything turns a full circle. In honesty, I liked this book more than I did Beneath, mainly because this book was so plot-driven, while the latter had to give lots of background information. The way the book ended was nice, but the climax was a bit to sudden to digest. I would have liked more explaining and reasoning than a simple “it happened” scene. Still, this is a very powerful book.
Arguably the more memorable parts are spoilers, but the most memorable parts are the parts where there are memories to back in the Deep. These give depth on what had happened before the events and show how the characters have changed. The memories are similar to flashbacks, but aren’t exactly a scene, but more a call back to the past.
Reviewed by Edward, Grade 7 , Twin Hickory Library
This novel encompasses the famous, classic, rivalry of the Greasers and Socials in rural Oklahoma. The two groups are on opposite ends of the social hierarchy of the town and this opposition leads to many brawls. In the incident that provokes the turning point of the story line, Greasers Ponyboy and Johnny get involved in a fight that results in turmoil. To avoid any further accidents, the two are forced to go into hiding. The rest of the story unravels in terms of the Greasers choosing a life of positivity through redemption or facing brual consequences.
This novel appeals to the tribal behavior and formation of social cliques that teenage life is engrossed with. Instead of implicating cliches, Hinton approaches this natural stigma of teenage life with a unique twist by highlighting the consequences of social segregation. In addition, there is a 90s-esque vibe associated with the novel which is really appealing and the usage of Greasers can symbolize the modern hipsters and edgy teens while the usage of Socs can symbolize upper-class preps. This symbolic characterization, even though it is dramatized, it is very eye-opening in terms of potential consequences of violence and social segregation.
Johnny says “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.” This quote is very powerful because it symbolizes the importance of childhood innocence and purity.
Reviewed by Zainab, Grade 10, Twin Hickory Library
Wayne Kovok was a seventh grade fact-absorbing nerd who used his voice and his facts to shield himself from awkward silences. His words allowed him to cruise smoothly through uncomfortable conversations. An unexpected plane crash left him with damaged vocal cords and without a voice. With he absence of his shield-like voice, Wayne thought he had no way of filling in all of the blank spaces in his life. As he slowly regains his ability to talk, he meets new friends, encounters new problems, and discovers new ways to overcome the difficulties that his life had thrown at him.
I thought that this book was very moving. The journey of how Wayne’s almost normal life suddenly morphed into something with such a diverse mix of positive and negative experiences shows how life is never predictable. I liked how Wayne took on problem after problem and kept persisting to solve each one. This book is an example of what reality is like for some people and that we can overcome it in many different ways.
One thing that was memorable about this book was how Wayne had a continuous line of facts through the whole book. I found most of the facts that he mentioned to be very interesting and amusing. I definitely learned a couple of new things that I had not known before.
Reviewed by Gayatri, Grade 6, Tuckahoe Library
When her Great-Aunt Esther told her to come to the Axton mansion, Gretchen never expected what she found. Ever since her mother, who was fascinated with pictures of ghosts, had disappeared years ago, Gretchen had clung to the hope she’d find her mother alive. Now here Gretchen was, at the Axton mansion, a rotting and falling apart house that was hundreds of years old. Equipped with a high-quality camera, Gretchen soon discovers the ghosts and history of the Axton mansion. After a startling series of events, Gretchen, her friend Simon, and the siblings Hawk and Hope must race to get rid of the restless ghosts. Will Gretchen find her mother? Will she stop the ghosts?
In general, this book was filled with a haunting combination of ghost photography and ghost encounters. Every detail included seemed purposeful, from Fidelia’s accounts to the wasp nest and the mirror. Each was delicately woven into the plot and utilized to make the story seem complete and exciting. I was grateful that the book was full of adventure, surprises, and suspense, making it a truly thrilling tale. The characters were realistic, and Gretchen kept diving into her past to add a backstory to the events.
It’s hard to forget the scene when Gretchen fell asleep at the piano and was bitten by the ghost of a little girl. This scene was slightly terrifying and definitely surreal.
Reviewed by Ashley, Grade 8, Libbie Mill Library