Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

abundance_of_katherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green is phenomenal book that is about a boy who has only dated girls named Katherine. The book starts with a boy named Colin who is introduced to be a child prodigy. He has just had is heart broken by his nineteenth girlfriend named Katherine. Colin is extremely upset, so his friend Hassan convinces him to go on a road trip.

After convincing both of their parents, they go on the road trip. They stop in a town called Gutshot where they are offered summer jobs and a room to live in. The women who offers them these jobs has a daughter named Lindsey. Meanwhile, Colin is set on the fact of finding an equation that will predict the future of any relationship.

Eventually, Colin finds that he is attracted to Lindsey. However, Lindsey already has a boyfriend. Anyone who has read any John Green books in the past would certainly be interested in this book and it is a wonderful book that I would recommend to everyone.

-Melika R., 9th grade


Book Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

firefightFinally, the wait has drawn to a close. On January 6, Firefight by Brandon Sanderson, arrived in bookstores for its hungry readers. Having read the advanced copy before the official publication date, I can assure you that this thriller lives up to the high expectations set by the first book, Steelheart.

After the Calamity, ordinary people around the world gained a variety of super powers. Almost immediately, society crumbled. The elite class of people called Epics subjugated and ruled over the ordinary people. After David and the insurgents of ordinary people called the Reckoners killed the ruthless High Epic, Steelheart, they showed the world that no Epic was safe.

Enter the sequel. Having met Firefight, an Epic struggling to turn good, David is no longer sure of the Reckoners’ vow to kill Epics. Seeking clarity, David travels to the city Babylon Restored, where Firefight was rumored to be. While the rest of the team is focused on taking down any enemy in their path, David must overcome his ethical problems and decide who the enemy is for himself.

Firefight emphasizes that there are always good people out there, which is more optimistic than Steelheart. The first book had convinced us that power inevitably leads to corruption, but now we’re thinking twice. One of the biggest revelations was the fact that gaining and using powers changes the mind of an Epic, forcing them to become violent and ruthless and filled with rage. If they truly can’t control themselves, then who is at fault? Is killing Epics an act of mercy for a doomed human? Much of the story involves David struggling to find a sense of purpose in the wake of these questions.

From start to finish, this story is really fun to read. Sanderson’s imagination and detail comprehensively describes the shape of society after Calamity. Many cities and ways of life have been altered by the powers of a single Epic. For example, the streets of Manhattan became canals and waterways when the Epic Regalia raised the sea level. The mysterious wielder of plants, Dawnslight, supplies the city with an abundance of food. Our protagonist David’s storytelling is realistic. He voices every thought that flits across his mind, as if we were really there. All in all, Firefight is yet another thought-provoking book that will keep you hooked. Look for it!

-Phillip X., 9th grade

6 Young Adult Books That Would Make Awesome Movies

1. Every Day by David Levithan follows A, a teenager who wakes up each morning to find himself in the body and sharing the mind of another. A common concept throughout this novel is how love has the capacity to “reach beyond” things such as appearance and gender. I love this book and I feel it is one that should be shared outside of the standard YA reader audience.

let_it_snow_cover2. Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle is a unique literary compilation written by three accomplished YA authors with similar writing styles and a common sense of humor. It tells the overlapping stories of three different pairs/groups of friends who are brought together by fate on Christmas Day. It’s funny, heartfelt, and really capitalizes on the magic and meaning of the holiday season.

3. Legend by Marie Lu would make an awesome dystopian action film due to its fascinating world building and interesting use of two very different narrators in two very different situations.

4. Encouraged by a friend, I read Wings (the first book in the Wings series) by Aprilynne Pike a few summers ago hoping for a quick read. The book hugely exceeded my expectations and I ended up getting the rest of the series the next day. Wings follows Laurel, a seemingly normal teenage girl, as she discovers the truth of her past, her ancestry, and herself. She soon finds herself in a world of faeries, human-like beings that couldn’t be less human. They are, ultimately, plants instead of animals. I think that it would be awesome to be able to see this supernatural world in a more visual way.

will_grayson_cover5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is an captivating and inspiring story about two very different teenagers with the same name that are brought together by fate. This book contains everything–from humor; to support of the LGBT community; to friendship; to love; to a Tiny Cooper musical. This is a truly amazing book and I believe it would make a great movie.

6. I’m not exactly sure of the status of the film rights for I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You (the first book in the Gallagher Girls Series) by Ally Carter. I have heard that they were purchased and sold and bought and expired. I have seen conflicting information, but last I heard, Tonik Productions had undertaken the project. If this is true, I am excited to see their final project. If it’s not, I am disappointed that they overlooked such an amazing opportunity. This series is a compilation of the journal entries of Cammie Morgan, a student at a clandestine spy-training academy disguised as an pristigious prep school for “exceptional young women”. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so, but don’t judge the series by its first book. ;)

What books do you wish to see on the big screen?

-Danielle K., 9th grade

Favorite Book Characters of 2014

The book characters that I loved from the stories I read in 2014 would have to include James Potter from the new James Potter fanfiction series by G. Norman Lippert. I think that it is the coolest thing to make books about Harry Potter’s kid and his journeys at school. His creative personality helps him discover the secrets of the riddles of the castle and the weird occurrences at his school.

Another character that I thought was cool was from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth; Four (Tobias). He is an incredible spy/agent that works on his own agenda and works to take down a corrupt government with a group of rebels. Four is the ultimate hero and I thought his skills deserved a place on my list.

Also on my list of awesome characters in stories from 2014 is Eragon from the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. I thought that the concept of the book was so cool because I love science fiction novels, especially ones with such a developed and exciting character like Eragon. He is a really amazing fighter and dragon rider that saves his world from annihilation. Eragon is the definition of a hero and with so many plot twists and surprising turns in the story, he constantly has to adapt to different circumstances.

These characters really impact my life as I try to be more like them in having goals and meeting them with success. My new year’s resolution is to read more books with heroes like these and to become more like them!

-Kyle H., 8th grade

Book Review: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

eye_of_mindsThere is reality and there is virtual reality.  In the real world, life is dull and boring for high schooler, Michael.  Virtual reality, however, is the excitement of life times a million, you can do anything…be anything…and the more rules you break, the more fun it is.  The bad part of this virtual world is that a gamer named Kaine has found a way to trap people in the VirtNet and the authorities know that he has to be stopped.  That’s where Michael comes in.  In order to stop Kaine, Michael and his two best friends that he met inside the VirtNet must go on a wild journey through the internet and hope that they will make it home alive.

James Dashner seems to enjoy killing off his characters in gruesome ways.  In the Maze Runner series, people die from a sickness that kills their brain and in this series people’s minds die in the virtual world but not their bodies.  This completely original novel has bizarre, gory and disturbing twists and turns which kept my attention but made me lose my appetite, literally.

I hesitantly recommend this book to teenagers.  You may want to read the Maze Runner series first so that you will be prepared for his brilliant writing style and gore.  If you’ve already read it, then you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

-Evan G., 6th grade

Book Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

young_elitesThis story is The Young Elites, by author Marie Lu. She is one of my favorite authors ever. I loved her Legend series. So when I saw this book at the store I had to read it.

The Young Elites takes place in a different world during a Renaissance-ish time. A plague ran through this world, called blood-fever. Those who survived this fever are a usually marked with a extremely strange feature. Such as, odd hair color, odd marks on their skin, and other weird scars that were left behind by the fever. These people were called malfettos. Some melfettos though were not only left behind with markings but some were also left with powers. Those who were left with powers were called Young Elites.

The story alternates between the narration of three characters: Adelina, Enzo, and Teren. All are malfettos with powers. The three’s lives collide in this story and create quite the adventure. The book was mostly based around the female character, Adelina. During the story I was actually very confused on who was the “good” guy and who was the “bad” guy. Adelina has the power of illusion. She can create images, emotions, sounds, and pains that seem very real, but it is created from the fear and pain of the others around her. She was abused by her father because she was a malfetto. She often has very gruesome thoughts, such as killing another character in a very violent manner.

Teren is also a malfetto that has powers similar to the wolverine. He heals automatically. He is the head of the Inquistion Axis and it is his job to hunt out Young Elites and malfettos and kill them. Teren believes malfettos are the work of the devil and he and the others should not exist. He does it all for the Queen who he is “in love with.” The Queen uses Teren to carry out tasks for her so that she can be the ultimate ruler. Teren is always very scary when he is brought into a scene.

The last narrator is Enzo. Enzo is the malfetto prince. He is the rightful heir to the throne. But was unable to take the throne because of his sister, the Queen, and Teren. Teren and Enzo used to be close friends. Enzo is able to wield fire. Enzo formed the Dagger Society where they gather Elites  with powers and train them to help Enzo take back the throne. But in the story it hints that Enzo seems to be only using these powerful Elites.  They rescue Elites with useful powers but leaves none powerful Elites and malfettos to Teren’s will.

So this novel was really intriguing but I’m still unsure who the “bad” guy is.  There might not be a protagonist and an antagonist. Adelina seems wicked, Teren does evil things, and Enzo seems greedy. You guys should definitely go check this book out especially if you read Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy and figure out for yourself who the protagonist or antagonist is– or if there is a protagonist or antagonist. I heard there is going to be a second book called The Rose Society which is Adelina’s new group. So if you liked this make sure to look out for it!

-Erika T., 8th grade

Book Review: The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

hitchhikers_guideThe Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is the first, out of five, novels depicting the intergalactic adventure of an Earthling, Arthur Dent, and an extraterrestrial, Ford Perfect (his name on Earth).

In the beginning of the story, Arthur Dent is lying in the mud in front of his house to protect it from the contractors who want to destroy it so a bypass could be built there. A little while later, Ford Perfect comes and convinces Arthur to go to a pub with him. At the pub, Arthur thinks that Ford is crazy because he warns that the Earth is going to be destroyed by the alien race, Vogons. Turning out to be true, they manage to get on the Vogon’s ship.

Aboard the ship, Arthur and Ford are discovered and, as a punishment, are mandated to listen to the Vogon’s poetry, the third worst in the Galaxy. Then they are placed into an airlock where would be released into space. The President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, who is aboard the ship called Heart of Gold, rescues them. Zaphod is a cousin of Ford; a miserable robot named Marvin and a woman named Trillian also join them. Follow Arthur and Ford through their interplanetary journey by reading The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.

Picking up this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect in the story. But I am glad I choose it. Despite its intimidating size, I read it and I thought that it was an awesome science-fiction story. At certain points in the book, the author goes off describing a new Alien race or new planet, but it eventually connects back to the story. If you enjoy the first novella, then I suggest reading the rest of the novels.

-Anmol K., 8th grade