How to Cope with Boring Books

Part of the reason I read is for the thrill of living vicariously through the characters in my books. I am able to delve into this completely alternate universe. A universe that is full of fictional characters, unrealistic fantasies, and imaginary places. I can escape the misfortunes and stresses of my own life, and instead experience the failures and successes of fictitious characters. However, this thrill is not the same when the book is a bore.

Not all books can be interesting, since everyone has his or her own unique taste. Therefore, if a book that I am reading for pleasure is boring then I will search for something that isn’t. I don’t believe that people should be forced to finish a book that they started, especially if that book is utterly dull. Why suffer through a boring book when you could be reading something that is much more enjoyable? Personally, when I am reading a book that bores me I have a difficult time paying attention. My brain tends to wander off and come up with it’s own wild adventures, since my book is so lackluster. There are so many different books out there, don’t waste time on something that isn’t worth your time.

-Olivia S.

Genre Introduction: Dystopia

Dystopian stories have become pretty popular recently. There are, of course, the well-known Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies, but there are plenty of other messed-up futuristic worlds to explore. Dystopia worlds usually have the government trying to create a “perfect place,” that results in something far worse than today’s standards. Within different social/political structures, heroes face odds to change their world. There’s often some side romance as well. If you haven’t already started into this genre, here are some different types:

legend_coverLegend by Marie Lu focuses on class struggle.

Welcome to a world filled with plague. A plague, for some reason, only affects the poor people. When Day, the Republic’s most wanted criminal, finds his family has been infected, he’ll do whatever it takes to find a cure. After a break-in at the hospital, Day is the in the prime suspect for the murder of  a commanding officer, June’s brother.

June is the Republic’s prodigy, with perfect academic scores, but is constantly in trouble, for things like scaling a building when she wasn’t supposed to. June swears revenge on her brother’s killer, only to find that the Republic has been lying to everyone the entire time.

maze_runner_coverThe Maze Runner by James Dashner targets post-apocalyptic aftermath methods of recovery.

Thomas arrives in an elevator. Everything is dark, and the only thing he can remember is his name. His destination is the Glade, consisting of only teenage boys, surrounded by an impossible constantly changing maze. Every month a new boy arrives and everyone goes along with life, as they have done for the last couple years. But everything changes when, just one day after Thomas, a girl arrives with a mysterious message. The Glade is no longer a safe place. And if they want to escape, Thomas had better start running.

unwindUnwind by Neal Shusterman asks what it means to be alive.

There are too many teenagers in the future. The solution is not to kill them; instead, the rebellious generation simply lives in a “divided state” with every part of their body still alive, but not making up them anymore. Connor is turned in by his parents rebellious behavior. Risa is an orphan the state can no longer afford, since she has reached her musical potential. Lev is a sacrifice, knowing since birth he was going to be unwound for religious reasons. Fate brings these unlikely teenagers together and keeps them on the run because what will happen if they are caught might be even worse than death.

There are plenty other types of dystopias, not to mention the ones I’ve named have multiple meanings and interpretations. That’s the cool thing about dystopias– you can see, from an author’s perspective, how the world might change for the worst. It just makes me that much more grateful it’s only a story.

-Nicole G., 11th grade

Fic Recommendation: James Potter and the Hall of Elders Crossing by G. Norman Lippert

james_potterAfter reading the whole Harry Potter series, and loving every book, did you feel a little sad when it was over? Did you want more magic and more Hogwarts and to know what happened to Hogwarts after the battle? I have found exactly what you need.

James Potter and the Hall of Elders Crossing is a story about Harry’s firstborn son James Sirius Potter and his misadventures as a first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This story is fan fiction, not part of the official series, and is available for download as a free ebook. The last chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (SPOILER!) showed Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione at Platform 9 ¾ saying good bye to their kids as they jumped aboard the Hogwarts Express. One year earlier, however, is how this story starts.

As James comes to Hogwarts, strange things begin to happen, indeed. Is a Muggle really inside Hogwarts? If so, how did he get in? Why did he come? Join James and his new friends Zane and Ralph as they become learned in the magical arts by some old, new, and surprising professors.

I have to say, I’ve read some other books that claim they know what happened to the wizarding world, but only G. Norman Lippert knows the truth. If you were ever disappointed with sequels that just didn’t fit, you won’t be with this story. I haven’t found one error in any of the story, and I am a diehard Harry Potter freak fan. Anyway, this story is a great read, amazing storyline, and just a fun book overall for those of us where there was never enough Harry Potter.

-Kyle H., 8th grade

Series Review: The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

delirium_seriesIt was bittersweet to read the last book in the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver! I love the series and did not want it to come to an end. Regardless, I swept through the last book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. Oliver has a way of writing that catches the mind and causes you to lose track of time. And in my opinion, all the best authors have the ability to do so.

Let me give you a quick synopsis of the first two books. In Delirium we meet Lena, a teenage girl living in a society where love is considered a disease and eighteen year olds are “cured” from the disease, matched with someone, and left to live their lives void of emotions. Just before her eighteenth birthday, Lena meets and falls in love with a mysterious boy named Alex. Despite her family’s disgust and her society’s warnings, Lena chooses to secretly meet Alex and develop a relationship with him. Tracing the revolution, revolts and raids by the “Invalids” (those who escaped society for freedom) begin in the first book while Lena and Alex are at a forbidden party. The first book ends with Lena escaping with Alex into the Wilds. But just as Alex throws Lena across the fence, guards swarm in and cover Lena’s sight of him.

In Pandemonium, Lena learns to survive in the Wilds. She is taken in almost dead by Raven and Tack and their entire family and struggles to cope with loss throughout the whole book. She becomes almost a daughter to the couple and joins in with family work. Lena also learns that the family supports the rebellion against the society and decides to join in the fight. Going undercover as a supporter of the DFA (Deliria Free America), Lena learns the group’s tactics and reports back to the Wilds. During one of the meetings, a group of Invalids known as Scavengers attack and take Lena and the leader Julian as captives. Forced into one prison cell, Lena learns about Julian’s past and falls in love with him. Julian, on the other hand, does not know love because he has not escaped like Lena has, and learns how to love Lena in return. The two make a break for freedom and succeed ending the book in a joyous reunion, or so it may seem. You’ll have to read to find out for yourself!

Requiem features Lena and Julian (with some surprise guests) in the Wilds working to break the wall into the society. This book switches between the perspectives of Lena and Hannah (Lena’s newly cured friend from Portland.) I liked how the reader was able to see what was happening in both the Wilds and society. It was especially exciting right before the final rebellion because the suspense on the Wilds side far surpassed the unknowing calm of the cureds. I don’t want to give away too much but Lena struggles between making choices based on the memories of her past and her feelings in the present. I love the ending of the book and how Lena proves that she is a trustworthy friend even in the most desperate situations. The main themes of this book are friendship, love, sacrifice, and survival.

Overall I loved this trilogy! I wish Oliver had written more books in the series but I also understand how the ending makes sense. After reading Delirium, I truly did not believe the other books could be any better, but each time they exceeded my expectations. I recommend these books for any Hunger Games, Divergent, or Matched fans out there!

-Kelsey H., 11th grade

Book Review: Charles and Emma by Deborah Heligman

charles_emmaDo you know who Charles Darwin was? Sure, scientists (mostly biologists) love him for theorizing evolution and the church hated him for trying to say that God didn’t create the world in seven days. But how well do we really know him?

This award-winning book goes deeper into Charles Darwin’s life after he made his voyage and tells the story of his God-believing wife Emma, their faith together, and how Darwin struggled with knowing that not many people of his time would accept his book.

This book is completely nonfiction, but quite interesting. The book tells the story of Charles’ life: his list of reasons for marrying and not marrying, how he proposed to Emma, their ten children and what happened to each of them, and how Charles was the type of the perfect father, and not the stereotypical horrible, distant father of Victorian times. It also talks about Emma, and it interesting to see her point of view, especially with his works.

The book also does not end with Charles’ death, but actually with Emma’s years later.
Additionally, for science fans out there, Charles’ research is mentioned a lot in this book, and it is also shown how he used his research in his daily life. For example, the book talks about how he compared his children’s behavior to that of baby animals.
Finally, it is also a love story for romantic enthusiasts, for the book is simply about a couple and their undying love for each other, the hardships that followed, and the conflicting views of theirs that could harm their relationship.

Like it was said earlier, the book is completely nonfiction, but it is very good and should be suggested to try out.

-Megan V., 9th grade

Book vs. Movie: A Christmas Story by Jean Shepard

christmas_storyIt’s that time of the year again! People are decorating their houses for the all the great winter holidays.  School will be in Winter break and everyone is buying presents. All the Christmas specials are being played on tv. One of them including the amazingly hilarious classic Christmas movie A Christmas Story. One of my absolute favorite holiday movies. If you haven’t seen this movie you are missing out! Go find it on Netflix or go rent somewhere or go buy it! You definitely need to see this movie.  But if your not a movie person you can always read the book that it was adapted from. It is also called A Christmas Story and it is by Jean Shepard. I have read and seen it both. I love the story. But  I do prefer the movie over the book

So many classic scenes have come from that film. If you have seen it or not you may recognize the infamous Leg-Lamp that was featured in the book and movie.

A Christmas Story is about a young boy named Ralphie Parker and his mission to get a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range- model air rifle. It doesn’t even matter who gives it to him he just really needs one.  Ralphie tries everything to hint to his parents that it is necessary to get him the air rifle. He even goes to the grumpy Santa at the mall to ask for the air rifle. But for some reason everyone keeps telling him he’ll shoot his eye out. Along the way so many classic moments happen. Like his dad winning the beautiful leg-lamp! Or when his friend Flick got his tongue stuck to a frozen pole! And so many more ridiculous things.

The book and movie were almost identical. Except one is on paper and the other is on film.

This is a classic movie that everyone should enjoy! Happy Holidays!

-Erika T., 8th grade

Book Review: The Hangman’s Revolution by Eoin Colfer

hangmans_revolutionAccording to a whole lot of books and movies, changing the past can result in a completely different future.

Eoin Colfer’s book The Hangman’s Revolution takes this to a new level, as Colonel Box uses the FBI’s time machines to rewrite history. Bringing modern weapons, he quickly establishes the Boxite Empire in Victorian London, which would soon span the globe. In the changed future, Cadet Savano escapes an attempted assassination by the Boxites, and travels back to Victorian London. She slowly regains fragmented memories of her real life as FBI Agent Savano. There, she teams with her old friend Riley the magician and Otto Malarkey the gang leader. They set out to put an end to Box’s fascist empire before they bomb capitols around the world.

To me, this story is a great continuation to the first book of the WARP series, The Reluctant Assassin. The time travel aspect of the story is written and planned very well. Many future events are explained when the storyline jumps to the past. It makes the story fun to read, as if clicking puzzle pieces together. The story flows so smoothly, we know Colfer mapped this story thoroughly before writing.

The general writing style he employs adds to the story. Everything is described in detail, with subtle sarcasm here and there. It’s serious and intense during action, with funny dialogue to break tension. During lulls, it’s witty and quirky. He carefully shapes the empire, shaping each aspect whether majestic or funny. A picture is painted in the reader’s mind.

The characterization is extremely in-depth. The back story of each character is incorporated into the storyline, often explained in reminisces. I think the most interesting was Otto Malarkey’s story. At first he seemed a one-dimensioned crime boss, but even he turned out to be a colorful protagonist. As a third person omniscient story, the writing often shows the thoughts of each person in a realistic manner. Finally, like icing on a cake, the accents written into the dialogue perfect the characterization and mood.
Considering everything, you should be looking for a copy right now. It’s everything you could hope for in a thriller: action, comedy, storyline, and funny accents. Obviously you should finish the first book first. The ending both satisfies the reader’s craving and hints for a third book. Read on!

-Phillip X., 9th grade