Book Review: Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor_parkWhile browsing Sparknotes one night for help with homework, I was lured into the “fun section.” You know, the section where you can find information about celebrities, current events, and popular books. Well, I’m very glad I did, because there was an article on great books to read during the summer. Eleanor & Park was near the top of the list. The comments on the book were mostly positive, so I decided to give it a try.

Guys, this book is really, really good. It’s funny, exciting, and relatable on so many levels. Eleanor & Park follows the lives of two teenagers in high school as they go through all of the awkward stages of love.

It’s not a typical, boring, lovey-dovey type of love story, but rather it is raw and honest. Both Eleanor and Park struggle to find their respective places in the world, and both have issues with their parents (problems I think most teenagers can easily relate to).

The story is told in a dual-narrative style, with both Eleanor and Park sharing their opinions on the events taking place.  I usually don’t like this type of narration because it can easily become repetitive and boring.  However, Rowell manages to keep it fresh, without rehashing scenes that the reader already knows about. Overall, the book was very enjoyable to read, and I definitely recommend it!

-Amanda D., 12th grade

 

 

Something for Everyone: 5 Top Summer Reads

Are you bored out of your mind this summer? Feel like spending the day watching movies or playing video games? Instead, give one of these books a try, and you’ll be instantly entertained.

huck1) Huck by Janet Elder

Huck is a true story that is not only for dog lovers but for anyone looking for a heartwarming read this summer. Huck, a toy poodle, is bought for Michael, a young boy, while his mother is going through breast cancer treatment. When Michael and his family go on vacation and leave Huck with family members, Huck runs away. The story line follows Michael and his family through their ups and downs, times of both joy and sorrow, as they search all over New Jersey for their beloved dog. Through the family’s searches, it is revealed how kind people can really be.

divergent_cover2) The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth

The Divergent series is a great series for bringing on a long car or plane trip, or for just reading at home, as it can keep you easily entertained. Divergent takes place in a dystopia that is divided into four sections/clans as a result of a war, and follows a girl named Beatrice through her teenage years, first as she moves out of the clan in which she grew up; then as she becomes involved in another war that will wipe out two clans. Divergent and the rest of the books in the series can really make time go faster, and is nearly impossible to put down.

hokey_pokey_cover3) Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Everything about Hokey Pokey, Jerry Spinelli’s latest book, will remind you of summer. In a land where grownups don’t exist, boys and girls hate each other, there is no school and only playtime, every kid is under twelve, and the hokey pokey man (think snow cone in the shape of a cube) comes every day, live three friends; Jack, the “leader” of the hokey pokey land boys, and his two companions, Dusty and LaJo. Only there are a few small problems. Jack’s beloved bike has been stolen by a girl, and Jack is becoming too old for hokey pokey land. This book will bring out the inner kid in you, and you will be reading it over and over all summer.

captain_bluebear4) The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers

This is a book that is not very well known; however, the Washington Post accurately captured its essence when it deemed the book “Equal parts J.K Rowling and Shel Silverstein.” This book is perfect because it won’t take up a lot of room in a suitcase, but it will take up plenty of time on the plane ride during your summer vacation. The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear is about a blue bear named Bluebear (what else?) who goes on all kinds of adventures during his 13 1/2 lives and has a talking encyclopedia in his head. Bluebear begins his life in a nutshell in the sea with minipirates, and from there goes through all kinds of adventures, such as living on an island with every kind of food growing on it; think pizza plants and chocolate milk streams. The island later turns out to be a carnivorous monster. Bluebear also becomes a professional liar, along with many other things. This book is fun and playful, and is for all ages. Just like the rest of the books on this list, The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear is something to read over and over all summer.

eragon_cover5) The Eragon series by Christopher Paolini

The Eragon series has plenty of books to keep you entertained for a few weeks, and is a great series for fantasy lovers. Even if you have already read the Eragon series, it is great to reread. Eragon is a young boy who discovers a “magical stone” that turns out to be an egg holding Saphira, or dragon. Eragon then continues to learn to become a dragon rider and how to trust Saphira in order to defeat the evil king that rules Eragon’s kingdom. Like The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, the Eragon series is great for teens age 12 and up.

-Will R., 9th grade

Top Five Books to Read this Summer

Summer Vacation. For many of us, these two words are magic. From about the second day of school in September to the last day of school in June, summer vacation is highly anticipated by most students. We look forward to the endless free time to do with as we please– and without reading assignments from English class, the ability to read what we wish too.

If you are looking for a summer reading book, here are my top five (Which I have read this last year when I probably should have been doing math homework):

revolution_cover1. Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly
A novel about a girl named Andi who finds a journal which takes her on a journey she would have ever expected. If you love: the French Revolution, music, Paris, or books that have strong, meaningful themes, then this is the book for you.

2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
A novel about a girl living in Germany during World War II, told by an interesting and surprisingly sympathetic narrator. If you enjoy novels about World War II, stories about friendship, love, and compassion– if you are looking for a book that leaves a mark, a book that at the end of the story, haunts you after; then this is the book for you.

alice_wonderland_cover3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
Despite being thought of as a children’s book, Alice in Wonderland is a very smart, very funny novel. It is especially entertaining if you read it aloud and with voices. If you like novels that play with words, that make you question things, that make you laugh, and if you are reading aloud and using voices, makes you sound ridiculous, then this is the book for you.

4. Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder
A novel about a girl who gets a letter from a strange, mysterious philosopher and begins to think in ways she never has before. If you enjoy philosophy, mystery books, or just thinking; if you have a high reading level and are at least fifteen; if you are looking for a book that may change the way you think about everything, then this is the book for you.

5. Your favorite book
Whatever it is, however long it is, you know you want to reread it. What better time is there to reread a book than during the summer?

For that matter, is there any season better for just reading than summer? I mean, without school eating up about seven hours of our day, we just may learn something new from the books we read this summer.

-Stephanie R., 11th grade