Book Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

sleep_no_moreHave you ever wished you could have magical powers? What would you desire? The power to see the future? That’s exactly what Charlotte Westing can do. But that is also what gets her into trouble.

In an attempt to change the future when she was six years old, an accident killed her father and permanently injured her mother. She has spent the past ten years fighting every vision that comes to her, pulling an imaginary black curtain over the scene. No one else knows her secret, except for her Aunt Sierra. Charlotte has lived her life covering up this secret, claiming to suffer from sudden migraines. But one day, a vision stronger than ever before greets her, one that she doesn’t have the strength to fight: One of her classmates being murdered. Afraid to tell her aunt, the only other Oracle she knows, Charlotte keeps this to herself.

After the second such vision, she gets a message that someone can help her stop these murders from occurring. Eventually, she gives in and receives help from someone, who makes up his name as Smith.

Also during all of this, her crush since fourth grade, Linden, becomes more interested in her, claiming she helps distract him from the brutality of the murders.

And then, like every good book, everything becomes twisted.

I loved the creativity of this novel, and I found it excruciatingly hard to put down. I could not wait to find out what happens next. The novel has so much going on. It was interesting to learn that this novel was dedicated to the survivors of Newtown and the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

-Leila S., 9th grade

Book Review: The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

third_twinLexi and Ava are identical twins, but sometimes… they are triplets.

When they were little, they made up a third twin, Alicia. Alicia was blamed for everything like when things were broken or stolen. Now that they are seniors in high school, their little game has gotten more serious. They pretend to be Alicia when they go out with boys who are hot but not the dating type. The kind of guys they would never consider being with in real life. However, Lexi wants to put an end to Alicia for good when one guy Alicia dated turns up dead. Ava thinks that as long as they follow the rules for Alicia (always wear the diamond pendant; never sleep with any of the guys; and after five dates, they are gone), everything will go back to normal. Before that can happen, another boy is killed, and DNA tests and camera proof reveal that there is only one possible suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist. Lexi is on the run, and she has to find the truth before another boy dies. Because either Ava is the real killer…or Alicia is real.

When I first heard about this book, I knew I just had to read it. I even thought the title was interesting. I mean who’s ever heard of a third twin? The story is very compelling and holds so many surprises. The biggest surprise, by far, is who the killer turns out to be. Right away, the story picks up. I just couldn’t stop reading it. This book is meant for ages 12 and up. There is some mature content and language present, but other than that, I suggest you go out and get this book when it comes out on February 24, 2015.

-Sabrina C., 9th grade

Book Review: Made For You, by Melissa Marr

made_for_youWhen Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she has no idea how she got there. She remembers everything that happened right before the accident but can’t put the pieces together, until her best friend, Grace, tells her that she was hit by a car. They soon figure out that it wasn’t just an accident.

Faced with the mystery of finding out who did it, Eva discovers a creepy new ability: she can see a person’s death when they touch her. She doesn’t know how or why she can do this, but she is determined to use it as a tool to find who the murderer is.

Meanwhile, her old friend, Nate, comes in and helps her and Grace. Nate hasn’t talked to Eva in years and is surprised when he suddenly shows an interest in her. However, she must put aside their troubled past in order for them to work together to find the maniac who tried to kill her.

Made For You was very interesting. I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it sooner than I thought. There are many surprises throughout the book, but the biggest surprise is definitely who the killer turns out to be! This book is meant for teens ages 13 and up. I would really stick to that suggestion, given the mature content in the book. This review is based on an advance reader copy– the book comes out next month. If you love suspense and mystery, I recommended you look for it.

-Sabrina C., 9th Grade

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

davinci_codeA book that became highly popular years ago, this is a title that many have heard of, but one that few teens from this generation have actually read.

The overall verdict: this is a book that either you will either fall in love with, or that you will hate. It’s rare to find an opinion in reviews that begs to differ.

In my opinion, it was a fast-paced page turner that kept me engaged and relatively entertained during the span of time that I was reading it, but there were still many holes that left me unsatisfied with the book as a whole with its completion.

The basic plot traces the story, both in a modern fictional account and in a “historical” context, of the search of the true holy grail-not only a treasure of time and religious history, but also one of deeper metaphorical symbolism. To provide a more in depth synopsis: a murder within the Louvre in tangent with clues hidden within the works of the great master Leonardo DaVinci (along with many other renowned thinkers and artists) leads to the discovery of a religious enigma hidden by a secret society for thousands of years, a secret that could cause catastrophic change in the base of worldwide religion.

Sounds a bit overdramatic with a dose of being formulaic, doesn’t it?

Brown weaves a fast-paced and entertaining read that leaves you with cliffhangers at every chapter’s conclusion, leaving you flipping the pages till the end. Read as a shallow summertime read is a good investment, however reading too deeply into the “historical facts” may prove dangerous. Taken as pure fiction many of the “historical facts” serve as fascinating concepts for future introspection on secrets societies, treasure, and religion as a whole-taken as fact; however, many prove to be a stretch. Brown treads a thin line in his historical accuracy, writing a story of fiction, but stating many of the facts as the complete truth when transferred over to our world. The main warning: read with a grain of salt.

The plot also leaves you with too many twists to count- one of the most entertaining aspects for me. One moment an ally seems like a foe, the next it is revealed who in fact the true enemy is, and the moment directly after it turns out that one of the main antagonists was actually good all along! (You get the point.) It serves to be highly entertaining, but by the third plot deception it leaves you wondering how much of a formula Brown had at his disposal, and if he really did intend to be so repetitive.

Another thing that particularly struck me was the fact that many of the plot occurrences seemed just too perfect to conspire in real life. Many aspects of the novel proved to be highly unrealistic, a romance where one would never take place in real life, the fact that one of the main emulated ideas in the story is that of a scared and empowered feminine-yet the main (and only) female protagonist is, although being portrayed as smart and beautiful, is forced to act powerless for large stretched in the plot, and that somehow the protagonists always end up where they were supposed to with the answer they needed in the end.

Overall, the writing isn’t terrible-it is just a story that one must read with the intent of entertainment, not fact.

-Sophia U., 12th grade

Book Review: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

maze_runner_coverIn celebration of the upcoming movie adaption of this exciting novel, I thought I would review the first book in this trilogy.

This dsytopian adventure is full of mystery and suspense, set in a chilling sort of “captivity” where young boys (and boys only) live in the middle of a dangerous maze that no one’s escaped or survived. The protagonist, Thomas arrives one day in “The Box” with no memory of anything and is immediately puzzled and disturbed by this place.

The boys live a puzzling life of trying to survive and attempting to make it out of the maze, with no idea of anything at all or who they are. The maze, which several of the boys try to brave but never make it out alive, holds terrifying creatures called Grievers.

One day, the disturbing cycle of everyday life is interrupted by the shocking arrival of- a girl. She brings a strange cryptic message before passing out. With her arrival, everything is shaken up. What happens then… you’ll have to read the book to find out.

This novel, although a bit slow at times, was a generally thrilling book that will keep you on the edge of your seat with a thousand questions running through your mind. Unfortunately, these questions are barely or not even answered in the first book, but the second and third ones do address them, and let me tell you – they will shock and excite and are not to be missed.

If you are a fan of dystopian stories like The Hunger Games or Divergent, I highly recommend this book (as well as the rest of the trilogy) for an entertaining suspense-filled read. Plus, you’ll be prepared for the upcoming movie, in theaters everywhere this September!

-Rachel L.,10th grade

Book Review: Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham

theodore_booneLawyers, lawyers, lawyers… paper, work, suits. Seems boring, right? Well, try reading Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer and your prospective of being a boring lawyer will change.

The story starts of as Theo is in school. He gets a grant from the judge to bring his class to the court to see a live session. Except… something is wrong. The side against Pete Duffy, the accused, has a very, very weak argument… Is there anything that anyone can do to help them?

First, let me tell you the story of Pete Duffy. Pete has an $1,000,000 price on his wife so that if she “accidentally” dies, he will get all the money. And then coincidentally, she is found strangled to death in their own house, the prime subject is Pete. But why would he kill his own wife… possibly for the money?

Now you know the story, but during the course of the book a twist occurs. A man saw something… this would change the whole game, the whole story. It will affect everyone, including Theo……It will be big.

I won’t spoil it for you guys but this is a great book to read, hopefully you can read it. They are also more stories, because this is a series.

-Satej B., 7th grade

Book Review: Shelter, by Harlan Coben

shelter_coverShelter is the first novel in Harlan Coben’s first young adult series, “Mickey Bolitar.”  Mickey, the main character in this novel and the series’ namesake, is featured in some of Coben’s adult crime novels as the main character’s nephew.  After these adult books became such a hit, the author then began writing this series in order to tell Mickey’s story.

Mickey Bolitar witnessed his father’s death and sent his mother to rehab.  He is then forced to move in with his uncle Myron and switch schools.  To top off a great year, the sweet girl he meets at his new school, Ashley, goes missing.  He makes it his mission to find her, no matter the risks.  After looking for clues, though, he begins to realize that the risks are much higher than he realized.

Mickey follows Ashley’s trail, which leads him into a seedy underworld.  The more he uncovers about Ashley, the more he realizes that she is not the sweet, innocent girl he thought she was.  In the process, he also uncovers things about his father that he never expected to find, as well as a conspiracy that makes him question everything he thought he knew.

This novel will leave your heart pounding and your anxiety level sky-rocketing.  It is fantastically written, with characters that are relatable and a storyline that makes readers beg for more.  It is a good read for both pre-teens and teens alike, as it contains little questionable material.  Some parts are a little intense, however, which might not be suitable for younger readers.  Overall, Shelter by Harlan Coben is a must read for anyone with a taste for riveting mysteries and unforgettable adventures.

-Kaelyn L., 10th grade