Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay is the third and final book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. Katniss Everdeen has survived against all odds. She made it out of the Quarter Quell and is now in District 13, which actually does exist. The rebellion is beginning, and almost all of the districts are rebelling, except for her home, District 12, which was destroyed. The rebels want Katniss to become “the Mockingjay,” the symbol of the rebellion. If she accepts then she may help the rebels win the war, but it will put everyone she loves in danger, including Peeta who is already being held prisoner in the Capitol.

I thought Mockingjay was a really good book and gave it a four out of five. I didn’t like it as much as the past two books in the series though. There were a few parts of the book that I didn’t like including Peeta’s hijacking, but the rest of the book was really good. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a book with a lot of action, but you have to read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire first.

Breathe by Cliff McNish

Breathe is a ghost story about a boy named Jack. Jack lost his dad at a very young age; therefore, he can see ghosts. He hasn’t had much experience with this before, because most ghosts go to the “other side”. However, when Jack and his mom move to the old farmhouse, Jack starts to have problems. All of a sudden Jack has constant asthma attacks, starts seeing a lady in the house who calls herself the Ghost mother, and his mom thinks he is crazy. Jack disregards the last issue as nothing to be worried about. He wants to know everything about the Ghost mother, but the more Jack finds out, the less sure he is he wants to know anything at all. Is Jack in over his head?

I loved this book. It has a great plot and is very descriptive. Some, however, may find this a terrible book solely because it is a ghost story. I suggest you don’t read this book if you hate scary stories. I would give Breathe 4 out of 5 stars.

Baby by Patricia MacLauchlan

Baby is a book about a family that gets a special surprise. Twelve year old Larkin comes home to see her family gathered in her driveway around a baby in a basket. The baby’s name is Sophie and was abandoned by her mom who couldn’t take care of her. The new arrival helps the family revive from a dark past. Sophie changes the lives of the family and the whole island. Everyone takes care of Sophie and teaches her new things. The mother claimed she would be back for her, but she just sends some money and wrights occasionally. As Sophie becomes part of the family everyone is unsure of her fate. Will she come back if her mom comes back? Will she remember them? Will she be happy living without a real mother? Read the book to find out.

The book Baby is a sweet and heartwarming book. I love this book because it is simply sweet with a twist of mystery and sorrow from the family’s past. It drags you in and makes you feel like you know the family, Sophie, and Larkin. I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for an uplifting weekend read book.

Cross-Country Runner by Leon McClinton

I gave this book a rating of five out of five. The main character in Cros-Country Runner is Vern Mansfield, a high school junior. He is the best running back in the state, and is expected to get football scholarships to very prestigious football programs. However, in his senior year, he decides to quit football and join the cross-country team, because long-distance running is his true passion. Vern’s classmates make fun of him for joining the cross country team and are very angry at him for hurting their football team’s success. The most audacious of the taunting students is Ken Speaker. He is the best runner on the cross country team and is a self-serving sycophant. Ken tries to make Vern quit the cross-country team, because he thinks Vern deliberately hurt the football team and wants to do the same to the cross-country team. The only way Vern can earn the respect of the school is to become the best runner on the cross-country team.

I think this book is a very good literature choice because it very clearly demonstrates the way the football team and cross-country team are viewed in American society. I would recommend this book to cross-country runners, or anyone who looks down on them. Readers will know the torturous pain cross-country runners go through without receiving any respect. Also, students who find themselves against all odds may want to read this book to remind them that if they work hard and persevere, anything is possible.

Notes From the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

I personally gave this book a five out of five, no question. This book is about a boy named Alex Gregory who decides to drink a pint of vodka, steal his mom’s car, and then trash his dad’s house. It turns out that when he did this mischief (or tried to) it only took up ten pages of the book. The rest of the book is about what happens to Alex after he does the incident (or tried to do it, keep that in mind). Alex then finds himself sitting in front of a judge hearing that he had to do 100 hours of human service for an old man named Sol (short for Solomon.) After all the talk died down, Alex had to juggle community service, girls, and…guitars? Come and read this book to learn about Alex’s adventure and what he does with his…situation.

Jordan Sonnenblick is a hilarious author with a very unique personality. I love his characters such as Laurie, Alex’s best friend, and Solomon. I recommend this book to teens, young adults, or anyone else who has a sense of humor. Anyone who reads this book will probably have sympathy, recognition, and laughter, maybe all on the same page.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Dwight is a weirdo who is in the sixth grade. He likes to sit in big holes all day with his nose poking out, and he asks squirrels to save him. Dwight only does one cool thing, which is making origami. One day Dwight comes to school with an Origami Yoda on his finger and speaks to people who are in sticky situations. The Yoda actually works, and people actually line up for a turn. Tommy is finding out if Yoda is actually tapping into the force and how Dwight can be so clueless while Yoda is all-knowing. Tommy really wants to make sure that Yoda is real before he asks the ultimate question.

I would give this book five out of five stars, because it is funny and the pictures add to the affect. I also like how the answers that Yoda gives are actually smart and knowledgeable. This book also includes directions for folding your own Origami Yoda.

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

This is the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series. In the beginning, Percy is at his new school's orientation during which he defeats two empousa who attack him. At Camp Half-Blood, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson are chosen to go on a quest in the labyrinth to look for Daedaus, the creator of it. In the labyrinth, they meet the goddess Hera, but she leaves after Annabeth infuriates her. Later, Percy finds himself inside Mt. St Helens at a forge used by Kronos. Inside the volcano, Percy causes an explosion that makes the volcano erupt and awakens the most evil monster, Typhon. Percy is shot out of the volcano and lands on an island and meets Calypso. Percy chooses to leave Calypso to help his friends when Hephaestus comes to get him. After entering the Labyrinth again with the others, he comes across the Triple G ranch where he meets Nico di Angelo. He then battles the owner of the ranch who has three hearts. They travel farther, and they find Daedalus. He meets Rachel, and they get back to camp. When they get back to camp, Rachel becomes the new oracle.

This was one of my favorite books in the series of Percy Jackson. My favorite part was when Percy is at the Triple G ranch and has to clean the flesh-eating horse pen. I would recommend this to people if they have read the other books before this, and they are interested in ancient Greek history and action adventure books. I would rate this a four out of five stars, because sometimes things happen instantly and the end confused me a little bit.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'd Tell You That I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Can love really conquer all or will lies destroy it all? Cammie, a spy in training, must find out if a secret relationship will work. She must use her training to date a regular guy. She finds a lot of troubles with her spy life and her secret normal life running together. For example, she can't tell her boyfriend where she goes to school, because it's a school for spies. People in town call them the brats and snooty girls. She and her spy friends must find out if they can keep Cammie’s secret, secret.

I'd Tell You That I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You is such a good book. This book sounds like it is a stupid romantic book, but it isn’t. It is a great spy series that happens to have some love story in it. It has action, romance, and even deception. This book could interest people who like spy books but like a little love story too.

Along for the ride By: Sarah Dessen

This novel is about a teenage girl’s visit to her dad’s for the summer, along with her new step mother and half baby-sister in Colby before going away to college. Her name is Auden. She never really had a child life, which includes her not knowing how to ride a bike. But when she comes down to Colby, she makes some new friends–she never really had any friends, she wasn't so good with socializing-and falls in love with a boy named Eli who helps her on a “quest”, but only at night.

I think this book is by far the best book I have ever read. I, and the antagonist, Auden, have a lot of similar characteristics, which pulled me into the book more thean I had thought it would. Eli, in the story, gave me some tips about life. When ever you fall and get back up, that means you are improving, even after the 100th fall. If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to perserver then you should read the book. It will teach you how to believe and it will do you well in your life.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

I give this book a 5 out of 5

This book takes place in Germany and England during World War I. Paul Baumer is a soldier for Germany along with four other nineteen year olds he has known his whole life. They have to face up to a mean company commander named Captain Himmelstoss. Paul and his companions also have to live life on the front lines and are shelled constantly. Along with this, they have to cope with death of people all around them.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 because it is thought provoking and is well written. Remarque did a good job in capturing the detail of battle and the feeling of a normal soldier. He also did a good job in capturing their daily life in great detail. This book was fun to read and can easily have a report or project done on it because it is easily quotable. I would recommend this book to anyone.

H.I.V.E. By: Marc Walden

H.I.V.E is an international academy for evil villains. A boy named Otto, who lives at an orphanage, sabotaged the Prime Minister’s address by hypnotizing him and making a fool of himself and the government. He and a boy named Wing, an Asian boy who has a super villain father, are taken by a helicopter to H.I.V.E. to begin their learning of evil. While they’re there, they meet up with a Scottish girl who hacked a defense system, and an American girl robbed several jewelry stores without being detected, earning her the nickname, Wraith. They realize they don’t like it there, and decide they want to get out. There is a kid there that has one of the most evil dads ever, named Sylas Darkdoom, who can’t seem to do any of his villain classes except bio-chemistry. Sylas begins working on a type of a Venus Fly Trap, which will be important in the ending.

I gave this book four out of five stars. H.I.V.E was full of descriptive sentences, and flowed well.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I would give this book five stars.

The Graveyard Book, is about a boy who’s parents get killed when he is little, and must be raised in a graveyard. The boy was raised by two ghosts’, who named the boy Nobody. Nobody must stay in the graveyard to keep safe of the killer who murdered the rest of his family. Nobody is given the gift of disappearing -so no one can see him- and the gift of being able to walk through walls. Nobody in the end must find a way to get rid of his family’s killer, Jack, so he can have a normal life.

I liked this book because, it has unexpected twists. This book won the Newberry award in 2009. I would give this book five stars because The Graveyard Book has an odd point of view. My favorite part of this book is when Nobody goes onto un-concentrated to face the leers, who are protectors to Jack.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is about a girl who lives in a place called Panem, a future America. Panem consists of a Capitol, surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is very cruel and every year selects a boy and a girl from every district to fight to the death in a giant arena until only one tribute is left. In the first book, the main character, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister Prim’s place. The boy that is selected to go with her to the games is named Peeta. Katniss and Peeta end up being the last people living and do not want to have to kill eachother, so they both almost eat poisonous berries at the same time. That way they will have to end the games without killing each other. In Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta get selected again to fight in these bloody and violent games. There is alot of conflict because Katniss wants very badly to rebel and resist the Capitol, but by doing so she is risking her and very many other’s lives.
I give this book five stars because it is very fast-paced and interesting. It was very intriguing and I was always wondering what would happen next. My favorite part in this book was when Katniss found out the arena was made like a giant clock and disasters happen according to the time.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Mrs. Frisby is faced with a terrible challenge as Moving Day comes and her son is too weak and sick to be able to move. Mrs. Frisby seeks help from the Rats of NIMH who are very secretive and do not act kindly to other people or animals. They make an exception for Mrs. Frisby. Her husband had helped the Rats of NIMH escape from labs where they had been studied by scientists. Mr. Frisby died, so this is the only reason that the Rats of NIMH will help her. The Rats of NIMH need to move Mrs. Frisby’s home before it’s too late, but will they be able to?!

I thought this was a very good book, because after reading the first chapter, I was really interested and wanted to see if Mrs. Frisby would find a resolution to the problem. I recommend this book to others, because you get sucked into the book and get very interested, very quickly. I give this book a five star rating, and I think it would be a really great book for others to read (especially people in 5th grade or middle school).

Troy by Adele Geras

Troy is about two sisters living in the time of the Trojan War. One is a handmaiden to Lady Helen. The other is the caretaker of Prince Hector’s baby son. Each is influenced by Aphrodite, goddess of love, toward a soldier named Alastor. He chooses between them and makes them have a huge fight. While all this is happening, the Trojan War is still going on. Prince Hector is killed, then Achilles, and then Prince Paris. When everyone thinks that the Greeks have given up, the Trojans find a wooden horse. They bring it inside Troy, thinking it was a surrendering gift from the Greeks, and have a celebratory feast. That night, while everyone is sleeping, the Greeks sneak out from the inside of the horse and ambush the Trojans. One of the sisters is traumatized while being taken prisoner and seems to forget everything else in her grief.

This was a great book. I was told that it was going to be bad, but I enjoyed it. If you like romances mixed with a little action, you’ll definitely like this book. It was short-listed for the Whitbread Award. It is a really good book.

The Rover by Mel Odem

The Rover is about a dweller, or “halfling,” named Wick who works at a secret library called the Vault of All Known Knowledge. It is on a hidden island in the middle of the Blood-Soaked Sea. One day, Wick is asked by a grandmaster at the library to deliver a package to a place at the harbor and as a result, he is abducted by dwarven pirates, sold into slavery, adopted by thieves, and ends up fighting a dragon.

I thought this book was interesting, because the whole time Wick has his adventures, he has to keep the Vault a secret even though he may never even see it again. I also thought it was really interesting that no one on his hidden island knew how to read, so he had a really tough time keeping his secret when they found out he could read. The Rover is a really good book for anyone who likes a good adventure book with lots of different personalities.

I gave The Rover a four out of five because it was very good, but it had a little less action than I hoped it would.

Bartimaeus: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathon Stroud

The main characters of the book are Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. Nathaniel is an apprentice to a minor magician. Nathaniel wants to seek revenge on Simon Lovelace, because Simon humiliated him in public by spanking him in front of a bunch of important magicians. Nathaniel summons Bartimaeus, a djinni, to go and steal the Amulet of Samarkand. Bartimaeus succeeds and gives the amulet to Nathaniel. Nathaniel hides the amulet in his master’s study. Later, Bartimaeus rescues Nathaniel when Simon tries to kill everybody in the house to get the amulet back. Nathaniel finds out about Simon’s plot to kill most of the major magicians and become the prime minister of the magicians. Nathaniel has to find a way to save all the magicians.

I give this book a four out of five stars because it has good plot and many surprising twists. I like how Bartimaeus is a funny character and how he always finds a way out of sticky situations. Bartimaeus also has a huge ego and tricks people. I think the book is sometimes a little boring when it is talking about Nathaniel but other than that I thought this was a pretty good book.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

This book begins as Edward leaves Forks, and leaves Bella heartbroken. For a few months Bella pretty much does nothing. After that she starts trying to fit in and starts hanging out with Jacob, and they work on motorcycles together as their relationship grows. Eventually, Bella goes cliff diving, and Edward thinks she’s dead, so he’s trying to get the evil Volturi to kill him. Bella and Alice rush off to Italy to save him.

I considered this book (second in the Twilight saga) very good. I wondered from the moment Edward left if he would come back, and how he would do that. I like how the author brought Jacob back in this story and made us find out he was a werewolf. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

Atlantis Complex is the seventh book in the Artemis Fowl Series. The past six books were about a genius teenager who found out that fairies, leprechauns, and pixies all existed and were living underground. In doing so, the teenager Artemis Fowl threatened the survival of the fairy race. He solved the problem in all the previous six books. This time, Artemis was sick, so when he once again he threatened the fairies, he could not do anything about it. Artemis’ disease, Atlantis Complex, made a crazy alter ego of himself and there was no way of controlling it. The fairies were desperately trying to save their race, but this time Artemis Fowl was of no use. When the fairies caught up to the protagonist, a traitor fairy named Turnball Root, Artemis and his fairy companions tried to fight him. Turnball’s robots captured them. After an epic battle, Artemis used his alter ego, who had picked up some marshal arts moves that Artemis didn't possess, and destroyed Turnball Root.

I would recommend this book and the whole series to kids and young adults who like a lot of action. I gave this book four stars because I really liked it. I like how the problem was solved, but I don’t think the problem was big enough to be really worth solving. I liked how the author made you think that Artemis’ sickness would make him useless, so the story would be more interesting. I also liked how the author used Artemis’ sickness to defeat the protagonist. However, I never doubted that Artemis would somehow come through, so the story could be better if the author made the story scarier.

Geek Magnet by: Kieran Scott

KJ Miller is a short, red-headed girl who is in love with the star basketball player, Cameron Richardson, or so she thinks. She is super shy and can’t tell the geeks that swarm her to go away. Until, she asks popular girl, Tama Gold, to help her ditch the geeks and get Cameron. KJ must go through many procedures to get mean, but it’s worth it. Can Tama get the job done?

Geek Magnet is a book of friendship, love, and betrayal. KJ’s best friend and true love changes throughout the book. This keeps the book interesting. Kieran Scott makes the book playful with many secrets. At the end of each chapter, you just want to keep reading to see what happens next. The readers that would be most interested in this book would probably be girls. There would be nothing wrong with a boy reading this book, but it mostly appeals to girls. I would give the book four smileys.

Hatchet by: Gary Paulsen

Hatchet is a book about survival. It takes place in the Canadian wilderness around present day. The main character is a boy named Brian who was on a bush plane going to visit his father when the pilot had a heart attack. After a few hours of panic in the plane, it eventually crashes. Brian is stranded in the middle of nowhere with no means of communication and very little knowledge of survival. Brian has to discover how to do things such as make weapons, catch fish without a pole, and figure out how to create the most important thing in survival….fire. After being raided by a porcupine, he figures out how to make fire, by striking the ever important hatchet against a big rock that is used as a wall of his shelter. Brian learns the key to survival…..the hatchet, which was given to him by his mother at the very beginning of the book. Another very important part of this book is when Brian gets a survival kit out of the plane. The plane had sunken to the bottom of the lake that he was camped by. But after a tornado the plane came up to the surface of the lake so Brian goes out on a raft and retrieves the survival kit. Will Brian ever get off of the island? Read this book to find out.

I think this is a great book and it is one of my favorites. Gary Paulsen is a great author and I have loved all of his books including the Hatchet series, the Mr. Tucket series, and other books such as Tracker, The Rifle, and Soldiers Heart. If you like the outdoors and anything involving survival you will really like Hatchet. My favorite part is when Brian gets his first rabbit and when he discovers how to make fire. I rate this book a five out of five. The sequel to Hatchet is Brian’s Winter. I hope you enjoy Hatchet as much as I did!

LordLoss by Darren Shan

LordLoss is the first book in the Demonata series. If you don’t like blood, gore, or demons, DON’T READ THIS BOOK. If you do like blood and gore you’ll like this book. Anyway, it’s about a boy named Grubs Grady who has a normal life-a sister, and parents… until they get eaten by demons. So, Grubs lives with his uncle, trying to make sense of magic, demons, and his family’s curse.

I like this book because it is violent, but it still has a good story line. I would recommend this book to people that have read and liked the Cirque Du Freak series. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give it a 5. Although, some people may not like it as much as I did. My favorite part in the book was when Grubs was in the insane asylum. His uncle reassured him that demons were real, but he should act like they weren’t so he could get out of there.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero is an action packed adventure book with lots of twists. In the Lost Hero, there are three kids named Jason, Leo, and Piper. They go on a quest to save Hera, the god of marriage and family, and on the way they have to kill a giant and save Piper’s dad. The thing is, Jason has no memory of his past and Hera has stolen it in exchange for her rescue.

I think this is a good book so I give it four and a half out of five stars. In my opinion I think that most people will like it because it has action and excitement to the extreme. When the new book comes out I recommend that you buy it because the first book was so good.

The Maze By Will Hobbs

The Maze is about a young, teenage boy named Rick. He has had a rough childhood and is trying to find his way and meaning in life. Early in the book, Rick is charged with a crime for throwing rocks at a stop sign and damaging it. He has to go to a detention center called Blue Canyon for a long sentence and cannot stand being there. One quiet night, Rick escapes the center and is off into the world by himself. He sneaks into the back of a stationary pick-up truck and is driven all the way out into the Maze; the Maze is a collection of canyons and landforms. The truck is driven by a scientist named Lon who is studying condors. Lon finds out that Rick hid in the back of his truck, but lets Rick stay with him at his base camp because Rick has nowhere else to go. Rick helps Lon with the research about the condors and even gets to fly a hang glider. Rick and Lon do everything they can to keep the condor species from going extinct and to keep the condors safe. They learn that together, anything is possible.

I give this book four out of five stars for the rating. A lot of this book was slow moving and I occasionally got a little bit bored with it. However, I think that the ending/resolution was very exciting and kept you “on the edge of your seat.” It also tied everything that happened in the book together and solved a lot of problems that occurred. My favorite part of the book was when Rick learned how to hang glide for the first time because it was suspenseful when I thought that he would loose control of the glider and get hurt. You would enjoy reading this book if you've read Hatchet, Brian’s Winter, or any other survival fiction books.

The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan takes place in a world full of treachery and evil. Jebel Rum, the protagonist, is the son of the most famous executioners in Wadi. When Rashed Rum announces he will be retiring in a year, all of the land goes into shock. Rashed tells the people everything will be fine, that either of his two sons would be his successor, J’an or J’al, never mentioning anything about Jebel. Shamed, Jebel sets off on a journey to petition the fire god; Sabbah Eid, for inhuman strength, but he has to bring a slave, Tel Hesani, to sacrifice. Over the course of his journey, he develops a bond with the slave. Would he sacrifice his new friend for power? Would he betray his village in helping the slave? To become the thin executioner, he would do anything.

This book is great for any fans of Darren Shan. It is a great adventure with an important moral, and a twist of romance. I recommend it to any teen, as long as they have a strong stomach! I give this book four stars.

Cut by Particia McCormick

“Cut” is about a girl named Callie who is a resident at Sea Pines, a place for girls with issues. What’s Callie’s issue? She cuts herself. She started cutting after coming in last place at a cross country meet. She uses her cutting as a way to express her emotions, considering Callie was like a ghost in her own home. While her mother and brother, Sam, rested she was constantly, silently cleaning. She cleaned because Sam had severe asthma. But, because she was sent to Sea Pines, and because she was always silent, she doesn’t talk much. But Sea Pines takes Callie on an enthralling yet silent journey. Will Callie recover? Will she ever find her voice?

I thought “Cut” was a very interesting, inspiring book. On a scale of 1-10? Definitely 11. Anyone who reads this I think would be able to find something to relate to. There are girls with food issues, girls with drug or substance abuse issues, and girls like Callie, who hurt themselves. I’m sure anyone who reads “Cut” can find themselves not wanting to stop reading. “Cut” won Best Book of Young Adults (2002), Quick Picks for YA Readers Top Ten (2001), Top Choice List (2000), and Books for the Teenage (2000).

Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

The book I read is called The Opal Deception. In this book, a fairy named Opal Koboi breaks out of a prison and tries to kill the people who made her go to prison. She makes it look like one of the people who put her in prison killed her own commander. She is eventually caught by a fairy named Holly Short, a human named Artemis Fowl, and a dwarf named Mulch Diggums. In the end, Holly quits her job as a Lower Elements Police Captain because her new commander still thinks that she killed her old commander.

I enjoyed the Opal Deception. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy and adventure. This is the third book in the Artemis Fowl series, and I also like the rest of the series. I would give this book a four and a half out of five stars.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

This book is about a kid named Oliver Watson. Oliver pretends to be very stupid and immature, but this is to cover up his actual identity; he is an evil child genius who owns a secret global empire, controls just about everything, and is the third-richest person in the world. Oliver decides to run for class president, so he blackmails his two opponents into dropping out of the race by doing probes on them. He convinces Randy Sparks, the Most Pathetic Boy in School, to run against him, so he will have an opponent he can easily beat. The book ends right after Oliver and Randy give their campaign speeches.

I give this book four out of five stars, because some parts were a little incoherent and unclear, but other parts were suspenseful and hilarious. I also liked it because it is fiction, but written like a nonfiction book. For example, there are footnotes at the bottom of almost every page and also the occasional full-page photo depicting something from the book.

The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is a 12 year old wizard at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. His parents were killed when he was a baby by an evil dark wizard known as Lord Voldemort. Nobody knew why, but when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, it backfired and he was sent into hiding. Now lord Voldemort is back and Harry has to destroy him by finding the chamber of secrets. A chamber supposedly created by one of the four school founders that contains a monster meant to kill all muggle-borns admitted into the school. So Harry has to find the entrance to the chamber with his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
I thought that it was a very good book for anyone girl or boy, and of any age. It could be kind of confusing to anybody who has not read the first book, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’. I thought both books were a very interesting mystery/ fantasy book. I would give it four stars only because it could be a little confusing at times.
-Ashley Nguyen

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Dragon Rider is an exceptional book that takes place around the world in present day. This thrilling tale unravels when a colony of Dragons are in fear of being exposed to humans, because humans are drilling in the Dragons’ mountain pass. As many of the Dragons declare the threat of humans to be miniscule and turn away, Firedrake, a young Dragon, comes forth and declares that he is going on a quest to find the Rim of Heaven, the original birthplace of Dragons located in the Himalayas. Firedrake, accompanied by a mythical Scottish Brownie, and Ben, a human boy. This epic plot includes graphic battles, spies, and a spiteful enemy, Nettlebrand the Golden One.

Dragon Rider has no sequels or prequels. After finishing this book, I knew instantly that I would rate this book a five out of five. I decided this because Cornelia made sure that the book was constantly interesting.

The Fire of Ares by Michael Ford

The Fire of Ares is about a bay named Lysander who lives in Sparta and is a slave in the fields. The only thing that Lysander has to his name is a jewel called the fire of Ares; it’s a family heirloom that his father gave to him before he died. He works very hard everyday to treat his very sick mother. She is so ill she is very close to death. One day while working double time in the fields Lysander realizes that he was not paid enough for his days work. So in order to get his full payment he must take ten lashings from a whip. Once he returns home there is a man in his hot named Strabo. Strabo is talking to Lysander’s mother. Then Strabo tells Lysander that his father was a brave Spartan warrior named Thorakis who died in battle and that his grandfather Sarpedon is an ephor (one of the most powerful men in Sparta). So that means that Lysander is a mothax (half Spartan half slave) so he is allowed to train in the Spartan barracks. Lysander is not welcomed be his comrades very well. They beat him, make fun of him, do mean things to him, tell him he is not a true Spartan, and they call him names that I can’t repeat. Lysander shows his skill when at the festival games he beats his arch nemesis Demaratos in the final event to win the gold medal. But still after the games he gets no respect from his fellow Spartans.

I give this book 5 stars. It has nonstop action and it is a great resource to learn about the everyday life of the average Spartan and the typical slave in Sparta. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action, suspense, violence, and ancient Greece. My favorite part of the book was when Lysander beat demaratos in the festival games. There are two other books in the series the second book is called Birth of a Warrior, and the final book is called Legacy of Blood. both are very good and I recommend both of them as well.

Gimme A Call by Sarah Mylmowski

Gimme a call is a book about magic cell phones, high school drama, and too many choices. I gave Gimme a call four out of five stars because it was a really good book, but a little towards the end it seems to repeat itself. This book was about a high school senior named Devorah Banks, of Devi for short. It’s almost senior prom time when Devi’s boyfriend, Bryan Sandersons, dumps her. Devi is devastated because she and Bryan went out all through high school. One day while Devi is sulking at the mall, she accidently dropped her cell phone into the fountain. Just as she that, it didn’t work anymore, but when she pressed the send button, she calls her own phone, three years ago. Now Devi has the chance to fix her past mistakes by telling her freshman self all the answers to her problems. When ever Freshman Devi, or Frosh, makes a mistake Senior Devi, or Ivy, can call Frosh and tell her how to fix the problem.

This book was an amazing book, but it might confuse some readers because every other chapter, the person telling the story changes so it goes Ivy, Frosh, Ivy, Frosh and so forth. Sarah Mylnowski also wrote another series called Magic in Manhattan that readers who like this book will surely love.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three is a fantasy tale about an assistant pig-keeper named Taran. Taran sets out on a hazardous mission to save the kingdom Prydain from the forces of evil. He is joined by a bard named Fflewddur Fflam, a monkey-like creature named Gurgi, and a girl named Eilonwy. Eilonwy is later found to be a princess in Prydain. The book opens at Caer Dallben, a farm run by the enchanter Dallben, whose animals include an acclaimed oracular pig named Hen Wen. When Hen Wen disappears, Taran leaves the farm to go search for him. He goes through the journey and faces many hard tasks to try and stop evil from conquering all of Prydain.
The Book of Three is a very good book written by Lloyd Alexander. It begins the “Chronicles of Prydain” series. I’ve read all five books in the series, but this one remains my favorite. The book blends elements of a Welsh legend and all around mythology. The main character is an “underdog” of a hero who tries to prove that he can save his friends and his home. I would definitely rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars.