Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory






In the second book of the Order of Darkness quartet, Luca, Isolde, Freize, Ishraq, and Brother Peter still travel throughout Christendom, recording the signs of the end of the world. Of course, those signs are by no mean benign, and the group faces danger every day. The dangers they face are both physical and emotional, as the young people slowly start to see each other in a different way. But Luca is planning on taking his Vows, which leaves no space for the Lady Isolde, and Ishraq was raised to be as a lady, while Freize is a kitchen boy. Father Peter has no tolerance for the young lovers, as he is determined to answer in full to both his masters.

A wonderful continuation of Changeling, this novel has the right amount of heartbreak tempered with happiness to keep you on the verge of tears. Though the plot dragged at times, it seems to set up the next book to be action packed and full of revelations to clear up the murkiness brought on in “Order of Darkness”.

Reviewed by Marissa, grade 11

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Son by Lois Lowry






This is a must-read for fans of Lois Lowry.  A clever and seamless combination of The Giver and Gathering Blue, both by Lois Lowry, this novel ties all loose ends into a neat, astounding, satisfying bundle. While I would strongly recommend reading both preceding books before this one, it is by no means necessary. I cannot say much regarding characters for fear of ruining a pleasant surprise for readers of The Giver and Gathering Blue, but new and old characters are found in Son, each and every one strong, well-defined, and identifiable. The only passing complaint I have is one character-The Tradesmaster-is more fantastical than usual, which I feel detracts from the overall realistic feeling of the books. Other than that, I found this to be an engrossing and thought-provoking read, which is true to form for Lois Lowry. I would, and will, recommend this book to any and everyone.

Reviewed by Marissa, grade 10

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Book Review: Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan






Llona has distanced herself from her peers her whole life, desperately trying to keep her Light hidden from those hunting her. Finally feeling safe her senior year with her first friends and sorta boyfriend/protector, her world is slashed apart, and she needs to do the forbidden: use her gentle powers for defense.

This is a classic plot with fresh twists. Llona’s strong and independent character is made much more realistic by her bouts of insecurity and crying – and the dismay she has when her tough girl persona wavers. However, some paragraphs seemed poorly written, almost juvenile in their wording and construction. They stuck out and didn’t fit with Llona’s very mature voice. I’d rate this 3 stars — it was okay. I would recommend this to a 12 or older audience, only due to some rather graphic and gory descriptions.

-Reviewed by Marissa, grade 9

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Book Review: Pure Red by Danielle Joseph






This book is about a girl named Cassia Bernard and her journey to find her passion. She has to deal with old memories and crazy changes taking place in herself and others. Why is she going through all this trouble? Well, because a school counselor told her she wasn’t important and Cassia wants to prove her wrong. I liked everything about this book because it reminds me of me and gets me thinking about my life. I wish it was longer! I’d recommend this book to a friend and I’d rate it five stars — I loved it!

Reviewed by Koryssa, grade 8

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Book Review: A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

When Ari learned she was the next in line to receive the ages-old curse of Medusa, she wanted to deny and ignore her tremendous powers. But with Violet held captive by Athena and the twisted games Athena is playing with all those Ari holds dear, including kind-of boyfriend Sebastian, Ari has no choice but to accept and implement her powers, even if it means losing herself.

Ari’s story went from gripping to binding. I couldn’t put it down until I had read every last page, and then I checked for more. With chilling descriptions and grotesque games, this is a novel for older readers. Ari faces a timeless dilemma of fear versus love that is made fresh by the Greek lore and the darkness of New 2. It’s a creative masterpiece with just the right combination of mystery, action, romance and heartbreak. With its relatable characters, this pair of books, Darkness Becomes Her and A Beautiful Evil, will always be in my Top Ten.

Reviewed by Marissa, grade 9

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Book Review: Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler






Piper doesn’t really believe in love. She’s seen the ugly side of it, watching her friends and mom go through it. She suddenly finds herself in a relationship, but is she happy? I liked how this novel talked about swimming to which I can connect. I also really liked the chocolate shop — it made the book original. However, I kind of saw the ending coming. Still, I’d rate it 5 stars. I loved it!

– Reviewed by Lauren, 7th grade

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Book Review: Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls


This book is about teenage boys and girls dealing with their relationships and their life battles, as well. I liked it because of how each one of the characters tells their own side of the story. I didn’t like the beginning of the book because it was a little confusing. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes love stories with a twist.

Reviewed by Koryssa B.

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Book Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr


This book is about two teens, Mandy and Jill. They each have their own perspective. Jill is a senior in high school who lives with her mom and her dad has dies in a car accident. Mandy is a 19 year old who has recently become pregnant. She was raised by her mother and has had a rough childhood. Jill’s mother wants to adopt Mandy’s baby.

There is a lot of conflict throughout the book to keep you interested. Though I don’t find that the cover design directly related to the book, there was nothing I didn’t like about it — amazing book!

Reviewed by Jessica, age 14

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Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Rory has just arrived in London, but she’s not the only new arrival. Jack the Ripper has returned and is even more terrifying than before. This story has believable characters and surprising twists, though some seemed a bit much and rather far-fetched. It took away some reality, but did make the story interesting. I’d rate it 4 stars — I liked it a lot.

This is a book crafted by a creative mind — the largest twist is shocking and, in my opinion, completely changes the genre of the book! Nevertheless, it is wonderfully executed!

-Marissa, age 14

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Book Review: Saga of the Sioux by Dwight Jon Zimmerman

This is a book that tells the other side of the story — something I’ve been looking for. I liked that it was full of information, but in an easy format. The only thing I didn’t like was that the maps were omitted, but that’s due to the unpublished nature! [Note: this review is of a pre-publication galley of the book]. The chapters were well-planned and the cover striking. This is a book directed toward youth, which was enjoyable, and it was full of useful and fascinating information.

This book truly captures the courage, pride and integrity of the Sioux chiefs. They were continuously wronged, and they fought for what they knew was rightfully theirs. This is an embarrassing blotch on the USA’s history. I’m excited to finally be able to read the Sioux’s side.

– Marissa, age 14