Tag Archives: Adventure

Student Review: Paper Towns, by John Green (reviewed by Carmen B.)

Paper TownsPaper Towns by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the book, Paper Towns, by John Green, the author creates tension that keeps you turning the pages. After an adventurous night of just the two of them, driving around getting revenge on the people that hurt her, Margo goes missing the next day. Quentin, her friend who is a teenage boy must put together the clues she left behind in order to find her. He has loved her from afar for 10 years, but they just recently became friends. It is up to Quentin to find Margo, he is the only one that can. Even in the very short time in which they connected, he is the only person that really sees Margo for who she is and not for what people want her to be. He is the only one who truly understands her. So therefore it is up to him to find Margo, and he barely knows where to start. Time is running out to find and bring Margo home alive. Who knows if she even wants to come back? This book touches the topics of loyalty and trust. Margo puts her trust in Quentin when she leaves the clues behind that only he would understand. I highly recommend this book to any teenager who is looking for a adventure-filled book and one that forces you to keep turning the pages. Although, if you are not a teenager you may not find this book entertaining and you won’t get anything out of it. Overall, I highly recommend it. ~Student: Carmen B.

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Student Review: Divergent, by Veronica Roth (reviewed by Framelcy C.)

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Divergent by Veroinca Roth, Tris, the main character, has to choose between staying with her family or branching off alone. Tris lives in a futuristic society that is broken into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent). On a special day all 16-year-olds must select the faction to which they devote themselves for their rest of their lives. Tris makes a decision that surprises everyone, and along the struggle she finds a romance. Divergent is an amazing book, because It is suspenseful, adventurous, and romantic. Since it has so much going on, it is hard to keep up with what’s going on in the book, but since I was so into the book it wasn’t much of a problem. You need to put the pieces together to understand. It’s not your typical “I know what’s going to happen next” books, it’s one of those books where it is hard to predict the next scene, because anything can happen. When Tris is getting tested something goes wrong and her instructor starts to freak out and states:

“’No.’” Tori kneels next to the chair now and places her arms on the armrest. Our faces our inches apart.
”This is different. I don’t mean you shouldn’t share them now; I mean you should never share them with anyone, ever, no matter what happens. Divergence is extremely dangerous. You understand”(22).

When you read this sentence you want to know what shes talking about. What’s going on? Why is it dangerous? So many questions pop up in your head and you can’t find the answer right away, because anything can happen. I recommand this book to anyone who likes suspense, adventure and romance all in one. Tris makes the biggest choice that determines how she’s going to live for the rest of her life, and you wouldn’t imagine what she chooses. Read it and you’ll find out. ~ Student: Framelcy C.

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The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Princess Kelsea Glynn has been hidden away since infancy, waiting for the day she will begin her reign as Queen of the Tearling. Meanwhile, her uncle serves as Regent. When he’s not sacrificing the kingdom and its people to the neighboring state of Mortmense and it’s evil Red Queen, he’s sending assassins to hunt Kelsea down. Now that she’s 19, the Queen’s Guard, all of whom swore loyalty to her dead mother (though none seem to have liked her very much) have come to escort her her castle and begin her rule.

I’m generally positive about this one. Kelsea is ridiculously naive, though it’s explained by the fact that growing up, her guardians refused to tell her anything important about her kingdom or her parents. They’ve taught her what they think a ruler needs to know, but left out key parts that will help her rule *this* kingdom. The reasons why are eventually explained, but to a certain degree it felt like the real reason was “because this will make the story more interesting.”

The one quirky bit is the setting. At first it seems like standard medieval-ish fantasy novel, but there are occasional references to the Americans and the British as the settlers of these worlds, and a “Great Crossing,” and you eventually learn that this is set in some distant future when people fled those countries for a “New World.” Where this world is isn’t clear – the map at the front looks like the Iberian peninsula, but obviously, that’s not new. There are references to terrible seas where boats were lost during the Crossing (conveniently containing all the doctors and technology) so maybe it’s a global warming/rising seas thing? Maybe it will be explained in the sequel? It’s not particularly relevant to the story, but it’s interesting in passing. It also doesn’t explain the magic – oh, did I mention the magic stones, and the Red Queen’s visions, and the fact that she stays miraculously young for hundreds of years?

This review sounds like I didn’t like the book, but I did – it’s basically everything I liked about Game of Thrones-type fantasy with dramatically less violence and rape. There’s still lots of that, but not to the Game of Thrones level, where I’m starting to worry about any pets George R. R. Martin has.

Ms Schoen

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Student Review: Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer (reviewed by William L.)

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest DisasterInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine standing on top of the world, with a view so vast and breathtaking that for a moment, you forget all of your pain and worries. Imagine the sense of satisfaction, all of your hard work paying off as you rejoice from the summit of Everest, the king of the Himalayas. Did you at once think about the the guides and the Sherpas who risked their lives to give you your five minutes of bliss? Into Thin Air is Jon Krakauer’s personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster that claimed the lives of eight people.

A journalist for Outside magazine, Jon Krakauer won a spot on a New Zealand-based Expedition led by the experienced mountaineer Rob Hall. Originally the plan was to write an article about the commercialization of Mount Everest, but his childhood dreams of standing on top of the world’s highest peak led him to join an attempt for the summit. But while acclimatizing at Everest Base Camp he discovers that many of the climbers both in his expedition and in other groups have little to no experience climbing and mountaineering, and especially no experience climbing above 8,000 meters, the death zone as referred to by climbing veterans. These inexperienced climbers have bought their way into Everest, paying up to $75,000 to join expeditions such as Rob Hall’s “Adventure Consultants,” which offers guide services and resources to assist climbers in reaching the summit.

On midnight, May tenth 1996, a group of climbers set out for the summit. By three PM the weather began deteriorating. Jon, Hall and the remainder of climbers who reached the summit began their descent, already past the safe time for departure. Along the way they encounter Doug Hansen, who fell behind but had his heart set on reaching the peak. Hall and the Sherpas warned him that it was too dangerous to continue, but he persisted on, forcing Hall to accompany him to ensure safety. Perhaps he wasn’t thinking straight from oxygen deficiency at the high altitudes. Perhaps he felt he had come to far to turn back. Regardless, Hall and Hansen were trapped in a blinding snowstorm of winds traveling sixty miles per hour, thousands of feet from shelter. John Krakauer and the rest finally arrived at a campsite high on the mountain, but many were still trapped by the storm, including Hall and Hansen. Guide Andy Harris departed on a desperate attempt to rescue the trapped Hall and Hansen. All three as well as five others fell victim to Everest.

Jon Krakauer left on his expedition to write about the commercialization of Everest, but little did he know that same commercialization would nearly end his life. People with little to no experience buy their way onto the mountain, a place they have no business on. Hall and Harris were killed because Hansen was stubborn and did not want to turn back. He lacked the experience to know the risks. One-in-four climbers who attempt Everest die in the process. Everest is a savage, deadly place, where mere seconds can determine life or death. Inadequate climbers have no place there. Commercial expeditions risk the lives of sherpas and guides alike. The guides vow to ensure the safety of their climbers, but when these inexperienced climbers make mistakes, the guides are forced to put their life on the line to save them. Not only are they staring in the face of death, but they pull their peers down with them when they climb with insufficient knowledge.

John Krakauer uses vivid imagery to describe the mountains and conditions along the trip, as well as insights on the history of Everest. He explains in great detail the risks involved with climbing the highest peak in the world, as well as the difficulties and extreme conditions the climbers endure. This book illustrates perfectly the dangers high altitude climbing, and the selflessness of the guides that lost their lives on that tragic day. ~ Student: William L.

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Student Review: Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II, by Mitchell Zuckoff (reviewed by Jacqueline L.)

Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War IILost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New Guinea, a mysterious, uncharted land in the 1940’s, was a Dutch colony. Twenty-four soldiers were sent to explore and sight-see the island, especially focusing on a valley known as “Shangri-La”, located in an unexplored jungle. This extravagant trip soon turns into a nightmarish fight for survival when their plane, The Gremlin Special, crashes. Only Margaret Hastings, a Women’s Army Corps Corporal, Lieutenant McCollom and Sergeant Decker survive. After scavenging the island for resources and treating wounds, the soldiers encounter New Guinea’s indigenous people notorious for being cannibalistic headhunters and America’s enemy: the Japanese. Mentally and physically weak, the trio is saved by American military parachuters.

Although this is a very real account of the survival story of these soldiers, Zuckoff was able to seamlessly play within the strict realm of non-fiction. Michael Zuckoff used extremely detailed imagery to create a tropical, paradisal setting to contrast the disastrous chaos that was going to ensue for the protagonist and her colleagues. The irony of such a bad thing happening in such a beautiful place added to the story and made the plot seem even more calamitous than it already was. Also, the author introduced the main characters in a lot of depth and provided parts of their past that brought them to the military which made them more relatable.

At first glance, an extreme war narrative doesn’t seem like it would be engaging, however, Zuckoff uses details to keep the reader interested and provides details about the main characters that make them much more accessible to a twenty-first century reader. I would highly recommend this book to any reader.~Student: Jacqueline L.

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Free to Fall, by Lauren Miller

Free to FallFree to Fall by Lauren Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rory Vaughn has just been accepted to the prep school of her dreams, Theden Academy, the school that her deceased mother graduated from in 2013, shortly before dying from complications from Rory’s birth. She’s anxious about leaving her Dad and best friend in Seattle to head East to the Berkshires, but she takes comfort from the fact that they will follow her exploits via her regular status updates on The Forum. She also knows that Lux, the decision-making app that makes life easier for everyone, will help protect her from the burden of choosing the right coffee or selecting which classes to take. She becomes alarmed, however, when she hears a long-since quieted voice in her head nudging her in a certain direction. “The Doubt” is something that all children experience, but Rory had been successful in suppressing it until just now. Some people had to take medication to quiet The Doubt. Why is it returning now? Rory’s exploits on the eden-like campus include being invited to join a secret society and succumbing to the charms of North, a hot, tattooed barista who eschews Lux and opts for outdated technology like iPhones and flashdrives that help him avoid reliance on the cloud. This is a fast-paced young adult romance novel thinly disguised as science fiction. Nonetheless, it’s still reasonably provocative and not all that outlandish given our current trajectory with mobile and cloud-based social computing. This story has a little something for everyone: romance, science fiction, fast-paced adventure, and friendship drama. The writing is fine, though a lot more telling than showing and at times a little too predictable and formulaic, hence the 3 stars. ~Ms Dimmick

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Student Review:A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin (reviewed by Cameron M.)

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea is classic fantasy at its finest, and it’s one of my favorite reads in the genre. It follows the adventures of Ged, a wizard in the titular world of Earthsea, through the beginnings of his adventures. From his first exploits in sorcery on his small home island to the great university of Roke to high adventure across the islands and seas, Ged gains power, wisdom, and maturity beyond his years- though not without a cost or misadventures along the way. A Wizard of Earthsea has some of the greatest characters and settings I have ever encountered in fantasy: realistic enough to relate to and immerse in but fantastic enough to escape to and marvel at. LeGuin conjures images of dragons, magic, and heroes beyond compare, all while tying the novel down to the little, everyday struggles of a man making his way through a big, strange world. The characters are down to earth and while their conflicts may involve great dangers and struggles, their motivations are very real. Rivalries, pride, and self-discovery are prime motivations for Ged and his acquaintances, and they bring the characters’ struggles that much closer to reality. Despite this, fantasy isn’t for everyone, and if you’re looking for something gritty or romantic look elsewhere (though I’d still recommend giving it a try). A Wizard of Earthsea is high fantasy adventure at its finest, and I strongly suggest reading it whether you are a long-time fantasy fanatic, or just looking for something new to read. ~ Student: Cameron M.

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Student Review: Seeds of Rebellion, by Brandon Mull (reviewed by Evan Z.)

Seeds of Rebellion (Beyonders, #2)Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How would you describe an awesome book? Or have you not words? I’ll guess the latter because Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull is a great book.

This is the third and final book in the Beyonders series. It all begins when two teenagers named Rachel and Jason enter a whole different world called Lyrian. They become caught up in a fight to destroy the king, Maldor, a wizard with enormous power who must be usurped. Eventually, by the second book, an oracle dictates what Jason, Rachel, and their friends must do to defeat the king, and in the third book they separate to succeed in their separate quests. There are plenty of plot twists, and each will end in sacrifice. To be as specific as the oracle, “[The rebellion’s] hope would be red like the blood of heroes” (42).
The book is set in a magical place. The characters include people who can be reborn through seeds, people who can cut off body parts that remain functional in different dimensions, people who only live for two years, and beings not even from Lyrian that invade people’s thoughts. The dazzling array of characters only enhances the book because you examine each character carefully and determine his or her importance to the end result of the book (no giveaways!). To be honest, some of the characters are almost unbelievable in their courage (in a good way). Tark, one of Jason’s friends, when faced with the opportunity to save Lyrian by blasting Maldor and himself to pieces, says, “I can’t help suspecting… I think this might be my destiny” (421). In other words, Tark is willing to put himself in a dangerous situation of certain death to save others. Overall, courage is necessary in the plot of this story.

In the end, you should definitely read this book, but only after reading the first two books. It will much more interesting if you can understand what is going on. Happy reading! ~ Student: Evan Z.

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Student Review: Divergent, by Veronica Roth (reviewed by Salome T.)

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“‘People who get these kind of results…’ She looks over her shoulder like she expects someone to appear behind her. ‘…are called… Divergent”’. Are you interested in a book that will keep you on edge and bring outcomes you never expected? If so, then Divergent by Veronica Roth is the book for you. In my opinion, Divergent is a book that is packed with action and romance making it interesting and impossible to put down.

Divergent is a book set in the future where the society is split into five factions; Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, and Candor. Each faction has one prominent trait that the people have. The Dauntless are the brave, the Abnegation are the selfless, the Erudite are the intelligent, the Amity are the peaceful, and the Candor are the honest. Then there is the Divergent which includes all the faction traits, but that kind of person can’t exist. At sixteen, each child takes a test to figure out which faction most suits them. Beatriz Prior, the main character is in Abnegation but gets Divergent on the test. Although she hides it, for the sake of her safety, instead choosing to go into Dauntless. There she meets Four, who she gets involved with in a romantic relationship. Follow Beatrice throughout the book while she tries to keep her identity a secret while wanting to fit into the Dauntless crowd.

I think anyone who likes action that includes romance should read this book. I recommend that anyone who has read and liked the Hunger Games to give this book a try as well. ~ Student: Salome T.

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Student Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman (reviewed by Jennifer P.)

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I opened my eyes, beneath the water, and I saw it dangling there, in front of my face: my chance for life, and I clutched it with both hands: my father’s tie” (73). Above the narrator of The Ocean at the End of the Lane a novel by Neil Gaiman describes the traumatic event of being drowned in a bathtub by one’s own father. The narrator, Handsome George a seven-year-old boy is struggling with finding his bravery and courage when an unwanted guest arrives in his home bringing pain and fear to his once peaceful life. After George and his family faced a death, George meets Lettie Hempstock, a girl that brings out the best side of George while also getting him into trouble. These two travel through the woods on the Hempstock’s farm together and encounter many dangerous and evil beings. Together, they find themselves in trouble and in need of help from adults but their need for guidance brings up the question, can adults be trusted? I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys being kept on their toes and craves adventure. Over the course of this novel concerns on who one can trust are addressed through detailed imagery and outstanding writing. When the narrator finds himself in trouble he is able to find safety within the Hempstock’s farm, but how far can an enchanted farm protect a boy destined for danger. Neil Gaiman’s novel is action packed and feeds to all readers’ appetites. ~ Student: Jennifer P.

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