Tag Archives: friends

Student Review: Penelope, by Rebecca Harrington (reviewed by Katie D.)

PenelopePenelope by Rebecca Harrington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Penelope is a humorous and amusing book written by Rebecca Harrington, about a socially awkward girl named Penelope who is starting her freshman year at Harvard. When starting her time at Harvard, Penelope is faced with the challenge of making new friends, a task which turns out to be more difficult than she had expected. When she first arrives at Harvard, Penelope discovers that she is rooming with two other girls, Emma Green and Lan Wu, and expects that the two of them will end up being her good friends. However, she could not have been more wrong. Emma is snobby and over-privileged, and admits that the only reason she managed to get into Harvard was because her New York socialite parents had ‘connections’. On the other side of the spectrum, Lan is an eccentric ‘loner’, who’s only friend is the cat that she brought with her to Harvard. Penelope does not feel any connection with either of these people, in fact, she hates Lan and is hated by Emma. The book describes Penelope’s journey through her freshman year, and her struggle fit in. What makes it even harder for Penelope to find her way, aside from her social incompetence, are the challenges that she is faced with along the way. From boy problems, lecturers who loathe her, and a mother trying to live her dreams through her daughter, Penelope faces it all. The book touches on the topic of coming of age, as we watch Penelope grow throughout her first year of college, into a more confident and self-assured character. I would really recommend this book to anyone who likes to read modern books which have topics that are relatable to them, however if you are looking for a thriller or a plot with lots of action, I would not recommend his book, as it there is not a lot of drama in it, just descriptions of Penelope’s hilarious encounters as she navigates her way around Harvard. ~ Student: Katie D.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Student Review: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan (reviewed by Brandon L.)

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The thriller of Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief exhibits the adventures of Percy Jackson. Zeus’ lightning bolt is stolen and Poseidon, his brother, is blamed for the theft. Zeus demands his weapon is to be returned by the summer solstice. As Percy and his mother leave for vacation, an unlikely event occurs and the two are separated; Percy enters Camp Half-Blood and Sally, his mother, is held captive. In Camp Half-Blood, a very important topic is covered. Percy learns more about who he actually is; he learns about his identity. When the demigods discover that he is the son of Poseidon, they set him, along with his friends Grover and Annabeth, out on a quest to retrieve Zeus’ lightning bolt. If they don’t before the summer solstice, a war will break out between the gods. Out in the real world, all of the monsters are set out wanting to kill Percy. But during these adventures of fighting these creatures and reaching places of dismay, Grover, Percy’s protector, and Annabeth, daughter of Athena, ultimately help Percy get to the Underworld, where they believe the bolt is, and bring it back to Olympus. Though this is his main goal to others, the topic of love overthrows this goal. Percy’s love for his mom makes the retrieval of Zeus’ lightning bolt seem small. Percy’s ultimate goal is to be with his mother again. Whether he chooses to risk his life to stay with his mom, or to stay safe and live with his kind in Camp Half-Blood, it ultimately shapes who he is meant to be.

Readers of all different kinds of genres will enjoy Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief. Whether comedy, or mythololgy is interesting to the reader, it has a little bit of both. The personality of Percy and his friends will make a reader laugh out loud. At the same time, the adventures they take down relate directly to ancient Greek stories. It also exhibits the love between friends as well as love between family members. A reader that is into the explicit fight scenes that are present in violent books, this one might disappoint as the fight scenes do not go deep into the blood and gore. But whether the reader believes it will definitely not be interesting, or it will be the greatest ever, everyone should read this book. ~ Student: Brandon L.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Action/Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Student Review: Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher (reviewed by Tiffany W.)

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher is a tragic story about Hannah Baker, a girl who commits suicide and leaves behind 7 cassette tapes for thirteen people to listen to. Hannah threatens that if these tapes aren’t sent to each person in chronological order, she’ll have someone release a second set of tapes to the public. Within these tapes, she explains how these thirteen people are the thirteen reasons why she took her own life. She explains how she was used and tormented by horrible people. The story follows Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s reasons, and his reaction to hearing her story from her perspective. When Clay first gets the tapes, he’s shocked that he’s listening to Hannah’s last words on tape. Through the night, Clay listens to the tapes on his friend’s walkman. He strolls around the city to the various places marked on the map that was given to him with the tapes. There are very serious topics discussed in this book, such as rape, suicide, and depression. People should definitely read this novel just for the experience. Depression and suicide aren’t really topics that are openly talked about, especially if one experiences it firsthand. The book also talks about signs of suicide that one could apply to everyday life. Reading this would give someone that doesn’t suffer from suicidal thoughts insight on the real hardships some people go through. On the other hand, this book probably isn’t suited for people that are easily triggered by these topics. ~ Student: Tiffany W.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Mystery

Student Review: The Hoopster, by Alan Sitomer (reviewed by Christopher R.)

The HoopsterThe Hoopster by Alan Sitomer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Basketball is an interesting sport for most people. Some people like watching basketball games, but others like to play the sport. Andre in The Hoopster loves to play basketball with his friends. In the beginning of the story Alan Lawrence Sitomer writes, “A hard beat pumped from a radio by the fence. Ten players, twenty sneakers, two rims, one basket: that’s all there was. That’s all they needed” (1). He is able to hook the reader during the first page, which makes The Hoopster an interesting lead.

The story is about a teenager named Andre, and he likes to play basketball with his friends Shawn and Cedric. He also starts to date a girl named Gwen, and he works at a newspaper company. Throughout the story, the theme and the main characters are developed in an effective way. Andre is strongly affected by issues about racism and finds comfort through his loved ones. Shawn and Cedric always have Andre’s back because they will try to help him. Gwen is developed to be a person that likes to be herself and hang out with others, such as Andre. Andre’s father is the best developed because he also develops the theme of the novel. He states that revenge does not help a person, but it actually hinders him or her. Although I find this novel to be interesting, Andre’s other family members and friends are underdeveloped, which is flaw within the novel. Ultimately, the prominent theme and characters make The Hoopster an interesting novel, and I recommend it. ~ Student: Christopher R.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Fiction

Student Review: The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp (reviewed by Suzie N)

The Spectacular NowThe Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would not be friends with Sutter Keely in real life yet I still fell in love with him in The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. He is the life of every party. The coolest guy you’ll ever meet that doesn’t care about school or anything else besides girls and alcohol. I love and hate him at the same time. He’s funny, cool, and spontaneous, but also reckless and naive.

It’s senior year for Sutter, a time where all his classmates are thinking about their futures at different colleges, but not for Sutter. He still parties hard as he did before, not wanting to move on from his life. Then he meets Aimee Finicky, another senior like Sutter, but one who’s focused on having a better future without her controlling, selfish mother around. As their relationship grows stronger, Sutter helps Aimee face her fears and reach for her dreams while Aimee helps him be more serious than having fun and living in the now. This book has multiple themes including having dreams/hopes and their importance. When Sutter realizes his dream of having a perfect father will likely never happen in his life, he breaks down and pushes everyone away, thinking he’ll never have someone to love him. While Aimee actually achieves her dream of going to college and making a future for herself. The story tells you, as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, to never give up on your dreams or don’t lose hope even if life sucks right now.

I recommend this book to any high school student. There are drugs, alcohol, and relationships throughout this story, but there are deeper things like the importance of family and friends, which I believe anyone can relate to. ~ Student: Suzie N.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Romance

Student Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (review by Lily O.)

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Judging a book by its cover is a sin that we all at one point partake in. There’s no denying it. I generally like to pride myself in having a good sense of judgment in these sorts of things and in the case of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, I must say, I was right. I was drawn to the creative way the cover artist had put together the front, a shocking relationship of bright lime green and a muddy brown that drew an unexpected quirkiness to the cover, doing justice to the material inside. Quirkiness is a trait which weaves in and out of the story subconsciously and with the pairing of the word curious, these two words give a very good summary of the book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book in which the reader is, I believe, always curious. Charlie in himself is very curious, writing, “I don’t understand the significance of this, but i find it very interesting” p(50). Though a small quote it portrays a lot about the book and Charlie’s character. A lot of the time Charlie just talks about what he finds fascinating, interesting, funny, scary, and in many ways they are a reflection of his thoughts, therefore his curiosity offers insight into who he is as a person. When Charlie first begins writing his letters, there is never any mention of whom he is writing to, a very good strategy, because it leaves the reader constantly guessing as to who the “friend” is. Charlie begins his letters when he begins high school. A very emotional boy of 15, he soon finds himself drawn to two older step-siblings, Samantha (or Sam) and Patrick. While Charlie is just beginning his high school life, they are just ending theirs. Soon enough they are best friends and Charlie is included in all of their outings with the rest of their little group. But Charlie faces an emotional dilemma: he finds himself to be madly in love with Sam, while Sam has made it clear that she doesn’t want him to have feelings for her. While Charlie continues his burning passion for Sam (though slightly more discreet), he is introduced to the world of drugs, sex, alcohol and lots and lots of cigarettes. His family is also changing: as the year goes on, his brother is off to college, his sister faces relationship problems, and a drama, and Charlie still always thinks about his aunt Helen who died, a subject that nobody really wants to go into. The Perks of Being A Wallflower is a book that I would most definitely recommend. A book with unexpected dramas, memories, and twists around every corner, it never bores. A powerful novel that leaves you haunted, a book that will surely not be forgotten.–Student: Lily O.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction