Tag Archives: friendship

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Do I really need to say any more? Set in Texas, Ari and Dante are two Mexican-American teens who strike up a friendship at the town pool over the summer. This was a great audio book, and probably just as great to read if you are a fan of YA realistic fiction. I listened to it on the Axis 360 App if you want the audio book. ~ Ms. Steiger

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Filed under Fiction, Realistic Fiction

The Mothers, by Brit Bennett

The MothersThe Mothers by Brit Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(This is a review of an ARC from NetGalley.)

This book tells the story of Nadia, her high school boyfriend, Luke, and best friend Aubrey. They are growing up in a poor Southern California town and are members of the same black church. Luke, the pastor’s son, had his college football career ended by an injury. Nadia’s mother has recently committed suicide. Aubrey has fled from home to live with her sister to escape an abusive stepfather. Nadia and Luke’s relationship ends badly but the smoldering embers of it will go on to impact all three for years to come. The Mothers in the title are the older ladies in the church whose meddling impacts them all.

I felt that this story seemed almost timeless. It was about coming to grips with tragedies and failures and simply finding your way in the world. The many references to the church community made it seem a little old fashioned to me. Occasionally there would be a reference to email or cell phone and I would remember that it had a contemporary setting. ~ Ms. Steiger

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Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy

Dumplin'Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Willowdean is the overweight teenaged daughter of a former beauty queen living in North Texas. You might think that would give her a bit of an insecurity complex, but Dumplin’, as her disappointed mom calls her, is actually quite content, and even confident, in her own skin. It’s that confidence that draws other girls who don’t fit the typical teenage beauty standards to Willowdean for friendship and guidance. It also attracts Bo, the hot private school boy who works with her at a fast-food restaurant and surprises her with his undeterred admiration. When Willowdean and her gang of atypical friends decide to enter their small town’s beauty pageant, a series of amusing and endearing escapades ensue. This book is pleasant read filled with the predictable teenage drama that romance, friendship and high school can bring, but stamped with its own brand of uniqueness in its small town North Texas setting (I had to Google pictures of homecoming mums to see what on earth they were!), its Dolly Parton sound track, and of course, its challenge to the American ideal of female beauty. Read this if you’re looking for some light, breezy, young adult romantic fiction. This is not the book for you if you’re seeking genuine depth or high literary quality. ~ Ms Dimmick

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Student Review: All I Know Now, by Carrie Hope Fletcher (reviewed by Tess G.)

All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up GracefullyAll I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully by Carrie Hope Fletcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The self-help book, All I Know Now; Wonderings and Advise on Making Friends, Making Mistakes, Falling in (and Out of) Love, and Other Adventures in Growing Up Hopefully by Carrie Hope Fletcher is like a mug of hot chocolate after coming in from the snow. It’s like an all-knowing older sister who doesn’t judge you. Carrie talks about her experiences with bullying as a child (I know, sounds boring- she tells it really well), how to get over the terrible Teen Age, her social media conflicts, how to live with yourself, how to and how not to get over relationships, and really, how to become your own best friend. I definitely think most people should read this book! It has some really great advice- it puts a lot of your problems in perspective. It truly feels like an older sister and best friend in a book. If you’ve never read a self-help book before (this is my first one, actually) and you’re looking for one, this is definitely the one. Especially if you’re in high school. I don’t think anyone should avoid this book, as it can be useful to a wide range of people- although, it is targeted to young girls. If you need help, if you don’t need help, if you like books that make you feel warm and content inside- go for it.
~ Student: Tess G.

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Filed under *Student Review, Biography/memoir, Comedy

Student Review: Looking for Alaska, by John Green (reviewed by Carly S.)

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Looking for Alaska is a novel by John Green. Miles, who everyone calls “Pudge,” moves to a new school in Alabama. This is the school that his dad went to so it is a tradition in his family for Pudge to go, as well, by a certain age. Pudge’s roommate, Chip, who is a small quirky guy, instantly clicks with Pudge and they become good friends. Early in the semester, Pudge meets a girl named Alaska (who becomes a main character) and instantly he falls for her. He loves Alaska’s presence and her views of the world. She makes Pudge do rebellious things that he might have not have done otherwise. Pudge begins to realize Alaska isn’t as happy as she makes herself out to be. One day Alaska goes missing and Pudge, along with their other friends, go looking for her. Will they find her? Is she alive? Where did she go? This book covers topics on being a good friend and learning how to solve problems. I think other people should read this book because it’s very unpredictable and has a lot of twists and turns. A reader who likes fiction and mysteries would really enjoy this book. A reader that likes predictable books should definitely avoid this book because you won’t be able to figure out what is going to happen so easily. ~ Student: Carly S.

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Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Mystery

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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Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Mystery

Student Review: The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway (reviewed by Gun S.)

The Old Man and the SeaThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway is a very quick and easy read for all readers that enjoy excitement and suspense. This book is about an old, poor fisherman and his struggles to catch the fish of his life. He lives in a small town and does not live in the best conditions. A small boy helps him a lot throughout this novel by being a fishing partner. This book has small glimpses of friendship, survival, and desperation. The old man is looking for a miracle in his life to make his life easier and better. He sets on a long and hard journey with many difficult obstacles in his way to catch a fish that would make him have a better life. I would highly recommend this book because it is an easy and quick read that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat with curiosity and excitement. Readers that enjoy realistic fiction novels would really like this book. This book may not be for everyone like readers that like long, and more action-packed and drama-filled books. This book does include some of these aspects but not all readers may not enjoy this book. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 because of my personal interests and opinions that connect to this novel and because I really enjoyed reading it. ~ Student: Gun S.

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Filed under *Student Review, Action/Adventure, Fiction

I am Princess X, by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess XI Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Libby and May have been best friends since 5th grade. Together, they created a Princess X, a comic about a ninja princess armed with a sword and a pair of Converse, who saves her kingdom from bad guys. Until the day that Libby and her mom died, and May’s world started to fall apart. Years later, May spots a sticker on the streets of Seattle – a princess, armed with a sword and a pair of Converse, with the caption “I am Princess X.” The sticker leads May to web comic whose story is eerily similar to Libby’s and hints at a mystery that only she can unravel.

I *adored* this. Just absolutely wonderful. The story is told through a combination of text and comics, so we learn Princess X’s story along with May. While the story is a bit outlandish, it was engaging enough to let me suspend disbelief at the action-movie bits towards the end. And I very much appreciated that May could find a tech guy to help her out and NOT immediately fall in love with him (and have him not be so super-techy as he thinks).~Ms. Schoen

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery

Student Review: In Deep, by Terra Elan McVoy (reviewed by Lydia G.)

In DeepIn Deep by Terra Elan McVoy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Have you ever thought about how you would react if your best friend betrayed you? The main character in Terra Elan McVoy’s In Deep faces this situation and struggles with how it affects her life. The novel is clearly written and explains the challenges that the main character deals with throughout. Brynn is a competitive swimmer in high school. Her life revolves around swimming until her friend’s flirtatious boyfriend puts her friendship and relationship at risk. Brynn ends up having to choose between her swimming career and her friendships when she gets tangled up in her social life. We see her struggle with this choice when she says, “Except I don’t float. Instead I lie there in bed, thinking of Charlie, and Grier, and Van trying to push us all, and stupid Gavin and his mind games, and how I called Kate a sheep” (240). McVoy also excels at portraying the character’s stormy emotions. I recommend In Deep to anyone who loves sports and teen drama novels. Once you start reading you won’t be able to stop. Student: Lydia G.

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Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Student Review: Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom (reviewed by Quinn M.)

Tuesdays with MorrieTuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is a moving book about the relationship between a middle-aged sports writer, Mitch, the author, and his former college professor at Brandeis University, Morrie Schwartz, who was dying of ALS. The book begins with Mitch recalling his college graduation where he hugged Morrie, promising to keep in touch. This promise was forgotten as the struggle of life caught up with Mitch. Mitch then sees a Nightline interview with Morrie on television and remembers his promise. He then visits Morrie in his West Newton home every Tuesday for the next few months, at first just to have a reunion, but then to simply discuss life. The book ends with Morrie’s death. During these meetups Mitch and Morrie discuss many things ranging from money to love to cultural norms. The book was an easy read in the sense that it was quick and easy to understand the meaning. However there are many complex concepts discussed in the book through the discussions between Mitch and Morrie. Tuesdays with Morrie is the kind of book that you could analyze for hours and hours. I would recommend it for a younger reader who enjoys philosophy and exploring other general ideas of life. The book has many ideas that can be applied to one’s own life given through a touching story. I personally enjoyed it very much because it contained enough new plot development to hold my interest while still leaving enough space to analyze the meaning of each chapter before moving on to the next. ~ Student: Quinn M.

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Filed under *Student Review, Nonfiction