Tag Archives: love

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

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

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.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Mystery

Blackbird House, by Alice Hoffman

Blackbird HouseBlackbird House by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this poignant collection of interlinked short stories. The outer Cape Cod setting was so evocative for me, and following the generations of owners of a particular home from its construction during the pre-colonial era to modern day was enthralling. The stories are often dark and tragic, with a touch of mysticism. Even though the characters shift from story to story, their development is so rich that they feel as robust as those in a full length novel. What resonated most was the author’s depiction of love, whether between a long-married couple, or a mother and child, it was authentic. Hoffman’s love is palpable. This is a really short and delicious read. Try it even if you don’t think you like short stories, because they flow together beautifully with the original homestead providing the architectural framework for several lifetimes of love, pain and salvation. ~ Ms Dimmick

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

Student Review: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (reviewed by Ariella R.)

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interested about young love? Some sad and touching moments? This book is for you. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is about a girl named Hazel, who is a cancer patient, and her struggle with illness. She’s had cancer since a young age, and her parents thought it would be good for her to go to counseling groups. At the group, she meets a boy named Augustus Waters, who dealt with leg surgery shortly before. The two begin talking and soon become very close with each other. They start dating and trading their favorite things such as books. They both read the same book and travel to meet the author of Hazel’s favorite book.The part I liked a lot was when Hazel wasn’t self-confident about herself but Augustus proved her wrong: “‘I’m in love with you, I am.’ He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. ‘I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.’” This is my favorite quote because Hazel thinks that Augustus doesn’t really like her, but he tells her he does in this long message. It sends out a positive message and makes her feel good about herself. Green makes this sound really real and relatable, because there are relationships in our world where the couple isn’t perfect. I would recommend The Fault In our Stars because it’s interesting and well written for young adults. ~ Student: Ariella R.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Romance

Student Review: We Should Hang Out Sometime, by Josh Sundquist (reviewed by Ada K.)

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true storyWe Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Are you having trouble with your love life? Well, in Josh Sundquist’s autobiography We Should Hang out Sometime, you might find out how to save your love life. We Should Hang Out Sometime is a book about the life of a cancer survivor and his experience with love. Josh Sundquist is about 10 years old when he gets cancer, and fortunately he survives. On the other hand, he has to get his leg amputated, which makes him different from every other child. Josh has always been home schooled by his parents because they were afraid that Josh’s missing leg would make kids laugh at him and think of him differently from everyone else. But when he starts public school, he begins to get interested in girls. When Josh eventually gets the chance to ask out a girl, it doesn’t turn out the way he expected it to, and he tells us that “Sarah and I “went out” for twenty-three hours” (41 Sundquist). Relationships tend to either last for a lifetime, or a couple of months, but usually not 23 hours, so Josh had a pretty bad start. This book is a great read for people who enjoy romance and cheesy love stories, but at the same time, it is heartbreakingly hilarious. ~ Student: Ada K.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Biography/memoir

Student Review: The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia by David Stuart MacLean (Reviewed by Max G.)

The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of AmnesiaThe Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia by David Stuart MacLean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up in the middle of nowhere and have no idea why you are there or who you are? Well then, welcome to “The Answer to the Riddle Is Me,” by David Stuart MacLean, a fascinating recollection through memoir of how its author became an amnesiac. The book’s main draw comes from the fact that it is a true story; it makes it extremely interesting to read about what it is actually like to lose your memory. The format of the book reflects that too, being broken into short, fragmented sets of pages, each representing an individual memory of the author.

David wakes up in a train station in India when he realizes he has no idea who he is, and from there he is rescued by a police captain, housed by an sonless elderly mother, captured and taken by government officials to an insanity ward, and then everything else is an upward spiral to his recovery. Pictures and documents from when the events actually happened are scattered throughout as well, really placing the reader in the moment.

My only complaint is that as the book goes on, events become less exciting, and sometimes it becomes a bit of a chore to read. Regardless, the majority of “The Answer to the Riddle Is Me” is hooking, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone in need of a new nonfiction book.~Student: Max G.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Biography/memoir, Nonfiction

Student Review: The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom (reviewed by Paola S.)

The Hiding PlaceThe Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hiding Place is a true story during WWII and shows us that faith is a powerful thing that can be used in times of hardship.

Corrie ten Boom is the daughter of a watchmaker in Holland who lives her life simply, assisting around the house and the watch shop until she reaches 50 years of age. Once the German’s take Holland, her responsibilities change. Without warning she becomes the head of the underground in Haarlem, Holand, finding desperate Jews places to hide and creating a family of those in need in her own home, the Beje. All the while her family is very religious, Bible readings both in the morning and before bed is a norm and looked forward to by all.

One day the home is raided by German soldiers and her sisters Betsie and Nollie, her older brother Willem, her Father Casper ten Boom and herself are arrested along with other workers from the underground, yet her Jewish roommates are not found in the safe room.

From there on the story follows Corrie as she is sent from one prison, to a camp and then another living in terrible conditions and fighting off various diseases, the whole time using her faith to forgive others, preach from a small Bible that God loves all of those who are imprisoned as she is and lets her be thankful for the things she has. Although she loses some family members along the way, she is released ten brutal months after her arrest and welcomed home. She then opens a rehabilitation center for those scarred from long periods of time in the prison camps, always emphasizing the love that God has for us.

It is a biography that is well worth reading and although it is nonfiction it seems like it could be a fictional story, using facts to improve the plot and inform the reader without us [the reader] knowing. I highly recommend this story if you are at all interested in World War two, faith or simply want a good read.~Student: Paola S.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Biography/memoir, Nonfiction

Student Review: The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls (reviewed by Kitty M.)

The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This non-fiction story recounts Jeannette Walls’ peculiar childhood. Like nomads, her family, consisting of her unconventional parents, Rex and Rose, and her siblings, regularly moved across the country looking for adventure and money. Her parents often neglected their roles as parents: her father could not keep a job and provide a reliable source of income, while her mother solely focused on art, instead of caring for her growing children. After years of recklessness, their family moves back to her father’s poor, welfare-funded hometown, where her life becomes more chaotic. Her father fell back into alcoholism and often stole from the family’s paychecks to fund his addiction. From a young age, Jeannette and her siblings learned to care for themselves and often resorted to distasteful tactics like stealing food. Despite the struggles of her dysfunctional childhood, Walls still portrayed her parents with respect and wrote of them with high regards. She often referred back to her father’s promise of building their family a glass castle, where they would be comfortable and content. She emphasized her father’s love for her to demonstrate that, although he had his faults, he was a great, loving father. Walls used the pain from her life to her advantage, as it created pathos to engage the reader. She is brutally honest about her dire conditions like using a bucket as a restroom, which creates pity. On the contrary, her happy ending of defying the odds and escaping from this oppressive town is uplifting and gives the audience a well-deserved happy ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and felt her candidness and life stories embedded into the story create a compelling book that just cannot be put down. I would recommend this book to everyone. ~ Student: Kitty M.

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under *Student Review, Biography/memoir

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book makes it to my top 25 list, perhaps higher, and I didn’t even want to read it. It was selected for my book club, and it’s historical fiction set during WWII. I don’t enjoy reading about war, and I feel I’ve already read the some of the best WWII works of fiction: Stones from the River, The Book Thief, Suite Française. How could another top these? Plus, it’s over 500pp. That’s a commitment I wasn’t keen on making. Now, I wish it had been longer. I wish I was still reading, and living with its wonderful characters, sensing every stimulus in their unique environment. The story follows the parallel lives of two children: Marie-Laure in France and Werner in Germany. Both children are intellectually curious and consequently filled with promise, but the odds of realizing their potential are stacked highly against them. Marie-Laure goes blind at the age of 6, and Werner is growing up in an orphanage in a mining town during the rise of the Third Reich. Marie-Laure lives with her father, the locksmith and keeper of the keys for the prestigious National Museum of Natural History, who builds scale models of their neighborhood for Marie-Laure to read like Braille in order to navigate independently with her cane. On the eve of the Nazi invasion of Paris the pair evacuate to the coastal island of St. Malo in Brittany to live with Marie-Laure’s great uncle who suffers from PTSD and agoraphobia stemming from his time in WWI. Werner uses his innate gift for engineering to repair radios, ultimately securing coveted admission to a military training school for Nazi youth. The story alternates perspectives between the pair and shifts back and forth in time, gradually revealing how their paths will ultimately cross. Doerr adds to the sense of mystery and sprinkles in a touch of mysticism by sharing the provenance of a cursed diamond held in the museum and sought by the Nazis as the ultimate trophy of war. The enthralling nature of the story and the depth and complexity of characters are enough to earn this book 4 stars, but it’s the prose that secures the fifth. Doerr’s writing is exquisite and highly sensory. Having a blind character enables the author to maximize the use of the other four senses in his descriptions in such a way as to fully transport the reader into the heart of the story. The historical truths at the core of this novel are also sensitively rendered, allowing the reader to witness the psychological terror central to the Nazi apparatus. There are so many reasons to read this: to learn more about Nazi Germany and the French Resistance; to solve a mystery about a treasured gem; to spend time with enjoyable, inspiring and deeply human characters; and to read some of the most beautiful prose of our era. Try it, you won’t regret it. ~ Ms Dimmick

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

Martyrs’ Crossing, by Amy Wilenz

Martyrs' Crossing (Reader's Circle)Martyrs’ Crossing by Amy Wilentz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a political story with a human touch. A young Palestinian-American woman raised in Cambridge returns to her homeland to marry a Hamas activist, while her academic father watches from the safety of Harvard University with a mixture of pride, guilt and horror as her life spins out of control. Marina’s husband is incarcerated in Israel for involvement in a terrorist plot and their toddler dies a needless death while awaiting checkpoint authorization to cross the border to access urgent medical care for his asthma. The political drama that ensues as a result of his preventable martyrdom reveals both the absurdity and humanity that exists on both sides of this age old conflict. The writing is poignant and the story is gripping at times, though the overall tone is depressing and somewhat fatalistic. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the book, but I was moved by it and came away with a deeper understanding of the complexities of the volatile situation in the Middle East. ~ Ms Dimmick

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary Realistic Fiction