Tag Archives: thriller

Student Review: My Sister’s Stalker, by Nancy Springer (reviewed by Gavrielle A.)

My Sister's StalkerMy Sister’s Stalker by Nancy Springer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In My Sister’s Stalker by Nancy Springer, 16 year-old Rig finds out his sister is being stalked. Karma is in college and Rig lives with his artsy mom who lives in her own world and rarely understands reality. In his free time, Rig looked his sister up on Google and came across a rather creepy shrine-like website dedicated to his sister. His spacey mother didn’t find pictures of Karma out and about, and in her room creepy at all. As a last resort, Rig secretly contacts his strong-headed, rude, overpowering father who he basically hates. Together they go all out to track down Karma’s stalker and keep her safe from whoever is getting creepier by the day. Rig grows up by taking more risks to attempt to save his sister from the angry and creepy stalker. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast but good read. The reader should enjoy action, mystery, and can handle a little gruesome details. It is definitely not horror. I would recommend it to anyone over age 12 and either gender. As a 15 year-old girl, I liked it but found it too easy. Nobody under 12 who gets scared extremely easily should read it.~ Student: Gavrielle A.

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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

Zero Day, by Jan Gangsei

Zero DayZero Day by Jan Gangsei

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a review of an ARC from NetGalley.

It’s been 8 years since governor’s daughter Addie Webster disappeared. Now 17-year-old Addie is back, but things have changed since she was taken – her father is the president, and a group of cyber-terrorists has been engaged in increasingly more serious attacks designed to scare the government into tightening surveillance and security laws. Where was Addie all this time? And does her sudden reappearance have anything to do with the new attacks?

So, this is basically an airport book. By which I mean it’s something you would pick up in Hudson News before you get on a plane, just in case you’ve already seen the movie. And it has all the standards of the genre – easily guessable plot twists (why doesn’t Addie’s story add up? Will her childhood best friend turn out to be a new romance? Is *he* hiding something as well?), barely defined characters, car chases, shootouts, key characters who don’t show up until halfway through the book.

Much of it is utterly unbelievable (no matter how well trained I do NOT believe a teenage hacker could just jump onto the White House and NSA computer networks and start looking at the President’s computer). But the author does a decent job of keeping the plot trekking along. I did actually read this on a plane, and it did a perfectly fine job of passing the time. I don’t think it would be worth anything more than that though, and the cliff-hanger ending designed for a sequel seems like wishful hoping. ~Ms Schoen

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Boy Nobody (The Unknown Assassin, #1), by Allen Zadoff

Boy Nobody (The Unknown Assassin, #1)Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s YA Jason Bourne.

A young man with sketchy memories of his past is trained by a shadowy government agency to be a lethal assassin. The unnamed protagonist shows up in a new school and befriends a target. Then, someone in that target’s life suddenly dies of what looks like natural causes, and Boy Nobody disappears. But now, Boy Nobody is starting to remember details about how he was initiated into The Program, and that might cost him his next mission.

Short chapters, tons of action, and a sort-of love story thrown in. Yes, it’s so derivative that Ludlum’s estate is probably salivating. Yes, the big plot twist was easily guessable form several chapters out. Yes, the story has gaping logic holes (the Program has planted special apps in every iPhone ever? He may be trained by the best, but he’s still 16, and having him take out four Mossad operatives – unarmed and alone – is stretching it bit much.)

But while I recognized all of its shortcomings, I didn’t really care. Like it’s spiritual ancestor, it’s an engaging, fast-paced read – I finished it in one night, and it would be *perfect* for a plane. A movie is supposedly coming, which, of course it is. ~Ms. Schoen

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Student Review: In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote (Reviewed by Beatrice B.)

In Cold BloodIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read “In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote. Overall it was a great book. It follows the murder of a family and the after-math that occurs in both the small farm town where the murder occurs and the journey of the killers. It has a lot of suspence and definitely keeps you wanting to read on.

The book alternates between the investigator, the people in the town and the killers, Dick and Perry. Strangely enough, the writer is able to draw out more emotions than just resentment and hate towards the killers. The most developed character is Perry and especially towards the end of the book, I could feel sympathy towards the character. When writing the book, Truman Capote interveiwed the killers and he described feeling closer to them than he had with anyone else.

The book half way through turns from being a mystery to a man hunt, though the last few chapters focus on the trial. Capote makes you question insanity and shows you his opposition to the death penalty. This book was written very well. The language is rich and intellectual and the structure of the book is complex. I would definitely recommend this book.~Student: Beatrice B.

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Student Review: Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (reviewed by Maria H.)

Into the WildInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer is a crazy journey to read about. This book is about getting rid of everything in your life. Christopher McCandless is the guy who chooses to take this path for his new life. McCandless had it all, he was a very smart kid during his adolescence. He graduated at Emory University with high grades and a Bachelor’s degree and with a double major. He had a loving family who supported him but with some father issues on the side. Christopher had the brains but what makes the readers itch is why throw all this away to go live out in the wilderness? He had the determination to hitchhike to Alaska. McCandless hiked everywhere, did some labor work, and met new people. He refused anything that people offered him. McCandless was just a drifter. But the real questions which engage the readers are why did McCandless abandoned everything? Why does he die for such an intelligent person? and why Hike all the way to Alaska?

I would definitely recommend this book to people who like to read about a journey and who could relate because I was still stumped in the end what his purpose truly was. I was not a big fan of this book but its a nice easy read and I do like the suspense that comes up in the book. Jon Krakauer did very well by retracing McCandless’ steps and figuring out this journey mystery. ~Student: Maria H.

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Student Review: Legend, by Maria Lu (reviewed by Oskar C.)

Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Legend. Not superman, or spider man, or that kind of Legend. Legend is a book by Marie Lu. A fantastic book with never ending thrill, suspense, and romance. The main character, Day, steals and commits crime to finance him and his family. One day, he makes a decision that will change his life. Day breaks into a hospital to steal medicine for the plague breakout for his family, and gets caught. In the midst of this, Day kills the person who catches him and gets away. This person is Metias, the brother of the other main character, June. The book then turns into the adventure of June catching Day, and plot turning moments throughout the book. Marie Lu’s writing style really enhances the book by using foreshadowing throughout the whole book. An example is when Day thinks, “What if it was no accident that Eden (his brother) got the plague? What if it’s no accident when anyone gets it?”(173). Marie Lu is foreshadowing a possible conflict or plot turn later on in the book. This kind of writing makes the reader want to move on through the book, which makes the novel better. The connection that I make to this book would be the novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games is a future dystopia, just like Legend. They both have main characters living in the poor “districts.” I would recommend Legend by Marie Lu to both boys and girls because it has an action aspect to it, as well as a romantic aspect. ~ Student: Oskar C.

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Student Review: The Constant Gardner, by John le Carré (reviewed by Camille S.)

The Constant GardenerThe Constant Gardener by John le Carré

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré follows Justin Quale, an employee of the British High Commission in Kenya, as he tries to uncover the reasons behind his wife’s brutal murder. The novel explores ideas of corruption and injustice within the pharmaceutical industry and the British High Commission in Kenya.

Overall, John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardener informs the reader on an important issue within society today, but lacks the page to page writing quality to effectively draw the reader into the story. Although, Le Carré succeeded in the overall sense of the novel, the personal storyline of the novel was somewhat choppy and at times confusing. Le Carré wrote in 3rd person but shifted the focus on different characters from chapter to chapter. This style of writing does allow the reader more insight into plotline, but mostly feels awkward and badly timed.

While reading this novel, it is important to keep in mind that the people, institutions, and events of the novel are completely fictionalized. However, Le Carré succeeds in creating a situation so close to reality that accurately demonstrates the issues of illegal drug testing in Africa today. From the fictitious Tuberculosis drug, Dypraxa, to the fake pharmaceutical company, KVH, the premise of the novel feels real.

In the end, The Constant Gardener helps to inform the reader on an issue he or she may not have thought about in the past. For people interested in more about drug testing, check out The Body Hunters by Sonia Shah which extensively details real life situations. ~ Student: Camille S.

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