Monday, March 4, 2013

Student Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

 The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

High school. First day, freshman year. What are you? Nervous? Excited? Terrified? We’ve all been there. High school is a time where people learn about themselves and life, and that is the case in particular with Charlie. Charlie is an incoming freshman to his high school, and he’s scared that he won’t make any friends, he’ll do poorly in his classes, the whole shebang. The book follows Charlie through freshman year. Every bad and good teacher, all the friends, enemies, parties, drugs, and relationships.

Let me be honest, Perks wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. The entire book is written in a journal format, addressed to a “friend”, and always signed, “Love always, Charlie”. The journal starts out poorly written, and as the year progresses, so do Charlie’s letters. Charlie deals with a lot of crap, and he doesn’t hold anything back from the reader. He talks about the first time he was stoned, the first kiss, his first love, his first good book. He delivers everything to the reader plainly, which is very refreshing.

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind. Those people who are not open to some secular things might find the book difficult to read, but the message of friendship and hope are a beautiful thing to discover throughout the many pages.
Reviewer: BF

Monday, February 25, 2013

Student Review: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Chances are you’ve seen a stray cat before. They seem to be everywhere. Parking lots, housing developments, even the woods, especially the woods. In Erin Hunter’s novel Into the Wild, the reader gets a new look on all of the “feral” cats that roam the woods.

Into the Wild follows a housecat named Rusty. He has a good life with his house folk, but wonders about what might be out in the woods beyond his garden gate. One evening, he decides to venture out, and finds a group of cats that offer him a place among their ranks. He drops the name Rusty and takes Firepaw, an apprentice warrior of ThunderClan. Firepaw learns the ways of the forest and makes friends and enemies, like any hero must. And he also learns of a dark secret in his clan’s political system that may be the downfall of the entire forest, for all four of the clans.

Into the Wild is a great read. Granted, it’s aimed at an audience that is a bit younger than the average high schooler, but the plot, characters, and situation are timeless, even if it all comes from a group of cats. But the fact that the characters are cats melts away and they simply become characters. It’s an amazing thing when a character is all you think about, and the fact that the character has a tail and walks on four legs seems to drop out of your mind. Into the Wild is an amazing read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wouldn’t mind getting lost in a story that’s a pretty easy read.

Reviewer: BF

Monday, February 4, 2013

Student Review: Blood Red Horse by K. M. Grant

Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant

 In the middle ages, a war horse was a knight’s most valued possession, more so than his armor or his sword. Amor could be replaced, swords could be sharpened, but a good war horse took years to train properly and longer still to find one. A knight without his horse was nothing, and that horse belonged to him and him alone. On the battlefield of the second crusade, a good horse was the difference between life and death.  Hosanna is too small to be a war horse, but Will choses him anyway. Hosanna is the perfect horse, fleet and graceful, but the battlefields of the crusades test even the very best, and horses are easily captured. Passed from hand to hand, sword to sword, Hosanna becomes a central part of the stories unfolding all around, beloved by all, but always given up, always passed on. For there are greater things than one horse in war, except to Will, who keeps searching for the horse that defined his childhood.

This book is a surprising and heartfelt historical fiction about the horrors of war in the second crusades and the beliefs that bind people together and tear nations apart. I enjoyed this book, and its comprehensive view of all sides and perspectives without bias. It does not glorify the war, it merely depicts it. I enjoyed how the story moved between different characters in different situations because of the war. What I did not like about it, however, was that the action was slow in places and how the story arcs were not consistent. Overall, however, it was a very engaging book, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

 Reviewer: ER

Monday, January 28, 2013

Student Review: J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter by Marc Shapiro

J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter, by Marc Shapiro

You have most likely heard of and read the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. It’s practically a demand by society to prove you’re human. To those of you who have: I present this book.

It’s exactly what’s advertised: A book that tells the life story of J.K. Rowling’s life. It may not be the same levels of epicly awesome as Harry Potter, but it’s an entertaining read, and helps the reader understand the author a bit better.

Recommended to any and everyone who has ever read Harry Potter!
Reviewer: BF

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Student Review: Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox By Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, By Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl Series, Bk. 6)

Most kids dream about magic creatures at some point in their lives. But sadly enough, kids stop believing around the age of 11. This is normal behavior. But the boy by the name of Artemis Fowl the Second is anything but normal. He is a criminal mastermind. He’s always been the smartest person in the room, and he’s proud of it. However, he’s decided to give up his criminal activities to pursue a life that is beneficial to others that are not himself. He came to this decision upon the influence of several fairies. Not the kind that flit about stealing teeth, but the kind with an advanced arsenal of weaponry that would put any army to shame. But he’s got one more adventure coming his way before he heads to the quiet life.

His mother is sick, and he needs a cure. Unfortunately, the only cure is to be found in the brain fluid of a lemur that Artemis himself made extinct almost eight years previously. It’s up to Artemis and Captain Holly Short, a close fairy friend of Artemis’s to stop the most formidable person in the world at that time: Artemis Fowl, age 10.

This book is probably one of my favorites in the series. Possibly number one. The entire situation feels completely believable, which is saying something about a book with time travel, demons, and fairies. All of that aside, the book is very believable. Artemis Fowl, both young and elder, are geniuses. This is understood from the way they speak and how they think. But the beauty of this book is that the reader never feels too dumb. I will admit that sometimes Artemis does something that completely threw me for a loop. But the book as a whole is written to compensate for the few moments where that happens.

As a whole, I recommend this book, and the entire Artemis Fowl series to any and everyone who enjoys a thrilling read that’s not taxing in the slightest in terms of enjoyment or awesomeness.
Reviewer: B.F.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Student Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
Demigod. That’s what people are called when one of their parents is an Olympian. Be it Greek or Roman is no matter. That’s the position that our heroes find themselves in. Jason wakes up on a bus with no memory of who he is or his past. All he knows is his own name. He ends up finding out that he is a Roman demigod, in a world that didn’t know the Roman gods still existed. Jason has to join forces with Greek demigods in order to save the world from the god’s greatest enemy: the giants. Can Jason and his friends Piper and Leo help save the world? Will Jason ever regain his memories? What about the secrets that they are hiding? Will they reveal their deepest, darkest secrets to their friends, or will it cost them the upcoming war?

 First off, Rick Riordan is a genius, and anything written by him is strongly recommended. But The Lost Hero is cool because it unites the Greek and Roman sides of mythology. Up until this book, Riordan has only written about the Greek. But as anyone knows, you can’t talk about the Greeks without the Romans, and the way Riordan has done this is clever. He brings in three new characters, with just enough interactions with characters from the past series to let the reader feel at ease. But if the reader hasn’t read the previous series, there aren’t any references to the past that will make new readers feel as if they need to catch up on anything.

The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan is a masterpiece. A complete must read for those who enjoy reading, and a great way to get people who don’t like reading hooked on the story.

Reviewer: BF

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Student Review: She Said Yes by Misty Bernall

She Said Yes by Misty Bernall

Does anyone remember the Columbine High School shooting that happened on April 19, 1999? Two rage-filled students opened fire on the student body, killing thirteen individuals? She Said Yes by Misty Bernall, tells the story of her daughter, Cassie Bernall, who was one of the thirteen victims. The focal point of the story is how when asked at gunpoint if she believed in God, she said yes. The book is told by her mother and offers a narrative of how this young woman went from a teenager with a mindset unsettling similar to those of her killers, to the person who managed to touch the entire nation with her unlikely martyrdom.

This book is short, sweet, and very touching. If someone doesn’t believe in the Christian faith, this book may not be for you. But it does have several accounts of what happened during the infamous Columbine Shooting. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to know more of that day, and how the girl who became known the world over for the shooting, became who she was. The book is an excellent tribute to her memory.
Reviewer: BF