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Book Review

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message 1: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 2 comments Mod
Before I read Salt to the Sea, I had never heard of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship commissioned to take European refugees out of the path of the advancing Russian army in 1945, but this haunting, yet ultimately uplifting story opened my eyes, not only to the historical events leading up to the sinking of this ship, but also to the uncountable personal tragedies that bloom in the wake of broken nations. By focusing on four teenagers on the ship, each with a secret, Sepetys gives us a keyhole-view of the effects of guilt on each of them. The stories of their efforts to suppress, atone for, heal from, and rise above their shame offer readers insight into the worst and the best qualities of human nature, and its ability to persevere against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Part Titanic and part Sarah's Key, Salt to the Sea is a vivid roller-coaster of a historical novel, building inexorably to its violent apex, and then plunging the reader through a sea of emotional fall-out to an ultimately satisfying conclusion.


message 2: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 2 comments Mod
Before I read Salt to the Sea, I had never heard of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship commissioned to take European refugees out of the path of the advancing Russian army in 1945, but this haunting, yet ultimately uplifting story opened my eyes, not only to the historical events leading up to the sinking of this ship, but also to the uncountable personal tragedies that bloom in the wake of broken nations. By focusing on four teenagers on the ship, each with a secret, Ruta Sepetys gives us a keyhole-view of the effects of guilt on each of them. The stories of their efforts to suppress, atone for, heal from, and rise above their shame offer readers insight into the worst and the best qualities of human nature, and its ability to persevere against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Part Titanic and part Sarah's Key, Salt to the Sea is a vivid roller-coaster of a historical novel, building inexorably to its violent apex, and then plunging the reader through a sea of emotional fall-out to an ultimately satisfying conclusion.


message 3: by E (new)

E | 1 comments I began reading A Tale Of Two Cities as my summer assignment for AP Lit. Even though I dropped out of the class I could not drop this book!

One thing I love about Dickens is his ability to create a perfect storyline. Everything in this book fits together in the end like a perfect, intricate puzzle. Components that were thought to be gratuitous at first will come back in major ways at later points in the book. The ending packs a serious punch, too.

The characters in this book are amazing, as well. My favorite was Madame Defarge. It's probably me and my love for "villain" in stories, but I loved every scene she was in. I also like the fact that Dickens gave her a reason for hating the aristocracy so much, as compared to her husband.

This book was also a strong commentary regarding the Revolution. It was interesting to see the ironic way in which Dickens compares the aristocracy to the angry revolutionaries. The revolutionaries are mad for the aristocracy hurting and killing the innocent. Then, they turn right around and start killing plenty of innocent people for the sake of watching their heads roll. I am a huge history buff so this really got my attention.

I understand this book isn't for everyone. I had a lot of back round knowledge about the time period from AP Euro so I knew what was going on for the most part. The plot is complex, there are plenty of characters to keep track of, and it takes a long time to get exciting. But, trust me, if you stick with it, it will pay off in the end.


message 4: by Adalia (new)

Adalia | 1 comments I was recommended A Ship Possessed by my brother. It is a thrilling and action packed story about the supernatural. When J.D. Stanton, a retired naval officer, is called to investigate the Triggerfish, a 50 year old mia submarine that just resurfaced, he will question the fabrics of reality and uncover lost secrets that endanger the world. Personally, I couldn't put the book down. All the time, I was wondering what was in the submarine and how did it disappear in the first place. I really enjoyed the perspectives that the book takes as it follows Stanton and Morrison, the submarines commander in 1944. Yet the reader is still left piecing together the dark mystery that Alton Gansky scatters throughout the novel. In the 20 chapters that are presented, 18 of them lead up to the climax of the characters finally going inside the submarine. I recommend this book as it enraptures the reader and captures the essence of characters that are easy to fall in love with. It is a quick and enjoyable read.


message 5: by Andy (last edited Oct 17, 2016 11:18AM) (new)

Andy Koteras | 1 comments I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, an account of the Taliban's horrific brutality towards the Pakistani people, tells the story of the book’s author Malala Yousafzai and her struggle against fundamentalism. The book begins by giving insight into the history of Pakistan and Malala herself, which sometimes feels disconnected from the main story line, but does serve to give the reader context: detailing the Swat valley and the heavily male dominated Pakistani culture for example. This context helps explain her father’s progressivism which leads him to disparage social norms by celebrating Malala’s birth just as jubilantly as if she were a boy. A direct consequence of this is that Malala grows up with strong views about girls’ right to an education, becoming very outspoken about the issue as she grows older. This activism, however, leads to an attempt on her life on her way home from school. Instead of feeling sorry for herself and giving in to the demands of her attackers, Malala inspirationally chooses instead to redouble her efforts to advocate for women’s rights after recovering in Britain. She eventually goes on to win a Nobel peace prize and speak in front of the United Nations, showing that even in the most adverse of circumstances, it is possible to stand up for what is right and make one’s voice heard. Overall, “I am Malala” proved to be a thoughtfully written book that does come across as a bit lost and disorganized at times, but is able to capture the big picture and allow readers to make their own meaning from the unwavering strength of Malala Yousafzai.


message 6: by Shannon (new)

Shannon D | 1 comments Imagine living a day of your life, going about it how you normally do, but not being able to control your body. This is what every victim embodied by A, a spirit that hops uncontrollably from one body to another every day of its life, goes through. The day after A takes a person over, the person remembers what he or she did that day, but doesn’t remember the minute details prompting him or her to do what he or she did. None of the victims question their lack of memory the day after they’re possessed...However, after her boyfriend acts abnormally sweet on their date at the beach, Rhiannon starts to question everything, especially after she receives an email from an unknown account asking to meet up with her to explain. Another Day is the sequel to Every Day, the same story only told in A’s perspective, about the two’s attempt to understand A’s purpose, discover answers to why A is the way it is, and find a way to live their growing and challenging love story through Rhiannon’s perspective. This book shows readers a beautiful new perspective on life - that every day should be lived to the fullest - and with loving and losing brings new realizations to one’s life. Another Day is unpredictable and exciting and will make readers fly through the pages, anticipating more surprise with every turn.


message 7: by Derek (new)

Derek | 1 comments Karen Blumenthal's bootleg Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition does an excellent job of describing the time in American history when alcohol was illegal. The book starts off with the Valentine's day Massacre and then leads into American history regarding the consumption alcohol. After that, the book speaks about the time of prohibition and how it changed our country forever. With the implementation of pictures, Blumenthal gives the reader an great idea of what it was like to live during the time of prohibition. In a surprising twist, Blumenthal also shows how prohibition of the 1920’s, is still affecting Americans lives today. Anyone who likes American history or the history of alcohol for that matter, will enjoy this book.


message 8: by Cole (new)

Cole Collins | 1 comments This compelling novel, Con Academy by Joe Schreiber, is about a very intelligent boy named Will Shea who enrolls himself into an extremely prestigious school named Connaughton. He gets himself into a tough position when he meets a boy named Brandt. They go head to head in everything they do and Will becomes angered and wants to make Brandt pay for what he has done to Will’s friend. In this book of lies and deception, you will always be on the edge of your seat!


message 9: by Kaleigh (new)

Kaleigh O'Brien | 1 comments Seventeen-year-old Jasper “Jazz” Dent craves a normal life. His mother vanished at a young age, and he can hardly remember her. Dear Old Dad, though, is a different story. Billy Dent is considered to be one of the most notorious serial killers in Lobo’s Nod history. Four years ago, and over one hundred and twenty bodies later, Dear Old Dad was finally caught and sentenced to life in prison. Leaving Jazz to stay with his aggressive mentally ill grandmother. This is the least of Jazz’s worries, though. When a young female body turns up in the vast fields of Lobo’s Nod, Jazz can’t do anything but inject himself into the investigation. Using the tactics Billy had taught him for countless years, Jazz tries to solve the case in a distinct way. Through the eyes of the killer. Jazz constantly finds himself in the mindset of Dear Old Dad and must discover how to control his urges of wanting to hurt some and save others which causes one to long for the one he ultimately ends up choosing. With wise character development and a plot that will leave one constantly guessing, I Hunt Killers is a real page turner and will definitely quench a thirst for a goodread.


message 10: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 1 comments Living up to Stephen King’s reputation, Apt Pupil is a dark and twisty novel that doesn’t release its readers until the final scene. Todd is a tapeworm. The parasitic relationship between Todd and Dussander is virtually unnoticeable . . . as people infected with a tapeworm show little to no symptoms. Dussander is no more than a host—a warm body for Todd to exploit. Tod takes in the necessary resources by force; he oppresses Dussander to reveal the grotesque events that took place at Patin. Receiving nourishment and protection, Todd feeds of the host until his body is cold resulting in the demise of Todd as well. Apt Pupil will leave you with an unsettling feeling in your stomach, making you step away and think about what it would take for you to reach your breaking point and morph into a cold blooded killer.


message 11: by Allie (new)

Allie | 1 comments The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson is an contemporary romance filled with family, friends and first loves that had me laughing cover to cover. Andie had her whole life planned out until a dramatic sandal happens with her politician dad. This caused her plan to spiral out of control which forces her to start over and begin a new lifestyle. When Andie meets Clark, a cute and dorky neighborhood boy, everything changes. What makes Matson such a great writer is her characters reliability.Throughout the novel, I connected with Andie and her struggles of adjusting to a new way of life.


message 12: by Cori (new)

Cori | 1 comments We Were Liars, written by E. Lockhart is a story about a rich, perfect girl, Cadence Sinclair, who suffered from a brain trauma and is now left with terrible migraines and a scattered memory. Her perfect family refuses to acknowledge her injury or help restore her forgotten memories, so Cadence has to discover the truth herself. By the end of her summer in Clairmont, she realizes what she and the Liars really did. They burned down the mansion from within and all of the Liars died except for Cadence. She now knows that the whole summer she was talking to the ghosts of the Liars and she has to let them rest in peace. This story overall was very boring except for the ending. The build up to the climax of the novel was not entertaining and was very repetitive; Cadence would have a migraine, fight with her mom then talk to the Liars to try and figure out what happened before her injury. There were so many aunts and cousins that it was confusing to read at times and in the end when the Liars died, there was no sense of remorse because the reader had no emotional connection to the Sinclair family except for Cadence. The ending was exciting because it was interesting to see how Cadence would react to finding out the truth and to see the actions that followed. Altogether, the story could have been written better, or at least at a faster pace to really captivate the reader's emotion and interest in the Sinclair family.


message 13: by Jake (new)

Jake | 1 comments The Empire of Business, written by Andrew Carnegie, is composed of interviews and essays about the fundamentals of business and how one can become successful. Carnegie covers a variety of topics from personal qualities such as hard work, perseverance, and communication to more specific areas of business such as the iron and steel industries. This book fills the readers mind with knowledge and motivation to change the world by paving your own path to greatness. This book can also give someone the extra push to go out into the real world and try something new. The book may come from different essays and interviews by Carnegie over the years but each chapter is related to one another and flows nicely throughout the whole piece.


message 14: by Elise (last edited Oct 17, 2016 08:38PM) (new)

Elise Reiche (EliseReiche) | 1 comments Into the Wild delves deep into the brilliantly reckless, and unbelievably stubborn life of Chris McCandless, a passionate young adult longing for the freedom of adventure. McCandless obliterates social norms by abandoning his wealthy family, separating himself from life’s luxuries (as well as his father’s undisclosed flaws), and embarking on a treacherous hike through the Alaskan wilderness. Captivated by Jack London, Chris (who, now, goes by Alex) displays “the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living” when he descends on the lonely path to self discovery. Unfortunately, Alex lacked the strength to spread his wisdom, which serves as a wake up call for readers to share their life with the people who encourage deviation from society. Through tireless research, and endless passion, Jon Krakauer shares the dynamic story of Chris McCandless, while simultaneously incorporating small fractions of his life’s experience. The gripping novel pieces together bit and pieces of McCandless's intriguing journey, inspiring readers, as well as the author, to stray away from society’s stereotypical lifestyle, and indulge in their own happiness. The ability to captivate readers through this story demonstrates the pure power Krakauer pours into every character, description, and scene, which makes the novel a sensational read.


message 15: by Delaney (last edited Oct 17, 2016 09:09PM) (new)

Delaney Watson | 1 comments Caden Bosch is lost-- and not in the sense that most teenagers are lost-- he is lost at sea in his own head. In Challenger DeepChallenger Deep by Neal ShustermanNeal Shusterman, Caden simply floats through his life in the physical world while he’s lost at sea in another. This novel depicts the unraveling mental state of a teenage boy as he deals with school, family, and friends in his life and deals with captains, parrots, and shipmates in his head. The story tosses the reader between the worlds in which Caden resides in order to shed a light on what a brain with schizophrenia looks like. Readers follow Caden through the dark as he tries to navigate his way through his illness until he eventually seeks medical help. It is within the confines of sterile white walls that Caden’s two worlds seem to collide and become one. Shusterman cleverly intertwines the characters and events of two different realities into one to make to reader empathize and understand a life different than their own.


message 16: by Maddie (new)

Maddie Schillinger | 1 comments The Woman in Cabin 10, written by Ruth Ware, is a novel full of mystery as well as several plot twists that make you never want to put the book down. Journalist, Laura Blacklock is sent onto a glamorous cruise for her job and was hoping for a week of relaxation. Her plan seemed to be working out until one night she was awoken to the sound of what she thought was a murder in the next door room, as well as the splash of a body hitting the ocean's surface. Laura felt obligated to get to the bottom of what she witnessed and she began asking around on the ship. The setting of this book being a small luxury ship in the middle of the ocean made it even more dramatic and intense and I really liked the effect this gave to the story. Throughout this book, Laura couldn't catch a break and everything seemed to go wrong for her. After every incident, I found myself guessing what was going to happen, but every time I was surprised with the turn the book actually went in. The book ended in a way I never would have expected and that is why it was such a page turner. Although the beginning of the book was a much slower pace, I was pleased to see that the book became a very exciting read. The plot of this novel was so advanced and complicated, it left me shocked and slightly confused, yet at the same time it was easy to follow. I think Ruth Ware did a great job of developing an unpredictable story as well as making it coherent for readers to understand.


message 17: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Barker | 1 comments In the work, Office Love, by HecDaevis, Eric and his alter ego, Phaeric, work together to overcome any challenges that may come his way. Whether it be his college courses, friend drama or antisocial preferences, Phaeric will always be there. With such a fearless alter ego to influence his actions, Eric could have never imagined that one unfavorable encounter with a girl’s father would land him in that man’s law firm as his assistant. Neither Eric, or the man, Shawn, could have ever anticipated anything good coming from working in the same office, but it is true what they say- that everything happens for a reason and the two are about to find out just what that means for them. This work illustrates the concept of chance and open-mindedness in a modern, realistic way, portraying love as something that one cannot foresee. The story takes the reader into the minds of Eric and Shawn, two individuals from two very different realities in order to emphasize the unlikeliness of the two ever meeting if it hadn’t been for their chance encounter.

This book can be found on Wattpad App, for HecDaevis is a self-published author. This is book one in the series of 5.


message 18: by Paige (last edited Oct 18, 2016 07:35AM) (new)

Paige Dalbke | 1 comments The The Graces, by Laure Eve in my opinion was a good book while reading it but towards the end it's a bit disappointing. It started off with the main character River, moving schools, because of a incident the author refuses to reveal until the end. River was all alone, she starting off an outsider, who ate lunch in the library and minded her own business. She kept her head down trying to not draw attention to herself. But it didn't work. The Graces, who were the schools most popular kids, who were a family of three “witches” that everyone gawked over, had noticed her. And just like that River was the girl everyone wanted to be. Not because she was pretty, or smart, or popular. Because she was the Graces new best friend. Throughout the book, River stared at Ferin Grace, with love in her eyes, hoping to be the next girl around wrapped around his arm. Ferin a sly blond haired boy that every girl wanted to date. Was the same guy River wanted, and she was willing to do anything to get him. Reading through the book you expect River and Ferin to fall in love and be happy together, but it ended up disappointing your heart as well as your expectations for the book. All thought the book conflicts arose, and River was in again out again with the Graces. Hoping desperately to be one, and she would do anything necessary to become a Grace. Overall the book kept you in the dark and slightly blows your mind towards the end, but overall, my heart craved for a better romance, and more drama then the kiddish, remake of twilight that the book ended up mimicking.


message 19: by ZacharyStarks (new)

ZacharyStarks | 1 comments Guardian by Alex London was in my opinion a very boring book. Which was written in third person omniscient so it was very hard to learn about some of the characters at times with all of the head hopping. The main character of the book is Syd and he is stuck in a world where he is known as the savior or as they call him "yovel". He pretty much just talks about how much life sucks for 150 pages, then finally the action starts. It is very saddening that the book ended up being such a bore because Alex sure did start it out pretty intriguing exciting and it seemed to be quite the good read. However to my surprise it turned out to be a huge mess of depression for the first 150 pages and then once the real action started it was not very exciting, felt very one sided, and was lacking any real suspense. I would not recommend anyone to read this book because you will be very disappointed in what could have been a really great story.


message 20: by Brittney (new)

Brittney Aldape | 1 comments The book Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci centers around the mysterious death of Cora’s drug addicted mother. It would’ve been no surprise had her death come from an overdose of some kind from some drug. Where it starts to become intriguing is when she died of the flu, and more die, or get infected by the same type of flu, the exact same way not long after. While the story line itself intrigued me quickly, I did not enjoy the constant jumping from one perspective to another. I personally like to just keep reading without having to switch mindsets for each chapter which made it a little frustrating while reading. Even though I didn’t enjoy the jumps from person to person throughout the story it wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me. The book and mystery kept me hooked until the end and there were times where I didn’t want to put it down. Overall the book was suspenseful and well thought out. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery that would pull them in and keep them hooked until the very end, as long as you don’t mind the jumpy chapters from character to character.


message 21: by Raj (new)

Raj Sehgal | 1 comments Mark Watney is completely and utterly screwed....with no food,no water and no chance for survival Watney fights back against insurmountable odds with nothing but his wits and a morbid sense of humor.The Martian tells the story of an astronaut who gets stuck on the harsh terrain of Mars after a freak accident separates him from his crew. This novel will have you at the edge of your seat rooting for Watney until the very last page. A great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction and thrillers!


message 22: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa York | 1 comments With eyes desperately looking to keep reading more, Paul Klenmans book Psych 101: Psychology Facts, Basics, Statistics, Tests, and More! gives the readers a great understanding about almost everything there is to know about what psychology has come to be. From understanding the perspective and ideas that the psychologists themselves have came up with, to understanding the experiments they´ve done and why they did it. This book also includes pictures for better understanding, as well as steps and background information informing the readers on so much in such short time. Klenman did a good job of putting everything together for the readers to keep their interest without explaining too much to confuse them. After reading this book, I was able to grasp a much better understanding on everything there is to know about Psychology, more so than I ever did in classrooms. When purchasing ¨Psyc 101¨, you´ve essentially grasped a guide for knowing yourself.


message 23: by James (new)

James Queen | 1 comments The Lone Survivor, written by Marcus Luttrell a retired Navy Seal, tells the story of the horrific journey he and his fellow brothers went on. Stationed in northern Afghanistan the four men led by Marcus Luttrell embarked on a mission to kill a notorious al Qaeda leader. Being Navy Seals all four of these men knew the risk they were taking for their country and for each other. While on their mission they are ambushed and everything seemed to go wrong did. Together all four men fought with courage and honor for each other. Luttrell not only respects the praises the efforts his brothers gave, he also shows how much love and compassion he had for them, and that they had for each other. Reading this made me realize the importance of brotherhood, and I know Luttrell meant every word written in this book and hope that I too can learn to be as courageous as him and his team was.
Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10Marcus Luttrell


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