The Missing: Found – Review by Keuyrbel Zewedu

1.jpgKeurybel is delightful. Smart, funny, sometimes quiet, lights up when he knows the answer or enjoys a reading or a concept. In middle school, which can be dramatic and wild, Keurybel seems to stay above the proverbial fray and cruise through the day. I always love when he comes through the door to Literature class. He’s enthusiastically written two reviews, and this is the first to be posted.

 

 

Keurybel writes:

The Missing: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix is about a 13-year-old named Jonah81wgt8F17AL Skidmore who was adopted. He has always know he was adopted. But when he and his friend Chip start to receive strange letters and Chip learns he was also adopted, they, with Jonah’s “sister”, seek to find their true origins. After discussion with the FBI, JB (Janitor Boy), a janitor working under the FBI, and Angela DuPre, a pilot attendant, meet up with Jonah, Chip, and Katherine. Talking to JB about what the FBI is hiding and Angela about how 13 years ago, a plane landed mysteriously, out of nowhere, and landed with 36 babies onboard alone, Chip and Jonah find out that they are missing kids, kidnapped from history and time. 

In The Missing: Found, there will certainly be laughter, confusion, and you guessed it, awesomeness! From this book, I learned the importance of friendship and maintaining history and time like nature. What I really liked about this book is that it puts a inexperienced 13-year kid into a life-or-death situation which just makes the story a lot more exciting and a lot more funnier. This series was also very cliff-hanging, which is to say that there is a lot of suspense, which I like. This series is one of the best in all the world of book series history. You just have to go back in time to get this series. It’s that good. Read it! I rate a 10 of 10. I recommend it for readers 10 and up who enjoy reading sci-fi and mystery, so go read it! It’s a must-read! There are 8 books in the series The Missing.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Review by George Chang AND Lillian Dow Paterson

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This week we have the SAME book independently reviewed by TWO different students. The book was recently made into a movie called Love, Simon, which I saw with my daughter and her friend, and we all loved it. It’s  everything I loved about 80s teen movies with more diversity/true representation of the world they’re growing up in (and none of the creepily questionable depictions of women, which I didn’t notice as a teen). Great acting, great writing, great message, and now I need to check out the book!

Anyhow, the two students writing here today are George and Lillian. Lillian is a returning reviewer (her last one was for Every Last Word), and she’s still great fun and super energetic. George is new to this book review party, and he is a kind, thoughtful, determined guy with a smile that lights up a room. As we fly through the last quarter of the school year, I’m pondering how much I’ll miss then and their classmates come summer.

Everyone deserves a love story.

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing with, will be jeopardized. -Amazon

George writes: When you read Becky Albertalli Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, there will certainly be tears, laughter, and, most importantly, realness. Simon Spier, a gay teenager who is still ‘in the closet’, is just trying to define himself, and trying to love himself for who he really is, while life just keeps on throwing obstacles in his way. How the book depicts Simon as just a normal high-schooler going through life, makes me so happy. Most times, books with a LBGTQ+ protagonist goes out of the way to center the plot about the difficulties about coming out, and coming to terms about your sexuality, but not this one. It’s a genuinely heart-warming novel, a simple and sweet romance, one that makes you smile when you think of it, one that makes you feel so happy, as if you just ate a rainbow and there’s now flowers growing within your bones. The book really stands for the rights in the community, firmly stating that only you can come out, on your own accords, and that in the end, being gay really isn’t that special. Simon asks, “Why is straight the default?” It’s so sad that even in 2018, people are still homophobic and acts viciously cruel towards gay people. Everybody, whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, whatever; this novel is truly a must-read, one that will make you think about it months after you finished it.

 

Lillian writes: Simon Vs The Homo sapiens Agenda is a book by Becky Albertalli. Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is about a “Not so openly gay” teenager Simon. This is the one secret that Simon is hiding from everyone, his friends, and his family… except for one person, “Blue”, the one person who Simon trusts with everything, his sexuality, his life, and his thoughts. But… one day . . .  [note from M. Ray – I cut spoilers] Now, what will happen next in this story? Find out by reading this amazing book by Becky Albertalli. This is in my top five favorite books, and it can easily become yours, for this book is a work of art. Out of ten (one being AWFUL and ten being BEST BOOK EVER), I would rate this a 9, it’s an inspiring, funny, heartfelt book that definitely needs to go on your reading list. I definitely recommend this book to kids ages 10 and up.

Shadow House – Review by Campbell Stoughton

-1Campbell is thoughtful, reflective, and sweet. She’s in the class that likes to “huzzah” when good things happen, and she always smiles at it with a mix of “this is so funny” and “I can’t believe this is happening”. It’s a great expression. Campbell always has great ideas, both on paper and when sharing with a group, so I’m thrilled she chose to share her book review with you.

 

Some houses are more than just haunted… they’re hungry. Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don’t know this at first. They each think they’ve been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there’s nothing innocent about Shadow House. Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing — and nobody — can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear. And the way out? That’s disappeared, too… Enter Shadow House… if you dare.”  –Amazon

 

Creepy ghosts that are dressed up as dolls trying to capture you, what’s better? Well, the-gathering-shadow-house-book-1-maybe being able to find the way out of a haunted house that has no exit. Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi have been summoned to Shadow House for a variety of reasons that they think are real. Shadow House: The Gathering is a horror fiction book that gets graphic at times making it PG-13. Asides from that, this book is the perfect pick for people who love to read imaginative horror and don’t get scared very easily. You’ll also love this book if you like things along the lines of trapped spirits, solid ghosts, dolls filled with ash, dolls that have been decapitated, mirrors on fire, a hungry haunted house, and death. If not, well, that’s really to bad because it also includes lots of adventure, mystery, and cliff hangers which will leave you on the edge of your seat wanting to know more. In the end, this is a great book worth reading for all of its wonderful features.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Review by Mia Levings

Autumn_Leaves_36Mia is an unassuming, sweet, reflective young lady who I never would have guessed would be a powerhouse on the stage, but she is! In December, I went to support a friend appearing in a play, and on walked Mia playing a bratty, rude, loud character — the exact opposite the kid I’d seen in class every day for months. An entertaining surprise! You can’t judge kids based on their in-class reserve, and you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or maybe you can, because since Miss Peregrine popped up on shelves (at the exact same time as Falling for Hamlet, as I recall), it looked intriguing, mysterious, and scary. Let’s see what Mia’s got to say about it.

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. – Amazon

missperegrine_334x518Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the best book that I’ve read (so far) ever. Adventure, World War 2, monsters and very, very peculiar children – one of the best combinations ever. Set in modern times (Florida, USA), teenager Jacob Portman has always felt a little out of place. (I know that sounds like a cliche, but trust me, this is good.) With his grandfather getting older and his childhood dreams of being a world famous explorer fading from memory, Jacob is just getting settled into the normal life of anything and everything boring. But when a terrible and unbelievable “incident” happens, Jacob realizes that his grandfather’s old childhood stories might be a bit more real than he expected. This book is truly amazing, but just a warning it is a bit scary and creepy, so if that’s not your type you might want to read something else. Also it’s a series of three and there’s a movie, all great. Happy reading!

Every Last Word – Review by Lillian Dow Paterson

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Lillian joined my class midyear, which is not  the easiest thing to do. Some kids are intimidated by the pace, the style, or the fact that a class can be like a family — quirky and individual — but Lillian came in confident and ready to go! She’s got great ideas and is all-in when it comes to reading, trying new things, and working with groups. I’m delighted that she’s jumped into the book review fray, as well, and has introduced me (and maybe you) to a new novel.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off. Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.  – Amazon

Every Last Word is a novel by Tamara Ireland Stone. Every Last Word is about a highevery-last-word school junior named Samantha McAllister. Samantha was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) at age ten and has struggled with it constantly. She swims and goes to a shrink (therapist) named Sue.  On one fateful day she meets Caroline and her whole world changes, Caroline is the only one who truly understands her, Caroline introduces her to the Poets Corner and Samantha starts to feel normal and drenched out of the thoughts that tantalize and taunt her day on. She begins to stand up to the harshness of her so-called friends. She begins to see a new world, a better world forming around her. Among her new friends is AJ, Andrew Olsen who she previously chastised because of his past stutter. The two begin to start a romantic relationship, even though her “popular friends” don’t seem to approve of the two. Along with this, her poetry processes and becomes better and better. Every Last Word is a fabulous book that I would recommend for everyone to read.  Warning: Some content may not be appropriate for younger children.

The Good Earth – Review by Maggie Megosh

hogwartsMaggie is the rare repeat-review-customer, and I’m thrilled to welcome her back. She is still a darling and smart as a whip. The Good Earth is being read in her English class (I teach a literature course — yes, English and Lit. are different at our school), and their class delved into the book’s literary structure, history, and the topic of cultural appropriation. This book symbolizes the difference in taste and teaching topics that my teammate and I have, which is an ongoing joke between us. I’m thrilled that Maggie and many others continue to enjoy the book with Ms. Rowe.

Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck’s epic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Oprah Book Club selection about a vanished China and one family’s shifting fortunes. In The Good Earth Pearl S. Buck paints an indelible portrait of China in the 1920s, when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings. This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-Lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during the last century. — Amazon

Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth shows how lucky we are to live on this earth. How good the51zRzieodBL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_ earth is to us, if you will. Through The Good Earth, Chinese culture is highlighted throughout the late 1800s and the early 1900s by Pearl Buck, who was an American missionary at this time. The story is set in such an important time in Chinese history; revolutions and rebellions are occurring as China’s government system is changing. Wang Lung, a farmer and the main character in The Good Earth, is enjoying his life while also struggling with the hardships that are destroying his fields. All of the hardships that are highlighted in The Good Earth, such as famine, floods, and locusts occurred in China during this time. Not only does The Good Earth highlight difficulties involving the geography, but the difficulties in maintaining a satisfying life. Wang Lung struggles with finding the equilibrium of family, farming, and luxury. He is taken on a journey with meeting new people and learning new things. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a book you would enjoy along with if you enjoy books about the Chinese culture. This book is a little difficult to plow through, and there will be moments where you hate Wang Lung, but in the end, it is definitely worth it, as it enhances your knowledge on the Chinese culture.

 

Green Bicycle Book – Review by Mckinley Jovanovic

v48n1green-bike-lgMckinley is sincere, intelligent, open-minded, and dramatic (in the best way possible — confident, expressive, verbal, and interested in theater). She brings energy to our class discussions, and is passionate about justice, a major theme of our studies.

“Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.” – Amazon

 

21936967The Green Bicycle is a book that brings awareness to different  cultures and what many people, like our heroine Wadjda, go through. Wadjda is faced with a difficult challenge that comes from being a girl in Saudi Arabia. She is best friends with a boy and always wanted to race him with a bike of her own. One day she sees a green bicycle in the window of a storefront and is determined to get it. Meanwhile Wadjda’s mother has been unable to have another child which her father desperately wants because without a son his family name will die out. Though he loves his wife he has the option of starting a harem, but women can only have one husband and Wadjda’s mother couldn’t divorce him. She would be the subject of pity to all. This book is very interesting because it shows how people, especially girls, can persevere and do whatever they want to if they put their minds to it. The Green Bicycle is an amazing eye opener to everyone and it’s cliffhangers and perfect ending had me up into late at night because I couldn’t put it down.