Furthermore – Review by Marcella

Marcella is enthusiastic about everything, whether it’s books, history, connecting books and history, or just chatting with her friends in the hall. Her joy is contagious and her energy boosts my sleepy morning class. Here’s what she has to say about a great book called Furthermore.

Furthermore, the first book in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, is a twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland. Alice Queensmeadow, the main character, is albino, but lives in Fenwood, a world full of color and magic. With her bland, pale hair and milk-white skin, she is an outcast, even more so because her father, a respected member of the society and the only one who listened to what she had to say, is missing. 

The Surrender, a competition where 12-year-olds compete with their magic talents and the winner takes it all, is coming up, but Alice doesn’t know what her magical talent is. She feels that the only one who can help her is her father, and she knows in her gut that he’s still alive. Along with her frenemy neighbor, Oliver Newbanks, who won the Surrender last year with his ability to control minds, Alice goes on a journey to find her father and herself in the twisted world of Furthermore. She and Oliver must survive using their wits, courage, and determination, testing their friendship, all while keeping a dark secret from each other.

This book is very well written, filled with action, drama, and humor. Tahereh Mafi opens up the new world of Furthermore full of differences and similarities to Alice as she travels through space and time, but also to the reader, who understands that this society is not all that different from our own. As Alice and Oliver explore this new world with the readers, meeting new characters who confuse and excite. Recommended to anyone who likes fantasy books filled with color, both literally and figuratively, this book is a great read.

Cheshire Crossing – Review by Zadie

Zadie is effervescent, sweet, and smart. I look forward to her coming into class every day because I know she’ll smile and have great ideas, and always looks interested even when I’m being boring (which I try not to be). She loves to read, and has a great book to share with you!

In Cheshire Crossing we once again meet Dorthy (The Wizard of Oz), Wendy (Peter Pan), and Alice (Alice in Wonderland), but for the first time, they meet each other. But, the Wicked Witch of the West and Captain Hook are back, and they also meet! As their worlds, collide, can Dorthy, Wendy, and Alice stop Hook and the Witch from taking over Oz? Or will they be forced to retreat?

With wonderful new views on classic characters, Cheshire Crossing gives us back Wendy, Dorthy, and Alice, but more kick-butt than ever! I laughed at so many different parts of this book and because it is a graphic novel, marveled at the amazing illustrations. Also, Wendy got a pixie cut!!!

The River – Review by Surafel

Surafel is an enthusiastic student. He shares his thoughts on the books we read in class, and happily debates topics from character motivations to history, all while being really nice to others! Enjoy his review of the classic novel, Hatchet.

After Brian’s harsh experience in the Canadian woods for forty-four days is over and he returns home, he meets a psychologist named Derek Holtzer who works at a government survival school. Derek wants Brian do go into the woods and survive so that others can follow his steps and be able to mimic his survival skills. At last, Brian and his mother say yes, but when they get to the woods, a tragedy happens. After a few days, Derek is hit by lightning and falls into a coma. Will Brian be able to use his viability to transport Derek to safety?

This book is the sequel of Hatchet, which has won the John Newbery Award. This is a dramatic and uprising book with plot twists to everything that happens. I would categorize this in adventure because Derek and Brian go on an adventure in the wilderness to learn Brian’s ways of surviving. I loved the fact that Brian had to experience what he barely lived, yet with more tragedy. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the wilderness or survival books or movies.

Warning: Traumatic flashbacks take place in this book

Among the Hidden – Review by Emily

Emily is the first up for a student book review this year. She is in my biggest class with 31 kids packed into a sunny classroom full of excited students, but her smile lights up the space even more. She is smart, a great reader, and willing to engage with interesting books, like the one she has chose to read and write about on her own!

One day, Luke’s family decides to sell the farm to the Government. Luke is forbidden to see the outside world forever.

He then discovers a secret that he must tell no one–he has finally met another one of his kind, a special girl named Jen. This flips his entire world upside down. The special girl is more than ever determined to find a way around the Law, more than Luke could ever imagine.

In this suspense filled, heart warming story, Luke realizes the true power of friendship and determination. 

This book is a must-read because it is filled with suspense and heart-melting details. When I read it, it pulled me right in and I curled up into a ball with the cliff hanging moments. Loved it!

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.

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.