Saturday, October 15, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne Review By Nina Claudia Soukhanovskii

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne Review
By Nina Claudia Soukhanovskii

“Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”

A Note Before I Review the Book:
Everyone says that the current generation doesn’t read much. And that was true. I mean, who wants to read if there are so many interesting things to do out there, such as keeping up Snapchat streaks and catching Pokémon with the Pokémon Go app? However, when I wanted to read the all-new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I searched it up on the library catalog, I found to my astonishment that all the copies were checked out. What does that mean? So does the current generation read, or is it just this particular book? In fact, it’s a little bit of both. “One legacy of the Harry Potter books is that they turned a whole generation onto reading,” writes the August 2016 issue of the Time magazine. And that’s absolutely true, for no other book in our library (and probably in other libraries) is as demanded as the Harry Potter books. 
Meet the Main Characters:
Harry and Ginny Potter: This remarkable duo returns in the eighth book of their story. However, this time, they are not Hogwarts students defending everything they know, but supportive parents of their three children (James Sirius, AlbusSeverus, and Lily Luna). 
Albus Severus Potter: The main character of this story, Albus is the middle child of the three Potters. When he first goes to school, everyone is surprised that he is not like his father in so many ways, and Albus struggles to keep his reputation together as he tries to be like his father but only makes it worse.
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger: Of course, the book wouldn’t be complete without these two. They are the loving parents of Rose Granger-Weasley, and they help Harry with his “son troubles” as they did long ago.
Rose Granger-Weasley: Tries to be Albus’ friend, but only makes him more frustrated about his life and personality. She, herself, is very much like her mother.
Scorpius Malfoy: The son of the once-hated Draco, he is rumored to be Voldemort’s son and also struggles with his life. He quickly makes friends with Albus, despite their father’s concerns.
Delphi: A sneaky little witch that lures the two boys into a trap that they didn’t know they were in until they fell right into it. 

A Little Summary With No Spoilers (I promise!)
It is time for Albus Severus Potter, Harry Potter’s middle child, to start his schooling at Hogwarts. Despite the excitement around him, Albus is very nervous because he believes that he will mess up. As soon as he arrives to Hogwarts, everything goes just the opposite of how Albus wants it to go. He is not placed into Gryffindor, he makes friends with a Malfoy, and he isn’t at all like his father in lessons. 
One night, Albus overhears a conversation of his father with Amos Diggory (who is still suffering from his son’s death). Amos tells Harry that he heard that there was still one time-turner left at the Ministry of Magic. He begs Harry to let him have the time-turner just to go back to the Tri-Wizard Tournament and to bring back his son. However, Harry refuses to do this and denies all facts of having a time-turner.
Albus, still angry at his father because of several previous arguments, decided to help Amos Diggory to show his father that he is still good at something. With the help of  his Malfoyfriend and a girl named Delphi (who claims to be Amos’ neice), he breaks into the Ministry and steals the only time-turner Hermione didn’t destroy.
However, this time-turner only allowed the trio to travel into time for five minutes. Obviously, this wasn’t enough time, but Albus decided to do it anyway, and plunged into the Tri-Wizard tournament of his father’s youth. The trio manages to save Cedric, but when they come into the past, there are several changes. Rose isn’t born, Albus is in Gryffindor, and Hermione is a teacher at Hogwarts (although before she was Minister for Magic). 
The trio flies into time again, and save Cedric again. Only this time, when they return, Scorpious Malfoy finds that Harry Potter had been dead for years, Albus was never born, and Voldemort ruled the world. Scared and horrified, Socrpiousalone (for Delphi has disappeared somewhere) runs into what is left of the sad party. Ron and Hermione (although not married), along with Severus Snape all live in the depths of a forest, and constantly have to be on the watch for they could be killed any moment.
Desperate to get back to the world he knew, Scorpious tells the new Ron, Hermione, and Severus of his world. The three are surprised to hear what had actually happened, and they agree to help him get back to reality. Scorpious returns. Everything seems that it’s just right.
However, that’s not the case. All of a sudden, the boys find out who Delphi is, but it’s too late. She takes them back to the day Harry’s parents were killed, and leaves them stuck in the past. It’s up to the boys to call over their parents and close ones to help them defend the past and save the future, all while living in the present.

My Thoughts on this Book:
Overall, I thought that this book fit snugly with the other seven, and that it was a great continuation. It must be remembered that this play is only based on the book, and is not the actual story. However, it was still hard to tear myself away from it because I have not touched the series since I finished it, and I realized how much I missed this wizarding world. There was plenty of action for those who cannot read long and boring descriptions, and there was enough descriptions for those who are confused without it. The style was so much like J.K. Rowling’s, it was hard to believe that she didn’t write the play as well. I definitely recommend this book to all Potterheads and Un-Potterheads. Everyone will love this new book, for it’s like the other seven and not like them all at once. Enjoy!
My Rating:
I give this book 10 out of 5 stars. No, I didn’t make a mistake. I am giving it 10 out of 5 stars because it was simply wonderful. 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Made You Up, written by Francesca Zappia, review by Simran Bagdiya

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia Review
I didn't have the luxury of taking reality for granted. And I wouldn't say I hated people who did, because that's just about everyone. I didn't hate them. They didn't live in my world.

But that never stopped me from wishing I lived in theirs.

Alexandra Ridgemont (“Alex”) is a girl who cannot trust herself. Miles is a guy everyone fears. Together, what will they become?In Zappia’s delightful novel, Alex is a high school senior who fights a daily battle within her life, struggling to determine what is the truth, and what is merely an illusion crafted by her devious mind. Ready with her Magic 8 ball, her camera, and her only true friend (her little sister), Alex is determined to maintain her sanity until she finishes up her senior year.
          However one day, before school even starts, Alex runs into Miles, who she’s pretty sure resembles someone from her childhood memories. Soon enough, Alex is thrown into the crazy world of high school parties, making friends, falling in love, and going through all the typical teenager experiences. But Alex is used to having a crazy life. She’s not prepared for normal.

          Inspiring, encouraging, and filled with bits of humor, Made You Up is a wonderful book discussing a variety of topics, and captures the struggles of one teenager’s journey in trying to decipher the difference between reality and imagination within her life.

My Opinion
I think this was a spectacular, well-written book, and definitely needs more recognition.. This book certainly made me think, and left me wondering how my life would have been if I had to spend all my days contemplating what events and what people were real and what was not. Overall, the way the author tackled several different issues and combined them all into one book was lovely.

Additionally, I thought that story unfolded very nicely due to Alex being an unreliable narrator, which resulted in me constantly flipping the pages, trying to determine for myself what was real and what was merely a hallucination.

Moreover, I enjoyed how both Alex and Miles were not crafted as “perfect people”, growing and developing as people by one another. Additionally, both character’s flaws were apparent throughout the story, causing me to like them much more than I would have, and allowing me to become more invested within the overall story.

Overall, I thought that the characters within this book had very diverse personalities at certain points, and I absolutely loved the way the author flawlessly combined all the plotlines at the very end to create a well written story addressing so many important issues.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (This book was certainly an enjoyable read, with an unique concept (for me) and is definitely now part of my favorites collection!)

Simran Bagdiya

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things, written by Ann Aguirre, review by Simran Bagdiya

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre Book Review

“They’re fooling themselves,” I say. “Life doesn’t get better if you look away.”

Sage is the girl who brightens everyone’s day. Everyone knows her, the “Princess Post-It” girl. However, no one knows the truth. Who she really is, and what exactly happened in her past that caused her to move here. Sage wants to keep it that way, at all costs. If anyone finds out about her past, it’ll ruin her reputation. Crush her. Destroy her. She fears that no one will want to be her friend. No one will even want to be near her.

Then, one day, Shane Cavendish, a newbie, strolls into Sage’s math class. He’s all the things Sage never knew she wanted within a guy. A bit quiet, antisocial, and extremely beautiful. Unlike Sage, Shane just wants to be left alone. Get through this year without causing any trouble, any attention to himself. After all, this school is his last chance.

What will happen if an unlikely pair, the two misfits, Sage and Shane get together? Read this book to find out!

My Opinion
I enjoyed how this was a cute, cheesy contemporary romance, but liked that it also focused on some serious issues. This book showed that love does not always make everything perfect, an important concept often misrepresented by romance movies.

Instead, the two main characters in this book gradually learn that they have one another to lean on, but cannot always rely on each other to fix everything and make it all right. After all, there are some events which just can’t be controlled in life.

Overall, I liked this book since it showed that sometimes one’s life must fall apart before everything can return to normal once again.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Simran Bagdiya

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Host Article By: Aastha Kannan

The Host
Article By: Aastha Kannan

          Written by Stephenie Meyers the author of the Twilight Series, The Host is a novel much like her others. She captures the enigma that is supernatural forces and manages to weave what we consider to be their way of life, into ours seamlessly. In The Host, the story follows a character named Melanie as she undergoes the taking over of the Earth by supernatural organisms called Souls. Souls are small silver worm-like organisms that travel from planet to planet and can live for thousands of years as long as they have a healthy host. They have taken over several planets and are in the middle of doing the same to Earth by using humans as hosts and getting rid of their original subconscious to take over and use the body as their own. One particular soul who has lived seven lives on many different planets named Wanderer comes to Earth only to be inserted into Melanie’s resistant body. Melanie, a human whose whole family has been captured and killed by the souls except her younger brother Jamie,  is noncompliant to what is happening to her. She has to protect Jamie and her boyfriend Jared, both of whom she sacrificed her life to protect on the night she was captured. The story goes on to show a raw relationship between Melanie and Wanderer (Wanda), nothing is sugarcoated or hidden. It shows how they learn to love each other in an impossible situation and manage to save one another and their loved ones. The story is beautifully portrayed, using both Melanie’s and Wanda’s minds to narrate a story that at its core is a love triangle and a plot around saving one’s family as well as being accepted as an outsider. Overall, for the writing and the sculpting of the novel, it should be given a 5/5. Of course it is a rather lengthy writing but, the story is captured gracefully in every word Meyer has written. Anything short of the numerous pages she wrote would be injustice to such a story. Lastly, The Host should definitely be on your reading list if it is not already!

Book Review: Banner in the Sky By: Aleena Khan

Book Review: Banner in the Sky
By: Aleena Khan

The novel Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman is a suspenseful and thrilling novel taking place in the luscious fields of a Swiss village called Kurtal. Rudi, the main character of the novel is a sixteen-year-old boy who has a passion for climbing and conquering mountains. He desperately wants to climb the Citadel, a towering mountain that is the last unconquered mountain of the Alps. Unfortunately, Rudi deals with a problematic past and pressure from his family that prevents him from achieving his dreams, along with nature taking its course in some situations, creating an adventurous read.
The conflicts in this novel specifically make it worth reading because they make this book very intriguing, and make readers want to keep reading. Many readers can relate to the common themes in this novel. For example, one wanting to do something that others do not approve can apply to today. For instance, young adults exploring careers they like, but their parents not approving their decisions. Also, people can relate to the relationship of Rudi and his father; how Rudi lives for his father and tries to live his legacy. Many children and adults yearn to follow in their parent’s footsteps. All in all, this book is a must read because it gives a great lesson to not let your past get in the way of your future dreams, no matter how difficult it seems.

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...