Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer; review by Zoya Khurram

Zoya Khurram, 10th grade
Book Review of Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer

Aurora is separated from the dream world, Sommeil, after its leader is killed by the faerie queen Malfleur. She vows to kill Malfleur while her half-sister Isabelle joins forces with Prince William to win against Malfleur’s army of Vultures. Amidst this chaos, Isabelle comes into possession of an unbreakable glass slipper which is the key to her mysterious lineage and birth mother. This story follows the bond of sisters and explores how love can come in many forms.
Hillyer takes a creative spin on the classic Sleeping Beauty and adds layers of complexity with love triangles. She fully develops the characters and the reader is able to clearly see a profound difference in the characters by the end of the novel. Something refreshing about this novel was the strong emphasis on sisterly love and the relationship between Isbe and Aurora. Saying all this, I found the novel lackluster. Lexa Hillyer is a poet and this is evident in her writing. She barely uses conjunctions such as “and” and “because” in order to create a more fast-paced read, but this choppy sentence structure loses its charm after a while and becomes frustrating to read. Additionally, instead of flashbacks and anecdotes, she flat out types what happens. For example, if someone is feeling sad she says “Isbe is sad” instead of describing her emotions. This really affects the book because a lot of possible interesting parts are made dull and there are overdramatic outbursts by the characters that made me cringe.
I rate this book 3.0 out of 5. I would recommend it to anybody who likes the classic YA book

Starstruck by Jenny McLachlan; review by Zoya Khurram

Zoya Khurram, 10th grade
Book Review of Starstruck by Jenny McLachlan

Pearl is used to being the center of attention and has the school musical’s lead role in the bag and gets to kiss Jake Flower. Suddenly, new-girl Hoshi arrives and steals her part, friends and Jake’s affections.
This book is a cute, light read. The language is simple and easy to understand and you really understand the mean-girl perspective through the protagonist Pearl. This book is geared towards girls eight and up, therefore it was hard for me to fall in love with the book due to its simplistic nature.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5. I would recommend it to young girls in need of a sweet love story.

Shattered Realms: Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima; review by Nora Abdelfattah

Name: Nora Abdelfattah
Grade: 10th
Tittle: Shattered Realms: Stormcaster

Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Rating: 3/5: Decent novel
In a sudden whirlwind of chaos amid mystery, life can thrust anyone into a different world.  For Evan, an orphaned, magemarked, 13 year-old pirate lad, as such is the case.  He's lived a life as adventurous as any low-ranking pirate in the land of the Seve, Realms, but when his ship is overrun by Celestine, the land’s cruel and ruthless overlord, he finds himself on the run.  Through betrayal and danger, the lad discovers his mage (magic-induced) power: Stormcasting. The seas, winds, and skies are Evan's to command. Even with his power, however, Evan is not safe. For four grueling years ahead, power, love, and magic will be Evan’s to conquer.
The novel introduces new characters, return old heroes, and bring the tyrants into knees so the Seven Realms may once again be safe and just.  There’s an armada of characters waiting to be met, and a rollercoaster of events waiting to spiral down. The book is mad and complex when it comes to building lore, and a surprise seems to lurk around every corner.   
Honestly, this story is quite a decent, interesting, creative one! Characters, character arcs, vivid descriptions, bejeweled writing, and occasional themes manifest a fantastic piece of writing!  Though most characters have well-relayed personalities, many do stay static, and the story lacks a theme. Nevertheless, the adventures within the book and emotionally-driven plotline really called for a  great story!  

The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross; review by Nora Abdelfattah

Name: Nora Abdelfattah
Grade: 10th
Tittle: The Queen's Rising

Author: Rebecca Ross
Rating: 4/5: Great novel
Romance, war, magic, passion: all rolled into a colorful, multi-flavored piece of literature.  What is this book, aside from interesting, vivid, creative, and downright thrilling? Empires and blood clash, and all falls into chaos around Brienna, a seventeen year-old girl seeking refuge in Magnalia house.  For the average girl in the realm, Brienna is quite a peculiar case. Lovers from two rival kingdoms: Maevana and Valenia, brought Brienna into the world. Now, the two empires are threatened by war. Adding to the boiling blood, Brienna’s father desires to hunt down his half-blooded daughter. For now,  the Magnelia house seems to be the safest place for Brienna to dwell. Amidst the turmoil, Brienna struggles to follow a fate of bloodline, or a fate of passion. Whichever path she chooses, adventure no doubt will follow.    

Hands down, The Queen Rising is AWESOME!  The beauty of this book is its description, plot, writing style, character arcs, intense lore, and so on.  It's a cleverly crafted storyline and universe which draws in and engages the audience..though some writing does tend to go over the top.. There is no novel like The Queen’s Rising.  It’s unique and different in so many ways, and its feel is almost impossible to describe in words. Mystifying, romantic, fiery: the novel is one of a kind.  

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli; review by Nora Abdelfattah

Name: Nora Abdelfattah                                            

Grade: 10th
Tittle: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Rating: 5/5: Phenomenal Novel 

        Asha, daughter of the dragon king, is cursed.  The's marked to be the next Iskaari...the next spirit of moonlight, death, blood,  despair, and everything evil...much unlike the Namsara, the world's embodiment of sacred life, light, and love.   Being Iskaari is not exactly a fate Asha wants, but it's the one she's bound too.  Similarly, she is bound to a cruel overlord as his betrothed, and its only a matter of time before she is his oppressed lover.  Yet, the new Iskaari is given a chance to escape her cruel fate: slay one of the most malevolent, feared dragons known to man, and she will remain a maiden.  For all her years in life, Asha has grown a reputation  as a formidable dragon-slayer.  She lures the beasts out with stories...a treacherous and dangerous weapon her father forbade her from using.  Yet, Asha is on the verge of the beginning of her own tale of bloodshed and battle.  She must fight for her justice and freedom.  Perhaps, in that way,  Asha can flourish from the dark shells the Iskaari's carry, and find within her the spirits of live and light. 

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig; review by Yashaswi Bhati

This is Yashaswi Bhati,a freshman 9th grader ,South Brunswick High school.

Title : “WHITE RABBIT” by Caleb Roehrig

This is the second book after “Last Seen Leaving” debut mystery by Caleb Roehrig. This book is a nail biting Y/A thriller in every sense of the word. An engrossing murder mystery which kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole time I was reading the book. I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end of the book. 

The plot takes place over the course of one night, as the main character Rufus young,heartbroken,rage prone  gay, was dragged from one dangerous situation to another as he investigates the murder of a rich kid with the prime suspect being his half sister.

What I don’t like about the book is that it felt quite rushed. The whole book took place in the span of less than twelve hours, plus there were these flashbacks which made it very hard at times connecting me with the story or any of the characters for that matter. 

Overall I enjoyed reading this thriller/suspense book. It has its flaws, but  for the most part I was always intrigued. So if you like murder mysteries  and twisty characters this book is for you. 

I give this book a rating of 4 ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️Stars out of 5.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein; review by Sulphia Iqbal

BOOK REVIEW : Shuffle, Repeat

By Jen Klein


NOTE: Apparently this author writes for Greys Anatomy so you know it’s got to be good : )

I hate to hype books, but I have to say Shuffle, Repeat has got to be my favorite contemporary, ever. How do I know this?

It's because Shuffle, Repeat is the only one I´ve read more than once, and I enjoyed the novel the second time around as much as I had the first.

It surprises me that I liked this book as much as I did. Especially because it has the same cliques that you can find in most contemporaries:

  1. The leads of the story are childhood friends until something goes wrong over a misunderstanding.
  2. Once the two split, the male lead goes to become the popular guy at school while the girl is not so popular.
  3. The guy and girl hate each other's guts, until they are forced to interact after years of silent treatment.
  4. The popular guy, who has preserved this bad boy image, is actually, unbeknownst to basically everyone, a cinnamon roll who is too pure for this world. The bad boy image is, of course, based on a school-wide misunderstanding.
  5. They refuse to flat-out refute these misunderstandings.
  6. The girl hates his guts because of this bad boy image, but her defenses shatter when she realizes his true personality.

The story is not very unique, and neither are the characters, but I was still really invested in the novel. We are introduced to June, our female MC, who wants nothing but to get high school over with it and face the real world. She’s a great student and she can’t help but look down on those who aren’t as smart her, or seem to be that way. Oliver, on the other hand, is all about emersing himself in the high school experience. While June finds no importance in high school events such as football games or Prom, Oliver is all about them. This is where their differences begin.

June and Oliver’s moms are best friends and they decide to have Oliver drive June to school every. day. Since June doesn’t have a drivers licence yet, she has no choice but to listen and our two leads find themselves arguing over everything on the ride to school. At first, it’s over what music to listen to. Soon, they’re arguing over whose perspective on the value of high school is more true. As a solution to this music problem, they come up with a game: whenever one of them makes a good point regarding their view on the importance of the high school experience, that person earns a song of their choice for the car ride playlist. Because that’s how people usually solve arguements, right?; )

As their competion for dominance in their shared playlist progresses, Oliver and June get more comfortable with each other. Pretty soon, they’re acquintances and maybe even friends. Of course, there is the drama preventing them from actually getting together, like any other contemporary, but it doesn’t take the spotlight away from Oliver and June hilarious interactions.

What’s great about June and Oliver is that their feelings are genuine and progressive; it’s not a quick transformaton from hating each other one second to each other’s confidents regarding their darkest and deepest thoughts. I was so invested in their banter and how they gradually became closer and closer, that all cliques were forgotten.

Also, if anything the senior pranks in Shuffle, Repeat alone should be enough to have you wanting to read this novel.


“Their sound is rough but that’s the point. It means something. It’s real”
― June on Punk Rock

“It’s power ballad, June. They were wildly popular”
― Oliver on 80’s Hair Metal

Despite its very obvious plot, Shuffle. Repeat was good enough to have me reading in twice. Simply put, it is fun to read. It will make you smile because these characters can be hilarious and cry  because some of them are perfect and you know they can never be real ( ahem Oliver ). If you are into Sarah Dessen and Kasie West books, I gurantee you will love this novel.

Check it out at the library and goodreads :

RATINGS: 4.5/5

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Book 3 The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan; review by Mahesh Yandrapu

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Book 3 The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

The Ship of the Dead is about a story of Magnus Chase stopping the whole world from ending. They do this by Magnus Challenging Loki to a flyting. Magnus sails toward Loki's ship Nagalfar. Along the way, he needs to find Kvasir's mead which contains contents so poetic he could destroy Loki. First Magnus and Alex find Uncle Randolph's notebook containing how to find the mead. Next, Blitzen, Hearthstone, and Magnus find the Whetstone and by killing the dragon-like Mr. Aldermen. Following that, Magnus goes to the Suttung's doors to find the Kvasir’s Mead. Finally, they head for the ship of the Dead. Magnus Challenges Loki for a flying and he wins the verbal fight. They sail for the Field where they will die. Finally, they meet up with their godly parents and the other gods. They get fabulous prizes and they go back to Valhalla. Magnus then gets kissed by Alex. Magnus gets a boon, which is anything he wants. He takes Uncle Randolph's mansion and turns it into Chase Space. A home for The Homeless. And they lived happily ever after.  Until the day they die. Which is Ragnorak

This book was a very adventurous tour of the Norse gods. Rick Riordan writes many great epics about these novels. Whether it is Greek, Norse, or Egyptian. This book is hilarious and a book that will want to read again and again.

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...