Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Thief review

The Book Thief Review

Easily one of my favorite novels geared for young adults, The Book Thief is a poignant story of family, loyalty, death, the effects of war, and love. Taking place in Nazi Germany and narrated by a personified version of Death (who is more of a bleeding heart than a soulless Grim Reaper), the story revolves around Liesel Meminger, a young orphan girl who goes to live with her new foster parents, the Hubermanns. The relationships between Liesel and her foster parents, her neighbors, and a Jewish fist-fighter that her foster parents hide in their basement during World War II, are all examined. Throughout the story, Liesel is a notorious book thief, stealing books from unlikely places that include graveyards, a local book burning, and even from the mayor's wife's library.

The plot itself is absolutely intriguing, and Zusak's writing style is fluid. It's unique from books of similar topics in that it doesn't hold back; every scene bursts with raw emotion. Liesel's youthful innocence, which later is taken away from her by the effects of war, is a stark contrast to the bombings, beatings, and senseless killings that occur. Flashbacks, flash-forwards, and temporary cuts from Liesel's life to Death's job of gathering souls around the world during this devastating period of time occur quite frequently and are very normal in the novel. Everything is shown as being connected to each other,  with all the stories intertwining at the end.

What really makes The Book Thief one of my favorite books, however, is the characters. Each one is written with remarkable depth, and it's impossible to not feel attached to such memorable characters as Hans Hubermann, Rudy Steiner, and Max. However, this book should come with a warning label; it is incredibly sad, and you're going to need a box of tissues by the end of it. Though Death gives you an insight as to how the ending will play out, it is still a blow to the stomach when it finally arrives.

The Book Thief is also now a major motion picture, slated for release in November of 2013. Actors include Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as Hans and Rosa Hubermann respectively, and Sophie Nelisse as Liesel.

Review by Kaitlyn San Miguel on August 30, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8/24/13

Veronica's world is full of ghosts.  No one is really sure why, but after The Event (an undefined catastrophe) there were suddenly a lot of ghosts everywhere.  She isn't afraid of them, but she IS weirded out by her English teacher who keeps staring at her.  As she and her beau of the moment, Kirk, begin to dig deeper into why some ghosts appear and others don't; they begin to uncover secrets some people would like to keep buried.
I loved the suspense and creepiness of this story.  It was a really quick read, and even though I would sometimes get annoyed by Veronica, she was a really great character.....I guess, in a way, it's a compliment that I got annoyed; I really felt like I could reach through the book and smack her around.....kind of like at the movies when you shout "NO! Don't go down the stairs"......I think anyone who enjoys spooky tales will enjoy this one.

I will admit it.  I love Felton.  Not like a romantic love, more like a mom love....but love it is.  I wanted to hug him and tell him it was ok in the first book, Stupid Fast....and now in Nothing Special; I still feel like he needs a friend and a hug more than anything.  Herbach does an excellent job of making Felton seem real.......like I wanna drive to Wisconsin and meet him real........for those of you who haven't read Stupid Fast, GO, do it now!  Felton in this book is still struggling with his transformation from joke to jock; and he worries about everything.....right now his principal worry is his little brother, and also about how somehow his entire life seems out of control; and he's convinced that it's all his fault.   I can't stop raving about this book, and can't wait to read the next installment "I'm With Stupid".......fast read, awesome characters, real life drama.....what more could you want?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

8/22/13

Finally finished this book, it was a hard book to take only because of how much my heart ached for all the injustice served to the family who's mother inadvertently did so much for the world of medicine.  The story is factual and the author worked really hard to involve all the "cast members" in the telling of it.  This is a bestseller that lives up to the hype and should be read by everyone.......really......go read it......

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close review



Jonathan Safran Foer is an author who has risen out of the blue and is growing into the most phenomenal author of his generation.  Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything Is Illuminated, released a novel I had never heard of until it recently became a motion picture. It goes by the name of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and is one of the absolute best books I have ever read.
Oskar Schell is a journey-bound, curious-minded individual. He is yet to be twelve years old, but his mind is far above that of children his age. He constantly takes scavengers and hunts for unknown treasures that have been set up for him by his father, until one day a tragic event puts an abrupt end to his glowing light. His father is killed in the terrorist attack on the twin-towers in New York City that we know as 9/11. Without his father, Oskar struggles to find happiness in his life.  But one day, he finally needs to know why. He takes to his father’s office, and finds not what he was expecting; in a vase, there is a small envelope with a single key inside. He sets off to find the matching lock, traveling through the city day in and out.
A story which seems to be an ordinary child on a journey is far, far more. It is a new kind of heart break; the struggle of loss from a brilliant child who has had his childhood suddenly ripped from him.  He meets the most unexpected of people, whose stories are dryly realistic in a way that completely halts a reader. Both in Oskar’s family, his grandfather and grandmother, and friends who he meets along the way, the reality is heavy and heart-wrenching.
Jonathan Safran Foer has crossed new boundaries with this book, and claimed territory that could make this book a long-lasting classic. There is an honesty to it that is absolutely impeccable.
If you read and like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I also recommend Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Written by Geena Elghossain on August 19, 2013. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

ender's game review

It is essential to start by saying that this book easily makes my top ten favorite. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card uses a celestial scenario to get across a message far beyond the boundaries of ordinary science-fiction. Without having to decipher long descriptions or difficult passages, Card indirectly tells a story of human wrong and revoked innocence.
The most important aspect of a story is how it ends—whether it because it is unexpected, or simply because it has a strong resolution. When the protagonist, Ender, finds out the truth of his training, it is a complete surprise to the reader. One can feel both the excitement and shock of the people around him and the betrayal and disappointment of Ender himself.
Ender’s reaction and thoughts in response to the truth are spot-on in character. Ender is still a child, who has been taken in to be this hero without ever being told. Through his innocent thinking, the reader is exposed to a statement that goes against human instincts:  the enemy lives too. Ender learns of the Buggers, the enemy, and he is haunted by the thought that by defending his own people, he is simultaneously destroying another race. He remains unable to comprehend how, then, defending earth is the right thing to do.  This concept sticks with the reader even after one has finished the story. 
There is nothing I did not like about this book. The story is simple but the meaning is deeper. It could be both enjoyed just for the premise as well as the message that Card discreetly gets across. The characterization is strong and exposes stereotypical falsities of all-good heroes and all-bad enemies. I look forward to reading the sequel to see how the story line progresses, though Ender’s Game standing alone was phenomenally executed.
If you read and like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, I also recommend you read Dune by Frank Herbert.

Written by Geena Elghossain on July 19, 2013

8/17/13



Quintana of Charyn is the conclusion to the trilogy begun by Finnikin of the Rock.   Finnikin and Quintana are caught in the middle of politics all while trying to not only survive but to find each other.  They don't really believe that they will be allowed to stay together but they truly love each other and that despair and sense of loss stays with you throughout the novel.  This book was marvelously complex and really packed a lot into the story.......Marchetta did an amazing job of tying up the series, and also of ending the series in a satisfying and believable way.  Loved it sooooo much!


Game is the book that follows I Hunt Killers....and is just as packed with suspense and craziness as the first.  In this book Jazz is called upon by the NY Police to help with a serial killer case that has them stumped.  Of course, it turns into a crazy game and of course Jazz gets more involved then he should......buuuut.....in THIS book, Lyga leaves us with a cliffhanger that will make me crazy while I wait for the next one........I can't tell you what it is, but let's just say that pretty much EVERYONE is in danger at the end of Game......and I have no idea how Lyga will resolve it but I can't wait to find out.



In Enchanted we once again see a fairy tale world, but the author has mixed up a whole mess of tales, and given the family a whole host of various powers/abilities to deal with them.   The main story is a sort of Princess/Frog thing, but then added into it is an evil king who feasts on his wives for everlasting life....and a rivalry between fairy godmothers .......and also bits of Jack & Beanstalk, Cinderella and a wealth of other.  It seems like there should be another coming out as there were some dangling ends of tales at the conclusion of the story, but I don't know if one is in the works or not....we shall see I guess.....  =)

Ananya Singh, 11th Grade Book Review of Embassy Row by Quinn Fawcett

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