Macbeth

William Shakespeare

Macbeth is a tragic play that revolves around the psychological effects of regrets and how the human mind works to gain redemption. Macbeth, with the aid of Lady Macbeth, kills the current king to become the next king. However, the guilt of murdering the King sends Macbeth and his wife into a state of mental shock, depression and fear as both are unsuccessful in their attempts to forget about their evil actions. Macbeth is later greeted with prophecies that initially seem impossible to occur, but as time progresses and the mental state of Macbeth deteriorates, the prophecies seem real. To cure his pain, Macbeth kills many that seem to be a potential threat; however, this results in a power shift from the public. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, attempts to forget about her pain which leads to a very tragic end for her.

 

The play by William Shakespeare dives into a new view of the human mind and the negative effects of lying, regretting and cheating. Shakespeare touches on gender roles, family values and moral lessons that allow readers to become better individuals. The storyline is very interesting, includes fairy tales, ghosts and other mythical creatures. I definitely recommend this play, although I advise readers to read a modified version or find a translator to increase understanding. -Eesa K.

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Bridge of Clay

Markus Zusak

The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

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The Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

The Invisible Man is a mystery story; the entire novel is based around a mysterious man who appears to disappear into the night during times of stress and desperation. Griffin, the invisible man, is a scientist who works with a variety of chemicals and puts on a disguise of complete bandages in public. During complicated interactions with the police, Griffin creates major havoc as he gets into many fights, and then terrorizes England with invisibility. His plans include robbing places and setting fires. Will he be caught? Or will the invisible man become the most notorious villain in England?

 

The Invisible Man will appeal to readers that enjoy sci-fi, mystery and stories revolving around special powers. The novel touches upon topics of betrayal and shows the readers that one’s powers and gifts must be used towards positivity rather than to cause terror and fear. Although Griffin begins opting for crime as a means of survival, readers must understand how to overcome all troubles through positivity and work alongside people that one may trust. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy mystery and sci-fi based novels as it the stories foundation. -Eesa K.

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

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Catching Fire

Suzanne Collins

The second installment of the popular series The Hunger Games, Catching Fire revolves around Katniss Everdeen learning that her actions in the previous novel have sparked various feuds around the district. Katniss, along with Peeta must compete again in the Hunger Games, but with past victors; with the uprising of a rebellion, Katniss is in the center of all attention. Katniss’s loved ones are punished and held hostage as a way for President Snow to control her life. New characters are introduced, some that aid Katniss and Peeta in their journey, while there are others who seem like threats. Katniss Everdeen must relive the horror of the Hunger Games but with more issues, obstacles and a larger burden on her mind.

 

For readers that enjoyed the first book in the series, Catching Fire will intrigue them equally, especially with the protagonist under fire. This allows the reader to gain the knowledge of trust as well as dealing with serious issues in their lives. For readers that have not started this series, I highly recommend reading the previous novel as events in the story will become easier to understand. I definitely recommend this novel to readers of all genres especially due to its excitement, suspense and lessons on family. -Eesa K.

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The Wrong Girl

R. L. Stine

Poppy Miller swears she will get payback for Jack Sabers’s cruel prank that humiliated her in front of all her friends.

Then her classmates start turning up dead.

All eyes are on Poppy. Is Poppy being framed? Or did the kids of Shadyside High mess with the wrong girl?

In this all-new Fear Street story, only one thing’s for sure—someone is out for DEADLY revenge.

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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

The reaping of The Hunger Games, an annual competition where members of various districts fight to the death, changes the life of 16-year old Katniss Everdeen as she takes the responsibility of feeding her family. After her little sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers and takes the place of her sister in the games. Katniss, temporarily teaming up with Peeta Mellark, a teenager who is also selected to represent their district in the games, learns the values of family, perseverance and trust and gains a variety of skillsets. With the aid of her deadly crossbow, Katniss is able to survive, gather food, and fight for her life, until she is blinded by the media and the effects of the games as she must pretend to love Peeta for the sake of her own safety.

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a novel that has raised the bar of quality regarding books in the adventure and sci-fi genre. The book is action packed with lots of twists and turns and constantly leaves the reader questioning how the next scenes will unfold. The Hunger Games without a doubt is a must–read and is suitable for all ages. –Eesa K.

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Unclaimed Baggage

Jen Doll

In Jen Doll’s young adult debut novel, Unclaimed Baggage, Doris—a lone liberal in a conservative small town—has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of “Mr. Popular” whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people’s lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future.

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The Kite Runner

Khalid Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a novel that explores various themes such as family, redemption and perseverance. The classic novel is about an Afghan boy, Amir, who desperately strives towards redemption after betraying his very loyal servant, Hassan. As Amir grows up and finally begins a family in America, he gets an unexpected call from his father’s friend who convinces Hassan to return to Afghanistan, which is now controlled by the Taliban, to potentially make amends with Hassan and save Hassan’s son from the evil grasps of the Taliban. During his journey to gain redemption, Amir understands the pain of regret, how the human mind can drive one to a point where success is the only option.

This novel is written in a way that never gives away how it will unfold. As I was reading this novel for the first time, the plot twists changed my perception of the story each time, giving me a sensation of suspense and amazement after each page. The novel talks about religious and other sensitive issues. There are many reoccurring symbols in the book that have a significant meaning to the story such as kites, eyes, smiles and dreams. I highly recommend keeping track of these symbols to improve your understanding of the book further as well as to understand the class of writing Khaled Hosseini showcases. This book is best for readers above grade 9 considering the sensitivity of some topics and the length of the book. -Eesa K.

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