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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Wounded

Eric Walters

Marcus and his sister are counting down the days until their father comes home from Afghanistan. When the big day arrives, the family is overcome by happiness and relief that he is safe, but as the days pass Marcus begins to feel that there is something different about his father. Barely sleeping, obsessed with news from Afghanistan, and overly aggressive, his dad refuses to seek counselling. Marcus knows post-traumatic stress disorder affects many soldiers, and he needs to get his dad some help before it is too late.

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Lord of the Flies

William Golding

The Lord of the Flies focuses on a group of young British boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes. The boys have an entire island to themselves without the guidance or supervision of parents; it is the perfect paradise and freedom. As time passes, the boys are able to establish a leader and a mini-system to ensure survival. Soon, the lack of civilization on the island begins to affect the mindset of the children as some begin to imagine a beast lurking around. The panic causes a large amount of havoc as some boys are killed and sacrificed in the name of the beast. Ralph and Jack, the leader of the boys, try to maintain peace. However further confusion and conflicts lead to the separation of groups. The boys essentially become savages and begin to turn on each other. Will anyone of them survive? Or will the “beast” become a reality and kill everyone?

 

This novel is very interesting in the sense as it is not what the average book contains. The plot and moral values one can gain are very new, different and a tad strange. The novel takes a couple of twists, each plot twist is tragic and dark. I would recommend this book to students above grade 9 as it involves killing and involves talks about the dark side of the human mind.-Eesa K.

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Sneaking Out

Chuck Vance 

Luke Chase—yes, that Luke Chase, a modern hero ripped from the headlines—didn’t mean to get caught up in Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to hook up with the hot new British girl at St. Benedict’s, and if that meant sneaking out to the woods after hours, then so be it. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would go down for it. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to find the true killer.

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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

The acclaimed tragic play Romeo and Juliet by world-renowned writer William Shakespeare revolves around the love between two young individuals, Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is a Montague while Juliet is a Capulet; both families have been at conflict for generations, however, these individuals believe they can break that tradition and create a positive change. Both of the lovers must suffer from the deaths of their loved ones due to the family conflicts as well as create various plans to meet each other peacefully. Many fights unfold, many lies and truths are revealed along with acts of desperation to maintain respect and honour. These infamous lovers showcase their love to the world and display why they are the most famous couple in the history of literature.

 

Many themes and symbols are visible in the play mainly due to the attitude of many characters. Symbols such as night, poison and themes such as individual beliefs, love, and fate dictate the direction of the plot which helps the reader to understand all actions of the play completely.

 

Certain characters such as the Nurse, or the ‘priest’ of the time, become significant characters as the play progresses through their cynical and quiet actions from the side. I suggest that readers pay attention to the attitude, behaviour and actions of all the characters that interact with Romeo and/or Juliet.

 

I would recommend reading a simplified version of the play or a version which contains a translation as Shakespeare’s language and structure is very complicated to understand in the modern times. However, the story and message of the play are still very visible to all types of readers. This play is best for students above grade 9 especially since many schools include Romeo and Juliet in their curriculum, further enhancing the understanding of the reader. -Eesa K.

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