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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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 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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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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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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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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The Martian

Andy Weir

The Martian is a science fiction novel set in the not-too-distant-future during the first steps of humanity’s journey towards the planet Mars. Mark Watney, the book’s main protagonist, is a botanist among the first astronauts to land on Mars, the ARES III crew. However, their mission is cut short as a massive sandstorm crashes down on their base. In an attempt to evacuate the planet, Mark Watney is whisked away in a horrific accident, forcing the ARES crew to leave him behind. Alone in the harshest places known to mankind, readers are introduced to a foreign world of peril and emptiness like the lone wanderer, Watney. Mark Watney, equipped with his snarky attitude and rockstar-like wit, must surpass many obstacles and work new ways to survive Mars’ unforgiving landscape and dwindling supplies while NASA and Watney’s own crew create a plan to get him back home.

 

Most of the book follows Watney on the Martian planet as he super-renovates his Martian habitat while we connect to him more personally in this trying time. The pacing is great as the characters are always presented with new challenges, both physically and mentally, while cracking some well-executed jokes. The novel’s characters are all enjoyable and relatable, although their characterization becomes stale as the story progresses.

 

The Martian is a love-letter to sci-fi readers as the story is packed with carefully-crafted writing while leaving a sombre note on the idea of humanity. In conclusion, Andy Weir’s The Martian is a great novel that gets readers excited about space travel and its future. Although at times the book’s quality gets blunt, it never fails to pick itself up with a fantastic and rewarding story. -Joshua G.

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Six Impossible Things

Fiona Wood

Dan Cereill (pronounced “surreal” not “cereal”) has his world turned upside down in an instant with a new house, new school, a newly out of the closet father, a family who has just declared bankruptcy, a mother with a failing business, and the most amazing girl right next door. Despite all this, Dan tries his hardest to fit in, make new friends, and repeatedly reminds people of the proper pronunciation of his last name. In efforts to try to cope with the situation that Dan has found himself in, he creates a list of six things he deems impossible to happen. Narrated by a nerdy, funny, and smart teenager who is just trying to get through the rest of high school undetected and without being a total loser.

I thought this was refreshing to read a romance novel written entirely from a male perspective. Not to mention the amazingly funny and nerdy writing done by the writer. I found it nearly impossible to peel my eyes from the pages due to the suspense and the always changing plot. Never a dull moment when reading this book and is a great young adult romance novel about the struggles of family, high school, and finding love. -Melanie G.

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The Duff

Kody Keplinger

A cute, fun read. I really enjoyed this story. What is a “Duff”? Heck, many of us notice them all the time. The one girl/guy who is a bit less attractive in their crowd, the one that tends to fade into the background. Well, when known manwhore, Wesley informs Bianca that she is, in fact, the Duff of her group, she is left spinning. This revelation comes at the same time Bianca’s home life is taking a nosedive. So, guess where she ends up taking refuge… the last place she ever imagined, with Wesley. Bianca is now confused, and alone, she doesn’t know how to handle her emotions and realizes that she may be falling for the last person that she would have wanted to.

This story was cute, realistic and emotional. This was a funny and light book that is super sweet. I enjoyed how both Bianca and Wesley became friends through their own pain and helped each other grow. I also enjoyed how Bianca realized that labels have no meanings and you don’t always have to be the most attractive in a group to be deserving of love. This book was a book of growth, friendship and love. -Khadeeja F.

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Insurgent

Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the second book the action-packed Divergent series by Veronica Roth. After the events of the Divergent, Tris is struggling to cope with all that she has lost. As the aftermath of the war is cooling down, Tris is on the run from Erudite extremists, and she must hide for her life while still trying to uncover the war’s purpose. A fight this grand doesn’t happen without purpose, and Tris and Tobias are determined to find out what is hidden from the eyes of the public. They both frantically search all they can to discover what lies behind the walls which cage their city. But that won’t be easy because whatever it is, Erudite is willing to kill to protect it. In this never-ending chase, Tris must resist the urge to join her parents, and truly learn the meaning of sacrifice and how much she means, which is not easy when you have the guilt of your past mistakes haunting over you. Will Tris be able to complete her mission or will the torment of the past envelop her soul?

Veronica Roth does a fantastic job presenting this story to the reader, and she has you engaged by page one. Tris’s story is captivating and still relatable at the same time. When we see Tris faced with guilt and loneliness, it is easy to relate and cheer her on. The Divergent series is a must read, especially if you enjoy dystopian novels and strong female protagonists. While hunting for answers, you’ll discover her messed up world may be more than what there were looking for and Roth will keep you on the edge of your seat while reading this extraordinary tale. – Ananya M.

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