Dead Girls Society

Michelle Krys

‘Dead Girls Society’ is a book that will appeal to any reader at any age, due to it being a variety of genres rolled into one and its very interesting storyline. This riveting ‘Hunger Games’ meets ‘Everything, Everything’ debut novel by Michelle Krys will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Hope Callahan will do anything to be a normal teenager, but she knows very well that this cannot happen because of her cystic fibrosis. Because of her illness, she misses months of schools, and cannot always go outside and do regular things a teenager can. However, one day, she mysteriously gets sent an email invitation, inviting her to come to a sketchy, abandoned area and complete dares along with a few other girls, and the winner gets $100,000.

But, there are rules.

If you “[f]ail the dare, you will be eliminated. Tell anyone about the game, you will be punished. Cheat in the game, you will be punished” (Krys, 2016).

Hope couldn’t care less about the money – this is finally her time to be normal! When she goes to the place, she sees a few other girls from her school – all very different from each other. There is the smart one, the rich one, the sporty one, the goth one, and the sick one, Hope. As they play the game, the girls instantly realize that this is more than just a game. Some of the girls disappear, and they are all frightened, but they know too well that they cannot give up. The creator of the game knows a secret about each one of these girls that they threaten to expose. Also, as soon as Hope joined the game, the popular guy in school started hanging out with her, she starts getting packages in the mail for her, and she gets more popular in school. But, is it worth it? Who is behind the game? Who is threatening the girls? Because now this is more than just a game, and not doing well in it is the difference between life and death.

I really enjoyed this book, and I believe that others will too. The only thing I don’t like is that the adventure part of the book happens instantly, without really describing the characters and who they are. Other than that, this book is great and a must-read. -Khadeeja F.

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The Girl With a Clock for a Heart

Peter Swanson

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart was not one of my favourite reads; it was alright, mostly due to the speed the novel moves along and the unmarked time switches from past to present. You learn more about George Foss and his connection to Aubrey and Liana Decter as events in both past and present move forward. The mystery unfolds about his still-burning love for Aubrey and willingness to do anything to see her again. Fear, mystery and a heist join together to create the story of the girl with a clock for a heart.

The title does not quite reflect the book. However, it is understood through slight connections to conversations had with George and his friend. There are corrupt businesses and private investigators, fraud and lots of murder. George Foss has awaited the return of Liana Decter since his first year of college. Now in his late forties, she unexpectedly shows up at the bar he frequents, but he cannot accept that it truly is her. Out with his on-again-off-again girlfriend having drinks, he ignores the look-alike woman. When they finally once again speak, Liana asks his for a favour. She is in danger. He is the only one she trusts to help him. But after all these years, can George trust Liana?

This book is a one that leaves you questioning at the end. Not everything is as it seems! Death is not always as it seems. Question everything you believe to be true about the book. An intense book with unidentified time flips and that starts out quick but as the story progresses slows down and makes it harder to define what’s in the present and what is in the past. -Zoe P.

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Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

Rick Riordan

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson realizes that he is not like other kids his age and suspects there is an issue with his body, along with how he sees the world. That’s when he learns he is a half-blood; half-human, half-Greek God. Percy is the son of Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea, who is the brother to Zeus and Hades. When taken to a Half-Blood camp, an organization for kids like Percy to escape and hide from monsters that attack half-bloods, Percy finds out that someone stole Zeus’s master bolt and that he is blaming Poseidon for the theft. If Poseidon fails to retrieve the master bolt and return it to Zeus on Mount Olympus, Zeus will declare war on his brother which will ultimately result in the downfall of the entire God and Goddess system. In order to save his father, Percy goes on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt along with other members of the camp where they meet monsters and Gods such as Medusa, notorious for her snake hair and ability to turn anyone to stone, Ares, the God of War, and Hades, the God of the Dead. Percy must fight off many of these beings and begins to learn dark truths regarding his family and the plans for potentially the most significant war of all time between the big three Gods, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon. Unfortunately, a twist occurs where Percy becomes responsible for the theft of Zeus’s master bolt.

This novel, along with the other books in series, is an exciting, mysterious and suspenseful story, especially for those readers that have an interest in Greek Mythology. It can teach readers to be determined in any project and advises them to protect one another like family. This story keeps the reader guessing and allows them to develop an interest in fantasy style novels, and fall in love with a potential hero. I would recommend this book to readers above grade 7. -Eesa K.

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The Bad Beginning

Lemony Snicket

The life of the Baudelaire children goes entirely downhill after their parents were killed in a tragic house fire, leaving behind a vast fortune. The series focuses on the lives of Violet Baudelaire, a fourteen-year-old inventor, Klaus Baudelaire, a 12-year-old literature enthusiast with a photographic memory, and Sunny Baudelaire, 2-year-old with joy for biting things. In the Bad Beginning, these gifted children are sent to live with a distant relative who goes by the name of Count Olaf, a man with distinctive physical characteristics such a slender body, and his notorious eye tattoo on his ankle. Count Olaf, later seen as the antagonist of the series, gives his best attempt to steal their fortune; his efforts include framing others, lying, and even trying to murder the children. As the title states, the unlucky children face a series of moments which can be summed up with despair, pain and agony. The Baudelaire children come together and work as a family to escape from Count Olaf, protecting their parent’s fortune, and learn the truth about trusting others.

This book along with the remaining books of the series allows readers to follow and grow with the characters and potentially relate with certain individuals that shape the plot of the book. Fans of the mystery genre will definitely adore this novel, and will continuously wonder how the story will unfold next. This book teaches and encourages readers to utilize their skills to the fullest, to believe in their abilities, and work as a family to overcome any obstacle, no matter how severe the issue. The story is well-written, suspenseful and I definitely recommend this novel to readers above grade 7. – Eesa K.

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Divergent

Veronica Roth

Written by Veronica Roth, Divergent is a captivating science fiction and dystopian fiction book filled with believable characters and exciting events. The book focuses on Tris (the main character) and the struggles she faces trying to discover her true identity and fight for the truth in the dystopian, futuristic city she lives in, where everything is very structured and aimed to be a certain way, even the people. The story takes place in future Chicago, where society is divided into five factions; each of those factions values a certain trait/quality above anything else. Candor values honesty, Abnegation values selflessness, Amity values kindness, Dauntless values bravery and Erudite values knowledge. In Chicago, until you are 16, you are a part of the faction your parents are in, then when you turn 16 you choose a faction for yourself. Choosing a faction is the choice of your life, it decides your entire future. Beatrice/Tris Prior the main character was born into Abnegation, but she transferred to Dauntless to seek out a new exciting lifestyle and identity. With the help of her new friends, Tris tries to stop the impending war started by the leaders of Erudite and Dauntless for control of the government that is currently being run by Abnegation. Will she succeed or will the city of Chicago face hard times? Just read this enthralling novel to find out.

You will get hooked on “Divergent” once you start, it’s filled with thrilling events and relatable characters. I liked how the book included many different genres because while it was mostly a science-fiction book, it had action, adventure and even a little bit of humour and romance. While I was reading it, it had me wanting to keep reading more, and since finishing it has become one of my favourite books that I’ve read. I would definitely recommend this book to other teens. – Yara M.

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The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

If you’re interested in cultural novels, then this novel will definitely intrigue you. In Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, the reader will read about the experiences of a young boy named Amir, who lives in Kabul, Afghanistan during the 1970s. Amir narrates the experiences of his life as he witnesses tragic and life-altering events.

The novel highlights major aspects of guilt, redemption, and the dangers of a caste system. This cultural book by Hosseini is exceptionally written, as he portrays a character who is mostly flawed and shows the raw aspect of individuals living in a Middle Eastern country. Hosseini’s work will never disappoint, and this novel will open one’s mind to different experiences of people all around this world.

Amir often faces great challenges, his integrity and loyalty put to the test. His character development is ultimately an opinionated question as readers often view this central character in both a negative and positive light. As a reader, connecting to a novel often takes time, but the plot of this novel will intrigue the individual. This novel may contain some mature scenes and languages, so viewer discretion is advised. – Iffat A.

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Everything Everything

Nicola Yoon

Her name is Madeline, Madeline Whittier, the girl who’s allergic to the world. Her disease is so rare that she has not left her house in 17 years. The only people she ever sees are her nurse and her mother until one day she sees a moving truck across the street. That is when she sees him. He’s tall and lean, and his name is Olly. Maddie knows she is going to fall in love with Olly, but she also knows that it’s impossible – they would never be able to see each other. She has always wanted to travel the world but cannot due to her disease.

This book will give you butterflies inside, and it is just a gorgeous and well-told novel. It will keep you up for hours on end. This extraordinary novel is the new The Fault in our Stars. Sometimes we are too afraid to take risks, and then you realize that the biggest risk is not taking one at all. –Ali M.

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Every Day

David Levithan

A” is the name he gave himself. He is never the same person twice, always the same age and never too far from where he has already been. His way of living must sound crazy to you, but for “A” that’s life. He spends one day in the life of Justin, and that is where he meets Rhiannon. He knows that something between the two of them is not right so he gives her a day she can’t forget, but the only thing “A” can’t forget is her. He knows that it will always be impossible for them to be together and he is willing to try – but is Rhiannon?

An amazing novel that will keep you up for hours wondering what is going to happen next. “A” has never experienced love but he finds it easy with Rhiannon. The love he immediately feels for Rhiannon is like a rope that cannot be broken, and her heart is no one that he can risk breaking. This novel is so powerful you might have to read it more than once to understand what true love is all about. –Ali M.

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My Life Next Door

Huntley Fitzpatrick

Samantha Reed had a perfectly well-crafted life, but then one night while she was sitting outside on her window ledge she meets Jase Garret. Over the years, her mother had told her to stay away from the Garrets because they would only be trouble, but Samantha didn’t see that in Jase. He was easy to talk to, and after watching how his family interacts she wished that she was part of it. Her mother was always on top of her, making sure that her life stayed the way she wanted it and Sam’s idea of how it should be. The Garrets were far from perfect, and that is what Samantha needed.

A heart-warming romance that every girl will envy, it is wonderful, uplifting and a summer romance with depth. While reading this story, it feels as if you are in it because you want to be them. Are they willing to risk everything to be together? Which family will save her? Or will she save herself?  –Ali M.

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Beastly

Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury’s good looks and father’s riches got him far in life. He was just named as one of the prince nominees for the spring dance court when his classmate, Kendra Hilferty, brings attention to how disgusting it is that these competitions are based on a person’s attractiveness rather than more important qualities such as intelligence or bravery. Wanting to put her in her place, Kyle decides to humiliate her at the school dance. In return, she reveals to him her true identity as a witch and transforms Kyle into a creature with claws, fangs, and an excessive amount of hair. As a beast, Kyle must find true love in two years or remain this way forever.

Kyle is portrayed to be an unlikeable character at the beginning of the novel. Alex Flinn exaggerates the bad qualities associated with him to have this impact on the reader. His manipulative nature, conceitedness, and insensitivity are made clear through his actions and interactions with other characters in the story. After he is put under Kendra’s spell, we see a new side to him causing our perceptions of him to shift. For instance, Kyle becomes compassionate and sensitive to the issues of others. This teaches readers that everyone has the potential to change. This and the many other morals in this book, that mainly relate to love, make this a worthwhile read.

I associate a very nostalgic mood with parts of this book due to the many fairy tale references it includes. Often in the novel, there would be text threads between Kyle and other creatures that were considering transformations or were transformed. The screen name, SilentMaid, represented the Little Mermaid. This was done in a mature way that didn’t make you feel like you were reading a book targeted at a younger audience. These text threads also added a more interesting element to the book because it told the story in a creative way.

The short two years the beast was given to reverse the curse was a strategic way of implementing suspense into Alex Flinn’s novel. It gradually increases in intensity as Kyle’s deadline approaches. It makes you obsessively continue reading to anxiously see if Kyle can manage to change back to his former self. The ending of the novel relieves the readers stress and leaves them very satisfied because it doesn’t just resolve the problems of the main characters, but updates us on the supporting characters like Kyle’s blind tutor, Will. For these reasons, I found Beastly to be a stunning read. – Julia K.

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