The Elite

Kiera Cass

The Elite is the sequel to Kiera Cass’s daring novel, The Selection. The Elite has been chosen, and the selection is now down to only six girls, with Lady America Singer being Prince Maxon’s obvious favourite. But it doesn’t seem that way with everyone else. The King and Queen have different opinions, and they don’t approve of such strong-willed behaviour. What’s even more difficult for America is now that she’s started to fall for Maxon, she has to see Aspen on guard every day. Does she still have feelings for Aspen? America is faced with new challenges, each that are preparing her and the elite to become stronger and better queens. But America doesn’t feel she has what it take and is worthy enough to be fit for the position. As distance grows between America and Maxon, she gets closer to Aspen, and the question arises, does she really want to be here, is this how she wants to spend her life?! America’s connect with her family is now stronger, even with her mom. With attacks, by both north and south, rebels becoming more and more frequent around the castle, the safety of everyone is put into question. Find out what disturbing secrets the walls of the kingdom is hiding.

The Elite is a fabulous book by Kiera Cass, this story is not your classic fairytale. Shocking surprises that aren’t always pleasant fill every chapter. Suspense, love, friendship, action, family, and drama this book has it all. Join America on her quest of love and find out mysterious truths along the way. -Ananya M.

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The Selection

Kiera Cass

Every girl in the kingdom would give anything to marry the charming Prince Maxon, except for America Singer. The kingdom is ruled by a caste system, and her family is only three from the bottom, she’s a five. They know they don’t have it the worst, but they have seen some pretty bad days, terrible pay, seasonal work, and periods of time where they have to go hungry, but she is still happy. When the selection roles around America is reluctant to enter, even if there is there is barely any chance that she would be drawn as one of the 35 girls that would live in the palace and fight for the hand of Prince Maxon in marriage. The reason she can’t go is because of her loving boyfriend, Aspen, a six. After constant pressure from her family and boyfriend she enters the selection, and miraculously she is drawn as one of the selected. Now it’s up to America to prevent her being chosen as the princess so she can come back and marry her boyfriend. That’s not all that easy when the Prince at hand is as charming as Prince Maxon.

Fall in love with the selection series and America Singer as you follow her story from a shabby little treehouse to the steps of the palace itself. Kiera Cass does an amazing job portraying the story and helps you form a real connection with most of the characters. I had some trouble forming a connection with the character of Aspen as he seemed a little distant, however it was not enough for me to give it any fewer stars or to change my opinion about the book. Overall a thoroughly enjoyed the book at definitely recommend it to others. -Ananya M.

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Allegiant

Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the final instalment in Veronica Roth’s captivating Divergent Trilogy. After the fall of vicious Jeanine Matthews and the release of the Edith Prior video, a new sense of panic has reined over the city. Evelyn and her band of Factionless are taking over and destroying the faction system. Through all these events the video of her ancestor is haunting Tris, and to uncover the truth she will have to venture far beyond the walls of their city. As Tris, Tobias, and their friends escape outside the walls of their city, they are faced with uncharted dangers. The new world outside isn’t any better and what they find out once they got there was better left unfound. Tris’s connection to her mother is stronger than ever while her search for answers leads her to find some shocking truths. Tobias’s world shits as he meets others in the new world. They all struggle to find out the truths the outside world is hiding in order to save a future that might already have no hope. Tris must define sacrifice in her own terms and figure out what love truly means to her.

This novel is the perfect finale for this dystopian series. It will shock you with a new twist around every corner and exciting action in every chapter. You will instantly be submerged in this exhilarating trilogy and make Tris’s journey your own. With true to life emotions filling this book, you will feel for the characters and support them all the way through until the end. Veronica Roth captivates the readers as she invites them to enter the world of the Divergent. -Anaya M.

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Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots

Abby McDonald

Jenna is the leader of her high school Green Teen group which promotes recycling and environmentalism. Her summer plans of protests and Green Teen work are no longer is the plan. They get traded in for the Rocky Mountains of adventure in Stillwater, British Columbia. She faces a tightly knit group of friends to fit into the new environment. She assists in the renovation of her Godmothers home. They turn it into the one, and only Bed and Breakfast in town. The town’s economy is dwindling. Jenna gets accused of trying to ruin their town further. Environmentalists cancelled the logging and sent away all the activity in town. Renovations of building a Bed and Breakfast are hoping to bring back tourists. Jenna’s summer is a roller coaster of emotions, whitewater rapids, climbing sheer rock faces and drama. Flirting and secrets get shared through the summer, but will everything stay as calm and as easy as it seems. People change, personalities grow and alter. Sometimes what people believe is the right thing to do may not be easy. Jenna learns to view other opinions of environmentalism among other facts of life. She also faces the hard truth, sometimes people aren’t who you thought they were. She escapes her stifling home life but the grass is not always greener on the other side!

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots was a cute and adventurous summer novel. It’s a fast-paced book that I would read again. This novel gives you a quick overview of her summer and the changes she goes through. When original plans become altered, will she still have a great summer? Out of her element and whisked off into the life of a small town, she meets new friends and tries new ways. Her plans may not only be of summer fun, but avoidance what she fears is waiting when she returns. Abby McDonald was able to convey the excitement of Jenna’s summer. This is a fun, flirty and adventurous novel. -Zoe P.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini

In Khaled Hosseini’s, A Thousand Splendid Suns, the novel focuses on the relationship between mothers and daughters, and friendships between women. The novel attempts to show the difficult lifestyle women experience in war-torn Afghanistan. Mariam and Laila both come from different walks of life, where they each have different experiences of living in Afghanistan. Mariam lives her entire life as an illegitimate child and is consistently ridiculed for her status in society. In comparison to Laila, who grows up with a loving family and is well-educated. These two individuals navigate their way through Afghanistan and must make difficult choices in hopes of surviving in a barren country.

Khaled Hosseini amazingly portrays the struggles women face in Afghanistan, as the emotions are raw. His utilitarian prose enables him to create characters who have the primary-coloured and simplicity emotions of people in a fairy-tale. A Thousand Splendid Suns is definitely a recommended read if you are interested in women becoming independent and developing relationships with one another. This empowering book provides great insight into the struggles of women living in third-world countries. Mariam and Laila both convey strong messages that women can easily relate to, so the reader will be intrigued. This novel may contain some mature scenes or content, so reader discretion is advised. -Iffat A.

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Warcross

Marie Lu

Emika Chen lives in a futuristic world where almost everyone, young or old, is obsessed with one game, Warcoss. To most people, Warcoss is more than just a game, it’s a way to escape their problems and be submerged into a virtual world to forget about everything. Some even spend more time playing Warcoss than doing other things. However, Emika does not play Warcoss; instead, as a bounty hunter, she uses Warcoss to track players who bet on the game illegally in exchange for money.

When the international Warcoss games begin Emika accidentally glitches herself inside while trying to earn a bit of extra money. This catches the attention of Warcoss creator Hideo Tanka and he flies her in to Tokyo for a job proposal. He wants to hire her to participate in the games as an undercover bounty hunter, in order to catch a mysterious figure that has been causing trouble in Warcoss. Along the way, Emika meets people who try to help her and befriend her and others that work to slow her down.

I really enjoyed this book because despite being science fiction the writing style and characters were really realistic in the way they were described and their personalities. The book is filled with many surprises and unexpected twists and turns, just when you think things will go a certain way something unanticipated happens. After reading this book, I would definitely recommend it to other people, not only teens because I believe it would appeal to others too. -Yara M.

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Wonder

R.J. Palacio

August or ‘Auggie’ Pullman has been homeschooled up until fifth grade, because of complicated health issues and his facial deformity. When Auggie turns ten, his parents think it’s best if he goes to middle school for the first time, since his mother is not able to teach him enough and they think he’s ready to learn more about the world and face life. As Auggie enters the daunting school ‘Beecher Prep’ for the first time, he faces the ups and downs of the first day of school, Halloween, bullying, interesting friends, struggles within his family, a three day school trip, and one graduation ceremony. Auggie has high hopes of blending in, but he realizes that it’s not so easy to blend in when you’re a wonder!

This book is a definite page turner, you will want to chant Auggie’s name and be by his side at all times. You will easily learn to love Auggie Pullman as he discovers more about life and who people truly are not just for the outer person but the person on the inside. This book teaches that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover rather see what’s inside. It shows that there is always light at the end of a dark tunnel, to never change yourself for anybody and it even questions you to think how you would treat the beloved Auggie Pullman. The book is written nicely and includes humour and makes you want to choose kindness. I would recommend this book to readers grade 5 and up. -Sakura T.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a gothic novella filled with mysteries and constant action. In this novella, there are two main characters that have completely different morals and personalities, that causes society to question their relationship. Mr. Hyde is characterized as an individual that society fears due to his appearance and his wicked crimes. Whereas, Dr. Jekyll is portrayed as a kind-hearted man, who is well respected within society. The relationship between these two individuals becomes a mystery to those living in Soho, London, as they are nothing alike and share no common character traits. Mr. Utterson who is a lawyer and a good friend of Dr. Jekyll becomes intrigued by the relationship between these two individuals when going through Jekyll’s will. Mr. Utterson begins to question why Dr. Jekyll would give everything he has to Mr. Hyde if he were to die or to go missing, which causes him to decide to play the role of a detective. Mr. Utterson’s goal is to figure out who exactly is Mr. Hyde and why is he so closely related to Dr. Jekyll. Throughout Mr. Utterson’s journey, he learns a lot of mysterious information about Mr. Hyde and experiences situations that cause him to believe that he found out the truth about Mr. Hyde. Personally, I really enjoyed reading this novella, as it was very mysterious and caused me to become very intrigued with the story. Overall, it was a great book with a good amount of interesting details and contained a great storyline. As a result, I would recommend this novella to anyone who enjoys a good mystery story.  -Jeffery K.

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How to Disappear

Sharon Huss Roat

Vicky Decker has been struggling with social anxiety for almost all her life. The only person she dares to speak to at school is her best friend, Jenna. Until one day, Jenna moves way.

Because of Jenna moving away, Vicky has no one to talk to, and her anxiety only gets worse. When Vicky realizes that Jenna has easily adjusted to her new lifestyle and made many new friends, Vicky instantly becomes very jealous and a much lonelier.

In hopes of trying to impress Jenna, and showing her that she doesn’t need her, Vicky photoshops pictures of herself at concerts and parties and, sends them to Jenna. Realising how fun this is, Vicky makes an account on Instagram under the name of “Vicurious” (because of how she lives vicariously). Using hashtags like #alone, #broken, #invisible, Vicky gains a massive following.

Now Vicky is more at ease in communicating but is also getting carried away with her new life. Since no one knows she is “Vicurious”, she cannot speak to anyone about it, which makes her feel lonelier and lonelier.

However, on her account, she tells everyone that is depressed or has anxiety that they can talk to her. She is very kind to all her fans and everyone who has a doubt that they aren’t good enough. This makes her instantly viral. Everyone, including big celebrities, is very impressed by Vicky’s kindness and how socially involved she is, and how she is using her platform for a good cause.

Instead of this making her feel good, she feels like a liar. On her account, she gives advice on how to feel good about yourself and how to be less introverted, but how can she give tips on something she is very bad at? Will Vicky stay a lie, and keep being more and more alone, or will she step up and try to change herself?

This touching, funny, and relatable novel will surely be heartwarming to a lot of teenagers everywhere. -Khadeeja F.

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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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