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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Rabbit & Robot

Andrew Smith

Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they’ll be stranded alone in space forever.

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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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Trouble Never Sleeps

Stephanie Tromly

Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy

No one makes getting into trouble look as good as Philip Digby—and he looks good doing it. Now that he’s back in town, he’s plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He’s got a lead, but it involves doing a deal with the scion of an alarmingly powerful family, not to mention committing some light treason. Zoe and Digby are officially together now, and she’s definitely up for whatever closure this new caper might offer, even though this mystery will come with a twist neither expected.

With acerbic banter, steamy chemistry, and no small amount of sarcasm, Zoe and Digby are the will-they-or-won’t-they, charismatic crime solving couple you’ve been waiting for.

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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 Brightsiders

Jen Wilde

A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out, and life in the spotlight after being labeled the latest celebrity trainwreck in Jen Wilde’s quirky and utterly relatable novel.

As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck.

Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing.

Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own?

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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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