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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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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Stained

Cheryl Rainfield

“Stained” by Cheryl Rainfield is an astonishing yet dark book based on the experience of being abducted Rainfield had gone through, just like the main character in the book.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows wants nothing but to be an average teenager-despite the fact that she has a port wine stain splattered across half her face. Because of her birthmark, she gets many unwanted stares and gets bullied by peers quite regularly.

One day, on her way home from school, she is abducted but not by any random person – but by someone very close to her family. She is held captive with the very minimum to eat and abused both physically and mentally. She thinks she will stay here forever, especially since no one will ever suspect this person to abduct her.

Sarah knows her will to live is up to her, and that she must fight hard and try to escape. This spectacular book has you asking many questions like, “will Sarah make it out?”, “how long will Sarah be kidnapped?”, and many more.

The book is in both Sarah and her friend’s Nick point of views – one to show how Sarah is coping, and the other to show how everyone else is. Personally, I liked the fact that you could see what was happening in the outside world and how Sarah’s parents were dealing with her abduction along with what Sarah was doing, which doesn’t always happen in books like this very often.

This book is a must read for every young adult, that will definitely keep them up all night reading the book! -Khadeeja F.

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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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Carve the Mark

Veronica Roth

Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth have grown up in enemy countries locked in a long-standing fight for dominance over their shared planet. When the ruling Noavek family kidnaps Akos and his brother, Akos must serve Cyra, the sister of a dictator who governs with violence and fear. Cyra has a reputation for transferring extraordinary pain unto others with simple touch, and her tyrant brother uses her as a weapon against those who challenge him. Nevertheless, as Akos fights for his own survival, he recognizes that Cyra is also fighting for hers, and that her true gift—resilience—might be what saves them both.

When Akos and Cyra find themselves in the middle of a raging rebellion, all of their beliefs about their world and themselves are in question. Fighting for what is right might mean betraying their countries, their families, and each other.

When the time comes, will they choose loyalty or love?

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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

The nation of Panem (that used to be North America) is made up of 12 districts and the Capitol that rules them. Residents of The Capitol live a glamorous, fabulous lifestyle compared to the very poor, sorrowful lifestyle of the Districts. Every year, one boy and one girl (aged 12-18) from each District is forced to be in the Hunger Games, a televised game where it’s either kill or be killed. So, on the day of the Reaping, in her District 12, when Katniss’ sister Primrose gets chosen as that year’s tribute in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The boy chosen was Peeta Mellark, who has seen Katniss within their district. At first, Katniss is okay with Peeta and considers him just a friend but, after Peeta comments regarding her on live television she has quite a surprising reaction, rethinking her original opinion of him. Leading up to the commencement of the Hunger Games, a former winner from district 12, Haymitch is mentoring them. He prepares them for the games, helping them throughout many challenges they encounter within the games with helpful gifts.

In an enthralling journey, Katniss Everdeen must fight for her life in order to survive. If she is the last one standing, it means a much better and richer life. If she loses it means definite death! That is what the Hunger Games is all about. Through extreme obstacles and variable terrains, Katniss and Peeta go through difficult decisions that their life will depend on. Who will be the one to survive? Who won’t make it home? It will all come down to life or death if Katniss wants to see her family again.

Being the first out of the three books in the series, it was surprisingly enjoyable and very hard to put down. This book has emotion, excitement and tension. But, in my opinion, there could’ve been more action and some events could’ve had a different outcome. I give this book 4 stars because it is very well written and is such an amazing adventure that the characters had to go through. I suggest reading this because of the conflicts, life and death struggles and how, combined, they brought forth unexpected emotions. Because of the mature content within the story I recommend this book for ages 12+. – Emma M.

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