Stars

Eric Walters

Joseph had never known that the sky could be so big, but somehow out in the wilderness everything was clearer. Maybe he had just been too busy stealing and running and hiding from the cops to look up. Or maybe being stuck with a stupid bunch of losers and social workers was beginning to get to him. Whatever it was, the sky was huge, and filled with stars. And the stars were what Joseph liked best.

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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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Christmas at Saddle Creek

Shelley Peterson

Bird is dumped at Saddle Creek Farm with her Aunt Hannah while her mother Eva parties for Christmas. At midnight on Christmas Eve, in the midst of an ice storm, Cody (the loyal coyote) alerts Bird that elderly Laura Pierson is in danger down the road. Sundancer, Cody, and Bird head out to save her. The family’s plans change due to the storm, but everyone finally gathers for Christmas dinner. While the after-dinner bonfire burns, Bird learns the meaning of Christmas.

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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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The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Cynthia Hand

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

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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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Bridge of Clay

Markus Zusak

The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

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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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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

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