5 Stars

by Stuart Turton 

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In Stuart Turton’s ingenious mystery, The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle, Aiden finds himself all alone in a dark, eerie forest residing on the grounds of Blackheath. He has no memories of his past or who he is. However, one thing remains ingrained in his mind, the name Anna. In order to find out about his past, he must solve the mystery of the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. This fairly straightforward task sends Aiden on a long, winding path that involves him unravelling the many secrets of Blackheath. Figuring out who the mysterious Anna is, and answering the question ‘who am I?’ all while avoiding the dangerous footman.  

I personally enjoyed this original, exciting page-turner. One of the things I enjoyed was the fact that unlike most mystery novels, there were many different layers hidden inside the one main mystery, which led to some interesting choices made by Aiden on which task to prioritize. On top of this, Stuart Turton added in an intriguing element to the storyline and character definition, with how Aiden became one of the different guests each day. With each guest came advantages and disadvantages, adding another layer of excitement and creativity. I also appreciated how the history of Blackheath was brought into the mystery. Furthermore, every time it seemed as though Aiden had found the killer, there would be a major revelation proving him wrong. Overall, I highly recommend The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to anyone who is looking for an engaging novel. One that will keep them turning page after page as they attempt to piece the clues together.  

Ethan M.

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by Laurie Halse Anderson

5 Stars

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Freshman year for Melinda Sordino is an absolute nightmare. After busting an end-of-the-summer party by calling the cops, she begins high school as an outcast. She finds herself being rejected by her friends, avoided by fellow students, and unable to reveal a terrible secret that is constantly haunting her. Melinda feels lonely and depressed during the school year, as she has no one to open up to, and she feels that no one truly cares about her. Melinda goes through months and months of school unable to speak up about the truth of what happened at the summer party, but when she finally builds up the courage to do so, everything changes. 

Speak is a very emotional novel that talks about sensitive topics. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as the overall message was very powerful. Not only does the novel touch on real-world issues, but the author also offers real solutions to Melinda’s pain, which can be very beneficial to readers that may be in a similar situation to her. The characters were undoubtedly realistic and relatable, and I felt connected to each of them while reading as they were all described so precisely. The storyline was very creative, and the ending was a phenomenal way to conclude the novel. Speak will surely grip teen readers and can open up several discussions regarding the themes and topics addressed in the novel. Overall, Speak was an excellent book to read, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys motivational coming-of-age novels. 

Emily K

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Directed by Jon M. Chu

5 Stars

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Crazy Rich Asians is a film directed by Jon M. Chu, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. It is a romantic comedy film following Rachel Chu’s journey as she accompanies her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Rachel, an economics professor from New York, is excited to visit Asia for the very first time and meet Nick’s family. However, she has no clue what is in store for her. When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel is surprised to discover that Nick is considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors and his family are among the richest in Singapore. Rachel is forced to contend with jealous socialites, and something far worse, Nick’s disapproving mother. 

I enjoyed this film very much as the storyline was very interesting and quite intriguing. I enjoyed all of the scenes between Rachel and Nick’s mother as it displays a lot of emotion. Additionally, the film consists of a range of stunning scenery and cinematography, which are very appealing to the eye. I feel that the music choices were excellent and went very well with the scenes that they were used in and the actors and actresses were incredible. Overall, I enjoyed the film very much, and I hope that there will be a sequel in the future. To conclude, I would highly recommend Crazy Rich Asians to others, as it is a spectacular and heartwarming romantic comedy that is sure to be loved by many. 

Emily K.

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by J.M Kelly

5 Stars

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This book follows twin sisters Crystal and Amber Robbins as they cope with the challenges of teen parenthood. At the beginning of the story, one of them gives birth to a baby girl (it is not revealed who), and they agree to raise her together. They must balance regular high school classes with their parenting classes and their part-time jobs. They manage—they’ll have to if they hope to graduate, get out of their small apartment, and get away from their irresponsible parents. The only thing stopping them is Crystal’s passion for antique cars. When she applies to a college that teaches just that, behind her sister’s back and making plans, knowing her sister won’t approve, she almost tears them apart.  

***

This book was not for me. With the exception of the baby, I didn’t really like any of the characters. I probably would have given it one star were it not for the fact that I appreciated how real and raw it was. The perspective is believable, and the author does not shy away from the not-so-glamorous details.  

However, as much as these not-so-glamorous details are important in understanding teen parents and the struggles they face, I think J.M. Kelly went a little overboard. She rambles on and on about conflicting work schedules, the college application process, and the spicy tamales the motel owner cooks, but she fails to deliver when it comes to climatic events. The “big reveals” were not at all what I was hoping for, executed so poorly I almost wanted to stop reading. I would leave this one on the shelf… 

Catey F.

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