by R.J Palacio

5 Stars

Wonder. R.J. Palacio: Palacio, R. J.: 0780537302395: Books - Amazon.ca

This is a very emotional and heart touching story. The novel Wonder by R.J Palacio takes place in Beecher Prep, located in New York City. It tells a story about a 10-year-old boy named Auggie Pullman who was born with a facial disorder. This causes August to not fit in everywhere he goes. To figure the problem, Auggie’s parents make him start going to school in 5th grade, so he can have a chance to make new friends, and adapt to different life problems. August faces many challenges in school that effected his physical and mental appearance, but with the help and support of his friends and family, he was able to overcome it.

Overall, this is a well-written novel that definitely caught my interest. This book contains a roller coaster of emotions that have definitely changed my life. Wonder teaches us the brutality of society, of how people like August are being treated in an unwanting manner, which could affect them long term. It teaches us people around the world should accept one another, instead of judging on their outer looks which in the end, makes everyone happy. The main theme that Palacio uses is kindness. It makes readers think and realize, how kindness is a tool that brings each other together and can make a huge difference in one’s friendship. Wonder is a heartwarming book, that portrays a powerful message to the outside world. This book is a must-read, and I would definitely recommend it for all ages.

Ahmed Q.

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by Eric Walters

5 Stars

Camp X (Camp X, #1) by Eric Walters

In the novel Camp X by Eric Walters, 11-year-old George and his older brother, Jack, move to Whitby, Ontario, in the year of 1943. One day, as they were playing around and having a good time, they stumble across a military spy base, known as Camp X. Their curiosity levels grew as they kept exploring the place, but soon enough they were caught and were forced to sign the Offical Secret Act, which states how they are forbidden to tell anyone about the secret military base, if told, the punishment is death. Since then, the boys learn much more about the camp and are assigned to different tasks. One day, the boys were delivering newspapers, when all of a sudden, they were caught by German soldiers. They were tortured and humiliated, but they gain a lot of information about the germans and learn their evil plot against the camp. They risk their own lives of escaping and warning Camp X about the German’s evil plan. In the end, they were proud of their work and success.

Overall, this book was entertaining and interesting. This book relates to WW2 and the events that took place during the war. It gives the reader an important lesson on how preparation is key when facing any type of situation. The book contains a perfect amount of humour, mystery, tragedy and suspense, to help the reader show more interest in it and enjoy the whole story. I would definitely recommend this action-packed novel to all ages.

Ahmed Q.

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by William Bell

5 Stars

Crabbe by William Bell

Everyone always has a will and the ability to survive, whether it involves life or death situations. The novel Crabbe, by William Bell, tells the story of a dependent, lonely, semi alcoholic, who escapes to the wilderness, only to learn that running away is not a solution to one’s problems. Franklin Crabbe, the main protagonist of the novel, feels controlled by his parents and thinks he has no freedom in his life whatsoever. Feeling pointless and ineffectual, the eighteen-year-old makes a life learning decision. He decides to run away from society a day before his final exams, without leaving any trace behind. Unprepared for bush life, Crabbe’s life nearly ends, until he meets someone else who has other reasons to hide. His journey throughout the woods, Crabbe learns many practical skills, which make him confident, mature, and responsible. The main message that Bell wants to convey to the reader is that running away is not the best option when solving problems. Instead, it’s better to seek help or to become more independent to develop good character traits that help find a solution.  

Overall, this book was truly remarkable. In the beginning, for me, this book wasn’t enjoyable and was losing my interest level. But as I kept reading, I started to realize this book wasn’t so bad after all. It includes all the symbols and motifs to help engage the reader more into the book. It shows the reader how little actions can make a huge difference in a person’s life. This book is definitely worth reading and would recommend it to anyone.

Ahmed Q.

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by Kahled Hosseini

5 Stars

The Kite Runner eBook: Hosseini, Khaled: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, is a well written, crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being completely destroyed. It tells the story of a young afghan boy named Amir, who faced many different challenges during his childhood, which will haunt him forever. This story takes place during the 70s in Afghanistan, following the two protagonists. Amir, a Pashtun boy, and Hassan, a Hazara. They were great friends and were both raised in Baba’s house (Amir’s father). One of the biggest challenges for the main protagonist Amir is to face the complex culture he faces. Growing up with Hassan, Amir felt like Hassan was stealing Baba’s love from him. Readers will get to see how Amir deals with his jealousy, and the ways he will get his father’s attention.  

To conclude, this novel is definitely worth reading. The events that took place during the novel were a bit disturbing and explicit, but overall I enjoyed reading it. The book contains a rollercoaster of different emotions. Hosseini also uses many literary devices such as Imagery, Foreshadowing, and Symbolism, to help engage the reader more into the book. The story itself, in my opinion, was heartbreaking and devastating. This life lesson story opened my eyes and has taught me the importance that everyone can become a better person, no matter their past, and the first main step is to forgive themselves and move on. It was an absolute pleasure to read this remarkable book.

Ahmed Q.

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by William Golding

5 Stars

Lord of the Flies eBook by William Golding - 9781101158104 ...

Lord of the Flies takes the reader on an adventure of the depraved side of humanity, and the savagery that underlies with even the most well-mannered, civilized human beings. William Golding purposely wrote this novel to illustrate and help readers understand mankind’s evil nature. Golding presents his message in a very unique way. He portrays a variety of events leading a group of young, civilized boys, who later on, turn into savage, bloodthirsty killers who have no desire for human life.  

In the midst of an infuriating war, a plane evacuating a young group of schoolboys for Britain is shot down, and ironically, all of the adults were killed in this tragic incident. The well-mannered, civilized boys find themselves on a deserted, tropical island, where no help is found. The group of young boys initially revel in their freedom and try to develop and expand their own society. They do this by appointing hunters, using the conch for a signal of help, holding assemblies, etc. Everything starts going well, but as disagreements break out amongst them, their life on the island becomes increasingly harsh and brutal. 

Overall, this expressive, tragic novel portrays a deep meaning. William Golding reminds us of the dark side of human nature. I personally enjoyed reading this book. Many readers as myself thought that Lord of the Flies might be confusing or boring, due to it being a classic novel, but the novel itself is quite exceptional. The ways different events change and devolve, add a very interesting and dynamic ending, of how the good of a person can quickly vanish and their primal human instincts taking over. The novel also contains good imagery that is displayed in the book. I recommend this novel for anyone who likes adventure and survival.

Ahmed Q.

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by Arthur Golden

4 Stars

Memoirs of a Geisha - Wikipedia

Memoirs of a Geisha follows nine-year-old Chiyo as she begins a new life and is taken from her small fishing village in Yoroido, Japan by a businessman, Mr. Tanaka. Because her mother is sick, and her father cannot raise her and her sister alone, Chiyo believes that she is being adopted by a wealthy family. However, Chiyo eventually ends up in Kyoto, far away from her family and with an unexpected new family. She is sold to a Geisha house, forced to be a maid until the house’s ruling hierarchy determines if she is ready to become a Geisha herself. After much training, Chiyo becomes a Geisha and goes by the name Sayuri. Sayuri has incredible influence and beauty and begins her new life as one of the most powerful Geisha in Japan overcoming obstacles and learning valuable lessons along the way. 

All in all, this novel was filled with drama and constant surprises. I felt connected to Chiyo as her character was very realistic and described so vividly. By reading this novel, I got an insight into the world of Geisha in Japan, which I had no knowledge of prior to reading this novel. I was intrigued and fascinated by reading about the life of Geisha and Japanese culture. The overall storyline was griping and truly fascinating. My only critique would be that at some parts of the novel, I felt that some details could have been left out and some sections dragged on for too long. But overall, Memoirs of a Geisha is truly a beautiful and captivating novel that I enjoyed reading very much. 

Emily K.

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by Stephanie Garber

5 Stars

Caraval: Amazon.ca: Garber, Stephanie: Books

Stephanie Garber’s novel Caraval follows a girl named Scarlett Dragna on a journey of self-discovery, and the unbreakable bond between sisters. Caraval is a magical show of performers and magic where the viewers can play the game. When Scarlett’s sister Tella is kidnapped for this year’s show, Scarlett now has to face an island of magic and illusion, discover clues to find Tella. Before it’s too late. 

I enjoyed the metamorphosis Scarlett finds herself in and how her relationship with Julian, the “mysterious sailor”, is not rushed. I loved how the story kept me guessing, with its magical mysteries and constant plot twists. The scenes were written exceptionally and kept me turning pages, especially with the use of colours and smells.  

However, I do believe there was more potential with Scarlett’s parents, especially her mother. The plot twist at the end was a little sudden though I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the same. Otherwise, I don’t have anything bad to say, and I adored this book.  

Stephanie Garber put the magical elements of Holly Black’s Heart of the Moors and the mystical confusion of Alice in Wonderland together in the most perfect way. I would recommend Caraval for readers 13 and up who enjoy fantasy, magic, plot twists and dystopia with an unexpected romance.  

Caraval by Stephanie Garber made me feel as Scarlett felt, cry when she was sad, laugh, and that is the most important part of a book for me. Which is why I gave this book a five-star rating. 

Eva F.

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by Stephen King

5 Stars

The Shining: Amazon.ca: King, Stephen: Books

The Shining is definitely a horror that will force you to fall back into your seat, making you not want to stop reading the book. This book is definitely not a children’s book as it has swearing, and is very scary. The Shining is a horror book about a family that moves to a hotel to take care of it and eventually goes insane. It has some suspense that gets you hooked, and there is always something happening. You will never be bored in this book, and you will want to read it over and over.   This book does get confusing in certain parts, and there are uneven transitions from scenes in the book. Sometimes this book will change between characters, and you would never know. Sometimes in this book, you will have to re-read some paragraphs to fully understand it. If you are a non-fluent reader, I would suggest not reading this book and listen to the audiobook.   I would highly recommend this book as a birthday gift to an older person that loves suspense. Although this book has certain disadvantages, this book has way more positives than disadvantages. This book was an amazing book, and I recommend it to anyone that enjoys reading. Good luck reading this book, and I hope that this review gives you enough information to properly influence your decision. 

Luke P.

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by Lisa Jewel

5 Stars

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

The book Watching You by Lisa Jewell, takes a turn on many events, making this book even more suspenseful than it already is. Watching You takes on many different perspectives, making your conclusions and assumptions take a quick turn. As I was reading the book, I didn’t see many events taking place, and they were so far from what I was expecting. The book takes place in a sweet neighbourhood where everyone seems to know each other. Everyone seems to get along, but it turns out that all those secrets are kept inside.  The title “Watching You” gives the book a creepier feel to it. It’s not like other typical suspense books, and the title really owns up to the book’s plot and story. In the book, there are multiple perspectives that really make you question who the antagonist really is. Who committed this? Did this person really do this? The author really took the time to make this story and plot eventful and suspenseful. Once you pick it up, it’s hard to put it down. Throughout the story, it is filled with drama, and you start to question who is watching who?  The mystery of who the real antagonist is, who has the darkest motives, must be decided through your judgment. Is it the teacher, Tom Fitzwilliam, who seems to be getting quite the amount of attention? Is it the neighbours down the street? Maybe even the teenagers attending the school, you may never know. After all, people don’t seem as innocent as they seem. Watching You is a really good thrilling experience if you want to be immersed in something for a while. 

Rhoanne A.

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by Aiya Kyu, Artist: Aneko Yuagi

5 Stars

The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 01: Yusagi, Aneko ...

This book is told in first-person from Naofumi’s point of view. Naofumi goes to the library to catch up on his light novels and finds this mysterious book about four heroes who save the kingdom of Melromarc from these waves of calamity. As Naofumi flips through the pages of the book, he then loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the kingdom of Melromarc, in a fantasy type world along with three other people: Ren Amaki, Motoyasu Kitamura, and Itsuki Kawasumi. These four are informed that they will help and save the kingdom from these calamity waves, and they will be given one of the Four Holy Weapons. Ren Amaki is given the sword, Motoyasu Kitamura is given the spear, Itsuki Kawasumi is given the bow, and Naofumi Iwatani is given the shield. The fate of this world is now in the hands of these four heroes as they try to save the kingdom. Naofumi thinks that this will be the adventure of his life, but little does he know he will be backstabbed by his only squadmate. He will have to live his life in humility, and now his real adventure starts in this other world.   The book was in first-person because I would sometimes lose track of where I am, and sometimes I am not that engaged since there isn’t a traditional narrator that isn’t in the first-person view. This book is also very cliché that it’s another one of those “isekai” genre light novels, where the main character is transported to another world, most of the time a fantasy world, to save the world from a demon lord of some sort of a villain threatening this other world. This book also has a lot of video game tropes where the characters can pull up a menu to look at like their stats, health menus, and party menus. At first, I thought this was going to be the same “isekai” plot books where a person is trapped in a video game world, trying to go back to their world. But I was wrong. Everything gets flipped, and it turns out that the other three heroes are basically jerks, and Naofumi finds himself screwed over, and eventually he is left to fend for himself in this world. Suddenly we have this “anti-hero Naofumi” where is always angry and grumpy. He’s not like those other main characters of other “isekai” books. Naofumi is a very unique character, which grabbed my attention and pulled me in, and I always thought to myself while reading the book, “what is going to happen to this guy now that the whole kingdom hates him and he is in a very lousy situation.” In the end, this book is interesting. The thing that does surprise you is the main character himself and the other characters around him…   In conclusion, this is a really good and different book from the other “isekai” genre books and I would recommend it to people who like this genre and to people who don’t even read books like these. 

Jirho A.

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