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 Anna Todd

5 Stars

Image result for after by anna todd movie poster

After by Anna Todd is about a girl named Tessa who has the perfect life, and the rest of her life planned out by her mother. She already knows that her best friend turned boyfriend, Noah, and herself will be happily married together right after she finishes college-but everything changes when she actually gets to college. When Tessa reaches her dream college, she instantly realizes how different everyone is from her. Her roommate has a peculiar friend group with everyone just wanting to get together. One friend, in particular, Hardin Scott, comes to Tessa’s attention for being so ignorant and rude to everyone. Hardin likes to keep to himself and go from girl to girl never really opening up to them. You would think this shouldn’t be a problem for Tessa since she has a boyfriend, but no. This just attracts Tessa to him even more, being disloyal to Noah. Despite their differences, Hardin and Tessa always seem to find a way to each other and eventually are in a relationship which is the most toxic thing ever. Perfect Tessa and troubled Hardin with a horrible past who is a very mean drunk due to his father, and gets drunk constantly could not be more different and are fighting constantly. They fight constantly but are both sure they are made for each other At the end of the book, Tessa learns the biggest secret that Hardin kept from her-which leads to the next book. This book used to be a One Direction fanfiction that was first published on WattPad but characters were changed due to copyright purposes (Harry Styles turned into Hardin Scott, etc.) however, it has nothing to do with the band. It had over 1 billion reads online which is what turned it into a hardcopy book, and now a movie.  

What I really didn’t like about the book was Tessa’s whole character. She always thought he was cheating on her when if anything he should be worried about her since she literally cheated on Noah for him. She also never trusted him and was pretty much entitled. Also, this book promoted toxic relationships as romance. Yet, these things made the book better because I loved to make fun of Tessa’s illogical decisions. 

The author does a really good job of making Hardin a likable character, despite his rude personality, which is really difficult to do. This book was very addicting and impossible to put down. This book is pretty graphic and resulted in me skipping pages to chapters at times to avoid reading it. For that reason, I’d recommend the book to anyone 15+. 

Khadeeja F.

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By Stephen King

4.5 Stars

Image result for it by stephen king

Dread is lurking throughout Derry, the parents are too ignorant to realize it, and the kids are too scared to face it. And for every 27 years, this dread resurfaces, only to feed on the small frightened children of Derry. The last thing that these victims will ever feel is the fear of the dreadful, ashy clown, the presence of IT. However, fear turns into anger within a child after IT hurts someone close to him and anger can be a dangerous thing, even to a clown.  

Stephen King’ s  IT  is a horrifying book. Not just from the killer clowns and haunted houses, but from its grim twist on reality. What should be worried parents are just abusive, negligent monsters. The bullies in this book aren’t only just bothersome and annoying, they are borderline murderers that want everyone else to feel more than just pain. However, within this twisted outlook on reality, there are some genuinely enjoyable moments throughout the book. Whether it was biking to beat the devil or a triumph that took 27 years to achieve, these moments will keep your blood pumping even minutes after you’ve finished the chapter. Speaking of getting your blood pumping, the scary elements of the book are near perfection. Ninety percent of scares have a purpose, either to masterfully set the tone, to establish motivation, or even to foreshadow future events. Not to mention that they’ll make you want to check under the bed for monsters. So every time a door creaks or a kid is all alone in a lifeless hallway, you know you’re in for a real thrill.  

One common complaint that I hear about the book though, is that it’s way too long. To be fair, it is a little more than 1000 pages, but you don’t need to finish it in a week. This book is diverse enough to not feel repetitive, even after 1000 pages. 

Adam O.

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by Laurie Halse Anderson

5 Stars

Image result for speak by laurie halse anderson

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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by J.M Kelly

5 Stars

Image result for speed of life by jm kelly

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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