by Katherine Applegate

5 Stars

The One and Only Ivan

The book, The One and Only Ivan, is about a Gorilla on his epic journey to his home, the zoo. The novel is written in the first person from the point of view of Ivan, a gorilla. Ivan and his friends all work at Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. In this mall, Ivan and his friends try to catch people’s attention, by running a circus. Ivan and his friends all work for Mack, who’s a stubborn man and only cares about how his business is going, not his animals. On his journey, he meets lots of new friends. That die and survive. Some of the main friends that he meets on his journey are Stella, Bob, Ruby, etc. Stella’s an older elephant, Bob’s a dog, and Ruby’s a baby elephant. 

All of these characters provide great help to Ivan, but Ruby is the one who can change Ivan’s life forever! 

Ivan lives in a domain where there is a Genitor named George, who has a daughter named Julia. 

Julia is a human and one of Ivan’s best friends. One thing in common between the two is that they both love art!  

In my opinion, the book, The One and Only Ivan is a great read! I like the main message of the book, storytelling. One of the ways they used storytelling in this book is when Ivan can’t sleep he goes to Stella to listen to a story from her past. Another reason why I liked this book is that it gives a really strong message to never give up! Ivan goes through a lot, but eventually, he gets to his home, the zoo. I would prefer this book, for all ages. 

“This beautiful, life-affirming story will soar directly from Ivan’s heart into yours.” – Katherine Applegate

Ahmed Q.

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by James Dashner

5 Stars

The Eye of Minds

The novel The Eye of Minds by James Dashner is a story about a young teenage boy named Micheal. Since he doesn’t have the chance of seeing his parents much, he spends most of his time gaming. This book takes place in the future, where gaming and technology are more advanced and ultra-modern than this current era. The main gaming system displayed in the book is called VirtNet. This stunning gaming system provides a great experience for gamers whose minds are connected to the system, making them present in a virtual world. This world also unlocks the gamer’s ability to use their five senses. Everything starts well until a sudden event occurs. Kaine, a cyber-terrorist, has the ability to claim different gamer profiles, forcing them to follow whatever he says. The owners of VirtNet are shocked but are willing to find a way to stop the dangerous cyber-terrorist before he hurts their company and its profits.  

To catch a hacker, you need a hacker. VirtNet has been examining Micheal and his hacking skills. They decide to use him to save VirtNet and find Kaine. This risk is enormous, and Micheal realizes that he might have a chance of dying in the process. It’s a dangerous journey, but Micheal and his friends are ready to take the challenge. 

This novel was truly a masterpiece. The book contained great detail and was fast-paced, which drew me right from the beginning. This book also kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next. Overall, I would recommend this book to all ages.

Ahmed Q.

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Check out what the Teen Advisory Group is reading now!

Counting Down with you by Tashie Bhuiyan

Karina Ahmead has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules–even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything. “Karina is my girlfriend.” Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right–he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back. T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal–but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

“From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks … Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that. But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane. All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one-namely, displaced in time from the 1970s-she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing. Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time”– Provided by publisher.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

“Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began … and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?”– Provided by publisher.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

When his volatile father is picked to become an astronaut for NASA’s mission to Mars, seventeen-year-old Cal, an aspiring journalist, reluctantly moves from Brooklyn to Houston, Texas, and looks for a story to report, finding an ally (and crush) in Leon, the son of another astronaut.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson descendants, Charlotte and Jamie, students at a Connecticut boarding school, team up to solve a murder mystery.

by Traci Chee

4.5 Stars

We Are Not Free

The Historical Fiction/Young Adult Fiction, We Are Not Free, written by Traci Chee, was an addictive and intriguing book. It was also quite unusual. The author featured 14 Japanese American teens during the perspectives of 14 Japanese American characters. Usually, in books that have 3-5 characters, each character has had his/her chapter. I never personally liked that. But the way Traci Chee had Frankie, Tommy, Ike, Twitchy, Mas, Shig, Minnow, Stan, Bette, Yum-yum and Yosh have their own chapters and perspectives. It was a different book. I never read anything like it, but once I started reading it, more and more, I literally couldn’t put it down! All the 14 teens had different characteristics like bravery, artistic, leadership, talent, loveable, athletic, funny, considerate, friendly, humble, intelligent, sensitive, outgoing and optimistic. The story is about all the 14 teens’ lives turning upside down after over 100,000 people of Japanese descent have been removed from their homes in San Francisco and forced into hard labour camps. These 14 Nisei (a person born in the US or Canada whose parents are from Japan) teens gather to compare their perceptions as they are all facing racism and prosecution to pull them all apart. This book is historical fiction directed at young adults, but in some parts, there is crude language. This story is based on all the lives we’ve lost, especially during WWII. I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up. This is historical fiction and young adult. The book deals with the creoles and discrimination and other races at that time when they were treated badly during WWII. Characters do go through some of the hard times in life for the Japanese and other races at the time that were treated really poorly during WWII. It may have situations and events that are hard for some children under 12 to understand. Nevertheless, I rate this book a 4.5/5 star. It’s an amazing read and an emotional read!

4.5 Stars

Hoda D.

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by Andrzej Sapkowski

5 Stars

The Last Wish

Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher: The Last Wish is the first entry in Sapkowski’s The Witcher series. The novel is a collection of stories about Geralt of Rivia’s adventures as a Witcher. Throughout the novel he encounters a variety of interesting characters and creatures, such as a striga, a giant bear who is half-man, a wizard, a queen, and a devil among others. Throughout the novel, Geralt meets people who hire him to deal with monsters. However, the tasks he is given are often more complicated than they first seem.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Witcher: The Last Wish. Sapkowski’s writing style is interesting and engaging, creating an exceptional novel that is hard to put down. The book consists of several short stories of Geralt’s adventures that combine to form a larger story filled with messages and morals. Geralt is a fascinating character who truly elevates the novel into a masterpiece. He is witty, intelligent, strong, and courageous. He is also very cautious and always expects the unexpected to occur. I found it interesting to read about his friend Dandelion, who is the complete opposite of Geralt. Dandelion is cheerful, energetic, optimistic, and always assumes the best of people. This creates an interesting dynamic between the two and leads to some amusing scenes where both are taken out of their element and act a bit like each other. Overall The Witcher: The Last Wish is an excellent novel and is truly one of the books where if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. I would give this book 5 stars out of 5.

Ethan M.

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by Deborah Ellis

5 stars

My Name Is Parvana

The Fiction, My Name Is Parvana, written by Deborah Ellis, was an adventurous and astonishing book. It’s the fourth and final book of the Breadwinner series. It tells the story of a 15-year-old Parvana imprisoned and designated as a suspected terrorist in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was carrying her late father’s shoulder bag, which was searched by the American soldiers. They found a notebook that she wrote letters to Nooria, Asif, Hassan, Leila, Shauzia, pens, and a chewed-up copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. Parvana refuses to talk, and the interrogator thinks Parvanna is either deaf or mute. She doesn’t even respond to any questions in the languages the interrogator suspects she knows, she remains silent even when she is threatened, harassed and treated horribly over several days. While her fate is in the balance, the interrogator and the force to determine her fate, she remembers flashbacks of the past four years of her life. Remembering her mother and sisters living in a village where her mother had finally managed to open a school for girls called Leila’s Hope of Academy. Even when the Taliban had been driven by the government, the country was still at war, and many families continue to view the freedom of education of girls and women with fear. As Parvana’s family settles into the routine of running the school, she finds herself bored. She even thinks of running away. Her mother was killed due to the local men that had threatened the school and destroyed the school, which puts Paravana’s own life in danger. This story is one inspiring book to read. This book is a must-read, and I recommend this book to all ages. I rate this story 5/5 stars!

Hoda D.

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