by Adam Silvera

4 Stars

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio are two teenage boys who discover they only have one day left to live. On September 5 at midnight both Mateo and Rufus receive a call from Death-Cast, a company that is able to predict the deaths of individuals. The boys learn that they are now Deckers, someone who has only twenty-four hours left to live. Instead of living out one’s final day alone, the app Last Friend helps lonely Deckers find someone to spend their last day with. Through the Last Friend app, Mateo and Rufus meet and spend the day accompanying each other. The boys’ lives change throughout their unforgettable day together and last great adventure.  

Overall, They Both Die at the End was an emotional and inspiring novel. Even though the title directly tells readers what to expect, the heartwarming journey the characters embark on is definitely worth reading. The title caught my interest immediately was the reason I was intrigued to read this book. From the touching storyline, I was thoroughly impressed and could not put the book down. There are multiple side characters within the story, and I enjoyed reading the different perspectives. While reading, you can feel all of the emotions the characters are feeling, from their happiness, love, pain, and anger. The novel shows readers how a stranger can completely change your life as Mateo and Rufus changed each other. I love how this book teaches the readers to be grateful for every moment in life and to live life to the fullest.   

Emily K.

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by E. Lockhart

1 Star

We Were Liars is a novel by E. Lockhart. I was in the market for an interesting “mystery” type novel, and I had seen this book praised in social media for the longest time. I finally gave in and decided to read the book. I was not impressed. 

We We’re Liars follows the story of a rich and distinguished family who spends each summer on their private island. The main characters include a group of four teenage friends who call themselves the Liars. The story especially concentrates on one of the teenagers, a girl who develops amnesia following an accident that happens during the summer when she was 15. We follow along as she tries to remember what truly happened during that summer. 

Although I was intrigued at first by the storyline, I did not end up enjoying this book at all. I found the characters hard to relate to, probably because of their rich world. I also found the story to be bland. It took the longest time before getting to any “juicy” parts. The author gives small hints about “the accident” here and there, but nothing of importance and nothing to keep the reader really hooked. I almost gave up reading it several times because of how slow the development was. The only interesting part in this book is the ending… but even with that in mind I wouldn’t recommend it. The time spent on reading the first 190 pages of the book is not worth it, not even with that shocker ending. Lockhart did not meet my expectations with this book, and I was disappointed.

Emma O.

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by Alexa Donne

4.5 Stars

The Ivies rule the school at Claflin Academy. They’re a group of girls who would stop at nothing to ensure their spots in an Ivy League school. The five girls have been sabotaging the other students throughout their four high school years to ensure that they will always stay on top. They each applied to different schools to ensure they’d all make it in. When the leader of the group, Avery, doesn’t make it into Harvard, there is lots of tension among the group. What Avery doesn’t know is Olivia and Emma, who are also in the Ivies, also applied to Harvard. When Emma tells Avery she got in, Avery is furious. The next morning, Emma is found dead. With all eyes on the Ivies, Olivia must find a way to clear her name, while trying to find Emma’s murder. Along the way, she finds shocking information and learns the Ivies are deadlier than she ever imagined.  

There were so many shocking twists and turns throughout this book that I didn’t see coming. Each of the characters were so complex and necessary to move the story along. I really enjoyed this author’s writing style and how she made the story relatable for teenagers, even though it was about murder. Olivia, the narrator, had a really interesting take on the entire situation that helped you look at the story in a different light. The story took place at a boarding school, and the whole dynamic was much different than at a public school. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend it!  

Hailey B.

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directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers

5 Stars

Joe Gardner is a middle school band teacher whose life hasn’t gone exactly how he expected. He feels unfulfilled at his current job, and he knows that with his excellent piano skills, his true passion is jazz. One of his former students informs Joe of an opening in the band of the legend Dorothea Williams. Dorothea is impressed by Joe’s piano playing and offers him a job immediately. Joe gets the amazing opportunity to play at the best jazz club in town that night. However, in the streets of New York, Joe falls down a manhole transporting his soul into the “Great Beyond”, a foyer with a long walkway, where souls line up going to a white light. Not wanting to die so soon, he escapes the pathway and ends up in the “Great Before”, a place where young souls are mentored to discover their personalities and sparks before going to Earth. Because Joe is determined to get back to Earth somehow, he pretends to be an instructor who trains souls. Joe is given a girl who is only known by her number, 22. 22 is a soul who does not like Earth and finds it pointless. Joe desperately tries everything he can to get 22 to find her purpose and passion. Doing so, Joe learns what it means to have a soul.  

Soul is a funny, moving, and incredibly animated film. The film is all about life journey and finding your “spark”. The movie showcases the journey of finding your true purpose by helping each other. The concept is unique and thought-provoking for older audiences, yet still funny and relatable for children. I loved the deeply moving message of appreciating the gift of life. This is a must-watch for the entire family!  

Emily K.

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by Maika & Maritza Moulite

4 Stars

The young adult fiction, One Of The Good Ones, written by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite, was a depressing but yet a remarkable book. It tells the story of an activist teen, Kezi, who unfortunately dies in police custody after attending a protest. As Kezi’s family deals with grief, Kezi’s younger sister, Happi, sets out a plan to go on a road trip in honour of her sister. The road trip that Happi and Kezi’s friends are set on going, is the trip that Kezi has always wanted to go on right after she would have graduated from high school. The story isn’t just in Happi’s perspective, it’s also in Evelyn’s perspective, Happi and Kezi’s grandmother, but not just Evelyn’s perspective, it’s also in Kezi perspective. As you’re reading the book, in the beginning it’s very slow-paced, but as you continue to read more, all you want to do is find out what really happened to Kezi. Which, as your reading more, gets you very anxious, and at some point you just want to put the book down. Happi is very closed off in the beginning of the book, but as the story unravels you get to see truly who the real Happi is.

The way Maika & Maritza Moulite wrote this story truly feels as if you are present in the story. This book is very much a wake-up call to those that don’t believe what’s actually happened to black individuals, to those that don’t know how people treat black individuals. It’s very heartbreaking to know that people some people recently found out what black people go through, not just them, there are so many other races that are being treated horribly, and it’s sad to think that only because of what’s been happening in the past 2 years people have woken up. Overall, this book should definitely be on your list, although I wouldn’t suggest it to a younger audience because of all the heavy topics, I recommend this book to 14 years and older.

Hoda. D

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