by: Barbara Kingsolver

  In 1959, a family of evangelical Baptists from America relocated to the Belgian Congo on a mission to spread Christianity. Led by Nathan Price, the father of the family, the mother and four children experience the beauty, horror, and undoing of their family, all while the Congo faces its own political turmoil. Nathan Price is a single-minded man, not letting anything get in between him and his dream of setting up a church and baptizing the people of the village where they reside. The people of this village have different views on religion and community than Nathan, yet he is determined to turn them into his way of thinking. He drags the family with him on his mission. This book spans three decades, each with new problems for the family. Told from the perspectives of each of the four children, they give their own insight into the Congo, their father, and their other siblings. Each character has their own voice that you can easily pick up on throughout the writing.

I loved this book because of how Barbara Kingsolver discussed religion, politics, race, and of course, both America and postcolonial Africa through the lens of the Christian Americans. Not only that, but Kingsolver also examined the character’s journeys in understanding more about the people of the Congo. It is a good look into an issue I didn’t know anything about before. We hear from the children as they move away from their preconceived ideas about Christianity and assimilate further into the Congo’s culture. Kingsolver has created a wonderful book full of thought-provoking ideas, characters that you both resent and feel for at the same time, and the misunderstanding from the American standpoint of other cultures, people, and languages that leads to the Poisonwood Bible.

Piper I.

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by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

5 Stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was the first book I read last year, and it was a great choice. Ageing and unsociable Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is ready; to tell the truth about her glamourous and notorious life. But when she chooses an unknown magazine reporter named Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astonished than Monique herself. This book goes over the themes of loyalty, betrayal, loss, sacrifice, and tragedy. Despite what the title may imply, it doesn’t focus so much on the husbands; but rather on Evelyn herself, where we learn very quickly that there’s much more than meets the eye. I would have to say that I didn’t just enjoy the book and that I loved it, and I recommend everyone to at least read it once in their life because it was beautiful.


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by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying was my first YA “Whodunit” book, and it did not disappoint. Karen M. McManus writes in a way that hooks you right from the very beginning and keeps you guessing until the end!  

One of Us Is Lying follows the story of five Bayview High students, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper and Simon. Bronwyn is an intelligent and introverted girl whose goal is to get into Yale. Addy is the popular high school girl who wishes to become the homecoming princess. Nate, also known as the school “bad boy”, is on probation for dealing and doesn’t believe he has a future doing much else. Cooper is a star athlete who has many successes ahead of him. Finally, there is Simon, the outcast and the creator of Simon Says, the high school’s notorious gossip app.  

On Monday, these five students find themselves all wound up in detention. At the end, only four exit the classroom. Why you ask? Because Simon is dead, and according to the investigation, it wasn’t an accident. Simon had planned to reveal dirty secrets on the four survivors the next day. Once this is found, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper all become prime suspects… is one or all of them guilty? 

This novel is definitely a page-turner. It is impossible to put down once you start reading as you want to figure out what happened to Simon. The story is told from the viewpoint of the 4 “prime suspects”, so you get to really relate to each of the characters in unique ways. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to any teenager or YA!

4 Stars

Emma O.

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by Justin A. Reynolds

I was first intrigued in Opposite of Always because I saw that Angie Thomas, one of my favourite authors, had commented that she thoroughly enjoyed this book. I can confirm that this book is one of the best love stories I have ever read. Justin A. Reynolds has done a beautiful job with this novel. When reading the back of the novel, you might think that it could come across as a bit “sci-fi”, but I guarantee it isn’t like that at all.  

Opposite of Always follows the story of two teenagers, Jack and Kate. When Jack and Kate meet at a party, they are instantly compatible. Jack feels as though he might be falling hard for this girl. Soon enough, Kate is meeting Jack’s best friends, Jilian and Franny, who she wins over just as quickly as she did Jack…  

But then Kate dies. Typically this is where the story would end, but no. Kate’s death sends Jack right back to the party where they met. Jack thinks he might be losing his mind because there is Kate standing right next time him, breathing, alive and healthy. Jack doesn’t know what is happening, but if he has the chance to save Kate, he will take it. Will he be able to save Kate, or will their story end just as abruptly as it did the first time? 

This novel is funny, heartfelt, beautiful and everything in between. I strongly suggest this book to any YA reader or even a young teen who loves unexpected love stories. Justin A. Reynolds had me hooked right from the first sentence all the way to the last. This book is definitely one of my top three favourite books that I have read. I look forward to reading more books by this amazing author.

4.5 Stars

Emma O.

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by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You is a romance novel written by Jenny Han that is the sequel to the novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. After recovering from a heated fight, Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship begins to grow, and Lara Jean learns what it is like to be in a real relationship. She begins volunteering at the Belleview retirement home and gets closer to Stormy, an elderly woman who gives Lara Jean relationship advice. One day, Lara Jean receives a letter from a grade school friend John Ambrose McClaren, informing her that he received the old love letter she wrote to him. They become pen pals, and when Lara Jean discovers that the neighbourhood tree house she and her friends used to hang out in will be cut down, she plans a reunion party and invites John. When John and Lara Jean reconnect, her past feelings for him suddenly begin to resurface, causing her to be more confused than ever. Lara Jean finds herself being pursued by two boys, discovering that love is often painful. Between her current boyfriend, Peter, and her past crush, John, she must decide who she should really be with.  

P.S. I Still Love You is a lighthearted and adorable book centred on romance. If you enjoyed the previous book, I would highly recommend picking this one up! I love how relatable Lara Jean is and how the storyline kept me guessing throughout. This book is all about finding yourself, finding love, and experiencing heartbreak. If you are looking for a heartwarming young adult romance novel, this is the ideal book to read!

4 Stars

Emily K.

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by Holly Black

The romance/fantasy Fiction, The Cruel Prince, written by Holly Black, was a dangerous yet charming book. It tells the story of Jude, her parents were murdered when she was only seven. But by whom? The person that murdered her parents is the person that adopted her and her sisters. Can you believe that? I would’ve never seen that coming. Throughout the book, you truly get to see how Jude develops as a character. Honestly, the character she becomes at the end isn’t what I was expecting and neither did I like the way she turned out.

But what else would she have done? Ever since she entered fairy land, she was treated horrible by the prince and his friends because she wasn’t like anyone of them. She doesn’t have their ears, their eyes, their skin or their body. She wants to be them, but she can’t. Eventually, as so many events happen throughout the book, you won’t be able to put the book down. When I mean I don’t like to read books like this, I couldn’t stop once I finished reading it. I just wanted to read the second book. Did I mention this book is a part of a series? Well, there are three more books, and I can’t wait to read them. I definitely recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14 and up. Overall, I rate this book a 4/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

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by Adi Alsaid

The fiction, Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home, edited by Adi Alsaid, was a very breathtaking book. Books like these aren’t the type of books I’d easily be attracted to, but the second I looked at the cover of the book, I just couldn’t resist myself. This story has 15 different authors that wrote their own short stories. All these authors wrote such fascinating stories that I just couldn’t put the book down. Especially, the first short story, All The Colors Of Goodbye, written by Nafiza Azad, was so awe-inspiring to read. Although the short story is very upsetting, it’s still so amazing. All the other short stories were also super fascinating, each short story I read I couldn’t even put the book down.

The second I finished the book, after taking in all the stories and all the messages in, I can say I was very emotional. With all that emotion going through me, all I wanted to do was just read the book all over again. As I mentioned before, I would’ve never read a book like this, and honestly I never would have thought there would be so many stories by different authors in one book. But the second I read all the stories from all the 15 authors, I honestly am so glad I read this book. I have no idea whose idea it was to write a story like this, but I’m guessing it was Adi Alsaid idea, and I will say that such an amazing idea. I definitely recommend this book for people over the age of 12 and up, especially younger adults. Nevertheless, I rate this book a 5/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

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by Nichola Sparks

The romance/domestic, The Rescue, written by Nicholas Sparks, was a very addictive and fascinating novel. It tells the story of a young single mother, Denise Holton, who has a four-year-old son, Kyle. As a young mother, she faces lots of challenges, especially in the town she lives in, she has no family and no close friends nearby. Although having several shifts as a waitress, she gets enough money for the both of them to survive. Having no one nearby, Denise feels very lonely sometimes, although she does have her son, but there’s one problem. Kyle can’t talk, he can, but only a few words. She spends most of her time teaching him how to speak, and sometimes it’s very hard for the both of them. Denise stresses a lot, especially when it comes to Kyle. On a short trip, thunderstorms happen to come, as Denise is driving, which happens to frighten Kyle. But Denise tries her best to get to their destination, but she was a little too late. Their car goes down and Denise loses her consciousness, once she’s awake she’s faced with a volunteered fireman, Taylor McAden. Kyle is missing, he is nowhere to be found, as a mother you would be very stressed, but Taylor tries his best to calm her down and calls 911 to get her to the hospital. Taylor calls the whole team for a rescue to find her son, they try their best, and the whole town even comes down to help find Kyle. Eventually, they find Kyle and slowly but surely throughout the story Taylor and Denise become really good friends and slowly more than friends. But something stops Taylor from their relationship, and Denise is struggling to find out what happened or what she did wrong. A lot happens in this novel, but as I mentioned before, this story is very addicting, and you honestly won’t be able to put it down. Overall, I rate this book a 5/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

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by Zoraida Córdova

Emotions: Surprised but not disappointed

Brujas. Bisexuals. Mistakes. Apologies. Love. Hate. Good. Evil. Diverse. Alice in Wonderland. All those words describe Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova and yes, I recommend it.

The book follows Alejandra, aka Alex, a powerful encantrix (a bruja, latinx witch, who can essentially do everything) who doesn’t like magic. As a result, she tries to get rid of it on her Deathday (a made up quinceañera but for brujas kind of thing) but instead she ends up getting rid of something else, something more important to her than magic: her family. Frantic, Alex enlists the help of Nova, a bruja who annoys the heck out of her, and together, they venture into Los Lagos (a place in between heaven/hell). There, they discover an evil sorceress has taken the place — and Alex’s family — captive. Together, Nova and Alex have to find a way to defeat her. Oh, and Rishi, Alex’s HUMAN best friend who followed them.

Review: Wow, I… I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. At first, it started out as a badly written fanfiction but it actually, thankfully, got better. Alex was an OK character but truly, I was immersed in the world and the surrounding characters. Zoraida did an incredible job making everything easy to understand but also interesting so props to her for that! On the other hand, I disliked the love-triangle (though loved the queerness-bisexuality- of it). It felt forced and reinforced negative stereotypes about bisexuals not being able to make up their mind. However, I did appreciate the romance that was included- the LI, Love Interest, and the MC, Alex, had a super cute romance.

Conclusion: read it if you like diverse, sapphic, YA, fantasy books!

3.5 Stars

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by Becky Chambers

I’m not a fan of science-fiction — I’m not, truly! — but this book… this… it… I have no words.

Do you like to read books with complex word building, amazing writing, adult books, the found family trope, sapphic romance, frickin’ awesome creatures and species, inter-species relationships, that’s a little plot/character driven, and is science fiction and/or space opera?

If yes, to any, read (yes, that’s an order) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

One line summary: Rosemary Harper joins the Wayfarer ship crew just in time for them to go on a big mission of creating a pathway to a neighboring planet.

Review: The world building in this book is insane — absolutely OUT OF THIS WORLD (pun intended). I have never — EVER — read a book with such an interesting world. The world may seem complicated at first — trust me, I get it — but once it clicks, it clicks so, so hard. The book was written in third-person (which I love, always) and it followed the majority of the crew members aboard the ship: Rosemary, Sissix, Kizzy, Jenks, Ashby and Corbin. I was thrust into each of their lives and I can’t say I’m upset about it. The plot, again, was limited and relatively simple so if you’re a huge plot person, you may not like this book — but then again, I thought I was a plot person and yet here I am. The chapters were on the longer side, which I tend to dislike but it was still so wonderfully written and evenly paced. I cannot recommend this book enough. READ IT!
 Final rating: 4.5 / 5 stars


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