by Fabrice Midal 

5 Stars

The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t: Cut the Crap and Live Your Life by  Fabrice Midal

French philosopher and meditation expert Fabrice Midal, the founder of the Western School of Meditation in France, attempts to share his wisdom in order to help those struggling with finding themselves to understand the true meaning of meditation with the help of philosophy. Midal does an excellent job explaining ways of meditation. He shares countless personal stories, each one adding more to his overall message that meditation is more about experiencing freedom, letting go and not caring about anything in that exact moment rather than a way to relax. 

As someone who has never really been interested in meditation, this book was very interesting and enlightening. What made it most enjoyable for me was Midal’s personality. He is quite funny in some parts of the book and also serious when he needs to be.

As Fabrice Midal mentions, in this modern age, we cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety by trying too hard to always be the best. Reading this self-help book makes you wonder the answers to questions such as, what would happen if I did step back every once in a while and is that something I would actually be able to do?

It also motivates you in telling the reader that it’s ok to say no to things you don’t enjoy doing. Thinking with this mindset allows you to do things that make you happier as a person, thus allowing you to live your life without the worry of pleasing others.

I would personally recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of starting up meditation or is interested. I did not think I would enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Vlada E.

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by Kevin Kwan

5 Stars

Rich People Problems: A Novel: Kwan, Kevin: 9780385689403: Books - Amazon.ca

Rich People Problems is the third and final installment of Kevin Kwan’s captivating trilogy that showcases a deep insight into the wealthy and powerful families of Singapore. Nick and Rachel are happily married and enjoying life living in Manhattan. Suddenly, Nick discovers from his mother that his grandmother, Su Yi, has had a heart attack and is currently on her deathbed, so he quickly rushes to Singapore to be by her side. Apparently, Nick is not the only one who goes back to Singapore to visit her. The entire Shang-young clan has assembled from all over the world to say their last goodbyes to Su Yi, hoping to inherit Tyersall Park, Su Yi’s trophy estate on sixty-four prime acres in the heart of Singapore. Backbiting and sabotaging take place within Su Yi’s house as the family members fight to inherit this massive fortune. Discover some of the shocking secrets that Asia’s most privileged families are hiding and all the insight into their ridiculous rich people problems! 

Rich People Problems was an excellent novel to conclude a phenomenal series. The novel was very emotional and focused a lot on family, which was very relatable to read. The storyline was captivating, had numerous surprises, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. I could not put the book down as it was that interesting! Overall, Rich People Problems was intriguing, emotional, and the perfect way to end the charming trilogy. This was an amazing way to conclude a great story. 

Emily K.

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by Kevin Kwan

5 Stars

China Rich Girlfriend - Wikipedia

Written by Kevin Kwan, China Rich Girlfriend is the sequel to the novel Crazy Rich Asians. Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young are finalizing and preparing details on the eve of their wedding day. Even though Rachel is ecstatic and more than eager to marry the man of her dreams, she still wishes she knew who and where her birth father was, so he would be there to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. However, a sudden and shocking revelation reveals his identity, and Rachel reunites with her long-lost father. Rachel eventually gets drawn into a crazy world of Shanghai splendour beyond anything she could have ever imagined. China Rich Girlfriend introduces the elite circles of mainland China, as well as captivating characters that are far more than crazy rich – they’re China-rich. 

China Rich Girlfriend was a fascinating and funny summer novel filled with love, family, and of course, extravagant displays of wealth. The novel is the second volume within the humorous trilogy that follows the richest families of Hong Kong and mainland China. Personally, I prefer the first book over this one, as I feel that the first book had more drama and was more intriguing. However, the book was still very well written, and I enjoyed reading about the different characters introduced and the different perspectives. I think China Rich Girlfriend is a solid continuation of the series and worth reading. If you enjoyed reading the first book within the series, I would definitely recommend picking this one up! 

Emily K.

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by Jenny Han

4 Stars

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before – Eagle Eye

Written by Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a young adult romance novel. Lara Jean Covey is the main character and a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in Virginia and is very close to her older sister Margot and younger sister Kitty. In a hatbox given to her by her mother, she keeps love letters written to all of the boys that she has loved before – five in total. By writing these love letters, she is able to pour her heart and soul out and release the emotions and true feelings that she would never say in real life. One day at school, Peter Kavinsky, one of the boys she wrote a letter to, approaches her and tells Lara Jean that he does not feel any attraction towards her. Initially, Lara Jean expresses confusion, however, she quickly realizes that Peter has received the love letter she wrote to him years ago. Horrified, she rushes home to make sure the remaining letters have not been sent out, but she cannot find the hatbox. She eventually discovers that her younger sister Kitty had sent out all of the love letters. With all of the letters sent out, Lara Jean must cope with her out of control love life. 

Personally, I found this novel to be quite charming and relatable. The novel is fairly short and will not take long to finish, I was able to finish it within a day. Some may find parts of the story to be cheesy, however, I thought that the book was wholesome and relaxing to read. Anyone who enjoys teenage romance novels will absolutely fall in love with this book! 

Emily K.

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by James Dashner

5 Stars

The Maze Runner - Wikipedia

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, tells a story about a young boy named Thomas, who awakens in a strange elevator with all his past memories forgotten. As he emerges from the earth, he finds himself in a grassland, surrounded by dangerous stone walls that form a maze. In that maze, he also finds himself living in a community with a bunch of other boys who call themselves “The Gladers”. As Thomas slowly starts to gain back his memory, such as his name and age, he also discovers more sinister clues about the boys and the location he landed in. After learning about how the maze surrounds them all, Thomas is determined to help find a way out of this unknown maze with the help of his friends. The journey won’t be easy, as anyone who dares to find their way out of the maze will be haunted and attacked by the Grievers.  

I personally enjoyed reading this action-packed book. Dashner adds the right amount of clarity, detail, and mystery to help engage the reader. The way the plot moves and the different types of events that are happening forces the reader to keep thinking and imagining what will happen next. This is a key feature in Dashner’s writing style. It is a dystopian science fiction book about boys, who have been trying to find their way out of this maze for three years. However, everything changes when the protagonist (Thomas) arrives. I strongly urge you to, if you haven’t, give this book a read, especially if you love reading dystopian science fiction books. 

Ahmed Q.

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by Teresa Toten

5 Stars

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B: Toten, Teresa: 9780385678346: Books -  Amazon.ca

Adam Ross is a very closed-off individual with many issues. Struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anger management and family issues, he has a very hard time fitting in with his peers, that is until he meets Robyn Plummer in an OCD support group. 

The moment he sees her, Adam instantly falls for Robyn, vouching to do everything in his power to protect her, to be the Batman to her Robin. She provides Adam with an escape from reality, but as soon as he leaves the support group, things get worse. Adam finds out his mother had been receiving threatening letters telling her to end her life; this sends Adam into a downwards spiral. Will Adam end up with Robyn? Will he find out who has been sending his mother those letters, or will he continue to suffer on his own, refusing the help of others?

In The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, Toten highlights what people suffering from mental illness fear the most, knowing what the problem is but not knowing how to fix it. This novel shows us that it’s okay to ask for help; it is not a sign of weakness but one of bravery and strength. It is truly a rollercoaster of emotions that always has the reader on the edge of their seat, just waiting for what will happen next.

I very much recommend this novel. It can get quite dark sometimes, but that is the grim reality of life, and this story is very realistic. You truly feel a connection with the main characters, especially Adam; it is an excellent read and does not disappoint.

Vlada E.

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by Anne Brashares

5 Stars

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now is a teen science-fiction novel written by Ann Brashares, that blends the catastrophic effects of climate change with time travel (from the 2090s to 2010), adventure, and teen romance. This story is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve-years-old along with her mother and a few hundred others. However, they did not come from a different country, but from a different time. A future where a mosquito-borne illness has evolved into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in wrecks. 

Prenna and the others who escaped from the future must follow a strict set of rules which are, never reveal where they are from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside of their community. “Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.” Prenna does as she is told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will someday ravage the earth.

Everything changes when she falls in love with Ethan Jarves. Ethan is not a member of their community, and his relationship with Prenna is forbidden. In essence, a catalyst for her to question the strictures under which she lives. Quickly after she is confronted by a homeless man who proposes she may be able to prevent the disastrous future by changing the present. But why? If a disastrous future can be avoided, isn’t it rational to try? Rather, as the community believes, is it more important to “respect time’s integrity and her natural sequence”? 

This exhilarating, unforgettable, and heartbreaking story is a must-read. I really enjoyed reading this book. Reading this book had me really excited to know what was going to happing, but it also made me disappointed. Overall it was a good teen fiction book. I loved everything in the story except for the ending. I am not satisfied with the ending. I think there should be a sequel. Other than that, this book is amazing and must be read by anyone who loves a romantic thriller.

Angie L.

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by Lois Lowry

5 Stars

Amazon.com: The Giver (9780385732550): Lowry, Lois: Books

The Giver is a very engaging novel with intense, fast-paced action on every page, taking the readers on a thrilling roller coaster ride to the unknown future. While this graphic novel is very close to the original book, it still allowed some room for creativity and imagination. Each illustration complemented the story and made the words pop out of its pages and take life. This book captures many emotions, such as feeling sad, confused, happy, scared, surprised, inspired, and loved. The storyline is amazing. The story’s suspense and cliffhanger made it a page-turner. The symbolism made the novel more interesting. As a reader, it will make you raise questions while holding you on your toes, leaving you wanting more and wondering more.

This graphic novel takes the readers on the journey of life, “without pain, color, or past” along with the protagonist of the story named Jonas. Jonas is a brilliant boy who lives in a dystopian society and is now faced with the greatest challenge of his young life. As the story evolves, one thing to appreciate is how the author showed the main characters’ flaws which made them more relatable, real, and inspirational. With every scene in the story, it pulls the readers right in and captures their imagination such that the readers feel as though he or she is part of the story itself. 

I would recommend this book to those who are 13 years old and over. This is great for students and can be part of the school’s library. Although there are several scenes in the story that are realistically for a more mature audience, the author has brilliantly written it in a manner that is child-friendly. So I encourage you to read this fictional novel and let your mind wander into the future and its possibilities.

Tyler D.

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by J.K Rowling

5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book by JR Company

Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a terrible summer vacation with his relatives. Just as he starts packing up his bags, he receives a letter from a mysterious creature claiming, if he returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, disaster will strike immediately. Confused and worried, Harry sets out on his journey, back to his wizarding school to see what was wrong. The beginning of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts starts with fresh torments and horrors begin to arise, including a spirit who haunts the girl’s bathroom and other unusual events. But the real danger begins, as he discovers that a mastermind is turning the students of Hogwarts into stone. Harry and his friends have been assigned a difficult task, and it’s up to them to find out who this mastermind really is. Could it be Hagrid? Could it be Hermoine? Or possibly Harry himself? Find out by reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  

Overall, this book was an absolute gem. It’s filled with adventure, imagination, and fantasy that helps the reader engage more in the story. This exciting sequel makes me never want to put the book down. The words written in the story bring the wizarding world to life, making me and other readers wish this all would exist. It was well-crafted and included a surprising plot twist during the end. This book is a must-read, and I recommend this to all ages who love fantasy, action, and humour. I would give this book a 10/10. 

Ahmed Q.

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by J.K Rowling

5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Rowling J.K.: 9781408855652:  Amazon.com: Books

Harry’s life is gloomy and filled with despair. With his parents dead and his uncaring relatives who he’s stuck with, he’s forced to live in a dark, tiny closet located under the stairs. Every day seems the same to Harry, being mistreated by his relatives and being bullied at school. But one day, his downhearted life soon changes as he receives a letter claiming that he’s no ordinary boy, but a wizard. A mysterious visitor soon saves Harry from his relatives and brings him to a mysterious school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry’s first year at Hogwarts academy was phenomenal, but there was still one problem. A secret object was hidden in the castle walls of Hogwarts. Harry realized that it was his duty to protect it from evil hands that could cause destruction to the whole world. By doing so, Harry will go through the toughest of forces that he could’ve never imagined. 

To conclude, this book was absolutely amazing, and one of my favourite Harry Potter books from the series. There was never a dull moment, and J.K Rowling kept me engaged from the beginning to the very end of the novel. I would definitely recommend this book because it keeps you engaged without ever putting the book down. The book makes you love the characters and their personalities. Remember to not only read this but the whole series as well. The rating that I would personally give this book would be a 10/10.

Ahmed Q.

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