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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by Deborah Ellis

5 Stars

Mud City

The Fiction, Mud City, written by Deborah Ellis, was a breathtaking and engaging book. Deborah Ellis’s Mud City is the third book of the Breadwinner series. It tells the story of a 14-year-old girl, Shauzia, Parvana’s best friend, into a refugee camp in Pakistan. Shauzia left Kabul to come to the camp with Mrs. Weera, her former PE teacher, who is in charge of the Widow’s Compound. Shauzia begins to get annoyed with Mrs. Weera as she doesn’t get paid for any of the jobs at the camp. But Shauzia always had a dream of going to France with her dog Jasper and just imaging the beautiful lavender fields and living there. So Shauzia decides to leave the camp and head off to the dangerous streets in Peshawar to look for jobs that will pay her. As she gets accused one day of stealing a guy’s money, she got thrown into prison. She is soon rescued by a generous American Family, Tom and Barbara, as the family treats Shauzia as one of their own kids with generosity and respect. Shauzia soon has to go back to camp because she let lots of families inside the home to help them out and give them something to eat and drink but without the consent of Tom and Barbara. Once Shauzia returns to the camp, she realizes that Mrs. Weera isn’t a bad person. After all, she likes helping people and wants to make a difference in their lives. She doesn’t give up on her dream to go to France, but she realizes she has a long way to go, and her dream of her going to go to France can wait until she is ready. This story is one amazing story. This book is a must-read, and I recommend this book to all ages. Overall, I rate this book 5/5 stars!

Hoda D.

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by Christopher Golden

5 Stars

Red Hands

It’s July 4th, and the people in the small town of New Hampshire are celebrating by putting on a huge parade. Everything starts going well until a mysterious worker from Garland Mountain Labs is seen himself in a vehicle and starts to plow through the crowd. Panicking, many people witness the car’s driver hopping out of the vehicle and touching people. Within a few seconds, the people of the town drop dead due to the sickness that person had attained. As worriedness and pressure start to grow, a parade attendee named Maeve uses a baseball bat to hit the guy and fully knock him out, but not before the mysterious person touches her. Surprisingly, she seems to be fine and immediately goes to check on her family, but when she touches them, they instantly die too. Filled with trembling fear, she flees into the mountain to hide, struggling with her own grief and confusion.  

Scientist expert, Ben Walker is called upon to help investigate the problem. He must not only find Maeve but to find out the exact secret weapon Garland Moutain Labs have unleashed. Meanwhile, Maeve looks for a hiding spot. Filled with terror and exhaustion, she begins to hear voices inside her head, and her desperation to touch another human being continues to grow. Will Maeve die? Can Ben Walker exactly figure out the secret weapon? Find out by reading Red Hands by Christopher Golden. 

This well-crafted book was very entertaining, and I highly enjoyed it. The novel grabs you in the first couple of pages, and it is then nearly impossible to put down! The energy is held in tension throughout the entire development of the story. To conclude, this is simply a fantastic read, and I highly recommend this novel to fans who enjoy thriller books.

Ahmed Q.

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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 S.E Hinton

5 Stars

Book Review For Teens: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Set in the ’60s, in the divided state of Oklahoma, this novel tells the story of two rival gangs separated by poverty and social status. The Greasers, known as the working class, are seen as very low in the eyes of the Socs, a high-class gang, the complete opposite of the Greasers. The Outsiders is told from the perspective of 14-year-old Greaser, Ponyboy Curtis. He details two of the most intense weeks of his short life, struggling in a community where he is viewed as an outsider with difficult decisions of right and wrong.

His life certainly hasn’t been an easy one. Having his parents taken away from him due to a recent car accident has taken a toll on him. Ponyboy and his 16-year-old brother Sodapop are allowed to live with their eldest brother 20-year-old Darry, as long as they stay out of trouble.

While out with his friends, Ponyboy attends a drive-thru movie where he meets a Soc girl named Sherri, the first of the Socs he had ever gotten along with. As the gang walks home with Sherri, they are stopped and threatened by her boyfriend, a Soc by the name of Bob. Ponyboy gets home at 2 am, angering his guardian Darry, prompting him to slap Ponyboy. Due to this, Ponyboy runs out of the door, meeting his friend Johnny in a park expressing his anger.

Bob, Sherri’s boyfriend, suddenly reappears along with his crew. Ponyboy and Johnny are outnumbered, a gruesome fight breaks out, ending up with Ponyboy being held underwater to drown by Bob. Johnny freaks out and kills him. After the fight ends, they realize they can’t go back, they now have blood on their hands.

This novel is extremely interesting, constantly keeping the reader engaged and interested. Definitely a 5-star book.

Vlada E.

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