by John Green

4 Stars

Paper Towns : Green, John: Amazon.ca: Books

Paper Towns begins with a prologue taking place nine years before the events of the novel. Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman are only nine years old when they discover the body of a man who committed suicide in their neighbourhood park. Fast-forward nine years later, the main characters are seniors at Winter Park High School. Quentin is an outcast, while his childhood crush Margo is a popular girl. Margo reappears into Quentin’s life, showing up at his window one night and recruiting him to help her play mischievous pranks on her boyfriend and friends who betrayed her. The next day, Margo is surprisingly nowhere to be found. With the help of his friends, as well as a series of clues Margo left behind for him, Quentin embarks on a mission to find and reunite with the girl of his dreams. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought that it was quite entertaining to read. However, I did find that the middle of the book was a little long and tedious. Besides that, I loved the way John Green mixed together both romance and comedy. John Green’s writing style is amazing, and this was a great piece. Also, the characters within the book were very relatable, and I felt connected to each of them, especially Quentin. Overall, Paper Towns was a great coming-of-age book and has an amazing storyline that will keep you engaged. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and adventure novel!

Emily K.

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by Angie Thomas

5 Stars

Hate U Give, The : Thomas, Angie: Amazon.ca: Books

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, tells a story about a 16-year-old African-American girl named Starr Carter. Starr lives in a poor, mostly black neighbourhood of Garden Heights but attends a fancy, wealthy, and predominantly white private school in the city, Williamson Prep. One day when Starr is being driven home from a party by her childhood best friend Khalil, they are pulled over by a white police officer. Khalil, who is black, is instructed by the police officer to exit the vehicle. After leaning into the window to check on Starr, Khalil is shot three times by the officer and killed. Starr becomes entangled in the national news story after witnessing the fatal shooting of Khalil. Tension culminates in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting. Garden Heights erupts into both peaceful protests and riots. Facing pressure, Starr must find her voice to advocate for what is right. 

I loved this novel and thought it was incredibly powerful. The novel truly speaks the truth about how today’s society is. It shows real-world problems that affect everyone every day. The novel was informative, showing how our society can be around people with different skin tones and cultures. This novel helped educate me on the matters of racism and police brutality. By reading this novel, one is able to understand the injustice the black community has had to face and is continuing to face to this day. I strongly urge all teenagers to read this book at some point, as it will leave you speechless, stick with you forever, and is truly eye-opening.

Emily K.

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by Ransom Riggs

5 Stars

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Riggs, Ransom: 9781594746031:  Books - Amazon.ca

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a young-adult fiction and fantasy novel written by Ransom Riggs and is a part of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Series (literary series). The timeline of the story is a fusion between the past (the early 1940s) and the 2010s era, including various time loops. The story is about Jacob Portman and his adventure to discover the truth about the death of his late grandfather Abraham Portman. 

When Jacob Portman and his best friend Ricky discovered the dead body of his grandfather, Jacob encountered a monster that no one else saw. The police were called in to investigate the situation, but could not accept the testimonies of Jacob Portman because they were too unrealistic. “Even my best and only friend Ricky didn’t believe me, and he’d been there,” was what Jacob Portman said. It seemed that Portman was the only one able to see the beast, and as a result, he was sent to a therapist named Dr. Golan to “fix” him. According to the advice of the therapist, Jacob and his father Franklin Portman travelled to Cairnholm, Wales, to visit an old children’s home that Grandfather Portman used to inhabit in hopes to heal Jacob.  

During the visit, Jacob found the old home and later encountered the old peculiar children that once lived in the facility. Slowly, Jacob uncovers the secrets his grandfather kept from the family. Then, later finds himself in a dangerous situation that can determine the fate of the peculiars! Upon this realization, Jacob Portman also experienced a great betrayal! Jacob and some of the children from the home set out on a mission to protect the house and prevent a terrible tragedy from occurring. 

This book is great for people that enjoy reading fantasy, adventure, and mystery-themed books. It is also for those people that have a reading hobby or enjoy reading books with a series. Ransom Riggs has done a good job in presenting the contrast between the past and the present while combining them at the same time. In addition, the story includes accurate information on past history, providing a clear time setting of the book.   This novel is very intriguing, leaving cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. The conflict within the story keeps readers hooked and desperate for what happens next. The plot development is really good with its intense and scary scenes! The usage of descriptive words helps the readers imagine the vision of the story. Readers can easily get attached to the characters and understand who they are because of the character development. Also, the book includes pictures of each character to provide a better understanding of who they are. Riggs has a very creative mind and has written a fun story for both youth and adults to enjoy! The book finishes with a cliffhanger but fortunately provides a sneak peek into the next work, Hollow City! Overall, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is an excellent read!

Iris R.

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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 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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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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by Tom McGrath

4.5 Stars

The Boss Baby - Wikipedia

Imaginative Tim Templeton is a happy seven-year-old boy who has been receiving all the love and attention from his loving parents, Ted and Janice, for years. Tim is surprised one day when an infant wearing a black business suit and tie, carrying a briefcase arrives at his home in a taxi. Tim’s parents inform Tim that the infant is his new baby brother. With the new baby around, Tim realizes that he is no longer the center of attention anymore and is envious. One day, Tim discovers that the baby can talk and refers to himself as “The Boss”. The Boss Baby reveals that he has been sent out as a spy on a top-secret mission to destroy and end an organization working to launch forever puppies that will replace babies, Puppy Co. Though Tim is not too fond of the Boss Baby, he agrees to help him on his mission, solely to get rid of him faster. The two boys team up to create an epic battle between puppies and babies. 

I personally enjoyed this film as it was action-packed and included hilarious bits of comedy. The storyline was quite interesting and was entertaining to watch. The movie reminded me of my own childhood with the original take on sibling rivalries and bonding. I thought the animations were very colourful and vibrant, which were very pleasing to look at. In conclusion, Boss Baby is a cute and charming film that is great for the whole family to enjoy. 

Emily K.

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by R.J Palacio

5 Stars

Wonder. R.J. Palacio: Palacio, R. J.: 0780537302395: Books - Amazon.ca

This is a very emotional and heart touching story. The novel Wonder by R.J Palacio takes place in Beecher Prep, located in New York City. It tells a story about a 10-year-old boy named Auggie Pullman who was born with a facial disorder. This causes August to not fit in everywhere he goes. To figure the problem, Auggie’s parents make him start going to school in 5th grade, so he can have a chance to make new friends, and adapt to different life problems. August faces many challenges in school that effected his physical and mental appearance, but with the help and support of his friends and family, he was able to overcome it.

Overall, this is a well-written novel that definitely caught my interest. This book contains a roller coaster of emotions that have definitely changed my life. Wonder teaches us the brutality of society, of how people like August are being treated in an unwanting manner, which could affect them long term. It teaches us people around the world should accept one another, instead of judging on their outer looks which in the end, makes everyone happy. The main theme that Palacio uses is kindness. It makes readers think and realize, how kindness is a tool that brings each other together and can make a huge difference in one’s friendship. Wonder is a heartwarming book, that portrays a powerful message to the outside world. This book is a must-read, and I would definitely recommend it for all ages.

Ahmed Q.

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By Anna Todd

4 Stars

Image result for after by anna todd movie poster

Tessa Young has always been a good girl, sweet and ambitious with a loving boyfriend back home and a mother who is keen on keeping Tessa on the right path. But before she’s even fully settled in her freshman dorm, trouble comes knocking at her door. Hardin Scott, with his messy brown hair and British accent, his body littered in tattoos and piercings, something Tessa isn’t used to. But he’s also rude, extremely rude. His attitude should be enough for Tessa to hate him, and she does. But when they’re alone- something else rises to the surface, and she has no idea what to do. Hardin is reckless, constantly disappearing and reappearing at the most random times, insisting he is no good for her but never fully leaving her life. He pushes her away, but she pushes back, wanting to learn more about who Hardin really is. She already has the perfect boyfriend, so why is she unable to stay away from Hardin and all his mystery?  

Honestly, I loved this book. It’s realistically emotional, meaning it has realistic characters, ones who get overly jealous because that’s just who they are and ones who want to make the other person happy even if it means destroying themselves in the process. The characters aren’t perfect, and neither are their lives, and that’s something a lot of stories lack. However, it does glorify a borderline-toxic relationship, depending on how you personally view it. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who’s willing to read it. 

Jordan M.

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