by Sabina Khan

5 Stars

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali Audiobook | Sabina Khan | Audible.ca

Sabina Khan, the author of The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, has written about the struggles of being a part of the LGBTQ2S+ in the Indian community through 17-year-old Rukhsana Ali. Readers get to look through the eyes of Rukhsana, who is lesbian and lives in a strict home with her conservative, Bengali parents who favour her younger brother Aamir over her. (Aamir is still a great little brother and tries his best to make things better.) Their parents believe that women are supposed to be great wives and mothers but also support the idea of getting an education and getting a degree.

Rukhsana’s parents one day meet her friend Ariana who is actually her girlfriend. Her parents love Ariana, but when they find out who Ariana really is to Rukhsana, they are appalled and ban the two girls from seeing each other. What will break most hearts is that the parents do not care about the fact that Rukhsana is lesbian they are afraid of what the Indian community will think of them for having a daughter that is a part of the LGBTQ2S+. To fix Rukhsana, her parents trick her into a trip to Bangladesh and try to force her into an arranged marriage. Readers will be torn apart by the tragedy but come to love Rukhsana and her family. Rukhsana teaches everyone that we have a choice to make, and it will affect our futures. The words of her Nani “We must be the masters of our own destinies. I did not learn that until it was too late. You have to fight to take back control of your life. Sometimes you will hurt the ones you love the most. But in the end, it will always have to be your choice.” ( Khan 336)

I would recommend the book to readers who can take sad stories but look forward to a better ending. This book does talk about sensitive topics such as rape and murder, so this is directed to an older audience (15+). I am not a part of the LGBTQ2S+, but it is heartwarming to see strict, conservative parents accept and want to learn about their child’s community.

Lyelle B.

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by James Dashner

5 Stars

The Eye of Minds

The novel The Eye of Minds by James Dashner is a story about a young teenage boy named Micheal. Since he doesn’t have the chance of seeing his parents much, he spends most of his time gaming. This book takes place in the future, where gaming and technology are more advanced and ultra-modern than this current era. The main gaming system displayed in the book is called VirtNet. This stunning gaming system provides a great experience for gamers whose minds are connected to the system, making them present in a virtual world. This world also unlocks the gamer’s ability to use their five senses. Everything starts well until a sudden event occurs. Kaine, a cyber-terrorist, has the ability to claim different gamer profiles, forcing them to follow whatever he says. The owners of VirtNet are shocked but are willing to find a way to stop the dangerous cyber-terrorist before he hurts their company and its profits.  

To catch a hacker, you need a hacker. VirtNet has been examining Micheal and his hacking skills. They decide to use him to save VirtNet and find Kaine. This risk is enormous, and Micheal realizes that he might have a chance of dying in the process. It’s a dangerous journey, but Micheal and his friends are ready to take the challenge. 

This novel was truly a masterpiece. The book contained great detail and was fast-paced, which drew me right from the beginning. This book also kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next. Overall, I would recommend this book to all ages.

Ahmed Q.

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by Traci Chee

4.5 Stars

We Are Not Free

The Historical Fiction/Young Adult Fiction, We Are Not Free, written by Traci Chee, was an addictive and intriguing book. It was also quite unusual. The author featured 14 Japanese American teens during the perspectives of 14 Japanese American characters. Usually, in books that have 3-5 characters, each character has had his/her chapter. I never personally liked that. But the way Traci Chee had Frankie, Tommy, Ike, Twitchy, Mas, Shig, Minnow, Stan, Bette, Yum-yum and Yosh have their own chapters and perspectives. It was a different book. I never read anything like it, but once I started reading it, more and more, I literally couldn’t put it down! All the 14 teens had different characteristics like bravery, artistic, leadership, talent, loveable, athletic, funny, considerate, friendly, humble, intelligent, sensitive, outgoing and optimistic. The story is about all the 14 teens’ lives turning upside down after over 100,000 people of Japanese descent have been removed from their homes in San Francisco and forced into hard labour camps. These 14 Nisei (a person born in the US or Canada whose parents are from Japan) teens gather to compare their perceptions as they are all facing racism and prosecution to pull them all apart. This book is historical fiction directed at young adults, but in some parts, there is crude language. This story is based on all the lives we’ve lost, especially during WWII. I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up. This is historical fiction and young adult. The book deals with the creoles and discrimination and other races at that time when they were treated badly during WWII. Characters do go through some of the hard times in life for the Japanese and other races at the time that were treated really poorly during WWII. It may have situations and events that are hard for some children under 12 to understand. Nevertheless, I rate this book a 4.5/5 star. It’s an amazing read and an emotional read!

4.5 Stars

Hoda D.

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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 Nicola Yoon

5 Stars

The Sun is also a Star: NICOLA YOON: 9780552574242: Books - Amazon.ca

Natasha believes in science, facts, and things that can be proven with evidence. She doesn’t care for fate, and she most certainly doesn’t care for love. Not that she has time to worry about either of those things. She and her family are being deported to Jamaica in twelve hours, and she is going to do everything in her power to stop that from happening.

Daniel wants to be a poet. In fact, he is a strong believer in fate and the way of the universe. But that’s not the path his parents have planned for him, and rather than following his dreams he plans on meeting his parent’s high expectations. This changes when he meets Natasha. He knows something greater is at play—it’s destiny, decided by the universe, and he can’t let Natasha go.

The Sun is Also a Star explores themes of fate and destiny, and how they compare and connect to science and reasoning. Both main characters are people of colour, and I really enjoyed the chapters that explain the history behind elements of their cultures as they are mentioned. I also like Yoon’s style of storytelling, which includes the main storyline, the cultural history parts, pieces of the characters’ pasts, and side characters who only appear in a few scenes but are crucial to the story.

This book is perfect for those who are just getting into reading, and people want a quick or fast-paced read that will hold your attention, because the entire story takes place over twelve hours. I think this is a five-star read, and I really enjoyed reading it!

Michelle G.

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Heartstopper Vol. Two

by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Vol. Two picks up where Heartstopper Vol. One left off. Charlie and Nick are slowly discovering that their bond may be more than friendship.

Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2) by Alice Oseman

As Charlie discovers who he is, and who his friends are, Nick grapples with his mental illness and his love for Charlie.

Together, they share the small things in life that equal the big picture. And in each other they find a love worth sharing.

A beautiful second installment in the Heartstopper series, Alice Oseman has created a story about love, friendship and finding yourself.

Heartstopper Vol. One

by Alice Oseman

Charlie and Nick could not be more different. Charlie, an openly gay, anxious teen has spent the last year avoiding bullies and dealing with being outed at school. Nick is a soft hearted jock who just happens to be the star of the school rugby team.

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman

Nick and Charlie do not know each other, at least not yet. As Charlie learns more about Nick and gets to know him, he discovers that there may be something there that’s bigger than friendship.

Meanwhile, Nick thinks he’s chasing after something that’s impossible. Little does he know that Charlie may be exactly what he’s looking for.

A beautiful and heartfelt romance, Heartstopper Vol. One is the book version of the heart eye emoji.