YALSA Award

Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game
Author: 
Card, Orson Scott
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Ender’s Game is a science-fiction book set in the future of Earth. Humans have battled with the Formics or “Buggers” three times before. Mazer Rackham was the only reason why the Humans won the first two wars, and he can no longer fight. In anticipation of the third war, and in search of the next Mazer Rackham, Humankind has been training their youth to battle by the use of realistic war games, which are sometimes in zero gravity. When Andrew “Ender” Wiggin joins the other boys in the Battle Room, he clearly exceeds them in battle tactics, and leads his team to victory. Ender eventually finds himself being trained by Mazer Rackham himself as the battle draws nearer. This book displayed excellent character development, along with a sensational plot. Ender’s Game was action packed from start to finish. This book is an easy five stars, despite the author’s use of profanity. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to read a quality Sci-Fi Novel.

Reviewer's Name: 
Zach M.

Book Review: The Murderbot Diaries #1: All Systems Red

The Murderbot Diaries #1: All Systems Red
Author: 
Wells, Martha
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

We all struggle to figure out who we are. It’s no different for a robot that’s managed to secretly override its governor unit and develop self-aware independence. The artificial construct, made up of regenerative organic and artificial parts, privately calls itself Murderbot out an emerging sense of guilt it tries to squash by watching hours of mindless TV. But even that distraction cannot keep a socially awkward, self-conscious entity from developing feelings about the humans it serves. That internal conflict is so realistic it is easy for the reader to forget it is an artificial construct narrating. Murderbot’s deadpan humor keeps the 2017 novella from bogging down and raises it well above a familiar action/corporate malfeasance plot. The novella is the first of a five-part series, all available through PPLD, with a full-length novel, Network Effect (May 2020) continuing Murderbot’s journey of self discovery and soap operas. A sixth series entry is scheduled for April 2021.

Honors: 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella, 2018 ALA/YALSA Alex Award, 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella, 2017 Philip K. Dick Award finalist.

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: The City of Ember

The City of Ember
Author: 
DuPrau, Jeanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is about Ember, a post-apocalyptic city that is built underground to save the human species. Lina Mayfleet, and her best friend, Doon Harrow try to follow a set of clues left behind by the creators of the City of Ember, known as the builders, to get to the real outside world, where nobody dares to go.

But now they must go outside as the 2 centuries of rations of food and water that lasted an extra 40 years, are now coming to an end. But after many generations of living in the enclosed, walled city, nobody knows how to get to the outside world.

Lina and Doon find a box that has the instructions of how to get out of Ember, but Lina’s baby sister, Poppy makes it hard on them. She makes sure that Lina and Doon solve a puzzle because the pieces of paper have been torn, ripped, and eaten by Poppy.

Another challenge the Lina and Doon face is terminology. Because the letter on how to get out is now some 240 years old, the terminology has changed, it has words that are familiar to us like ‘boat’ or ‘candle’, but not familiar with the people of Ember. Lina and Doon figure out what these words mean to solve the already torn up piece of paper.

This book definitely keeps you wondering about the past and the future, and with many intriguing parts, I'm going to go with 4/5 stars for City of Ember.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Book Cover
Author: 
Riggs, Ransom
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Jacob's grandfather has always told crazy stories. Stories about faceless monsters and kids with mysterious abilities. When he was younger Jacob believed these stories because his grandpa had scary pictures of these strange kids, but as he got older Jacob thought these were just little kid stories until a family tragedy brings one of those monsters from his childhood to life. This tragedy gets him to travel to a small island off the coast of Whales, where he begins to discover more about his grandpa the peculiar children from his stories.

The atmosphere that the author created for this book was amazing. You can feel eeriness of the things that Jacob sees through the pages. It is only enhanced by the pictures of strange things scattered throughout the story. The unique characters and idea held my attention completely and the fast-paced plot made me think it was over to soon. This book is part of a long series that I can't wait to continue!

Reviewer's Name: 
Savannah H.

Book Review: All Rights Reserved

Book Cover
Author: 
Katsoulis, Gregory Scott
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Imagine never being able to tell someone how much you love them, or knowing the government is aware of everything you say. Every sentence is monitored. Words are no longer free to use. Companies copyright words and gestures, they fine anyone who uses them. Saying "Sorry" is ten dollars and every nod or scream is .99 cents ( per second). No word is free, people are imprisoned by debt and fear. Restlessness stirs and violence is everywhere. People sue left and right for small accidents. Upon turning 15 everything changes for an individual. Cuffs are placed, listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. Retaliating can lead to extreme and inhumane punishments. Speth Jime is a fourteen-year-old who is almost fifteen when she witnesses the suicide of her friend. She decides in honor of her friend to be silent, making the world stand still. "All Rights Reserved" is a very captivating and incredible novel. Every page is filled with various twists and turns. The book represents the importance of words and the power they possess. It also shows the influence we have on others, for better or for worst.

Reviewer's Name: 
Isabella J.
Awards: 

Book Review: Al Capone Does My Shirts

Book Cover
Author: 
Cholodenko, Gennifer
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Al Capone Does My Shirts was a required summer reading book for me this year. The plot of the story was how an eleven-year old boy named Moose left his San Francisco home to live on the prison island Alcatraz because his father had to relocate there for work. Moose’s sister Natalie, who sadly suffered from autism, was trying to get into a special school, but the principal would not let her join. Moose tries to get her into the school, while trying to still play baseball and do other things on his own.
On a scale of five stars, I would give it a four for the following reasons:
1. The plot was easy to follow, but at the same time you never knew what was going to happen next.
2. The character development was excellent, because you could easily relate and understand the characters' predicaments.
3. I thought the book was clever, funny, and meaningful.

For all of these reasons, I would give Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko four stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Zach M.

Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner
Author: 
Dashner, James
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Maze Runner is the first book in James Dashner's dystopian trilogy. It follows Thomas, a teenager who finds himself trapped in a maze with a group of boys and no memory of his past. This book kept me on my toes, and I couldn't put it down. It was intense and mysterious with a gripping plot and a diverse group of characters. I would definitely recommend this book to teens who love action packed adventure and the ideas presented through futuristic worlds!

Reviewer's Name: 
Emma

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
Author: 
Riordan, Rick
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is an amazing book about Greek Mythology. Percy Jackson, the main character, learns who he is and sets off on a crazy journey to return something very valuable. He has to fight dangerous monsters along side his two friends and save his mom. Percy learns that there are actually Greek gods and that they probably want to kill him. This book is a great book for all ages and I would definitely recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lily K.

Book Review: Into the Wild

Into the Wild
Author: 
Krakauer, Jon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, is a novel that tells the true story of Chris McCandless, a restless adventurer whose happy place was in nature. McCandless graduated college and departed shortly after on a series of adventures, his main one being Alaska. Along the way, Chris met people, many of whom were moved by his go getter free spirited personality. Into the Wild is a phenomenally written novel that I'd recommend to anyone who's trying to search for purpose in their life. It's a book that displays a young man searching for his place in the world.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: 
Rowling, J. K.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

In this book, Harry Potter learns a lot about Lord Voldemort's past, and Harry Potter prepares for the final battle against his nemesis with the help of Headmaster Dumbledore. But in that time, Voldemort returns to power, and makes a plan to destroy Harry. So, Harry Potter tries to destroy Voldemort first, but for that, Harry must collect all parts of his soul. Voldemort had split his soul into pieces, so that he would never be totally destroyed, and now Harry has to destroy all the pieces, so Harry sets out with Dumbledore to find the Horcruxes.

At a memorable moment, near the beginning, Hermione gets very angry at Harry because he starts doing very good in the potions class. Harry starts doing so well after he finds the “Advanced Potion-Making” book that was filled with quicker ways to make potions. It was personally improved by Professor Snape, and then nicknamed the “Half Blood Prince”.

This novel can definitely petrify you as well, like in one part, Harry and Dumbledore go out to find the 1st Horcrux, where Dumbledore is forced to drink the Drink of Despair, which is a mysterious potion that makes a wizard very vulnerable and weak. So, this potion is meant for protecting something very important.

With Harry constantly chasing after Horcruxes, this book keeps a good pace, so I'm going to go with 3/5 stars for Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.

Reviewer's Name: 
Gurman

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