Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Classics

Animal Farm
Orwell, George
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Manor Farm is home to animals who, noticeably, hate being controlled and oppressed by their farmer, Mr. Jones. One night Old Major, a wise boar, gathers the animals for a meeting and tells them of a dream he has where all animals live together with no human beings to oppress or control them. After his death, the animals take over the farm under the leadership of the pigs. As the story progresses the pigs move away from Animalism and move towards becoming human beings. Animal Farm by George Orwell is number 9 in my top books list mostly because it is a satire about the Russian Revolution and Stalinism. I did not like it in the fact that it overused personification and the use of animals to represent Russia in the 1970’s, but if we look at the book as a story just about animals taking over a farm, it is actually really interesting. I would recommend it to some people, not to others (those who dislike personification and satires).

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Six year old Scout Finch is living in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression. Raised by Atticus Finch, Scout and her brother, Jem, are very comfortable with Maycomb and understand the well being of their neighbors, except the house of the mysterious Arthur Radley, whom they obsess over. Half the book is basically about Scout, Jem, and Dill (their new friend) trying to lure Arthur Radley out of his house. However, when Atticus, a lawyer, decides to take the case of a black man named Tom Robinson, tensions become high and the trial to see whether Tom Robinson is guilty or innocent based on his crime and, especially, his skin color is at stake. I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and it is my #1 favorite book because the structure of this book is so eye-opening since it addresses the struggle and tensions between African- Americans and Whites during a time period where slavery was abolished just less-than a century ago. I highly recommend this book because it is just so jaw-dropping and it hit me with surprises that had me at the edge of my seat.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Genres:
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is about a fireman named Guy Montag whose job is to, ironically, start fires. Everything was going great for Guy, I mean he had money, a “loving” wife, and had an exhilarating job of burning books. That all changes when he meets a teenage girl who completely changes his view on the corrupt world and when he opens a book, which is illegal, he realizes why reading them is forbidden. Guy realizes he must escape this awful place, but where would he go? How would he get there? And who can he trust? Fahrenheit 451 is one of many dystopian society novels that catch my attention because it makes me wonder what would happen if this WAS our world. It is very boring in the beginning and is confusing at some parts, but overall it’s an amazing book and had me reading 20 pages within 10 minutes towards the end. I chose this book because I love dystopian society books and also the cover looked intriguing. I wonder what would happen if books were illegal and people were forbidden to read them?

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating 4.5

This book leads right in connecting to The Adventure of Tom Sawyer. Huck was one of Tom's friends and the story is now based around him. He soon was adopted with many things coming along after with a man named Jim. There is a lot of action and things that can really trigger the emotions. Symbolism is a really good thing to look out for in this novel.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Twain, Mark
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating 4.5

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is a pretty good novel. The main character of course being Tom goes through a series of interesting things. He witnesses things he probably shouldn't have and spends a lot of time with his small group of friends. He faces a lot of adventures and risky things throughout. This book is good especially if you read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I love this book. It is disturbing and fascinating in its implications concerning human nature, and filled with characters who are equally intriguing and disturbing. Published in 1891, it was initially met with scandal, but is now considered a classic. Dorian Gray is both a social commentary and a cautionary tale about the excesses of pursuing a life of pleasure only.

Dorian Gray is a singularly beautiful young man who is initially unaware of his own power to fascinate people with his looks and personality. When we meet him, he is the muse of a sensitive and successful artist who adores him for his beauty and innocence, and has painted a portrait reflecting those qualities. Then Dorian Gray meets Lord Henry Wotton, and everything changes. Lord Henry introduces the impressionable young Dorian to his philosophy of hedonism -- the pursuit of pleasure. Over time, Lord Henry uses his influence to subtly manipulate Dorian into fully embracing his philosophy. In short, the beauty remains (Dorian Gray actually stops ageing), but the innocence is lost forever.

As our hero grows more and more morally corrupt, a curious thing happens -- the portrait ages and changes, reflecting the state of Dorian's soul even as he remains outwardly young and beautiful. Looks can be deceiving.

The concept of someone who sells his or her soul in exchange for youth, beauty, money, or fun is nothing new, but this novel is so thoroughly fascinating that the basic premise never gets old. Plus it's short -- barely more than 200 pages in the copy I read. The characters are all very memorable and seem to be representative of various approaches to living life, which is simply an interesting thing to think about. Additionally, it gives some philosophical insight into the state of society -- a depiction that seems dangerously relevant to modern life. This story raises questions of morality, redemption, and the costs of living with your choices, but they are so fascinatingly handled that those topics will linger in your mind long after you've closed the book. I recommend it to everyone.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Genres:
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Animal Farm a group of animals are faced with some problems with the owner of their farm. Through these problems the animals form an alliance in order to try and get rid of their owner. It's full of action and controversy making it more fun to want to read. There are also some sad parts which also add a spark of emotions to the book. I believe this can also relate to actual human things that go on in the world, which makes it able to be relatable to the reader.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Hurston, Zora Neale
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Set in the 1930’s and 40’s, Janie is a woman who just wants love. She was raised by her grandmother, but the two did not agree on what Janie’s perfect life should be like. Janie’s grandmother sets Janie up with a man who will take care of her. This is just the beginning, though. As Janie meets more people, she becomes a different person herself. Eventually, she meets Tea Cake, a mere boy to her womanness that swoons her with the love that she’s been searching for all along. Be prepared, though for the teary ending that was bound to happen from the beginning.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison H.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book has been given more credit than it probably deserves. However, it is still a great novel. Bradbury has such beautiful writing, it grabs you from the first sentence. The story is about a man, Montag, who lives in the future as a fireman. Unlike today’s firemen, though, Montag is a fire-starter. He burns houses that have a single book in them, since books are illegal in this future. Montag meets a young girl, though, that changes his perspective on his previous perception of why books are so bad. If you are itching to read something quick, good, and that will make you think, this is a book for you!

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Madison H.
Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I am neutral about this book. Most of the people I know hate this book because it is so sad. It is about the story of a man named George and the obstacles he faces while trying to take care of his friend Lennie. The ending of this book drove me crazy and it gives absolutely no closure to its readers. If you are someone who enjoys books with a happy ending do not read this book. For the people brave enough to read it, beware. This book will haunt you for years to come.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gerilyn M.
Genres:
The Enchanted Castle
Nesbit, Edith
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Before I start, I would like to clarify that although I DID give this book 3 stars, I probably would have given it more if it had been written in a slightly less complex manner. The storyline is great and the characters are interesting, but the whole book is D.B.D. (Death By Description) and it can go on for a dozen pages at a time detailing a single short event. That can make the story difficult to follow, leaving you (or at least me, anyway) almost unable to appreciate it. As for the summary: The Enchanted Castle is a fantasy book by Edith Nesbit about three children, who, while playing in the forest, discover a secret passageway into the garden of a castle. They make believe that it is enchanted, and wake a young girl sleeping there, who they pretend is a princess. The girl is only the castle’s housekeeper’s niece, but the four of them soon discover that the garden really is enchanted, as is a ring that they find inside the castle. Both get them into such predicaments as turning invisible, accidentally wishing themselves taller and older, bringing mannequins to life, and accidentally turning into a statue and dining with members of the Greek pantheon. I will leave the outcomes of those situations to the book, as well as the ending, which I will only say is a happy one with everything resolved. I would recommend this book to those who like classic fantasy or other books by Nesbit (Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, etc.).
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob U.
Heart of Darkness
Conrad, Joseph
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Actual Rating: 2.5
Heart of Darkness is a classic book by Joseph Conrad that is deep, heavy, and somewhat disturbing. I probably would have given this book more stars if it were not for the immense amounts of dialogue and a maddeningly complex storyline. I did find what the book was actually about interesting, however, trying to follow along with what was happening with all the detailing and talking practically made my brain come out my ears. So, in spite of the complexity, I will sum it up as best as I can. Here’s basically what happens: The book begins with the narrator (presumably an unnamed sailor), along with several others, listening to a man named Marlow tell a story on board the Nellie, a sailing vessel. Marlow tells them a story about when he was a young man working a job as an ivory transporter on the Congo. Through an ivory trading expedition, he develops an interest in a man named Kurtz, who seems to have a godlike power over the natives. Through talking to several others, he discovers three main things about the mysterious Kurtz: that he is in poor health, that he has tons of ivory, and, according to one source, that he may be trying to steal the manager’s job. Marlow and some of Kurtz’s acquaintances then take a boat to bring relief to the man, but are attacked by the natives. They later learn that the natives attacked them because they were worried that Kurtz would be taken away from them. I will not give away any more as it may ruin the story, but it is a somewhat tragic one. I would recommend this book to people who like books that are deep and thought provoking, and can comprehend complex plots and conversations.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob U.
Frankenstein
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Frankenstein begins with Robert Walton, an explorer, writing letters to his sister about his journey to the North Pole. Along the way, he rescues a man named Victor Frankenstein from an ice drift. The story follows Frankenstein down memory lane as he tells Walton about his pursuit for knowledge and the deadly consequences that followed.

I really enjoyed this book. I've always been meaning to read it, so I'm glad that I finally did. I loved how it was written; the characters were highly intelligent, and the word choice did an excellent job of showing it. The only thing that I wasn't so huge on was the end. It felt a bit too abrupt to me. Regardless, I found this to be an excellent book.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Review: 4.5

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a very well written book. There's a lot of drama that takes place. Narrated by a character named Nick, tells the many things that had taken place from his experience. Love, mystery, and drama happen throughout giving the book an interesting story. It is pretty easy to read and comprehend. Overall it has a good story along with theme.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Genres:
The Things They Carried
O'Brien, Tim
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 3.9

This book is good and fairly understandable if you like books that take place in war times. It has A LOT of symbolism which many can be examples of the exact things they carried. There are many back stories and stories about the soldiers as well giving you a lot of imagery as to what is happening. It talks about their missions and thoughts emotionally. It was a little difficult for me to read it but it's a pretty well written book otherwise.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
A Separate Peace
Knowles, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles, is a pretty good book in that it shows a lot of emotion and drama. It gets you thinking: How did this happen? What does this mean? And what will happen next? There is a strong friendship between Gene and Finny and the actions are either caused by envy or just pure accident. Many signs of symbolism are found throughout the book and some also can relate to religion. This book is good also when relating to real life situations which can relate to a majority of the people who will read it. I really liked this book and it was pretty easy to understand.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Genres:
Lord of the Flies
Golding, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, I found it to be based upon the ideas of good vs evil. A group of British boys are traveling on a plane when unexpectedly their plane crashes on an unknown island. Many examples of symbolism can be found throughout this book which play a big role on finding the true meaning of it overall. Good vs evil can also be found throughout the boys and what they go through when trying to survive and keep stable. This book makes you want to keep reading so you can learn what happens next, which I believe can be some of the best books to read. Keep an eye out for the meaning of the title and how it plays along with the things that are affecting the boys and their survival.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Genres:
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, it depicts many aspects relating to actual things in today's society. Many concepts such as love, hate, beauty, selfishness, and more help to do this. In this book Dorian also goes through a series of emotions and battles with his own thoughts. Throughout, many people have had a great or little effect on how the book plays out overall. This book was very interesting and kept me engaged the whole time while reading it. If you love reading novels that are a bit crazy but really puts others lives in perspective this is a great book to read.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Dominique R.
Genres:
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Hurston, Zora Neale
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5

When I first saw the cover and title of this book, I was intrigued. The title of this novel does not reveal much about what the plot was all "about". The main character of the book, Janie, is a woman of mixed race who is trying to find her happiness, which she believes is love. Hurston writes this novel in a way that the readers too, can feel what Janie is feeling, and see what Janie is seeing. Even though this book was written in the 1930's, the topics that pop up are still relevant today, including Feminism. This book may have been predictable at certain times, it was surprising as well. I have never read a novel like this one before. I encourage others to read this book, so they too can experience the journey of Janie's coming of age.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Jessica J.
The Tempest
Shakespeare, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When assigned this novel for school, I did not expect much to be completely honest. In fact, the story of The Tempest was actually a pleasant surprise. The story is about Prospero, a man looking for revenge against the one person who took his Dukedom away from him, his brother Antonio. At the beginning, the story moves a bit slow and can be a bit boring. Although, it does not take too long for Shakespeare to interest the reader with the plot of the novel. I did not find the story to be predictable, which is what made it so interesting! A theme that the story revolves around was Compassion VS Cruelty, making The Tempest very interesting and intriguing. The language of Shakespeare may be difficult to understand, but is not too difficult. Although, it would be useful to choose a version of The Tempest that has annotations/footnotes as there are various terms and mythological references that some people may not understand or know.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Jessica J.
Genres:

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