Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Biography/Memoir

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
Kamkwamba, William and Mealer, Bryan
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is one of the most inspirational stories I've ever read. The journey put forth, following William, is truly a gem that makes you think about what could've happened if something had been different. I loved reading it because I felt every details of William's journey to develop his windmill that put him on fame. His determination to prove that science is 'real' and can make a difference, especially during a time and in a culture that rejects it, shows his character and his want for a better life in his land. He perseveres through the struggles of drought and hunger, and overcomes the ridicule thrown from all sides to be able to rise up and rise above, and make his visions come true. A really inspirational story, that shows a hero's journey in a way not usually thought.

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
Awards:
Wild Swans
Chang, Jung
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jung Chang recalls the experiences of her grandmother, her mother, and finally herself, all in distinct eras of China in Wild Swans. While the book is about Chang's family and the hardships they faced under changing authorities, the account is just as much about the consequences of ideologies, and how our loyalties shape who we are. Chang describes the brutalities of Japanese occupation, as well as the callous nature of China under Mao Zedong. The book is slow at first but becomes thrilling with the rise of Mao, and Chang's detailing of life under Communism. Highly recommended for those interested in learning more about China in the twentieth century.

Reviewer's Name: Lily
Awards:
Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave
Douglass, Frederick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass illustrates Douglass's life during slavery in Maryland and his attempts to make it to freedom. This narrative demonstrates the horrific situations/events and the terrible way slaves were treated throughout the time period of slavery way deeper than the average history text book. The narrative is extremely informative about life's of slaves since it goes into specifics about slaves being born, their living quarters, amounts of food, the masters, etc. It is very difficult to relate to or know exactly how a slave was treated in this time period; however, this book allows readers to understand the hideous and fearful actions that were taken against these human beings. This narrative brought tears to my eyes and shocking expressions to my face when reading certain real events that took place. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it was extremely well written because it allowed me to see more than what is taught in an American History class because Frederick Douglass goes so in-depth about his experiences in slavery throughout the narrative.

Reviewer grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Lana
The Girl with Seven Names
Lee, Hyeonseo with David John.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Hyeonseo Lee is a young woman who was able to escape North Korea after years of determination and courage. Lee explains in great detail the brainwashing she and all other North Koreans have gone through and how they continue to be treated by their oppressive government. She also offers an insight into the daily life of a North Korean and thoroughly explains that the indoctrination is not the fault of the people, but the tyrannical governments. At the young age of 17, Lee must leave everything she has known behind as she escapes on her own and makes her way across the North Koreans and Chinese border (intending to make South Korea her final destination). While on the run, Lee realizes that her journey may not be as easy as she expected. Following her successful mission, she is able to flourish even more than she originally envisioned. As you read this book, you'll finally learn why she came to be known as "the girl with seven names."

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
Permanent Record
Snowden, Edward
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Permanent Record is the memoir of Edward Snowden life. Snowden was the man who exposed and leaked how the US government used mass surveillance on enemies but also US citizens. Snowden knew so much of this system as he
was a former employee of the CIA. I choose this book because it's nonfiction and about an important event that happened recently. I also chose Permeant Record because I love reading about politics and government. This book
definitely surprised me because of Snowden's reasoning and motivation of why he did what he did. I liked Permanent Record because the readers get a first person perspective of the events that unfolded. Although I liked the book, I
disliked how Snowden's actions endangered the lives of several American spies, and other government officials.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
Kon-Tiki
Heyerdahl, Thor
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kon-Tiki is a novel about a group of men who sail across the ocean on a polynesian raft with the bare necessities for life. Using barely any modern resources, like a GPS or Emergency SOS, they set sail in the early 1950’s. They wanted to prove that it is possible to sail to polynesia in a raft. The beginning was a little rough for me, as it was about the preparation, the, and the support behind the project. I disliked them going into so much detail about the raft they were trying to copy. They were trying to copy the exact rope, the exact bamboo, the exact position of launch, and the exact shape. If you are a story lover like me, it starts out rough, but it turns into a fabulous journey towards the middle. I enjoyed this book because of the sense of adventure and the sense of
exploration. It describes the adventure of meeting the Whale Shark with a passionate sense of adventure, describing the people on board being panicked at first, then treating it as a kind of puppy. This is a favorite of mine, due to the fact that the adventure was both interesting and thrilling. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an adventure on the sea.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Fortitude
Crenshaw, Dan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is fantastic! Dan Crenshaw offers brilliant advice on mental toughness and how to combat the outrage culture with critical thinking. Crenshaw's methods are simple, easy to practice, and are what is missing in today's society. Written from his life experiences of being a Navy SEAL and United States Congressman, Crenshaw makes this book relatable and applicable to everyone's lives. Crenshaw also cites many articles, studies, and medical experts to backup his advice. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to become a well-informed voter, contributing citizen, or successful person.

Reviewer's Name: John
The Boys in the Boat
Brown, Daniel James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Boys in the Boat tells the story of how nine men took gold during the 1936
Olympics in Berlin. As you read the book, you will feel the struggles of the
men to make the Washington rowing team as Juniors, compete for a spot in the
first boat as seniors, and overcome the biggest challenge yet in winning the
gold medal. This book is an easy five stars because of character development
and an easy to follow plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted
to read about one of the most important Olympic gold medalists.

Reviewer's Name: Zach
Disloyal: A Memoir
Cohen, Michael
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Disloyal is a personal account of Michael Cohen's time as President Trump'spersonal attorney. Cohen describes in depth about his various experiences as serving as Mr. Trump's personal attorney and adviser. Cohen goes into detail about things and topics that the mainstream media does not report on. I liked this book because of how it it was a personal and first hand account from working in the Oval Office and with President Trump. I choose this book because I am very interested in politics and learning more about happens behind closed doors. This book was surprising and not at all what I was expecting. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading books about politics and political leaders.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Answer Is....Reflections on My Life
Trebek, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Answer Is by Alex Trebek is a well crafted autobiography and masterpiece. Alex Trebek is the beloved television host of Jeopardy and he reflects on his life in this book. Trebek goes into further details about his personal life which he has rarely discussed with anyone. Trebek also mentions his tough battle with stage four pancreatic cancer. I choose this book because I have always been a huge jeopardy fan since I was 5 and I wanted to learn more about this great man. I really liked this book because of all the great moments that were highlighted. I also really liked the very truthful and honest reflections that Trebek gives about his own life. My hope is that more people will read 'The Answer Is' because it is excellent read and it's about a legendary figure that we tragically lost this past year due to cancer.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Shoe Dog
Knight, Philip
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is a book that you do not want to miss out on! This book is a memoir about the life of Phil Knight, the founder and creator of Nike. I really liked this book because I love Nike shoes and I am also very passionate about starting my own business someday. So this book gave me a lot of encouragement and motivation to start a business. Shoe Dog goes in depth about all the challenges Phil endured to create the empire that Nike is today. I choose this book because it seemed interesting to get the experiences as well as the ups and downs endured in the process of trying to create a world famous brand. I would highly recommend this book to anyone dreaming of becoming a successful entrepreneur!

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
Night
Wiesel, Elie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The autobiography Night by Elie Wiesel is a gripping nonfiction retelling of his experiences during the Holocaust. Starting with Elie’s normal life before World War II and continuing onto the horrors of the concentration camps. Elie was a young boy growing up in the town of Sighet, Romania when he was taken to a concentration camp with his family. The book saddens me every time I read it. It draws the reader in and makes them feel as though they were there, starving in a camp or trudging across the frigid wilderness with no end in sight. I would recommend Night not because it makes the reader happy but because it is the best depiction of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison B.
Night
Wiesel, Elie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I had to read this book in English class Freshman year. I honestly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. It's a true story called "Night" written first hand by Elie Wiesel about the Holocaust. It's about a young boy and his family that got sent to Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. This book is extremely well written, and is a really sad story. There was one part, I won't spoil it, but I couldn't stop crying. "Night" really gives you a look at what it would have been like to be in Elie's shoes. Overall, of course this is quite a sad book, but I would highly highly recommend!!

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
Awards:
Cover of the book Too Much and Never Enough
Trump, Mary L.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Too Much and Never Enough is a memoir written by Mary Trump. She is the niece of our current president. This book extensively describes the several interactions that Mary Trump had with her uncle. In this book she blames the behaviors of the Trump family for negatively influencing Trump's personality. Also, she describes in depth about Donald Trump's role in the multi-billion dollar family business. She also expands upon the Trump family's political connections, which lead to the creation of a real estate empire. Mary Trump explains the several high expectations that Fred Trump held for his children. This book was well-written and used excellent vocabulary words to express her opinions. Too Much and Never Enough kept my attention as it was interesting and this book gave an insightful perspective about Donald Trump from an insider's point of view. Finally, I liked how Mary Trump elaborately explained each of the Trump children’s lives and the turmoil within the family during tough times of the business.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Born a Crime
Noah, Trevor
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Born a Crime is an autobiography about Trevor Noah's life. I picked this book because it describes the humble beings of a
famous comedian and his extraordinary journey to the pinnacle of American comedy. It describes his life growing up in the apartheid government in South Africa. The title of this book refers to the fact that Trevor Noah's birth was actually a crime. This is because of his biracial background, which made his birth illegal under apartheid laws. Born a Crime is filled with jokes and will not fail to crack its readers up. I would highly recommend reading this book if you love humor and learning about valuable life experiences of famous celebrities.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
Awards:
The Wright Brothers
McCullough, David
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Wilbur and Orville Wright changed history in 1903 when they successfully built the first heavier-than-air powered machine that could fly and carry a pilot. Many people are familiar with the Wright brothers, but few know the full story of their quest to build the first flying machine and prove to the world that they were not far-fetched fanatical dreamers. Writtenusing Wilbur and Orville Wright's letters, diaries, technical data books, documents, proposals, and private family papers, this book gives great insight into the curiosity, intellectual ability, diligence, and determination of the brothers. This book is well-written, readable, and exciting, yet still incredibly factual. I highly recommend this book for anyone fascinated with aviation, engineering, or the quintessential American spirit.

Reviewer's Name: John
Cover of the book Walt Disney: An American Original
Thomas, Bob
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

An American Original Walt Disney by Bob Thomas is a masterful biography which tells the story of the man who created Mickey Mouse, along with one of the largest entertainment franchises the world has ever seen. It describes how Walt started as a small-town cartoonist, went through bankruptcy, had his work stolen, and even borrowed money on his life insurance to make his ideas become reality. It was fascinating to see how things like Disneyland and Mickey Mouse originated. While some biographies are extremely dull, this one captivated me from the start. It is written in a way that makes it easy to experience what Walt and his company are going through, whether it is success or failure. Entertaining as well as factual, this book is one of my favorite biographies. I would give this book five stars and would recommend it to anyone who would like to read about one of the most interesting men in the world.

Reviewer's Name: Zach M.
The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women
Koehler-Pentacoff, Elizabeth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Tragedy ran deep in the Kennedy family--so much so that some people even questioned if the family was cursed. Rosemary Kennedy was born in 1918. At the time of her birth, the hospital was overcrowded with victims of the Spanish flu. The nurse, who though perfectly capable in assisting Mrs. Kennedy to give birth, urged her to wait until the doctor could come. The baby, Rosemary Kennedy, was forced back inside her mother's birth canal for two hours by the nurse during the wait. This irregular birth led to lifetime consequences in Rosemary. She had learning disabilities. Despite this, she was pushed equally as hard by her parents. Rosemary never made it intellectually past the fifth grade level. Her condition affected the Kennedy family because at the time people with disabilities were seen as having a "bad gene" and were not even allowed to receive the sacraments or eucharist at the catholic church. As Rosemary's condition worsened, her parents were desperate to fix her before she "ruined" her brother JFK's political career. This story is unique because it sheds light on a member of the Kennedy family whose tragic story eventually brought positive change in how to deal with the disabled.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth
Awards:
Desert Solitaire
Abbey, Edward
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Desert Solitaire, written by Edward Abbey, is essentially a memoir of his time spent as a ranger outside of Moab, Utah, in the Arches National Park. It includes compelling commentary on the progression of industrial tourism, as well as life changing events and exciting stories. For some, the book may be a frustrating read, either because it lacks a linear plot, as a collection of journal entries and secondary memoirs, or because Abbey’s views are reminiscent of traditions from the 1930s. Abbey is aware of this, and begins the book with a series of disclaimers. For readers who enjoy beautiful writing about life in the West, Desert Solitaire should be a potential read.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
Night
Wiesel, Elie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Night by Elie Wiesel is a powerfully graphic novel that tells the story of a Hungarian Jew's experiences in various concentration camps within Nazi Germany during World War II. I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written and hard to put down. This book not only tells of Wiesel's experiences in concentration camps, but provides insight into psychological and philosophical ideas that make it even more interesting. Wiesel was just a teen when he and his family were sent away. He and his father were separated from his mother and sister and underwent an immense amount of trauma that was life altering for both of them. I'd recommend this book to those interested in World War II. The book is a quick and easy read with deep, profound content.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth

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