Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Biography/Memoir

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
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story
Tobia, Jacob
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Sissy is complex, introspective piece about gender and sexuality and how society's view can impact self-worth. Jacob Tobia recounts experiences throughout their life that have impacted them in the manner of their gender and sexuality and their self acceptance of themself. They reveal how even as a young child they identified more with femininity than their born masculinity and how that brought out negative feelings in those around them, including their parents. Tobia expresses how the trials they have faced have made them into who they are today but they wish queer identities were more accepted. A rousing autobiography of growing up queer, Sissy inspires the reader to open their mind to what is different and look within themselves and ask the question "Is it really black or white?".

Reviewer's Name: Maddie
Into the Wild
Krakauer, Jon
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.
Cover of the book The Impossible Climb
Synnott, Mark
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Impossible Climb is about Alex Honnold's journey from being a newbie to the professional climbing community to doing the famous free solo of El Capitan in Yosemite, CA. The author also describes his own adventures on North Face's athlete team. The author is one of Alex's mentors who was there for his famous climb up the Freerider route. I loved this book because of how descriptive Synott was of all of his trips he took to exotic places. It was also excellent because of how the author told his story and Alex Honnold's at the same time.

Reviewer's Name: Abby K.
The Undefeated
Sheinkin, Steve
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Undefeated is about a Native American named Jim Thorpe who is an amazing athlete and becomes an Olympic medalist. Him and his coach, Pop Warner create an unforgettable team with the legendary Carlisle Indian Football Team. Then Carlisle Indian Football Team was known for having the most wins in 1907. The team goes through an adventure of close games, injuries, and amazing plays.nI really liked this book. I couldn't put this book down for a second. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Native American history or likes sports. This book also shows some of the plays the Carlisle Team played.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
Kyle, Chris
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is phenomenal! American Sniper is the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL and the most effective sniper in United States military history. Chris Kyle writes honestly about the brutality and pain of war and the toll it took on him and his family. This book is absolutely captivating and unforgettable. Everyone who reads this book will become appreciative of the United States Armed Forces and will gain a glimpse of their courage on and off the battlefield. I highly recommend this book for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: John
Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Kehret, Peg
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio is about a girl named Peg who is diagnosed with polio. Polio (poliomyelitis) is a disease that causes paralysis. You can get it by consuming contaminated water and food or by contacting an infected person. Peg gets dragged away to the hospital without even getting to say goodbye to her family. For the next couple weeks Peg must take on not moving, feeding tubes, and physical therapy to get her muscles moving again. I really loved this book. It messed with my emotions the whole time. I was either balling my eyes out or smiling ear to ear. This was one of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a nonfiction, emotion pulling, great book.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Awards:
Educated
Westover, Tara
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Growing up on the prairie in the past meant you were mostly isolated from the rest of society for better or worse. In the 1990s growing up in isolation in the U.S was very rare. Most people lived in cities, or suburbs, or small farming communities. Tara Westover was part of this abnormality. She grew up in rural Idaho and was homeschooled and rarely spent much time without her family. Which causes her to believe almost everything her parents and,siblings believed but when she began college she learned a lot more about the world than what she ever knew before.

I don’t typically pick up a memoir but this one was very highly recommended so I decided to give it a read. I thought the beginning was a bit slow but once you get through some of the background it becomes important in later portions of the book. I thought the book had a really good message and very unique perspective. It made me think a lot about how the school system could be improved and how outdated some of the typical school experiences are. I would recommend this book to teachers, school administrators, parents and students since they are so involved in education. I think it would be a good book to read at school and discuss as well.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Rocket Boys
Hickam, Homer
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

(Very immersive story) Rocket Boys is a book that shows the struggles of boys trying to break the tradition of a stereotypical miner town, dubbed Coalwood. I love how the descriptions bring light to the conditions of mining, and the towns surrounding the mine. It also brings light to the uproar that the Space Race caused, especially Sputnik. As the boys slowly figured out the basics of rocketry, it got more and more into the detail on how hard it was to create rockets when you live in a small town like that. As a footer, I just want to say that the boy’s determination to create those rockets was well shown.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Book Cover
Krakauer, Jon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I read ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer in my sophomore year for extra credit in my English class. The book is about a young man that did live a privileged life but saw the world as that you don’t need money or materialistic things to live. I believed that his view on the world was ignorant and innocent because how he was brought up in life with money and never having to worry about anything, there was no struggle. For me what he ended up doing just seem very disrespectful to his parents, up and leaving them without saying anything. Into the Wild is just an amazing book with a very sad and devastating ending. Although it most of it did make me a little upset, I would read it again.

Reviewer's Name: Miguel
I Am Malala
Yousafzai, Malala
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I am Malala is an autobiography that a young girl wrote about her life after she was shot in the head by the Taliban and survived. She is a woman’s activist who was standing up for the right for young girls to even go to school, when the Taliban tried to silence her. The story is truly inspiring, and shows just how much of an impact someone can make. I would highly recommend this book for everyone because it really is able to explain what is happening in other parts of the world in an interesting and dramatic way. Although it is at times hard to keep up with all the names and what is happening, it is still a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Jana M.
Book Cover
Ignotofsky, Rachel & Mollo-Christensen, Sarah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Women In Science, by Rachel Ignotofsky and Sarah Mollo-Christensen, provides
an overview of the lives of fifty women who contributed greatly and, in the
authors’ words, “fearlessly”, to the scientific field. In the book,
these fifty women’s contributions to science are highlighted and described.
Well and engagingly written, this book is an important read for any young
woman interested in the scientific field. By teaching us about the lives of
these women, the authors encourage young women to pursue their passions in
the sciences by showing previous women who have paved the way. I would
recommend this book to readers ages 12 and up. The book is appropriate for
anyone interested in the STEM field and women’s contributions to it.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Book Cover
Green, Jen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Women In Science is a book which covers the lives of outstanding
women in science. Written for readers from 7-9, this book inspires young
readers with the incredible wonders of science. Too, it highlights these
contributions to the field which have been made by women. A simple and
digestible read, this book would be ideal for any young girl interested in
the scientific field. I would recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca D.
Book Review: Guts
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Book Review: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World
Kidder, Tracy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mountains Beyond Mountains is a phenomenal biography detailing the work of Dr. Paul Farmer in Haiti and Boston. Kidder follows Farmer's story between his life in Boston, Haiti, and France, the constant travelling to see his patients in the former and his family in France. The story of Dr.Farmer is incredibly inspiring and eye-opening as it discusses the lack of health care in many places and the need for conscious implementation of medical programs in underdeveloped countries. Not only does Kidder follow Farmer to his hospitals, home visits, etc. but he follows him as Farmer changes medical institutions across the world. This is an amazing read and I highly suggest it to anybody interested in the medical field, the developing versus the developed world, or somebody just wanting an interesting story.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.

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