Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Title: Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Teen Reviewer: Nanditha Prashanth
Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Spellbook of the Lost and Found revolves around a spellbook. A spellbook which will change everything for Olive and those close to her. All of this started on a stormy summer night after a drunk obnoxious party which may not have been so much as useless after all. After this party is when Olive and her best friend, Rose, began to lose things. Not much more than small clips and jewelry, but there wasn't much time until Rose lost something big, something worth looking for and thinking about over sleepless nights. Something that makes her slip away from the grasp of her best friend Olive. Just when things couldn’t get worse seductive pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. That’s when Olive’s simple thoughts become reality. Meeting the strangers Ivy, Hazel and her twin brother Rowan in a housing estate where the spellbook is found. Olive soon comes to realize that these three are no different than Rose and herself-- lost and holding painful secrets. The spellbook seems to bring back the smallest courage into these lost eyes. The spellbook, tattered and torn, holds charms which will supposedly bring back things which could only be dreamed of. Olive and the three others could only think of this as a gift, a chance to help themselves. But little did they know that some secrets are never meant to be found.

Olive is a character who binds the story together much like the spellbook binds the characters together. This is a book that kept me reading and wondering. I constantly was in suspense and surprise which is what made this book the most enjoyable. It may be hard at first to understand the setting and characters but it's sure to get better as the book progresses.

To locate this book in our catalog click here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review: Most Dangerous

Title: Most Dangerous
Author: Steve Sheinkin
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi

As tensions rise in North and South Vietnam, American government Decided to assist South Vietnam. But as American troops ambush rice paddies and bomb the North, they don’t seem to make a difference in the war. The North’s elaborate strategies make the war seem endless for the US. And in the US, civilians are also upset about the government’s ambush on North Vietnam and the danger inflicted on the people of Vietnam. Because they were criticized by their people, the US Government decided to hide real facts and operations going on in war-torn Vietnam. At that time Daniel Ellsberg was working at the Pentagon and knew that the war in Vietnam was not as successful as the Government said it was. So he traveled to Vietnam and experienced the truth: that American military maneuvers in Vietnam were stagnant and turning very unpleasant for the Americans. Daniel Ellsberg then found himself trapped in two loyalties. One to the government he worked for, and one to citizens like himself. But as the war went on, Daniel decided to copy pages of classified information and deliver them to newspaper companies all over the US. Then, all the people knew the truth about the things that were happening in Vietnam. They learned that the US wasn’t winning the war. But it all didn’t stop there. The government took Ellsberg to court. They even ransacked several places to find information of Daniel’s wrongdoings. But after a tiresome trial, Daniel Ellsberg got away with all the convictions that were brought against him. After the government lost the fight, they gave up and left him alone. Later, the US agreed to leave Vietnam alone and the war ended in defeat.

 Most Dangerous shows the heroism of Daniel Ellsberg. He stole documents from his government for the greater good of his people. He helped end the doomed fight in Vietnam so that lives would be saved, but he did it by breaking the law. As Steve Sheinkin tells this story, he adds many facts and details that make the novel trustworthy and interesting.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Red Rising

Title: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi

On Mars, a hardworking type of human named Reds lived to drill the soil to find a certain gas to make Mars habitable for humans. The Reds wore suits that contain everything inside it, and they slave all day to serve the uppercolors without hesitation. Darrow was a gas miner, and he had a wife that started to rebel against the upppercolors. But one day, the uppercolors found out she was rebelling, so they hanged her in front of the ArchGovernor and in front of Darrow and the community. Then Darrow, thoroughly distraught, did something rebellious for his wife and got himself hanged. But he woke up and found himself alive because the Sons of Ares resurrected Darrow with high tech equipment.

The Sons of Ares was a terrorist group that was against the rule of the Golds. The Sons of Ares showed Darrow the cities the Golds had made and how they were telling the Reds lies. They turned Darrow into a Gold through the use of technology and training. Then, the Sons of Ares sent him to an academy where he was first tested his smartness and physical health. Then he was ordered to kill one of the Golds that did not do well on the test. The Gold he killed happened to be the younger brother of Cassius, the son of a rival of the ArchGovernor and a friend that he made. He decided to keep this a secret. The institute he tested for was not the normal school with classes and tests, but a huge game with seven houses. Darrow and Cassius quickly became leaders of House Mars until Cassius found out that Darrow killed his brother. Then he was left for dead by Cassius and survived to make an army of his own and eventually win the game. He was immediately claimed by the ArchGovernor and was promised a bright future.

The book was packed with action and has a very creative storyline. The novel also tells us that even the weakest and smallest can rise up to the top. The explosive action and the meaningful purpose of the book makes it perfect.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Caraval

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Teen Reviewer: Nanditha Prashanth

Imagine a world, a fantastical city which is entirely created by the most infamous magician known as Legend. A city that is the star of a 5-night game played by real life players and an audience. A game known as Caraval which presents the unthinkable beyond the point of imagination. This very game was the only motivation for a young girl named Scarlett. Scarlett had only one dream: to experience Caraval and perhaps meet the legendary legend. This is the only dream this young reserved girl had to keep her sanity. To keep herself and her sister Tella alive from their abusive, manipulative father and marriage opposite a count whom she has never met. But this one dream just happened to come true but not the way she or her sister expected. A letter came suddenly promising two Caraval performance tickets. Scarlett was intrigued and amazed but at the same time heartbroken over the promise of her unwilling marriage. Unable to decide between her love for her brave sister Tella and her sister’s life. After many twists, turns and complications they both set out to Caraval with the help of a young sailor named Julian. But by doing this Scarlett feared the worst by her father who had done much worse than just physical abuse to Tella at this point. The fear of losing her sister, love coming too close too soon and the magical dismay of Caraval shapes the rest of the plot. The book follows through with Scarlett’s journey as she ventures to find her sister through tragedy.

This book is a mystery fantasy novel which follows the life of a young girl who has lost a dear sister and is indulged within a fantastical city. This book is definitely one of a kind and very entertaining.  Caraval kept me interested the entire time although it started off slow and very dry. It felt as though I was really at Caraval. There are exceptional descriptions of the setting and plot that keep you on your toes and ready for the next event. I rated Caraval 4 out of 5 based on my interest as a mystery lover. Personally I would recommend this book to anyone but specifically someone who loves suspenseful mystery novels with a great sense of imagination. Imagination is the key to enjoying this book at its best. Being an imaginative person helped me understand and stay interested in the book the entire time. Caraval will bring the childhood dream and aspirations out of you along with a very imaginative personality. Definitely recommended to anyone interested in a fantasy novel. 

To locate this book in our catalog, click  here.