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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Title:  The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Format: paperback
Price: around $9

The Hunger Games is about Katniss Everdeen being chosen to fight at the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a televised fight to the death between tributes. A ceremony called the reaping decides who those tributes will be. The country they live in, Panem, is divided into 12 districts, and each district randomly draws two people to go fight in the “games“. Katniss ends up volunteering to go because her sister Prim got chosen. She goes to the Capitol to train and get ready for the “games”. When the games begin it is a suspenseful book and a thrill ride with a lot of action.

Katniss is very emotional in this book because she is torn between her best friend and hunting friend Gale Hawthorne and the other tribute Peeta Mellark. Gale Hawthorne is the hunting partner and best friend of Katniss, he has to provide and take care of his siblings like Katniss must do for her family as well. And Peeta Mellark is the other tribute from district 12 with Katniss, he declares his love for her before the games begin which angers her because she thought it would make her look weak, when in fact it made her more desired.
To me I thought the theme of this book was Rebellion because Katniss defies the Capitol and tries to change the system. It can teach you to rebel if you think something is unjust or unfair.
I thought the ending was satisfying and makes you dying to read the rest of the series. I think I'd enjoy reading the other books by this author because this book already made me keep turning those pages.
I thought the book cover represented the book very well, it has the “Mockingjay” symbol, which symbolizes being against the capitol, and the old, failed, revolution.
I think the level of appropriateness in this book wasn’t too bad. There is some violence during the “Games” but nothing too graphic.

Out of five chocolate bars, I give this book a 3 ½ chocolate bars.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Graveyard Book, a review by Joza

Title:  The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Format: Hardcover 
Price: $17.99

At the beginning of the book a murderer is killing a family. The main character, Nobody, is the only member of the family that survives. He makes his way to a graveyard and is raised there. At the end of the book, Nobody confronts the man that killed his family. 

Nobody is a young boy who can do things that normally only ghosts can do. His major motivation for the last part of the book is finding the man who killed his family. The main character Nobody, “Bod,” becomes more mature as he grows up in the graveyard and goes from being scared of the man who killed his family to wanting revenge on him. 

This book teaches you to live life to the fullest because you only get one chance to do it. 

It is a children’s fantasy novel. 

The graveyard book is an amazing read. I was completely absorbed in it the entire time I was reading it. I really didn’t like the ending to this book -- it seemed too abrupt like it should have kept going. I would enjoy reading other books by this author.

The cover of the book is very interesting and very cool-looking. 

This book has almost no violence I don’t think this book is inappropriate for anyone of any age.

My rating for the book is 4.5 chocolate bars.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, a review by Maggie

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood; a Review by Maggie
Title- The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
Author- Ann Brashares
Format- Hardcover
Price- $15.95 (U.S.) / $23.95 (Can.)

Plot Summary- In book two of a four book series Bridget, Carmen, Tibby, and Lena go off on their second summer passing around these “magical” pants that, even though the girls are not the same size, the pants fit all of them. Tibby decides that working at Wallman's isn’t how she wants to spend her summer again so she gets into a college film making program. Carmen starts to worry that her mom may possibly be going “boy crazy” especially when her mom wears the pants on a date. In not liking her mom’s new boyfriend, David, Carmen manages to break the two up but then realizes it was a big mistake. Bridget decides to go to Alabama to secretly find information about her dead mom from her grandmother and ends up meeting up with some old friends she used to play soccer with when she was younger. Lena dreadfully misses her Ex, Kostos, who she met on her trip to Greece the summer before and when Kostos surprisingly shows up in the United States they do some things and then he suddenly disappears back to Greece leaving Lena determined to find out why when she returns after her grandfather’s death.

Character Analysis-  
Bridget- the summer prior Bridget had spent quickly falling in love with her soccer coach at camp but in realizing how she had acted Bridget quits playing soccer, and becomes very quiet. After spending her summer pretending to be a girl named Gilda helping her grandmother around the house Bridget learns a lot about her dead mother and grows a strong relationship with her grandmother.
Tibby- Tibby is what most parents would call a rebellious daughter but finds her joy in filmmaking and goes to take a college course. Not realizing it, she starts to cause damage to the people who really love her when trying to make new friends but when she steps back at looks at what she is doing she turns herself around, leaves her new friends to make things better.
Lena-  Lena is a very pretty yet quiet girl who misses her ex living back in Greece a lot. When she finds out that he is now getting married to a women he doesn’t love it hurts her a lot. Then she meets Carmen’s stepbrother, Paul, and they really like each other.
Carmen- Carmen is very sensitive and when her mom gets into a more serious relationship she feels like he is getting more attention from her mom than she is. After causing the break up between them, and her mom becoming depressed she realizes her mom deserves to be happy and tries to fix things.

The theme to really all four books would be that no matter how far or how close you are from the people you truly love you will always still love them.

Strengths, Weakness, favorite parts of the book-  
I think the strengths of this book would really be the message sent out with the girl’s friendship. I feel there were no real weaknesses but that’s just me.               

My favorite part of the book would probably be the ending because everything that had gone wrong during their summers turned out alright.

The ending of the book is really about all four girls realizing what is best. With Lena, finding someone new, Bridget, gaining a relationship with her grandmother, Tibby, fixing what she had broken, and Carmen, getting her mom and David back together.

Rating- 5 out of 5 chocolate bars!!! (Now to watch the movie J )

Book cover- I think the book cover fits the story 100% because the books are really all about these magical pants that travel with all the girls making memories they all will never forget so having a picture of the pants is perfect.

Appropriateness- I would say this book is definitely a young adult book. The book uses some sketchy language and does reference sex but otherwise it has a positive message to it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Be More Chill, a review by Nico

Title: Be More Chill
Author: Ned Vizzini
Format: Paperback
Price: $7.99

The book follows the life a high school student named Jeremy.  Jeremy is, well, kind of a loser.  He has what he calls humiliation sheets, so when anyone makes fun of him, he marks it down.  Jeremy hears of a pill that makes you smart and cool.  The pill is called a "squip," and so Jeremy goes to buy it.  He swallows the pill, and it changes his life, but is it for the better, or worse?

Jeremy is the main character in Be More Chill.  He is not popular at all until he takes the squip.  His motivation to do what he does is that he wants to be cool.  Michael, Jeremy's best friend, is another character.  He has a big Afro.

I think the theme of this book is to be careful what you wish for.  Jeremy wishes to be more cool and popular, and when he finds out about the squip, he thinks he's found the perfect thing.  The squip makes some large life changes for Jeremy, and it turns out to be not exactly what he had hoped for.

I really don't think there were any weaknesses of the book, but it was very strong.  The moral of the book was very strong, and it had a strong entertainment value.

I don't think the ending was that great because of the problems that the squip causes and then how Jeremy fixes it.

Appropriateness: sexual content, mature themes, and language

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Art of War, a review by Benjy

Title: The Art Of War
Author: Sun Tzu, Also with editing by Dallas Galvin, and translated by Lionel GilesFormat: Paper back 
Price: $7.95                 

Plot summary: Because of how it is written, the book has no plot.  It is essentially a guide on how to wage war. The book has also been compared to The Book Of Life, as it is describing how to combat any opponent of any kind. This book is written in a way that it seems to apply to any type of conflict. The book is split up into sections based on the type of actions that need to b preformed as to win the succeed.

Theme: The theme is essentially you need to deceive the enemy.

I rate it 4 out of 5 chocolate bars.
The cover of the book that I have is a a army of soldiers, It looks like a very old painting. I would like it to have a cooler cover.

This book has no inappropriate content, it has slight references to killing, but that's it. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Bearers of the Black Staff, a review by Cullen

Title:  The Bearers of the Black Staff: Legends of Shannara Book 1)
Author:  Terry Brooks
Format:  Hardcover
Price: $7.99

Summary: The magical barrier that has protected the valley for over 500 years is eroding.  Evil creatures from the world outside have entered the valley, but there is still disbelief that the barrier is gone.  Sider Ament is the bearer of a magic as old as the barrier, the Black Staff, and he knows the valley won't be safe for long.  Panterra Qu and Prue Liss have grown up together and have become expert trackers.  They believe that Ament is correct and the barrier won't hold for long.  Panterra and Prue are tasked by Sider to gather support from the Elves so they can defend the passages into the valley.  Panterra and Prue cross the barrier and go into the world beyond.  Unwillingly, they cause an army of Trolls to take an interest in the valley.

Panterra and Prue escape the Trolls and go to tell Sider what happened.  The Elves and humans race to defend the passes.  As the Troll army approaches, the defenders see that the Trolls are vastly superior to their inexperienced warriors.  The only advantage is Sider Ament and his Black Staff.

Sider Ament is a solitary man who has very little contact with civilization as he helps protect the valley.  He is torn up over the loss of teacher and the loss of his love.

Panterra Qu has heightened senses that help him as a Tracker.  He is driven by feeling like he left Prue behind.

Prue Liss can sense danger before it happens.

Theme: One theme of this novel could be that all good things come to an end.  The People of the valley are shocked when the barrier fails.  They don't expect it to end, but it did, and they weren't prepared.  If they knew this lesson, they would have been prepared.

My Thoughts: Overall, this was a very strong book and I enjoyed reading it.  I think Terry Brooks is a good writer, having read most of his other books.  I enjoyed this one the most.

I didn't really like the ending, but I guess it had to happen in order to set up the second book.  I enjoy reading this genre and reading other books by this author.

Rating: 4 out of 5 chocolate bars
Cover Thoughts: I like the cover.  I thought it helps you visualize the setting as well as Sider Ament.
Appropriateness:  There is some violence in the book but nothing really that graphic.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

All the Mountains of Madness, a review by Beren

Title:  At the Mountains of Madness 
Author:  H.P.Lovecraft.
Format: Hardback copy containing many writings of different books, so it is a large volume, but costing the low price of  $12.95.    

A team of scientists goes on an exploration into the antarctic looking for ancient fossils and rock, and after some time a giant mountain range is found, taller than the Himalayas. While drilling for rock they uncover a cave filled with fossils of the ancient past, and after exploring the cave discover several preserved creatures unlike anything ever before seen: gray, tubular, tentacled, vile looking things of anatomy unlike anything seen before. 

Contact is lost with the group exploring this area, and once help from the rest of the expedition arrives, they find the area in shambles from a storm, but more disturbingly several of the creatures are gone, and several are seemingly buried in a grave. Everyone who was at the camp is found mangled and dismembered, and a dog and a human are found to be dissected in the camp. 

The remaining members go on an expedition over the mountains to explore what no one else ever again find, and discover a vast ancient city, seemingly entirely  abandoned, with architecture unlike anything else seen on Earth. They then enter the city, and soon find horrors they will never forget...

William Dyer is a professor of geology at Miskatonic University, and the story is told from his point of view, addressing the reader about what happened on the expedition. His motivation is for finding fossil and rock samples and gathering information, though ultimately it is curiosity. The writing of his is an informative narrative, and it seems the only growth he has had is through his gained knowledge and viewpoint. 

Another major character is Danforth, a graduate student from the university who is also on the expedition. He and Dyer are the only humans to see the city. He is shaken after the story and has never quite recovered from the expedition, feeling paranoid and often breaking down, and having trouble speaking about the events that occurred. There are no other major characters, as it is mostly Dyer documenting what happened and trying to dissuade future explorers. 

The theme seems to be on human curiosity and the unknown, although it is written mostly to present a interesting narrative, and it could be considered horror to an extent as well. 

I enjoyed the book very much, particularly the ending, which I found to be a very good way to wrap up such a story. The writing is very unique, and is very well written; I cannot find any weaknesses to it. I have a collection of works by this author, and will definitely read more stories, I am glad to have learned about this author. 

The cover is interesting, but has nothing to do with this story in particular, as the book contains many of Lovecraft's writings. 

The book is slightly horror, but I would say if you have the reading level to be able to understand the writing you are certainly mature enough to handle it. 

I would say this book is five out of five.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mockingjay, a review by Jacob

Title:  Mockingjay
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Format:  Hardcover
Price: $17.99

The Hunger Games are over.  That should be a good thing, right?  Not for Katniss Everdeen.  As the Mockingjay, she joins the rebellion against the corrupt Capitol.  But, it will not be an easy flight.  She must draw the attention of the other districts to also act up against the Capitol, and kill President Snow.

Katniss is no longer the simple huntress she was.  She is hardened by too much blood and warfare in too little time.  After an attack from the Capitol that destroys Katniss' old life, she has even more personal motivation to take them down.

The theme of the book seems to me to be that things are always changing, and not always in the way you'd like them to.  Everything good comes to an end.  But in the same way, everything bad does, too.

I think that this book was overall pretty strong.  Some people don't like it as much since the Hunger Games are over, but I honestly like it more because they are over.  I really liked getting to know more about the society of Panem, and I enjoyed reading about the rebellion.  But, there are some things that I think could've gone better.  The main weak point to me seemed to be the ending.  The ending was way too sudden, and it didn't really satisfy me.  Other points were a little too sudden, but the ending really hit hard.  It was the "correct" ending to me -- everything went the way I was hoping -- but it was summed up in the last two or three pages.  The other endings of the books were good enough; they left a cliff-hanger, suspense, but this book was supposed to be the conclusion, and it just didn't seem right to me. 

Overall, I think the book deserves a well-earned 3.8 out of 5 chocolate bars.

The book's cover was, uh, pretty.  It was nice to see an actual(ish) Mockinjay.

This book, like the other Hunger Games books, has extreme violence, so be wary.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Gift of Magic, a review by Stephanie

Title: A Gift of Magic
Author: Lois Duncan
Format: Paperback
Price: unknown

"Her voice was fading and she named the gift very softly, but her daughter, who loved her greatly, did not hear."  This is how it started, three children with gifts.  One of which, named Nancy.  Nancy  was a smart girl with the gift of magic.  Her older sister Kirby had the gift of dance, while her little brother Brenden had the gift of music.  These three kids are children of a woman named Elizabeth, and the story starts with the family moving.  The last move.  Elizabeth and her husband finally decided to go their separate ways, and Elizabeth and the kids settled down in Florida.

Now the kids find their way in life, whether it's Kirby finding a dance studio, or Brenden trying to stay out of trouble with his new friend Greg, or even the fact that Nancy is just figuring out her ability, her gift of magic.

A Gift of Magic was a very quick and good book to read that wasn't full of action at all times, but kept me engaged all the same.  I do wish they would have added more about Nancy's gift and Brenden's gift, too.  But the prologue was suspenseful, and the epilogue was very informative.  At the end of the book, if the epilogue wasn't there, I would be very confused on how they could just end the book there.

But as for the cover, I absolutely loved it!!!!  It was simple, and the way it pictured Nancy's gift was spot on.  It showed how much Nancy can see through her thoughts.  I thought it was very cool.

As for appropriateness, it was a completely and utterly appropriate book for all ages.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Goy Crazy, a review by Michy

Title:  Goy Crazy

Anywho, I read a book called Goy Crazy, by Melissa Schorr. And yes, it really is called Goy Crazy. I found it to be a very strange book, especially since I’m not religious… But I’m fairly certain a “goy” is a Christian boy… Anyway… This is the story of Rachel Lowenstein. She’s a Jewish fifteen-year-old girl who’s never really had a serious boyfriend, and is yearning for some action in the love department. And her parents are kind of religious… obsessed. Kind of. 

At her brother’s bar mitzvah, she meets Luke. Anywho, she falls for him. This is bad, very bad, seeing as he’s Christian. Bad news for Rachel. So, on the only occasion that the Lowenstein family goes to service, she asks a friend, named Leah, for some guidance. Leah asks if her parents would let her date him because he’s Christian. Which brings up more questions. Then at school, she plays dumb in geometry, her friend goes on a crazy no-meat diet, and she hates gym-class. So, after fast, Rachel and Leah decide to go stalk Luke until they can eat, and Luke ignores her. So she makes up some New Year’s resolutions: Get Luke, Flirt madly with some popular guys, wash her face with Proactive, stop biting her nails, get to geometry on time, stop letting her parents rule her life, and break the teen commandments. Simple. You would think so, but the adventures Rachel has may prove otherwise.

Character Analysis: Rachel Lowenstein: Typical fifteen year old girl, well, woman, with acne and no confidence, in my opinion. She has her father’s hair, “kinky, black,” and apparently really high metabolism. She is really nervous, and, well, a “stereo-typical” girl, nervous about guy issues, why she doesn’t have a boyfriend, etc, ect, ect. Then she starts to “not understand” geometry, and she starts getting attention from the guys in her class. And all this is after she meets her future boyfriend, Luke. She’s Jewish, and her family isn’t very religious, they almost never go to service, but her brother is “interested” in their culture (meaning he wants more video games), so her parents always are so thrilled that their culture will be passed on. By the end of the book, she grows up a lot, I think, because she takes control of a bad situation and uses her knowledge to solve the problem. Her major motivation is to get a boyfriend, namely, Luke. This drives her throughout the book to defy her parents, and she wouldn’t (most likely) have the nerve to use her quick thinking to solve the big issue at the end of the book.

Theme: I think that the theme is that you almost always fall for the people who could potentially hurt you the most, and that the people you fall for are, most of the time, the people who will hurt you the most. Oh, and don’t lie to your parents, because in most cases, they find out anyway.

Strengths, weaknesses, favorite parts of the book: Some strengths were that it was at times humorous, or fairly serious, and the mood kept changing. This was also one of the weaknesses. It could be very hard to follow at times, and was especially confusing for me not being Jewish. I didn’t really have a favorite part of the book, but I enjoyed it as a whole.

Ending thoughts: It was an interesting book, I thought, and I really liked the ending. I didn’t really like Luke much, so I wasn’t bummed about what happens with him. I was glad that Rachel starting thinking about Howard, I liked Howard, I thought that he was an interesting character and hard to figure out. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 chocolate bars (swearing)
Appropriate Rating: Vampire, again, swearing.
Cover Thoughts: I really don’t think the cover shows the theme of the book, or what the book is about. It shows Rachel “looking” over at Luke, which is strange because they don’t even go to the same school…

Friday, June 8, 2012

This Lullaby, a review by Lauren

Title:  This Lullaby 
Author:  Sarah Dessen
Format: paperback
Price: $7.99

Remy Starr is an 18-year-old girl who is excited to go off to college in the fall.  Before she does that, she has a big summer in front of her.  She has to plan her mother, Barbara's wedding...her fifth wedding...to car salesman Don.  So while Barbara writes her latest romance novel, Remy works out the nuts and bolts of the wedding and consequently meets Dexter, a messy musician that is a singer in the band that will be playing at Barbara's wedding.  From the moment they meet, Dexter is 100% sure that they are meant to be together.  Remy, however, is much more hesitant.  Her mom's experiences with her different husbands and boyfriends has left Remy with a belief that there really isn't such a thing as true love.  Dexter sets out to soften Remy out...Will he succeed?  Read to find out!

Remy:  the protagonist of the novel, a calm, cynical neat freak.  She is more of a mother to her mom than her mother is to her.  After witnessing her mother's four failed marriages, Remy declares that she no longer believes in love.  Remy never gets too close to her boyfriends; she likes to "keep them at arm's length," so that she constantly has the upper hand.

Remy's motivations throughout the book change a fair amount.  First, Remy hopes to pull off her mother's wedding successfully, and more importantly, not to end up like her mom.  Her other motivation towards the beginning of the book is to make it to college in the fall.  After meeting Dexter, her motivations are basically to not get too attached because she knows she will end up losing him at the end of the summer.  If I told you what her motivations are at the end of the book, I may spoil something.  We don't want that, now do we? :)

Remy starts out as this tough, cold girl.  Then she meets Dexter, and everything changes.  He slowly but surely opens her up a bit.  It was really interesting to watch Remy's character change throughout the novel.

The theme of this book would be hope.  Hope for change, for courage to start again, and just hope as a whole.  To me, the theme really goes hand-in-hand with the growth of Remy's character.  Remy has a lot of hopes throughout the book, although she hides them below a frigid exterior.  I thought this book taught a good lesson simply by encouraging hope.

Sarah Dessen does an absolutely wonderful job with her characters in this book.  Each character was described in vivid detail, and by the end of the book, I could have sworn I knew them in real life.  I also liked the way she developed and changed Remy throughout the book.  All in all, I thought the writing was great, and I was resistant to put it down as I was reading.

The only real weakness I could find in this book was the lack of build-up and foreshadowing.  It was a pretty unpredictable book, which I liked, but there could have been more suspense built up by the author before some of the big events in the book.

As much as I adore this book, I did find the ending a little unsatisfying.  It may just be that I don't care too much for open endings...Oops, that was a bit of a spoiler.  However, I think the ending did fit in with the book and I thought it worked for the book as well as the genre.  I have and most likely will read more books by Sarah Dessen.

Rating:  4.999999 chocolate bars
Cover Thoughts:  I liked the cover, but I didn't really understand what it had to do with the story.
Appropriateness:  mild sexual references and medium language

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why, a review by Karen

Title:  Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Format: paperback
Price: $10.99

This book is about Clay Jensen.  In the beginning of the book, he received a shoe box full of cassette tapes.  The tapes were made by Hannah Baker, who had recently committed suicide.  On the tapes, Hannah instructed 13 people, who the tapes are being sent to, to listen to the tapes because they, or their actions, are one of the reasons why she killed herself.  If they don't listen to the tapes, a second copy of the tapes will be released to everyone.  As Clay listens to the tapes, he discovers the truth.

Clay is an average high school student with a good reputation.  His appearance doesn't really matter in the story, so it isn't mentioned.  Before Clay gets the tapes, all he wants to do is survive high school.  After he gets the tapes, he has a better understanding of people.  The tapes change Clay, and by doing that, change his whole life.  Through the changing of his life, he changes others' lives, too.

The author, Jay Asher, says the message of the book is, "Even though Hannah admits the decision to take her life was entirely her own, it's important to be aware of how we treat others...it's impossible to know everything...going on in [a] person's life, an how we might be adding to his/her pain." 

One strength of Thirteen Reasons Why is the connection to readers.  It is extremely realistic because it is partially based on the story of a relative of the author.  The only weakness I could find was that it was sometimes a little hard to follow because the point of view changes often.  I can't pick a favorite part because everything left such a big impact on me.  The writing was easy to understand and had a clear plot structure.  Thirteen Reasons Why pulled me in right from the beginning.  Then I couldn't put it down.  It was extremely entertaining.

The end of the book was very satisfying.  It was exactly how I would end the book.  It wasn't cheesy or depressing.  It was perfectly balanced.  I would definitely read another book by Jay Asher because I like his writing style.  Thirteen Reasons Why worked very well for realistic fiction.

5 out of 5 chocolate bars

The cover I have is of a girl (Hannah) on a swing.  It is in black and white.  The swing works well because an important event for her happened in a park.  The black and white stood out to me because it seemed like the author was saying that some people see the world in black and white.  That means an event like Hannah's suicide would just be "Hannah's Suicide" and there would be nothing else to do with it.  The title is TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY which has the number 1 and 3 in red.  I think the red stands for anger but possibly love.

Thirteen Reasons Why  has some offensive language and a small amount of sexual content.

One last note: I encourage everyone to read this book.  I would read it again and again because it had so much of an impact on me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mockingjay, a review by Jude

Title:  Mockingjay
Format: Hardcover
Price: $17.99


The final book of The Hunger Games trilogy takes place in the same post-apocalyptic North American nation of Panem, which is now experiencing a fully-fledged revolution.  After being rescued from the Quarter Quell along with several other tributes, Katniss Everdeen becomes “The Mockingjay,” a symbol of the revolutionary movement. Throughout the book, Katniss seeks to be more involved in the rebel cause, and is used to film inspirational “Propos” to further motivate the rebels. After continued success of the rebels to gain control of the districts, Katniss is enlisted into a special group of people including Gale Hawthorne, Finnick Odair, and certain soldiers from among the general rebel army. This team ends up in the capitol, racing towards President Snow’s mansion to finally put an end to the war. Intense fighting takes place throughout the majority of the journey to the mansion, which results in the deaths of most of the group. In the end, chaos ensues, Katniss suffers a great loss, Snow is captured, but Katniss makes a sudden choice that leaves everything in confusion. In the end, she returns to what’s left of District 12 and settles there for the remainder of her life.

Character Analysis

Katniss has changed immensely since she started out as a simple 16 year old girl living in a poor district in Panem. After living through two Hunger Games and being the face of the revolutionary movement, she has suffered unimaginable loss.  She blames herself for the thousands of deaths caused by the war, and at times becomes self-destructive. She gets caught in an odd love triangle, and is heavily motivated by protecting Peeta and Gale, as well as her family and friends. In the end, she has matured greatly, perhaps too much for a girl her age, and she must live with ever-haunting memories of tragedy and violence.


To me, this book relayed messages pertaining to the realities of war, as well as revolutionary movements. Collins portrayed the brutal violence of the story somewhat bluntly, not trying to lighten the realities of the intense violence. I also found the corruption on both sides of the war a major part of the book’s theme. As President Snow’s regime was obviously harsh and oppressive, President Coin of district 13 didn’t have the best of methods or ways of gaining power, and showed some obvious corruption. Even though you overthrow the oppressive regime, if you’re not careful, the new order may turn out bad as well, causing only more problems.

My Opinion

Overall, I thought the book was all right. I did, however, find it disappointing in comparison to the previous two books, which I think are phenomenal.  The biggest thing about this book that I don’t like in relation to the previous two is how different the feel is. The first two were all about independent survival, and needing to use cunning and stealth to survive in an arena full of murderous teenagers. This one felt too militaristic and political to complement and give a good ending to the series. I did enjoy the portion of the book leading up to the climax, but the climax itself and the ending were both disappointing. Everything happened too abruptly, and everything seemed rushed without much real thought going into it. Not only did it end too abruptly, but I hate what actually happens in the end.  I would definitely read other books by Suzanne Collins, but in this book it seems as if she was trying too hard to make it an epic and crazy ending, and ended up with a mediocre to poor conclusion to an amazing series.

3 out of 5 chocolate bars.

I enjoyed the cover, as it correlates to the feel of the book as well as the theme of the entire series.

The only questionable material Mockingjay involves is, at times, intense violence.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesdays with Morrie, a review by Solveig

Title: Tuesdays with Morrie
Author:  Mitch Albom
Format: Hardcover
Price:  $15.59

Basically, Tuesdays with Morrie is about a man named Mitch who rediscovers his old college professor, Morrie Schwartz, when Morrie is diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and is interviewed by Ted Koppel.

The story is about Morrie holding one last class, with one student.  They meet every Tuesday because they are "Tuesday People."  Mitch brings in a list of topics he wants to discuss, such as family, life, death, etc., as Morrie slowly dies. 

The two main characters are Mitch and Morrie, and Mitch is just a rich sports reporter who is trying to get through life.  He grows from a cold businessman to a loving person.  Morrie is a dying old man who is loved by everybody and also loves everybody in return.  Morrie just wants to live the last bit of his life as best he can. 

This book was extremely strong in the "teaching" aspect.  There were a lot of life lessons in there.  I thin its biggest weakness was that whenever Mitch spook, his quotations didn't have quote marks, which really bothered me.  The book was never slow, and there wasn't too much description, which helped the story move along.

The ending of the book had some really good closure, with everything really resolving itself.  I don't know if I would like other books by Mitch Albom, I think the character of Morrie Schwartz really holds it together. 

I would rate Tuesdays with Morrie 4.75 chocolate bars out of 5.

The book's cover was just beige with the author, title, and some quotes on the top in red.  I thought it was classy and simple, like the story.

The book was mostly appropriate--there was a little use of the "a-word."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hunted, a review by Miranda

Title: Hunted
Authors: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Format: I read Hunted as an ebook on my nook.
Price:  $8.99

Summary:  Zoey and red fledglings are fighting Neferet and Kalona. They stay underground while the raven mockers run rampant throughout the streets and House of Night (for vampyre fledglings.) Zoey is injured and must go back to the House of Night in order to survive. She finds out that Neferet wants her to leave her goddess, Nyx, for the fallen angel, Kalona.

Zoey: a young fledgling priestess who has affinities for all five of the elements: wind, water, fire, air, and spirit. She is fighting for her life as well for her friends lives while she stays faithful to her goddess Nyx. She has a very confusing love life as she struggles between her vampyre, human, and red fledgling lovers.
Aphrodite: a previous fledging who becomes human after saving red vampyre, Stevie Rae.
Stevie Rae: First red vampyre who is Zoey’s best friend.
Erik: Zoeys vampyre boyfriend
Heath: Zoey’s human boyfriend
Neferet: Vampyre priestess who is under the rule of Kalona.
Kalona: Fallen angel who has been trapped underground for many years after being trapped by native women. He is the father of the raven mockers.
Stark: red fledgling who has a special power and Zoey has feelings for him.

Theme: The theme to me seems to be that you need to stay true to yourself and faithful to those around you. Also to choose good over evil and protect what’s important to you.

Strengths: it has a great pace, it’s action-packed, it gets you hooked immediately, and it was very suspenseful!
Weakness: has a little too much sexual content and is confusing at parts.
My favorite part is when Zoey uses the elements to attack Kalona after he hurts Darius. It’s very descriptive, and I can see what is happening in my head!

Ending: is very catchy and hooks me to read the next book.

Rating: I’d rate it 3.5 out of 5 chocolate bars.

Cover Thoughts: I always enjoy the book covers because they have the cool tattoos all over them and they have an eerie picture of someone from the book.

language--there is occasional swearing but that is most because of the character speaking. Zoey tries to censor her language while Aphrodite does not hold back.
violence--it is very action packed to the point of getting over-the-top gory.
sexual content--There is a fair amount of sexual content but I think that it is enough to handle for most young adults.
Maturity--I think that it is not for most middle schoolers because of the sexual content but if you are comfortable with the sex and swearing then it is all right for you to read.

Friday, June 1, 2012

To Be a Slave, a review by James

Title:  To Be A Slave
Written by: Julius Lester
Paperback, $6.99

Recently I read the book To Be A Slave by Julius Lester. The book is a compilation of testimonies given by former slaves in a series of interviews conducted by the American Anti-Slavery Society supplemented with comments and notes written by the author. It covers the history of slavery from the voyages of the first slave ships to the end of the Civil War. 

The book is a compelling firsthand  account of what it was like to live as a slave in America. Lester covers the topics of transportation to the New World, the life of the average slave, slave auctions, slave rebellions and uprisings, and reactions to the Emancipation Proclamation and newfound freedom. To Be A Slave demonstrates the cruelty of slavery and recounts horrifying tales of inhumanity on the part of the slave owners. 

Lester's notes are both enlightening and shocking, and they also clarify some of the slang and sometimes confusing dialect of the interviewees. The book is very cohesive and goes from topic to topic in a sensible way. The author's choice of selections perfectly conveys the information he intended to convey. The book does have some downsides, though. While Lester's notes are informative, they sometime fail to explain certain slang words. The narratives sometimes got very lengthy, and I believe more cutting could have been done on the author's part. Also, I would have appreciated seeing stories of slavery from outside America, despite Lester's saying that the slavery in America was the most barbaric and cruel. 

For these reasons, and also because this style of writing is not my favorite, I give To Be A Slave 3 ½ chocolate bars out of five. I thought the ending of this book with the end of the Civil War, was fitting and a good place to end. I would recommend this book to anyone older than 10 due to mentions of nudity, violence, and profanity. Overall, To Be A Slave was a gripping account of the horrors of slavery in America.

Rating: 3 ½ chocolate bars out of 5
Cover Thoughts- I thought the cover was simple yet fitting.