Reviewed by Oluwafunto O., Grade 10
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a fiction book by Ransom Riggs. It’s about is about a boy named Jacob who always listened to his grandfather’s stories about living with peculiar children in a home run by Miss Peregrine. As he grows up, Jacob doubts the stories until he visits his dying grandfather and sees a creature that only he can see. His grandfather, Abraham, tells him to find a bird on the side of a old man’s grave on September 1940 and to tell everyone. No one believes Jacob, so his parents take him to a psychiatrist who suggests that he should go to Wales, the location of his grandfather’s children’s home. Jacob finds the home deserted, yet during his search he finds a mysterious girl and questions her. They go to a bog, and he realizes that the people are quite different. The patrons chase him. An invisible girl named Emma Bloom, and an invisible boy named Millard Nullings, rescue Jacob and escape with him to Miss Peregrine’s children’s home. He also is introduced to other people, like Bronwyn Bruntley, who has amazing strength and Claire Densmore, who has a mouth that is at the back of her head, and Miss Peregrine, a Ymbryne. Ymbrynes live a time loop. I think that people who like mysteries or who are into supernatural books would like this novel because, one, the book has pictures that go with the story, and, two, the adventure is intriguing.
Reviewed by Asha S., Grade 10
The book Girl Underwater, by Claire Kells, is amazing fiction. The book is narrated by Avery Delacorte, and each chapter flips back between the present, and the past. In the story Avery is on her way home for the holidays after a swim meet. The whole time Avery feels uneasy, as if something is wrong and, before she knows it, she is sitting under her seat with an oxygen mask on as the plane is crashing. Her teammate, Colin, is beside her trying to convince them both that they will live. When the plane crashes, almost everyone is dead. The only people alive are Avery, Colin, three little boys and a pregnant lady. Avery and Colin manage to get the survivors out and, before they know it, they are standing on the sand watching their belongings and the 204 people left in the plane sinking into the bottom of the lake. The novel flips back and forth between Avery trying to survive in the wild with Colin and the three little boys, and the present when she gets home. Girl Underwater is a remarkable book about love, survival, and coping with being different from everyone else. Even though some of the chapters in the “present” were a little slow paced, the book was brilliant and definitely a great way to show the struggle of being stranded in a blizzard in the mountains after a plane crash. I would say Girl Underwater is a must read.
Reviewed by Lauren W., Grade 10
The book This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp, is very elaborate YA fiction. The story is told from multiple points of view, it shows the complexity of having to deal with the hardships of a school shooting. The story starts off with a school assembly being let out but the doors are locked. Then, the point of view goes over to a gym class outside, and two boys in the principal’s office; these points of view skillfully change at the perfect point in time. This book is very remarkable because it shows the LGBT community in a casual way, because it is presented but not over examined. I liked this book because it is about a serious issue that is relevant today. I also liked the detail that was put into people’s background, it really gave you an idea of why they acted the way they did towards the shooter. I would recommend this book to people that like realistic fiction.
Reviewed by Zoe S., Grade 10
Pain & Wastings, by Carrie Mac, is a fictional story about, and narrated, by a boy named Ethan who breaks into an amusement park and gets caught by the police. His choice is to either go to juvie or take what he thinks is the easy way out and go on paramedic runs with one of the paramedics, Holly, who already knows too much about him and her partner, John. Ethan is faced with remembering his terrible past as he turns onto the street corner he used to live on, Main and Hastings, which is called Pain & Wastings for a reason. Will Ethan be able to deal with facing his past or will he have to figure out his own way to get out it? In my opinion this book is well written and gives a lot of detail but the book is short which I like! This book is a fast paced read showing a struggle that a young teenage boy is facing that others are able to relate to. The author creates brilliant personalities and it feels like you are actually there while you read. She also has a remarkable of way of describing how Ethan has survived different foster homes when he was a young boy. The only downside I see while reading is while Carrie Mac is descriptive with her writing I feel she does not provide enough detail about Ethan’s life with his drug induced and hooker mother. The author is still descriptive with them but only gives not even half a page of little clips of what the protagonist experienced throughout his stripped away life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a book that evokes a lot of nostalgia and talks about the dark side drug use and how it affects younger kids throughout their year.
Reviewed by Evan F., Grade 10
An Ember In The Ashes was a fantastic book, in my opinion. This fictional novel is about a boy and a girl in a Romanesque setting. Elias, of the Martial race, is attending a military academy that will train him to become what the people call a Mask. After an Augur, an immortal monk, declares there must be a new emperor, Elias gets chosen to go through the Trials to pick a new emperor. Laia is of the Scholar race that is being ruled by the Martial race. Laia’s brother is arrested and taken to prison, so Laia joins the Resistance. In order for Laia to find her brother, she disguises herself as a slave for the commandant. The story has a slow pace in the beginning, but it eventually drew me in the more I read. An Ember In The Ashes is in first person, so you can know what the characters are thinking and how they feel about situations. The characters are relatable, and the suspense is there. I was intrigued from the start. An Ember In The Ashes is a great book to read if you’re looking for something with action, suspense, and a love story.
Reviewed by Kailee B., Grade 10
Ruthless, by Carolyn Lee Adams, is a young adult thriller with many suspenseful moments that happen throughout the book. The story is told in first person, with flashbacks to Ruth and her kidnapper’s past life. Ruth was a champion horse rider, who did not let anyone get in her way; some people even called her ruthless. One day, she wakes up in a bed of a truck, with no memory of how she has gotten there. Realizing she had been kidnapped by a strange man, who particularly goes for aggressive redheads, Ruth decides she is not going to be another one of his victims. Being a strong character, Ruth fights her way home, facing complex challenges ranging from being severely injured, to fighting off her kidnapper to stay alive. Altogether this book was beyond remarkable, in my opinion, and could not have gotten any more interesting. Originally, looking at the book, I thought it would have been another dreadful, cheesy book based on the cover, but, impressively, it was not anything like I thought it would be. The description of how Ruth felt, and how the story setting was described, made if feel as if I was the character myself. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, of any age, who is really into suspenseful, thrilling books.
Reviewed by Jackie K., Grade 11
The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness is a great novel for anyone seeking humor, adventure, and originality. Mikey, the protagonist, will draw you in from the very beginning with his ironic sense of humor and his unique set of friends. In their last year of high school, Mikey, Henna, Melinda, and Jared will struggle with family issues, mental illness and choosing prom dates. These relatable characters will have you questioning what’s next until the very end. This novel is true to the heart, and will continue to be genuine for a long time. I think The Rest of us Just Live Here would have been suitable without the paranormal facet, but it did add an ageless aspect to the story. Though the author could have elaborated more on the “Indie Kids” prospect of the novel, Ness displayed the protagonists in a way no author has done before: ordinary. Patrick Ness showed that you only need to save your own story to be viewed as the hero. Anyone who is feeling exceedingly ordinary will love this novel, because Mikey proves that being an average person does not mean you have to be dull. Ness even states, “Sometimes you have to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.”