Spotlight on Books

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
Like many of the popular books today, divergent takes place in a distopian world. America has crumbed and a new system of government has taken it’s place; the factions.
Each person is placed in a faction based on personality.
Amity are the peaceful people, Erudite have a thirst for knowledge, Abnegation are the selfless, Candor are the honest, and Dauntless are the brave. Each faction plays an important role in society. Each person must take an aptitude test to be placed into a single faction.
But a new race secretly exists; The divergent.
The divergent do not get a single result on the test, but instead are fit for multiple factions. They are considered dangerous, and if they can not keep a secret about their divergence, they will face certain death.
The story follows Beatrice Prior, a young Abnegation girl who has reached the age to be placed into a faction.
Beatrice must face the decision weather to leave her faction and seek out something new while leaving her family, or stay at home and never feel as if she truly belongs.
Throughout the story Beatrice proves that one can be Peaceful, wise, selfless, honest, and brave.
By: Faith Grizzard


Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

Your first year of high-school can be hard and scary. Especially when you have no idea what to expect. Charlie explains all of the wonder of it in his letters to the reader. He is alone it seems because his best friend committed suicide the year before. Charlie keeps to himself and is considered a “wallflower”. He knows what goes on but doesn’t judge or get involved. With his new friends, Patrick and Sam, Charlie gets a new outlook on life and realizes his purpose. They guide him through new adventures. Through these, he knows there’s nothing wrong with being a Wallflower.

By:Faith Grizzard

John Green “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle”

In honor of the recent “blizzard” that has hit jasper, I decided to write a review of “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle”

A white Christmas. A foot of snow, that is. Tobin’s parents are out of town and won’t be able to make it back because of the snow. Trapped in his house with his best friends, The duke and JP, an adventure arises. Their friend calls them from the local Waffle House, a group of cheerleaders is snowed in for the night. Another group has been invited to join; there is only room for one group. Whoever makes it to Waffle House first, with twister, gets to join the fun and have a free Waffle House supper. Tobin and JP accept the challenge and The Duke reluctantly tags along (for the hash browns). The gang loads up in “Carla”, Tobin’s family SUV, to try to make it through the frozen curvy roads that lead to the Waffle House. Will they make it? Read and find out!

By: Faith Grizzard
Divergent Book Reviewpic1

Beatrice Prior lives in Chicago, a city to us, and her entire world. Society is divided into five factions: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Each represents a certain trait that the people hold highest, above all else. At the age of 16, Beatrice is confronted with choosing day, the day that you must decide to either be in the faction you grew up in, or betray your family and start a new life elsewhere. Beatrice, or as she is called now, Tris, makes a decision to leave Abnegation after finding that she is something called, ‘divergent’. The book travels with Tris and her new hardships that seem to seek her out, as she learns more about what being divergent is, and how it is apparently ‘dangerous’.

By: Taran Naramore

Malazan Book of the Fallen Series:

bookReaper’s Gale Book Review

By: Steven Erikson

The Letherii Empire, ruled by the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths Rhulad Sengar, is descending into chaos. There are unknown forces at work seeking to undermine the economic stability of the country. Elder gods reside in the city and seek to each play their own games. Icarium Lifestealer and Karsa Orlong both reside in Lether and seek to challenge and kill the Emperor once and for all. From an empire a world apart comes a great army led by none other than Adjunct Tavore Paran and it seeks retribution against the Letherii. Can any empire survive such a fell convergence of powers such as these.

The Bonehunter’s Book Review

By: Steven Erikson

I just finished another great book called The Bonehunters. It’s by Steven Erikson and  is 6th in the Malazan       Book of the Fallen series. In the story the Seven Cities Rebellionhas been crushed but one last rebel force needs to be dealt with. Sha’ik’s great general, Leoman of the Flails now leads his force deep into the heart of Seven Citiesto a place drenched in Malazan blood. The city of Y’Ghatan has a long and infamous history among the Malazan military. Will the adjunct’s Fourteenth Army make it to Y’Ghatan? And if they do will they are able or willing to get inside and crush Leoman and his army? You must read the book to find the answers and trust me you’ll want to know.


House of Chain’s Book Review

By: Steven Erikson

This week I finished a great book by Steven Erikson. It follows the warrior Karsa Orlong, a pure-blooded Toblakai warrior, as he and two friends descend into the lands of humans and destroy the human defenses. They come down from the mountains and almost completely destroy an entire city. After his two friends are killed Karsa is imprisoned but he swears to return home and lead an army of Toblakai to victory over the human race. On the continent of seven Cities the new untested adjunct to the empress leads her army deep into the heart of the Holy Desert Raraku. In the middle of that desert lies Sha’ik’s own army eager for a fight.It seems the fate of seven cities, and quite possibly an empire will be decided at the heart of the whirlwind. This book is a must-read for any avid reader.

By: Carson Chambers

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Catching Fire: The second book in the hunger games series follows up on Katniss Everdean, who just won the 74th annual Hunger Games competition, Along with Peeta Mellark; two people have never won before. This causes an uproar in the districts. Rebellions begin. Katniss has given the people a new hope to fight against the Capitol. The Capitol leaders plan to bring down Katniss and get everything back under control. The 75th Hunger Games comes with a plot twist and an action packed adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Up until the very last page. The movie adaptation of Catching Fire will be in theaters this month!

By Faith Grizzard

The Catcher in the Rye

By:  J. D. Salingercatcher in the rye

Often times when we are handed a literary classic, we meet the novel with a sensation of reproach. Many of us consider classics to be dusty works of Victorian literature filled with thees, thous, and thys: but “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger is a literally classic with a twist big enough to keep any 21st century reader’s attention. The novel was written in 1945 and addresses many taboo topics: drugs, prostitution, religion, and sexuality. It was risque in when it was published and was certainly risque now. Read “The Catcher in the Rye” for a classic colorful enough for any modern reader.       By: Evan Tidwell

Deadhouse Gates

By: Steven Eriksondeadhouse gates

This week I read Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson. It introduces the reader, yet again, to a new location. It is a desert region called Seven Cities. This region is under the control of the Malazan Empire and the new military governor High Fist Coltaine. There are rumors spreading that a rebellion coming.  That seven Cities will be freed from Malazan control and will be purged of its loyalists. If that happens no Malazan citizen will be left alive and chaos will reign in Seven Cities.

When rebellion sparks, how will the Empire contain it? Will Empress Laseen’s armies make it in time? Can Coltaine protect the citizens of the Empire? I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

 By: Carson Chambers

The Fault in Our Stars

By: John Green

the fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green has become an increasingly popular book. I decided to read it and see what all the buzz was about. I was not disappointed. John green, a very clever and witty author, managed to make something beautiful out of the tragedy that is cancer. He writes from Hazel Grace Lancaster’s point of view, a 17 year old girl with lung cancer. She becomes acquainted with the all around amazing Augustus Waters, who also suffers from a form of cancer that caused him to have the need for a  prosthetic leg. The two characters fall in love almost instantly. They don’t allow the tragedy that awaits them to get in the way of them enjoying life. The adventures they have in their short time is very uplifting and inspirational. Green’s writing style allows you to connect with the characters, and through that, learn to appreciate life and understand how short it really is.

I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good love story.
There will also be a movie based off the book coming out within the next couple of years!

By: Faith Grizzard

Gardens of the Moon

By: Steven Erikson

This week, I had the immense pleasure of being introduced to a new series of books. The first book in this series is called Gardens of the gardens of the moonMoon, by Steven Erikson. This book tells the story of the Malazan Empire bent on expanding its’ borders to a new continent called Genabackis. After years spent campaigning only one city remains free. The city of Darujhistan is the richest and most powerful of all the free cities and could prove a tough nut to crack. Along with this main conflict come undercurrents of betrayal and treachery that could result in the outlawing of the Malazan Empire’s largest army and its greatest leader.

Will Darujhistan fall? Will the Empire’s endless hunger for expansion continue? Or will the mistrust bred in the Empire finally prove to be its’ downfall? Gardens of the Moon was a great read and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

By: Carson Chambers

Cloud Atlas

By: David Mitchell

pic10Cloud atlas is a novel written by David Mitchell in 2004, it is composed of 6 individual stories that intertwine and transverse throughout history; the depth of this transversal ranges from the remote 19th century pacific to a distant post-apocalyptic future. Cloud atlas was acclaimed with the British Book Awards Literary Fiction Award, and the Richard and Judy Book of the Year award; while also being shortlisted for numerous other awards.

Cloud Atlas consists of six interwoven stories that are placed in a chronological order, wherein each main character of the next tale reads or observes the story of the last, creating an interconnected and dramatic plot. Inside the pages of Cloud Atlas David Mitchell skillfully writes how all of human interaction is connected and plays a role in shaping our history. Love, hate, fear, courage, pain, and joy; all of our emotions share a pivotal role in forming who we are, and more importantly who we want to become.

I found Cloud Atlas to be an immensely intriguing novel, which was both well composed and presented. The concept of 6 individual stories that cross and re-cross time and time again should be difficult to follow; however Mitchell pulls it off with a dramatic flair whilst keeping it simplistic. I personally find the message inside of cloud atlas to be very powerful, evoking a sense of meaning in a single person towards a “bigger picture”; Cloud Atlas reminds us that our everyday actions have meaning and power. “Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, and though a cloud’s shape, hue, and size don’t stay the same, it’s still a cloud and so is a soul. Who can say where the clouds blew from, or who the soul will be tomorrow? Only the east and the west and the compass and the atlas, yeah, only the atlas of the clouds.”

By:  James Clouse

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

By: J.K. Rowling

How can a parent compete with video-game addiction and the mindlessness of the Cartoon Network? With the wildly popular Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has solved that dilemma by proving once and for all that kids really can love great books. Twists and turns make this story resemble a junior Grisham thriller in which loose ends are expertly tied and more threads become compellingly unraveled.

Part of Harry’s appeal is that he could be any ordinary 11-year-old boy, an underdog readers will root for: small and skinny, with unruly hair, plus glasses held together with Scotch tape. But he is also bright and competent, and he discovers he has an aptitude for magic — and Quidditch. Rowling has also taken everyday situations such as going to school, playing sports, and doing homework, and convincingly combined them with fantasy to create a world more accessible to tweens than J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the school-supply lists (“students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad”) to Quidditch (“like soccer in the muggle world … played up in the air on broomsticks and there’s four balls”), the book is packed with entertaining details and creative riffs on modern life.


By: Christopher Paolini

To compress all of my thoughts and the plot in to only one word, this has to be it – Unpredictable.

Certain events that happened in the book really took me by surprise and I have to applaud Christopher Paolini to even think about such a complex plot. I could hardly guess what might happen in the next few pages, and the only way for me to find out was to keep my head buried deep within its depth.

Seriously, any reader who has followed the cycle closely will be in for a big surprise! That, I can promise you! One word of advice: Do not let the horrible movie of the first book tarnish your impression of the cycle. That is probably the last thing you’d like to do. I am also very eager for the next and final book to arrive. It was a bit saddening to know that Brisingr is not going to be the last one and us fans will have to go through another few years of torment to find out the ending of Eragon and Saphira.

But until then, may your swords stay sharp and let us meet at the gates of Uru’baen for the final blow.

The Boy Who Dared

By: Susan Campbell Bartoletti

“The Boy Who Dared” is a book about a young boy living in Germany during the rise of the Nazi Party. The boy, Helmuth, faces challenges that many of us, if not all, will ever face in our lifetime. He feels shame in his countries brutal show of force, but he also feels pride that his country is coming out of an economic depression. Helmuth is constantly in a state of confusion on how he should feel about the Hitler and the Nazis. However, he does not think that the brutal treatment that Jews receive from Nazis is right. This starts his questioning of his countries actions and if they are telling the people the truth. This leads Helmuth to listen to foreign country radio stations, which is considered illegal for German citizens to do. Helmuth intends to get more of his friends to join him in listening to the foreign radio statiosn, which results in his downfall. Helmuth had begun to pass out fliers discretely in his neighborhood and is caught while trying to enlist more people to join him. One of his would be accomplices turned him into the Gestapo. The Gestapo, the Nazi police force, soon took Helmuth into custody. Due to the Nazi’s extreme judgment, Helmuth was soon sentenced to death by beheading.

Based on a true story.                By: Austin Banks


By: Christopher Paolini

I haven’t read Eragon yet, for my sins… However, I didn’t need to. (Although I want to…) Paolini is wise enough (or willing enough to listen) and started the book with a prologue of “What Has Gone Before”. And I appreciated that. It got me up to speed enough that when I dove into the book, I didn’t have to say “Whaaaa??” This book kept me company on a flight to Henderson Nevada, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unlike another young writer’s writings on Dragonocitousness, Eragon and Eldest don’t try to break any new or weird ground in dealing with Dragons. Paolini shows the influence of Tolkien, of course, as well as Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, and Raymond Feist. In fact in many ways I was reminded of Tomas’ metamorphosis into Ashen-Shugar.

However, although Paolini’s Elves and Dwarves pretty much match the consensus of what Elves and Dwarves should be, there are enough differences to make them quite interesting with deeply religious Dwarves and atheistic Elves. Among other things. Eragon, the callow youth of the first book, has matured quite a bit, and by the end of Eldest has gone through changes that could break a lesser man.

Yes, this is a quest book. Yes, this is a coming of age book. Yes, this book was written by a kid. Eragon was started at the age of 15, published at the age of 17, and now, at the ripe old age of 21, Paolini has given us a book that just gets better and better as it goes along. It was interesting to me to see the growth of Paolini as a writer from the beginning of this book, which was good, but not mind-bogglingly outstanding, to the end of the book wherein we see characters with depth, and characters we care about, and a story of passion and meaning.

There was quite a bit of speculation on various “Eragon” oriented websites about who or what the “Eldest” was, and ah well, the cover gives it away, with this very mature Red Dragon on it, because, of course, Eragon’s dragon Saphira is sapphire blue. Are we surprised? Well, only if we never read the first book.

A quick blurb about the book from Amazon:

The land of Alagaesia is suffering under the Empire of the wicked Galbatorix, and Eragon and his dragon Saphira, last of the Riders, are the only hope. But Eragon is young and has much to learn, and so he is sent off to the elven forest city of Ellesmera, where he and Saphira are tutored in magic, battle skills, and the ancient language by the wise former Rider Oromis and his elderly dragon Glaedr. Meanwhile, back at Carvahall, Eragon’s home, his cousin Roran is the target of a siege by the hideous Ra’zac, and he must lead the villagers on a desperate escape over the mountains. The two narratives move toward a massive battle with the forces of Galbatorix, where Eragon learns a shocking secret about his parentage and commits himself to saving his people.

gives you a brief overview but absolutely NOTHING of the flavor of this excellent and worthwhile book.

So… Now I have to get a copy of Eragon and wait impatiently for Book Three of the Inheritance Cycle.

Witch and Wizard

By: James Patterson

James Patterson takes a different road in Witch and Wizard, in that he blends in magic. No wands, nothing like the world of Hogwarts created by J.K. Rowling.

 The book follows Whit and Wisty, twins who have heard and seen the revolution, but never suspected that armed guards, tipped off by a fellow classmate, would storm their house, drag them off to prison and leave their parents for dead. Nor did they suspect that during that legal raid, one would inadvertently summon a tornado and the other would burst into flame.
The pace of the novel is super quick. Each chapter is only a few pages, and reads much how you would expect sibling to tell a story. It passes between each of the siblings, giving their perspective and their view of the story`s progression. It keeps the drive up, as well as the desire to read further. However, that pace get`s confusing when there`s an action sequence happening, and then it jumps to a different sibling.
Overall, Witch and Wizard is a stark novel. We see torture, government cruelty, and outright terror. It probes the minds of unjust prisoners and political undesirables. There`s a lot to enjoy about it, if you can get past the areas of choppiness caused by the shortest chapters you`ll ever read.
 I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.


By: Christopher Paolini

A recent Paul Collins article in The Believer called “Read the Book That You Are Reading” urged reviewers to judge books only by their texts, disregarding any prior knowledge they have of the authors.  I generally agree with this sentiment, but I would be doing Christopher Paolini no favors by following Collins’ advice here.  Now nineteen, Christopher Paolini wrote most of Eragon when he was only fifteen and sixteen, and the highest praise I can give the novel is to say that it is a remarkable effort for a sixteen-year-old. Eragon is the name of the book’s protagonist, like Paolini fifteen when he starts his adventure.  Eragon is an orphan living with his uncle and cousin in a small farming village in a remote corner of the kingdom of Alagaësia.  This quiet life is shattered when a large blue stone materializes in front of Eragon.  He is at first puzzled as to the nature of this stone, but when a baby dragon finally emerges, it occurs to Eragon that perhaps it was a dragon egg.  (For a character created by a teen prodigy, Eragon is often not real quick on the uptake.)  Eragon and the dragon, Saphira, promptly imprint upon each other à la Anne McCaffrey, and thereafter can communicate telepathically. This is an extraordinary turn of events, since dragons disappeared from Alagaësia years earlier.  The age of the benevolent Dragon Riders came to an end when one of the Riders, Galbatorix, went bad, killed off the Riders who wouldn’t join him, and made himself ruler of Alagaësia.  (This is all part of the impressive depth of backstory that Paolini peppers through the narrative.) Soon after Saphira hatches, two evil creatures called the Ra’zac, agents of Galbatorix, come for Eragon and his prize.  Eragon’s uncle gets in the way, and Eragon vows to seek revenge on these Ra’zac.  Joined by Brom, the village storyteller, Eragon and Saphira roam half the country trying to track them down.  This makes precisely as little sense as Luke Skywalker spending most of Star Wars trying to hunt down the particular stormtroopers who killed his aunt and uncle.  As a result, there is little dramatic tension in the entire first half of the novel, which has the aimless feel of a travelogue. Brom the storyteller has a surprising and useful depth of knowledge about dragons.  He is also highly skilled in swordplay and the use of magic, and instructs Eragon on these subjects as they travel.  He is clearly more than merely a storyteller, but he refuses to identify himself.  Like most of the mysteries in this book, however, his true identity will come as no surprise to an attentive reader. Midway through the book, Brom confesses that he only went along with the wild goose chase after the Ra’zac to buy time for Eragon’s training.  At that point, Eragon begins to pursue more worthy goals.  Assisted by Murtagh, a troubled and impulsive but very brave young man – whose identity is also secret but also not difficult to guess – he rescues Arya, an elf princess, from Galbatorix.  (Actually, I don’t think Paolini ever says Arya is a princess, nor that she has hair braided into spirals around her ears, but I am hard pressed to picture her otherwise.)  Arya has been poisoned by Galbatorix and left comatose.  Eragon and his friends set off to find the Varden, a group of rebels against the tyranny of Galbatorix, to join the rebellion and hopefully find a cure for Arya.  As the last of the Dragon Riders, Eragon may be the key to the Varden’s hopes of resisting Galbatorix.

Ship Breaker

By: Paolo Bacigalupi

In a dystopian future, many people are forced into tearing apart ships just to scrape by, and so is teenage Nailer.  He leads a tough life, working hard and dealing with his abusive father, but at least he has a job and can eat.  When a “city killer” storm sweeps through his town and leaves many dead, it also washes a valuable ship ashore. When Nailer and a friend find the ship, they begin plundering it for its wealth, they find a survivor, a beautiful rich girl.  Now Nailer is burdened with decision that could change his life: rescue the “swank” or make profit on the treasure trove from the ship. This book was really good! It was suspenseful, although it was sometimes predictable and the author kind of hit you over the head with social commentary.  With all the dystopian novels coming out right now, it is hard to choose which ones to read, but this is one of the best ones I have read so far. Nailer’s adventure is unforgettable; this is a book you will think about long after you’ve finished.

The Hunger Games

By:  Suzanne Collins

In The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins has created a fascinating dystopian world. Reading The Hunger Games can lead to interesting discussions about our own world and how reality shows, threats of war, authoritarian governments and obsession with fashion trends influence us daily. Due to the darkness of the story, it is best suited for teens and adults rather than tweens.

The World of the Hunger Games Trilogy

While the creation of Panem is not fully fleshed out until the second book, we know that this authoritarian society was the result of a horrible disaster during the Dark Days, resulting in the establishment of twelve districts under the rule of the government in the Capitol. Peacekeepers and a local government are instituted in each district, but the rulers in the Capitol have strict control over everything and everyone in each district.

Each district has its own specialty that benefits the Capitol, such as coal mining, agriculture, seafood, etc. Some districts provide the Capitol with energy or material goods and some provide the manpower to keep those in the Capitol in power. The people who live in the Capitol contribute little to their own sustenance and are concerned mainly with the latest fashions and amusements.

The Hunger Games are an annual tradition directed by the Capitol rulers, not only to amuse the citizens, but also to preserve control over the districts by demonstrating the Capitol’s dominance. Each year, the twelve districts must send two representatives, a girl and a boy, to participate in the Hunger Games. These representatives are called “tributes” to make people believe that representing their district is an honor, even though each person lives in fear that someone they love will be chosen. And the entire nation must watch as these 24 tributes battle each other to the death until only one is left as the victor. Having a victor is important to a district.

Extra food and a few luxuries will be granted to the victor’s district. The government has created the ultimate reality show, complete with technological challenges and constant monitoring of the movements of the participants. And each citizen is required to watch the Games until their conclusion, which may take hours or days.


by Cornelia Funke

What’s the story?

In this conclusion to the Inkheart Trilogy, Mo, having taken on the role of a Robin Hood-like character called the Bluejay, makes a deal with Death and allies with Violante to try to kill her father, Adderhead, whom he previously made immortal. Meanwhile Orpheus tries to gain wealth and power by allying with Adderhead, and the Milksop and the Piper kidnap all the children in Ombra to force Mo to sacrifice himself.

Is it any good?

First, don’t even think of trying to read this without having read the first two books in the trilogy. Even for those who have read them, and even with the summaries and glossary provided, it can be confusing, what with a hundred or so named characters and numerous criss-crossing plot lines. While fans of Meggie may be disappointed that she is no longer at the center of the action, which has mostly shifted to the adults, series fans will find the same virtues (and vices) here: a big fat book with lots of action and gritty violence, though it’s not as dark as Inkspell, skipping around among characters and plotlines, and plenty of imagination and description. Readers who have made it this far won’t care about that, and some may even prefer it that way. Booklovers will continue to find much to enchant them, including chapter-head quotes from classic and modern prose and poetry for children and adults, with a helpful bibliography in the back for those who’d like to read further. And although this is the end of the trilogy, Funke has left enough plotlines open to continue the series, if she chooses. Inkwar, anyone?

Review from Common Sense Media

Book Review on CLASSIC “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy

By Kaathryn Best

The trilogy is three books written by J.R.R. Tolkien consisting of “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Two Towers”, and “The Return of the King”. The books are the stories of nine characters that are on a journey to save their home of “Middle Earth”. Tolkien wrote the books as one large novel, but it was split into three, and follows the groups’ journeys separately through six “books” that are actually just the dividing points from one set of character’s tale to another set’s tale. The first novel is the hardest to read because it begins slowly with introductions and history. However action picks up by the end of the novel and flows directly into the following novels, giving the other two a much faster pace and making them easier to read. The action is nonstop in the final novels and the separation of the stories makes the reader eager to find out what has happened to the other characters. If you have seen the movies then you know the story, but the great thing about the novels is the information that wasn’t put into the movies that you learn and the in-depth relationships you develop with characters. I recommend everyone should read these novels because of their CLASSIC nature but anyone who loves the movies, or loves fantasy novels like the “Harry Potter” series or the “Eragon” series, would probably enjoy this series. However, if you are not a strong reader or have a short attention span, you might have a harder time with this series.

The first novel is the introduction of the “Ring”, the evil “Sauron”, and the nine “Walkers” of the fellowship. The nine walkers are Frodo Baggins (the Hobbit ring bearer), Samwise Gamgee (the Hobbit gardener of Frodo), Meriadoc Brandybuck (Hobbit), Peregrin Took (Hobbit), Gimli (Dwarf), Gandalf (Wizard), Legolas (Elf), Aragorn (Ranger), and Boromir (Man from Gondor). The first novel is of their beginning journey towards Mordor to destroy the evil Ring of Sauron.

The second novel, Two Towers, is the separate journeys of Frodo and Sam heading towards Mordor and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli trying to save Merry and Pippin from the Orcs of Saruman, an evil wizard. At the beginning of this novel the group is separated by an attack from the Orcs. The novel introduces the character of Gollum to Frodo and Sam to help them on their path to Mount Doom, the volcano in Mordor, where they must destroy the ring. The other characters path leads them to Rohan, the horse country, where they meet King Theoden, his nephew Eomer, and niece Eowyn. Group helps Theoden and Rohan in the battle against Saruman’s Orcs at Helms Deep, Rohan’s Fortress. Merry and Pippin are introduced to Treebeard, an “Ent” or ‘tree herder”, who gathers all the Ents to march on Saruman’s tower of Isengard.

The third novel, Return, brings all the walkers back together except for Frodo and Sam who are still on their way to Mordor with Gollum. The rest of the fellowship gathers with Rohan and travels to Gondor, another country in Middle Earth, to help save the city from Sauron’s attack. The group then joins Rohan and Gondor together to march on the Black Gates of Mordor. All the time the fellowship has no idea what is happening with Sam and Frodo and are hopeful that the pair has found a way to Mount Doom. Sam and Frodo face their own perils on their journey including a monstrous arachnid named Shelob. If Frodo and Sam fail in destroying the ring, all of Middle Earth will be under Sauron’s control and will be destroyed.

Watership Down

By: Hannah Chatham

Richard Adam’s Watership Down is a classic novel and worldwide bestseller for over 40 years.  It is a stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival amongst a band of bunnies.  Don’t be fooled by the seemingly childish topic.  This is an anthropomorphic story, an attribution of human characteristics to animals, much like Animal Farm or Aesop’s Fables.  Originally intended as a children’s book, it has become seen as more of an adult-themed novel.

In this book, a band of young male rabbits set out to find a place of freedom when a clairvoyant rabbit, Fiver, predicts catastrophe.  He and his brother, Hazel, set out to gather more rabbits from their warren who are willing to flee.  Together, they embark on a perilous journey where they face all kinds of enemies.  These include a rabbit community who has given up freedom for the illusion of security, a ferocious dictator, and numerous species that tower over them in the food chain.  Along their journey, they adopt ideas from different warrens and put them to use at their newfound warren on Watership Down.  They also begin to reach out to other species for help. This tale is full of social allegory and thought-provoking proverbs.  Not only does it make you look at society from a different angle, but it also makes you appreciate nature.  You begin to see from their perspective as the natural world around them is being torn apart by man.  Throughout all of these hardships, the value of each individual becomes more apparent, and you realize that their world is not unlike our own.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially teens and young adults.  It makes you ponder society and appreciate nature. The characters are well defined and easy to relate to.  The plot is full of action and suspense.  This classic novel is definitely one of my personal favorites.

Clockwork Prince

By Cassandra Clare

In Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters, which are the Nephilim who kill demons and keep peace between the warlocks, werewolves, and vampires. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends. In the first book, Clockwork Angel, Tessa just found out that she is a type of warlocks, she can shape shift into any person, if she has an object from that person. With the help of Will and Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move; one of their closest friends betrayed them. Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

By Haley Dill


By Ellen Hopkins

Crank is an addictive book by Ellen Hopkins, no pun intended. Kristina is a 16 year old girl, who was very smart, never got in trouble, or hasn’t even dated yet. Until she went to visit her father one summer and from then on, everything went for the worst. While visiting her father, she met a boy named Adam. He introduced her to the very addictive drunk “CRANK”.  After weeks of doing the drug, it was time for her to return home to her mother. Her mother then notices later on that she wasn’t the same from when she left. I highly recommend this book to any teen, boy or girl.

By Keaundra Farris

1984 by George Orwell

Book Review by Brett Lee Walton

Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in London, in the nation of Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, even in his own home, the Party watches him through telescreens; everywhere he looks he sees the face of the Party’s seemingly omniscient leader, a figure known only as Big Brother. The Party controls everything in Oceania, even the people’s history and language. Currently, the Party is forcing the implementation of an invented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it. Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal. Such thought-crime is, in fact, the worst of all crimes.

As the novel opens, Winston feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which prohibits free thought, sex, and any expression of individuality. Winston dislikes the party and has illegally purchased a diary in which to write his criminal thoughts. He has also become fixated on a powerful Party member named O’Brien, whom Winston believes is a secret member of the Brotherhood—the mysterious, legendary group that works to overthrow the Party.

Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to fit the needs of the Party. He notices a coworker, a beautiful dark-haired girl, staring at him, and worries that she is an informant who will turn him in for his thought-crime. He is troubled by the Party’s control of history: the Party claims that Oceania has always been allied with Eastasia in a war against Eurasia, but Winston seems to recall a time when this was not true. The Party also claims that Emmanuel Goldstein, the alleged leader of the Brotherhood, is the most dangerous man alive, but this does not seem plausible to Winston. Winston spends his evenings wandering through the poorest neighborhoods in London, where the proletarians, or proles, live squalid lives, relatively free of Party monitoring.

One day, Winston receives a note from the dark-haired girl that reads “I love you.” She tells him her name, Julia, and they begin a covert affair, always on the lookout for signs of Party monitoring. Eventually they rent a room above the secondhand store in the prole district where Winston bought the diary. This relationship lasts for some time. Winston is sure that they will be caught and punished sooner or later (the fatalistic Winston knows that he has been doomed since he wrote his first diary entry), while Julia is more pragmatic and optimistic. As Winston’s affair with Julia progresses, his hatred for the Party grows more and more intense. At last, he receives the message that he has been waiting for: O’Brien wants to see him.

Winston and Julia travel to O’Brien’s luxurious apartment. As a member of the powerful Inner Party (Winston belongs to the Outer Party), O’Brien leads a life of luxury that Winston can only imagine. O’Brien confirms to Winston and Julia that, like them, he hates the Party, and says that he works against it as a member of the Brotherhood. He indoctrinates Winston and Julia into the Brotherhood, and gives Winston a copy of Emmanuel Goldstein’s book, the manifesto of the Brotherhood. Winston reads the book—an amalgam of several forms of class-based twentieth-century social theory—to Julia in the room above the store. Suddenly, soldiers barge in and seize them. Mr. Charrington, the proprietor of the store, is revealed as having been a member of the Thought Police all along.

Torn away from Julia and taken to a place called the Ministry of Love, Winston finds that O’Brien, too, is a Party spy who simply pretended to be a member of the Brotherhood in order to trap Winston into committing an open act of rebellion against the Party. O’Brien spends months torturing and brainwashing Winston, who struggles to resist. At last, O’Brien sends him to the dreaded Room 101, the final destination for anyone who opposes the Party. Here, O’Brien tells Winston that he will be forced to confront his worst fear. Throughout the novel, Winston has had recurring nightmares about rats; O’Brien now straps a cage full of rats onto Winston’s head and prepares to allow the rats to eat his face. Winston snaps, pleading with O’Brien to do it to Julia, not to him.

Giving up Julia is what O’Brien wanted from Winston all along. His spirit broken, Winston is released to the outside world. He meets Julia but no longer feels anything for her. He has accepted the Party entirely and has learned to love Big Brother.-Sparknotes

After reading this book, I would strongly suggest it to anyone who is interested in having their mind blown open and introduced to radical new ideas; the fearsome actuality of the possibility of this reality coming true is what makes this book so relevant. Not only is this novel an extremely effective use of political criticism, but it is also a very compelling read. This book is widely known and discussed as one the most classic examples of the dangers of Totalitarianism and the powers of psychological manipulation. Though 1984 may not be your average teenage book about vampires, wizards, or relationship, it is one of the best books I have ever read and is a required read in many college classes.

PS. There are several free copies of this book available in the library if you would like to own one!

Burn by Ellen Hopkins

The life of a Mormon girl..

Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten. Pattyn is tired of the Mormon lifestyle and rebels against her family and the rules of her home and church. Her father spends most of the time drunk and angry and her mother has a whole household to take care of. After Pattyn gets in a fight and breaks glass, her family has had enough of her rebelling so they send her to live with her Aunt, out in the middle of nowhere, for the summer, so she can no longer get in trouble. It turns out that she has fun on her stay with her aunt, she learns how to drive and ride a horse, and meets the love of her life. She fell in love with Ethan, the son of her aunts friend. He is not Mormon and her father would kill the both of them if they were together. After returning home things start to go bad again. She mouths off to her father and gets beaten. She takes the rap for something her sister does, and gets beaten to save her life. She also learns that she will have Ethan’s baby.

By These Ten Bones

by: Clare B. Dunkle

If you like werewolves, and fantasy, this is a must read!

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins him work at the castle and the admiration of the weaver’s daughter Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.

There is an evil presence in the woodcarver’s life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her—and what price she is willing to pay to keep it.

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Halley and Scarlett have been best friends for years, sharing secrets, clothes, and crushes. People know Scarlett as the popular, flamboyant one; Halley’s just her quiet sidekick. Then, at the beginning of their junior year, the balance shifts. First, Scarlett’s boyfriend Michael is killed in a freak accident; soon afterward, she learns that she is carrying his baby. For the first time, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever. Sarah Dessen’s poignant, funny voice has earned her raves and legions of teenaged fans.

Beautiful Darkness

By: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met a mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes,

who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin, which harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks is where the curse that has marked Lena’s family of powerful super naturals for generations. A Gatlin is where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes events that’s even life-ending. Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies

By Sonya Sones

A heartwarming book, highly recommended.

What’s this book about?
Why don’t I let Ruby tell you?

My name is Ruby. This book is about me. It tells the deeply hideous story of what happens when my mother dies and I’m dragged three thousand miles away from my gorgeous boyfriend, Ray, to live in L.A. with my father, who I’ve never even met because he’s such a scumbag that he divorced my mom before I was born. The only way I’ve ever even seen him is in the movies, since he’s this mega-famous actor who’s been way too busy trying to win Oscars to even visit me once in fifteen years.  Everyone loves my father. Everyone but me.

Don’t Look Behind You

By Lois Duncan

This is a suspenseful thriller about 17-year-old teenager named April Corrigan. April’s comfortable life is turned upside down when her family has to enter witness protection and move to Florida from their home in Norwood, VA in order to protect the family. April is unhappy that she has had to leave behind everything she cares about in Norwood, VA. She stubbornly insists on communicating with her boyfriend back home and behaving in ways endangers her safety.
This is a great suspenseful thriller for teens that enjoy reading fiction with characters they can easily relate to and sympathize with. Teens can learn a lot from April’s irresponsible behavior and lack of awareness.

A must read!

Spy Goddess: Live and Let Shop

By Michael P. Spradlin

Like combat, martial arts type stuff? This is a good book for you then.

Rachel Buchanan is not a delinquent, or so she says. She thinks she is misunderstood. Of course, the judge didn’t see it that way. She gave a choice: Juvenile Detention or Boarding

School in Pennsylvania, of all places. That’s how Rachel wound up at freaky Blackthorn Academy. This school is clearly hiding some major secrets. The classes are weird, the headmaster Mr.

Kim knows just a little too much, and she has to study Martial Arts. That’s like gym.

Rachel Buchanan doesn’t do gym very well. Though, the secrets at this school are driving

her insane, she must know what’s going on. When the headmaster Mr. Kim goes missing, Rachel Buchanan is to the rescue.

You Don’t Know Me by David Klass

Have you ever thought your life was bad?

Bet this guy has it worse!

Every day, 14-year-old John wonders if he will be alive by the next sunrise.
On the surface, John is just like most teens: he goes to high school every day, where he has several good friends and drools over the most popular girl. However, no one knows that every evening John is abused by his soon-to-be-stepfather.  John is convinced no one knows or cares about him. He’s sure his teachers’ own lives are so unhappy that they want to make others miserable too. He thinks nothing of leaving his best friend when he’s in big trouble, knowing that his friend would do the same to him. And, because we know his secret, he is convinced that we, the readers, are the worst people of all. No one has rescued him yet. Everyone, even his own mother, has let John continue to live in fear. Why should he have faith in anyone? John finally does get help — and he lucks out. Help comes without him ever having to speak up. In reality, victims of abuse almost always need to take the terrifying step of telling someone before they get help.

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

Love is hard isn’t it?

Well this boy probably has it a lot worse!

John is having problems with his mom since his parents had divorced. It’s like she doesn’t even want to look at him. She won’t hug him, or even bump into him as she passes by. He is untouchable. To escape the stress, he turns to writing personal and homemade magazines. He takes a stack of his magazines to a small store that lets people take them and read them. John runs across a magazine written by a girl named Marisol. He arranged to meet with her and talk about their magazines together. John had never found himself attracted to a girl before, never had a crush in his life, but when he meets Marisol… He falls in love. Loving Marisol wouldn’t be easy for John, saying that she is attracted to girls. Finally, he gets up the courage to ask her to his school dance. Will she come? Will their friendship parish because of John’s attraction for her? Read, and find out.

Between Mom and Jo by Julie Ann Peters

Ever thought something was going good, and ended up discouraged?

Ever felt pulled in two different directions?

Well this boy is going through the same thing.

Read it and find out if he has a better ending!

Fourteen year old Nick, a teen who was raised by two mothers, feels like his world is tearing apart when his parents separate. Yes Erin and Jo, Nick’s mothers, fight a lot, but all in all he thought they loved each other. One day Nick comes home to find his birth mother, Erin, sitting alone. Fear strikes him then, he knew what was wrong. Jo was gone, and he insisted on going with her, though Erin won’t allow it. As time progressed, he begun sneaking out to go see Jo, the woman he wished was his real mother. When Erin finds out things get ugly. If that wasn’t bad enough, he finds out his real mother, Erin, is sick. Will he ever get to see Jo again? Will his mother be okay? Will Nick get his happy ending?

Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks

As students worry about their Grad Exam scores, these students are also worried about a big test! This is a great book for the student body; these students are having their everyday high school fears


Leo, Max, Jane, and Daisy come from different worlds and cliques, and does not have much

in common. Though, when they all blow off their SAT prep, they form their own study

group, and they actually begin to bond. It’s an amazing story about the worry of SATs test scores. They need perfect scores for their perfect future. Competition begins to form within the group,

and in the group then it’s revealed that someone has cheated on the SATs, and all eyes point to the study group.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Spectacular! It will keep you on edge!

High schooler Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the crowd as an average student, average looks, and average dysfunctional family. Though his life changed when he got busted for doing graffiti on the school walls, as a punishment he had to spend the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it. He stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of the high school queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be the daughter of his father’s boss, and the sister of his biggest enemy. Tyler has a huge crush on this queen bee, that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

This book is a must read!

Can’t Get There from Here by Todd Strasser

This is a fabulous book and a highly recommended read.

This book starts out with a girl known as “Maybe” who has a skin condition. She thinks that her skin condition is rare, and awkward, until she meets someone with the same condition. Maybe lives with a tribe of homeless teenagers, runaways, and throwaways. She lives on the streets with people who are unwanted and have no other place to go. The only family they have is one another. Abused, abandoned, and forgotten, they struggle against the cold, hunger, and constant danger. When it reaches January, a new runaway is admitted into this tribe. A little girl about the age of 12 called Tears. Tears ran away from home because her step father abused her and no one would listen, and Maybe will stop at nothing to get Tears off the street and into a safe environment. Along the way Maybe’s friend with the same skin condition lends her a hand. This book is a heartwarming adventure. “You cannot get there from here”, is a phrase used within this book, and probably used in everyday life. In this book, Maybe cannot seem to get “there” from “here”. There is referred to as a good life, and here as the streets she lives on. Whether she reaches “there” from where she is, you’ll have to read and find out.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

This book is amazing!

If you like Sir Lancelot times, this is your kind of book.
Elaine had been raised by her mother to believe that a woman’s domain is in the home, not on the battlefront, but after the lose of her mother she has to go stay with her father and two brothers on the battle field. The people, she calls family, and she loves most could march off to battle today and never come back. Why would she want to be anywhere else? The only other woman at camp is Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but she’s much too close to the king for Elaine to share her deepest secret with. She wants to tell someone her deep feelings for Sir Lancelot. Elaine and Lancelot grew up together, playing games and running along the riverbanks, but all that was long ago. Now when Lancelot looks at her, all he sees is a wonderful girl. He sees a gifted healer, a girl armed with milfoil and poultices to stanch the wounds of the soldiers. He sees her skill at mending clothing and chain mail. He sees her loyalty, her hard work and her vital job within the army. Though, he doesn’t see a woman, like she hoped he would have. When King Aurelius is poisoned by a Saxon spy, Arthur is the obvious replacement. Young, powerful, loyal, intelligent and already popular among the troops, Arthur would lead the retaliation attack. Days before they leave, a beautiful woman arrives at camp, to totally break Elaine. The man she loves is falling for this beautiful woman, and since Lancelot doesn’t yet see Elaine as a woman, who can blame him? Gwynivere, the king’s maiden, has drawn the attention of Sir Lancelot away, and to top that, the men who mean so much to her will soon march to battle, leaving her behind at the camps. With all that Elaine holds dear weighing in the balance; she must decide who she will be, what role she will play and how far she will go for love


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