Thursday, December 30, 2010

Step on A Crack

Step on A Crack


By: James Patterson & Michael Lewidge
Reviewed by: Teralyn E., 14
Rating: Really liked it


James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge drop you in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, New York. They walk you through the halls of the Terminal Ward at the hospital, and the home of Michael Bennett.

The main plot revolved around a completely outstanding mass kidnapping that nobody saw coming.

The sub-plots revolve around what is going on inside the heads of those who were kidnapped, those who did the kidnapping and those who are being otherwise affected by the kidnapping.

There is also a competeing plot that revolves around the chaotice Detective Michael Bennett, a man who is on the case of the mass kidnapping- After being off of Hostage Negotiation for ten years- And his wife and (10) kids. They struggle for normalcy with Michael on a nearly 24 hour shift, and their mother (Maeve) in the hospital for her terminal cancer.

This book was interesting, unpredictable, and very entertaining. It had emotional elements, and wasn't too bad with the language (although there is some.)


Recommended to: Fans of Mystery, Realistic Plots, Suspense & Crime Solving

Who am I Without Him?

Who am I Without Him?


By: Sharon G. Flake
Reviewed by: Teralyn E., 14
Rating: Really liked it


Sharon G. Flake shows her readers a glimpse of the relationship between young women and their relationships with the young men in their lives.

This book is made up of several short stories, all from the point of view of a different girl in a different predicament.

There are a total of 10 short stories, most from the perspective of young women, some from the perspective of those close to them.

All of these stories depict a real-life scenario, something that most likely happen everday in some peoples lives.

While the stories are short, they draw you into each individuals world. They make you love them and hate them, and even feel their pain at times. They all provoke thoughts & emotions, as some of the stories are easy to put yourself into.

Overall this is a really great read, its posistive and has unspoken morals that are learned through reading it.


Recommended to: Anyone

Remember

Remember


By: Benjamin
Reviewed by: Teralyn E., 14
Rating: Really liked it


This graphic novel was slightly confusing at first. The ununiformed panels and sketchy illustrations seemed random and not really flowing.

After starting the book over (only about three pages in) I payed closer attention to the way things were organized, and the characters, and the dialogue. Things started making sense.

While the noel was short, it was enough. It may not have had a conventinal climax or resolving action but it was whole.

A simple, short, nicely illustrated story.


Recommended to: People who enjoy Real-Life Stories, Manga-Lovers

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Catching Fire

Catching Fire


By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was alright...


Yeah Suzanne, you beat the dead horse on this one. I didn't really think that was possible after a single novel, but congratulations! You did it! You single-handedly ruined a good series!

We have all seen that Hunger Games, while not my favorite, did have merit. And yeah, I liked it! So I'm going to keep this review short and sweet, like Catching Fire should have been.

But really?


[SPOILER ALERT!!!]


I'm sorry, but sending Katniss and Peeta BACK into the arena? Yeah, no. I'm not buying it. Especially with how poorly established the actual Third Quarter Quell was. It's a clock. Yippee. She only bothered to established character for Finnick and then created literary mannequins for the other competitors. Can we please have some motive? Goals? Desires? Needs? Anything? Even their APPEARANCE would be nice.

Collins spent so much time on the lead-up that she put NO effort forth for anything else.

And the end was about ten times too convenient. And I HATE convenient endings. Something a little more creative, please?

If you loved The Hunger Games, go ahead with Catching Fire. If you had the same reaction as I did, don't. You'll be disappointed, bored, and irritated with yourself for wasting the money.


Recommended to: 15 and Up with patience

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games


By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: Really liked it


My reaction to Hunger Games was rather bipolar. First, I CANNOT STAND present tense fiction. I feel like it is just trying to artificially create suspense that otherwise doesn't exist. But hey, I got over it, maybe you will too.

That being said, I felt that it was really a fabulous book plot-wise. It had sufficient suspense, action, and intrigue to keep me reading. And I actually had a few moments where I couldn't put the book down because I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT.

The concept is semi-original - post-apocalyptic society, very similar to the setting of 1984. The added twist being that, in this society, every teenager must enter the "reaping" - a raffle in which one boy and one girl from each district (like states) are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. How do you win the Hunger Games? You kill the other 23 contestants.

AAAAAAAND part of me was kind of grossed out because (prior to reading it) I had the nagging suspicion that this novel was going to be like Saw III. (no need to comment on how bad of an analogy that was - I have never seen ANY of the Saw movies nor do I intend to. Ever.) But I was pleasantly surprised. In between the gory violence, there were quite a few moments of literary beauty or fantastic suspense or pure romance.

And hey, I'm a 16 year old girl. Cut me some slack for loving Gale (Peeta, eat your heart out.)

So, for that I would recommend this novel.





And here comes the other side. Suzanne Collins has the Stephenie Meyer Effect.

Yes, I just shed a tear. Yet another author has fallen plague to the hey-I-don't-actually-have-to-write-something-worthwhile-or-rhetorically-adequate-instead-I'll-focus-purely-on-plot-and-contrived-romance-with-obscene-amounts-of-kissing syndrome.

Really guys? REALLY?? Come on, seriously? It takes NO skill to write a novel completely driven by plot and fabricated romance. What does take skill? Rhetoric! Literary merit! Motifs! Themes! All of that brilliant stuff that we know and love and adore and resent during AP Composition tests.

So yeah. That's the one thing I did not like about The Hunger Games. And yet, the novel still was good and I would never dissuade someone from reading it.

And that's my two cents.

Peace kids :)


Recommended to: High School Age

Grease

Grease


Directed By: Randal Kleiser
Reviewed by: Lizzie, 18
Rating: Hated it!


This is a musical love story between Danny and Sandy.

This movie is HORRIBLE. Classic? Okay sure people consider it to be that, but I don't. It has lame characters and songs that are cheesy, and has nothing significant. Let's crack down on this movie, yo.

Let's start with the characters. The concept of the T-Birds and Pink ladies are interesting. I used to like the jackets that identify them as which. However, the word that comes to mind when describing them is this: JOKE. A pure JOKE. Sandy looks like she is in her 30's (Uh huh I went there!), and her singing is not close to 'awesome'. Also the acting is borderline cheesy. The other pink ladies are SHALLOW. How are they even cool to begin with?! Some sleep around, smoke, drink, and are stuck ups. Mean girls anyone?

The T birds are no different. They concentrate to much on there hair (if you know what I mean), probably that's why they don't have a brain. Danny looked like in his late 20's, but he wasn't so bad. His singing was tolerable. For him being the leader - he sure does act the opposite of what he is or could be. Meaning: kind, gentle, etc (like he was with sandy in the begining). OOH! Don't get me started on the other ones. Bunch of goof balls that are suppose to be TEEN REBELS sort of. It's misleading.

Now let me discuss another aspect of the movie that bothered me. What was wrong with Sandy in the first place? What was wrong with this suppose 'clean' image? It's NOT cool to smoke, and drink. The ending was a disappointment. She changed herself to some horrible version of the other pink ladies. Yeah Sandra Dee, tell me how cool it is- when years pass, and you have lung cancer. *cough*. Not to mention the outfit she wore at the ending, was tacky. Like yuck. To much make up. TO much everything. But hey, it's cool amirite?

Sandy and danny are both FOLLOWERS not leaders. To me, it's like danny doesn't respect Sandy. And sandy doesn't respect herself enough either. The tagline of the move is: Grease is the word.

It actually should be this: Horrible is the word.


Recommended to: People who enjoy romance

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps


By: Oliver Stone
Reviewed by: Felicity T., 16
Rating: It was alright...


Michael Douglass is back again in director Oliver Stone's sequel to the original Wall Street, creepy as I'm sure he ever was. I sum up this film in a few sentences:
Boy meets Wall Street. Boy falls in love with money. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy proposes to girl. Boy meets girl's estranged father. Boy and father are both financially vindictive. Girl realizes Boy is like father. Boy realizes father is the Devil. Drama and stock market crash ensue.

Now, while that may be simplistic to say the least, it sums up the Wall Street:$'s storyline. In this psychological drama, Douglass plays sociopathic Wall Street executive Gordon Gekko, who, after getting out of years of prison for all kinds of economic atrocities, sets out to pre-empt the coming 2008 financial crisis. Shia LaBeouf, a young Wall Street broker/banker guy named Jake Moore, lives with his soon-to-be fiancee, played by Carey Mulligan. I felt that Wall Street was very well-cast, but that it lacked in other areas.

Wall Street:$ is not an accessible film. By this, I mean that Wall Street was so full of stock market jargon that only an economist or a banker would know that it passes over the heads of a large demographic. The producers and marketing team were clever, though, because the preview hinted at none of this, only suggesting a powerful drama. Kudos to them for successful advertising.

Furthermore, the financial lingo was so thick that I had difficulty understanding what was going on in the film at various times. Granted, the context and visual aspects helped, but I doubt many teens would be willing to sit through a 2-hour-long movie that they can't understand. I would have enjoyed the excellent drama and psychology of the film much more if I had been able to follow the dialogue. I believe Wall Street's story was fabulous and gripping, and the development in Shia LaBeouf's character fascinating, but once again, the amount of jargon presented a significant barrier to me as an audience because it slowed the story's progression and helped me to lost interest more quickly than I would have otherwise.

Nevertheless, Wall Street:$ presented a handful of compelling ideas as food for thought. The film starts out with a monologue where Shia LaBeouf's character introduces the idea of bubbles. From what I gathered (and this may not be correct), bubbles, as a theme in the film, represent tough times through which people evolve and progress--a curious and pertinent idea, considering the recession our economy is in, and considering the stock market crash of 2008, around which Wall Street centers.

Another valid theme in Wall Street is the idea of the value of money vs. the value of time. Gekko at one point says (something to the effect) that he values not money, but time. This is a huge part of Moore's character development as he ultimately learns that living a contented, no-Wall-Street-strings-attached life as a family man is more meaningful than being married to the stock market. Ultimately, I think, this movie was not about money or time; it was about power. And this is where we see Douglass's character for what he is: a man greedy for power, a sociopath.

When I take the time to sit down and think through Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, I find that I actually immensely enjoyed the experience. But few teens I know would do that. Unless you plan on majoring in business or economics, I wouldn't recommend it. Your dad might like it, though.


Recommended to: Econ. brains, NOT teens

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


By: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


NO! DON'T RUN AWAY! I SEE YOU FLEEING AT THE SIGHT OF JANE AUSTEN'S NAME AND (WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE) THE PROMISE OF A BORING, 19TH CENTURY ROMANCE NOVEL! DON't LEAVE ME! I SWEAR IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

Get your skinny butts back here.

I know that there is a certain love-hate relationship that a reader has with Jane Austen. You either love her or you hate her, and most people think there isn't much you can do about it.

THINK AGAIN!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Zombies for short) has everything my group loves about Jane Austen - 19th century romance, beautiful diction, incredible phrasing, fantastic plot and character development - but then one more thing: ZOMBIES.

And who doesn't love a good tale of romance and pride set in plague-stricken England as the main characters battle hordes of the undead?

So Zombies is the basic story, with zombies flawlessly woven in. Elizabeth is unmarried because she knows that the family needs her and her deadly skills with a katana. Why a katana you ask? Because ninja stars would be just silly!

And somehow Seth Graham-Smith has managed to place zombie bits right in the middle of the some-people-would-refer-to-as-boring-but-I-would-never-because-I-am-a-sucker-for-Jane-Austen parts. He also has 'dug up' some illustrations spattered through. If any of you, like me, fall in love with the book, you can buy the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2011 Calendar. Each month is a different captioned illustration (in COLOUR no less!). January is a painting of Elizabeth and her sisters forming the Pentagram of Death at the ball to destroy the swarm of undead partycrashers.

How could you not want to read this?

Peace Kids :)


Recommended to: 12 and up

Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels


Directed by: Rob Letterman
Reviewed by: Jerry, 15
Rating: Really liked it


When you see actors like Jack Black in a movie, you know what to expect. Funny, intriguing, and an exceptional film that family will enjoy together.

Though the storylines are somewhat expectable, the film will still pull you in with its exceptional acting and interesting scenes.

The movie is about a guy called Lemuel Gulliver who is a mailroom clerk, and in my opinion, labeled as a loser in the beginning of the movie. He lied his way into a traveling assignment that took him to Bermuda Triangle. On the way there, he encountered a water tornado that brought him to an unkonwn world that's filled with little people. With his size, he was able to be the center of attention and the hero to the little people. But later on, his cowardness pervails as one of the general of the little people put him to shame. Now that his true color is shown to the little people, what's going to happen to him?


Recommended to: family

So B. It

So B. It

By: Sarah Weeks
Reviewed by: Maria M., 13
Rating: It was amazing!


This book is about a girl named Haidi who wants to find out what her mother keeps saying soof.Her mother is mentaly ill so she can not find out what it means.Bernadette is the women who takes care of Haidi and her mother,So B It Haidi id a really lucky girl snd she gets tickets to go to liberty and find out about her mothers word.She founds out later who her dad was and what happened to her grandma.when she gets a call from bernadette to come soonshe refuses and her mother dies from a terrible headache.This is areally intersting book.


Recommended to: Everyone

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


By: J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the 6th book in the series. With this book comes a change of style from the other books. The others mainly had HArry Vs. Voldemort. But here his friends are the ones suffering. And Harry is maily preping for the final showdown. And suprisingly J.K adds a lot of romance into this book ( Harry Potter style).

Overall pretty good book, and there is a twist at the end that no one will see coming.

Great job Mrs.Rowling for yet another fantastic book.


Recommended to: everyone

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


By: J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating:


The fifth book in the Harry potter Series is the most action packed and rebellious of all the books. It has the most sneaking, fighting, and deaths to date.

In this book changes are happening at Hogwarts, bad changes, Dolores Umbridge, part of the ministry of magic is messing with Hogwarts school. On orders She is Passing new decrees and is the worst Defense against the Dark Arts teacher ever.

The fifth book is, like I said before, The most action packed and dangerous book so far in the series. Fans will love and critics will be turned after they have red this book. Would recommend to anyone and Everyone.


Recommended to: Everyone

Inception

Inception


Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


Even though the movie was confusing in some parts, it was well-made. Christopher Nolan does it again with Inception.

(WARNING: Spoiler Alert)
The movie has a weird start that won't be understood unless if you watch it twice. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a renowned corporate espionage who is an expert in deception (extracting ideas out of dreams). Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe) is a oil mogul who meets with Cobb and Cobb convinces him to hire him to protect his mind from getting extracted. And then we realize that Cobb's wife keeps appearing in his dreams. Later, Saito then says that if Cobb can perform inception (implanting ideas into one's dream) on Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), Maurice Fischer's son who will inherit his dying father's oil empire, then Saito will drop the charges on Cobb and he can go back to the United States and to his kids. Then Cobb goes out and hire an architect named Ariadne (Ellen Page), a forger/imitator, a chemist, and etc. Then we and Ariadne learn that Cobb's wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) [apparently it means 'bad' in French] is seen frequently as a projection in his dreams and is so confused between dream and reality that she commits suicide. Before doing so, she blames her death on Cobb. Until Cobb can successfully perform inception and drop the charges, then he can go back to the USA to be with his kids. For the inception, there apparently is a 4 state dream (a dream within a dream times two) and a powerful sedative is needed to be able to do that. Towards the end, it becomes more understandable. The ending is very very interesting.

I suggest that after you have watched this movie once, either watch it again or search IMDB (Internet Movie Database) for the plot synopsis to understand it more. Nolan does a really good job with the drama, mystery, and thriller of this movie. He also did a good job with making Cobb such a mysterious character.


Recommended to: Almost everyone 13 and up

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


By: J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating: Really liked it


This is the 4th book in the Harry potter series. And one of the best. Harry's year takes an unexpected turn when he is invited to go to the Quiditch world cup and The Triwizard Tournament is reinstated. And whats more Harry's is entered by someone else.

J.K Rowling is still on top, her 4th book is wonderfully written and re-readable. I think everyone should read this book. Especially because of the amount of necessary information needed to comprehend the rest of the series.


Recommended to: Everyone

Monday, December 20, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By: J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating: Really liked it


In this third installment of the Harry Potter series Harry faces not Lord Voldemort but someone who is supposed to be his right-hand man and since his breakout from azkaban wants to kill Harry or does he? Not only that but Harry performs magic outside of school again and runs away from "home". Expecting to be expelled he is welcomed Joyfully and thinks he's gotten a lucky break.

The year gets stranger when at Hogwarts because he has Divination Where the teacher insists Harry is going to die. .

This is a great book, and fits in well with the series. J.K Rowling is keeping the standards high amd the result is a book recommendable to anyone.


Recommended to: anyone

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Movie)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Movie)


Directed By: David Slade
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: Really liked it


I was going to watch Eclipse in theaters just like I did with Twilight and New Moon but I didn't because of time conflicts. Now I can say I finally watched it.

I think Eclipse is better than New Moon and Twilight in terms of the special effects. Some parts of the plot were not true to the book like the idea of Edward and Bella's wedding but it wasn't enough to distract from the movie's main points. I liked how some of the parts in the script were humorous. The fighting scenes between the newborns and the werewolves/vampires were done well. Every part that I remembered from reading Meyer's book of the same name and anticipating for was in the movie. I also liked how the drama between Edward and Bella and Jacob and Bella were balanced well.

Many people say that Eclipse is the best yet in the Twilight Saga and I agree with them too. It seems that Bill Condon (director for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2)will have a lot of work to do to match Director David Slade's fantastic work in Eclipse [paraphrased from the Fresno Bee review of Eclipse]. I also agree with the Fresno Bee review.


Recommended to: Teenage girls, twilight fans, etc.

The Glass Passenger

The Glass Passenger

By: Jacks Mannequin
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


Hopefully you all have already read my review of "Everything in Transit," Andrew McMahon's first album as Jacks Mannequin. (If you haven't then a. you're lame and b. go read it now, then navigate back to this page. I mean it - I don't see you clicking!)

The reason I'm requesting that you have read that prior to reading this is so that you can realize what a great contrast the two albums are.

Everything in Transit is simply classic, happy pop rock. The Glass Passenger is not. McMahon follows a more avant-garde approach in his second album (more than 5 years in the making) which is understandable given his circumstances: in the time between the two albums, McMahon fought Leukemia and won. This is incredible, but its also greatly reflected in his work. Rather than topical pop, the new album has a more indy sound. Of course, the first few tracks ("Crashin", "Spinning", "Swim", and "The Resolution") are the big money-makers, the rest of the album is still GOOD. Personally, I find the percussion in "Annie Get Your Telescope" to give it a unique quality. Which I dig. "Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby)" is also fawesome. McMahon has a dialogue between himself and

If you're into more mainstream, the album is still going to fuel your Jacks Mannequin love. But if you're open to a bit of musical experimentation, the other tracks will kind of freak you out and make you fall in love SIMULTANEOUSLY. WAY COOL.

So borrow the CD/get it off iTunes/do whatever internet magic you must to hear the music. So worth it :)

Peace kids


Recommended to: 12 and up

The Last Days

The Last Days


By: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


Bahaha the promised sequel review! I'm feeling rather successful - this is my third review tonight. But, it must be done so that you all can learn of the fabulosity of these books. I'm doing it for your own good. Because I care. I'm such a giver. Sniffle.

So here we go.

"The Last Days" isn't AS GOOD as "Peeps",but, that's like saying "The Chamber of Secrets" isn't AS GOOD as "The Sorceror's Stone." It's still pretty dang good.

I think part of me was just diappointed that Cal and Lace are hardly in the novel at all, but don't get all teary-eyed on me yet! Moz, Zahler, Pearl, and Minerva are ridiculously epic. (As is Westerfield's choice of names. So cool. So random.) The plot development is definitely there, characters are well-rounded, and the "Peeps" quality is still there.

Oh, I should probably get to the typical Scott Westerfield "crux."

It's about bands. And I don't mean froo-froo Relient K-Coldplay-Train commercial bands. It's about indy bands. No money, no fame, no glamour. But epic musical imagery. There is a quote by Elvis Costello that goes, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's a really stupid thing to want to do." Normally I whole-heartedly agree (especially when it acts as justification for procrastinating on some essay) but somehow Westerfield pulls it off.

I'm pretty sure his musical background is slim to none, but the way he describes dissecting chords, building harmonies, layering musical textures....for someone who actually knows about music, especially music theory, it clicks.

Plus he drags it into the vampire and (spoiler alert) giant freakish worm thing and it ends up being WAY COOL.

So please read it :) (or else)

Peace Kids


Recommended to: Over 16

Peeps

Peeps


By: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was amazing!

Here begin my series of reviews reflecting the utter fabulosity that is Scott Westerfield. I promise you that "So Yesterday" is the only Westerfield that was sub-par.

So we all know about the vampire craze

Everyone seems to credit Stephenie Meyer and her failisms as the source, when in reality Scott Westerfield started it. But his take on vampirism is way way cool.

(This is where it starts getting a scoche inappropriate for the kiddies in here - fair warning.)

He treats vampirism as an STD.

Way cool right?

Basically the way it works is that "vampires" are infected with a parasite that increases your desire to bite people, as a way of spreading the parasite. The narrator is Cal, a carrier of the disease (meaning he is infected but didn't turn into a raving, blood-sucking lunatic) who is trying to figure out who infected him and what exactly is going on. Way way WAY cool.

Westerfield also starts off in between chapters with little anecdotes about parasites. Most people get grossed out by this, but in actually it's (wait for it) way cool. The whole point is to explain why parasites are so important and dangerous and vital to the great Circle of Life, ("But Dad, don't we eat the antelope?" "Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass. Then, the antelope eat the grass. And thus we are all a part of the great Circle of Life.") but I just find lancet flukes and wolbachia and all of that good stuff ridiculously awesome. Call it my inner ten-year-old boy getting his fill of grody-ness.

In other words, this book is great. Great plot, great imagery, great character development, great historical perspective. All that good stuff.

So read it. Or else.

And then read my review of the sequel. Or else.

And then read the sequel. Or else.

"Or else what?" you ask. I haven't the foggiest.

Peace kids :)

Recommended to: 16 and over for some 'less than appropriate' plotline

So Yesterday

So Yesterday


By: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was alright...


Okay, so in the next few days you are all going to be getting my reviews for the rest of Scott Westerfield's lovely collection of post-apocalyptic and/or semi-futuristic fiction. I'm going to start with "So Yesterday," but when I compare it to the rest of his work just deal with it :)



"So Yesterday" was good....
The plot was good...
The character development was good......

Are you getting the picture here?

This novel was pretty average. While it had the typical Westerfield semi-futuristic take on a decidedly female topic (in this case, fashion trends) I really felt that he didn't take it as far as he could have. I was ridiculously excited to read it after the review given me by the friend who lent me the book. I was told that the lead male met the lead female because "her shoelaces reminded him of the sunrise." Which is AWESOME RIGHT???? Totally sold me on the book before I read it!

That's not how they met. Kind of. Rather, her shoelaces reminded him of "the old Japanese rising sun flag." Which, while still cool, is infinitely less exciting.

The thing to do with this novel is to basically skim through it and substitute your own descriptive language/metaphors/adjectives. It really becomes infinitely better that way.

I'm not saying the book was bad, it just really failed to meet my exceedingly high expectations. If you read my future reviews about the rest of the Westerfield novels, you will understand just how high the bar was set.

That being said, if you aren't hyper-critical like me, read it. Definitely. It is in NO way a waste of your time. But if you're like me, be prepared for a mild "That was it?" feeling.

Peace kids :)


Recommended to: Young adult

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inkheart

Inkheart

By: Cornelia Funke
Reviewed by: Sara, 14
Rating: It was amazing!


It was really good i thought i never read it but i finished it in 2 days


Recommended to: anyone who's read any vampire book

Monday, December 13, 2010

Morganville Vampires

Morganville Vampires


By: Rachel Caine
Reviewed by: Jazmine, 14
Rating: It was amazing!


I really enjoyed this series because I'm really into supernatural stuff and i can't wait until the next book comes out. and i also like it because it has a love interest that you never saw coming in the beginning :D


Recommended to: anyone who's read any vampire book

Monster High

Monster High


By: Lisi Harrison
Reviewed by: Aidee, 17
Rating: It was amazing!


it was amazing because the book is so great and the book have a lots of drama and i love drama and i i can't wait to read the 2nd book on next year 2011.

it about a family that move to Oregon to Beverly Hills and the girl try to fit it with the school and she try to fit but no good look. and Keep READING!!! and it a fabulous books you guys will like it.


Recommended to: everyone must be 13 years or older

Heartbreak River

Heartbreak River


By: Tricia Mills
Reviewed by: Lizzie, 18
Rating: It was alright...


Alex has been through a lot in a year. Now that someone from her past returns, can she still move forward?

This book was good in some parts, and then it wasn't. I got Alex. She lost her father and her 'love' of her life (she never fails to remind you of that). She has been through a lot. But however, she is one annoying person.

If you look at it, Tricia Mills takes us on a emotional journey about Alex as in individual. Well I at least think it was something that the author was going for. Let me explain further.

1). Alex loses her father to the river she once loved.
- We as the readers, can understand the 'fear' and the 'hurt' she goes through because of this tragic lose. But it isn't something that is totally focused on, until she goes back with her boyfriend Sean.

2.) Alex can't stop thinking about Sean.
- Well gee, I get your in love woman. But is it necessary for you to constantly mention him and think about him, in almost every single page? It's like she lost a piece of herself from him, and she can't get it back because she is so stubborn to realize he isn't everything she needs.

3.) Alex contradicts herself.
- She acts like she is all miss "goody two shoes" compared to her cousin-and-best-friend. But yet She does things that she calls her cousin on. Hypocrisy much? Also why is she even so called best friends with Mala? It seems they are more like enemies than friends. It's odd really.

Her relationship with Sean is slow and dragging. We don't got much info about Sean, and their relationship seems to be in question still. The OFF part about the book was the beginining. She's talking about moving forward, and then right away, get's all emotional up about Sean. Then BIDI BIDI BOM BOM, Sean appears. Just like that. I don't think there was an actual "character development". Though I can say Mala (painfully annoying she was), changed because she was with Daniel. Good influence.

Also with the 'drinking' stuff in the book, well, it doesn't make Alex look that hot if you ask me. She's only sixteen. It's like the author dismissed the fact that DRINKING AT THAT AGE IS BAD. It wasn't discussed. Speaking of which, she IS sixteen right? Well in the book there is a part where she and Sean get 'intimate', if you know what I mean. It just doesn't fit. She seems like a love sick puppy. Anyway it was a bittersweet ending, if you ask me.

By the way I noticed that some people enjoyed "Tommy" because he had a british accent, and two because he was funny. Well funny - yes, but awesome because he has a british accent? - No. Tommy was a amusing character, but let's not forget he was no saint. That's just my opinion. It was an ALRIGHT book. Some parts were written well, and some parts were just annoying.


Recommended to: People who enjoy romance

Friday, December 10, 2010

NBA 2k11

NBA 2k11

By: 2K Sports
Reviewed by: David W., 14
Rating: Really liked it


This year's all new basketball simulation game by 2k sports brings us closer to the real thing. Already known for being a bestseller in sports simulation video games, this year's NBA 2k11 continues those high expectations, exceeding them more from even previous seasons.

As it continues to improve year upon year from its title of being the most realistic basketball simulation out on the market, 2k sports has added another twist onto this year's new game. It now features Michael Jordan and many other old-school basketball legends from the past, bringing a newer, refreshed outlook and twist to this year's game. In addition to that, more customized stadium gameplay features stadium-specific and unique characteristics within them are much improved and make it feel like the real game in real life. The graphics and gameplay within itself are even smoother than previous years and are more realistic. Other features, include the new My Player feature where gamers can now create their own player and go through the real life of a player's NBA journey.

Overall, this is a very good game and has only continued to make significant improvements from its previous seasons. It continues to excel in all aspects of being the closest thing to the real thing for a basketball simulation. This game is rated E for everyone so this will be one game that's a must buy for anyone looking to buy a good, realistic game. So, what are you waiting for? Go get your copy of NBA 2k11 today available for these systems: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2, PSP, and even your PC.


Recommended to: any basketball or sports fan looking for a realistic sports simulation or anyone really

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Celtic Thunder: It's Entertainment

Celtic Thunder: It's Entertainment

By: Celtic Thunder
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: Really liked it


Celtic Thunder is an Irish quintet that sings with MR and acapella. They're very talented, producing a full and rich sound.

It's Entertainment has a nice selection of song pieces, varying from surfer songs to more intimate pieces.


Recommended to:

Elle Woods: Vote Blonde*

Elle Woods: Vote Blonde


By: Natalie Standiford
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: It was alright...


After coming out of her shell, Elle Woods is more than positive that her junior year is going to be a blast. Aside from making the cheer team and voted cheer captain, Elle is planning on invinting her boyfriend over for Homecoming. Unfortunately, one problem stands in the way - Curt Blaylock, who's running for president, wants to abolish all dances once he's in office. But Elle has an idea; run herself.

Elle and her friend think of all kinds of ways to get votes in. However, someone is sabotaging them one by one. Can Elle find out who's ruining her campaign and save all of the school dances in time?

It was a good book, taking after the movie Legally Blonde.


Recommended to:

*The library doesn't have a copy of this title

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fever 1793

Fever 1793


By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: aviana, 14
Rating: It was alright...


it's ok not my type of book


Recommended to: cindy

Gregor and the Curse of The Warmbloods

Gregor and the Curse of The Warmbloods


By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


As I am reading the books out of order i cannot judge the equality of this series, but the third book is definitely a very good compliment. The curse of The Warm-bloods is an excellent book that will have anyone hooked.

In the third book Gregor is called back down to the under-land to help find the cure for a plague that has erupted. But when he his mother and his little sister boots go Gregor's mother falls ill with the plague and he must go on a quest to save her and the others.


Recommended to: anyone

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Directed By: David Yates
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


Harry Potter is an awesome series and as with the other movies The deathly Hallows is no different. Beautiful scenes full-some acting and a thrilling story plot will wow fans and critics all the same. The book which the movie is based on is so long and full of details that the movies are split into two parts. The current part released on the 19th of Nov. and the next will release some time in July of 2011. But before you go and watch this movie as I strongly suggest you do, you should first watch/read the other movies/books so you have an idea of what is going on. But since I recognize how long that takes i will give you a crash course. In every other movie Harry and his pals Hermione and Ron deal with voldemort in some way shape or form. Now in the darkest of times Harry must destroy the Horcruxes were Voldemort has stored parts of his sole so that he can never die. Once Harry has done that all he has to do is kill the strongest and most powerful wizard in all of history. Then Horcruxes are things that are important to Voldemort. Also there is some romance between Ron and Hermione ,Harry and Ginny.


Recommended to: Everyone

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol

By: Dan Brown
Reviewed by: Karthik, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


The Lost symbol, The third book starring Robert Langdon, is based in Washington D.C. When Robert is tricked into coming to Washington, he finds a dangerous villain, the most powerful yet,on the quest for a great power. As he and another heroine attempt to stop the villain they witness countless bloodshed and for some time attempt to run from the C.I.A.
This book is just like the others in the series, which means it provides Dan Browns trade mark array of action and mystery. Anyone will enjoy this sequel of a remarkable series.


Recommended to: all

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

By: Suzanne Collins
By: John Steinbeck
Reviewed by: Kayleigh , 17
Rating: It was amazing!


If you’re looking for something to read for the holiday school breaks, I highly recommend this series. So, if you haven’t read this book you need to go to your nearest bookstore and get a copy because this book is amazing!

Every year teenagers of Panem gather together and pray they don’t get chosen. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in a futuristic dictatorship in the ruins of North America that is now called Panem. Broken up in districts, each district must put up two tributes for the annual – and deadly – Hunger Games. These cruel games are the only way the Capitol can remind the citizens that they are in charge. So when this year’s “reaping” comes around, Katniss makes a decision that changes her life.

This is a survival story with some romance and two main characters who have to find themselves and defy this cruel and unjust government. Collins tells the truths about our society through her parallels between the USA and the fictional Panem. But the most gripping aspect of the story is the characters that you grow to love and their journey through constant peril.

This is the best one of the series.


Recommended to: This is a must read for all older teens! (even adults I know like it!)

Catching Fire

Catching Fire

By: Suzanne Collins
By: John Steinbeck
Reviewed by: Kayleigh , 17
Rating: Really liked it


For the second installment of the Hunger Games series, readers start to see the consequences of Katniss and Peeta’s actions. They spend the first half of the book back in District 12 where they both feel the effects of their show back in the first games. But soon the Quarter Quell comes around where a surprising twist shocks the reader just as much as it does Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch.

Ultimately this story is about love. Katniss’s love for her family, her sister and her friends. It is also about hope. Katniss and the mockingjay pin become the symbol of revolt against a cruel government that dominates over oppressed people. These people find hope and courage through Katniss and Peeta’s actions. It is engaging, entertaining and, depending on your interpretation, inspiring. Though the beginning is a bit slow, Collins still takes you on a journey that is just as crazy and enthralling as the first.


Recommended to: people who loved the first book

Mockingjay

Mockingjay

By: Suzanne Collins
By: John Steinbeck
Reviewed by: Kayleigh , 17
Rating: Really liked it


A person can only take so much. Reality sinks in for Katniss as the ash settles in her hometown. The war has taken its first innocent bystanders. The debris from houses in the Seam and the skulls of those she knew laying on the dirt path are too much for the strong and resilient heroine that we have all come to know and love. The last straw was the capture of the one she loves dearly. All of her loved ones are in peril…all because of Katniss (or so she thinks). But District 13 needs her. They need her power and inspirational image to win against the Capitol. So Katniss must adapt to her new, and unsettling life in order to punish the ones who have hurt her friends and family.

This is definitely the darkest book in the series. We are shown the atrocities of war and the effects war has on the characters’ sanity. I felt for Katniss and there were parts where I started to tear up because of what was happening. Although it doesn’t have the lighthearted feel of the first book and mystery of the second, this book has some gleaming value to it. Best of all, you get to see how things end. I liked this book, however it is nowhere near the quality of the first one.


Recommended to: dedicated fans of the Hunger Games series

Monday, November 22, 2010

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde

Directed By: Robert Luketic
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: Really liked it


Legally Blonde is a funny movie. I liked it because I could relate to Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) being lost at first and then catching up towards the end.

The movie starts with Elle being the head of her sorority; Delta Nu and having the whole sorority wish her luck for her engagement to Warren Huntington III (Matt Davis). When she sees Warren, she is avidly envisioning him bending down on one knee and holding a ring box in his hand, proposing to her. But, no, it was to announce Warren's breakup to Elle because he wanted a more serious girlfriend to accompany his budding political career (going on to Harvard Law is his first step). Elle, after hearing the news, is devastated, and everyone in the restaurant could tell. After their breakup, Elle then was depressed for a bit and then is determined to follow Warren to Harvard Law to hopefully win him back. Things do not turn out well at first when no one could take her seriously because of the way she dresses and of her out-going personality. Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson), an associate attorney, then tells her the tricks to survive the professors. She then befriends her manicurist, Paulette Bonafonté (Jennifer Coolidge). Eventually, throughout the movie, Elle slowly successes her way to scoring an internship with Professor Callahan along with Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair), Warren's fiancée; and Warren. At the end [~SPOILER ALERT~], Elle gets hired as an attorney and she saves the day. Three years later, she graduates with high honors, get hired at a prestigious law firm in Boston and gets engaged to Emmett. Warren proposed to her at the end but she rejected. She and Vivian are good friends and happily ever after.

All I can say is that Elle is one smart, determined blonde. It seems that what you can learn from this movie is that if you want it, you work hard for it, and you will achieve it. Plus, hair color makes no difference.


Recommended to: Most women

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anthem

Anthem


By: Ayn Rand
Reviewed by: Teralyn E., 14
Rating: It was amazing!


Ayn Rand's novella, Anthem, was an amazing read.

The original title of the book was going to be 'Ego'. The main theme in this book was ego, and how it is the heart, meaning, and glory of the earth.

Through the story, the reader may notice that Equality 7-2521, the protagonist and the point of view from whom the story is told, refers to himself as 'we'; This may be confusing at first, but the reason behind it is really quite simple!

The painfully obvious and yet overly-complicated plot to this story is captivating, interesting, and even enlightening.

A great book all around.


Recommended to: Anyone looking for a 'deep' read.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cinderella

Cinderella


Directed By: Clyde Geronomi
Reviewed by: Lizzie, 18
Rating: Hated it!


Cinderella is about a young woman who is a servant because of her stepmother. She falls in love with a Prince.

Today I am going to talk about Disney's Cinderella, and let me say, it isn't pretty. I used to like Disney movies before, but I wasn't a huge fan presay. I found things that were off in Disney movies. But obviously I couldn't elaborate about it, I was only a kid. But now that I have formed my ideas, I see the problems with this movie. Let's start, shall we?

In the beginining we see the start of Cinderella's life. Her father passed away, so she was left in the hands of her evil stepmother. Want to know a well known cliche that is used in practically almost all disney movies? Jealousy. Over what exactly? The stepmother and stepdaughters hate Cinderella because of her 'beauty'. Seriously, this is very pathetic. What is this telling girls? That other woman will be hateful because of 'beauty'? Is this a realistic motive? Disney should have just stuck with the fact that the stepmother is plain evil, not so much driven by jealousy. I dunno.

Anyway Cinderella is considered the "Princess of hope". Hmm okay so she is abused and not happy with her life, though she stays optimistic. Aka waiting for her Prince to come. So there lays the problems. She is considered a hard worker, and yet she is there, waiting for a unknown prince to save her? What does this say? To wait for a man to save you? She could have left the house and make her own life, away from the evil stepmother. Indeed this IS a disney movie, a fictional story, right? But our girls of this generation look at that, and could possibly see that as reality. Believe me, such cases are true. Cinderella is not "so bright" if all her dreams lies within a Prince.

Secondly, the ball part. This scene in the movie disturbs me. So here is where I question Cinderella - She is risking herself getting into trouble, to go to some measly ball....knowing she can get into trouble. So why doesn't she do that for herself? In the fact that she could have left the stepmother along time ago? Hmm mmm. Anyhow, when Cinderella arrives to the ball, the Prince suddenly, drastically, changes his attitude. Before she came, he was bored. He didn't care for the ball. Want to know why he suddenly had a change of heart? It was her beauty. Maybe, just maybe - that isn't the center issue. May I point out that supposedly they fell in love during the dancing for only what? Two hours, or three? Exactly. They didn't know eachother enough to say it was actual true love. The prince didn't go out and look for her when she left her little glass slipper, just because she was a humble, hard working, and king young woman. Note the sarcasm.

Indeed this movie has flaws, that I can't help but question. What kind of message is this? I wouldn't want my sisters or daughters looking up to Cinderella. It's okay that we view this movie as entertainment. As it is, their is no such thing as Spider Man, no? It's okay to let our imagination fly. Only to a certain extent. Basically, Disney is selling a stereotypical cliche of what woman are seen to be, then what they could be.

Also I just wanted to say, her little friends are more interesting than Cinderella herself. I laugh when I saw those little mouses. The songs are cheesy; I didn't like them. I'm sticking with Pocahontas and Mulan.


Recommended to: Disney fans

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

13 Going on 30

13 Going on 30


Directed By: Gary Winick
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: Really liked it


It is surprising how much you can learn from movies. 13 Going on 30 happens to be one of those movies. Starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, the movie has a good moral, to enjoy as much of the moment as you can.

(WARNING: *Spoilers ahead*)
The movie starts with Jenna as a thirteen year old in 1987 who is struggling to get to the top of the social ladder and be a Six Chick. On her thirteenth birthday, she tries to dress up like one of the Six Chicks (believe me, this is a good movie to look for 80s trends) because the Six Chicks were coming to her birthday party. Matt, her best friend, built her a dream house for her birthday. He sprinkled wishing dust (the thing that will make all your wishes come true) onto the house. Jenna then hearing the doorbell ring shoves the dream house back into storage as it was the Six Chicks waiting at the door. They then do something to leave her out of her own party and then Matt finds her sitting in the closet. Jenna then finds out and shoves Matt out and then sits in the closet chanting "I want to be thirty, flirty, and thriving" over and over again. She then gets her wish all right except that her best friend is missing. She is thirty and a successful magazine editor for Poise. Many things have changed in the seventeen years she wished for to pass by. Basically, she is a thirteen year old stuck in a thirty year old body. Throughout the movie, Jenna tries to figure out what has happened to her in the seventeen years that has sped by, catch up in her job, get back in touch with former best friend Matt (whom she falls in love with), and etcetera. When she realizes that her best friend is getting married, her co-worker is backstabbing her, and is realizing how much of a bad person she has become, she finds Matt getting ready for his wedding and asks for the dream house. He gives it to her and she goes outside and wishes to be thirteen again. Happy ending afterwards.

Some parts of the movie did not make sense and felt awkward. Overall, it was funny. I had some personal revelations while watching this movie about how to live each moment to its fullest. Pretty good chick-flick right there!


Recommended to: All women, teenage girls, etc.

The Other Side of Down

The Other Side of Down

By: David Archuleta
Reviewed by: Tina R., 15
Rating: It was amazing!


Beautiful. David's voice is simply perfect. After winning American Idol, some people basically forgot about this talented singer. With this album, he gained several new and old fans.

Not only is each song catchy, the lyrics are meaningful and will instantly put you in a good mood. Plus, after spending a couple hours with David at the airport and after a couple of his concerts, I can say that he is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. What greater reason to listen to his music!?


Recommended to: Everyone (American Idol Fans!)

Teenage Dream

Teenage Dream

By: Katy Perry
Reviewed by: Tina R., 15
Rating: It was amazing!


In my opinion, this is her best album so far. These tracks range from sweet ballads to dance type of songs. The lyrics cover a range of topics and parts in her life. In addition to great music, the album has the bonus of having a sweet scent!


Recommended to: People who love music, especially pop