Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief


Directed by: Chris Columbus
Reviewed by: Becksss, 14
Rating: Hated it!


This story is about a demi-god (half mortal, half God) Percy Jackson. He has ADHD and is not the smartest. but he can sure protect himself!

Small review on the book:

awesome, amazing, and completely epic!!! Such an amazing book that I would suggest to those whom think outside of the box, and have a vivid imagination.

Review on movie:

How? just how can you kill a movie that much? I was excited to see it, but keeping in mind that the movie will be worse. But that bad.. seriously?!?!?! and they still plan to make a second movie... its a completely story then the book... do NOT see if you don't want to be disappointed,


Recommended to: Whoever who has not, and doesn't want to read the book

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pocahontas

Pocahontas


Directed by: Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


So I have to give you all fair warning. Over the year(s) I have mostly reviewed Twilight (using large numbers of pejoratives), great book series(s), and good music. But I have a secret. A deep, dark, horrifyingly secret secret.




I love Disney movies.




Enough to request "Pocahontas" (the 2005 re-release in which they added the duet between Pocahontas and John Smith "If I Never Knew You" seamlessly into the film) from the library and anxiously await its arival for three months before it finally came for me.

Goodness I love this movie. The animation is simply stunning - the beautiful pastel pinks and blues of the Native American world contrasted with the sharp, harsh colors of the English explorers - and makes you smile. The music (done by Alan Menken, my all-time favorite composer) is fabulous and makes you want to sing along. The plot (while kind of majorly historically inaccurate) made me cry. REAL TEARS. Yeah. That's intense kids.

It might have helped that I was reading the AP US History section on the discovery of the Americas while watching it....(Yes, Pocahontas is mentioned in the book. I squealed with joy. It was shrill.) But that is completely irrelevant!

I grew up with these movies, and I'm sure that a good number of you did too, so watch it. It will make you think about toddling around with juice boxes while your parents groaned going "This is the seventeenth time she has watched this movie this month alone. When will she get tired of it???"

Peace kids :)

WATCH IT!


Recommended to: Everyone :D

My Hands Came Away Red

My Hands Came Away Red


By: Lisa McKay
Reviewed by: Esther, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


My Hands Came Away Red is a book that is more than amazing. In this story, a girl named Cori tries to escape her complicated love life by going to Indonesia to help build a church on an island. But the day after they finish building the church, conflict arises. Daniel and Martai, the pastor of the church is dead as well as many of the villagers. The church that was once standing, is now burnt. And Cori as well as the rest of her team (Kyle, Brendan, Mark, Elissa, and Drew)find themselves hiking through thick jungles on mountain territory being led by Daniel's and Martai's son Manuel (called Mani) and taking care of his younger sister Christina (called Tina) as they try to find a way back to Ambon, where they can take flight back to the capitol Jakarta while they face many obstacles from giant pythons, to malaria. This book is a must read.


Recommended to: Anyone

Friday, September 17, 2010

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men


By: John Steinbeck
Reviewed by: Kayleigh , 16
Rating: Really liked it


George and Lennie couldn’t be any more opposite. George is a small, quick and sharp man. Lennie is a huge man who drags his feet a little and has his arms hanging loosely at his sides. But the two stick together no matter what. George protecting Lennie from the cruel and insensitive world around them. Lennie just trying to remember what George tells him. So when they both get a job at a ranch, George tries his best to keep Lennie out of trouble since family is the only thing they’ve got going for them.

This classic is a must read. I’m reading a lot of the classics so I have a wide repertoire of novels to use in my analysis essays in my AP class, but I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those of us in here in California since Steinbeck is a California native and most of his novels take place here. This book truly an entertaining read with a crazy ending.


Recommended to: anyone who wants to read a classic

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies


By: William Golding
Reviewed by: calmebabby, 15
Rating: Really liked it


The book Lord of the Flies is about young teen aged boys, around 13 and younger, who are stranded on an island after their plane crashed and all the adults in the plain died. The fight for survival against the 'beast' that lives within the island brings fear to the other boys. Which leads them to separate into two groups. One with Ralph as the leader, and the other named Jack who is more savage like. Golding wrote this book after his experience in World War II when his perspective in life changed. This book is about the human self, and how savage like we can be. Ralph now has to find a way for rescue to come, yet watch out for Jack who now has a blood thirst to kill.


Recommended to:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Need You Now

Need You Now

By: Lady Antebellum
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: Really liked it


Lady Antebellum, the country group's CD titled the same name as their hit song "Need you Now", is pretty good. What I like about this album is that the songs are not only a bit light-tuned, but many I can relate to. For example, the song "Our Kind of Love" sounds sweet. Another song on the album called "American Honey" sounds like a ballad to some friend.
Coming from a person who can tolerate all kinds of music, this is a country album but sounds more like a country with a more of a pop vibe.
Overall, the album is pretty good. And I love Hillary Lindsey's(the lead singer) voice in all the songs.


Recommended to: Country fans, etc.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men


By: John Steinbeck
Reviewed by: Becksss, 14
Rating: It was amazing!


This is about two people (George and Lennie) trying to find a job. They have big plans though, after a month on the ranch they are going to buy land to make their own ranch. But there is only one problem, Lennie gets into trouble... allot. Lennie is not fully developed in the head, so he doesn't know what he is doing.

I had to read this book for school and thought, oh great one more boring book to go. Then when I read it, it was absolutely amazing! I got so attached to it, it felt like I was there! I even started crying!


Recommended to: Anyone and Everyone

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Night Over Water

Night Over Water


By: Ken Follett
Reviewed by: nicolefatahi, 16
Rating: Really liked it


The Pan American clipper, a legendary two story luxury plane built for the wealthy, celebrities, and royalty, takes off for a final flight to America during World War II. The passengers are all leaving the war in Britain for their own reasons. Abroad are a group of interesting people that include Margaret Oxenford, daughter of a wealthy Nazi supporter, Harry Marks, a jewel thief, and Diana Lovesey, an Englishwoman running away with her lover.

As each persons story unveils, the day turns into a night of suspense, romance, and terror.


Recommended to: I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great mix of romance and suspense.

The Chosen

The Chosen


By: Chaim Potok
Reviewed by: Cindy, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


In the years before the horrors or World War II are revealed, two boys are brought together through a game of softball on the streets of Brooklyn, New York. Told through the eyes of Reuven Malter, the son of an Modern Orthodox Jew, The Chosen is a story of finding friendship despite the division of religion.

Truth be told, I didn't think I would like this book very much. I know next to nothing about the Jewish religion and don't read as many classics as I should. Yet, this book truly wowed me with simple but wonderful surprises.

First are the characters. Reuven is a simple boy. He's nice and bright and, overall, just extremely likable. Danny, a complete foil, is complex. His love of Freud's philosophy and ability to memorize pages of the Torah, the Jewish book of law and tradition, make him interesting. The relationship between these two is played out smoothly and believably. There are also moments in the latter half of the book that are incredibly sweet and sad, all at the same time. I thoroughly love books about true friendship.

Another great thing I enjoyed is that I never felt all that lost when they spoke about religion. I even found learning about it really fun. It's more like, the characters enjoyed it so I did too. It's nice to see two young people actually practice their religion on a daily basis and the story never felt heavy or preachy.

One of the major ideas of the book is the relationship between both the boys and their fathers. Reuven is close to his and talks with him everyday. Danny on the other hand, only speaks to his father about religious matters concerning their Zionist sect. This becomes very important at the end of the book and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful scenes regarding family that I have ever read.

Overall, I found The Chosen to be a wonderful example of simple and emotional storytelling.


Recommended to: Anyone

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Tail of Emily Windsnap

The Tail of Emily Windsnap


By: Liz Kessler
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: Really liked it


Emily Windsnap discovers an unknown secret about herself which is terrifyingly fantastic. Her secret reveals an amazing world she didn’t know existed that could possibly lead her to her father that abandoned Emily and her mother shortly after Emily’s birth.

An enchanting story filled with imaginative undertakings, The Tail of Emily Windsnap is a great book! Although it’s mostly targeted towards a younger audience, I think anyone that enjoys fantasy books will like this one.


Recommended to: Fantasy lovers

Something, Maybe

Something, Maybe


By: Elizabeth Scott
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: Really liked it


Hannah tries her best to stay invisible at all times. Having a filthy rich dad who hires and shows off pretty girls on his TV show and online isn’t exactly the norm. Neither is having a mom that has her own website chatting to guys and who walks around the house in her undergarments or bikinis. Luckily, Hannah has mastered the skill of not being noticed by anyone, or at least, she’s doing a pretty good job at it.

Even though she doesn’t want to be perceived by the public, she desperately wishes her crush, Josh, would notice her more at work. In fact, she’s 100% sure that Josh is her soul mate. But she goes from 100% sure to not sure at all. Hannah keeps on having thoughts about Finn, her other coworker, and her parents are driving her insane. In the end, though, she finds out that maybe she doesn’t always need what she wants.

Something, Maybe is witty, funny, and has romance in it, as well as some touching moments. This is a book I’d recommend to anyone.


Recommended to: Fantasy lovers

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale


By: Cyn Balog
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: Really liked it


Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne have been best friends since the day they were born - now they’re an item. Born on the same day, they decided to have a joint sixteenth birthday party.

But a week before they have their extravaganza, Pip – who Cam introduces as his cousin – shows up, claiming Cam is really a fairy and that he and Pip were switched at birth.

Morgan is dubious at what Pip says, but over time proof starts to surface. Cam starts to become more and more like a fairy while lanky Pip starts to buff up. When Pip confides to Morgan that there might be a way to keep Cam in the real world, Morgan is all for it. Until she realizes sacrifices have to be made…

This is a good book for fantasy and romance lovers. It almost made me cry, but not quite. Still, it’s a really good book and I encourage anyone to read it.


Recommended to: Fantasy lovers

Patiently Alice

Patiently Alice


By: Phyllis Reynolds
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: It was alright...


Alice and her friends are at it again, signing up as assistant counselors at a camp for disadvantaged children. But during their time at camp, Alice finds out about an unsatisfying dilemma; the wedding for her dad and Sylvia has been postponed until further notice.

Just when Alice feels like the worst has happened, more issues come up. Her brother is given an offer that he can’t let go by, her friend, Pamela, is trapped in a corner when her mom, who ran off with another man two years ago, shows up and want to get back together with her dad, and Alice’s ex boyfriend Patrick has come to her for help – something that has never happened before.

Alice discovers nothing in life comes expectantly, and that people who you thought you knew inside and out can still bring surprises not anticipated.

The books in the Alice series have problems that a lot of people go through – family, boys, and so much more.


Recommended to: Teens

Wait for Me

Wait for Me


By: An Na
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: It was amazing!


Mina struggles to balance everything in her life. Between taking care of her little sister who is hearing impaired and helping her parents out with their dry cleaning business, Mina is seen as the perfect daughter. On the outside, she’s supposedly the daughter every parent hopes for; flawless report cards, president of the Honor Society, and Bound for Harvard. But on the inside, she knows that nothing about her is true and that she is living in a tangle of lies.

Feeling stuck in the dark, she becomes smitten by a young man her parents hire. She sees hope when he offers her a light for the dark reality she’s living.

I love books by An Na! They really hit home and I think anyone should read them.


Recommended to: People that like different cultures

A Step from Heaven

A Step from Heaven


By: An Na
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: It was amazing!


After emigrating to the U.S. from South Korea, four year old Young Ju and her family struggle with learning English and adapting to life in America. Her parents, particularly her father, dislike how Young Ju is not acting like ‘a Korean girl’ as she gets used to the American lifestyle. To top it off Young Ju’s father doesn’t act like how he used to… to the point of becoming violent. Can Young Ju’s family keep going like this…..?

The second I started reading this book, I was hooked (I even stayed up part of the night just to finish it!). It made me feel mad, happy, sad, and a whole array of other emotions. All in all just a really fantastic book.


Recommended to: People that like different cultures

The Fold

The Fold


By: An Na
Reviewed by: JNoto, 12
Rating: It was amazing!


Joyce Park feels like an ugly duckling compared to her sister, Helen. Helen’s pretty, smart – she’s even the most responsible! After Joyce’s crush, John Ford Kang, mistakes her for another person when he’s signing her year book, Joyce wonders if she is beautiful enough to even stand out of the crowd.

Once her aunt wins some lottery money, Joyce is given a golden opportunity… plastic surgery to get double eyelids – 100% covered by her aunt. But Joyce is hesitant. Her best friend, Gina, said not to pass out on a free once in a lifetime offer that could get John to pay interest in Joyce. Helen, on the other hand, is shocked that she would even consider going under the knife. Joyce isn’t sure what to do – if it’ll make her pretty enough so that John will notice her, she’s all for it.

After a consultation with a plastic surgeon, Joyce is delighted when she finds out that she looks just as gorgeous as Helen with double eyelids. She decides that surgery would be worth it if she were as pretty as her sister. But in the end, she finds out that even a jade can have flaws…

The Fold is a really great book. Once I started to read it I couldn’t put it down! It’s also written in a point of view that most teens think, so it was really easy to relate to. A must read for people that like reading about beauty and other cultures.


Recommended to:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Anthem

Anthem


By: Ayn Rand
Reviewed by: Kayleigh , 16
Rating: Really liked it


Equality 7-2521 knows only “we” not “I”. His futuristic society he lives in adopted the socialistic government and now everyone is equal…to an extreme. Forbidden are you to speak your mind. Living for the sake of your brothers is the only reason you live. And favoritism towards a single brother is considered evil. So goes this mindless life. Only one man is willing to fight for his freedom.

This novella is a quick and easy read, but has such a deep meaning, you find yourself thinking about it even after you have read it. Who am I? This becomes the question the main character asks himself and through his exploration, you find out a little bit about yourself. Through this journal-like novella you see the impact of socialism and the quest to finding yourself.


Recommended to: sci-fi and inspirational literature fans

Legend of the Seeker - Season 1

Legend of the Seeker - Season 1

Created by: Sam Raimi, Terry Goodkind
Reviewed by: Kait, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


So if any of you kids checked out my last review for "Wizards First Rule" (yeah, I'm aware of the major typo in the fact that the title of the book should be underlined, not put in quotation marks, but seeing as I have ZERO clue how to do that y'all are just going to have to chill while my OCD beats me up. That being said...) which I'm sure none of you actually did (though now you totally should because I'm guilting you into it HAHAHA!)you would know that "Legend of the Seeker" the TV show is based upon Terry Goodkind's series "Sword of Truth."

This makes me so dang happy.

Why?

Because now we all get to see incredibly attractive New Zealand actors portraying one of my new favorite book series :DDD

Ladies: Craig Horner (who plays the protagonist Richard Cypher, the first true Seeker of Truth in the last thousand years) does many scenes sans shirt. You think Taylor Lautner is hot? Think again.

Boys: Bridget Reagan ain't too hard on the eyes either ;)

Both: Same story line! Yeah, most of the individual episodes are hybrids of the plot from the story, so the series is BASED upon the books, not a literal translation. BUT this is okay because you still meet a lot of the same characters (Like Zedd, Rahl, Giller, Denna, etc.) even if you lose out on some (Yeah the mud people don't even exist here. Whatevz.). But there are random surprises like Cara (a Mord S'ith from the third book "Blood of the Fold") who pops up in the last episode of Season 1 (and all of Seeason 2).

So the gist?

I basically watched all 22 episodes in one weekend. That's how good this is. Same characters, same plot, same purpose, plus actors and special effects (The sound effects on the agiels is so tight I swear - Jessica Marais [who plays Mistress Denna] actually recorded several screams, which the tech people warped into this high-pitched shriek of the agiel :D SO TIGHT).

Your homework for the week?

Borrow this DVD from the library. I'll return it pretty quick and you can all fight over it (request lists ftw) and make me proud! (Aren't my little ones all grown up!!!) Then you can get hooked on it like me and borrow all of the books (there are 11 total) and join Team Cypher like my and my best friend. I believe in you, and that in and of itself should be more than enough motivation my duckies.

Peace kids :D


Recommended to: Series? Anyone over 14. Books? Anyone over 16 (there are some raunchy scenes). Fandom? Everyone. I expect housepets, imaginary friends, and unborn children to be Team Cypher.

Orphan

Orphan


Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Reviewed by: Jerry, 15
Rating: Really liked it


A film that is somewhat both creepy and existing.

The movie is about a family that adapted a girl named Esther from an orphanage. Ester somehow had a strong dislike for the mother, and when she complains to her husband he don't believes her. One day, Ester killed the head of the orphanage with the help of Max(she didn't know Ester's true intent), the mother's daughter, and forced her to not to tell anyone. As the story progresses, Ester began to even try to kill Max and Daniel, the son. Unfortunately, the only one suspecting her of all the wrong-doing was only the mother. More later on in the movie, a surprising ironic twist will occur in the story that will make the movie far more interesting and exciting.


Recommended to: everyone

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Directed by: David Fincher
Reviewed by: Jerry, 15
Rating: Really liked it


The story-lines are truly amazing. In addition, there are also great actor like Brad Pitt.

The main character of the story was a guy named Benjamin. He was born with a rare disorder that made him aged backward(so basically he was born an old man and as he ages he turns into a young man). As a baby, he was abandoned by his father and brought to a nursing home. One day he met a girl called Daisy, who was visiting her grandmother, they became friend and later on they began to have feeling for each other. As the story progresses, Benjamin began to work for a boat and Daisy began to peruse her dream as a ballet dancer. Later on when they met again and finally fall in love, Benjamin realized the difficulties he will pose to her if he finally turned into a baby.

The story is rich with details of Benjamin's life, and the way the movie was played out will definitely leave a deep scar into the person mind when they finished watching.


Recommended to: everyone

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees


By: Sue Monk Kidd
Reviewed by: Jerry, 15
Rating: Really liked it


I read this book in the summer; while my memories on the book is still clearly displayed in my mind, I decided to write a book review. The story focused on
a girl called Lily Owen who not only tried hard to bring the memories of her dead mother back but also tried to search for her past. She lived with her uncaring father and Rosaleen, a black housekeeper. As the story progresses, she will meet a group of black women (with the help of some stuff belongs to her mother) and realized the power of the female community. The story also shows the unsightly sight of racism and how Lily overcomes it.


Recommended to: depressed female reader

Vampire Knight, Vols 1-5

Vampire Knight, Vols 1-5


By: Matsuri Hino
Reviewed by: gothiclolitamaiden, 16
Rating: Really liked it


I was interested to read Vampire Knight before I got around to picking up the first volume. I had heard good things about it, and the plot and characters intrigued me. After reading it, I’m somewhat disappointed but also not that surprised. My judgment was clouded because I was not impressed by another of Hino’s manga: Marchen Prince (Meru Puri). Meru Puri is, quite frankly, shojo fluff, featuring an annoying female protagonist with an unhealthy crush on a younger boy who turns into an alluring boy closer to her own age at night. Kind of creepy, in a way, despite the fluffy-ness.

Vampire Knight is different from Meru Puri in many ways, but not too different in others. The subject matter is different entirely, and Hino even acknowledges (in a sidebar) the fact that she moved out of her comfort-zone (lighthearted romantic comedy) in Vampire Knight, which is darker, with more gothic themes and sexual undertones than Meru Puri. Hino could benefit from moving out of her comfort zone more often, as Vampire Knight manages to lose some of Meru Puri’s shallowness. VK is also more suspenseful than Meru Puri, and therefore it has more potential to attract and appeal to male readers.

I got more attached to the characters in VK than I did in Meru Puri, but all of the boys are typical bishonen stereotypes. I’m afraid I dislike both Zero and Kaname for various reasons, and I don’t see the point in choosing between Moody Bishonen #1 and Moody Bishonen #2, as some shippers in the fandom do. Background characters from the Night Class and Day Class are sorely undeveloped, and they don’t get a lot of attention, especially not the Day Class (because they’re not as beautiful and mysterious as the Night Class). The most interesting characters to me were Maria/Shizuka, Yagari Toga, Seiren, Headmaster Cross, and Ruka, but none of them make too many appearances. I’d really like to learn more about these characters’ personalities and pasts, but Hino doesn’t draw them much, most of the focus is on the love triangle. Yuuki is much less annoying than Airi of Meru Puri, but she is a bit underdeveloped, and despite the picture of her on the first cover holding a big gun (I thought she was a tough chick when I first started reading), she can’t really hold her own in a fight. Usually one of the pretty boys ends up rescuing her. But Yuuki’s best qualities are her compassion and genuine concern for her friends and loved ones, and I suppose that even though she lacks fighting prowess, Yuuki has a strong heart.

Artistically, Vampire Knight is beautifully drawn, despite some issues with anatomical proportions. For the most part, character designs are distinctive, even if all of the boys start to look alike, typical bishonen faces and body builds (that is, tall and lanky with long tousled locks) with only slight differences in eye color, hair color and hair style. In Meru Puri Hino had problems with making the characters’ faces very expressive, and she still has a bit of a problem in Vampire Knight, though she’s improving.

Vampire Knight is certainly not the best manga I’ve ever read. The art is beautiful, and the plot is fairly suspenseful and intriguing, despite some issues with the characters. It’s a recommended read for all fans of horror, gothic, vampire and romance manga. It retains some shojo-fluffyness despite its darker subject matter, which explains its popularity among American fans. In short, it’s my guilty pleasure. I love to read it, but I feel ashamed in doing so.


Recommended to: Fans of horror, gothic, vampire or romance manga. Girls will like it better, guys might be deterred by all of the pretty boys adorning the covers. Some violence, blood and almost sexuality

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451


By: Ray Bradbury
Reviewed by: Kayleigh , 16
Rating: It was amazing!


Guy Montag lights a match and they all go up in the flames. All of the knowledge, time, effort that went into them…gone. He is a fireman, but his job is to burn books. It eats away at him and makes him question everything he stands for. All it takes is one young girl who to make him think about the world differently.

Anyone who loves reading will be intrigued by this book. Stylistically it is well written. There is rhythm, symbolism and allusions that enhance the meaning of this book. Bradbury also poses questions that the readers must think about and judge for themselves. The characters are well developed and the story line is interesting. Anyone who claims they love reading will love this book for its unique subject and stylistic appeal.


Recommended to: anyone who says they love reading

Lolita

Lolita


By: Vladimir Nabokov
Reviewed by: msfmegan, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


"Lolita" is narrated by 37-year-old Humbert Humbert, a writer who is obsessed with what he calls "nymphets" or otherwise, young girls. Humbert, who narrates the story, explains that his obsession began with the death of his childhood sweetheart. As the book goes on, we get introduced to "Lolita", a 12-year-old girl that throughout the book has an affair with Humbert.

Although the subject of this book is disgusting, the book is overall amazing. The writing is the best I have seen and the story is very fun to follow. Vladimir Nabokov keeps his readers on their toes with many twists in the story. I encourage everyone to read this book because, in my opinion, it would appeal to just about anyone.


Recommended to: everyone

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Uglies

Uglies

By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: Becksss, 14
Rating: Really liked it


This is a good, very interesting Sci-Fi. book. If you enjoy reading books that are out of the ordinary, you should read this book.

This is a book based in the future and everything has changed. For Tally Youngblood she is excited to turn 16 so that she can turn "pretty" (When a child turns 16t they undergo a surgery to make them so) When one of her friends dissappears, they will not give her the surgery, unless she can find and rat out her friend.

Some points of this story can end up dry, but the rest of it can be very... bubbly! (That is the word for cool in the book)


Recommended to: Anybody willing to try a new book

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games


By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: gothiclolitamaiden, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


I read Hunger Games because I wanted to see what all of the hype was about, but I have to say, Hunger Games is possibly one of the best books I have read this year so far (not that I’ve had much time to read), and unlike many of the hyped books I’ve read out of curiosity, I’m glad I read this one.

The idea of a brutal contest where ordinary teens are forced to fight to the death is shocking, disturbing, and intriguing. As I read, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in the same situation, with a choice between committing murder and living. Needless to say, I had a couple of nightmares about it. The scariest part? If you look close enough, you can see the roots of the future society portrayed in the book in our own flawed society. As the world grows increasingly crowded, the gaps between the haves and the have-nots grow wider, and the frivolity of the wealthy Capital dwellers brings to mind the irresponsibility of big business executives.

The book works better as a dystopian sci-fi thriller than as a romance, which is only partially a matter of taste. The romantic elements make the story seem a bit too well-tailored to teenaged readers, out of place beside the darker subject matter.

The characters, though some aren’t alive or present long enough to make a lasting impression, are very human and believable, with both good and bad qualities. Rue’s death had the same effect on me as Dumbledore’s in the sixth Harry Potter book, though her appearances were far fewer. The author has the uncommon ability to touch the readers’ heart, even if the writing isn’t perfect. The lead, Katniss, is strong, sensible, but na├»ve about certain things, like relationships, in a nearly exasperating way.

The plot moves at a break-neck pace, at times I couldn’t put the book down. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys sci-fi, action or romance.


Recommended to: Anyone who likes sci-fi, action or romance. Teens and adults, for some pretty graphic violence.

L.A. Candy

L.A. Candy


By: Elizabeth Scott
Reviewed by: Lilly, 13
Rating: It was alright...


19 yr old Jane Roberts gets invited to join a reality show, of course she said yes! She soon becomes the next hottest star on t.v. She gets the clothes, she gets to go to the hottest club, she gets everything!! But she soon realizes its not all about the fame


Recommended to: mostly girlz

Mockingjay

Mockingjay


By: Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by: Esther, 13
Rating: Hated it!


Reading this book made me shocked, and depressed.It ruined my view on the whole series. The thing was that I expected so much to happen,and it didnt happen. The author tried to make this book as unsuspectable as possible (that's just wat i believe) there are awesome parts in this book, but just dont set so high expectations like i did. Itll ruin ur view.


Recommended to: Anyone who has already read the first two books of the series

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mockingjay

Mockingjay


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


We all remember the fabulous hype of finding a new book, but not just a new book. A new treasure of a book, the ones you can't put down, and get you so pumped you can't even think straight. For me and, based off it's immense popularity, others as well, The Hunger Games was one of those treasures. The storyline was exciting, refreshing, and original. A strong heroine who succeeds solely (well, mostly) on her own inner-strength. It was a beautiful book.

Then there was the second of the trilogy: Catching Fire. It was a little disappointing in comparison to the magnificence of its predecessor. Not that the storyline wasn't as original and as fantastic as the first (though there were some fuzzy parts), but it was the introduction of a love triangle that threw me off. I understand wanting to borrow an element that made the Twilight (gag) series so popular, but this is not a Twilight book. This is the Hunger Games, and the Hunger Games I had familiarized myself with didn't need a patronizing love triangle to keep it interesting. It was interesting enough with its strong characters and intriguing, futuristic plotline. The love triangle demoralized it, undercut its greatness, and I was absolutely disappointed to find the second book a constant "Peeta! No Gale! No...Peeta! No, Gale!" scenario. The Katniss I thought I knew cared more about her family and getting back at the Capital than love interests, neither of whom I cared for.

And then...then there was Mockingjay, the final book of the trilogy. If you have not read it, please do not continue reading this review, for there will be spoilers, and I refuse to be responsible for ruining this book for you. That it must do on its own.

First off, I do want to make a quick note: the book is not as terrible as I might express here in a moment. There are very good elements to the book, and it still kept a lot of its originality. There were many twists and "wtf?!" moments; I was on edge the whole time and read it in less than a day, which doesn't happen unless I enjoy, to some degree, what I am reading. That disclaimer made, I shall move on to my equally honest review.

My first issue with this book, and no doubt my largest, is Katniss. The Katniss from The Hunger Games, the Katniss I loved, respected, and admired, is not the same Katniss in Mockingjay. Well of course, you might think, she isn't the same. She has gone through some horrible ordeals, and she has every right to crumble. And I agree; however, I do not like to read about a main character that crumbles constantly. I want to read about the brave, courageous self-sacrificing one who did things she had to do simply because they had to be done, no matter how hard, and she did them without complaint. I want the Katniss back who stood up on that stage, terrified, stunned, but did it without tears or breakdowns because it was what had to be done. I want the Katniss back that went into that arena with her head held high, horrified and petrified, but without fear or regret because it was what had to be done. That's the Katniss I loved.
But in Mockingjay I find myself reading of a different character altogether. The Katniss of Mockingjay is selfish, thoughtless, flighty, oblivious, self-absorbed, and uncooperative. The book begins with a very accurate statement that she hates most everthing. And it is true. She is bitter and harsh, indulging in self-pity every chance she gets. She is unwilling to cooperate out of self-interest, too self-pitying to do what must be done to take down the Capitol. I carefully followed her train of thought throughout the book, and it was always the same. She was concerned first for herself and how something might affect her. A perfect example is when she lets the readers know Peeta's family has died. Instead of expressing sorrow for Peeta, she first laments the fact that now he will have no one but her, inferring that it will be just another burden she must carry. She makes assumptions that the normal Katniss would have never made, such as when the bombs are ready to go off, her first instinct would have been to protect her family, make sure they get to safety, rather than just assume that they will. Likewise, she begins to let the undying love of her two vying lovers go to her head, and she expects their affection, never returning it. The Katniss I knew didn't take advantage of people like that. Another aspect of the whole love-triange thing that bothers me.

So, for me, that was the real killer of the book: Katniss' character. I didn't like her new nature, so it was hard to root for her or relate with her.

There were other things as well that disappointed me about the book. The first being some of the sloppy ways things were done. Some things were too convenient and not very well thought out, it seemed, and some of her imagry was not up to par. For example, I could not at all picture the pods she kept refering to in the streets of the Capitol, nor the terrible seam in the street that opened to what I assumed to be hell, or the entire scene that eventually led to Prim's death. For a climax, it wasn't incredibly vivid.

Then the infernal love-triangle, which wasn't as center a focus as in the second book, but enough to be irritating. With the way Katniss treats the two of them, it is hard to believe they have any undying love for her. I liked Peeta (and I have never really liked him, nor have I really liked Gale) most when he was finally seeing her for what she was: a user. Then suddenly he switched, even though she basically abandoned him in his time of need (to go off and sulk), and the next thing I know Gale and Peeta are up in the middle of the night joking about who would get her. I had been under the impression that Peeta was just supressing the instinct not to kill her. It was very messy and demeaning for me.

Finally, my next big problem with Collins is the people she chose to kill. Basically, in short, all my favorite people. Cinna (we all secretly hoped he was alive). Finnick (whom I grew very fond of in this book). And worst of all (you know whom I'm going to say), Prim. Unfortunately I was in the middle of class when I read this part, so I couldnt bawl my eyes out like I wanted to. Prim, the one name I've always been happy to see on a page, was dead. I understand the purpose, emotional impact, but that doesn't make me any less frustrated or horrified. I truly wish she could have picked another character to emotionally impact me. Perhaps Haymitch, whom I love, but could perhaps pick up the book again knowing what I know.

In short, Mockingjay was a disappointment. But I still recommend it. Why? Because it is part of the Hunger Games, and the Hunger Games deserves to be read through.

The Mockingjay, I suppose, must be freed.


Recommended to: Anyone who read the first two...

Animal

Animal

By: Ke$ha
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: It was alright...


One thing I can say about this CD, the songs are addicting. The auto-tune in about most of the songs on the CD does make it sound cool. And what I like about Ke$ha is that she actually wrote her own songs. Not unusual since her mom was a songwriter.
Roots of the singer: She used to live off of food stamps in her teens and she explained why there's the dollar sign in her name.

Anothe thing about the songs, they suprisingly make sense. For many people, love is like a drug as sung in her song "Your Love is my Drug". (*Note: do NOT watch the accompanying music video, it is weirdly horrible) But for many of them, they seem to be perfect club, party songs (e.g. "Tik Tok" and "Take it Off").
Overall, it would be a great party music CD.


Recommended to: Teens, Party-animals, etc.

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife


By: Audrey Niffenegger
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 16
Rating: It was alright...


I remember that a few months ago I reviewed the movie of the same name. Just recently, I happened to pick up the book of which the motion picture was adapted from.

The book has some parts that the movie missed out on but is undertsandable because there are some things movie technology cannot recreate and also would make the movie run too long. Some of the scenes seem to be more graphically described than in the movie. And the beginning and end of the book was very different than the movie.
On the book itself, I find Henry with a chrono-displacement disorder (which causes him to time-travel when stressed) kind of awkward because at the same time, his clothes fall off. I do acknowledge Clare's good patience and love for Henry for always making her wait and etcetera. And anyways, it is another sappy romance...and the ending is sad. Also, the graphic parts may make someone with a sensitive stomach vomit...


Recommended to: fans of romance novels, women