Reilly Uiterwyk
Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson
An Unforgettable Historical Masterpiece

How would you like to learn about the American Revolution from something other than a textbook? Wouldn’t it be interesting to walk around in someone else’s shoes as they go through their life during this pivotal point in our nation’s history? Maybe you want to learn about the lives of people who were enslaved or people who were free. Maybe you are interested in life at an army camp or what it is like to live life on the run? Either way,  Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson fits all of these descriptions and more. The third book in the Seeds of America trilogy, Ashes is a historical fiction novel set in Revolutionary War Virginia. Unlike a textbook, Anderson gives the reader loveable characters, crystal clear descriptions, and interesting historical information. Through the main character’s eyes, the reader experiences history in a new way and gains access to the perspective of a young woman who has gone from slavery to freedom. While textbooks may give the hard, cold, facts, Ashes gives the opportunity to learn those facts and gain a new perspective on the war through the lives of the characters. For anyone looking for their next favorite book, Ashes is the way to go.

The novel Ashes is a memorable, page-turning tale. The plot is about a girl named Isabel who escapes from slavery and travels south in search of her younger sister, Ruth. Ruth and Isabel were sold apart when they were very little. Isabel escaped with one of her fellow slaves, Curzon. After two books of their journey out of slavery, to the Continental Army at Valley Forge, Isabel and Curzon finally find Ruth. However, Ruth is no longer the little girl that Isabel remembers. Ruth, Isabel, Curzon, and another escaped slave, Aberdeen, journey to the North to try to find freedom once and for all, but they must discover where their loyalties lie and if their divisions will tear them apart.

The characters in this novel are vivid. Isabel and her sister, Ruth, have been separated for many long years. Although finally reunited, Ruth still does not trust Isabel. While journeying to freedom in the north, Ruth walks barefoot and gashes her foot open on a rock. Without medical care, Ruth’s wound gets infected and she contracts a fever. She is laid up in bed for several days and is delirious. Since Ruth does not respond to anything, Isabel tells her stories. “I don’t know if you can hear me,’ I said, ‘ and I feel like a right fool talking to you this way ….Let me tell you about the day you were born...’” (76). For the next three days, Isabel tells Ruth stories of their family and past. The reader learns about Isabel’s past in a deeper, more meaningful way. The scene stirs up empathy for Isabel and Ruth. It paints a clear picture of the heartbreak that families went through. The emotion that the reader feels when hearing Ruth reject Isabel is heartbreaking and forces the reader to care about the characters. However, Isabel is determined to get her little sister back. Will she be able to? This is one of the many examples of the way Anderson makes you care deeply about the characters.  Another example is when Ruth has to say goodbye to her adoptive family who cared for her since she and Isabel were separated. Missus Serafina is the woman who took Ruth in and Mister Walter is her husband. “Missus Serafina took my sister in her arms, held her tight, and whispered in her ear. When she (Ruth) pulled away, tears were rolling down the old woman’s cheeks,” (46). By providing such exact details, one can really imagine the pain in Serafina’s heart and Ruth’s reluctance to leave. Through moments like this, Anderson makes you fall in love with the characters and brings the story to life.

Another part in this riveting story, is that the descriptions really put the reader into Revolutionary War era Virginia. Each sensory detail adds to the clear image in the reader’s head. An example of this is when Isabel and Curzon have just approached the farm where Ruth lives, but they do not know that she lives there yet. Farms are usually welcome to Isabel and Curzon, since it means that there are people around. However, Anderson uses foreshadowing to show that there is something different about this farm from the very beginning.  “A cow mooed. There should have been a dozen calling by now, eager to be milked. The birdsong grew louder, accompanied by the chirrup of frogs and the thrumming and buzzing of insects” (20). It is small details like this that really bring each and every scene to life right before your eyes. This is one of the many examples of the way Anderson brings the novel to life.

Another fascinating feature of this book is it’s historical accuracy. There are certain details in the book that prove how precise and careful Anderson was with her research. Along with a historically precise plotline, at many moments in the story, there are facts that make the image in your head even more realistic. An example of this is when Isabel, Curzon, Ruth, and Aberdeen see some soldiers heading to Yorktown. In 1781, the Continental Army went to Williamsburg, then to Yorktown where they forced the British to surrender. “‘Williamsburg, sir?’ Curzon asked. ‘I thought the army was encamped at Richmond.’ ‘Cornwallis is holed up at Yorktown, a day’s march from Williamsburg...French army already there, waiting for the rest of us.’” (85) It informs the reader of historical information, while carrying the plotline of the story. It also makes the story seem more real because the Continental Army actually went to Williamsburg and Yorktown. The realism makes this novel exciting and constantly keeps you engaged. The historical accuracy makes the book realistic and vivid.


 Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson is an amazing historical fiction novel. The way Anderson carefully crafts her characters, inserts wonderful sensory details, and added historical accuracy, really brings the book to life before your eyes. Through the eyes of an enslaved girl fighting for her sister and her freedom, you will be able to appreciate history in a new way. For readers looking for a novel that brings history to life, Ashes is a novel that is unforgettable.
_________________________

Evan Charneski
The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe 

At first, Daisy’s brother Steven seemed normal enough to her. He was just a little quiet and distant, that was all. She didn’t know that not everyone had a sibling that completely ignored them, and didn’t respond when they were spoken to. Now however, Daisy knows better. She knows never to move too quickly, speak too loudly, or introduce basically anything new into the routine in her household that has been established around her severely autistic brother. He’s no longer the little boy she once tried to connect with, but a dangerously strong teenager whom her entire family makes themselves slaves to. At seventeen, Daisy acts as a third parent in her home, and although she never shows it, she yearns to break away from the disaster that her life has become. The fact that she is finding it harder and harder to avoid her crush on the notorious slacker Dave isn’t improving the situation either. The Sound of Letting Go, by Stasia Ward Kehoe, revolves around Daisy’s struggle to free herself from the madness of her life, without hurting those she is close to. All her life she has ignored her feelings, pouring everything into her trumpet, and she wonders if she even knows how to feel at all anymore. Now, when her parents make a huge decision about Steven that will change her life forever, Daisy begins to wonder if it’s time to stop holding on to all of that emotion, and let go.  

Readers will enjoy this book because of Daisy’s very deep and thoughtful take on life. Everything she thinks perfectly illustrates how she is feeling, and what that means for her and for the other characters - without straight out telling the reader. In one scene, she is at her friend Justine’s house, trying on dark makeup for the first time, thinking it will send a message about the way she’s feeling to her parents. She thinks “In the gilt framed mirror I see a girl who isn’t quite me-instead, something more arresting, abstract...the skull beneath the skin”(194). In this particular scene, she offers readers a metaphor to help them to understand what she sees when she looks in the mirror, and how that makes her feel. She describes herself as “abstract,” and tells how it helps her to almost see what’s inside of her more, showing “the skull beneath the skin” that is her life. Daisy has a habit of hiding from who she really is, and hiding it from others too. She thinks that in hiding her true self, she will protect those that she loves. Another beautiful example of this is when she describes Dave flicking a lighter as “...little flames like hopes being lit and dashed in fractions of seconds”(144). Kehoe uses the example of Dave’s lighter to show readers the way that Daisy’s mind works in some ways. She is depressed due to the way that she currently lives her life, but hopeful that things will change, if not just yet. Daisy isn’t afraid to be honest with herself about how she feels, and shares how she is afraid for Steven, and how she wants him to feel things, and to have a better life then he has been dealt. However, she also wants things from her mother, who is seemingly oblivious to the fact that all her faithful daughter really wants is to be treated as a kid for once. Daisy says “I want her to be angry, and to toast my waffles and say things [like] ‘you’re only seventeen’... and not ask if I ‘approve’ of huge decisions...to tell me how she feels about things” (220). This outburst is a result of a culmination of how her mother has treated her thus far, in the book, and in what is assumed outside of the book. Overall, the deep connection that readers feel that they have with Daisy really makes the story a better one to read.

Readers may not enjoy this book because there are times when the romance aspect of the story takes over. Even though it’s an important part of the story, it distracts from the powerful messages in the book, and sometimes becomes too much. Daisy has strong thoughts and opinions about Dave, and Kehoe shows that by incorporating him into her flow of thoughts in at least half of the chapters. This is meant to be realistic, and give readers an idea of just how much a teenager thinks about a person that they have a crush on. However, it sometimes comes off as too much, and makes her seem obsessive. When Dave is texting her, Daisy says “ I ransack my memories….wonder what to type back to Dave, but I can’t recall anything that suggests the words I should use, the words that could hold the longing, the uncertainty in my heart”(209). She thinks and worries for such a long time about what to say to Dave that eventually he simply calls her, no longer wanting to await her response. She often feels this way when talking to him-constantly obsessing over the right thing to say. Another of Daisy’s growing pile of concerns is that she doesn’t know how to feel about Dave. In response to thoughts about the huge decision being made about Steven, she explains how she wants to tell her mom everything that’s been going on in her life, but she is afraid that she will make her mom feel worse than she already does about their family situation. Generally, although it can add to the story, the romance between Daisy and Dave disturbs the beauty of the book more than it develops the story.

Altogether, The Sound of Letting Go is a wonderfully fast read, and it’s powerful messages will stick with readers for a long time after it’s been returned to its shelf. It’s a good book for those who like a lot of romance, or don’t mind it interrupting the story a little, but the story isn’t a friendly one for all readers, as some may find the romance to be too much. Many readers will enjoy this book a lot, but some will not find what they are looking for in it.
___________________________________

Emma Goodness 
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Tess and Kristina are complete opposites. Kristina is the cool, popular and athletic sister who is concentrating on her volleyball season and ongoing career. Tess on the other hand, is the smart but quiet one. Kristina is always forcing Tess to go to high school parties or to join a sports team, but Tess wants nothing of it. She is more focused on the Honor Society, a competitive group of students who are among the smartest in the school. In the realistic fiction book I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler, Kristina goes in for a doctor appointment regarding her knee. Soon after, they recieve the horrible news that she has Osteosarcoma, a serious bone cancer. Suddenly, their picture perfect family begins to fall apart. Tess’ mom takes all her anger and sadness out on shopping and unnecessary spending, while her dad basically vanishes from the earth. Tess feels lost in the craziness of it all but must keep it together and stay strong even when everyone else is breaking down.

In this book, Gurtler tries to focus on the characters and making them extremely detailed and different. Even though Tess and Kristina are entirely divergent, they will eventually get closer and closer through this outstanding novel. This strong relationship that is grown throughout the book gives some reality to fictional story. When both sisters are at a party, Tess explains, “But other than a few heys and disinterested stares, no one notices I’m there. Before long, even Kristina forgets about me. Swept up by her friends and admirers, she leaves me bathing in my own flop sweat.”(1).  Kristina is much more noticed at the party while Tess isn't even acknowledged. Tess and Kristina are completely different which makes the story interesting and dramatic.

In the novel, the author uses descriptive words that allows readers to paint a picture in their head. Specifically in this book, the extra detail is so helpful to really understand the hardship this family is going through. While Kristina’s family is attending a funeral the author says,  “The church walls seem to strain to accommodate the bodies, but there isn’t enough space for everyone. People cram together, squished thigh to thigh in their pews, shoulder to shoulder in aisles. The back is standing room only.”(247). Obviously this specific scene is very miserable and realistic but since she describes the scene so vividly, most people would have a very similar idea to what is going on.

I’m Not Her contains many plot twists throughout the book that have the reader eager to turn the page to learn what happens next. Having many compelling plot twists keeps the reader hooked and makes the overall story more intriguing. In this scene, Tess answers a call that will change her and Kristina’s life for good. “The phone rings, and both of us jump. I rush to go answer it, easily beating Kristina before she can even make a move for her crutches. ‘Hello?’ I say, waiting for Jeremy’s apologetic voice on the other end, prepared to give him grief for worrying Kristina. ‘Kristina?’ a voice asks. It’s a women.”(236) This excerpt is the beginning of a big plot twist that adds a whole new element of surprise and enhances the novel. The only way to find out what happens is to read it!

This book is really brought to life with all of its detail to scenery and characters, as well as it’s unexpected turn outs. To top it off, it is wonderful how the plot wasn’t a very fast moving one but more realistic in the sense that Janet could explain or show more detail during specific parts rather than summarize an action-packed story. She generally told this story day by day to get a sense of what it would really be like to be going through this. Cancer is a real problem that affects many people and families worldwide. This book showcases only some of the many complications cancer brings on families. After reading this book hopefully you will appreciate the little things in life and not take what you do have for granted. Overall, I’m Not Her was a terrific read that’s recommended to all young adult readers.
_____________________________

  Lynna Truong
Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
   
Earth has become a quiet place. Electricity is gone, people are suffering death, killers are roaming the Earth looking for humans to kill. What has happened to the place home to eight billion people? The answer… alien apocalypse. But out there are some tough souls on the run, and fighting to survive, determined to stay alive and defeat aliens called the Others when many have quit. In Rick Yancey’s unique and action-packed science-fiction bestseller The Fifth Wave all of this becomes a reality.

Two strong-willed teenagers Cassie Sullivan and Ben Parish, along with Cassie’s little brother Sammy and a new friend Evan Walker have little to no family left, mostly lost from the plague or killed by the recruits of the Others called Silencers. They have been through four waves since aliens named the Others have invaded Earth. The first wave got rid of all electricity, the second created tons of destruction from tsunamis, the third introduced the plague that killed most of the people who survived the first two waves, and Silencers came out to kill everyone left in the fourth wave. Now is time for the fifth wave. Cassie, Sammy, and their dad go to a camp after their mom dies from the plague, but things go southward from there. Cassie and Sammy are separated, and now it’s just her on the run from Silencers and dodging their bullets. Then she ends up living with Evan Walker who has lost all family thanks to the plague. He seems mysterious and very secretive, but may be the only help she can get to rescue Sammy.

Meanwhile, Ben ends up in a torturous training camp depressed and devastated that his sister is gone along with the luxurious life that he had. All of them now have to outsmart all of the tricks and secrets of the Others in order to survive and reach their goals.

The Fifth Wave is truly a page-turner with each chapter full of vividly detailed action. This book has a variety of action-packed events including Cassie trying to escape a Silencer who was trying to kill her, and Silencers attacking a camp that Cassie’s family was staying at. In one event after Ben has graduated training camp, he and his fellow comrades are on a mission, and an unexpected grenade falls upon them and causes chaos and destruction. The explosion is dramatically explained as “pieces of the tank torn apart by the blast hurled a hundred yards in every direction at bullet speeds,” and the image really creates heart-pounding suspense in the reader’s mind (293). This makes readers feel like they are right next to Ben during the whole explosion watching all the mayhem with him. Every one of the events are explained as vividly as this explosions, and every one of them pulls the reader into the story.

All of this action is presented in many other characters’ point of views, so they can experience life in different character’s minds every few chapters and get an inside look of many characters’ thoughts and emotions.
The perspectives include Cassie’s, Ben’s, Sammy’s, and many more. They get a sense of Cassie’s paranoia when she wakes up in Evan’s house, and all she remembers is that she almost froze to death while trying to escape a Silencer. She states, “I know someone is here with me. I don’t see him or hear him, touch or smell him. But I know he’s here. I don’t know he’s a he, but I do know, and he’s watching me”(150). This mysterious feeling of how you know that someone is there but don’t physically sense them is very unique to Cassie and could only be explained in her perspective. Readers can also get a feeling of Ben’s life at the training camp as he explains lunch as “chow in the crowded mess hall that smells faintly like soured milk” (223). Only Ben or someone who was with him can explain the smell as soured milk, so if it was only told in Cassie’s view, readers would know nothing about the mess hall. If the book was told through only one character’s view, readers would be missing out on huge parts of the story. Having the book in multiple perspectives makes   more than just a book filled with pages, it makes it a story where readers can connect to the characters in a more personal way through thoughts and emotions.

Rick Yancey also manages to include the compassionate themes of family, love, and determination in a book filled with merciless aliens bringing the story into a deeper meaning below all the violence above. The apocalypse is a time where many families are getting separated, so in this time, when you have family or friends, you treasure them more than ever. Ben has lost all family, so when he meets Cassie’s brother Sammy (aka Nugget) at the camp, he protects Sammy and helps him through all the toughness at the training camp just like how he would help his own brother. Cassie is super determined when trying to find her five year-old brother Sammy. This unflagging determination really shows when Evan Walker says to her, “You don’t know exactly where they’ve taken your brother, but you’re going there to rescue him”(171). Still, Cassie won’t stop trying. Even when Evan talks some sense into her by saying, “And if you can’t pick up the trail?” Cassie replies, “I won’t give up until I do.”(172). Cassie doesn’t even have one moment of doubt when going to find Sammy. In order to have some contrast from all of the bloodshed that is happening across the world, knowing that people still care about their loved ones will certainly have a place in readers’ hearts.

With technology developing so fast, impossibilities are becoming possible. Discovering aliens is one major topic, but what do we think when we hear the words, “alien apocalypse”? It’s still a thought far from becoming serious, so it’s all basic and general thinking, but Rick Yancey brings this topic to a whole new level of more elaborate thinking that will make you turn page after page in the powerful story, The Fifth Wave.

_______________________________________

3/1/17
Peter Johnston
The Misfits / James Howe

Have you ever read a book with a perfect amount of romance, drama, and middle school? If not then The Misfits by James Howe is perfect for you. If you're still not sure about this awesome book then read on because it has got a lot to reveal!

The Misfits was a great a book that had great characters and plot. They had a great conflict in The Misfits! In a way the whole book is a conflict because of the freedom party.. This caused a lot of problems but they eventually solved it!. Another great part of this book is the characters! James Howe did a great job on the details on the characters in this book. They all had a great story to all of them, even the secondary characters! They weren't just hollow shells for the plot purpose. Speaking of character details they all had their own love life too! They all got their own boyfriends and girlfriends and that was a great factor to the story! Making all of the gang of five get their own love life was a great choice In The Misfits!The Misfits is also a good book because of the theme and message. One of the good messages in The Misfits is to believe in yourself. A way that this shown in the book is how when Bobby believed in himself he learned that he's great with word. Another message is acceptance of others. In The Misfits Bobby accepted his mean boss when he learned about him. The message of this book is freedom to who you are because all the way through there always talking about how Bobby and others are always being called names but eventually, they stop this in their school and Thats why i think thats the theme for The Misfits.

In conclusion The Misfits by James Howe is a great book with great details, a great plot and a great story. Finally I think you should definitely read  the book, The Misfits
_________________________________

Annie Parizeau
December 7th
One Spontaneous Teenager

What would it be like to live in complete isolation from the outside world? What would it be like to never have felt a cool breeze, or the grass under your feet? To never walk the congested streets of New York, or along the beaches of California? Madeline Whittier from Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, hasn't done any of these things. This book explores the life of a teenager who sees the world through a different pair of eyes than those of the norm. As she develops into an adult, Maddy learns more about herself and those around her, and her curiosity is stronger than ever before. This wild perspective, suspenseful storyline, and the importance of relationships that are included throughout the book all make Everything, Everything a highly recommended, 9/10 read. 


In chapter one, readers learn Maddy’s mom diagnosed her with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency at an early age. This disease simply means she can't leave her house, because in a way, Maddy is allergic to the world. Her house is sealed shut, the air is constantly being filtered, and both her mom and nurse Carla must monitor her health hourly. Maddy has learned to accept this lifestyle; she has become familiar with the fact that this is, and will always be how things are. That is until a compassionate jokester named Olly moves in next door. As they quickly grow familiar with each other between two bedroom windows, and eventually over email, both want nothing more than to meet in person. After a lot of necessary convincing, Maddy finally persuades Carla to arrange a get-together, under a few conditions. As sparks begin to fly between the two characters, readers can only wonder, will these confined meetings be enough? Or is Maddy just feeding the monster?

Madeline Whittier is almost a living definition of “curiosity killed the cat”. This is not to say that she dies, but expresses how dangerous this facet of her personality can be. Once Olly is introduced
in Maddy’s life, readers can see the transition from a patient, young girl, to a needy, daredevil. Maddy even wonders about this change herself, “‘How am I supposed to go back to my old life, my days stretching out before me with unending and brutal sameness?’”(162). Statements like this make readers question what Maddy is planning to do next. If she’s not willing to go back to her old, and safer life, how is she going to go forward with her new one? Before Olly, Maddy was shy, and even enjoyed spending each and every night with her mom. Though now, after meeting Olly, it is evident love is changing her. She is doing and wanting things that never existed earlier, she states, “‘For the first time in a long time, I want more than I have’” (80). It can be inferred she will only become more curious, and yearn for more after being exposed to this one new thing. Furthermore, this is the first time Maddy has fallen in love, and after this experience there is no going back. Most readers who love Maddy are of course concerned, but overall, this suspenseful facet makes Everything, Everything all the better.

In addition, this story is so incredible because it highlights how crucial healthy relationships are in maintaining a happy life, thus making the relationships even more realistic. To elaborate, if Maddy did not have her mom and Carla supporting her, would she have made it through childhood? Or through the first 18 years of her life? On the other hand, Maddy plays a large role in her mom's life as well, after meeting Olly, Carla reminds Maddy of this, “Be good to your mama. You’re all she has” (115). When Maddy was only a baby, her mom lost her son and husband in a car accident. Maddy’s existence was the only joy left in her world, and still is throughout the whole story, so in a way, they mutually depend on one another. We get a taste of this again a little later in the book, when Maddy is reflecting on her life before and after Olly, “If my life were a book and you read it backward, nothing would change. Today is the same as yesterday. Tomorrow will be the same as today. In the Book of Maddy, all the chapters are the same. Until Olly” (162). Olly is the spark of interest in her life, he is the uncharted, the excitement. Without him, her life would've continued to be a “palindrome”, with repetitive, undistinguished days (162). Maddy, her mom, Carla, and Olly are constantly reminded on how important these connections are, or on the contrary, how characters could become too dependent on one another. Regardless, Nicola Yoon does a fantastic job stressing the significance of the characters relationships in such a way that readers can easily relate.

Some may argue this book is boring, because Maddy is frequently constrained in her house with few companions, and because the story is told solely through Maddy’s thoughts. In a way this is true, she is normally, but not always shown in her house, with only Carla, her mom, and Olly to keep her company. However, this actually makes it a much better book. With few people and places to explain, the characters are much more developed as is the setting, “In my white room, against my white walls, on my glistening white bookshelves, book spines provide the only color” (1), and again when describing Olly, “He’s tall, lean, and wearing all black: black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He’s white with a pale honey tan and his face is starkly angular” (20). Because the author has fewer characters and areas to explain, Nicola Yoon can spend more time describing individuals. For instance, there are several descriptions of Olly that include words and phrases such as “starkly angular” or “pale honey tan” which allow the reader to create vivid, detailed images as they read. In addition, Everything, Everything is told through the mind of Maddy. To many people, thoughts are ordinary, boring. But not when they're coming from an 18 year old who has never yet been outside! Because Maddy’s perspective on the world is so new and original, it creates a mysterious unexplored atmosphere that will intrigue readers of all sorts.

In summary, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is an astounding story that combines both romance and suspense to create a well rounded and written book. Readers will feel right along with the characters, and gain a new sense on the importance of healthy relationships. Maddy’s fascination with the world is incredible, and it will most likely make readers express gratitude for their endless opportunities, as they plunge into the hectic life of a spontaneous teenager.

__________________________________________

Tim Sampson
2/15/17
The Honest Truth

Did you just finish a good book and can’t find another? Then look into reading The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. This book has great action and good characters.

The Honest Truth is a great book because of its great action. First, Mark the main character in this novel runs away from home. Mark is a 12 year old boy with cancer he is very afraid he’ll die soon. He travels to Mount Rainier in Seattle to climb it, Mark is risking his life by doing this. Also Mark was coming out of a diner in Seattle and some teenagers started pushing him around. They took some of his money and punch him in the face, but Mark’s dog Beau chased them off. He didn’t turn back home, he kept going although he was very hurt. A final action is when Mark and Beau are climbing up Mount Rainier and Beau falls down the crevasse. Beau means so much to Mark it could be tragic.

Also The Honest Truth is great for its characters. First there’s Mark the main character in this story. Mark who is 12 has cancer, he is a very courageous but leaves home in this story to achieve his life goal of climbing Mt. Rainier. Jessie who is Mark’s best friend will do anything for him. She just wants Mark to be home and safe because she is very worried that he won’t make it back. The last character is Beau he is Mark’s dog who climbs the Mountain with Mark. He’s very small but he’s tough he chased away wolves from Mark and even a couple of teenage bullies.

As you can tell, The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart is a book that you won’t want to put down with thrilling events and different personalities of people.
______________________________________

Piotr Szymanski
2/17/17
The Misfits

Are you looking for a good book to read in your free time? Well the Misfits written by James Howe is a great book because of its characters and lessons.
This is a good book for people my age because the characters are interesting. The first character Addie always perseveres and is interested in politics so she started the freedom party. A second character is Bobby. He is the narrator of the story, is very smart, and is a tie salesman. A third character is Joe. He is gay and likes Colin. A fourth character is Skeezie. He likes hellomynameissteffi because she brings him hot fries.

This is a good book because it teaches the reader a little bit about bullying. To begin with when Addie and Bobby were talking about the election someone came out of a classroom and noticed them. He then yelled to Bobby that he will need a ladder to kiss godzilla meaning Addie. That is mean to both Addie and Bobby because he calls Addie godzilla and when he starts walking away he starts laughing. A second example is  Bobby wanted to wave to Kelsey at lunch but worried if his armpits were wet they would show up on his shirt and someone would notice and call him a name. This is mean to Bobby because someone is looking at him in a funny way by looking at his wet shirt.
In conclusion The Misfits by James Howe is a book filled with lot’s of characters and interesting content. I would definitely recommend it!

_____________________________________

Nicco Ban
2/15/17
The Honest Truth

Do you want to read a great but heartbreaking novel? Then you should read The Honest Truth written by Dan Gemeinhart. This book has amazing characters and fantastic settings.
In the book The Honest Truth written by Dan Gemeinhart, the characters are truly great. First there is Mark. Mark is the main character and also a kid. Mark has Cancer and he really wants to climb a mountain called Mt. Rainer so he does. Also there is Mark’s best friend Jessie. Jessie is very kind and supportive of Mark. Lastly there is Mark’s adorable and courageous pet named Beau. Beau saves Mark a couple of times on their crazy adventure.
The Honest Truth written by Dan Gemeinhart, also has very important and diverse settings. One setting in The Honest Truth is the streets of Seattle. Mark starts his adventure in Seattle’s streets that are very dark and scary. I like this setting because you never know what's going to happen and what will come out of the dark. Another setting is the the rural part of seattle. This setting is very peaceful and quiet. It’s nice because all the other settings are intense while this one gives you a little break from all the craziness. Last setting is Mt. Rainer. Mt. Rainer is the mountain Mark has always wanted to climb. It’s really snowy and dangerous. The exotic features it has makes me love this setting. 
As you can see The Honest Truth written by Dan Gemeinhart is a spectacular book with interesting people and fascinating places. You should definitely read this novel!

_______________________________________________

Alexander Frey
2/15/17
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Do you want to read a book that is first-rate? Then I suggest Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, which is full of incredible characters and jaw dropping action.

The book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor is Superb because of it’s characters. The first character is Cassie who is stubborn because she fought Lillian Jean and tried to offend Mr. Barnett. Another character Stacey is mature because he helped T.J home and prevented T.J from cheating.
The last character Jeremy is very kind because he stuck up for Cassie and he hangs out with the Logans in a time when many people don’t hang out with African Americans.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor was thrilling because of the breathtaking action. One action is when the Wallaces attack Mr. Morrison, Papa, and Stacey. The Wallaces shot Papa, and Mr. Morrison broke someone's back. The next action is when the townspeople attacked the Averys.they pushed claude to ground and threatened to hang T.J., Mr. Morrison, and Papa. The final action scene is when everyone helps put out the fire.the Wallaces help, and everyone who attacked T.J. helps.

In conclusion Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor is an amazing book that has a range of characters and had a bunch of wonderful action scenes. I would recommend it!

____________________________

Aidan Gibbons
2/15/17
The Honest Truth
Are you sick of reading the same old books well that’s over because I have the book for you. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. It has awesome characters and amazing settings.

The book The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart is about a lot of great characters having to overcome battles. One of the main characters is Mark he is a boy around 11 years old who has cancer. But that didn’t drag him down he was very brave he could have died several times on the mountain and on his way to the mountain. Like when he was trying to save Beau. Another great character is Beau he is a very special dog who is one of Mark’s best friends who is always by his side with two different colored eyes. For example when Mark was being beaten up by the gang he helped scare and fighted them until they ran away. Last but not the least Jessie she is a good loyal friend of Mark’s who never told his secret about his plan. To illustrate when she and her family and mark’s family were watching the news she could've told them where he was and what he was doing but she didn’t because she believed that he needed to do what he was doing.

In the book the Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart there are a lot of good settings that are described. The first setting is Mark’s house because it is where Jessie and her mom go to meet up with Mark’s dad and mom while he is missing. Also they talk about where Mark could be. Another setting is the diner this is an important setting because it is there when Mark is watching the T.V when he sees that there is an amber alert for him because he is missing. Another reason it is important is because when Mark walks outside he gets mugged by a gang and his hat falls off and we find out that he has no hair because of cancer. The last setting is the Mountain it is an important setting because there is a very big storm while Mark was climbing it so it was also very cold also on the mountain trail there were crevasses that Mark almost fell into and almost died in.

Now you know that The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart is a really good read with great characters and settings. I would really recommend it.
___________________________

Ryan Nash
2/17/17
The Thing About Luck

Are you looking for a book that is fun and entertaining? Well, I found the perfect book for you- The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. This book has amusing characters and great themes.

The Thing About Luck is a great read for people who enjoy amusing characters. First is Obaachan. Obaachan is an old chinese woman who is taking care of her two grandchildren, Summer and Jaz, who live in Kansas. She has come all the way from China to do so. Obaachan’s english is not the best though. As a result, her words often may sound like a two-year old. For example, Obaachan has back issues. In one part of the book, she tells Summer to give her some pain killers. Summer reads the recommended dose on the label which says “one”. Obaachan tells Summer “me want 6”. Another amusing character in The Thing About Luck, is Jicchan. Jicchan is Obaachan’s husband. He has an unusual way of explaining very serious things in a funny way. For instance, near the end of the book Jicchan is talking to Summer about love. He tells her that there are two types of love. One short, and one that never ends. In the short one, he explains to Summer that short love is like a cherry blossom, and doesn’t live long. In the never-ending love, he says that love is more like an orchard and lives much longer. Jicchan then said, he once had love that was like a cherry blossom. Summer asks what happened? Jicchan said “maybe wind blow cherry blossom out of tree”. A final example of an amusing character is Jaz. He is Summer’s younger brother. In the story, Jaz often concentrates on weird things. One instance of this is when Jaz was at dinner and all he was doing was staring intently at his Mac and Cheese. Another thing that Jaz does odd is he is very protective of his Lego creations. In the story, Summer bumps into one of Jaz’s Lego creations by mistake and the lego cat falls out of the lego tree that it was in. When Jaz finds out he goes totally berserk and has a meltdown .

 The Thing About Luck is also a good read because of its great themes. One theme is perseverance. In the story, Summer, the main character, sneaks out to secretly try and help her grandparents, as they are having trouble driving the Combine. They are worried about getting hired next year for the harvest due to their age and abilities. As a result, Summer finishes their work for them while they are sleeping. However, when Summer is about to finish her job, she makes a huge mistake. All of her hard work that she did is useless, as all the wheat spills out of the Combine and onto the ground. When Mick, the person who she works for finds out, he helps her shovel it up, and is not upset. Even though Summer is very upset, it doesn’t stop her from coming back the next night to finish the job. Another theme in The Thing About Luck,  is courage. To illustrate this, Summer sneaks out again, after she had failed the night before. She faces all of her fears, such as Mosquitos, making a mistake, getting Malaria again, and most importantly, all of her bad luck. Just as Summer had finished her job, without messing up, or getting bitten by a mosquito, she realizes something. Summer has ended her bad luck, once and for all. A final theme, in The Thing About Luck, is never give up. Throughout the whole book each and every character has worked incredibly hard to keep control of everything in their lives. For example, Obaachan, Summer’s grandmother. She has worked hard the whole book driving the Combine and cooking despite all her intense back pain. Another instance of a hardworking person is everyone in the book. Pretty much everyone in the whole story works very hard to get their jobs done. Jaz, Summer, Obaachan, Jicchan, Mick, the Parkers.

In conclusion, The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata is a fun rollercoaster ride with an assortment of characters and themes that will inspire you for life. I absolutely would recommend it!! 

______________________________

Taylor Tuerk
2/17/17

The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle 

   Do you like reading mystery and adventure books that have plot twists you won’t believe? Well if you do then The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is the right book for you. It has amazing characters and great themes.

The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle is an amazing book for middle school students to read because of its characters. The first character is Charlotte Doyle and she is really brave. For example she climbed the mainmast of a ship to gain the crew’s trust. Charlotte even stood up to the captain when he could have hurt her. She also ran toward Mr.Hollybrass and took the whip from his hands to stop him from whipping her friend. One time Charlotte climbed the mainmast in a horrible storm to cut a sail for the captain. That is really brave because she could have died doing so. My final reason Charlotte is brave is because she snuck into Captain Jaggery's cabin to steal the key and get the guns to fight back against the captain. The next  character I liked was Zachariah. The reason is he was nice, kind and thinks of others. For instance in the beginning of the book he warned Charlotte about the captain and what he might do. Zachariah  also gave Charlotte a second chance because  he told her another secret even though she told the captain all the other secrets he had told her before. My final character is Captain Jaggery. He is a mysterious person. At the beginning of the book he was a gentleman by inviting charlotte to his cabin and holding out his arm for her to take . But in the middle of the book he acts rude and makes the crew work even harder then they should. Captain Jaggery also tricks Charlotte a couple of times to get what he wants.

The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle is a interesting book because of its great themes. One of the biggest themes in the book is loyalty.  For example Charlotte gets on a ship “the seahawk” and finds things she wouldn’t expect to find. One of them was  a round robin in the forecastle. Charlotte ran to the captain and told him right away because he told her if she found one to tell him. Another way Charlotte was loyal is when she found the pistol in Ewing’s chest and reported it to the captain right away. The captain also said to Charlotte to be his eye’s and ear’s among the crew. So Charlotte spends time with the crew and tells the captain everything she heard from them. A final way that she’s loyal is during the first week she was on board she got a dirk from someone and tried to return it to Captain Jaggery. However the person who gave Charlotte the dirk told her not to say it was them. So she lied to the Captain and said it was Mr. Grummage who gave her the dirk.

As you see, The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is an marvelous book filled with moving messages and a variety of different people. I would without a doubt recommend it as a great reading book.

____________________

Rori McManus
The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle 

Are you interested in reading a mysterious book with action and a series of exciting events then The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle By Avi Would be the right choice for you.

The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle is an interesting book because of its Action. First Charlotte tries to become a crew member and then she ends up climbing a rigging and falls to only one leg hanging and nearly falls in the water. Whichyou did not know if she was going to die or was going to live. Another way is when Charlotte was put to court by Captain Jaggery and he asks All the men which they said Charlotte was guilty, there was a lot of thrill in it cause she had just been called guilty.  A final way is when Captain Jaggery falls of the boat which then Charlotte puts a hand out to him but it was too late. It was exciting to see that he had fell of the boat because of what he had done.

The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle is an intense read because of its Mysteries. In addition Charlotte sights a figure down in the cargo area she had not looked at it right to find out it was Mr. Cranick. It was weird that it had been a person but not an object. Next Charlotte gets blamed on Mr. Hollybrasses death the crew had said she had killed him and had got blamed with murder.You dident know if Charlotte had killed Mr. hollybrass or did not kill him. A final way is when Zachariah is said to be dead but charlotte had found him in the cargo area. It did
not make any sense that he had been put in a hammock and thrown in the water.

The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is a upbeet great book with friendship and differences between each other. Since it was such a great book i would gladly request it!

_____________________________ 

Maiya Wahl
2/17/17
Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry 

Are you attempting to find an independent reading book? Well, why waste time finding books when Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, by Mildred D Taylor, can fulfill your wishes in one book. The book has wonderful themes as well as a wonderful time and place in which the story occurred.

              Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry has all that you wish to have written down in one book, because of it’s themes. One theme included in the book, was that people should be aware of the rights and wrongs in life. The rights in life include behavior that is tolerant and fair, while the wrongs are cruel and unthoughtful. God created us to treat others with respect and to love one another, instead of loathe and hate. In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, the book showed how whites and blacks weren’t respectful to one another. The writer, Mildred D Taylor, wanted to spread a message to the world that racism and segregation were never right. Another theme included, was when you are fighting for your rights, you have to recover if you fall. In other words, you must keep going and have no thoughts of giving up. In the book, Papa, Cassie’s father, was fired at and crippled (which affected the family), however the Logan family continued to refuse to shop at the Wallaces place, in protest. The Wallaces ,who are a cruel family that loath blacks, fired a bullet at Papa to show that whites are superior, however the Logans showed that blacks were strong. Lastly, the messages allow you to relate to the outside world. In the independent reading book, racism and the fight for equal rights were shown throughout the story, which occurred in the world before the 21st century. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry can be compared to the world back in the 1900s. In that time period blacks were often treated without respect from whites. The world has come a long way, however we have a longer journey in which we will learn to care.

              Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, by Mildred D Taylor, is also an inspirational and great book, because of the time period and place in which the book occurs. One of the places includes Louisiana, which is located in the south. The south was cruel to the African Americans and supported slavery until the Civil War made it illegal in the United States. Awhile back, Louisiana had an unreasonable amount of racism. Leaders fighting for black rights, including Martin Luther King Jr, lead peaceful protests against segregation. In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, the blacks protested through boycott and refusing to treat whites with superior respect. The time period in which the book told the story, was the 1900s or 20th century. The 20th century was full of action, including protests and the fight for equal rights. The action included the Great Depression which caused chaos throughout the US. In the book action was common and often. In addition, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry spreads awareness of racism. The book showed how the world has evolved from the time when blacks were segregated. In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, all whites and blacks joined to accomplish a task. It showed that we can unite and create peace in the end, however we will never forget about the cruelty of humans to other people.

______________________________________

Ryan Fay
2/17/17
The Thing About Luck  

              Are you having trouble finding a book to read? If you are, I have the answer for you! I am recommending The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Its themes and characters are fantastic.

              The Thing About Luck is a good book for grades 5-7 because of its themes. The first theme in the book is to be an optimist. Summer, the main character,  is optimistic about Jaz’s future. Jaz, Summer’s brother, thinks nothing in his life will turn out good for himself but, Summer is positive and thinks Jaz will have a great life ahead of him. Also, the virtue of honesty is a theme. Summer was being honest when she confessed to Mr. Laskey, the owner of the farm, that her dog, Thunder,  killed 3 of his expensive chickens. Another theme in the book was to help others. When Jiichan, Summer’s grandfather, was too sick to cut the wheat Summer was helpful by driving the combine for him.

The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata is also a great  novel because of its characters. One character is Summer. She is always caring about others especially Jaz. Summer is never negative about Jaz’s future. Another character is Obaachan, Summer’s grandmother. Obaachan is  jovial because of the way she talks in condensed sentences. A final character is Mick, one of the combine drivers. He is a hard worker who speaks with an Irish accent . For instance, Mick drives the combines all day long and into the night.

As you just read, The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata has an immense amount of moral themes with friendly and funny characters. I enjoyed the book completely and I think you will too!
_______________________ 

Henry Breslin
2/17/17
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry 

              Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor is a good book for you to read, because of the plot. First it is scary and surprising. it is scary and surprising because Papa gets shot and his leg gets run over. The plot in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is because it is funny. It is funny because    Mr. Morrison picks up a mean guys truck and lifts it off the of the road. The final reason the plot was good is that it was intense. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is intense because the Logan’s field of cotton, which they need to survive gets burned down to save a kid's life.

              Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is good because it showed the racism of the early 1900’s. One way it showed the racism is that it showed that people thought that whites are more important than blacks. This is true because a white set black people on fire and nothing happend. Then a black child was part of a murder and he got put on the chain gang, which means certain death. Another reason it shows the racism of the early 20th century is that stores treat them as second class citizens. This is true because there could be African Americans in the front of a line but they would be served second. The final way Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry showed the racism of the 20th century is that the schools are treated differently. They are treated differently because the black church pays for all the african schools things. While white kids have a school bus.

              That is why Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a good book. I would give it a solid 3.25 stars. You should definitely read it.
______________________________ 

Abby Wayne
11/28/17

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

Having trouble finding a good book to indulge in? Well if so, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by: Mildred D Taylor is the book for you! This book has great themes and very descriptive scenes/settings.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry has a highly thoughtful theme behind the story. For example, ROTHMC projects how hard it was for black people in that time period. African Americans had to work harder and longer to get even close to the same pay as white people. Another theme is that when black people got in trouble with whites, the colored people would always take the blame. For instance if a black man got punched by a white man, even though the black men didn’t do anything he would still get in trouble instead of the white man. Lastly, ROTHMC really opens your eyes to how difficult and unfair it was for black people compared to white people. This book automatically lets you see the world from a whole different perspective.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry  is  also a great red because of it’s descriptive settings. One setting that the author does a phenomenal job with is the sunsets; for example she explains the mix of reds, pinks and yellows. Also, how he air feels warm and cozy. Another setting is the walks that the kids take to school. She outlines the red dusty road st the crack of dawn along with the crisp air. Finally the settings all the settings of nature in ROTHMC, definitely capture the essence of the light blue sky and the trees that billow in the breeze.

As you can see Roll of thunder Hear My Cry has a stunning message, and breathtaking settings. This is an absolutely relaxing book that will whisk you into it’s world.
___________________ 

Ava Federico
2/17/17
The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle  

              Do you need a good reading book? I’ve got the perfect one, The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle  by Avi. It has great characters and crazy events take place!

The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle  takes place in the mid- 1800’s. This book  has plenty of amusing characters! In this book  each character has a very different personality. For example, when  Charlotte Doyle,the main character)  first sails off, she is very shy. Charlotte is the only girl on the boat. Throughout the book Charlotte gets less and less worried. At the end of the book, Charlotte is an outgoing young woman. She is not afraid to do things, as you will notice if you read the book- The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle. She meets many people, but one person is Captain Jaggery, the captain of the boat. Captain Jaggery may seem like a kind, generous man,  but once you get to know him things will change for you! That is what happened to Charlotte. Captain Jaggery is very strange and suspicious all throughout the book. Charlotte ends up meeting another person, too. His name is Zachariah. He is apart of the crew, and the only African-American person on the whole entire boat. He has a special friendship with Charlotte. Charlotte is the youngest, Zachariah is the oldest.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle  has lots of crazy events in it.  One event is that one of the characters, Zachariah, gets whipped! He’s brutally hung by the arms, and struck on the back. Why do you think that happens? Also, Charlotte is almost hung too, but for a such silly thing! Then Charlotte confronts Captain Jaggery and tells him off! Towards the end of the book a court case happens. Someone is accused of murder! Read the book to find out who did it!

In conclusion, The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle  by Avi has unique characters and crazy events that happen in it! I would recommend this book!
________________________ 

Henry Moore
2/28/17
The Thing About Luck 

              Do you feel lonely at night without a book? Are you having trouble finding a Good Independent Reading Book? Well, Boy do I have a book for you! The Thing About Luck is perfect for you. It is very Calming and has an Amazing Setting.

The Thing About Luck is very calming. One reason why The Thing About Luck is calming is that Summer is nice. Summer always tried to be nice even when others are mean to her. When everything is very chaotic, Summer always tries to calm things down. Another reason why T.T.A.L. is calming is that the theme is very Honest. The Theme is that everything cannot be perfect but as long as you try the Theme be as good as it gets. (That In my opinion is one of the best Themes you can Get!) Lastly, everything in the book is not perfect, but it is not horrible either. The book is very realistic. You could not tell between the book and a real story! All that proves The Thing About Luck  is very Calming.

The Thing About Luck  has a awesome Setting! One reason why T.T.A.L has an awesome Setting is the People. The People are very Diverse. There are Asians, Europeans, and Americans. They may seem very Diverse, but as our school slogan ¨Diversity builds Strength!¨, that is exactly what they did while working. Secondly, When Obaachan and Summer were looking for a supermarket, Summer described the Town as a Ghost Town. I think the way summer described the town made the whole area ¨Come Alive¨ (Pun not intended). Lastly, When Summer and her family were driving around the Mid-West, they were always doing something new, whether it was sleeping in a motel, or Driving a Semi. All that proves that The Thing About Luck has an awesome Setting!

This proves that The Thing About Luck is an Awesome book and is very Calming and has a Great Setting!
_______________________ 

Harrison Smith
2/17/17
The Thing About Luck 

              Are you getting tired of all the boring books out there? Well The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata isn’t one of them due to it’s amazing characters and lovely themes.

I thought The Thing About Luck was a great book because of it’s characters. First, Summer’s grandfather Jiichan. Jiichan is a usually positive guy, he will not stop working and always wants to get stuff done, also  he is very wise and helps Summer a lot. Next, Summer’s brother Jaz. Jaz is a focused and intelligent kid, but he can’t seem to get a friend. Jaz has a disorder not known in the book, but it is keeping him from getting friends , he doesn’t find a kid like him until almost the end of the story. Finally, the main character Summer.Summer is a kind hard working and loving kid, she does things we rarely see out of kids today. Clearly the characters in The Thing About Luck are a huge part of the story.

              The Thing About Luck was also a great book due to it’s themes. One theme is, Courage. Summer has a lot of courage to be going out on harvest without her parents and she is leaving her home and her friends. Another theme is cooperation. For instance, Summer is working with a bunch of strangers to get the job done.Lastly, one more theme is dedication. Jiichan shows dedication working on the wheatfield even when he is sick, also Summer show dedication by doing her grandfather’s work for him late at night.The Thing About Luck definitely has some great themes in it.

              As you can see, The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata is a awesome book piled high with a great society of people and heartwarming messages.
______________________________ 

Armaan Venugopal
2/17/17
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Can’t find a new independent reading book? Well I know a really good book for you-The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. It’s a great book because of its good character and great themes.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is a great independent reading book because it has really great characters. The first character, Charlotte, is a very brave girl. Charlotte was brave enough to sail on the Seahawk with a bunch of sailors and no one she knew to comfort her.  Another reason why she is brave is because she was able to take the whip from Captain Jaggery and hit him with it. The next character is Zachariah. Zachariah is a very kind person. One reason why Zachariah is kind is because he is always looking out for Charlotte and offered to be her friend. Zachariah is also very kind cause he gave a dagger to Charlotte for protection just in case. The dagger helped Charlotte a lot. Lastly, the captain of the Seahawk, Captain Jaggery, is a very mean person. Captain Jaggery accused Charlotte of murdering Mr. Hollybrass even though he did it. Another reason he is mean is because he started hitting Zachariah with the whip.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is also a really good independent reading book because of its themes. One theme in this book is courage. This book’s theme is courage because Charlotte had the courage to climb the ratlines/very long ladder to get to the royal gardens. Charlotte also had the courage to stand up for herself in front of Captain Jaggery. This shows you should have courage even though times are hard, scary or, difficult. Another theme this book has is Loyalty. This book has the theme loyalty because the character Zachariah is a very trusting and kind man and he never lies. Charlotte didn’t lie in court even though she kind of wanted to. This shows that you should not lie to anyone.

The last theme that this book has is kindness. This book’s  theme is kindness because one of the characters Mr.Keetch brings food to Zachariah where he is hiding in the ship. Captain Jaggery was offering Charlotte Biscuits, was talking politely to her, and held her seat out for her.

           As you can see,  The True confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is an awesome booked filled with great characters and great themes.
________________________________ 

Gabe Gatt
2/17/17
The Misfits 

   Are you looking for a good book to read? Well, I know one that will be great for you-The Misfits by James Howe.It has amazing characters and great themes.

The Misfits is an amazing book because of its characters. One example of its amazing characters is Addie. Addie is stubborn. When Ms. Wyman asks the class to stand for the pledge Addie does not. Another example of an amazing character is Skeezie. Skeezie is always happy when he sees Hellomynameissteffi. He is also very energetic throughout the book. One last example of a great character is Ms. Wymaan. Ms. Wyman is also very stubborn because she Doesn't allow Addie not to stand during the pledge.

   The Misfits is also a great book because of its themes. One of the themes in the book is don’t bully. One example of a great theme in the book is don’t call people names. In the book, The misfits the “gang of five”make up a list of names they have been called in the past. Another great theme in the book is don’t call people names. In the book, Kevin Hennessy bullies the “gang of 5” a lot. One last example of a theme that is used in the book is don’t be mean to someone if they did not do anything to you. Kevin Hennessy is mean to Addie, Skeezie, Bobby, and Joe, but they never did anything to him.

As you can see, The Misfits by James Howe is a great book that is filled with a lot of different people and great messages. I would recommend this book to anyone!
_________________________________ 

Ella Dodge
2/28/17
The Honest Truth 

              Are you feeling the urge for adventure? For suspense? For sadness? For happiness? Well  The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart, gives you all of those things and more!

              The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart, is an amazing book because of its riskful characters. Mark is a boy who is trying to run away from life and fulfill a lifelong dream, even though he is risking his life. Mark is full of courage. He runs away from his home with little money,  and runs away to climb a mountain. Mark gets on a train and goes to San Francisco, to start his crazy adventure! Also, Jessie is Mark's best friend, who is trying to help mark and tell him not to risk his life and to come home. Jessie is confused. She wants Mark to climb the mountain, but she wants Mark to come home too! She is very trustworthy. When Mark calls her, he tells her where he is, and what he has faced along his way. Mark asked Jessie to not tell anyone. It was hard, but she never spilled! Finally, Beau is my favorite character! Beau is Mark's dog! Beau goes with Mark on his journey and always helps mark in tough situations. Like when Mark was getting some dinner, and when he was done and walked out of the diner, he got beat up buy high schoolers. Beau was there and scared them off, so they wouldn't hurt him more.

              Another way that this is an amazing book, is the emotions that it makes you feel.

First, you feel happy and excited for the beginning of Mark's adventure. In the beginning of the book, Mark runs away by hopping on a train, and going to San Francisco. When Mark and his dog beau first start, your ready, but you don’t realize that you go along with them! Next you feel sad and probably confused, and waiting to see what will come next! Your emotions get tossed around, especially when Marks on the mountain with Beau, because you don’t really know if they are going to survive. Finally, you feel sad but proud of the adventure that him and Beau took. You finally feel hope, that Mark could live a better life.

Everyone would love The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. This book makes think and is definitely a page turner! I was excited to see the ending… and the twist!
__________________________ 

Felix Oliva
2/28/17
The Honest Truth 

              Are you one of the people having trouble finding an independent reading book? Well, I have the best book for you-The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. It has great action, suspense and characters.

              The Honest Truth is an amazing read  for middle school students or for any person that needs a book because of its action and suspense. First, The Honest Truth is suspenseful because it changes narrators every chapter. It changes from Mark to Jessie and you get to know about both of the characters. There was also action in the book because Mark gets beaten up by teenagers. While the teenagers were beating up Mark, his hat falls off. The teenagers see that Mark has cancer. Then they stop punching him and they give him the money that they stole from him. ($20). Then Beau Marks dog chases the teenagers away. Finally there is also action because Mark falls into cascading water that could have swept him out to sea. His dog goes in after him to save him. Beau didn't help a lot he just tugged on his jacket. Mark tried to get out but he couldn't move to shore. Finally he made it to shore. Then he made a camp under a bridge.

              The Honest Truth also has good characters. To begin with I liked the character Mark because he didn't give up. He didn’t give up because he had cancer and he wanted to climb a mountain. In addition Beau was my favorite character because he followed Mark everywhere and did everything that Mark did. For example Mark traveled around to get to a mountain and climb it. Finally, I liked the character Jessie because she didn’t tell where Mark was even though she new where he was. She wanted to be a good friend and she also wanted him to climb the mountain.

              As you can see, The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart is a wonderful book filled with action, suspense and good characters. I would definitely recommend it for kids that cannot find an independent reading book. You would love this book if you read it.
________________________________________ 

Molly Oteri
2/17/17
The Thing About Luck

Do you need a new book? Well, here’s the best book for you! The Thing About Luck  by Cynthia Kadohata. It has great characters and themes.

              The Thing About Luck  is a great read for middle school students because of it’s characters. First, Summer is a great character. She is a smart, nice girl who is always trying to do the right thing, help out and be honest. In addition, her little brother Jaz is a great character too. He is a quiet kid who’s a little socially awkward and doesn’t have many friends but is very smart. He can be kind of intense sometimes though, once he starts to do something- for example, build with legos- if anyone interrupts him, he gets very mad. Finally, Their grandmother Obaachan is a strict but wise person. She likes to argue and always wants to be right but also wants the best for her family.

              The Thing About Luck is also a great book because of it’s themes. One theme in this book is family. There are many family issues in this book but the characters try to work them out together as a family. It shows how important it is to stay close to your family. Another theme this book has is honesty. The author shows this message by showing that Summer’s family is always honest with each other and to the people around them and that telling the truth is better than lying even when lying seems like the easy way out of a situation . A final theme The Thing About Luck has is to work hard. All the characters in the book work hard all the time and do the best they can even during tough times.

              As you can see, The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata is a great book. With it’s interesting characters and it’s important messages. You should definitely read it!

____________________________

Josh Acker
2/17/17
The Misfits 

There are a lot of books in the world do you not know which one to choose? If not this is a great book for you, The Misfits By James Howe. It is filled with great characters and amazing settings.

The Misfits has many amazing characters each with their own unique personality and style. One example is Bobby, he is understanding of people and very good with words. Another character is Addie she has tough words and is not afraid to speak up and fight for what she wants. A final character is Kelsey she is shy but is very artistic and does not like to use to many words.

              The Misfits is a great book for many reasons one being the outstanding settings. The first setting is Paintbrush Falls New york. It is a small quiet town that is home to the gang of five. Another setting is Bobby’s house. Bobby is one of the characters, he lives in a trailer with his dad. This is his home and is a cozy place for him and his Dad to relax. My final setting is Awkworth & Ames. This is the department store that Bobby works at for a little extra cash.

              As you now know The Misfits By James Howe is an outstanding book filled with magnificent settings that match the variety of people perfectly. I 100% recommend this one of a kind book to you.

 ______________________________________

Avery Charneski

12/7/16

I'll Give You the Sun

 

A Guide to Remaking the World
 

If you really cared about something, what would you give up for it?  All ten fingers?  All ten toes?  What about the sun?  In the novel I’ll Give You The Sun, written by Jandy Nelson, and in the imaginations of it’s characters, all of the above could be considered options.  This is an eye opening book that everyone should read if given the chance.  The reader will come to see that it isn’t like any book before it.  It has the unique ability to alter the way readers see the world, and an appreciation can be developed for it that is unlike other realistic fiction novels.

Everyone can benefit from reading this book, and it’s at least a 9/10, maybe more. It is an inspiring take on life, with characters such as Noah and Jude who readers hope for and want to succeed, along with switching perspectives that keep them wrapped up in the story.  Nelson also explores a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and families that can be found in society today.  Anyone who reads it will learn a little - or a lot - about life from the captivatingly true insights that many characters provide.

This book follows the individual and overlapping stories of Noah and Jude, fraternal twins.  Swapping perspectives every chapter, you learn to love both of them for different and similar reasons.  Jude is a strong believer in her own religion, passed down from her grandmother.  She struggles to grow up and make peace with her increasingly distant mother, even though they rarely agree.  Noah is constantly painting in his head and sees the world as his art project, his canvas.  Unfortunately, he’s finding it harder everyday to ignore his crush on the new boy next door.  The two separately search in their own ways for the invisible force that seems to be tearing their family slowly apart, Jude at age 16 and Noah back at 14.  However, when tragedy befalls them, it will take time, and a willingness to understand themselves and the world, to finally put the pieces together two years later when their stories epically collide.

There are countless reasons to choose this book, but an especially strong one is the creative, well developed characters.  These are not just your average teens, and they fit well into what is not your average story.  Noah for example, is like no character that can be found in any other book.  The way he sees the world is unique to him.  He paints in his head, and he sees art and the world as one greater thing.  The way he seems to remake the world just by being in it is almost a method of escape for him, to get away from the weight of normal.  His “mind art” can be about him or other people, but he’s always creating it.  He uses phrases that are so completely original to describe what happens in his life.  For example, when he’s happy, he’ll make mind portraits with quirky titles along the lines of “Throwing Armfuls of Air into the Air” (108) that just seem like a perfect representation of joy.  It’s as if he’s finding a way to put ideas that have no definition into words, and seeing the world through his eyes is enlightening.  Then there’s Jude, who is again a character like no other, but for different reasons.  She is obsessed with finding meaning in life, and she uses her version of the Bible to do this, a book where her grandmother wrote down all of her superstitious beliefs about life.  This book can lead Jude to come to some interesting conclusions and uncommon “solutions” to problems.  To keep her on track to avoid boys, she uses the passage, “Nothing curdles love in the heart like lemon on the tongue” (142) and sucks on a lemon every time she feels that an attractive boy threatens to get the way of her “boycott”.  It’s interesting to watch her try to go through life this way, and use this book as her coping mechanism.  She too, has a unique outlook on life, a way of remaking the world while she finds her place in it.  Throughout the story, it is fascinating to watch these characters develop into more evolved versions of themselves.  They are extremely well written, and reading about them is like getting to know real people better.

In addition to the creative characters, Nelson’s fast-paced writing makes this a truly special book.  The chapters may be long, but they never feel that way.  Each section changes setting frequently, so it feels more like many chapters within the one.  For instance, in just one of Jude’s sections, she goes from her house at midnight, to a quiet church to reflect, to the ocean thinking she may have to save Noah’s life, and back to her house again.  These are all separated by breaks in the text, so it’s clear they aren’t together, but the story progresses quickly this way.  By the time the reader has finished with one section, he/she has gotten so wrapped up in that character’s story that they’ve forgotten that other characters exist.  Each time a change of perspective comes about, the person reading it dreads going back after all of the recent developments.  It’s always startling to see looming on the next page, the large font and bolded words “Noah, Age 14” (337) after reading about Jude two years in the future.  It’s like stepping back in time and waiting for them to make realizations that have been previously made by someone else.  However, by the end of the new section the cycle has begun again, making this book impossible to put down.  It’s this captivating writing, the inability to stop because you have to know what happens next with the new character, that really adds another layer to the novel.

Even with these two compelling arguments persuading the reader to pick up this book, the best of the story is yet to be explained.  It’s the simple fact that it’s an ongoing, real life mystery that continues to be surprising and connect in unexpected ways.  Putting aside the need for many obvious plot twists, there is always subtle hinting going on that may just seem like coincidence in the moment.  This again circles back to the well written piece.  It’s nearly impossible to see what's coming from just reading this novel once, front to back.  It’s the kind of book that needs to be read more than once to be fully understood.  These parts that are initially invisible are what end up making all the difference when things are revealed later on.  Throughout the entire story, it becomes increasingly more evident that both Noah and Jude know someone named Oscar, but it’s never quite clear.  Eventually it all comes together with Oscar finding out, and the simply exclamation of “Your sister … that’s brilliant” (320) is enough to tie up some key loose ends.  Oscar has changed both siblings, but it’s only in this scene that you see it was most likely for better, not worse.  This happens over and over again, with the reader never once suspecting the inevitable, and it’s the biggest, most compelling factor in this story.

Though it is impossible to write a perfect book, this novel comes close.  However, it is important to acknowledge that it has flaws.  A main example of this would be that this book could be considered hard to follow.  Readers may complain that it takes too long to get off the ground and into the real plot, or that there are no real chapters and what is there is too lengthy.  This criticism is perceivably accurate, and by all means crucial feedback.  However, there are ways in which to counter this with facts.  The novel is, after all, a mystery, so the reader must make a few accommodations.  The seemingly long beginning is the set up, the introduction to the plot and characters.  There would be no real story without these elements.  Not to mention, the long chapters are meant to pull the reader into the life of that character, and effectively do so in most cases.  All of these potential flaws are well thought out and used for a purpose, and the majority of readers will be able to appreciate that.

In conclusion, this is a book that is truly like no other.  The characters are something beyond ordinary measures of creativity, and the reader can’t turn the pages fast enough.  It’s a craftily spun mystery that never ceases to amaze.  Reading this uplifting story has the ability to change a person’s entire world view, and no one should miss the opportunity.  It’s impossible to look at life through the same, normal lens, when Nelson has offered you a more colorful one.  It’s a book that shouldn’t be cast aside, or put on hold at the back of a reader’s wish list.  Reading it can help you get through struggles both obvious and personal, and it just might save your life.  It will teach you, as it taught Noah and Jude, to remake the world as we know it.