Mehek’s Review of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

this is where it endsThis Is Where It Ends is about a student who opened fire in a locked auditorium, and is told from four different perspectives. It’s told over the time frame of fifty-four minutes of terror for the students, all of whom recall their relationship to the shooter or the people he shot, and hope for it all to end, while not knowing what’ll come next.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read in general, because despite only being realistic fiction, this book opened my eyes, and was a compelling read- full of heroism and terror, hope and lack thereof that made it amazing to the very end.

I would definitely give this book a five star rating.

Cynthia’s review of Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

22692740Publisher summary: Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I was nervous about reading this because I’ve read books by people who were actors before, and I’ve hated the vast majority of them. But this book. Riley is real and funny and tackles gender fluidity beautifully. S/he stole my heart and trampled it and has this way with words that is still killing me. The other characters are funny and believable (lip rings and lightsaber eyes). The message this book sends is just as important, especially since I can’t think of any books from the POV of a gender fluid main character. But then again, I’m not familiar with the genre. Also, look at the cover. It’s beautiful. I would recommend this to anyone who likes realistic fiction, LGBTQ+ fiction, or just… anyone. Just read. READ.

Cynthia rates this book 5092830912831892739+/5 Stars.

Natalie’s review of Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

21393526Magonia is about a girl named Aza Ray who has been suffering from an incurable lung disease for her entire life. She later enters the world of Magonia, a magical world of flying ships and singing birds. The story is told in alternating views between Aza and her close and only friend, Jason.

I would recommend this book for people who like plot and concepts, and don’t mind the characters or cheesy romance. I loved the magic in the world the most. Each Magonian has a bird that sings with them, and the singing is what makes the magic. I also like the world concepts, which are very closely related to birds. Flying ships, giant squids, and storm sharks are great too. The only problem with the romance was not because it was present, but because it’s so generic. There’s the love triangle of the main character, the main character’s childhood friend, and the magical new boy who the main character is magically attracted to. Also, it’s unrealistic the way the lovers are so mature and devoted in their love for each other. The story’s also part of a series.

Natalie rates this book 3.5/5 Stars.


Paul’s review of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

7824322Set in Stalinist Lithuania, this novel covers the “travels” of fifteen year old Lina across the Soviet Union in 1941 after being rounded up by the Soviet NKVD. It covers her experiences, from meeting others peoples from around Lithuania and different nations to witnessing the worst of Soviet torture. Along the way, she and her mother and brother must stay together while she desperately tries to make contact with her father, discreetly using her artistic ability to attempt communication that will pass under the eyes of the Soviets. Meanwhile, her family make friends with those around them, as they aide each other to survive and build strong relationships, such Lina’s relationship with Andrius, a teenage boy whose father was killed, which helps them to survive the harsh winter and harsh soldiers.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a dramatic story about history, love (generally unromantic), and determination because of the historical background (though Lina is fictional, this story follows the plight of many Slavs under the Stalinist regime and many of their different situations: the educated, the poor, etc.). The storyline of family and friends makes this novel a great read because they create a good feeling about the characters for the readers. Also, it brings the readers closer to the characters like friends. This novel may be slightly depressing, but it is really well written (from a first person view, which contributes to the close connection with the characters and inside the story. In addition, the occasional flashbacks are a great breathing point and pull in a less chaotic version of the same feelings of Lina from the past.

Paul rates this book 5/5 Stars.

Mehek’s Review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Mikey and his friends aren’t Chosen Ones- they aren’t the type who are the heroes when apocalypses come around- those are the indie kids. Mikey just wants to graduate- preferably before indie kids blow up the school again, and maybe ask his friend Henna to prom. This book delivers the message that sometimes, normal problems seem bigger than the end of the world, and the ‘ordinary’ kids get to have more fun than the chosen ones.

I’d recommend this book to anybody torn between reading a fantasy novel and a realistic fiction novel. I liked how at the beginning of each chapter the reader was given a short one-paragraph synopsis of what the latest indie kid adventure was, rather than that being the whole book- an idea that this book was poking fun at. To wrap it up, this book was an amazing idea, and was fairly well executed. The only flaw with this book was that it got slightly dull at times, but it always picked back up again.

Mehek rates this book 4.5/5 Stars