Chanina’s review of Flight by Sherman Alexie

51pfkute2bhl-_sx316_bo1204203200_This is not a typical time-travelling story. As our main character, “Zits”, is thrust backward into his Native American ancestry and into other people’s lives, he is faced at every turn with the realities of human nature and forced to constantly reevaluate his own point of view. Throughout the novel, Sherman Alexie uses Zits’s experiences to craft a debate about good and evil. Can fundamentally “evil” people do anything with purely “good” intentions? Is it possible for a “good” and an “evil” side to exist in war? Where is the line drawn between abuser and victim if the latter can seemingly morph into the former? It becomes clear that there is no black and white answer to any of the above questions, though Alexie does his best to delve into the many layers of gray in between.

To those looking for a shorter read: Flight is an excellently written novel and encompass several books-worth of events and detail in the roughly 200 pages that it spans. To those who dislike profanity and/or violence: there is a lot of both in this book, so perhaps make your own judgement on whether or not to read it. However, it is reasonable to say that the explicitness of Alexie’s writing only makes the story more realistic and effective. From hilarity to sorrow to terror to bliss, Flight takes an uncensored look at human experiences through time, and has a lot to offer for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or good storytelling in general.

Chanina rates this book 5/5

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Natalie’s Review of A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

51elwm-u2nl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Evelyn is the nurse to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man. Together, they hide from society, combat social prejudice, and try to solve a ghostly mystery.

This book is for people who enjoy reading about social issues and the supernatural. However, those who like mystery may be disappointed by the ending.

Natalie rates this book 3/5

Cassandra’s review of My Lady Jane

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Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane is a hilarious retelling of Lady Jane Grey’s nine days as Queen after King Edward dies. The novel is told in three perspectives: Edward, the dying King; Jane, the bookworm who is forced to marry Gifford; and Gifford (G for short), a horse Edian and Jane’s betrothed. Interesting change in the story: Instead of the historical conflict between the Catholics and Protestants, there is a growing conflict between the Verities and Edians. Verities are regular humans, while Edians are people who can transform into particular animals. My Lady Jane tells a classic story filled with unique twists, the best jokes, and heavy conspiracies. Be prepared to laugh your way through this novel.

I loved My Lady Jane!! It was very lighthearted and entertaining. The main characters are all wonderful and quirky. I especially enjoyed reading about the dynamics between Jane and Gifford. I also liked the fact that there are narrators in the story who pop in during tense scenes with disclaimers and historical “facts”. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something funny. My Lady Jane is a perfect choice anytime.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

 

Cassandra’s review of Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

25982606“The flame balls spun in the air like fiery birds being consumed. They turned to harmless ash before they ever hit anything below.” Burn Baby Burn evolves around Nora, a high school senior in 1977, one of New York’s most infamous years. While New York City is spiraling out of control with various fires and a mysterious serial killer, Nora is struggling with her own problems at home. Her father is too busy with his new family; her mother is dealing with a delicate financial situation; and her brother is becoming more and more insane. All Nora wants to do is turn eighteen and escape from her broken family, but through her final adventures as a high school student, Nora discovers ways to fight the fires that trouble her instead of just running away from them.

I enjoyed reading Burn Baby Burn, because I was able to connect with some of Nora’s dilemmas, since we are in the same grade. (Though Nora is in a much tougher situation than I am.) I also liked all the 1977 historical references. I just wished Nora’s younger brother went through more character development instead of being a portrayed as a jerk for the entire story. However, Nora’s awesomeness makes up for all her brother’s deficiencies. I liked how Nora was able to mature from a girl who wants to run away to a woman with a hopeful future and the courage to BURN. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes a strong female protagonist and realistic fiction.

Cassandra rates this book 4/5

Cassandra’s review of Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

26114493Exile for Dreamers is the second book in the Stranje House series. The year is 1814, and Napoleon just escaped from his captivity on Elba. The story focuses on Tess Aubreyson, one of the five young ladies at Stranje House (a school for unusual girls that secretly prepares students for a world of spies, diplomacy, and war). Tess has the unique ability to dream of the future, but her “powers” have consequences. Every night, her dreams haunt her, and every morning, she runs to escape her dreams in order to stay sane. Tess wants nothing to do her dreams until they become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends. Tess must overcome her pain to save England from Napoleon’s invasion. Welcome to another action-packed romance in the wonderful Stranje House series.

I really enjoyed Exile for Dreamers. I like how each book in the series is told in another student’s perspective. Tess is a very interesting character who is super strong (she is awesome at martial arts), but also amazingly fragile and scarred (mainly due to her nightmares and past). I would recommend everyone to read A School for Unusual Girls first, because Exile for Dreamers nicely picks up from the ending of the first book. Overall, I loved Exile for Dreamers, and I can’t wait for the next book.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Cassandra’s review of A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

22238184What if always came at a price.” A School for Unusual Girls is a historical fiction that takes place in 1814, the year when Napoleon is exiled on Elba. In this delicate time, the Stranje House, a school for unusual girls, prepares its students for the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war while pretending to be a reforming school for daughters of the beau monde. Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to this school for accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while attempting a science experiment. At first, Georgiana attempts to escape from the school, but soon she realizes that Stranje House is not the reforming school she thought it was. Instead of turning into a marriageable lady, Georgiana is thrust into a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink formula for the English war effort.

I really enjoyed A School for Unusual Girls. There was a perfect mix of action, historical references, and romance. One thing I liked about this book was the fact that there was no confusing love triangle that stole attention from the plot. The emphasis of the story was on Georgiana’s character development and her invisible ink mission. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. A School for Unusual Girls is an AWESOME read!!

Cassandra rates this book 5/5 stars.

Kulsoom’s review of Virals: Seizure by Kathy Reichs

seizureAfter falling prey to a gene-mutating virus, Tory Brennan and her pack of friends develop unnatural powers, and their senses are amplified. After an adventurous summer trying to solve a 30-year old murder, they gang hopes to spend the rest of the break relaxing, but that can’t happen. When the Virals find out they might be separated, they set out on a quest to find the booty of Anne Bonny, a 17th century pirate who may or may not be Tory’s ancestor. This story follows Tory, Ben, Shelton, and Hi as they race unknown competition to get to the treasure first, but not unimpeded.

I would recommend this book to people who like science-fiction, along with mysteries. The book has understandable language, but not too simple, and also is relatable to high-schoolers.

Kulsoom rates this book 5/5 Stars.