Cassandra’s review of The Boomerang Effect by Gordon Jack

25877250Boomerang Effect = “When lending a helping hand comes back to slap you in the face” The Boomerang Effect is a HILARIOUS novel evolving around Lawrence Barry who is forced to participate in a mentorship program after almost getting expelled from high school. His mentee is Spencer Knudsen, a Norwegian exchange student with Spock-like intelligence but minimal social skills. Things start to get more complicated when everyone suspects Lawrence to be the one destroying the Homecoming floats. Add to the mix a demon Goth girl named Zoe, a Renaissance LARPing group, an overzealous yearbook editor, and three vindictive chickens, and Lawrence soon realizes that his situation may be a little out of control. Just as expulsion is drawing even closer, Spencer comes to the rescue with his seemingly endless knowledge of random facts. In fact, Spencer may be the one friend Lawrence never knew he needed.

The Boomerang Effect was SUPER funny! I loved Lawrence. He is the perfect clown character who always gets into trouble. I also really liked how the novel discusses more serious matters, like overcoming drug addiction and piecing together a broken family. Overall, I would recommend The Boomerang Effect to anyone who likes funny realistic fiction.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

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

Cassandra’s review of Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

23018259Two targets are on their way to California. One is the asteroid BR1019, an asteroid big enough to destroy the West Coast. Another is Yuri Strelnikov, a seventeen year old physics prodigy. There are seventeen days before BR1019 hits home, can Yuri save the world in time? It is already hard enough without the fact that no one listens to his ideas. Just when Yuri starts to get a tad bit suicidal, he meets Dovie, a “normal”-ish teenage girl who is oblivious to the incoming danger. By spending time with her, he not only learns how to swear appropriately but also learns more about what kind of person he is and could be.

I deeply enjoyed Learning to Swear in America. Yuri is a very interesting and unique character. He is an extreme math and physics geek who is actually quite cute at times. He may be a genius, but he doesn’t know a lot of stuff about life, which Dovie slowly teaches him. Dovie is a perfect complement to Yuri. They are complete opposites of each other. The best scene in the novel is when Yuri visits a typical high school. SO FUNNY!!! If you want to read a humorous realistic fiction stand alone, then Learning to Swear in America is damn right for you! (Disclaimer: the swearing is used for emphasis only; no harm is intended.)

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People Who Play Them by Jamie Madigan

51qh8ost0fl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This book is split into four parts: who plays video games, who makes them, who sells, and the games. Through a funny, down-to-earth voice, the author illustrates much of the psychology behind video games.

Bold titles, a summary at the end, and interesting content all captured my attention. Although I had first borrowed it because I wanted to understand why brother liked video games so much, I soon became captivated by the book, mostly because it was also quite funny. A lot of the scenarios and experiments were familiar along with the psychology behind it. If you enjoy a light read and nonfiction, you would definitely like this as well.

This reviewer rates the book 4.5/5

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

 

Natalie’s review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

51t8mom-znl-_sy344_bo1204203200_I loved the book for all its quirkiness. It made fun of the “generic” YA plot in a magic realism way (treated the magic and outrageous activity like an afterthought or ordinary). The characters were well-rounded, full of realistic flaws but posed in a lovable light. There is not much plot that involves our main characters, is mostly a coming-of-age story while craziness rages on in the background. Also, there’s a quarter-god of cats.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a twist on the usual YA novels or values characters over plot. There is no explicit mentions of violence but there is romance.

Natalie rates this book 5/5 stars.

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.