In April, 1936, millionaire and founder of the Ellingham Academy, Albert Ellingham, received a riddle. A threat, signed “Truly Devious”. No one took it seriously at the time, because if there was anything Ellingham appreciated and nurtured, it was a love a good game. The Ellingham Academy just so happened to be a special free school for the gifted and talented, one where students were encouraged to use their brains. Unfortunately, soon afterward, one of the brightest students, Dottie Epstein, met a tragic end at the bottom steps of the tunnel leading to the glass-domed structure at the center of the lake behind the house. No one solved the crime. But Stevie Bell, of the current-day Ellingham crop, has decided that her school project will be to solve the murder. The problem: once Stevie starts broadcasting the news, another riddle appears, and another murder takes place, and the list of suspects for the current murder includes many of her classmates. Is the latest murderer a copycat, or has Truly Devious returned to keep the original case cold?
I appreciate a good mystery, and this certainly fits the bill. It’s the first book in a series, so be prepared for a “to be continued…” at the end.
Mrs. Ashworth rates this book 4/5
Tags: betrayal, friendship, identity, light romance, mystery realistic fiction, suspense
When Nick Dunne’s wife goes missing, it’s up to him and the police to go on a strange and long journey, following misleading clues and twisted story lines and uncovering dark secrets to find out what happened- but as suspicion against Nick builds up, can he prove he’s not a killer? Is he a killer?
I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for an intricate and well planned mystery/thriller that will leave them shaken and thinking about the book weeks later because of the insane plot twists with every page. However, since there’s a lot of dark and mature themes, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone easily disturbed.
Mehek rates this book 5/5
Tags: suspense, thriller, realistic fiction, mature themes
I really enjoyed Landline by Rainbow Rowell! The story is about an established married couple that faces some troubles in their relationship. The wife, Georgie, is super busy with work and decides not to go with her family to Omaha for Christmas. Unexpectedly, her husband, Neal, leaves with their children without her, and Georgie spends Christmas by herself in Los Angeles. Suffering from loneliness and guilt, Georgie goes to her mother’s house where she finds a phone that allows her to communicate with a younger version of her husband. As Georgie talks to the past Neal, she begins to realize new things about her marriage and gets the opportunity to repair or destroy it.
Landline has the perfect blend of humor, sadness, and warmth. I especially liked the inclusion of the magical telephone. Georgie is a fascinating character. She is funny, demanding, and determined. Neal suits her so well!! He is super grumpy but loves Georgie so much that he is willing to sacrifice part of his career to make her happy. I also like how Landline focuses on other relationships besides marriage. Georgie’s relationships with her parents, younger sister, and best friend all develop throughout the novel. The flashbacks in the story focus on Georgie’s love life, but the present scenes focus on her interactions with other people besides her husband. Landline does not have a very strong Christmas influence, which makes it a good read at any time during the year.
Cassandra (Alumna) rates this book 3.5/5
Tags: family, relationships, loneliness, self-discovery, humor, realistic fiction, fantasy
Boomerang 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
Two 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
Savvy has an older sister called Callie and is a freshman cheerleader. They both need to boost their game to earn their position. Callie is too heavy to be flier and Savvy is too skinny to be a basketball player. Therefore, both of them need to work hard to get into action and off the bench. But then, steroids were found in Savvy’s gym bag, which ruins her accountability and respect. People on the team start accusing others and no one knows who is telling the truth. Savvy knows she didn’t put it in her bag and the book tells you who actually puts the steroids in Savvy’s bag. Therefore, in competitive sports, no one should be allowed to boost their game up by cheating.
I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys basketball and other sports. Basketball players find this book interesting because of the intense games that Savvy has and what happens when players are accused of taking steroids.
“I feel like a curtain has dropped away and I’m seeing people for who they really are, different, and sharp, and unknowable.” Before I fall by Lauren Oliver is spell-binding stand alone that holds you captive till its very last words. On the outside, Samantha Kingston has the perfect life– popular friends, hot boyfriend, decent grades, and so forth. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the inside. Swept in popularity, Samantha is an active bystander to her friends’ victimization of the other not-so-popular students of this high school; she doesn’t think her boyfriend reciprocates her feelings and isn’t sure about her feelings for him either; she does not have a standing relationship with any member of her family. Yet horrifyingly, Samantha does not see anything wrong with her life. A tragic car accident after a party gone wrong opens her eyes to the flaws and gives her the chance to mend them by making her relive different variations of her death day over and over again. Will Samantha find a way to put an end to this recurring pattern? Will she mend her broken life ? Right her many wrongs? Find out.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good high school drama with a light supernatural twist. Anyone who enjoys in-depth characters with a good character arc would enjoy this book. If you are looking for a light read, I would not recommend this book. A warning to note: there is mild swearing, drinking and smoking in this book. Overall, I really liked this book and maybe you will,too.
Sahana rates this book 3.7/5