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The Song of Achilles

by Madeline Miller

book cover for The song of Achilles

This book is told in the perspective of a boy named Patroclus, who is a Greek Prince, and is exiled by his father and is taken in by a king and his son, Achilles who he develops a very close bond with.

I loved it! What I liked about this book was that I wasn't once bored of the storyline and how the author is very descriptive in her writing.

Yes, I would recommend this book to young adults who want to learn more about Greek mythology.

Victoria, 17

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To Kill a Kingdom

by Alexandra Christo

Amazon.com: To Kill a Kingdom (Hundred Kingdoms): 9781250112682: Christo,  Alexandra: Books

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo is a young adult fantasy novel about a 17-year-old mermaid princess named Lira who is known as the "Princess of the Sea of Blood" because of her ruthlessness towards human sailors. Lira is tasked by her mother, with capturing the heart of a human prince.

I somewhat like it. This book has a captivating plot that caught my attention, it had well-developed character and really lets your imagination run wild on this world the author created but while it had all that I was expecting more suspense or drama in the plot and was left disappointed on how short the book was.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves anything with mermaids and romance.

Victoria, 17

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Death in Her Hands

by Ottessa Moshfegh

Death in her hands

The book followed an elderly women finding a note about a dead body in her woods. The majority of the story takes place in the women's mind and her thoughts, as she creates a story for the unknown victim. She ventures to uncover the mystery.

The book isn't unbearable, but it wasn't my favorite. It lacked a lot of action and just took place in the women's mind. Towards the end the book got a little more exciting, but the ending was rather lackluster.

I would recommend the book to those who read a little bit of everything. It's an interesting concept. I would not recommend to someone who is more interested in stories.

Grettel, 18

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Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

by Stephen King

The gunslinger

The Gunslinger is a western fantasy fiction centered on Roland Deschain. As the last gunslinger of his kind,  he went on a horror-majestic journey filled with insanity to chase his nemesis, “the man in black.” Roland meets several characters along the way, including a boy named Jake, who joins him as part of his journey.

As the first book in the Dark Tower series, I like that it sets things up for future stories, but as a self-contain story, it falls apart right from the get-go. I will start with the negatives. The plot is dull and dreadful. There are significant moments or emotional moments that stick with you. The prose is dense but confusing. King loves to describe the scenery in this book precisely, and I like it at the beginning, but then it becomes a gimmick that annoys me. Also, the antagonist is a one-dimension type of bad guy. Now on the positive side. Roland is a magnificent protagonist. He has an intriguing backstory and motivation, and his personality is wacky and exciting, but his gun skills remind me of the cowboys in western movies. His father-son-like relationship with Jake is also one of the good parts. The world-building is phenomenal. I have never seen a world like this in the fantasy genre. It is so grounded and bleak but contains crazy creatures and people that make you want to learn or study more about it.

Overall, I recommend the book to those who love western and fantasy because it is a unique take on those genres and to those who love characters like Roland because he is worth your time, even if the story is uninteresting and lacks excitement. Additionally, I am about 50 pages into the next book, The Drawing of the Three, which is a vast improvement from the first book.

Minh, 16

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Cress

by Marissa Meyer

Cress

Cress is a science fiction novel by Marissa Meyer and the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It follows the story of Cress, a young hacker who has been imprisoned by the evil Lunar Queen, Levana, on a satellite orbiting earth. Cress is forced to work for Levana and serve as her spy, but longs for freedom and the chance to join the rebellion against Levana's rule.

I thought this book was okay! I think I was really overlooking this book because I was so eager to read the last book because I knew that was when everything intertwined, and I was still left on cliffhangers with the first two books.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a thrilling and action-packed science fiction book.

Victoria, 17

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Scarlet

by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet

Scarlet is a science fiction novel by Marissa Meyer and the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It follows the story of Scarlet Benoit, a young woman living in France who is searching for her missing grandmother. As she investigates her grandmother's disappearance, Scarlet is drawn into a dangerous conspiracy involving a group of rebels who are fighting against the evil lunar Queen, Levana, and her control on earth.

I love reading about a new character in each book of the series and knowing that they are in the same universe so all of this will tie in together eventually.

If you like sci-fi books and fairytales with a twist to it, then the Lunar Chronicles series is the one for you.

Victoria, 17

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The Unhoneymooners

by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners

A couple about to get married has plans but in some way their maid of honor and best man take the trip instead of the married couple. The maid of honor and best man hate each other how will they last on a trip.

This book was good in a comedy romance way. The people that go on the vacation argue in the best way and make the funniest jokes. By the end of the trip their feelings for each other switch.

Yes I would recommend the book for those that love romance comedy and enemies to lovers trope. It has so many different aspects that make the book really enjoyable.

Nadia, 16

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Gabi, a Girl in Pieces

by Isabel Quintero

Gabi, a girl in pieces

Gabi's high school life life is stressful. She faces many external struggles like her father's meth addiction, a friend's pregnancy, another friend's sexuality struggles, and her own body image issues, all the while helping or hurting her relationships.

I loved Gabi's personality from her vulnerability, her loyalism, and her fierceness. I also loved the author's interpretation of Gabi's bilingualism. Gabi's fluency goes so far so that she feels confident in it. When she paraphrases a meaning or expands upon a sentence in different languages, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to her character.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has any form of doubts surrounding their relationships, whether it be with with family, friends, or lovers. Gabi shares her vulnerable parts, so it doesn't make one feel uncomfortable for having their own intrusive thoughts or insecurities. For me, it made me feel validated to have second thoughts or "what if" moments. Definitely worth a second read!

Lucia, 14

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Cemetery Boys

by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery boys

This book follows the perspective of a gay, transgender brujo, Yadriel, who wishes to be accepted into his community. Throughout this story Yadriel struggles with the gender roles in his community.

I Loved it! I really like how the author goes about telling this story, it doesn't feel too slow or fast, it's just the right pace.

I would recommend this book to teenagers or young adults in the LGBTQ+ community.

Victoria, 17

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The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

The silent patient

A woman who one day murders her husband, shooting him in the face, out of nowhere then never talks again. Theo, her new doctor, is persistent on finding out her story.

I really loved it! I loved the twist and turns this book had. You never know what's going to happen next.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers and loves plot twists.

Victoria, 17

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They Both Die at the End

by Adam Silvera

They both die at the end

Death-cast is an organization of sorts that alerts people that they are going to die in the next 24 hours. Mateo and Rufus are given the call. They are total strangers.

I loved it! Even though the title may seem like a big spoiler, I really enjoyed reading this futuristic novel. I really loved how in the book you read about different perspectives of people who have received the call.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good heart-wrenching novel.

Victoria, 17

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Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work)

by Michael Goodwin

Economix : how our economy works (and doesn't work) in words and pictures

Economix is a comic that explains the big picture (mostly in Europe and U.S.) how the economy works, the downfalls, principles, and its impacts on society. Instead of starting from the principles and building onto the foundation, the book starts with history and examines how it affects the economy in present day.

I find Economix an intuitive read and easy to digest because the visuals has funky caricatures such as the companies being represented as giant robots. It's also pretty entertaining and informative because I learned about things like free market, socialism, and marxism.

I would recommend the book if you are interested in learning about the economy. It can really give you the understanding you need to dive deeper to other topics that might not be mentioned in the book.

Anna, 15

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Not Hungry

by Kate Karyus Quinn

Amazon.com: Not Hungry (YA Verse): 9781538382691: Karyus Quinn, Kate: Books

Jane is a high school girl struggling with the ins and outs of family, her sister's abusive relationship with Er-ick, and the greatest hardship of all-her eating disorder. Over the course of the story, her binge eating isn't taken serious by Toby, the guy next door, her classmates, and even her mother, who all either mock at it or misinterpret it as a strict diet. As she goes about her everyday life, readers get an insight to her thoughts surrounding her, her body image, and just how strong of a bond she has with her sister.

I don't normally read books with a poem structure, but I found this one pleasant and I interpreted the wild structure of the story like how June's thoughts are-dark. However, I do believe there was more room for exploration in June's character like how other issues besides her disorder had impacted her (like the mockery her or her sister Mae faced). Overall though, I enjoyed reading this book, as well as the moments she shared with her sister.

I'm not sure I would recommend this book to others. As mentioned previously, it discusses June's eating disorder as well as her self depreciating mindset so it can definitely be a heavy read at times.

Lucia, 14

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Atomic Habits

by James Clear

Atomic habits : tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones

Atomic Habits is a self-help book that explains the process of forming habits and how to break bad habits. Pretty much, the small, incremental things you do in life, whether it be good or bad, will compound to make a big impact on your life (aka. habits).

I appreciate the way the book organizes the information of forming habits into four distinct steps. Some of the advice kinda strikes me as something really obvious such as making a good habit more convenient to do.

If you genuinely do not know how to improve your life, then reading Atomic Habits can give you a clearer way to make changes. But consuming knowledge is different from actually committing to do stuff, so at worst, you will only get motivation to make good habits or break bad habits for a few days.

Anna, 15

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The Illiad of Homer

by Richmond Lattimore

Amazon.com: The Iliad of Homer: 8601417981696: Richmond Lattimore, Homer:  Books

It is an epic poem about Achilleus' anger. His anger was caused by Agamemnon, an Achaian leader, who dishonored Achilleus. Achilleus, the best Achaian warrior, got Zeus to help him to punish all the Achaians for dishonoring him by getting lots of casualties against the war with Trojans. Achilleus' godlike anger only ended when he shared grief with Priam, the Trojan king, over how the loss of his life would affect his father.

I find the Iliad interesting in that although Homer is Greek, he did not glorify one side over another, so he ended up telling a complete story of the humanity of characters. I do not like Achilleus since he just strikes me as someone who is egocentric and has anger issues. The rest of the character cast have not really changed, so their personalities are stagnant.

I would recommend it if you want something a little more challenging to read. You might also find media references of the Iliad since it very much affected Western literature.

Anna, 15

Rating:  

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Regretting You

by Colleen Hoover

Regretting You goes back and forth between the mother’s point of view and the daughter’s point of view. It shows them going through love and loss.

Regretting You is a good book because it shows that no matter at what age or how much time has passed you can still relate to your parents or a parent figure. The book has many sad moments but also caring loving moments.

I recommend people that are close to a parent figures and share things with them. The book also explains how it feels to deal with grief for someone you’ve loved so much but has betrayed you.

Nadia, 16

Rating:  

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Girl in Pieces

by Kathleen Glasgow

Girl in Pieces: 9781101934746: Glasgow, Kathleen: Books - Amazon.com

A girl trying to escape one chapter of her life and trying to start another. This book definitely talks about dark stuff and traumatic experiences. The book portrays the effects of going through something traumatic and how it effects someone long term.

Girl in pieces is such a good book even though it’s heartbreaking, by the end of it you’re sobbing. The book is eye opening of how much someone would struggle with many things.

I would recommend this book but I think people should read the warnings and what the book discusses before reading the book. It’s an 15 or older book with mature topics.

Nadia, 16

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Moonwalking with Einstein

by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything:  Foer, Joshua: 9780143120537: Amazon.com: Books

Foer, a journalist, had set out to find out the capacity to improve human memory by working with other memory athletes. He used memory techniques that take advantage of how the brain works biologically and honed those skills. Eventually, all his practice to improve his memory would be put into motion in the United States Memory Competition, which paid off.

Moonwalking With Einstein is an interesting book because along with his journey of becoming a memory athlete himself, there is some cultural, historical parts on memory techniques and the competition, which dates back to the Romans and Greeks. It gives context and showed the prominence of memory in cultures. The approaches shown are backed with scientific findings, and the topics that seemed unrelated to memory are well explained in how they connected back to the main topic.

I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in improving their memory since this book offers helpful tips and approaches to memorizing typical things like grocery lists. This book does have quite a bit of filler content, as it could have been written to be shorter. For a casual reader who wants to learn something new and dig into something entertaining, I would recommend this book.

Anna, 15

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Immortal Hounds by

by Ryo Yasohachi

Immortal Hounds Manga Volume 1

Ever since mortals have appeared in this immortal world, it's caused chaos. To combat this problem, two major organizations are there to do what they think is right: protect or destroy them. In the 2nd volume, one of these protectors called Fuurin is trying to get the upper hand from Detective Kenzaki (who believes all mortals deserve to be eradicated). Whilst this occurs, Kiriko tries to make her debut in the organization, more specifically the role as a protector (also known as Vectors).

I couldn't put this manga down. Readers get to see contrasting perspectives of Vectors along with the detectives and the police. This unique plot doesn't go unnoticed, and reading about minorities and how they're seen in this immortal world is very intriguing!!

Although there is some slight gore in the manga, I would absolutely recommend it! It's clear the author doesn't shy away from showing what immortals consider to be norms, and an example of this is beautifully shown in the opening of volume 1. Highly recommend reading volume 1 first to learn about the characters more!! Overall, amazing read!

Lucia, 14

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Verity

by Colleen Hoover

Verity

Verity is a thriller book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next thing to happen. The book is about a man that lost everything and is trying to fix it. The ghost writer comes to visit his house to learn about his wife. While she’s visiting she finds something not related to the book at all but will change everything.

Verity is a intense book that’s amazing. Once you start reading you can’t stop because you want to know what happens next. Verity has lots of jump scares in book version. It’s a great thriller book.

I would recommend the book to anyone that likes to solve the mystery before the book ends, that’s very passionate about things and tries to find evidence to back it up. This is definitely for horror and thriller lovers. I’d recommend if you want to be scared a little and have a debate with others that read it.

Nadia, 15

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