Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: Original Fake

Title: Original Fake
Author: Kirstin Cron-Mills and E. Eero Johnson
Teen Reviewer: Turner Sykes
Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book is about a boy named Frankie who works for Geno at Pizza Vendetta and does art. Frankie despises his sister Lou because he feels she steals his identity. One day, a girl named Rory sees him paint the Abominable Snowman in the school cafeteria and shows up at his work with her brother David. He helps them do projects for their famous uncle, Uncle Epic. When Frankie catches Lou on tape committing a flash rob, he uses this to his advantage and plots to get back at her.

I really liked this book, as there were many twists and unexpected occurrences. Although the book was confusing at first, by the middle of the book I was drawn into it. Another great read!

If you'd like to find this book in our catalog, click here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: Gamescape

Title: Gamescape
Author: Emma Trevayne
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis: Miguel Anderson lives in a technologically advanced world where everyone plays a virtual reality game called Chimera. Miguel and his friends play it day and night to level up and gain rewards. His obsession over the game weakens his heart and a doctor tells him that he will die soon. Shortly after he hears this he is invited a compete in a competition. He joins and plays all sorts of levels with a team of players. After an accident he gets a biomech heart implant. Then one of the gamemakers talks to him that he controls his life because he can stop his biomech heart from working any time he wants. Miguel continues to play the game and he and his teammates learn that the gamemakers are toying with them. The bosses of the gamemakers cause wars to break out across the globe and turn against the gamemakers with the weapons they made. 
Review: The author wrote the character's thoughts and actions very well. The book makes you think "What would I do in a situation like this."

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: The Female of the Species

Title: The Female of the Species
Author: Mindy MicGinnis
Teen Reviewer: Nanditha Prashanth
Rating: 3/5 Stars

The Female of the Species is an intense and intertwined love story from the view of many different narrators. This is a book that is so deep and emotional that you won't go on without getting goosebumps. The book revolves around three main characters Alex, Jack and Peckay who although had been going to school together for several years, never acknowledged one another. Until a group of events entangled them at the first party Alex had been to after her sisters unforgivable death. The shock and terror that followed after that night lingered in the eyes of all those people who were victims of Alex's other side. People had a new level of respect: one that broke love and brought fear into the eyes of everyone that walked by at school. The unstoppable revenge inside of a killer was something only Alex could understand. But as events and dark secrets that would dramatize a person from ever going outside arise, there is only one way to fix Alex--is true love.

This book is one that would be a great one-time read. Its a suspenseful and emotionally attached book that you get so into you feel more like a character in the book. This is a book that is definitely geared toward a more feminine audience just because of the concepts in the book, but that doesn't say that I feel only girls would enjoy this book. I believe anyone can enjoy this book as much as I did.  I gave this book a 3 out of 5 because this is a story that has events and problem that not everyone has the maturity and capability to understand. Its a hard book to wrap your head around and actually grasp whats going on. There were many circumstances where the book got to a point in which I just had to put it down and think the chapter over. It took me a great deal of time to get through this book even though it was a really good read mostly because of how sensitive the concept in this book was. So I say if you're up for a daring challenge than read this book!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Things Fall Apart Book Review

Title: Things Fall Apart
Author: Chinua Achebe
Teen Reviewer: Darlin Samson
Rating: 4/5 Stars 

Things Fall Apart is about the tragic fall of the protagonist, Okonkwo, and the Igbo culture. Okonkwo is a respected and influential leader within the Igbo community of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. He first earns personal fame and distinction, and brings honor to his village, when he defeats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest. Okonkwo determines to gain titles for himself and become a powerful and wealthy man in spite of his father's weaknesses.
Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was a lazy and wasteful man. He often borrowed money and then squandered it on palm-wine and merrymaking with friends. Consequently, his wife and children often went hungry. Within the community, Unoka was considered a failure and a laughingstock. He was referred to as agbala, one who resembles the weakness of a woman and has no property. Unoka died a shameful death and left numerous debts.
Okonkwo despises and resents his father's gentle and idle ways. He resolves to overcome the shame that he feels as a result of his father's weaknesses by being what he considers to be "manly"; therefore, he dominates his wives and children by being insensitive and controlling.

Okonkwo is a leader of his community, he is asked to care for a young boy named Ikemefuna, who is given to the village as a peace offering by neighboring Mbaino to avoid war with Umuofia. Ikemefuna befriends Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, and Okonkwo becomes inwardly fond of the boy.

Over the years, Okonkwo becomes an extremely volatile man; he is apt to explode at the slightest provocation. He violates the Week of Peace when he beats his youngest wife, Ojiugo, because she went to braid her hair at a friend's house and forgot to prepare the afternoon meal and feed her children. Later, he severely beats and shoots a gun at his second wife, Ekwefi, because she took leaves from his banana plant to wrap food for the Feast of the New Yam.

After the coming of the locusts, Ogbuefi Ezeudu, the oldest man in the village, relays to Okonkwo a message from the Oracle. The Oracle says that Ikemefuna must be killed as part of the retribution for the Umuofian woman killed three years earlier in Mbaino. He tells Okonkwo not to partake in the murder, but Okonkwo doesn't listen. He feels that not participating would be a sign of weakness. Consequently, Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna with his machete. Nwoye realizes that his father has murdered Ikemefuna and begins to distance himself from his father and the clansmen.

Okonkwo becomes depressed after killing Ikemefuna, so he visits his best friend, Obierika, who disapproves of his role in Ikemefuna's killing. Obierika says that Okonkwo's act will upset the Earth and the earth goddess will seek revenge. After discussing Ikemefuna's death with Obierika, Okonkwo is finally able to sleep restfully, but he is awakened by his wife Ekwefi. Their daughter Ezinma, whom Okonkwo is fond of, is dying. Okonkwo gathers grasses, barks, and leaves to prepare medicine for Ezinma.
A public trial is held on the village commons. Nine clan leaders, including Okonkwo, represent the spirits of their ancestors. The nine clan leaders, or egwugwu, also represent the nine villages of Umuofia. Okonkwo does not sit among the other eight leaders, or elders, while they listen to a dispute between an estranged husband and wife. The wife, Mgbafo, had been severely beaten by her husband. Her brother took her back to their family's village, but her husband wanted her back home. The egwugwu tell the husband to take wine to his in-laws and beg his wife to come home. One elder wonders why such a trivial dispute would come before the egwugwu.

In her role as priestess, Chielo tells Ekwefi (Okonkwo's second wife) that Agbala (the Oracle of the Hills and Caves) needs to see Ezinma. Although Okonkwo and Ekwefi protest, Chielo takes a terrified Ezinma on her back and forbids anyone to follow. Chielo carries Ezinma to all nine villages and then enters the Oracle's cave. Ekwefi follows secretly, in spite of Chielo's admonitions, and waits at the entrance of the Oracle. Okonkwo surprises Ekwefi by arriving at the cave, and he also waits with her. The next morning, Chielo takes Ezinma to Ekwefi's hut and puts her to bed.

When Ogbuefi Ezeudu dies, Okonkwo worries because the last time that Ezeudu visited him was when he warned Okonkwo against participating in the killing of Ikemefuna. Ezeudu was an important leader in the village and achieved three titles of the clan's four, a rare accomplishment. During the large funeral, Okonkwo's gun goes off, and Ezeudu's sixteen-year-old son is killed accidentally.

The accidental killing of a clansman is a crime against the earth goddess, Okonkwo and his family must be exiled from Umuofia for seven years. The family moves to Okonkwo's mother's native village, Mbanta. After they depart Umuofia, a group of village men destroy Okonkwo's compound and kill his animals to cleanse the village of Okonkwo's sin. Obierika stores Okonkwo's yams in his barn and wonders about the old traditions of the Igbo culture.

Okonkwo is welcomed to Mbanta by his maternal uncle, Uchendu, a village elder. He gives Okonkwo a plot of land on which to farm and build a compound for his family. But Okonkwo is depressed, and he blames his chi (or personal spirit) for his failure to achieve lasting greatness.

During Okonkwo's second year in exile, he receives a visit from his best friend, Obierika, who recounts sad news about the village of Abame: After a white man rode into the village on a bicycle, the elders of Abame consulted their Oracle, which told them that the white man would destroy their clan and other clans. Consequently, the villagers killed the white man. But weeks later, a large group of men slaughtered the villagers in retribution. The village of Abame is now deserted.

Okonkwo and Uchendu agree that the villagers were foolish to kill a man whom they knew nothing about. Later, Obierika gives Okonkwo money that he received from selling Okonkwo's yams and seed-yams, and he promises to do so until Okonkwo returns to Umuofia.

Six missionaries, including one white man, arrived in Mbanta. The white man speaks to the people about Christianity. Okonkwo believes that the man speaks nonsense, but his son, Nwoye, is captivated and becomes a convert of Christianity.

The Christian missionaries build a church on land given to them by the village leaders. However, the land is a part of the Evil Forest, and according to tradition, the villagers believe that the missionaries will die because they built their church on cursed land. But when nothing happens to the missionaries, the people of Mbanta conclude that the missionaries possess extraordinary power and magic. The first recruits of the missionaries are efulefu, the weak and worthless men of the village. Other villagers, including a woman, soon convert to Christianity. The missionaries then go to Umuofia and start a school. Nwoye leaves his father's hut and moves to Umuofia so he can attend the school.

Okonkwo's exile is over, so his family arranges to return to Umuofia. Before leaving Mbanta, they prepare a huge feast for Okonkwo's mother's kinsmen in appreciation of their gratitude during Okonkwo's seven years of exile.

When Okonkwo returns to Umuofia, he discovers that the village has changed during his absence. Many men have renounced their titles and have converted to Christianity. The white men have built a prison; they have established a government court of law, where people are tried for breaking the white man's laws; and they also employ natives of Umuofia. Okonkwo wonders why the Umuofians have not incited violence to rid the village of the white man's church and oppressive government.

Some members of the Igbo clan like the changes in Umuofia. Mr. Brown, the white missionary, respects the Igbo traditions. He makes an effort to learn about the Igbo culture and becomes friendly with some of the clan leaders. He also encourages Igbo people of all ages to get an education. Mr. Brown tells Okonkwo that Nwoye, who has taken the name Isaac, is attending a teaching college. Nevertheless, Okonkwo is unhappy about the changes in Umuofia.

After Mr. Brown becomes ill and is forced to return to his homeland, Reverend James Smith becomes the new head of the Christian church. But Reverend Smith is nothing like Mr. Brown; he is intolerant of clan customs and is very strict.

Violence arises after Enoch, an overzealous convert to Christianity, unmasks an egwugwu. In retaliation, the egwugwu burn Enoch's compound and then destroy the Christian church because the missionaries have caused the Igbo people many problems.

When the District Commissioner returns to Umuofia, he learns about the destruction of the church and asks six leaders of the village, including Okonkwo, to meet with him. The men are jailed until they pay a fine of two hundred and fifty bags of cowries. The people of Umuofia collect the money and pay the fine, and the men are set free.

The next day at a meeting for clansmen, five court messengers who intend to stop the gathering approach the group. Suddenly, Okonkwo jumps forward and beheads the man in charge of the messengers with his machete. When none of the other clansmen attempt to stop the messengers who escape, Okonkwo realizes that they will never go to war and that Umuofia will surrender. Everything has fallen apart for Okonkwo; he commits suicide by hanging himself.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior

Title: Highly Illogical Behavior
Author: John Corey Whaley
Teen Reviewer: Turner Sykes
Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book was about an agoraphobic kid who had a panic attack at school and decided to stay indoors for three years. The book talks about what happened during that panic attack and what happens next.

 I enjoyed this book. There was never a dull moment and there were a lot of unexpected happenings that kept me eager to keep reading. Anyone could enjoy this hard to put down book. 

If you'd like to locate this book in our catalog, click here!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Review: Understanding Suicide: A National Epidemic

Title: Understanding Suicide: A National Epidemic
Author: Connie Goldsmith
Teen Reviewer: Turner Sykes
Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book included details about suicide, including why people do it and how it can be prevented.

Review: This book was excellent! Connie Goldsmith provided great details and factual evidence about suicide. Prior to reading this book, I had little knowledge of why people commit suicide. After reading this book, I feel informed on the epidemic. Anyone reading this book can get something out of it, whether you have had experience with suicide or had no prior information, there is something to be learned.

If you'd like to locate this book in our catalog, click here.