Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review: The Special Ones

Title: The Special Ones
Author: Em Bailey
Teen Reviewer: Emily Sullivan
Rating: 4/5

The Special Ones by Em Bailey follows 4 kids trapped in a cult, specifically Esther. Esther and the others are trapped on a remote farm, constantly being watched by Him. Her only other interactions are between the other Special Ones and their followers, who they talk to once a night, with His permission. Playing a role to save her life, Esther must act at all times throughout her day because He is always watching. One wrong move and Esther will be renewed. None of the Special Ones know what it means to be renewed, but those who are renewed are never seen or heard from again. Trying to keep hope in her faux life, Esther struggles to overcome the daily challenges that come along with being a Special One while at the same time trying to find a way to escape the cult.

Filled with plot twists and multiple perspectives, The Special Ones is an amazing read for those who love to be on the edge of their seats.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: Running Full Tilt

Title: Running Full Tilt
Author: Michael Currinder
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis: Leo had moved from Manchester because his brother, Caleb, had autism and caused trouble in the neighborhood there. But after they moved, Caleb began to become more violent and attacked Leo if he was irritated. When this happened, Leo took Caleb to the pool or ran away from the house for long periods of time. Running helped him escape Caleb but also he liked the feeling of running. So when school started, he joined the track team. On that team, he met a friend named Curtis that understood him and also taught him how to run properly. He also met a girl named Mary that emotionally supported him. With Caleb, they won several races together. Back at home, Caleb began to have seizures and his parents continued to fight with each other caused by the stress coming from taking care of Caleb. One day, seeing that Leo ran outside constantly, Caleb decided to start running himself. Hour after hour Caleb ran long-distance to be like Leo. Caleb continued to randomly attack Leo but he always forgave him. But later, Caleb drowned because of a seizure that he had while swimming in a pool. Leo did not go to school for a week but spent it with Mary and his grandparents. While fishing, he felt as though Caleb was right next to him when looking at the water’s reflection. Thinking of Caleb, Leo thought that they departed from each other on good terms.

Review: Although Caleb seemed to be a burden to Leo and his parents, at the near end of Caleb’s life, Leo saw that Caleb was important to him. This realization that Leo has is the best part of the novel. Caleb’s end is a realization to Leo that Caleb wasn’t a burden but a true part of his family.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Review: The Exo Project

Title: The Exo Project
Author: Andrew Deyoung
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi
Rating: 4/5 Stars

The planet earth is ruined by pollution and the fragile ozone layer is destroyed. Now the planet is being baked in the heat and people have to wear protective suits so they won’t fry up. But a new idea was made to save the people on earth: the Exo Project. Participants that signed up will be frozen in time and travel to other planets to find a habitable planet for the people on earth. If they fail to find such a planet, they will have to take a pill that will kill them. 

Matthew is a participant. He is doing this so the human race will live on. When reaching the planet, he and his team of two people find trouble, as the world is habitable but occupied with other beings that look like humans. But when a member of his team fires a gun at two alien children, the people of the planet dislike the strangers. As the people are thinking this, their leader Kiva thinks otherwise. She welcomes them to their village, which sparks rebellion against her. As tensions rise, Matthew has the choice to tell mission control that the planet is habitable or save the kind village people from extinction. 

Otherwise, the earth people of earth would overtake them. 
The solution becomes clear when he finds that the planet is also near to death, but when someone did the right thing, the planet became beautiful once more. He believed that Earth will become better in the same way and that people can adapt. So after they announce to mission control that the mission failed, he sends the ship away and lives with Kiva for the rest of his life.

The novel is very enjoyable to read because the story captures your mind. It keeps you from putting down the book until you're done reading more than half of it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Title: Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Teen Reviewer: Nanditha Prashanth
Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Spellbook of the Lost and Found revolves around a spellbook. A spellbook which will change everything for Olive and those close to her. All of this started on a stormy summer night after a drunk obnoxious party. After this party is when Olive and her best friend, Rose, began to lose things. Not much more than small clips and jewelry, but there wasn't much time until Rose lost something big, something worth looking for and thinking about over sleepless nights. Something that makes her slip away from the grasp of her best friend Olive. Just when things couldn’t get worse seductive pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. That’s when Olive’s simple thoughts become reality. Meeting the strangers Ivy, Hazel and her twin brother Rowan in a housing estate where the spellbook is found. Olive soon comes to realize that these three are no different than Rose and herself-- lost and holding painful secrets. The spellbook seems to bring back the smallest courage into these lost eyes. The spellbook, tattered and torn, holds charms which will supposedly bring back things which could only be dreamed of. Olive and the three others could only think of this as a gift, a chance to help themselves. But little did they know that some secrets are never meant to be found.

Olive is a character who binds the story together much like the spellbook binds the characters together. This is a book that kept me reading and wondering. I constantly was in suspense and surprise which is what made this book the most enjoyable. It may be hard at first to understand the setting and characters but it's sure to get better as the book progresses.

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