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Archive for the ‘Realistic’ Category

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FANGIRL_CoverDec2012Have you ever felt like you knew a book character personally? Like you could imagine what they might say in different situations? Well, this is how Cath Avery feels about Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque character/book series that Cath and her twin sister Wren grew up reading and loving as a way to cope with their mom leaving. It just seemed natural that they would start to write fan fiction about Simon Snow and the other characters Simon’s magical world.

When Cath and Wren go off to college, Wren tells Cath that they shouldn’t be roommates so they can “meet other people”. Cath finds herself dealing with a difficult Fiction Writing professor, a roommate Cath is convinced hates her, two boys who *might* like her, but how do you tell? and a bi-polar dad who struggles to take care of himself with his only daughters off at college, all while Wren takes up an unhealthy party lifestyle. When Cath writes Simon Snow fan fiction, though, none of those things can get to her. She can completely enter the world of Simon Snow, and with thousands of readers eager to devour her next installment, she has even more motivation to spend time writing rather than being social. Can Cath find the courage to live her life and create her own story?

Interspersed with excerpts from the “canon” Simon Snow books as well as Cath and Wren’s contributions to the fandom, this is a quick and entertaining read with lots of heart. Anyone who followed and loved the Harry Potter series will identify with the emotional connection that can grow from a vivid world and well developed characters, as well as the sense of sadness when those books end.
The year is young, but this is one of my favorites, so far!

If you like this book, you should definitely read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. Rowell does such an amazing job creating characters and relationships you don’t want to stop reading about, and I’m very excited to follow her as she continues her writing career!

Happy Reading!

Reviewed by Ms. Granbery

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betweenEveryone knows about the horrors of the Holocaust and what Hitler and Germany did to the Jews. But very few of us know what Stalin did to the Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians when Russia swallowed up their countries. He deported millions to Siberia, enslaved them, starved and froze them to death. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is a well-written story of this holocaust, of the misery, suffering and death; however, it is also a story of hope, perseverance, and faith. Sepetys has written a well-researched, poignant story that is unforgettable.

 

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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If you’re as frustrated as I am with unseasonably warm weather so close to Christmas then I suggest you cool off with Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the story of seventeen year old Grace who has spent years watching a pack of wolves living in the wintry Minnesota woods behind her house, feeling inexplicably connected to them. One yellow-eyed wolf, “her wolf”, watches back. Sam is no ordinary wolf. He is actually a werewolf who spends the cold months in his wolf form, silently watching Grace, and in the warm months he is simply a quiet boy who works at the local book store. The only constant: his unusual yellow eyes. When the two finally meet in human form, their love blossoms beautifully. As if teen relationships weren’t difficult enough, this one is tested constantly by the slightest drop in temperature. Action packed without a lot of gore, this romantic tale is a sensory delight. You’re guaranteed to feel the chill of a cold Minnesota morning, to smell hot chocolate in the air, to visualize the light dappled woods as the wolves run through it. For mature teens and adults alike, I definitely recommend this one to be enjoyed in front of a fire, under a soft blanket, with a hot cup of cocoa preferably.

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

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 Bruiser is not your typical story of the loser boy getting the normal girl. He is different. Brewster is the one kid in school who got voted “The Most Likely to get the Death Penalty”, so he is clearly not your typical happy teenage boy. He also has a secret, discovered when he begins to date Brontë. She and her brother, Tennyson, both discover that Brewster (nicknamed Bruiser) can take things away. There is a reason he always stays away from people, there is a reason he tries not to care too much. Because when he does care, he can take away their pain.

This is a story about how many people can affect one person. . . and also how that one person can affect many people.

Reviewed by Lexie K. ’15

 

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On the eve of World War II the United States Navy introduces its newest, most up-to-date, sophisticated submarine. The crew has been assembled. The majority of  tests have been done and the Squalus has passed with flying colors. Minor problems have been fixed and all is ready for its first ever deep sea dive in the Northern Atlantic. However, when the sub begins its descent to 200 feet, the main intake valve sticks open and the submarine floods and sinks to the ocean floor with all hands on board. One man, one submariner, has prepared all  his Navy career for this exact moment. He is Charles “Swede” Momsen, a man who previously stood by watching as two subs sank and rescue was impossible, watching as their entire crews perished. Now Momsen is ready. The Terrible Hours is the story of his ingenuity, drive and determination to rescue the Squalus’ crew at all cost. Maas describes the harrowing hours of the crew in the sunken sub, their families waiting with prayer and hope, and the rescue team fighting rough seas, broken cables and time. This nail-biter isn’t to be missed.

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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This is a must-read for runners and non-runners regardless of age.  It is a study of faith and determination.  The is story of Jessica, a sixteen-year-old runner, who loses a leg in a tragic accident and begins a journey of frustration, loss, unexpected friendship, enlightenment, hope, and service.   Readers are reminded to recognize people for their strengths and not overlook them because of their disabilities.  Jessica lets go of “what could have been” and triumphs in “what will be” as she reaches out to help another who has profoundly inspired her to never give up and to run a race against the odds proclaiming at the finish line, “This race has made me believe that there’s nothing I can’t do.  This is my new starting line.”

 

Reviewed by Mrs. Michaels
PE Department Chair

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After devouring two of Oliver’s books (Delirium and Pandemonium), I had to go back and read her debut novel, Before I Fall. In a Glee mash up, this would be Groundhog Day meets Thirteen Reasons Why. It was witty and poignant, but also unnerving and annoying as the main character, Sam, has a go at the same day over and over (and over) again. Chock full of valuable lessons, this is a great young adult read if you can get past the repetition. I was going to write a plot synopsis, but in preparing for next week’s conference presentation all about utilizing technology to promote young adult reading, I found this great book trailer that *hopefully* does the trick! Let me know what you think and what you’re doing with book trailers yourself!

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

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