Title: Because of Mr. Terupt
Author: Rob Buyea
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Because Of Mr. Terupt is one of the most touching books I’ve ever read. This story moved me because it’s about how tragedy brings people together.
Mr. Terupt, a thoughtful, caring teacher, designs a fun classroom for his fifth graders. His students are the classic school kids: the class troublemaker, the shy kid, the smart kid who loves school, the depressed outcast, the popular girl, the followers of the popular girl, the fat kid that gets picked on, and the new kid.
I like the writing style of the book because each chapter describes the same events from the perspective of a different student. All the kids have unique views on the same event, based on their own feelings and lives. The story shows that everyone can change for the better.
Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a touching book that pulls you into the story as if it was a movie playing in your head. A silverback gorilla named Ivan lives in a mall circus. He performs in the circus every day with an elephant named Stella. Stella had a rough past and walks with two hurt feet from having been chained during an earlier captivity. When a new elephant named Ruby arrives with playful energy and strong emotions like fear and love, Ivan and Stella begin to see their caged life in a whole new light. If you love animals and deep stories of friendship and sacrifice this would be a good story for you.
Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction
Between Shades of Gray is a sophisticated book about a fifteen-year-old girl from Lithuania named Lina. Her life is perfectly normal until one night, when Soviets come to her house and give her and her family thirty minutes to collect things like clothes. The Soviets take them to the train station and put them on trains to a labor camp in the middle of Siberia. She is separated from her father, as he has been shipped to a prison. The book often revolves around her trying to contact her father and the struggles that she faces while being separated from him, because she was very close to him.
I think this is a very good book for people who like reading about World War II and unknown World War II stories. It goes into depth about the torture, death, and struggles that prisoners like Lina faced at the camp. I think this is one of the best books about World War II mainly because the Genocide of the Baltic People isn’t a very well known story among World War II tragedies. It makes me feel very sorry for the people that had to experience the Genocide of the Baltic People.
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: Realistic, Romance
Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing is packed with many tender adventures, especially her book, Peaches. In this book, Murphy, Birdie, and Leeda are three relatable young girls finding their way through adolescence. Birdie’s family owns a peach orchard where Murphy and Leeda are forced to work all summer. That same orchard will unite these three girls forever.
At first, Murphy, Birdie, and Leeda are not friends at all: they are quite the opposite of each other. Birdie is shy, homeschooled, and thoughtful, Leeda is bright, attractive, and forgiving, and Murphy is sexy, adventurous, and a troublemaker. But when the orchard goes into financial distress, the three girls come together to save the business.
I thought this book described the meaning of friendship well, and I really loved it! However, there were some parts I thought to be rude or wrong, like when Murphy stole Rex away from Leeda. I think the writer could have written Rex to be more loyal or compassionate. And Leeda was too forgiving in that situation. Nevertheless, I appreciated this book because it is very engaging and a really fun read. Each character has a wonderful personality and spirit. I think this is a worthwhile read. I give this book a 4-star rating. If you read this book, you will learn all about the girls’ unbreakable friendship and the conflict they work out in all three Peaches books.
Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate, is a very touching, sad and loving story. It is about two elephants and a gorilla making promises and sacrifices, and being brave.
In this story, a silverback gorilla named Ivan lives in a domain at the Big Top Mall with an older elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob. They perform in a circus three times a day, 365 days a year.
When a new, shy baby elephant named Ruby arrives, Stella acts like a mom to Ruby and they learn new tricks together. But a change in Stella’s health worries Ivan and he is scared of what might happen to her and if he’ll be able to take care of Ruby on his own.
In conclusion, I loved this book so much that I could read it a thousand times and never get tired of it. Based on a real-life story of a gorilla that was caged in a mall, this story is deeply moving and full of heart. If you like animal stories or stories about the lasting bonds of friendship, this is the story for you.
Title: Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock
Author: Carolyn Keene
Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock is an engaging mystery story with cliffhangers at the end of each page. This book inspires me to do more for others and to appreciate fully what I have. To take nothing for granted.
Nancy Drew stumbles upon a family who is in need of money. This family was depending on inheriting money from their wealthy relative, Josiah Crowley. But after his death, his will went missing and they were left penniless. Nancy has to travel to many of Josiah Crowley’s friends’ and families’ houses where she gathers clues. She takes on this case and, with the help of her father and many other people, Nancy journeys to unravel all the secrets.
This book will make you turn page after page for hours on end. I love the way that Nancy just keeps on going. I recommend this book to anyone who likes books that are filled with lots of action, adventure, and mystery. If you have not read this book, I highly suggest it to everyone.
Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction
Salt To The Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, is compassionate and filled with tragedy. It takes place near the end of World War Two. This book follows the perspective of four main characters, all with secrets to hide: (1) a former worker at Hitler’s personal museum now on the run, (2) a fifteen-year-old immigrant from Poland, trying to hide her nationality, (3) a Lithuanian nurse, trying to get to Germany, and (4) a Nazi, at the bottom of the pecking order, with delusions of grandeur, an inflated ego and a desire to please his betters. The first three of these four all meet in East Prussia through luck, bad luck, and coincidence. They get wind of a ship that would take them out of the war and into safety, The Wilhelm Gustloff. Meanwhile, the Nazi is assigned to help clean and manage the very same ship. These characters are pulled along the plotline by tragedy, love, war, and greed to their destiny.
Salt to the Sea is an engaging book and does a great job of bringing these characters to life. I am amazed at how the author was able to show the point of view of four different characters. It is filled with twists and is an interesting book to read.
Title: The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, starts with a fabulous mystery because a dog has been killed with a giant pitchfork. The narrator is Christopher and he is an autistic teenager. His mom died two years ago.
In the neighborhood, on the night he finds the stabbed dog, Christopher decides to investigate who killed the dog. Christopher investigates about of the murder of the dog by himself. What will he find?
I like this book because it has so much mystery and I get to focus on the story and it is a good story. But sometimes, the story is kind of strange. For example, the chapters are in prime numbers. The text includes drawings. The main character misunderstands people because of his autism.
This book succeeds in maintaining a mystery throughout while giving the reader a deep sense of what it would be like to have a mental condition. In this way, the reader learns a lot.
Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is an intense and profound book to read. This story is set in a society which first appears to be utopian but is revealed to be dystopian as the story continues. The book follows an eleven-year-old boy named Jonas throughout his journey discovering what this society is about.
The citizens of the society Lowry creates can’t see color. When Jonas starts to realizes he can see color, he wonders what this means for him in the future. He’s different from other kids because he can see beyond. Jonas receives the job as a receiver, which means he holds all memory of history. This is isolating. Jonas starts training with this old man known as the Giver. The Giver slowly gives Jonas an idea of what the receiver’s job is. Jonas is scared and confused about why he was chosen as the receiver and as he receives the memories he sees his society is not as “perfect” as it seems.
Lowry came up with the idea of a scary, sterile world where nearly everyone takes drugs so they don’t remember their memories and emotions. In real life, so many have suffered the pain of losing someone. In this book, Lowry considered how much different our existences might be if we didn’t have memories at all. Lowry shows us that when we lose our memories we lose parts of our humanity.
Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling, is a thrilling book that keeps you engaged throughout. After a strange visit from a house elf named Dobby, Harry Potter leaves his terrible human/muggle family to go to his second year at Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dobby warns Harry that if he goes to the school, disaster will strike. And strike it does.
For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageous professor, Gillderoy Lockheart, a moaning girl haunting the bathrooms and the unwanted attention of lots of other students and teachers. But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone or something starts petrifying children. Who could it be?
This is a great book if you are looking for something to read just for fun. It is an action packed book and if you like reading fantasy, this is an awesome book for you.
Title: Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
Author: Stephen Hawking
Written by one of the most admirable theoretical physicists, Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays is a compilation of personal and scientific essays. Taken together, these essays showcase his great achievements, but also his battle with ALS. Unlike Hawking’s earlier bestseller, A Brief History in Time, which is primarily focused on current theories in science, Black Holes and baby Universes and other Essays is a mix of speeches, essays and paradoxes.
At the age of twenty-one during his first year of graduate school at Cambridge, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease (or ALS). This led him to experience a rapid deterioration of function until the point where he could no longer walk. While dealing with his permanent illness, Hawking finished school, married, and began to develop innovative theories of his own, such as black hole emission (otherwise known as Hawking Radiation). Though these essays vary in substance, a prominent theme of perseverance unites the book. It is incredible that a man who is faced with such life threatening difficulties can persevere and be smarter than all of us. Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays isn’t the most science loaded of Hawking’s books, but it is very inspiring.
Title: The War that Saved my Life
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Genre: Historical Fiction
The War that Saved my Life is a book that transports you through an adventure of historical fiction. It is about a ten-year-old crippled girl named Ada living in London during World War II. Ada lives with her little brother and her unstable mother, who is ashamed to let her leave their small London flat. Ada is faced with child abuse and the task of protecting her six-year-old brother from her mother. But when all of London is warned about bombs, her brother’s school organizes for all children to leave and go to live with new families out of harm’s way. Ada has to face the challenge of walking on her crippled foot to get to safety, but that is by no means the end of her adventure. Upon arriving in the countryside, Ada and her brother are sent to live with a stern lonely woman named Susan who lives alone in a big house. Can Ada’s hope and kindness help save not only her brother but also Susan?
I loved the way Kimberly Brubaker Bradley writes from Ada’s point of view. It gives the whole story a very real and inspiring feel. I hope that the next readers of this book enjoy as much as I did, looking at the world through Ada’s eyes.
Title: Warriors Don’t Cry
Author: Melba Pattillo Beals
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Warriors Don’t Cry, by Melba Pattillo Beals, is a heartbreaking, non-fiction book that gave me a deeper understanding of the struggles of African Americans. Warriors Don’t Cry is a memoir about Beals’ experience integrating into Little Rock’s Central High, Little Rock Arkansas, 1957. This book makes me feel as if I am walking the halls of the high school alongside the nine students (known as The Little Rock Nine ). Melba endured situations such as having a stick of dynamite flung at her, being burned in the girl’s restroom, and having acid sprayed into her eyes. She describes all these situations so well that it feels like you are right with her. The book engages your mind by putting you in someone else’s shoes.
The story has many distressing, but real scenes for which you have to be prepared for. There are some slower parts where Melba takes you through all her experiences of integrating Central, so I would not recommend it to anyone who needs a fast-paced story. I would also not recommend this book to anyone who can’t handle the agonizingly real violence portrayed in this book. If you are looking for an engrossing, non-fiction book about the journeys, struggles, and sacrifices black people faced in our history, this is the book for you.
Title: Space Case
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction
Out of all the books I’ve read, Space Case is one of my favorites because it’s very thrilling. Ever wonder what it’s like to live on the moon? Well, the setting of Space Case is on the first human settlement on the moon in the year 2041. The settlers there are mostly scientists and their families. Also, rich tourists pay tons of money to spend a couple months on the moon.
The main character, Dashiell, age 12, hates the moon base, which was advertised as nice and comfortable, but is actually the opposite. Early on, a man named Dr. Holtz is found dead on the surface of the moon with his space suit on wrong. Everyone on the base believes the death was an accident; but Dash thinks different. Because no one believes him, Dash has to quietly investigate by himself. Dash thinks it’s a murder because the night of the murder he heard Dr. Holtz in the bathroom talking excitedly about a new discovery he had just made. Also, Dr. Holtz was very cautious and would not have walked out on the moon surface without someone to check that his suit was on right. Dash is surprised to learn that Dr. Holtz actually had enemies; Dash thought everyone loved him. The final twist will BLOW YOUR MIND!
One thing I like about Space Case is that everyone on the moon base is a suspect. It’s scary that Dash has to solve the murder mystery before the rocket that brought supplies leaves back to Earth in two days; otherwise the killer is still on the loose at the base, which has no way to lock criminals up. I definitely recommend this book for everyone who likes rockets and robots, suspense and excitement, and a good hard-to-put-down mystery.
Title: The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Author: Kelly Barnhill
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a deep story. It makes you think a lot, so I wouldn’t pick it if you want a mindless book. It’s about a girl named Luna who is “enmajicked” and lives with a witch named Xan, a tiny dragon named Fyrian, and a swamp Monster named Glerk. But it is also about a witch called the Sorrow Eater, a boy named Antain, an old man named Gherland, and a girl named Ethyne. All of them have jobs, such as one to kill the witch and one to kill who is planning to kill the witch. This story made me want to cry, laugh, and just throw it down in anger. It’s one of those books where you say, “I’ll read one more page,” and end up reading forty. I like this book because it makes me stop to think, but also is impossible to stop because you are always on your toes.