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Student Book Reviews

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys, 2011                                 

When Soviet soldiers arrest fifteen-year-old Lina in 1941, she is sent to a labor camp in  Siberia  with her mother and younger brother. She worries about her father, who was sent to a camp for Jews in Poland. Drawing becomes a way for her to survive, but also endangers her family. As life  becomes more difficult, everyone must make sacrifices, including Lina. (Historical Fiction)

 Reviewed by Megan 


by Kathy Reichs, 2013

Four high school students with special abilities find an iPad with clues on it and immediately try to decipher them, trapping themselves in a very dangerous game, with many lives on the line. (Science Fiction/Thriller/Mystery)

Reviewed by Michael 


We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart, 2014

Four teens, three houses, and one lie Cady can't seem to remember from summer  sixteen, when  she hit her head. Two years later, she is on the brink of college when images from that distant summer begin to appear in her head after she returns to her family’s island for summer eighteen.  (Mystery)

Reviewed by Anna 


Less Than Zero
by Bret Easton Ellis, 1985

For New Hampshire resident Clay, taking a visit back to his hometown of Los Angeles  isn’t as enjoyable as it is for most people. He returns home to shattered connections,  empty lives
and mind-numbing, never-ending parties and drugs. Clay recounts numerous events, ranging from an  awkward lunch with his mom to discovering the dark path his friend Julian has gone down. (Satire/Drama)

Reviewed by Tristan 






Tuesdays With Morrie
 by Mitch Albom, 1997

Morrie Schwartz, a beloved Brandeis University professor who taught a course called  “The Meaning of Life,” is struggling with 
the fatal disease of ALS, when his former student, Mitch  Albom, bumps  into him in the street. The two men decide to meet every 
Tuesday to talk about  life, money, career, family, love, and death. Reading the book will  give you guidance about facing hardships. (Nonfiction)

Reviewed by Ciara 


by Scott Westerfeld, 2005

Tally Youngblood has just turned 16 and is about to undergo surgery to become a “pretty,” when she meets Shay, another ugly who opens Tally’s eyes to their corrupt society. Tally is forced to choose between the society she knows and a completely different society built on freedom and individuality. (Dystopian Fiction)

Reviewed by Sammy 


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
by Jesse Andrews, 2012

Greg Gaines, a high school senior, has finally figured out the age-old question of how to exist in a school that he despises. His strategy is to keep a low profile while making films with his friend Earl. This plan lasts until Greg’s mom forces him to befriend a girl dying of cancer. This begins what he thinks will be the downward spiral of his life. (realistic fiction)

Reviewed by Emily 


Defending Jacob
by William Landay, 2012

A murder of an 8th grade boy occurs in the small town of Newton, MA. Andy Barber, the district attorney and father of a fellow 8th grader, gets assigned to lead the investigation. However, once his son Jacob becomes the leading suspect, he is taken off the case. The Barber family had no idea what was about to hit them. This will appeal to people who like reading about the legal system. (Mystery)

Reviewed by Bryn 


by Malcolm Gladwell, 2008

When it comes to success, people tend to assume that skill, intelligence, and ambition matter most. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that besides these qualities, culture, family, and upbringing play a huge role. He reveals things like why hockey players are almost never born in fall and why you have never heard of the smartest person in the world. (Nonfiction)

Reviewed by Tess 


A Million Miles Away 
by Lara Avery, 2015

Kelsey has always had a strong connection with her identical twin sister Michelle. When Michele dies in a car accident, Kelsey is devastated. Being the only one who knows of Michelle’s boyfriend Peter, it becomes Kelsey's job to video chat with him during his deployment in Afghanistan. In their first chat, Peter thinks Kelsey is Michelle and reveals that his affection for Michelle is the only thing keeping him alive. (Realistic Fiction)

Reviewed by Daphne 


Something Blue 
by Emily Giffin, 2005

Darcy Rhone, a beautiful but self-obsessed and spoiled thirty-year-old woman, thinks she has her life planned out. She realizes things are not quite as easy as she expected when her lifelong best friend Rachel steals her fiancé, Dex. After fleeing to London, alone and pregnant, Darcy is forced to reconsider her life choices as she begins the journey towards motherhood. (Fiction)

Reviewed by Belle 


The Impossible Knife of Memory 
by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2014

Sixteen-year-old Hayley Kincain is in her senior year of high school and is caregiver to her father, Andy, a veteran of the Iraq war who suffers from PTSD because of his traumatic past. They have never lived in the same place for very long and are always running away from Andy’s demons. When she meets Finn she no longer wants to keep moving because she finally feels as though she can call her house home. (Romance, fantasy, fiction)

Reviewed by Eileen 


Sarah’s Key 
by Tatiana De Rosnay, 2007

In 1942, ten-year-old Sarah is taken from Paris to a Nazi-controlled concentration camp. Sixty years later, American journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article for the French newspaper about Vel’ d'Hiv, the dark day the French allied with Germany, the day no one wanted to remember.  While gathering information, Julia stumbles onto Sarah’s story and the horrible things that were done the to the Jewish people at this time. (Historical Fiction)

Reviewed by Sheridan  


Sorry Not Sorry 
by Naya Rivera, 2016

Naya Rivera, an actress on Glee, writes about never giving up and always doing what you want, no matter what people say. Using her personal experiences to teach others about her dreams, mistakes, and growing up years, she lets readers experience her life as if it were their own. (Memoir)

Reviewed by Kendall 


A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini, 2007

This brilliantly crafted story follows two girls in Afghanistan and how their crazy lives somehow intertwine so they become essential to each other's survival. Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman who marries her off to a much older, abusive man. Many years later, Mariam's husband takes a second wife, a very young girl named Laila who seems to be competition for Mariam. This is a heart- wrenching tear-jerker that shows how strong a mother's love is and how selfless and sacrificial people can be. It opened my eyes to the true plight of women in Afghanistan. (Fiction)

Reviewed by Emily 







by Lois Lowry, 2004

This wonderfully written and descriptive book about a boy who has a gift for healing makes you want to turn the page and keep reading to see what happens next. This book features a meeting of all three characters from the two past books in The Giver series, bringing the worlds together. The story showed me that one person’s sacrifice can save a whole community. (Dystopian Fiction)

Reviewed by Adrian 








Looking for Alaska
by John Green, 2005

When Miles Halter leaves for boarding school in Alabama, he hopes to find a great adventure. Alaska Young, a beautiful, confident, and outgoing girl, not only welcomes him to the school but turns his life upside down. When Alaska suddenly dies in a car crash, Miles and his friends are left shocked and confused. With a wild mix of emotions, these students investigate the event, sort through their own emotions and face the overwhelming question: Where is she now? (Fiction)

Reviewed by Cate 






Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, 2009

In 1937, 21-year-old Pearl and her younger sister May live in Shanghai, the Paris of Asia. They enjoy a carefree life, dressing and eating luxuriously and partying with friends all night. But soon they have to leave the country for America because their father loses all his money gambling and in order to pay his debt he has sold his two daughters to men who want to marry them! Told from the point of view of Pearl, readers tag along on her journey to America and
experience the difficulties she and May face once they arrive. (Historical Fiction)

Reviewed by Chloe 



This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman

The 80 people who share their life philosophies in this book are a diverse group. They provide guidance and wisdom on a vast array of topics, ranging from how to treat pizza delivery guys to what do at the grave of a gang member who has killed your brother. This book is great for readers with or without life troubles and for people wanting to appreciate the small things life has to give. (Nonfiction, Inspiration)

Reviewed by Shannon 


 Pet Sematary
by Stephen King, 1983

After the Creed family moves to a large dream house near the small town of Ludlow the secretive neighbor Jud Crandall informs the family about an odd “pet sematary” behind the house that is, according to Jud, maintained by local teenagers. After the family cat gets hit in the road, Jud brings Louis Creed deep into the woods to bury the cat in an odd way. Little does Louis -- the Creed family’s father -- know what he will eventually turn into because of this place. (Horror)

Reviewed by Aniela Jordan


Saving Zoë
by Alyson Noël, 2007

After Echo’s sister is murdered, the book flashes forward to Echo’s freshman year in high school, where she has to face not only her sister’s friends but also her sister’s ex-boyfriend, who had previously been the number one suspect in her sister’s case. Echo tries to remain a “normal” freshman in high school until her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Marc, gives Echo her sister’s old diary. (Fiction)

Reviewed by Sydney 


The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

by Nagaru Tanigawa, 2003

Haruhi Suzumiya is an eccentric and beautiful girl who dislikes boredom and “has no time for ordinary humans.” To liven up her Japanese high school, she creates a club called the S.O.S. Brigade, whose mission is to find the extraordinary and unknown. Little does she know, some of the members possess otherwordly powers. (Science Fiction)

Reviewed by Thomas 



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