Category Archives: Fifth Period

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis reviewed by Ashton Sparks

 

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

From goodreads.com:

 

The young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story will one day be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school such as, say, how to read or write. Nor has he ever touched a football.

 

What changes? He takes us football, and school, after a rich, Evangelical, Republican family plucks him from the mean streets. Their love is the first great force that alters the world’s perception of the boy, whom they adopt. The second force is the evolution of professional football itself into a game where the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist turns out to be the priceless combination of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side.

 

Who would want to be living either on the streets or just going from place to place staying the night? To me that is no way to live and that is exactly the type of life that Michael Oher was living at the beginning of the novel The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. There are three main things that I enjoyed are the theme. The second is the way I really got a sense of who Michael Oher really is, and the third is the strong protagonist of the novel.

The first thing I really enjoyed was the challenging theme of the novel. To me the theme is that no matter where someone comes from or what type of life they live they do not have to live that way forever. The theme is very strong and inspiring and reaches out to many audiences not just one set group. I feel that this is one of the best themes out of the novels I have read so far this school year. The main theme to me is don’t give up, don’t ever give up. This novel really inspired me to work hard at everything I do, not only to better myself but to make a good life for myself also. Everyone should just remember that no matter how bad things seem they can always get better if you try to make them better.

The second thing element that I enjoyed was the way I really got a sense of who Michael Oher was. At first he wouldn’t talk hardly but then he really came out of his shell. I think that Leigh Anne Tuohy had a lot to do with this. She was the first person he really talked to and would really listen to. Michael Oher was one of the most surprising students that Briarcrest Christian School had ever seen. He had a GPA of 0.6 and didn’t know any of the things that normal students his age had known for years. When they looked at his records his teachers had basically passed him to get him out of their class. Everyone was shocked by the outcome of Michael Oher’s football career.

The third and final thing that I enjoyed was the strong protagonist. I feel that Michael Oher was the protagonist. He is because he went through a big change throughout the story. He went from nothing to one of the best in the NFL. He went from having a crack addicted mother to being adopted by a rich family who treats him like one of their own. His life changed very much for the better and most of it is because of his new found family, the Tuohy’s. The story behind Michael and his career is absolutely wonderful and really shows how anyone can change and make things better.

Overall the novel was great and inspiring. I enjoyed most everything about it. I recommend this book to anywhere from middle school and up. It is great for all audiences and I think it will open up some people’s eyes and inspire them to do better and make a better life for themselves. The challenging theme, the way I got to really know Michael, and the strong protagonist were the three things I enjoyed most of this novel. Michael Oher is definitely a strong character and his story can really make people think about their lives and think about how to make their lives better. Altogether I enjoyed his novel very much.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson , Reviewed by Taylor Page

                                                                             Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
From Goodreads.com:
Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new kid, a girl, boldly crosses over to the boys’ side of the playground and outruns everyone.
That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn’t matter to Jess that Leslie dresses funny , or that her family has a lot of money — but no TV. Leslie has an imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie had given him.

Who wouldn’t want a magical kingdom that had everything a person could imagine? This is the very idea that brings Leslie and Jess together in Katherine Paterson’s book Bridge to Terabithia, where two lives are bridged, and nothing will be the same. “A place just for us” says Leslie. This book tells the story of two friends with very different backgrounds that bond and create a fantasy land called Terabithia. While I enjoyed the entire novel, I most enjoyed the interesting theme, exciting setting and great characters.

I loved the challenging themes presented in the book. Bridge to Terabithia is expressed in a very interesting way. Jess and Leslie’s friendship is the central theme of the story .Their friendship is delightful on a simple level, with their amusement and joy. However, Jess and Leslie’s friendship is so magical because it allows them to rejoice in childhood and to escape pressures that bear down on them so heavily in the rest of their lives. This is the essential beauty of their friendship: it allows Leslie and Jess to find their true selves. For example both characters are outcast and Jess, in particular, has a life full of hard work. Terabithia was a unique way to reveal the theme of the story.

The setting was something I also enjoyed in this story. Terabithia stands as a symbol of childhood, a perfect world in which children can rule without heavy responsibility of adulthood. No bad can touch the rulers of Terabithia. Terabithia helps Jess and Leslie escape there tackles in life but Terabithia is not a complete sanctuary, it is proven by Leslie’s death. She drowns in the creek, the border between the perfect world of Terabithia and the hard world of reality. By the end of the novel Jess comes to understand that he must not depend on Terabithia as an escape, but to handle his life problems head on.

The third element that most caught my attention was the characters in the book. Jess and Leslie meet at the very beginning of the novel when Leslie out runs all the boys at school .Jess Aarons is a talented and intelligent kid .He is the main character and protagonist of the novel .When Leslie moves next door Jess is lonely and lost in the middle of a family of four girls. Leslie is a also highly intelligent and imaginative, it is her idea to build the fantasy land Terabithia. The two characters have a special click that compares their personalities, lifestyles, and relationships. The gender roles caught my attention as well. Each Jess and Leslie are expected to fit into a mold but in Bridge to Terabithia it shows that neither characters have to have a certain role but they can be themselves without gender stereotypes .

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and intend to keep reading the authors books. I recommend this book to teens that enjoy a book that goes in too deep thought and who love books about friendship. I think this novel would make great discussion while it challenges you to think about the life of reality and a perfect world. Through the use of strong theme, unique setting and awesome characters, Katherine Paterson has created a winner in her book Bridge to Terabithia.

The Secret Year Shelbee Balentine

                       The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard.

Shelbee  Balentine           Goodreads.com        5th period.

Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly. Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one,not even Julia’s boyfriend, knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can’t mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia’s journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he’s desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

Who doesn’t want somebody to be close too, to share everything with. That’s every teenagers dream. Imagine though if the one person you cared about was forced to be a secret, then one day after a year of secrecy .. was gone. Love is a emotion that’s natural and uncontrollable. This is the challenge in the novel The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard. There is a series to this book which I plan to continue, although I think I will have to order them. Although I loved the whole book, the three things the popped out the most to me were characters, plot, and setting!

There were many charcters in this book, and of course the all played a role in the book somehow but the people who played the biggest role was of course the protagonist Colt and Julia, who fought with the antagonist Julia’s real boyfriend. I think I loved the characters so much because I personally felt a connection to them. Maybe it was because I had a relationship that was secret or just that it is based on teenagers. To me Colt was the character that stood out the most, although he didn’t say much I could picture him extremely well in my head. Although you aren’t suppose to judge a book by it’s cover the cover of this book made me get an extremely good picture of Colt. Then reading into the book I got to know his personality. The way he could keep a secret, was short, and extremely spontaneous made him even more attractive. I guess you could say he is my book boyfriend.

 

My second favorite thing was the plot. The main conflict was Julia dying, although throughout the whole novel there was more leading up to that. The first conflict I noticed was Julia’s boyfriend, who was very controlling, and had a drinking problem. This effected the whole story. This wasn’t the only thing that kept Colt and Julia apart though, it was like a modern day Romeo and Juliet. The fact that they had two different lifestyles effected them majorly. Then leading up to that was Julia dying this effected Colt tremendously because he didn’t want to believe it, then on top of that he had to pretend he didn’t care. Could you imagine somebody you had shared everything with for a year, being gone, and having to pretend nothing was there? Lastly, it was her brother finding out who he was and giving Colt Julia’s notebook. I’ve already said to much though. To see what’s inside you will have to read this fabulous novel.

 

Lastly, I feel in love with the setting. It was so creative, it was like modern day with a 1950’s twist. Colt’s life leaned more two the 1950’s and Julia’s was more modern day. The scenes of them meeting at the river for the first time captured the whole book. I just caught my attention. I just tried to imagine how thrilling that would be. Throughout some of the scenes you could defiantly tell it was meant to be young adult novel. It had some very detailed scenes, and journal entry’s from Julia! I also imagined myself in the scene of Julia dying, but I imagined myself as Colt. Then I felt the scene as being very cold, and confused which is a well known emotion to me.

 

Overall I enjoyed this book very much, and would recommend to anybody fourteen and u/ Although none of the vocabulary is extremely confusing some of the scenes are a little vulgar. This book will most defiantly have you hooked until the last page if you like anything with a young teenage thrill. I recommend it to anybody who can imagine themselves as a character in a book, and likes to question things. Colt is a great book boyfriend, and a strong minded individual. I loved the whole novel The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard but through it she creates interesting strong minded characters, extremely exciting plot, and very different setting!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, reviewed by Caleb Lawson

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From Amazon.com:

In 1922, F Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new-something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned.” That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he his best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s-and his country’s-most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

Imagine yourself living the dream, fortune, fame, but missing the only thing you truly care about, true love. This is the feeling that millionaire Jay Gatsby has to live with. He has everything you could ever dream of: a huge mansion in New York, millions of dollars, and large amounts of fame. The only thing he is missing is his one true love. In this 20th century literary classic, The Great Gatsby, my three favorite points were the vocabulary, the protagonist, and the plot.

In The Great Gatsby, the vocabulary was obviously of the early 20th century. This book was first published in 1925 and is set in 1922. Through the use of the wonderful period vocabulary, I was able to really immerse myself into this book. The vocabulary was very adult, however this did not make the book difficult to read. The Great Gatsby enlarged my vocabulary greatly. I love the way this book was written and would not change a word.

Another one of my favorite points was the protagonist, the one and only Jay Gatsby. Gatsby, apart from being one of the wealthiest men in America, was a very relatable character. The one thing he wanted was the one thing he could not have, true love, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby had an adventurous life from a very young age. He ran away from home when he was only a teenager. After living a very impoverished life, he decided to join the army. He first met daisy at a military ball at Daisy’s house. Gatsby was instantly enchanted. When he left to fight overseas, Daisy got married to another man, Tom Buchanan. Gatsby was very jealous of Tom and would do anything he could to get Daisy back. Gatsby’s jealousy eventually led to his downfall.

My third favorite point of the novel was the plot. The plot is something that nearly everyone who has loved and lost can relate to. It is about the longing for something you can not have. This plot was very enticing and had no slow points. It always keeps you guessing and is never predictable. Nick Carraway, our narrator, rents a house in Long Island next to the phantasmagorical mansion of the millionaire Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is famous for throwing magnificent parties. It is known that no one is actually invited to these parties, they just kind of show up. One afternoon Nick receives an invitation to one of his parties, the only invitation Gatsby has ever given. When Nick starts attending more and more of Gatsby’s parties he discovers the true meaning of them. Gatsby is hoping that Daisy, a past love, will show up. When Gatsby finally does manage to meet with Daisy, things do not go quite as expected. After their first meeting in five years, things slowly start to fall apart for our protagonist, Jay Gatsby, and his love, Daisy Buchanan.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good classic book. This book is a very sobering tale of the real world and how love may not always be what you expected. F. Scott Fitzgerald has written a true classic of the twentieth-century. Though I enjoyed the entire novel, my three favorite points were the vocabulary, protagonist, and the plot.

Written by Khair Khana reviewed by Georgianna Evans

There are many characters in the book.I really like Kamilia she’s my favorite character.All of the characters had a voice, but weren’t as brave as Kamilia. She would get an ideal, and follow through with, or without her sisters help.

 

The story was in a conversational story telling tone.Throughout the whole book I was interested, I am glad that I choose that autobiography to read.The tone was kept up through the book also.Usually authors changs the tone, but not in this book.There were sad parts in the book like when tbr Taliban finally took over.

 

The details in the book were vivid.The explained everything very well.When the nine sisters started to make dresses the author explained, exactly what they looked like.Also while reading I sometimes have a hard time invisioning what the author is talking anout.In “The Dressmaker” I could understand everything

 

I liked the book a lot it was a great book.  Anyone could read it, I liked how the characters, and the tone fit together. The details were great also. The author made a lot of good points through the book.

Marley and Me reviewed by Tomi Nelson

From: The inside of the book.

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house, and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow fur ball of a puppy. Life would never be quite the same.
Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good- Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”

And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was their when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning the hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.

Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

So most people have seen this movie right? Yes, but have they read the book? Most likely not, let me ask them this. Do they know the feeling of losing their best friend while watching them suffer after spending being with them their whole life almost? This is the idea put into the awarding winning novel Marley and Me by John Grogan. Well I decided to read it myself and it was one amazingly heartfelt book throughout the interactive characters, amazing plot, and touching conflict.

The interaction of the characters is just so unbelievable. There are so many characters in this book, but the two that really caught my eye was mainly John Grogan and his puppy Marley. John is a journalist that has found deep love and care for Marley even though he goes through many life challenges with him. Marley is one destructive and energetic puppy that grows into an even more destructive dog, but is also very lively and loyal to his owner. He teaches John many life lessons and the value of friendship. Yes I know it’s crazy, but it’s true. I find it hard to believe that anybody wouldn’t fall in love with these two throughout this novel.

The amazing plot is really what got me and led me to keep reading. I didn’t really expect anything that happened in this book, but I liked the way it kept me on the edge and wanting to know. It all started out with the lovely married couple John and Jenny and it was only ten months after their marriage that they decided to little lovable puppy to have as their own. That’s not how it turned out though because not long after they got the puppy that they thought if they should get rid of him or not. Well they decided to keep him even though he was described as the worst dog ever. None of this mattered in the end after having three children and having a family that loved him no matter what happened. I believe if anybody was to read this book that they would fall with the plot as much as I did.

The touching conflict really got ahold of my heart because I had so many ways to connect to it. The way they used the dog in the story made me think of a dog I use to have and all the obstacles we went through together. When Marley becomes very weak and ill I love the way how the whole family sticks by his side. Marley goes through so many obstacles in his life leading up to his illness like getting to mess up things around the house as a puppy, especially when he was alone. John and Kelly along with the three children that come along throughout the story fell in love with this dog at first sight and couldn’t watch him suffer anymore. So I believe who ever reads this book will connect to it just as much as I did.

Overall I thoroughly loved this book and was so heartbroken when I got to the end. So to anyone who has watched the movie or not I really recommend that they read the book because it will get them more than the movie ever will. Also if there are any pet lovers out there I’m sure this book will grad ahold of your heart throughout the interactive characters, amazing plot, and toughing conflict. I would have to say that John Grogan created one amazing award wining novel.

 

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare Reviewed by Krista Ellis

To save her mother’s life, Clary travels to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – nevermind that by doing so she is breaking the Law, which could mean death. Even worse, Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by Shadowhunters who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who an ally in the mysterious Sebastian, who holds a strange attraction for her. As Valentine musters a demon army, can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their ancient hatred and work together? And can Clary harness her newfound powers to help save them all – whatever the cost?

In the third book of the City of Bones series, Clary and the gang travel to the Shadowhunter homeland of Idris, even though Jace doesn’t like the idea of Clary going to Alicante, Idris’s capitol and only city. We meet dome new characters too, like Luke’s sister Amatis, the new Inquisitor and Jace, Isabelle and Alec’s childhood friends, the lovely and very striking Aline and tall and handsome Sebastian. Although I really enjoyed everything, I really liked the setting and the vocabulary but didn’t catch the theme, which kind of confuses me a bit about what it is though… anyway lets continue.

Lets start out with discussing the setting. I actually really liked it, but I’m not gonna lie I was actually thinking it wasn’t going to like it, I completely changed my mind after reading the novel. Anyway I did really enjoy the nove, where it started out in New York and within 4 to 5 chapters into it, the characters were in Idris. And thanks to the great vocabulary, it was easy to visualize what Alicante is like, Old-fashioned and classy. I hope to get more of a good setting in the next book in the series. I would like to visualize more of The City of Glass, Alicante.

Next lets talk about the absolutely brilliant vocabulary choices Cassandra Clare uses. I am absolutely in love with it because it is easy to visualize what is going on in the novel. Lets just say if I can envision what is going on, on the page I easily fall in love with the novel. And if a  novel has a series to it then I’ll have a reading palooza in my room. I remember in the book where the big battle scene between the Shadowhunters and Valentine’s demon army, I love the fact that the author had described Magnus and Alec fighting about Magnus wanting to meet Alec’s family, because Magnus is in love with Jace and then out of nowhere a few dozen demons show up, then Alec says “If we survive this you can meet my entire family.” It was full of humor in a serious situation which I thought was just brilliant.

Then last but certainly not least, it’s time for the theme. I really didn’t like it because I can’t really figure out what it was. Now if i would have figured it out then I probably would have liked it more. But since I didn’t we’ll never know. Although if I could have figured out what it is, I would say it is “Fight for what you believe is right.” Because it is the same story line as the first two books. But in a way I think it is a strong message to give.

Overall… I really enjoyed City of Glass and recommend it for other students because I really think they will enjoy it. Due to its wonderful setting, visual vocabulary and mysterious theme I believe Cassandra Clare really has talent with her writing and is very creative. She is now one of my favorit authors to look up, and I just want to say She has done an incredible job with making people happy.

-K.L.Ellis

The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Reviewed by Shaylan Jewell

 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

From Goodreads.com:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade — a large, expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’re closed tight. And every thirty days, a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up — the first girl to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Imagine waking up in a dark elevator with no knowledge of the reason behind it and with no knowledge of where the elevator is headed. In James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, a teenage boy named Thomas opens his eyes to realize that he’s being transported to a large courtyard filled with boys his age. The boys seem very strange to Thomas. They say words that are unfamiliar to him, and they treat him like a child. With Thomas being the new kid in the Glade, he must start his life from scratch and quickly learn the customs of the other boys. Set in a post-apocalyptic society, the novel tells the true meaning of friendship and brotherhood, and the struggle to keep fighting despite the tragic deaths of close friends. While I enjoyed the entire novel, I absolutely loved the creative vocabulary, descriptive setting, and heart-warming characters.

The unique vocabulary that James Dashner used in this novel really fascinated me. When Thomas first arrived at the Glade, he had no idea what the boys were saying. For instance, the Gladers repeatedly said the words, “shank”, “shuck”, and “Greenie.” Due to the fact that no one in the Glades remembers their past, they made up their own kind of language. “Shank” and “shuck” are used as curse words in their community, and the boys are constantly calling Thomas a “Greenie” because he is the newest addition to the Glade. Although these new words took time to get used to, they were great aspects of this novel. Sometimes I have to stop myself from saying these words in public!

The second most appealing element of The Maze Runner was the natural setting. Because they all live in the center of a maze, the characters live outside. The weather never changes in the Glade; it is always warm and sunny. There are no adults there, so the boys made their own community. In their community, there is a graveyard, a garden, a kitchen, and a small house. The novel has a post-apocalyptic setting, so everything there is make-shift and natural. The entire setting is very earthy, which makes The Maze Runner very unique.

Lastly, I enjoyed the heart-warming characters. Particularly, I loved the characters’ relationships throughout the novel. In the beginning, they were all unfamiliar with Thomas, but as the story progressed I could definitely tell they had grown closer. I found myself getting extremely emotionally attached to each character, so it was hard for me to read about the many deaths. As the number of deaths increased, it became easier to realize just how much the characters cared for one another. James Dashner made sure that the reader could feel the characters’ emotions while reading The Maze Runner.

Overall this was an incredible read, and I recommend it to all young adults. James Dashner definitely did not disappoint me with this novel. I plan on reading the other two books in this trilogy very soon, because this book’s ending left many questions unanswered. I’m sure that people my age will also enjoy this novel, because it includes a lot of action. Also, I know that girls will be interested in this book, because it contains a bit of romance. This book includes many elements that I’m sure students would enjoy, and I believe that’s why The Maze Runner is such a popular teen fiction book now. Containing an interesting vocabulary usage, an earthy setting, and a beautiful group of characters, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner was a fantastic read.

American Sniper by Chris Kyle reviewed by Samuel Justice

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Summary from garfieldlibraries.org

He is the deadliest American sniper ever, called “the devil” by the enemies he hunted and “the legend” by his Navy SEAL brothers.

From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyle’s kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.

Imagine being such a great warrior your allies call you “The Legend” and enemies call you ”The Devil”. This is the case for United States Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history. In the autobiography American Sniper Chris Kyle tells of his childhood, and of the time of service he gave in the Navy. After the battles he fought in in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Sadr City he had the most confirmed kills, numbering more then 150. The exact number is not verified. Along the way he saved countless lives, and in the end his only wish was I wish I could of only saved more. He was awarded with two silver stars and five bronze stars for bravery, and received the Grateful nation Award. Chris Kyle has truly captured his amazing story through Setting that make you feel as though readers are there, themes that inspire , and vocabulary that describes every moment as though the reader can see it.

 

 

One of my favorite parts of this book was how well the setting were described. While reading I could imagine the views and the scenarios the author was in as if it were me. This is especially true for moment that really stuck with the author such as his first kill and when one of his brother-in-arms had fallen beside him. Here are some examples of his words.

“I looked through the scope of the Sniper Rifle, Scanning down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yards away, woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child.

It was my job to protect them. My platoon had taken over the building earlier in the day, sneaking into position to provide “overwatch”- prevent the enemy from ambushing the Marines as they came through. It didn’t seem like too difficult a task- if anything, I was glad

It was clear that not only did she want to kill them, but she didn’t care about anybody else nearby who would have been blown up by the grenade or kissed in the firefight. Children on the street, people in the houses, maybe her child…

She was too blinded by evil to consider them. She just wanted Americans dead, no matter what.

My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul. I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job. But I truly, deeply hated the evil that woman possessed. I hate it to this day.

The rifle I was holding was a .300 WinMag, a bolt-action, precision sniper weapon that belonged to my platoon chief. He’d been covering the street for a while and needed a break. He showed a great deal of confidence in me by choosing me to spot him and take the gun. I was still a new guy, a newbie or rookie in the Teams. By SEAL standards, I had yet to be fully tested.

We were on the roof of an old rundown building at the edge of a town the Marines were going to pass through. The wind kicked dirt and papers across the battered road below us. The place smelled like a sewer- the stench of Iraq was one thing I’d never get used to.

I looked through the scope. The only people who were moving were the woman and maybe a child or two nearby. I watched our troops pull up. Ten young, proud Marines in uniform got out of their vehicles and gathered for a foot patrol. As the Americans organized, the woman took something from beneath her clothes, and yanked at it.

She’s set a grenade. I didn’t realize it at first.

“Looks yellow,” I told the chief, describing what I saw as he watched himself. “It’s yellow, the body-”

“She’s got a grenade,” said the chief. “That’s a Chinese grenade.”

“Take a shot.”

“But-”

“Shoot. Get the Grenade. The Marines-”

I hesitated. Someone was trying to get the Marines on the radio, but we couldn’t reach them They were coming down the street, heading toward the woman.

I pushed my finger against the trigger. The bullet leapt out. I shot. The grenade dropped. I fired again as the grenade blew up. It was the first time I’d killed anyone while I was on the sniper rifle. And the first time in Iraq- and the only time- I killed anyone other than a male combatant.”

This is just one example. I had to cut a lot out so it wouldn’t take up so much room, but I can see the scenario in my head still yet. This book gave some of the best setting I have read.

 

Besides the setting I really enjoyed the themes as well. The theme is one of my favorites. It says to never give up. If more people went by this phrase the world might be a little bit of a better place. In today’s time it seems like if it is to hard society just tells you to give up.  Another theme I think the book portrayed was do your very best, give everything you got. It goes along with first, and if people did this a lot more could be accomplished instead of just giving a little bit. I believe the author did a great job in delivering these themes. If you are one who agrees with them then I would definitely recommend this book to you.

 

The author did an outstanding job on the vocabulary. In each situation he chose words that showed readers exactly what he was feeling instead of general words such as happy, sad, and mad. He especially delivered this in moments of sorrow. I can remember how vividly he described his feeling when he thought his daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia, and when his fellow SEALs Marc Lee and Ryan. In these moments, even though you had no clue who these people are, the reader could feel on a lower level of what the author was feeling.

 

In the end I really enjoyed this book, and hope to read many more like it. This book is very near the top of the list for my favorite books. I recommend this to readers who enjoy military books especially. If you like a book with constant action and event taking place this the book for you. Through theme, setting, and vocabulary Chris Kyle has written a true winner with his book American Sniper.

Reached by Ally Condie,Reviewed by Cody Adkins

Reached by Ally Condie

From Goodreads.com:

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

What would it feel like to be part of The Rising? How would it feel to find the cure for hundreds of sick people? These are the ideas challenged in Ally Condie’s book Reached, the last novel in a series that deals with true love, and what happens when a society will go to any lengths to find the cure for many of its sick residents. Set in an advanced, dystopian society, the novel tells the story of young adults who are challenged with finding a cure and finding out who their true love really is. Also, they are presented with a new leader, a leader that seems to be an anonymous person. While I enjoyed the entire book, I most enjoyed the themes, setting and unique vocabulary that it included.

I really enjoyed the challenging themes presented in the book, and I think some of these themes can relate to people in this world. For example, the three main characters in this novel are presented with the challenge of finding a cure for many of the society’s still people. They are introduced to many tough obstacles and several deaths along the way. As impossible and unbearable as that sounds, they find the cure and help save many of its people. Another example, is when yet again the novel focuses on the love triangle between Cassia, Ky and Xander. Cassia has to choose between Ky or Xander, but it might be easier than most of the readers think. In my opinion, the main theme of Reached is don’t let anything stop us from true happiness and always fight for what’s right.

The setting was a second element that I enjoyed in this novel. Like most dystopian novels, the setting is a city of the future. In this book, the setting was not just the society, but Reached had several settings within it. For example, The Rising was the main setting in this novel. The society is unraveled in the wake of a terrible plague that reminds everyone just what is really at the heart of the struggle. The story is framed with Xander and Ky both fighting on the side of The Rising to free the society, where both get to see the power of a force more destructive than any one could have ever imagined. In my perspective, The Rising was just a dark, sick and sometimes a scary place to be in. Although the settings were like this, I really enjoyed the settings and the various descriptions that it included.

The third element of the novel that I most enjoyed was the unique language and vocabulary of the novel. While the primary audience is young adult, the language in not dumbed down in any way. There is strong vocabulary and active description throughout the book. For example, “ You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all.” This is a direct quote from Cassia that explains change and courage. Another example, “There is ebb and flow. Leaving and coming. Flight and fall. Sing and silent. Reaching and reached.” This is another direct quote from Cassia and it is the last sentence of Reached. Also, Ally Condie has mentioned and/or quoted from several works of art such as Girl Fishing at San Vigilio, by John Singer Sargent and “ I Did Not Reach Thee” by Emily Dickinson. In my opinion, I liked how the novel was in Xander, Ky and Cassia’s point of view. Cassia and other characters of the book certainly have a unique use of vocabulary that stated both the themes and the setting of the book.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and I am sad to see that this is the last novel of the Matched trilogy. I recommend this book for teens who like action filled books about love, survival and futuristic settings. I don’t recommend this novel to readers who don’t like novels about romance, deaths and futuristic settings. Also, I would recommend this as a TENSE BOOK and I would give it four out of five stars. The characters are definitely strong people who can demonstrate that to us as readers. Through the use of strong and relatable themes, unusual setting and unique vocabulary, Ally Condie has created a winner in her book Reached.

Written by Cody Adkins