Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler Review by Alyssa Marcum

Beneath the Glitter

 

 

Barnsandnobles.com- From internet stars Elle and Blair Fowler comes a scintillating new novel that takes readers Beneath the Glitter of the glitzy L.A. social scene.

Welcome to a place where dreams are made.  And where nothing—and no one—is ever what it seems.

After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia finds herself torn between a gorgeous bartender and a millionaire playboy and Ava starts dating an A-list actor.  But as they’re about to discover, the life they’ve always dreamed of comes with a cost.

Beneath the glitter of the Hollywood social scene lays a world of ruthless ambition, vicious gossip…and betrayal.  Someone closes to them and they trust is working in the shadows to bring the London sisters down. Once the betrayal is completed, Sophia and Ava find themselves knee-deep in a scandal that could take away everything they care about including the one thing that matters most—each other.

 

The book Beneath the Glitter by Elle and Blair Fowler is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I am personally a “Girly-Girl” so I really enjoyed this book and the beauty theme. The things that stood out the most in this book to me were the authors of this book, the details in this book, and the concept of this book. I love that the authors of this book are famous YouTubers because I feel like it gives me a chance to get to know more about them and it makes them stand out from other authors. I really enjoyed the details in this book because the more details you have, the easier the book is to get into. Lastly, I found the concept of this book very interesting. In this book it is a mixture of different genres and that makes it very interesting.

The first thing that stood out about this book was who the authors are. The authors aren’t just famous YouTubers but they are also sisters. I have watched the sister’s YouTube videos for almost two years now and I already knew a lot about them before I read this book. They have made makeup and beauty videos for almost 4 years now. Allthatglitters21 also known as Elle Fowler currently has over 1,150,000 subscribers and 421 videos. Her sister, juicystar07 also known as Blair Fowler has over 1,500,000 and has 389 videos.  I have enjoyed their videos and I will continue to watch them.

The second thing I enjoyed about this book was the amazing details. I love when a book gives so much detail that you feel like you are seeing the movie in your head. As I read this book, I used the background information that I knew about their lives to help me understand the book a little better. I realized throughout this book there where little things the authors added that has to correspond with the sisters their lives.

The last thing that really captured my attention was the whole concept of this book. This book is very different from other book I’ve read before. It connects the authors’ lives right into the book, such as in an autobiography, but it also has a mixed genre of a romance and crime. In the beginning of this book, it connected to the authors. Example, the character Ava was the younger character with brown hair and she had a little dog named Popcorn and the older character, Sophia, had blonde hair and had a kitten. In Blair’s life she is the younger sister with brown hair and she has a little dog but instead she named it Teddy and Elle is the older sister who has a kitten named Pinecone. Another example in the book is they get discovered and create their own makeup line, just like in really life. In the story, it goes from a story based off of their lives, then it adds in a little romance in the middle and toward the end of the book it becomes a crime novel.

At the end of this book, it had a kind of a questionable ending. What I mean by questionable ending is that, by the end of the book, it gives you information that won’t be revealed until the next book. The second book came out in August and I will diffidently be reading it sometime soon. It is titled Where Beauty Lies. The ending of this book leaves you wondering what is going to happen next and leaves you wanting more.

 

 

 

 

 

Angel by James Patterson reviewed by Alyson Green

“Angel” by James Patterson

 

From Goodreads.com:

“Maximum Ride and her friends have always had each other’s backs because they can’t trust anyone else. No. Matter. What. But now the flock is up against a threat unlike any they’ve ever faced. Just when they need each other the most, Fang is gone. He’s creating his own gang that will replace everyone—including Max.”

 

 

In this novel “Angel” I found out how much friendship really means. I haven’t always stopped to think about how much one person could mean to myself or who would fight for me like the characters in this novel did. It really opened up my eyes and I’ll be thinking differently of people. The way that Max risked her life multiple times is one of the few reason I truly enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed the wonderful setting, theme, and plot of this novel the most and I highly encourage anyone into supernatural books to have a read!

The astounding setting in this book really knocked me off my feet. I couldn’t believe the amazing detail it gave in each place the flock went. When the birdlike people flew in the air it told in mesmerizing detail on how they were two thousand feet in the air and how magnificent the view was looking down on Paris. I could feel the wind in my hair and the coldness on my cheeks while reading about how fast Max had to fly through the tunnel to save all of the world. I feel like the writer of this novel has definitely been in intense situations to have written some such as these in such intense places. The overall setting of the book was fantastic!

While I very much enjoyed the setting of this book the theme really took me buy surprise! I started reading this novel thinking that it would be about a girl who falls madly in love and has a wonderful life. However I could not have been more wrong. The book had a theme of an apocalypse and not the “zombie” kind. When reading it I found out the theme is more of a love story than anything else. Max and Fang struggle with each other while also saving the world and it is all very sweet. Though you have to think there can only be so much romance while trying to deactivate a bomb set off to kill the whole world. I really think the theme overall was to show you have to put your own feeling in front of others, because in the end you are all you can trust.

My personal favorite part of this book has to be the plot. The plot goes into such amazing detail on how each person or bird in this case feels. It tells that Max and Dylan don’t really need to be programmed to love each other. It also tells how Angel really does know what is going to happen and when you look back on it she really does try in everyway possible to keep everyone else safe. Which I think is a very big thing for a seven year-old to do! I am amazed at how much time there was put in to telling who can do what. When the world was coming to and end and all the gang members from each side had to work together they used each of there strengths to there ability. I think that the plot was very well written and detailed.

In conclusion to this book the setting, them, and plot really supirsed me in a wonderful way and I plan on reading James Patterson’s other novels. I recommend this book to anyone who is into supernatural novel’s and any teenager who is going through a time of feeling faced with a tough decision of any kind. I very much enjoyed this novel.

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.

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Reviewed by Summer Jewell

From Goodreads.com
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

     Boom! That’s the sound sound of the abandoned asylum collapsing, crushing Mara Dyer’s best friend and boyfriend. She feels guilty, like she caused the whole thing. These feelings would follow her across the country to Florida, as she is forced to answer the real question; What happened? Was she at fault for her friends’ deaths? A few of my favorite aspects of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer include the highly developed and intense plot, the mysteriously flawed characters, and the diverse mood.

     I very much enjoyed the plot of the book. It was intricate yet slowly developing, as not to be overwhelming. At first, Mara seems to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, suffering with the agressive hallucinations. Soon though, as she is linked to a series of unfortunate events, she and her mysterious love intrest begin to uncover her supernatural abilities. I liked that the author was very descriptive in some instances and vauge in other, to some of the plot secret and mysterious. Throughout the novel, action was built up and became extreme. For example, when she and her Noah (her partner in crime) had to save her younger brother, I was on the edge of my seat.

     Secondly, I enjoyed the characters. In particular, Noah Shaw was my favorite. He is vauge yet understanding, dangerous yet intelligent, with just enough witty humor. Even he has his flaws, though. He comes from a broken family and has an extensive record of times that he’s gotten in trouble. I also became fond of Mara herself. The only problem I had with her was that, though I thought she was portrayed as a particularly strong character she became rather independent throughout the novel. I’m sure this was partly because of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/ Supernatural Powers, but it was a little unnerving.

     Lastly, I liked the mood of the novel. It was set in suburban Florida, which I found interesting. The author successfully reminded me that flaws can be found in normality and otherwise typical society. I liked that the weather changed with the emotions. Specifically, this happened in one instance in which she had come face to face with a malnourished dog and it’s cruel abuser.

     All in all, I think Michelle Hodkin successfully created an amazing novel. I absolutely loved reading it.; It’s one of my favorite books. I would reccomend this to anyone who enjoys the supernatural ( I thought of it like horror meets realistic fiction.). Also, I believe anyone who enjoys reading novels with an underlying romance would like this, because it is there but not neccessarily the main focus. Michelle Hodkin’s writing style reminded me of John Green’s, so his fans might like this as well. This book’s great qualities include, an exciting plot, relatable characters, and a detailed mood.

 
 

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.

Looking For Alaska by John Green, Reviewed by Jocelyn Cabauatan

 

 Looking For Alaska by John Green

From: goodreads.com Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

                                   Who wouldn’t feel terrible about one of their friends passing away? Miles “Pudge” , Chip “The Colonel” , and Takumi were all very good friends with a girl named Alaska until one night something happened. Pudge , Takumi, and the Colonel will forever feel terrible about it happening enough though it was none of their faults .That very thing happened in John Green’s realistic fiction novel Looking For Alaska. My favorite parts about this novel were the captivating vocabulary, the unique characters, and the different scenes that this novel had to offer.

The captivating vocabulary of this novel kept me wanting to read it. It described each and everything from different stand points. For example, at the beginning of the story when Miles first went to “Culver Creek” his parents were pretty up tight about him going to that boarding school and then, through out the book they seemed to realize he liked going to school there and that he had more friends as well. Another good example of the captivating vocabulary usage was when the author was describing the dorm rooms everyone stayed in he described them as a box with cinder-block walls coated thick with white paint. One last example of the captivating vocabulary was when the author was describing the way some of the characters spoke like the police man who had a southern accent and Lara who had a broken English accent.

The unique characters of this novel were probably my favorite to read about. One example, of a unique character was Alaska Young who was one of the main characters of this story Alaska was kind of, a trouble maker who pulled pranks, and did lots of illegal stuff but, she also loved to read which sometimes kept her out of trouble. Another one of my favorite unique characters was Miles “Pudge” because he was a little dorky and had a huge crush on Alaska and also hung out with her a lot along with a few others in his group of friends. Pudge, also remembered last words of people who have passed away which made him unique in my opinion. Chip “The Colonel” stood out to me a lot because he knew almost everything about everyone and he hung out with Alaska and Miles as well and even gave Miles his nickname Pudge at the beginning when he found out they were roommates. Takumi was also a unique character in my opinion, because he was a foreign exchange student from Japan, he has a unique name that sounds different than most, and he liked to have fun with Alaska, Pudge, and The Colonel.

The scenes of this novel were very different from anything I’ve ever read. Some of my favorite scenes to read were when Alaska, Takumi, Pudge, and the Colonel were pranking The Eagle who enforced the school rules a lot , and the Weekday Warriors who were basically another group of kids who pranked. Another one of my favorite scenes to read about was when Alaska talked Pudge into staying at school with her during Thanksgiving break because it took him awhile to commit to doing that but they had a pretty good time together as friends. Lastly, my favorite scene to read about was when Alaska committed suicide because it took her group of friend awhile to figure out why she did so. Reading that scene kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me very suspenseful of why Alaska did that.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this novel because of the unique storyline it gave. I recommend this novel for any teenager or young adult who likes stories that keep them on the edge of their seat. I think that almost anybody would fall in love with this exhilarating novel. Through the use of captivating vocabulary, unique characters, and different scenes I think that John Green has written an amazing novel called Looking For Alaska. I hope more people enjoy reading this novel as much as I did.

 

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.

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn Reviewed by Emilee Evans

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

Summary from amazon.com

The Bar Code Tattoo. Everybody’s getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity. But what if you say no? What if you don’t want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things start happening to her family. There’s no option but to run . . . for her life.

Imagine everyone peer pressuring you to get a tattoo that you feel like it could kill you. Kayla Reed does everyone in her society is required to get a bar code tattoo on their wrist on their seventeenth birthday. Kayla feels like the bar code is the mark of the beast after the traumatic events that have happened to her family. In the novel The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn I enjoyed the theme, plot, and setting.

I enjoyed the theme in this novel which I felt was freedom versus control. I felt that because at the beginning it was like if you wanted the tattoo fine and if you didn’t that’s fine too. After a while Kayla’s society was required to get the tattoo as soon as they turn seventeen and if they didn’t they would be placed in jail and other consequences if they resisted. Kayla felt controlled by her society she felt that if she didn’t want the tattoo she shouldn’t have to. Kayla feels like she should have the freedom to do what she wants. Kayla isn’t the only one who feels that way; Kayla meets a group of students called Decode who are against the tattoo just as Kayla is. So it seems…

I also enjoyed the plot in the novel The Bar Code Tattoo. The plot thickens as the story progresses in every chapter there is a surprising twist and outcomes. Also there is a cliff hanger ending that makes me want the finish the entire series. The novel beings with Kayla’s father comminuting suicide and her mother feels that the bar code is to blame so she tries to burn of her tattoo and causes a house fire that she traumatically dies in leaving Kayla to blame for homicide, after those events Kayla has to skip town and run for life.

Lastly I enjoyed the setting in the novel which was the year 2025 which is only 12 years away. I liked the setting because it made me think what if this really could happen in the future. What if my children will be required to get a tattoo that tracks their ever move when they turn seventeen. Thinking about your future is already hard to imagine and thinks that my society could basically take my freedom is freaky. This novel defiantly made me think about things.

Overall I loved The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn; I would recommend this book to teenagers because I feel that the book would intrigue them about their future giving them different scenarios and ideas about what their future could possibly be like. I also would recommend this book to people who genuinely love dystopian novels. If their like me they’ll enjoy the theme, plot and setting.

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