Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Summary: The book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See illustrates the story of two laotong  pairs, or two similar girls paired together during childhood, Lily and Snow Flower going through many adversities together throughout a peculiar time in Chinese history. Taking place in the Chinese province of Hunan, these two girls must make it through the difficulties of the Taiping Rebellion and the difficult processes of farming. They must bear the harshness of men at the time and their demanding lives, especially when the two girls live in an agricultural area. Being two females, they have sensitive and different personalities then men, but have a hard time expressing them. The two girls persist and make it through one of the hardest times in their province’s history by sticking together and communicating using merely silk fans and a language of their own in their remarkable story of two girls in unforgiving turmoil and the idea of true friendship. Nonetheless, such a glorious friendship begins to die as the two girls seek lives with different purposes in this novel of the battle of friendship and life.

Why I picked it up: I picked this novel up because it had a concise message and an informative historical taste to it. The novel seemed visual and emotionally touching because it was realistic and historical while still being fictional, especially how it described the dying friendship of two close girls.

Why I kept reading it: Although the book was at some points to elaborative on the friendship between the two girls, it was always intriguing to imagine how the girls would survive together from one adversity to the next. The book was easy to visualize especially, which made it better during the tense moments as the girls go through difficult times.

Who I would give it to next: I would give this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, especially historical fiction and books with cinematic stories. Anyone who enjoys thrilling books with easy visualization would enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Ahmed E.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

???????????????????????????Summary: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin illustrates a true story about the author, Greg Mortenson, and his journey to spread peace in the Middle East by building public schools for children. Mortenson firsts starts his journey by promising a nurmadhar, a chief, of a village that he would build a school for their children. This book shows the perpetual friendships Mortenson forged during his trips and demonstrates the distinctive culture and daily life style of the people in Pakistan.

Why I picked it up: To be honest, I was required to pick a book for the enrichment reading program and one of books that was on the list of appropriate books was Three Cups of Tea.

Why I kept reading: I kept reading this book because it was very inspirational and it provided me a window to see the different cultures and lifestyles of people living in Pakistan. And also because I wanted to pass World Core.

Who I would give it to next: I would recommend this book to everyone especially for those who are interested about life and culture in Pakistan and for those who want to make a difference in the world.

Reviewed by Joycelyn H.

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton

Great train robbery coverSummary: The novel is based off a true heist that occurred in England, in the year 1855. The plot follows the masterminds of the crime as they meticulously plan each aspect of a daring plan to steal a shipment of gold as it is being transported by train.

Why I picked it up: I originally picked this book for my Enrichment Reading Project, but now it doubles as my Book Review. I selected it from the long list of ER books because I am interested in criminal minds and reading about their exploits.

Why I kept reading it: The criminals themselves and their actions are the focus of the story, and they almost become the characters that I root for. Every problem they face is laid out, and I start to wonder how they will overcome the difficulties.

Who would I give it to next: Anyone with an interest in criminology or Victorian England should read this book, because it gives quite a lot of historical background to help understand the significance of certain events. Because of the relatively difficult, “old” English used in the book, I would suggest it for more advanced readers