Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

raven boys cover imageSummary: Every teenager is weird. Blue Sargent is just a bit weirder. First off, her name is Blue. She lives in a house full of psychics or feminists or both, most likely both. And she’s been told as long as she can recall that she has a curse on her: if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. Of course, by the time the story rolls around, Blue’s decided she’d never going to fall in love. But then she sees a spirit. And even though she lives in a houseful of psychics, she’s never had any sort of supernatural visions of her own. The spirit is the ghost of a boy who goes to the local private school, Aglionby Academy—a raven boy. She gets his name: Gansey. And then Blue goes on the hunt to warn him, because before the year ends, Gansey is going to die. Gansey, the son of old Virginia money, is much more than he seems. Sure, he has pocket change the size of Blue’s college fund, but he’s on a quest to find the Welsh king Glendower, who sleeps in the Virginia hills, waiting to be woken. There is a reward for the one who wakes him: one wish. The story tracks Blue as she meets Gansey and his circle of raven boys: Adam, a private school boy who isn’t made of money, Ronan, who has a secret that’s eating him up from the inside, and Noah, who is much more than he seems. Altogether, the story involves magic, curses, helicopters, guns, ghosts, visions, and murders. Not in that order. Blue learns about her past, Gansey about his king, and at the end, they all learn the meaning of sacrifice. Because to wake the sleeping king, someone has to die.

Why I picked it up: The name on the cover was the first factor. Maggie Stiefvater. She wrote one of my favorite books, The Scorpio Races. There was some pretty cover art: painting of a raven, an interesting symbol. It didn’t seem like the shelves of books with covers of girls in prom dresses, so I could walk around with this book and not be ashamed of the cover. The plotline seemed odd from the summary. The premise was intriguing enough. But when it came down to it, the author’s name was the biggest factor. Because in Maggie we trust. And she came through with a good book.

Why I kept reading it: The name on the cover was the first factor. Maggie Stiefvater. She wrote one of my favorite books, The Scorpio Races. There was some pretty cover art: painting of a raven, an interesting symbol. It didn’t seem like the shelves of books with covers of girls in prom dresses, so I could walk around with this book and not be ashamed of the cover. The plotline seemed odd from the summary. The premise was intriguing enough. But when it came down to it, the author’s name was the biggest factor. Because in Maggie we trust. And she came through with a good book.

Who I would give it to next: The best thing about this book is that it’s not exclusively a girl book or a boy book. Boys or girls can pick it up and like it perfectly fine. There are guns and violence and quite a few punches, but there’s also magic, seeing into the future, and unraveling mysteries. It feels like Indiana Jones met Lord of the Rings and they weren’t quite sure how to get along. It’s a refresher from shelves full of exclusively girl-oriented or boy-oriented novels. I’ll give it to my brother and see if he likes it.

Reviewed by Disha T.

The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington

Summary: A construction worker, Toni V finds a water can while he was digging. Inside there was a diary that belongs to a girl named Pelly D. The construction workers are not allowed to keep what they find but he becomes curious and starts reading it. At the beginning, Pelly seems like a really shallow girl. She only cares about her image and popularity. One day, the place where she lived made gene testing/genetic testing mandatory and  the types of people were broken up into Atsumisi, Galrezi, and Mazzini. Atsumisi is the highest ranking and Galrezi is the lowest. Pelly discovers that she is a Galzeri along with everyone in her family except for her dad. Everything in her world changes. People at school who are in a higher rank start looking down on her and she loses all the great things she had. This was first an ordinary diary but soon becomes a war diary.

Why I picked it up: The dark cover and the font of the title caught my attention. Also the summary on the back did not give away much information so I became curious what it was about.

Why I kept reading it: The beginning was a little confusing for me but towards the end everything became more clear. Also I wanted to know the ending of the book.

Who would I give it to next: People who like war diaries and sci-fi. This book is pretty unrealistic with things being in the future, but it made me think that this could happen to anyone. Somethings like gene testing can change someone’s life completely and it was interesting to see how it happened.

Reviewed by Amy H.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Summary: If I Stay is a romantic, riveting, and tragic book written by Gayle Forman. This book follows seventeen- years- old Mia who is senior in the high school and has promising career as a cello player. But when Mia goes to road trip with her family, she gets into the car accident that involves her family. After the accident, Mia wakes up and sees her damaged body in the hospital. As she watches her relatives, friends, and boyfriend visits her in the hospital, she realize she has to make decision if she should wake up and live more difficult life or die.

Why I picked it up: I picked this novel because I like tragic books and this book seemed interesting.

Why I kept reading it: I kept reading this book because it was very exciting and interesting. I wanted to know if Mia was going to live, and if she had ability to live.

Who would I give it to next:  I would give this book to my sister, and anyone who likes to read tragic and romantic story.

Reviewed by Aiko K.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Summary: Beatrice Prior, nicknamed Tris, lives in the dystopian city of Chicago. This society is divided into different factions, each standing for its own morals and purpose: Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, and Amity. The day that each citizen becomes sixteen is of utmost importance; it is the day that he or she chooses which faction to join for life. However, there are buried secrets in the history of this isolated society. Tris discovers during a simulation that she is unique- or, as they say, Divergent. As she goes through initiation, she faces the difficulties in training, dealing with other initiates, and the corruptions in the government. The mystery of what being Divergent actually means eludes her. The problems build, providing stepping stones to lead to the climax: an all-out civil war between the factions.

Why I picked it up: My friend, who has a similar taste in novels, recommended it to me. I was intrigued when I started reading the first chapter; it sucked me in from the start.

Why I kept reading it: The plot line was fascinating and fast-paced; it kept me glued to the book. Also, the fact that each faction stood for a human characteristic was certainly interesting.

Who I would give it to next: In a way, this book is slightly reminiscent of The Hunger Games- a teenaged girl protagonist, dystopian society, and budding romance. However, the storyline varies greatly. Fans of The Hunger Games will probably enjoy this.

Reviewed by Nicole W.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary:  A 16-year-old girl from the poorest area of Panem volunteers herself to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are where 24 contestants, 12 boys and 12 girls from the 12 districts of Panem fight to the death on television for the entertainment of the rest of the world. The Hunger Games happen over a period of weeks, and the contestants turn from humans to animals in their fight to survive, all to serve the two purposes of quelling uprising from the Districts and as entertainment.

Why I picked it up:  I picked up The Hunger Games because I had heard fabulous reviews about the book, and decided it was about time to pick it up and see for myself whether or not the stories were true.

Why I kept reading: The novel is rather compelling. Personally, I don’t believe that it was too deserving of the rave reviews it got, but nonetheless it was good reading. The first half of the book is well-paced in that it keeps you anticipating the Games, and the second is compelling because it keeps you guessing, all the time. The story tugs on a good number of heartstrings, as Collins attaches you to certain characters and pits you against others, leaving you crying or cheering with the advent of their fates. Some parts were bland, but that is most likely because I am not one for romantic subplots- otherwise, this is a solid piece of literature that will linger in the hearts of young and old alike, paralleling the success of the Harry Potter and Twilight series.

Who I would give it to next:  Definitely not my parents. Perhaps somebody who enjoys romance and the promise of loves and losses and doubting oneself, but enjoys some truly hyperventilation-worthy action scenes. Or graphic depictions of violence. There are a lot of those.

Reviewed by Sheila K.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary: In the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, the Capitol retains its control over citizens of its 12 districts through a competition dubbed “The Hunger Games.” Participants between the ages of 12 and 18 are drawn randomly, one boy and girl from each district. Those picked are forced into an arena where they literally fight to the death. Only one is allowed to leave. When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister is drawn, she volunteers in her place. In the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss is forced between trying to survive and trying to not lose her humanity.
Why I picked it up: The movie was scheduled to come out and I was recommended to read it by friends.
Why I kept reading it: It was a breath of fresh air, and it’s hard to not cheer Katniss on as you turn the pages.
Who would I give it to next: This is the type of novel that could be enjoyed by anyone of any age.

Catching Fire by Susanne Collins

Summary: Catching Fire is the second book of the Hunger Games Trilogy. Catching Fire is about Katniss’s life after winning the Hunger Games with Peeta. Returning home, Katniss gets a visit from President Snow who basically tells Katniss if she does not make her and Peeta’s love for each other believable, he will kill her family and the people she loves. Peeta purposes to Katniss in front of a huge audience to convince them that Katniss and Peeta’s love for each other is “real”.  On top of that, Katniss gets the news that for the 75th Hunger Games, victors from previous years will be thrown back into the arena to compete once again.

Why I picked it up: I picked this book because I already read the Hunger Games and at the end of Hunger Games it leaves you with a  cliff hanger. So because of that, I had to read Catching Fire to get more background knowledge on things. The Hunger Games was so beautifully written I had a feeling Catching Fire would too.

Why I kept reading it:  I kept reading Catching Fire because I never got bored with it. Every chapter I learned something new about the characters and I likes how I got to learn about the other victors of Hunger Games and not just Peeta and Katniss.

Who would I give it to next: I would give this book to anyone who has read the Hunger Games.