Going Bovine By Libba Bray

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The book, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, orbits around the illusions of 16 year old Cameron Smith as he is slowly taken over by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human equivalent to mad cow’s disease. His story begins after he accepts a quest offered by Dulcie, a literal pink “punk rock” angel, to engage in an exorbitant adventure find Dr. X, the time traveling physicist who triggered the end of the universe via his excessive trips across dimensions through the means of wormholes. Along with Gonzo, his neurotic hospital roommate affected with dwarfism, the sudden appearances of Dulcie, and random signs of guidance, Cameron goes on a utopian road trip to Disney World, the location of Dr. X’s secret laboratory. En route, they meet Balder, a Norse god cursed to appear in the form of a lawn gnome, escape the ever appearing theoretical fire dragons commanded by the Wizard of Reckoning, encounter a mysterious cult, meet the acquaintance of several physicists and fight against a notorious snow globe corporation. At their final destination, Cameron realizes his true identity and twist that shakes the reader’s entire perspective of the book is revealed. The book offers valuable insight to the true meaning of life and leaves the reader wondering even af6512140ter the last page, regardless of the number of times, has been turned.

 

The novel brings up unpopular yet eye-opening perspectives on modern education, religious cults, as well as American materialism, and includes several references to wormholes and string theory. Its overall bold quirkiness and unpredictable storyline also added to the book’s appeal. The unexpected twists and turns of the plot made the book more intriguing and harder to put down. Although the book supports several disliked opinions and contains varying degrees of profanity, it offers stimulating views on various topics trending in modern culture. The book invites the reader to be more curious as to how a character ends up. I would recommend this book to readers interested in profound, vivid and yet cryptic dark comic tragedy.

 

Reviewed by Sritharini R.

 

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I Am malala by Malala Yousafzai (with Christina Lamb)

 

Summary: I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, is by Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from Swat Valley, who is standing up for girls rights and education against the Taliban. I am Malala is an autobiography that describes the hardships of living under the Taliban, and the ways Malala herself stood up against their bans on the things that women could do, such as being educated. This book is her journey through her life that started peacefully without the Taliban, and then as the Taliban gains power how life changed and instead of doing as the Taliban wanted and keeping safe, she spoke up against the inequalities and stood up for women’s rights. It shows her dedication to a safer and educated world for not only girls, but boys as well. Not just children but adults. Even after being moved to England, she continues to fight for education.
I thought this book was amazing because Malala was 12 year old girl that impacted the world so greatly and in such a positive way. It shows how a girl who doesn’t let go of her hopes and dreams can achieve so much, even though they are from a humble background. The book was very informative and encouraging. Malala talks about all the things that are going on as she struggles against the Taliban with her father and a few other outspoken individuals.
I agree with Malala’s opinions, that every child and adult should be given an education because it is their right. No matter the gender of a person, people have a right to being informed, and it is crucial world that people are educated. A common theme is that people should be informed and educated. That people should have the rights that they deserve, rights that all people should have because they are human.
I believe this book is encouraging and that it really shows a human face to this great international hero that Malala has become. It also shows the hardships that people face, living under the Taliban and breaks the many stereotypes that people have gained of Muslim people. I really liked this book, because Malala spoke out through this book to show people what was really going on in the Middle East. Many people have a very withdr51dVLcrS0gL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_awn perspective on what is going on in the Middle East. They don’t really understand what it is like to live there, but I am Malala can change this spectator view and show what is really going on. Living in America, or really anywhere not in the Middle East, it is hard to be able to “walk” in these people’s shoes. We don’t know what it’s like, but through Malala, we can understand. I would definitely recommend this to everyone. I believe that everyone should read this book, not just because of the ideas that Malala Yousafzai talks about, but also because it is an incredibly encouraging and life changing story.

 

I picked up this book because I was curious to learn about Malala Yousafzai. It was wonderful to see someone my age, though at the time younger, to go through these hardships that she faced and still keep fighting for something that is so dear to her heart, and because of her struggles and her continuous efforts has changed the world for the better in so many ways. Malala Yousafzai’s tale is an encouraging tale, and I would recommend it to everyone. Malala’s story is sure to grab anyone’s attention, and it can really change a person’s perspective as well as help them make a difference in their own community.

Reviewed by Rabia kamal

The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch

 

Summary: In Jeff Hirsch’s novel The Darkest Path, In a dystopian version of America’s future,  Callum Roe, a sixteen- year-old former child soldier struggling to survive in the midst of the Second American Civil War, which is between the Glorious path who wanted total control over America, and the U.S federal army who wants to restore peace and is the remainder of America’s army. Callum and his brother (James Roe) were taken away from their family 5 years ago and were forced to serve in the Glorious Path, but when Callum finds out what is in store for them in the future, he escapes into a long and tiring journey to seek his long-lost parents with the odds of survival stacked against him. Sadly, his brother James doesn’t believe him and decides to remain in the Glorious path. Along Callum’s 2,147 mile journey from Arizona to New York (location of the U.S federal army) he befriends a dog named Bear and murders his Commander/trainer who was going to train him into a killing machine. Together, they must overcome fate’s test for friendship, betrayal, and loyalty in ways you would never think were ever possible.9780545512237_xlg

 I decided to read this book because of its positive reviews by the people who read it and an interview of Jeff hirsch talking about the book. Another reason is because Jeff Hirsch is one of my favorite authors when it comes to books, one of his most recent books was the eleventh plague, which received some rewards and a lot of amazing reviews for it. Amazingly, The Darkest Path showed some signs of similarity to the eleventh plague genre-wise, which made me think Jeff Hirsch likes post-apocalyptic subjects. One reason why I kept reading The Darkest Path was because I was so intrigued with the plot due to its fast paced/heart pounding events and how it kept me at the edge of my seat…literally. Secondly, The Darkest Path got me so emotionally hooked, I had to shed a few tears along the way to process the unfortunate moments the book has to offer which was not common when I read books! Lastly, as I continued to read Jeff Hirsch’s story, I got pulled into Callum’s point of view and felt, saw, heard, smelled, and tasted throughout his journey. I believe this is for anyone who wants a face paced, heart pounding, and emotional ride into a post-apocalyptic version of America’s future. I would also recommend this book for fiction/adventure readers, if you are not looking for any of these, I would definitely still pick it up because trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Reviewed by Edmund W.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy-Jackson-The-Lightning-Thief-Original-CoverThe Lightning Thief, the first book of the Percy Jackson series, is written by Rick Riordan. He has also written two other series, one about Egyptian mythology and the other about Greek as well as Roman mythology.  The Lightning Thief is a fantasy fiction, revolving around Greek Mythology. Riordan uses the three powerful Greek gods: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades as well as the Titan Kronos to play major roles in this novel. This fictional book is based on a dyslexic 6th grade boy, finding out that he is a half-blood, meaning his father is a god, however his mother is a human mortal. This boy, named Percy Jackson, finds out that he is not a normal human. He is taken to a camp to be trained to face evils that he will face in the future. As the title states the Lightning Thief, this book is about a thief who stole the Lightning Bolt, a symbol of power, from the Greek god, Zeus, in order to ignite a significant war against the powerful gods. The ending of this novel, is left at a cliff-hanger as the thief is known only to Percy. The overall theme of this book is associated with the motif of identity. Riordan suggests that the theme of the novel is: identity should be recognized as life progresses, rather than at rough times of life. This fictional book talks about a young boy and his ambiguity of his reality. This novel is really interesting as a boy in middle school finds his real parents and sets out on adventurous journey to help a god. This is an action packed book which ensures that the reader doesn’t get bored at any point of the plot. The only question that this book would raise in a reader, is, “What happens next?” By ending the plot with a cliff-hanger, Riordan compels the reader to continue reading the next book in the series. In my opinion, this book lacks nothing. It is both relatable as well as action-filled. By visualizing the plot of the novel, I personally find it amusing to read this book. I love this book, because it is fascinating to portray in my mind. As the plot deepens, so does my attention to detail as I visualize the images of the plot in my mind. The book talks about the strength that each god posses, and their power granted to their children. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in action-filled novels.

 

 I picked up this fictional book, because it had a displayed a contrasting and interesting juxtaposition of an innocent boy in a dangerous world. The novel implied a relatable yet an engaging tone as suggested by the adventurous almost dangerous cover. I selected this novel, because of both the peculiar and the conceptual title, The Lightning Thief. Finally, I chose this novel, due to the vast majority of my friends and peers recommending it. I was genuinely drawn into the novel because it was fascinating to me. Not only was it easy to comprehend, but also this book was extremely relatable to me and displayed to me that even though school and life gets rough, just seek comfort by surrounding yourself with people that give you positive influence in your life. This book was also exceptionally easy to visualize the scenes in my mind, which in turn made it better for me to effortlessly understand the entire plot. I would give this fictional book to anyone interested in reading action and adventurous books. People who are interested in fantasy fiction and greek mythology would love reading this book. This text could be given to anyone as it is easy visualize the plot.

Reviewed by Sam Choppala

Lost and Found by Shaun Tan

Lost and Found by Shaun Tan is a graphic novel containing three unique and interesting short stories. Each tell a simple story with simple plots but the heavy messages in those stories are what ultimately invests a reader in the story. Even more impressive is the art style and sheer creativity in expressing the pieces in the book. Shaun Tan’s style is hard to pin down, its like a mixture of minimalistic, steampunk, cartoonish, and abstract. A different style is expressed in each of the stories to give them individuality, tone, and mood. Personally, the book sent me down into a smooth river of feelings and emotions that subtly changed after each story was told. It was a riveting experience that ended all too soon because of the books width. However, the novel’s depth weighs more heavily than the books length. Like a song we understand just as much it understands us in such a short amount of time. Before I began the awe-inspiring journey, I picked up the novel and found curiosity in its bizarre art style that I would later call beautiful. Like the perfect song, I fell in love with its deep, hidden meaning and emotional art. Anyone who likes to find special meaning in lost and forgotten things ought to give this little book an audience.

Reviewed by Autumn Greene

New Books 4/8/15

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No Place by Todd Strasser

“When Dan and his family go from middle class to homeless, issues of injustice rise to the forefront in this relatable, timely novel from Todd Strasser.”-Goodreads

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Half Bad by Sally Green

“Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?”-Half Bad World

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The Rule of Thre3 by Eric Walter

“One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe.  At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problems at first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until the students discover the cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and the only vehicles that function are a few ancient computer-free cars like Adam’s.   Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and gear as the region becomes paralyzed.  Soon – as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends – he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection.  And  Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys  to survival.”-Eric Walter

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Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman

“James, a scrawny, thoughtful 15-year-old, is trapped in brutal penury in upstate New York. His father walked out long ago. His defeated mother, a barely functioning cocktail waitress, has brought home an abusive addict of a boyfriend. And his older brother, Louis, who left in a fury, is a muscle-bound drug dealer whom the police have in their sights.”-The New York Times

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When We Wuz Famous by Greg Takoudes

“Francisco Ortiz, a handsome straight-A student and gifted basketball player from the barrio, wins a full scholarship to an elite boarding school. His future seems promising. But soon after Francisco moves into the dorm, his new classmates assume the worst of him: they pepper him with questions about drugs and gangs. It’s all so confusing, made even more complicated when Francisco realizes that back home in the hood, he no longer fits in, though his friends still rely on him to solve their problems. In a desperate attempt to help one of his homies, Francisco makes a terrible decision…”-Amazon

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Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

“This is a story about the wide, fragile web of friendships and acquaintances that sustains us – a fascinating theme for a generation whose Facebook groups can seem more immediate than their own flesh and blood.”-The Guardian 

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Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

“In the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend’s life-threatening illness.”-Harper Collins Publishers

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Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

“Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down.  As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.”-Barnes and Noble

New Books 1/21/15

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“The unknown Americans of Cristina Henríquez‘s novel are Hispanic tenants of a run-down apartment building in a down-at-heel Delaware town. In particular, the novel centres on Maribel Rivera, a teenage girl with a severe brain injury. Her parents have left a comfortable life in Mexico, hoping that American special-needs education will restore their only child to her former self. The story of the poverty and isolation they find is told from two points of view: that of Maribel’s mother, Alma, and of Mayor, a lonely neighbour boy who falls in love with Maribel.” –The Guardian

 

 

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“Darling’s corner of Zimbabwe, which she prowls with a mischievous gang of children called Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Stina, is a study in contrasts, turning each day into an adventure. There is Darling’s Paradise, a collection of shacks whose residents have been beaten down by a hard life in a country with little concern for the small man. Then there is Budapest, a neighboring community where whites and rich Africans live in big, solid houses with all the amenities of the industrialized world. Its guava trees prove impossibly tempting to Darling and her friends, who steal the fruit both to feed their hunger and to enjoy a thrilling, if fleeting, sense of power.” –The New York Times