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 after 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.
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.
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.
The 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
The book If I Stay by Gayle Forman is about a young girl named Mia who wakes up to an unexpected joyful snow day, making her and the rest of her family now have some available free time. They all together decide to take a small trip to visit some family friends at their home. They could have visited, then go to a bookstore to roam all of its inviting ailes, and then have dinner with the grandparents, but everything changes within seconds. There is a sudden car accident, completely totaling the car. Mia gets up only to shattered pieces of the car everywhere,both her now deceased parents, and her younger brother lying on the ground. She finds her own wounded body on the ground as well. She watches as the ambulances arrive quickly rushing her body in an ambulance and follows. Mia is in very critical condition putting her in coma. Now, Mia is forced to accept the death of her family and realizes she might not want to stay at all. This story brings attention to the difficult question that Mia has to answer that will make out what her life will become. In the end,she still is struggling with making her decision whether to take the easy way out and leaving with her family or to fight and live with the loss of her family. Will she have the power and courage to stay?
I picked this book up because it caught my eye after hearing and many good reviews about it. I also knew there was a movie and was excited to read before watching to compare and contrast. I kept reading even though it was upsetting to me, I was determined to find out what she decided. It helped me in a way I could relate, my situation is not as tough and difficult as hers but it still guided me on my own life decisions making me realize every decision has an impact and effect. I would give this book to be honest to anyone really. It’s a great fictional read that could very much be a real life thing. It has the message of how in the matter of seconds everything can change and any decision you make no matter how easy or hard there’s always needs to be consideration of yourself and others.
Written by: Anam .R
The brutal murder ofhisgrandfathersends15 year old Jacob to a remote Welsh island where he discovers that his grandfather’s stories of peculiar spirits with peculiar abilities are all true. He befriends these peculiar spirits and learns that hollow gasts are the monsters set out to kill peculiar children for their abilities, as well as the ones responsible for the death of his grandfather. To protect the peculiars and revenge his grandfather, Jacob goes through time loops and suspenseful chases with the children and together, they unravel hidden truths of identities and pasts. This book had me hooked and surprised at every turn. The writing and photographs adds a more realistic feel and makes you feel like you have also fallen through time into the world of the peculiars. All the characters are very distinguishable and special in a way where every single one is important to the storyline. The cover of the levitating young girl looked a bit unusual and haunting so that naturally appealed to me. From the start, the book’s oddity captured my attention. The vintage photographs were unique and set this book apart from the books I normally see on the shelves. You discover that the pictures have actually been lent from personal archives from people’s collections and nothing has been photoshopped. This only adds the creepy tension and the sense that it is all real. This book is definitely something that people who are interested in darker, more paranormal stories will like. It is also for anyone who is simply looking for something different to read.
Reviewed by Hazel Liang
The book follows the story of two best friends who have been together since the age of three. The took dance classes together and were inseparable. They were always together, they shared each others secrets, and spent every minute they could together. And when one of them encounters a difficulty the other is always there by her side sharing every moment with her, and support her, like her sister. Throughout the entire book I was having so many ups and downs. It was like an emotional rollercoaster. Overall the book was very well written and a beautiful story about two best friends who found a way to overcome obstacles in their relationship together. I picked this book because it was about best friends, and Ihaveabestfriend who I am extremely close with, and I was intrigued by the back, how it said something devastating happened between them and how it would changed them forever. So I wanted to read I wanted to know what happened and how they had gotten through it. I kept reading it because once I picked it up, I was obsessed. It did not take long for the book to get to the conflict which I definitely enjoyed. I would give it to my best friend because I thought about her the entire time I read the book. It remind me of some of the problems I have had with her, and how after everything we have always managed to get through it together.
Reviewed by Analilia Estrada