Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese, published in 2006, has won a multitude of awards since. The graphic novel tells the stories of a Monkey King, a second-generation Chinese immigrant struggling to fit in, and a teenager burdened with his stereotypically Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. With an unexpected twist, the stories seamlessly come together in the end.
American Born Chinese was an easy read; this, however, did not take away from its intricate plot. The stories were not only entertaining but also taught a valuable lesson about staying true to your roots. This is prevalent in today's society since most teenagers are so desperate to fit in, but with comedic relief, American Born Chinese remedies this with its lesson.--Jules Almazar '16
Without a doubt my favorite book is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Little Women follows the lives of the four March girls living with their
mother as their father fights in the Civil War. Each of the sisters
represent a different personality and, as readers, we are all able to watch
them grow and learn through the years. Josephine March is the
outspoken "black sheep" of the family who constantly gets herself into
sticky situations and stays fiercely loyal to her family. Margaret, the eldest
March girl, stays completely focused throughout the book on finding a
husband. Mary is the shy, sickly reserved sister. Jo always feels the need to
protect little meek Mary. The last March sister, Amy, constantly gets
caught up the need to be fashionable and cares far too much about what
people think of her. These girls go through many ups and downs in the
story, including a devastating death, but overall most of these sisters are
all looking for stability and love in life. Jo, however, is not looking for love, but to broaden her career. Jo is the real reason why I love this book. She represents a modern woman and breaks the social constraints that many women of the 1800s felt. Jo is the perfect role model for any young girl and many critics even say that she represents the early roots of feminism in this country. Furthermore, the wide range of personalities in this book represent all the things a woman should be and all the trials she will probably go through in her life. This book is a beautiful representation of American life and literature in the 1800s and an absolute must read for anyone. It can even change your life like it did mine.--Marianne Farrell, '16
"[This book] is complicated and suspenseful (and has a completely unexpected ending!)." -Kristina Soltesz '14
"It is so great because you have no idea who is murdering everyone. You are in the dark for the entire book, and it keeps you on your toes!" -Ellie Brown '17
"[I like] And Then There Were None because there were people and then Lombard and Vera are like, 'Whoa, where'd all the people go?'" -Emmet Teran '14
"[I] got to learn about each character [and the] different stories for each. [I] couldn't figure it out, [and] it challenged me." -Jules Almazar '16
"I absolutely love this book. I was stunned by the relationship between Clay and Jensen. Who whou'dve thought she would be a reason why she committed suicide?" -Christopher Campbell '16
"Maximum Ride is an amazing story about a group of teenagers who have two extra limbs--wings, to be precise." -Charles Loomis '17
"I love Agatha Christie so much--she's probably my favorite author ever. I was so engaged throughout the whole book!" -Maahnoor Shah '16
Help for the Haunted was incredibly eerie novel with creative characters that I could surprisingly relate to. I really enjoyed reading it; it was a true page-turner. As the story progressed, I started to really like Sylvie but I grew to despise her sister. I didn't know anything about Help for the Haunted when I began it, and I think that's the best way to start reading this book. It begins with the story of Sylvie and the murder of her parents, mixed with exciting flashbacks. It's a must read!--Isabella Scarpelli '15
Expected publication date: January 7, 2014. See Ms. Schombs to read the galley!
I love Alexa’s character.
She’s a girl who’s lost everything—her parents, her brother—and still finds a way to keep fighting for the sake of her people in the midst of a corrupted monarchy. Alexa’s parents were killed in a fire when she was a young teenager; afterwards, her twin brother Marcel saved her from the breeding house by chopping off her hair and enrolling them both in the army. She and Marcel quickly moved up the ranks because of their incredible swordsmanship and earned coveted spots in the Prince’s personal guard. But by living a lie as “Alex”, Alexa is in a constant identity crisis. She is not allowed to be a girl, but she cannot suppress her feelings for Prince Damian, whose dynamic character evolves from spoiled brat to strong, courageous, and clever—not to mention handsome—savior of them all.
But Alex’s feelings for Damian are put on hold as the fate of their dystopian world is in her hands. She has the power to stop the most evil sorcerer the kingdom has ever known. Our valiant heroine must channel all of her cunning and grief into the quest to save her precious Damian, or the country will fall to darkness forever.
Larson balances adventure and emotion well, neither overbearing, so the reader can enjoy Alex’s physical and emotional journeys. Alex is part Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and part America Singer from The Selection by Kiera Cass. Readers who enjoy mystery, adventure, and strong female characters will be engrossed in Alexa’s story from beginning to end.--Ms. Schombs, Library Media Specialist, Loyola School
Still drying my eyes from this one. Adam Wilde, new-fangled rock star, spews raw emotion with every thought and action leading up to his reunion with Mia Hall, a music lover of the Classical Cellist kind and the first and only love of his life. The first book, If I Stay, was told from Mia’s perspective; the novel opens with the car crash that smote her entire family, save herself. Adam’s racing thoughts, confusion, and heartache resonate following the couple’s breakup when Mia leaves Oregon for Juilliard. Though he has the life every aspiring star craves-–celebrity girlfriend Bryn, record deals, two Grammys, sold-out shows–-Adam finds himself on pills and smokes to temper the pain of an inexplicable void, a void that even his beloved music can’t fill. How can you let the person you love go at the time you need each other most? After more than three years, Adam still finds life wanting. He sees Mia's eyes every time he closes his own. Her voice is only a memory, but he can’t stop himself from listening for it. You’re really rooting for this guy, even though it’s clear that Adam is reaping what he sowed during those heart-wrenching moments before Mia began to wake from her coma. His whirlwind of emotions is realistic without superimposing on the plot. When Mia and Adam finally reunite, Mia drags Adam on a scavenger hunt of her favorite NYC haunts as an introduction for Adam and her own farewell to the city she loves; Adam revisits key memories, interprets Mia’s words, and puzzles out the truth about their breakup, traveling on his own scavenger hunt of self-discovery. In both novels, Forman deftly transforms Adam's character from the concerned “man”; to the rock star on the brink of mental collapse; to the genuine person that Adam always has been. Where She Went is a complex and wholly satisfying work of YA literature.--Ms. Schombs, Library Media Specialist, Loyola School
On this page, you will find book reviews posted by Ms. Watkins and her crew of voracious readers.
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