The Maze Runner Summary

Cover of the Maze Runner features very tall green hedges alongside a building with two protruding spikes
The Maze Runner

In the dark of an elevator, a teenaged boy awakes with no memories other than that his name is Thomas. When the elevator comes to a halt, the doors open and Thomas finds himself surrounded by around fifty teenaged boys. Their leader, a boy in his late-teens named Alby, welcomes him to the Glade. Surrounded by extremely high stone walls covered in thick ivy, the Glade is a large square piece of land with a few wood and concrete buildings. In each of the surrounding four walls, there is a narrow opening.

Over the course of the next few days, Thomas learns that behind the walls is the Maze – a labyrinthine structure full of Grievers. Grievers are violent mechanical creatures that only come out at night. Since the openings to the Maze, what the Gladers call Doors, close at night, the Grievers cannot get into the Glade. During the day, a few of the boys, the Runners, navigate the Maze in order to find an exit. On the same day every month, the elevator brings a new male arrival. But on the day after Thomas arrives, the elevator returns with a teenaged girl in a coma.

The next day Alby and Minho, a Runner, go into the Maze to investigate a report about a dead Griever. A few minutes before the Doors close, Thomas sees Minho dragging an unconscious Alby towards the Door. With no one else around to help, Thomas enters the Maze right as the Doors close behind him. Inside, Minho tells him that a Griever stung Alby. Thomas and Minho lure a group of Grievers away from Alby and towards the Cliff– a place in the Maze where the path ends and overlooks an empty expanse. As the Grievers charge at them, the boys dive out of the way, causing the Grievers to disappear off the Cliff.

It’s morning and the Doors are open by the time they are able to return to Alby’s location. Newt, Alby’s second-in-command, cures Alby by giving him the Grief Serum, which causes him to go through the Changing, Newt tells Thomas that the Changing is a painful side effect of the Serum that makes people recall some of their memories.

In the following days, the girl, whose name is Teresa, wakes up and tells Thomas that the Maze is code. The sun also suddenly disappears, which causes the Doors to remain open at night. On the first night the doors stay open, the Grievers come into the Glade and carry off a boy named Gally into the Maze. The Gladers hope that the Grievers will only take one boy per night.

The following day, Thomas uses the maps that the Runners made of the Maze to figure out that the Maze’s shifting walls have been spelling out the phrase, “Float. Catch. Bleed. Death. Stiff. Push.” To understand the code’s meaning, Thomas purposefully gets stung by the Grievers so that he can go through the Changing and recover some of his memories. After the Changing, Thomas remembers that to escape the Maze, they must put the code into a computer that is inside an invisible portal. To get to the portal, they must jump off the Cliff.

After convincing them to follow his plan, Thomas helps lead an armed band of Gladers into the Maze. At the Cliff, a group of Grievers are waiting for them. Thinking that they will only kill one person a night, Alby sacrifices himself to the Grievers. But his sacrifice fails and the Gladers must attack the Grievers as Thomas and Teresa make their way into the portal. Inside, Teresa plugs in the code, which shuts down all the Grievers.

The surviving Gladers meet Thomas and Teresa in the portal. They find a slide that brings them to a giant facility where they meet the creators of the Maze. A woman with the word WICKED stitched into her lab coat and a man in a hood approach the Gladers. The woman congratulates them but says there is still one more test. The man takes off his hood, revealing himself as Gally. Seeming to be mind-controlled, Gally throws a knife at Thomas, but a fellow Glader, Chuck, jumps in front of the knife. As Thomas cradles Chuck’s lifeless body, a group of men and women come into the facility and shoot the woman. The Gladers follow them onto a bus and they all drive into the night.

On the bus, the unnamed leader of this group tells the Gladers that in the world outside the Maze, there has been a devastating ecological disaster that has caused a widespread outbreak of disease. WICKED hoped to raise children in the harsh environment of the Maze so that they would be better prepared to face the challenges of the real world. The leader says WICKED’s actions are inhumane and that her group fights to save children from their experiments. They bring the Gladers to a safe-house and give them a place to eat and sleep in peace.

The novel ends with an email by the Chancellor of the Maze Trials, Ava Paige. She writes that the “rescue” was a good finale and that after the group gets a good night’s sleep, phase two of the experiment will begin.

It is a really good book and I would recommend checking it out. The Maze Runner Trilogy is also made into movies so you should check those out too. Stay tuned for my reviews of the next 2 books and maybe even the 2 prequels.

Everything, Everything

The cover of a book titled Everything, Everything has blue and white letters and a collage of colorful objects around them
Everything, Everything

Madeline Whittier is an 18-year-old with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). She is violently allergic to countless substances, so she lives in a sealed-off and sterilized home with her mother. Her only other company is her nurse, Carla.

Her quiet life changes when a new family moves in next door. The Bright family has two teenage children, and their mother sends them over to the Whittiers’ house with a cake as a present. Madeline’s mother does not accept the cake or allow the teens to enter her home because they might contaminate her daughter.

However, Olly Bright, one of the teens, is determined to meet Madeline. He writes his email address on the glass of his bedroom window, and he and Madeline quickly become friends by exchanging emails and instant messages. Madeline begs Carla to allow Olly to visit her, and eventually Carla agrees. After just one visit, Madeline starts to feel like she’s falling in love with Olly. She agonizes over whether to continue their friendship since it might lead to a broken heart, but ultimately decides to keep meeting Olly.

During one in-person visit, Madeline reveals to Olly that her father and older brother were killed in a car accident when she was a baby. The settlement money from the accident allowed her mother to pay for their specially sealed home and its industrial quality air filtration system. Olly also begins to discuss his family’s difficult situation, specifically his father’s alcoholism and domestic violence problem.

Carla is concerned that Madeline is neglecting her relationship with her mother in order to spend all her spare time emailing and IMing Olly. It grows harder for Madeline to keep her romantic life a secret from her mother.

One day, the secret is revealed when Madeline looks out her window and sees Olly being punched by his drunken father. For the first time in 17 years, Madeline leaves her home, rushing outdoors to help the boy she loves. She screams at Mr. Bright to stop, which surprises him so much that he stops beating Olly. Madeline is then dragged back indoors by her mother.

Madeline’s mom grounds her after she discovers Olly and Madeline’s secret relationship. She also fires Carla for jeopardizing Madeline’s health by allowing another person into the house. After several weeks of being grounded from the internet, except for her school studies, Madeline realizes that her old routine of solitary study and hangouts with her mother is no longer satisfying. She wants to live for a few days in the outside world, even if it means she will die quickly.

Madeline sneaks out of her house and convinces Olly to run away with her to Hawaii. She lies and tells him that she has experimental pills that will allow her to manage her SCID symptoms. After landing in Maui, Madeline and Olly check into a hotel and visit the beach. She is able to shop for souvenirs, eat tropical foods, go snorkeling and even go cliff diving with no ill effects. Olly and Madeline confess their love to each other and sleep together.

Madeline wakes up in the middle of the night in severe pain. She is rushed to the hospital, where her heart stops and she has to be resuscitated. Her mother arrives in Hawaii and takes her home.

Once again Madeline is grounded as she recovers from her near-death experience. When she regains internet privileges, she tells Olly that she can’t talk with him anymore because it’s too painful to be reminded of the life she can’t have. One day, Madeline sees a moving van next door and realizes that Olly and his mom and sister are finally moving away from the abusive Mr. Bright.

Weeks later, Madeline receives an email from the emergency room doctor who treated her during her hospitalization in Hawaii. The doctor says that Madeline’s violent allergic reaction was the result of a viral infection and her medical tests show no evidence of SCID whatsoever. Madeline confronts her mother with this new piece of information, but her mother insists that she does have SCID.

Madeline secretly looks through her mother’s old files and records. She discovers that when she was 6 months old, just after her father and brother had died in a car accident, her mother became obsessed with keeping her safe. Madeline had been constantly ill as an infant, so her mother decided that Madeline had SCID without receiving any formal diagnosis. Madeline is horrified to realize that she does not have a disease and that she has been kept locked away for her entire life because of her mother’s paranoia.

With Carla’s help, Madeline finds a new doctor who urges her to enter the outside world carefully and gradually. Although Madeline doesn’t have SCID, she does have a compromised immune system due to living in a sterile environment.

In the following weeks, Madeline grows more independent. She books a flight to New York to go see Olly, this time with her mother’s knowledge. She texts him that she’s leaving him a present at a local bookshop. She hides in another aisle in order to surprise him, then they joyfully reunite and (it is implied) restart their romance.

I’d honestly give Everything Everything a 10/10 because it takes the usual “sick person falling in love with someone who’s not” trope and spins it in a way you wouldn’t have anticipated. The fact that Maddie is not sick and doesn’t die was unexpected but greatly appreciated. This book was also made into a movie in 2017 which was also very good. I recommend you watch it as well.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

image of book cover of Divergent

The book series called Divergent is an interesting one. It is the first book in a three-part series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant). This was a book recommended by a friend who has a similar taste in books. Overall, I enjoyed this book, though some parts were questionable.
Divergent is about a future Chicago where everybody is split into factions. There are 5 factions with different attributes associated with it. There is Abnegation (Selflessness), Amity (Peaceful), Candor (Truthful), Dauntless (Brave), and Erudite (Smart). When you turn 16 you go through a test in which you are given a faction that is mostly likely one that you would be placed in based on what you pick in the test. There is then a ceremony where you must pick where you live, work, and do everything for the rest of your life. There are tests to get into the faction and if you don’t pass you could become factionless. However, there are people called the Divergent. These people can do things like manipulate the tests and be aware that they are in a simulation (whereas normal people can’t).
Beatrice Prior (Now known as Tris) was born and raised in Abnegation where everything they do has to be selfless, whether it means eating the simplest food or letting other people get on the bus before you. When she takes her aptitude test to see which faction she is fit for, the person administering it stops and says she is Divergent. She says this is dangerous, not to tell anyone, and then manually logs the data saying Tris is Abnegation. When the ceremony comes around Tris must make a hard decision. She picks Dauntless, where they are all about being brave. She has a large amount of experiences, losses, and rivalry along the way. She also meets a person named Four (Tobias Eaton). They start to have a romantic relationship but must keep it a secret. They then discover a plot against the Abnegation, started by the Erudite who want power, and powered by the Dauntless because they have skills in combat. They are being controlled by a serum that had been injected unknowingly. Since Tris is Divergent she is not affected. She needs to save her friends and stop the Erudite from killing all the Abnegation.
I overall enjoyed this book a lot. The only parts I didn’t like were when she was talking with Four. The way that it was described and, the way that they communicated seemed inappropriate for 16-year-olds. Besides that, and the fact that some parts are sad. It was a very good book and I would recommend it, especially if you are into books such as The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter.
I would rate this book a 9/10.

 

It book/1990 TV mini series review

Cover of book It by Stephen King

Review by shreythemockingjay36

Book/TV series: It is about a child killing spree, in Derry, Maine. It all starts with a kid named Georgie. His brother makes him a paper boat and he runs outside to float it with the flood water. It ends up going into the sewage drain and he is greeted by a clown. Georgie is only five and is killed by the “clown”. Similar things happen to other kids of Derry until Bill Denbrough, (Georgie’s brother) has had enough. He teams up with the so called “Losers” of Derry to get revenge for his brother. They soon find out that “It” is not just a clown but a leper, a werewolf, a mummy, and other nightmares all wrapped into one. Can the Loser’s Club beat the monster consuming children through the sewers? Find out in Stephen King’s masterpiece IT.

Setting: This takes place in a small town called Derry, Maine. It is actually a real place and was written there. But it is obviously a fictional story.

Book Rating: 9/10 This was a fantastic book and I highly suggest it. The thing that kept it from a 10/10 was the confusing ending. The book was 1100 or so pages so the character development was great and the characters were very loveable. This proved to be one of King’s best novel ever.

TV series rating: 6/10 The TV mini series was pretty goofy and didn’t have the intensity of the book. The Pennywise actor Tim Curry was a great fit for the role and was scary. The special effects were terrible but it was the 90s so I have to cut them some slack. Overall not bad but not great either.

For those who liked this I will be making an original It Vs the remake when it comes out.

“Message in a Bottle” Book Summary and Review

Cover of book Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

In 1999, Message in a Bottle was mass-produced in an abundance of book stores. World-renowned author, Nicholas Sparks, narrates a love story between two unsuspecting love interests. This is a fictional romance story that debates fate and forgiveness, yet remains original and an easy read. Like all other stories written by Sparks, this novel takes place in the South of America in real locations.

The female lead is Theresa Osborne, a hardworking and determined woman. She previously has been divorced to a man unworthy of companionship, David, as he had an affair while they had a son to take care of. She has had a history of bad romantic relationships and some serious trust issues after figuring out his secret. Her friend and her husband, Deanna and Brian, have been focused on getting her out of this slump.

Theresa believes that her work in the city as a part of the columns in the Boston Times is too valuable to her life to be focused on dating. Her son, Kevin, alternates with both parents over summer, and he has just left to stay with David and his new wife, Annette. Currently, Kevin is spending a few weeks with his dad, and she believes she should be spontaneous and go to the beach for a few days. Her main focus for the trip is to relax and renew from these stressful situations she finds herself in such as taking care of Kevin, finding informative parenting text to write about in her column, being a single mother, and getting popularized for her work in the columns and later be featured in The New York Times.

While she was staying on vacation, Theresa notices a washed up bottle along the shoreline. Inside the bottle is a message on a scroll, one describing a romantic yet tragic love story. It seems to be understood that a man named Garrett loved a woman named Catherine very much. In a way, she has left him, most likely through death. As she reads a brief description of his passion for the missing lover, she cries of a longing for that type of relationship and informs her friend Deanna. She thinks that Theresa should release this into her column to find out who this poetic and adoring man is. This leaves Theresa with many questions about him, and she also has a few decisions to make based on that:

Questions about Garrett

  1. Where does he live?
  2. How can she meet him?
  3. What exactly happened between him and his previous lover?

Decisions to Make

  1. Will she listen to Deanna and publish the letter? If so, will she make it as personal as it was in the original print?
  2. If she finds out more information, will she try to find out where he is and meet him?

                                                                                 Find out more by reading the novel.

            I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 for the following reasons:

On the positive side of things, this story is a great romance with multiple layers of overcoming a devastating loss for Garret. Both characters are quite idealized by having great character. Each lead character are quite opposites. Theresa is a big-city woman with large dreams of being famous and well-known. Garrett loves to sail, is a rhythmical and romantic type of man, and is a classic type of southerner. These qualities allow for a constant struggle of how to work together and make their relationship progress.This works well to keep the reader interested, as they should keep attempting to predict and wonder about their future together.

On the other hand, it was tad bit frustrating to see Garrett use Theresa to get over Catherine, as it seemed. I also did not really see the two ending up together, nor did I really want them to because in no way would either one be happy giving up their lifestyle. This made them go through a constant struggle which was saddening to see them this way. Lastly, the secrets held between each individual of them led to the inevitable anger and fighting because of lying too much.

 

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

“The Notebook” Book Summary and Review

Cover of the book The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

During this past month, I read the literary classic, The Notebook. This romantic novel was written by Nicholas Sparks in 1996. It became popularized in 2004 when the movie containing Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as love interests was produced. The story takes place after World War II in South Carolina, yet little-to none of the historical aspects of that time were referenced.

The story first starts with an elderly man, in a nursing home, who is reading a passage from a notebook to fellow members of the nursing home. He partially serves as a preface to the story, stating it can be viewed as “romantic to the optimists” and “tragic to the pessimists.” The purpose of his role is to read the majority of the actual novel to the other members, which mainly consists of patients who suffer from dementia. He has an interest in this act due to the fact that his lover also suffers from the disease.

After this section, we explore the love story behind Noah Calhoun and Allison “Allie” Hamilton. They can be described as star-crossed lovers, as they come from two different parental backgrounds; his being completely ‘southern’ and free-spirited in the working fields, and the her’s being much stricter and conventional of higher class residents. The two first met when Allie’s family came visiting town fourteen years from present day. They eventually had a summer affair. It would be dubbed this because they fell in love over that time and Allie had another boyfriend who was unaware of them.

Their love was filled with passion, yet also quite short-lived as factors such as class and wealth divided them. After she left town, Noah had sent two-years worth of letters, yet was never met with a response. It was almost as if something, or someone, had been standing in the way of their love.

Many years later, Noah, 31, and Allie, 29, are reunited as she approaches him three weeks before her wedding when she sees an ad in the paper for Noah’s refurnished estate. They relive their previous magic for a few days and catch up on lost time. Allie is faced with three important decisions and questions to answer before she can move ahead in her life:

  1. Why did she feel compelled to visit Noah while she was in love with another man?
  2. Due to what occurred at his house, what does this mean for the future of her and her current lover?
  3. Will she choose her current fiancé, or will she return to the poetic, hard-working man of her past?

As she decides on what her future holds by answering these questions, the story is wrapped up with the return of the elderly man mentioned in the beginning. Some of the unfinished components are continued on in Spark’s sequel, The Wedding. I plan on writing a book review on the continuation in the near future to see how it compares to this novel.

My rating on this book would probably be a 9.5/10 for a great plot line.

Pros:

I personally loved the fact that this book had the necessary forms of closure that it required, along with an interview between Sparks and students to offer even more of it. These included who ended up with who after all of the drama unfolds. I also really did enjoy how Sparks was able to end the story properly by including the elderly man in the beginning of the story and in the end to come “full circle” with the notebook he read from. The romance itself was invaluably perfect as they had been previous lovers. This was especially because Noah was a romantic poet who hadn’t lost himself in the war while remaining vulnerable, and how Allie defied social standards by allowing herself to fall in love with a man of lower class.

My only personal issue was that this story made me cry as their relationship remained fanatical until their final days together approached.

Fair warning to any future readers out there, be prepared with tissues while finding out how the story unfolds.

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

Harry Potter and the Protective Parents

Harry-Potter

The Harry Potter series is one of the biggest hits in our world today. It has been read the world over and kept bookstores in business for another ten years. J.K. Rowling, the author, has become extremely rich and need not ever pick up the pen again. This happy story has a seemingly sad lining. Many parents have seen the back of the book, seen the words “witchcraft and wizardry”, and deemed the fantastic series inappropriate for their children.

This is one of the saddest true stories in the history of books. I even have a friend going into high school who says her parents won’t allow her to read them. The reason this story is so sad isn’t just because they’re missing out on the wonderful, moral books about Hermione, Ron, and Harry. The saddest part is that these children have not been introduced to reading in the unique way that authors such as J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan present it.

You see, when I was seven years old, my father read me the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was so delighted with it that I promptly read the second book. And the third. In fact, by the time I finished fourth grade, I’d finished the whole series… multiple times.

The point of this anecdote? The Harry Potter series caused me to fall in love with reading for the first time. It made me want to be an author. Thanks to Harry Potter, I started writing fanfiction and short stories, and discovered what would become my passion and dream: writing children-to-young-adult-level novels… just like my heroes, Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling.

Now, I am a Christian girl. My parents are very devout. But they read the whole series and knew that it wouldn’t cause me to become a real-life, demonic witch. They knew that it would foster in me a love of reading, and it did! It made me look upward and onward, going on to read books in elementary school that kids in middle school would hesitate to crack open. Harry Potter did this. I have J.K. Rowling to thank.

So, please, please, parents, if you’re reading this, give Harry Potter a chance. It’s a moral, wonderful book that’s totally clean even on Catholic standards (which isn’t always easy to reach, believe me!) that won’t teach your children to worship demons. Some lessons in this series include: Don’t focus on yourself. Be selfless. Think of others before yourself. Be a good friend. Don’t kill people (an obvious one). If you treat others the way they want to be treated, most likely they’ll treat you with respect. Justice is good, but mercy is important too, even if you don’t always get something from it.

Harry Potter made me turn to my parents eagerly, and ask, “What else can I read?” One of the best moments, I’m sure, in parenting, is fostering a love of something good and beautiful, such as reading. Do your children a favor and let them read Harry Potter.